UM Football Blog: 8/12

Read on for the latest surrounding Miami's football team, with analysis from CanesTime's Mike Bakas.

Miami's first fall scrimmage is in the books. Based on what we know about it so far, here are a few things we may have learned from it.

1) Stephen Morris is starting to widen the gap in the starting quarterback race.

Morris and Ryan Williams entered fall camp as co-starters on the depth chart. Morris played some in this offense last season but Williams went through all of spring as the number one so it seemed to be somewhat open heading into fall camp. Both saw action with the ones today but Morris was given a lot more chances to throw the football. He tossed four touchdowns and didn't turn the ball over. He is a more talented quarterback than Williams. He has more game experience in this offense than Williams. He was given more chances than Williams today. It seems like it's only a matter of time before Morris is officially named the starter. It could happen as early as tomorrow.

2) Mike James will be a different running back in 2012.

James was a solid backup running back in each of his first couple seasons at Miami. Last season, his progress was slowed by a toe injury and the tremendous season by Lamar Miller. Now a senior, James is the unquestioned leader of the running back group. Coaches have talked about his change in health and how much harder he's running this fall. He tore up today's scrimmage and it's probably a preview of what's to come. James has the tools and he seems determined to have a big senior season. He's a different type of runner than Miller -- James is straight north and south and will get most of his yards between the tackles and after contact. Don't be surprised if he ends up being Miami's best skill position player this season.

3) Malcolm Lewis is making a run at the third wide receiver spot.

Allen Hurns was Miami's best returning receiver from last season. He will be counted on as being the number one to start the season. Rashawn Scott was Miami's best receiver in the spring. He will likely be the number two. After that it's wide open. Lewis was Miami's most polished incoming freshman receiver and he had the most productive day of all of them. Phillip Dorsett is fast but will likely make a bigger impact on special teams. Lewis seems destined to make a lot of plays this season.

4) The defensive line continues to struggle making plays.

Al Golden talked a lot about it last week -- the defensive tackle position needs someone to emerge as a playmaker. They're all 300+ who can fill space and help stop the run. However, they need to start making plays in the backfield and creating turnovers. They didn't do either in today's scrimmage and Anthony Chickillo was credited with the only sack from the group. It's a position filled with young talent but they are severely lacking playmakers right now and it'd be nice to see some emerge over the next few weeks. It didn't seem to happen today.

5) Tracy Howard is already legitimately competing for a starting spot at cornerback.

Brandon McGee has been up and down his entire career and wasn't even a starter to start his senior spring. Thomas Finnie has been dinged up. Ladarius Gunter has been in and out of the lineup and lacks game experience. Howard is Miami's most ready freshman cornerback right now and he was the most active player at the position today. He could start the season as the team's number two or three corner but don't be surprised if he is the best one on the team by midseason. Including today, nothing seems to be changing that possibility that many had already expected from the former five-star recruit.

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