Spring Practice Report: 3/10

<b>CORAL GABLES, Fla.</b> - The University of Miami football team held their first practice in pads today. The team practiced for two hours and will take 11 days off before returning to practice on March 22.

PHOTO GALLERY

WEATHER

Partly Cloudy, 70 degrees, 40% humidity

HEAD COACH LARRY COKER

"We were able to see a lot of players today. We played a lot of different guys play a lot of snaps including a lot of young players. Both quarterbacks made some nice throws today and Ryan Moore really stepped up making some extremely nice plays."

"It was an encouraging first three days of practice and I am glad that we got them in before spring break. Now we have a chance to evaluate them. Without question it was a good start for us."

"I think we have talent at the running back position. Today we did a lot of inside runs and they had to take some hits. We didn't want to get anyone hurt, but they did take their hits today. When we have those scrimmages we want to see them get those 3-4 yard runs. Guys were making some nice cuts today on inside runs--a four yard gain is a good run inside."

"I don't see greatness there yet from the running backs, but I think we have good talent there. If you add Tyrone Moss, the top running back in Florida a couple years ago, and Andrew Johnson, the top running back in Pennsylvania in 2003, you have two very talented players. We wont see Tyrone in the spring, but he has experience so he will be fine. It gives the other guys a chance to work in the spring."

NOTES

* QB Kyle Wright worked out with the first unit today and showed good patience in the pocket. His poise is evident along with good arm strength and accuracy. He is very comfortable leading the team and after the first week has the nod over Freeman for the starting position.

* QB Kirby Freeman started off slow in practice, but bounced back with a string of good throws. Freeman also looks comfortable in the pocket, but at times he rushes his throws too soon and is a bit erratic. He could benefit from the time off of practice to regroup and come back strong for the final 12 days of practice.

* WR Ryan Moore was the best offensive player on the field today. He caught the most passes for the day and if he can maintain his consistency he appears destined to a starting wide receiver spot in the future. He had a down year last year dealing with injuries, but is looking more like the 2003 receiver as opposed to the 2004 receiver. Moore is a player that has missed a number of practice sessions in the past with injuries and could really benefit from this month of practice time.

* FB James Bryant has shown a good pace in his practice habits. He explodes off the snap and has earned praise from Coker for his running skills. He still has to learn the offense and picking up blitzes, but so far so good with his move to fullback from linebacker. Coker pointed out that with Bryant on the field a tailback could be lined up as a receiver in certain formations. Currently Bryant is the second-team fullback, but is expected to get a lot of playing time in 2005.

* 1st Unit Offensive Line: LT Tyrone Byrd LG Tyler McMeans C Alex Pou RG Derrick Morse RT Rashad Butler

* RB Charlie Jones did well today in various running drills in 9-on-9 situations. Jones wowed the crowd with a great cutback to his right off the center for a gain of about 10 yards. Jones has a good mix of speed and power and has been praised with his ability to pick up blitz packages.

* RB Derron Thomas is the only pure speed back on the roster and he showed it today. Thomas has a knack for stretching out the defense to one side of the field and at a precise moment darts upfield for positive yardage. He currently stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 185 pounds, but is strong for his size. Thomas is not afraid to take it up the middle into the heart of the defense--something a Miami running back must do in their offense.

* WR Darnell Jenkins did not practice again today and has been taking care of academics according to Coker. He is a guy that is poised for a breakout season, but needs to get his grades in order in order to make an impact in the fall.

* OL Alex Pou has impressed coach Coker with his ability to learn a new position. He has done a nice job and has a head start on the battle for the starting spot available.

* OL Anthony Wollschlager is competing with Pou for the starting center position, but has been limited in the first week of practice. He is expected to be back after the break and resume practices.

* TE Buck Ortega has been the first-team tight end this week with Greg Olsen still hampered by a wrist injury. Today Ortega made a number of catches in various 7-on-7 and 9-on-9 drills.

* WR Sinorice Moss did not practice today and has been very limited all week with a light strained quadricep.

* CB Carlos Armour recorded an interception today and appears to be the number five cornerback on the team at this time. The team burned Armour's redshirt last year eight games into the season, but primarily played on special teams. At 6-foot-3 he posseses matchup problems for recievers. He has been up against Lance Leggett the majority of the first week.

* LB Leon Williams is quietly holding down the middle linebacker position. He started the final three games of the 2004 season and is doing a good job in practice of finding the ball. He plays with good intensity and the more confidence he has, the better off he will be.

* DE Eric Moncur has been earning praise in the off-season from his teammates and today he showed why. Moncur is a beast at defensive end with great explosion off of the line. His strength has never been an issue. Assuming he stays healthy look for Moncur to be a starter at some point in his career.

* DT Orien Harris hobbled a bit with an apparent ankle injury, but it does not appear to be anything serious.

* DT Teraz McCray was slow to get up as an offensive lineman fell on his knee, but after practice said everything was fine.

* WR Akieem Jolla had a long gain for the second day in a row. Jolla has great long speed and can beat secondaries on just straight 'go' routes or even deep 'post' routes. Look for Jolla to find his niche as a deep threat in 2005 and stretch the defense.

* 2003 Hurricane D.J. Williams was at practice for the second day in a row. Roscoe Parrish was also in attendance. Javarris James, a 2006 recruit was at practice along with 2005-signees Kenneth Phillips and Daryl Sharpton.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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