Spring Game Recap: Offense

MIAMI -- As expected, the offense did not show much that was new in the 2006 spring game. The University of Miami's new offense stuck to rather basic schemes and plays in a game that was largely controlled by the defense.

Quarterback Kyle Wright had a solid day, finishing 8-for-14 and 45 yards.

Ryan Moore led the receivers with two receptions for 26 yards.

Running back Derron Thomas finished the game with 47 yards on 14 carries, including a 30 yard run, the longest play of the scrimmage. He led all Hurricanes in total offense with 52 yards.

"I just went up the middle and I saw my receiver was taking the corner on the inside and I just bounced it outside and the Lord blessed me to be able to get around the corner and get good yards," Thomas said of his run.

Coach Coker was impressed by the production of the running backs on Saturday saying, "Offensively, we ran the ball and did some nice things there. I think you saw a little bit of what Charlie Jones can do"

The next two longest gains after Thomas's run was a 14-yard scramble by Kirby Freeman and a 10-yard run by Charlie Jones.

Overall, fans did not see any new schemes from the offense, which was frustrating to starting offensive lineman Derrick Morse.

"It was a little frustrating out there, because what the fans saw today is not what we have been doing the past 14 practices this spring," Morse said. "We have made some big improvements."

The offense started the scrimmage slow, not getting a first down until the seventh drive of the game on a seven-yard scramble by Kirby Freeman. The offensive line looked porous at the beginning of the scrimmage, with both Wright and Freeman flushed from the pocket often, causing many incomplete passes.

"We are playing against one of the best defenses in the nation," Wollschlager said. "It is obviously no excuse, but we did our base stuff and we did enough to go back and look at the film and see what we have to improve. That is all the summer is, just work on the little things and work on technique."

"We were kind of up and down," Wright said of the offense. "We had some good drives and did some good things, but we had some penalties and stuff like that and it killed us. Both teams just wanted to run simple stuff."

UM's only scoring drive came at the end of the first half, a drive which was largely fueled by the running of Jones and Thomas. On the drive Jones ripped off runs of 5, 10, 5, and 3 yards. Thomas had an 8-yard gain on a draw and Freeman picked up 14 yards on a scramble. UM completed just two passes on the drive that ended with a 28-yard field goal by Jon Peattie.

It should be noted, however that on the scoring drive, the clock stopped running at 18 seconds in order to let the ‘Canes finish out the drive. The started running again after the field goal and time expired as the first half began.

Freeman finished the day 6-for-17, for 26-yards and 2-interceptions (one of the interceptions went through the hands of Richard Gordon). Freeman did have a tough time playing with second unit and an inexperienced offensive line and walk-on receivers.

"I think that Kirby handled himself well," Coker said. "He knew what to do with the football and had some footballs and opportunities that were not made for him. Monroe's drop down the boundary would have been a big play. We had a few opportunities that we just did not take advantage of."

Running back Charlie Jones had a strong performance Saturday, solidifying himself as the number two back on the depth chart behind the injured Tyrone Moss. Jones seemed to always be able to gain his yards in 5-yard chunks.

"I feel like I am a lot quicker. I feel like the game is slowing down for me," Jones said. "I feel like I am getting better reads. I am just learning the blocking scheme now so I know where the rushers are coming from and how much help the quarterback needs."

UM tried a handful of deep passes on the day, but did not connect on any of them. The closest throw came on a 30-yard pass to Brian Monroe, in which Monroe laid out to catch the ball, but he could not control the ball as he hit the ground.

David Lake can be reached at lake@canestime.com

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