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Barry Jackson

What practice observer noticed about UM football coaches. And an update from Manny Diaz.

A six-pack of Miami Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday:

Last week, we shared observations about individual Canes players, as conveyed by people in attendance at UM’s closed spring football practices recently. Here are a couple points that were shared about the coaching:

An observer was struck by how quickly UM players are getting to the line and running plays.

“Every 10 seconds if not less,” said one official at practice. If players get to the line slowly, they are told in no uncertain terms to hurry up.

As players are lining up, quarterback D’Eriq King and the wide receivers look to the sideline for signals from offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and one of the backup quarterbacks. Then King (or whoever the quarterback is during a drill) conveys the signals to the running backs and linemen.

An observer said one huge positive is that all the coaches are on the same page. These offensive coaches all have experience in an up-tempo spread and “the staff is working as one,” that observer said. “That’s the biggest thing.”

New offensive line coach Garin Justice’s zone scheme “will help a lot,” said one practice observer, noting how much better the running game looked in practice last week. “The offensive linemen will now be able to play to their strengths.”

Some of these UM linemen in recent years were ill-suited to block for a pro-style offense and power running game against some teams with strong defensive lines, especially Florida. But the zone scheme should be a big help in that regard.

In an interview on Monday with former Canes standout offensive lineman Brett Romberg on 1210 The Man, UM coach Manny Diaz said: “I know everybody wants to get back in the weight room and do all of that — and there will be plenty of time to do all that by Sept. 5 — but right now, this week or two is so crucial to stop the spread of the disease...

“If I am a college football player and I get sick, there is a very, very, very strong possibility that I am going to be totally fine. I may not even be symptomatic, it may be mild, but we have to think outside of our individual selves. So the issue is — the more I am out and about, the more I have a chance to get others sick....

“It’s not the mortality rate, it’s the rate of people that end up going to the hospital needing severe care and intensive care and the bigger that number gets at some point we run out of hospital beds. Forget about if you have the virus. If you have a heart attack or stroke or are in a car accident, something where you need intensive care treatment, there’s a finite supply of that. So, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to bring that number down as much as possible.”

The ACC then announced Tuesday that all athletic competition — including spring football practices — are being canceled through the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

Good to see running back Robert Burns, who has battled injuries throughout his football career, position himself for the No. 2 job behind Cam’Ron Harris, though running back Don Chaney Jr. (who’s missing spring ball while recovering from a shoulder injury) or impressive freshman Jaylon Knighton could surpass him at some point.

Burns, a redshirt junior, had 116 yards rushing last season (on 4.0 per carry) as UM’s third-string back behind DeeJay Dallas and Harris.

“I know I can play and produce,” he said. “I want to contribute, play, want to make sure I can be counted on. I’m just getting my body into the shape that our tempo requires. It [helps me] handle the pace of the offense we have.”

Athlon rates three Hurricanes players among the nation’s 50 best: Defensive end Quincy Roche 21st, quarterback D’Eriq King 43rd and defensive end Greg Rousseau 45th.

Here was their assessment of each:

Rousseau: “Set the bar high for 2020 after recording 19.5 tackles for a loss, 15.5 sacks, and 54 overall tackles as a freshman last fall. Rousseau notched 12 of his sacks in ACC games, including four versus Florida State and two against Pitt. He should team with Temple transfer Quincy Roche to form one of the nation’s top defensive end combinations in college football for 2020.”

King: “Miami utilized three quarterbacks last season, but the carousel under center will end with King coming to Coral Gables after transferring from Houston. Dynamic is the best way to sum up King’s career with the Cougars from 2016-19. The Texas native received playing time as a receiver in 2016 before moving back to quarterback in ‘17. King accounted for 1,639 total yards that year and delivered a monster all-around campaign the following season. Over 11 appearances for Houston, King accounted for 3,656 total yards and 50 overall scores. King took a redshirt season after playing in four games in 2019.”

Roche: “Earned third-team All-America honors from Athlon Sports after recording 13 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss at Temple in 2019. With a year of eligibility remaining, Roche decided to test his skills at the Power 5 level and transferred to Miami. He should team with Gregory Rousseau (15.5 sacks in 2019) to form one of the nation’s top defensive end duos for 2020.”

We explained Monday how UM has firmed up its 2021 football schedule. Here’s who’s booked for nonconference games beyond that this decade:

2022: home against Southern Mississippi and at Texas A&M

2023: home against Miami of Ohio and Texas A&M and at Temple

2024: home against Florida A&M and Ball State and at Florida and at Notre Dame

2025: home against USF and Florida and vs. Notre Dame (site TBD)

2026: home to Florida A&M and at South Carolina

2027: home to South Carolina and at USF

2028: home to USF and at Notre Dame

Couple draft things: Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller called UM’s Jon Garvin the biggest sleeper among the group of edge rushers in this draft. Both Garvin and well-regarded defensive end Trevon Hill were asked to participate in linebacker drills at the NFL Combine, and NFLcom’s Lance Zierlien predicts Hill will be a standup rush linebacker in the pros... Though cornerback Trajan Bandy measured at under 5-8 at the Combine, Zierlien said “he has a chance to become a backup slot with more work.”... Zierlein said Shaq Quarterman’s “size and toughness give him a shot as a backup inside linebacker.”

This story was originally published March 17, 2020 5:06 PM.

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