CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes took the field for their third spring practice on a sunny morning at Greentree. But it was their first practice in pads, and head coach Mark Richt liked what he saw from both an effort and technique perspective.
“I was very pleased,” Richt said after the session. “We try to take pride in how we practice as far as our energy level and our hustle and getting off the ground when we get on the ground – things like that, it was good.
“We call it ‘thud’ – thud is full speed without tackling and without blocking below the waist. I thought we did a real good job with that -- very few times were guys on the ground. It’s a good sign of knowing what you’re doing, it’s a good sign of athleticism, it’s a good sign of people just paying attention.”
Spring ball can be hectic when you’re trying to distribute reps among 100 players but that’s also why Richt feels these sessions are so essential to the growth of a football team.
“Everybody’s getting reps,” Richt said. “And it’s part of the reason why practice is a little bit sloppy because you’re trying to get that many guys reps. We’re getting a hundred guys repetitions. It’s hard to get everybody doing it just right and that’s why we do it. That’s why there’s spring ball. The few that don’t think spring ball is valuable are missing the mark because there are so many things they can learn right now.”
If the younger Hurricanes want to find a teammate to emulate on the practice field during March and April they should look no further than running back Mark Walton.
“Mark is a machine,” Richt said. “Mark loves football. He loves to compete. He loves to do things right. If you just watch him practice, either as a coach, a player or a fan, you’d love it because he’s just that way every day.”
As part of practice, the Hurricanes hosted a youth football coaches clinic. The coaches who participated had the opportunity to watch practice, eat lunch with the team and then attend a chalk talk session with the Miami coaching staff.
There were also a handful of former players on hand, including quarterback Brad Kaaya and tight end David Njoku, who are preparing for Miami’s Pro Day .
“I like it when former players come, period,” Richt said. “A lot of the guys who just finished up and are getting ready for Pro Day are hanging around here for their Pro Day . We always welcome former players to come, the pros who work out here in the offseason or if they’re finished with their football careers and just want to come back and check out a practice and be around family, we love it.”
The Hurricanes return to the practice field for their second week of spring football.