Though Miami’s second scrimmage of camp was delayed by lightning from morning until dusk, Mark Richt was pleased with how his team competed.
“We had to wait all day for it,” Richt said, speaking to a group of beat reporters afterward. “Thankfully we had no school today, so we could get the work in.”
Breaking with his previous method, Richt did not read the “unofficial official” stats from a sheet. UM did not reveal numbers from the scrimmage.
Players have not been available to the media after scrimmages.
So here’s what Richt saw, though he admitted he was mostly focused on quarterback play:
He estimated Kaaya completed 80 percent of his passes but made one dangerous throw that “was picked or should have been picked, either way it’s the same to me. It’s not excusable. Other than that he played great.” The first-string offensive line was “mostly good,” giving up a sack and a pressure (the latter of which led to an interception).
Regarding one of his stated goals, identifying Kaaya’s backup, Richt said two contenders emerged from Wednesday’s scrimmage. He declined to name them. He said he planned to announce the contender next week.
Wide receiver Stacy Coley also “played great,” Richt said, and running backs Mark Walton and Gus Edwards “made some really outstanding runs.” Richt said he believed Coley, Walton and Braxton Berrios scored touchdowns. Big fullback Marquez Williams scored a touchdown on a goal-line play and caught a ball in the flat, and remains “a blocking machine.”
Richt said tight end Chris Herndon “manhandled” a defender to gain a first down, and wide receiver Darrell Langham “made a nice play on the goal line, with really tight coverage. Played as big as he is [6-4, 230].” That’s good news for Miami, since Langham will be needed with Lawrence Cager (ACL) out for the season and freshman Ahmmon Richards battling turf toe.
Richt conceded he was who said coordinator Manny Diaz’ defense is “hard to deal with,” said his offense “came a long way” from the first scrimmage. “I’m doing a better job too” of calling plays, he said. However, the first-string defensive line was “creating a new line of scrimmage” and the second unit “had moments,” Richt said.
Asked for his opinion of Miami’s newcomers, Richt mentioned that junior college transfer wideout Dayall Harris “had a nice day.” Running back Travis Homer “has shown me that he’s tough and smart. I think he’ll be a good special-teamer,” Richt said. “We’re not going to be afraid to put him in the game.” He added that tight end Jovani Haskins “made improvement today. I saw Malek [Young] do well at corner. [Linebacker Shaq] Quarterman, I don’t even look at him as a true freshman. He’s doing well.”
Richt did not reveal any injuries, but noted that Richards was “hobbling around a little bit” and said freshman weakside linebacker Michael Pinckney (hamstring) did not scrimmage. Richt also acknowledged reports that junior running back Trayone Gray will be out for the season. Gray tore his ACL in practice Monday.
The successes of the scrimmage were hard-won.
Miami’s scrimmage, which began after 6 p.m., was originally slated to start at 9:30 a.m. It was delayed by 70 minutes by lightning — then, after less than 10 minutes on the field, players went back indoors after the lightning alarm sounded again. UM then moved the scrimmage to the evening. “For having a delay, then having another delay, then having to wait and kind of get it going again, I thought the guys really came to play.”
Miami’s first-string offense competed against its second-string defense, and vice versa. For its scrimmage next Wednesday, Miami will team its first-string offense and defense against a scout team replicating its first opponent, Florida A&M. The Sept. 3 season-opener is 17 days away.