Dionte Mullins, Sheldrick Redwine could help Miami Hurricanes, coordinators say

Manny Diaz directs linebackers at an Aug. 2016 Hurricanes practice. (Miami Herald)

Manny Diaz directs linebackers at an Aug. 2016 Hurricanes practice. (Miami Herald)

[Bright future for big Navaughn Donaldson]

[Video podcast: recapping Day 1 of spring practice]

Notes from today’s interviews with offensive coordinator and Thomas Brown and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz:

* Brown praised starting running back Mark Walton, who recently lost his mother. “I don’t know how he does it,” Brown said. “He does a really good job when he comes to this building of locking in.”

* Midyear enrollee Robert Burns is “a very sharp guy but panics too much at times,” Brown said, adding that that’s natural for a first-timer. “He’s got a long way to go but it’s encouraging to see him through two practices.” Travis Homer, Brown said, needs to improve his details. Taking after Walton would help. “Mark can always get better, but the thing is Mark is a perfectionist,” he said. “Once the guys learn to follow that lead, we’ll all get better.” Walk-on Crispian Atkins is the fourth back, with Trayone Gray recovering from an ACL injury.

* Asked who looks good among the five quarterbacks competing for the starting job, Brown said it’s too early to answer. “Nobody looks good,” he said. “Quarterback, running back, offensive line. … We’re in shorts. Everybody looks like an All-American and plays hard and has good effort. … Nobody’s punched him in the mouth yet. I think we’ll figure out a lot more when we put pads on.” They will do so on Saturday.

* Brown said rising sophomore receiver Dionte Mullins, who hasn’t seen the field regularly since his high school junior season because of academic trouble, will help the team this year. “Dionte’s issue last year was more mental than it was physical,” Brown said. “He’s a big, powerful guy who has really good speed and quickness and ball skills, but he was his own worst enemy in the past.”

* Could midyear enrollee DeeJay Dallas play running back? “He can do a lot of stuff,” Brown said, not wanting to give too much away. Brown did praise Dallas’ ability to field punts.

* Diaz told reporters who were there (I was not because of the fly) that defensive tackle Gerald Willis‘ absences have been related to a physical issue, not anything disciplinary. Willis was suspended for the Russell Athletic Bowl week, along with multiple others, for breaking team rules.

* Moving Sheldrick Redwine from safety to corner ahead of his junior season was partly because UM has “more options” at corner, including returning contributor Malek Young, signee Trajan Bandy and transfers Jhavonte Dean (junior college) and Dee Delaney (The Citadel). Bandy, from Miami-Columbus High, is often on campus and told Canesport he was shadowing cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph at Tuesday’s practice. No reason Redwine, 6-2 and 200 pounds, can’t push for the starting job opposite fellow junior Jaquan Johnson. Interestingly, Diaz said he believes Redwine “had the skillset to do some of the things Rayshawn Jenkins could do at the field safety position.” Jenkins was a multiyear starter and recorded nine interceptions.

* “If we run to the ball, set edges and tackle, we can be a functioning secondary. If we can bat down a pass, that’s a bonus,” Diaz said of his secondary, which is rebuilding.

* Click here for an in-depth read on starting linebackers Shaq Quarterman and Zach McCloud (who spoke to reporters today) and Michael Pinckney (who didn’t).

* McCloud said Charles Perry and walk-on Eddie Dunn are working behind him at strong-side linebacker. De’Andre Wilder would join the group when he enrolls in the summer.

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SPRING FOOTBALL 2017

Position-by-position previews and projected depth charts: 

QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | ST | Scholarship count | Spring schedule | Five big ?s

Practice video: OL, QBs | RBs | DL 

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