Practice Report: 8/13

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Hurricanes held a scrimmage on their final practice open to the public.

The team began practice at 8:30 and went through individual workouts and various team drills before heading inside at 9:00 due to heavy rain. The team returned to the field after a 25-minute delay and began a scrimmage including red-zone work, which consisted of about 60 plays.

"Today was a good start for us. I didn't see any injuries, which is always encouraging. Everybody got a little bit of a shot today. We saw some great things on defense and offense. We just have to keep pushing and if we do that I think we can have a good team."

"I think it was the best day of the fall for the offense. Things are starting to come together. Guys are starting to make plays, which is what we are looking for. Sometimes it is a little bit slower for the offense. Also, the defense has to learn how to practice in a scrimmage-type situation. We have had some efficiency-type issues with mental issues that we have to get worked out."

"It is just not wise to play smash-mouth football against each other. You can throw the ball and work on protection because you don't get as many injuries."

"The defense was having fun today and I like that. I'd like to see that with the offense. Sometimes I see touchdowns in practice and nobody but me congratulates the guy. We had a lot of energy from the defense today and got more energy as the day went on."

· QB Kyle Wright looked "very good and is making the correct reads with poise" according to Coker after driving the team down the field to the 10-yardline on their second possession for a 4 play, 55-yard drive before the second unit got their opportunity. Highlighting the drive was a 15-yard pass to FB Quadtrine Hill and a 20-yard pass to TE Greg Olsen. Wright also made a wise decision to throw the ball away to live to play another down. While leading the team during the redzone, Wright found WR Sinorice Moss on an underneath route for a 20-yard touchdown as Moss ran it in. One of the most encouraging things to see from the young quarterback was his comfort level in staying in the pocket. His lone negative spot came when CB Kelly Jennings intercepted a pass and took it 50 yards for a touchdown.

· QB Kirby Freeman threw for two long touchdowns on the day and another one during redzone offense. His first came when he found WR Lance Leggett on a 50-yard strike using a pump fake to create more separation for Leggett. He also hooked up with WR Akieem Jolla for a 63-yard touchdown pass while rolling to his right. Jolla made the catch along the sideline. Both touchdowns were allowed by S Lovon Ponder on single coverage.

· RB Tyrone Moss doesn't appear to have a lock on the starting position the way it would appear. Coker has not seen Moss be a go-to back nor has he seen one guy separate himself from the pack. To his credit, Moss did have a nice 20-yard run up the middle showing good breakaway speed drawing a nice ovation from the fans in attendance.

· RB Derron Thomas is up to 197 pounds and has added about 16 pounds since he arrived on campus a year ago. He showed excellent speed to the outside when FB James Bryant sprung a key block allowing Thomas to run for a 23-yard gain.

· RB Charlie Jones consistently was getting four yards a carry to provide the offense with manageable first down opportunities. Jones still has some catching up to do to reach Moss and Thomas, but is putting together a nice string of solid days. Look for Jones to carry the momentum into week two, but will need more than 4-yard runs to beat someone out.

· WR Sinorice Moss scored a 20-yard touchdown on an underneath route in which he blew by the defense. He is considered by some to be the best playmaker on the offense. Moss possesses excellent speed and offensive awareness. There is no reason to believe Moss won't utilize his speed this season and provide the team with a deep threat option. He also ran a reverse for five yards and is expected to be used in that capacity this year as well. In comparison, Roscoe Parrish rushed nine times last season.

· WR Lance Leggett has great size, but it is his speed that allows him to get separation from the defensive backs. Today, he roasted Ponder up field blowing by him as he raced to the endzone for a 50-yard score. Leggett still needs to improve his day-to-day consistency and avoid bad drops in key situations. His foot does not appear to be a problem on the field, but he has often been seen with a noticeable limp back to the huddle. Whether or not this affect's him during the season is unknown, but it would not be a surprise to see Leggett take some time off of practice to take care of his foot.

· WR Akieem Jolla came down with the catch of the day as he battled Ponder along the sideline for a ball in which either player could have been flagged for interference. Jolla came down with the ball and took the ball in for a 63-yard touchdown. He has been improving on his ability to catch the deep ball since he first arrived on campus.

· WR Darnell Jenkins scored a touchdown early in practice as Freeman found him during the redzone drill. Jenkins took a pass over the middle and carved through the defense for the score. Jenkins looks more polished and is still working on his route-running ability. Last year he caught 21 passes averaging 11.0 yards per catch—an average he is sure to improve on this year.

· TE Greg Olsen has been extremely steady this fall and today was no exception. He has been effective on his blocking assignments as well as catching the ball. He has the build, make-up, and drive to be an outstanding player at Miami providing he stays healthy—something he has not done since his early years of high school.

· OL Anthony Wollschlager is back in the mix as the team's starting center relinquishes OL Tyrone Byrd of his duties mid-way through today's scrimmage. Wollschlager is a 6-foot-4, 280-pound junior in his fourth year as a Hurricane.

· OL Tyrone Byrd has consistently had troubles snapping the ball going back to the spring. Despite popular belief, he is still struggling with his reads and reactions. Byrd is only a redshirt freshman and he appears further away from being the next best thing as he is sometimes referred to as.

· OL A.J. Trump has primarily been playing guard this fall, but with the latest struggles with Byrd he could see himself in the hunt for the center spot. Trump is a 6-foot-5, 295-pound freshman from Clearwater.

· DT Baraka Atkins recorded a sack in the early going and did well staying in on the play. Atkins is undersized at tackle, but needs to find ways he can use his size to his advantage.

· DT Orien Harris showed good power up front penetrating against the run and the pass. Harris only had 12 tackles for loss a year ago, but Coker expects him to have a "great season" this year. To have the year the team needs from him he must maintain a high level of consistency beginning with his time Sunday-Friday.

· DE Calais Campbell had an outstanding practice making a number of stops in the running game and using his 6-foot-7 frame to knock down a pass at the line. Campbell has been the second-team left end this fall behind DE Bryan Pata.

· DE Bryan Pata had another good day of practice and can be a special player before his career is over. Pata recorded two sacks today after he stayed with the play pursuing the quarterback. This is an encouraging sign for the junior.

· LB Spencer Adkins had the hit of the day today when he popped Thomas after a three-yard gain. Thomas fumbled on the play and the defense recovered.

· LB Glenn Cook did a nice job today as the strongside linebacker on the first unit. Cook is a 6-foot-0, 210-pound sophomore who provides the team with a positive knowledge of the game. With the linebackers back at full strength, Cook becomes the odd man out. Until then, he is taking advantage of his opportunity.

· CB Kelly Jennings made an excellent play on the ball as he jumped in front of the receiver on a short comeback route making an interception and returning it up the sideline 50 yards for a touchdown. Jennings is a tough matchup for receivers because of his patience. The vet knows what it takes to get the job done.

· Five players fielded punts during a punting drill, they were: Devin Hester, Brandon Meriweather, Anthony Reddick, Darnell Jenkins, and Sinorice Moss.

· OL Derrick Morse is nursing an injury and is considered day-to-day. When asked about Morse, Coker responded, "I don't want to get into it and I would really hate to give false information."

· OL Tony Tella did not practice today due to a sprained ankle he injured on August 8. Tella could be ready to practice by the end of this week.

· LB Roger McIntosh was again held out of practice due to recovering from an arthroscopic knee surgery to remove a bone chip. A timetable for his return is unknown.

· LB Tavares Gooden did not practice today due to a sore knee.

· RB Andrew Johnson is practicing, but not participating in any contact drills. He appears to be running well, but is not making any hard cuts. A return this season still remains questionable despite his prediction of playing.

· OL Alex Pou had off-season shoulder surgery and has been held out of contact drills this fall. He expects to be back in 1-2 weeks.

· LB Eric Houston is still bothered by a pulled hamstring although appears to be running well.

· DT Teraz McCray, CB Carlos Armour, and CB Glenn Sharpe are not practicing and are still recovering from ACL injuries.

Monday, August 15 at 8:30 a.m.

Practices are now closed to the public.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

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