With an appropriate first practice start time of 3:05 p.m., head coach Mark Richt and the team’s staff led Miami through a challenging day.
“We’ve been here eight months, been to a lot of practices already,” Richt said about the opening practice. “We worked with them all summer. This is the third time we’ve installed the offense, so it didn’t feel brand new, but certainly it’s the first time for [fall camp]. I love being here, I can tell you that.”
Though it was the first day of fall practice, many Hurricanes preached a sense of familiarity thanks to spring practice and summer workouts.
“The first day went pretty well. Of course there are new coaches, but we’ve been through this before with spring practice,” quarterback Brad Kaaya said. “Our practice setup is similar to the springtime, so some guys are acclimated. But we also have newcomers like freshmen and transfers - it’s a new team, so everyone needs to get acclimated to how things function.”
Richt and the Hurricanes staff wasted little time in setting a high practice tempo.
“I’m optimistic about these young men. Everybody held up pretty good. There’s a few guys who cramped up a little bit – here we are in South Florida in the middle of the day. It’s pretty typical,” Richt said.
Kaaya, who Richt called the undisputed leader of the offense, took his normal position under center with the first-team offense.
“You can see me, I’m sweating hard right now,” Kaaya said. “Guys are soaked and we got after it today. It was full throttle, almost like conditioning out there with every single rep we did.”
A number of freshmen were competing in their first #CanesCamp, while two notable Hurricanes made returns after season-ending injuries suffered in 2015: linebacker Darrion Owens and running back Gus Edwards.
“It feels really good. I felt great out there today and my foot didn’t bother me at all,” Edwards said. “It was fun, and we got a lot of work in at the same time. It was fun to get back out there after a couple of months.”
Owens echoed Edwards’ confidence on his first day.
“Everything feels good. It’s just like I’ve got to trust it. I’m running around and I do something [and I think], ‘Oh, I actually can do this.’ So, it’s just a mind thing right now. So, I’m battling with that, just get that over with and I’m fine.”