Warmth takes toll

Diaz: ‘Ex­e­cu­tion is a long way from where we wanted it’

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By Christy Cabr­era Chiri­nos ccabr­[email protected]­tinel.com; On Twit­ter @ChristyChiri­nos.

All spring, the Hur­ri­canes have been in­side, their first eight prac­tices all tak­ing place in the new Carol Sof­fer In­door Prac­tice Fa­cil­ity while the out­door Green­tree Prac­tice Field is be­ing re­sod­ded.

And so, on Satur­day, when Mi­ami held its first out­door prac­tice — a closed scrim­mage at Christo­pher Colum­bus High School — the warm tem­per­a­tures seemed to take a toll, at least in coach Manny Diaz’s opin­ion.

In a state­ment re­leased by the school that shared some de­tails of Satur­day’s scrim­mage, Diaz said, “I thought our guys played hard. Ex­e­cu­tion is a long way from where we waned it. You could see, be­ing out­side and deal­ing with the heat for the first time, it took its toll. It takes a toll men­tally. All of a sud­den, you’re play­ing a lot slower. … It prob­a­bly took us to the sec­ond half where it be­came more com­pet­i­tive.”

For Mi­ami, one of the ma­jor sto­ry­lines of the spring has been the progress of quar­ter­backs N’Kosi Perry, Tate Martell and Jar­ren Wil­liams, all of whom are com­pet­ing to be un­der cen­ter for the sea­son opener against Florida on Aug. 24.

Ac­cord­ing to UM, the “quar­ter­backs took equal reps” Satur­day with Perry fin­ish­ing 5 of 7 for 126 yards with two touch­downs, while Martell fin­ished 6 of 11 with one touch­down and Wil­liams had 53 pass­ing yards. The school did not pro­vide any at­tempts or com­ple­tions for Wil­liams or a yardage to­tal for Martell.

The top per­form­ers the school high­lighted in its state­ment in­cluded run­ning back Cam’ron Har­ris, who had five car­ries for 32 yards and tight end Will Mal­lory, who had four catches for 62 yards and two touch­downs. Dee­Jay Dal­las added 38 rush­ing yards and re­ceiver Brian Hightower had three catches for 22 yards. Sopho­more Mark Pope re­port­edly had a 52-yard touch­down grab and Ev­i­dence Njoku, who is work­ing his way back from a knee in­jury, had a 51-yard catch.

“To me, the thing the of­fense did well was they re­sponded in the sec­ond half. They scored some touch­downs late, which was good for those guys to see,” Diaz said. “They’ll see this film and they’ll re­al­ize that if we can get our­selves not to the point where we’re beat be­fore the snap — which is to be ex­pected dur­ing parts of the spring, it’s all new — we have a chance to be dan­ger­ous.”

Some of the de­fen­sive play­ers Mi­ami high­lighted in its state­ment in­cluded de­fen­sive end Greg Rousseau, who had four sacks; Nesta Sil­vera, who had six tack­les, in­clud­ing four tack­les for loss; cor­ner­back Tra­jan Bandy, who broke up two passes; Gur­van Hall, who had four tack­les and cor­ner­back Al Blades Jr., who had two tack­les and broke up a pass. Fresh­man de­fen­sive end Jah­fari Har­vey, who coaches have said has been one of the pleas­ant sur­prises of the spring af­ter ar­riv­ing on cam­pus in Jan­uary, had five tack­les and two sacks.

“You’re al­ways con­cerned about he first time tack­ling. I thought, as the scrim­mage went on, I thought our tack­ling was good. I didn’t see a lot of run af­ter con­tact,” Diaz said. “For the most part, we did a good job of not giv­ing up ex­plo­sive plays. Then you saw some dis­rup­tion that we de­fine our­selves by, which you should have in spring prac­tice be­cause a lot will be de­pen­dent on how our guys play up front.”

The Hur­ri­canes are sched­uled to host two more scrim­mages this spring, both of which will be open to spec­ta­tors.

Their next scrim­mage is sched­uled for noon next Satur­day at Traz Powell Sta­dium. A week later, Mi­ami will wrap up spring drills April 20 at the site of their sea­son opener: Camp­ing World Sta­dium in Or­lando.

Mi­ami is sched­uled to re­turn to prac­tice Tues­day morn­ing.

Steed to have surgery: Red­shirt sopho­more line­backer Wayn­mon Steed is sched­uled to have knee surgery in the com­ing days, Mi­ami an­nounced on Satur­day.

Steed — who ap­peared in five games last sea­son and had three tack­les, a fum­ble re­cov­ery and a tackle for loss — is not be­lieved to have been in­jured in Satur­day’s scrim­mage. He was seen re­ceiv­ing at­ten­tion from mem­bers of UM’s ath­letic train­ing staff af­ter Thurs­day’s prac­tice.

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