Five Things To Watch Tomorrow

With 12 practices in the books, the University of Miami will practice today before wrapping spring football with its annual spring game on Saturday. Here are five things to watch for.

1. Which quarterback gets the upper hand?

Anytime a college program has an open quarterback race during the spring, this is usually a good way to see where each competitor really stands. There is no tomorrow for fixing mistakes. There are no ways for coaches to try new things on the field tomorrow. This is it. What you see is what you have heading into the summer. People questioned why Kirby Freeman sat out the entire scrimmage last Friday. Patrick Nix has big plans for this offense but in order for them to work, he must get better play from his quarterbacks than the Canes have seen in recent years. The question I'm beginning to ask myself is whether or not the Canes will use a two quarterback system this season. Steve Spurrier, who has a pretty good track record of coaching quarterbacks in college over the years, has done it in the past. Florida just won a national championship in a year where they used two quarterbacks -- depending on the situation. Since the two quarterbacks will be on separate teams for tomorrow's scrimmage, that's really not something we can see. Watch the little things like which quarterback has better chemistry with his teammates, which one seems to have more passion for being out there, which one seems to have more tempo. We won't know who the starting quarterback will be in the fall based off tomorrow's scrimmage but we'll know a lot more than we do today.

2. Is the tempo really that fast?

Having the opportunity to talk to recruits all over the nation every year, including all the ones that Miami recruits, I've come to a conclusion. One of the major reasons for the recent struggles in recruiting top flight wide receivers in recent years is because of how little excitement this offense has provided them in recent years. Even one of the current receivers told me the UM was offense was "boring" just a couple months before inking with the Hurricanes. If the Canes want to start competing with the Florida's and the Ohio State's and the USC's of the world for elite offensive recruits again, it must show some excitement on the offensive side of the football. High tempo means an extra hop in the step of the offensive players. High tempo means putting more pressure on opposing defenses. This is Miami -- a program used to having loads of playmakers. If that's the case, the more plays you have the better chance you have of breaking a big one. We saw it last Friday's scrimmage. High tempo, fast-paced offensive football sure would be fun to watch tomorrow.

3. Can the offense get anything going?

Even when the Hurricanes were winning and playing for national championships, the defense was always ahead of the offense in the spring. A good offense will put people in the seats and a good defense will win football games. While that's true, it's been too big a gap at UM in recent years. The defense looks to be very good again but there are some holes and if this offense can't take advantage of some of those holes, there's probably more cause for concern on that side of the ball.

4. Can the kicking game avoid being considered a weakness?

Matt Bosher and Darren Daly have been competing this entire spring for both the kicking and punting duties. They have looked good at times but they have struggled often. People are already wondering if UM will have any interest in a local kicker who is still a senior in high school. Bosher and Daly could eliminate a lot of fear with strong performances tomorrow. Strong performances will also help build confidence -- a huge part a kicker's mentality heading into the summer.

5. With so many guys out because of injuries, which younger players will step up and solify themselves?

Based on what the players have been saying the last few weeks, this hasn't been an easy spring. The coaches have been tough. That's a good thing because this has not been a tough football team the last couple years. Randy Shannon and company, I think, will change that. A lot of guys are injured. If Florida State was tomorrow, I'm sure many of them would play. It's not and that means an opportunity is there for some younger players to really step it up. While everyone talks about Graig Cooper at the running back position, what about Kylan Robinson? What will he do in a key role tomorrow? Without Darnell Jenkins and Lance Leggett in the lineup, what will the young receivers do? It's a huge opportunity for a lot of young players on this team to step up and make a statement tomorrow.

The spring game begins at 10 am at the Orange Bowl tomorrow and is open to the general public.


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