EDITORIAL: Scrimmage Analysis

Coach Shannon mentioned to the media on Wednesday that Miami had undergone several changes since last year and they would be displayed on Thursday. He was not lying as it appears the spread offense has made its way to Coral Gables.

The Canes were in a spread offense for 10 of their 13 drives. Miami 's primary set was 3 receivers, 1 tight end, and 1 running back. At times, Miami would play with two tailbacks and put one of them in the slot. Miami still showed its traditional pro set when Patrick Hill and John Calhoun were in the game, but it was very limited.

While it was only one scrimmage, Thursday seemed to indicate that the Canes' offense in 2007 was not the offense that Patrick Nix really wanted to run. Miami has replenished its wide receiver core and has a trio of new quarterbacks, which has allowed Nix to implement his system. The Canes allowed their QBs to make plays on the run yesterday and spread the field with receivers. It was definitely a breath of fresh air for an offense that has been dormant since Ken Dorsey and company left to the NFL. The defense was easily the better unit on Thursday, but it was obvious that at least yesterday this was not the same Miami offense that Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman directed the last two years.

It is hard to get excited or make predictions based on a little over an hour of football, but since we are 170 days away from the Canes opener it is all we really have to talk about. Thursday was a good step for this program for two reasons. Miami seems to have a fresh approach to offense and it appears to have its quarterback. Robert Marve was very solid yesterday. He made a few laser passes and he showed elite arm strength. Marve in 15 passes displayed that "it" factor that Kyle Wright or Brock Berlin never displayed.

Marve was exciting and imaginative in his performance yesterday. He makes plays on the run and seems to be having fun out there. The redshirt freshman seemed to be in complete command yesterday and looked natural at his position. He did not hear the footsteps that haunted Wright's Miami career or look to run every play like Freeman did. It is only one scrimmage, but his performance was enough to give Miami fans hope for the 2008 defense.

Another positive for the Hurricanes was the play of their early enrollees. Jake Wieclaw nailed a 44 yard field goal with ease. Sean Spence was all over the field and looked like a college veteran. Marcus Forston was able to penetrate into the backfield several times. Aldarius Johnson showed the hands and athletic ability that Miami has been missing at the receiver position for the last couple of years. Jacory Harris also looked extremely comfortable for a quarterback that has not been to his high school prom yet. Arthur Brown also made a few nice plays. This group of young Hurricanes showed signs of why combine they were ranked as one of the nation's top recruiting classes.

Another group of young Hurricanes were also impressive on Thursday. Randy Shannon's first recruiting class made their presence felt yesterday. Besides Robert Marve, Allen Bailey, Leonard Hankerson, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Graig Cooper, Shawnbrey McNeal, Adewale Ojomo, JoJo Nicholas, Tyler Horn Harland Gunn and Lee Chambers all made contributions yesterday. Hankerson made a few catches and impressed when he dragged defenders for a first down. Allen Bailey was dominant at times yesterday, which is impressive for someone who has only been playing defensive end for a couple of weeks. Van Dyke and Cooper displayed yesterday why they were able to make such an impact as true freshmen. Coach Shannon's first recruiting class displayed a lot talent on Thursday night.

Yesterday was more to give fans a glimpse of the Canes than anything else, but it ended up being a very positive night. The Canes young talent shined and this program seemed to have a new feel to it. They gave a glimpse on Thursday of what looks to be a very promising future and at least for one night it appeared that days of going 7-6/5-7 were about to come to an end. Coach Shannon and the Canes gave fans as much hope as you could in a little over an hour practice.


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