Manny Diaz: Miami football showed progress in second spring scrimmage

CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 02: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 02: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami football team still has a long way to go to get ready for the 2019 season following Saturday’s second scrimmage. Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz felt that his team showed progress at Traz Powell Stadium.

The quarterback play was the biggest question going into spring practice. Shortly after the first Miami football practice of the spring ended the Hurricanes found out Ohio State transfer Tate Martell would be eligible in 2019. The thought heading into spring was they Martell would cure the ills Miami had at QB in 2018.

Martell himself said he is not the savior at QB for the Miami football program. The way he has played this spring has born that out to be true. Martell has struggled with his accuracy tremendously this spring. That is not something that was expected when Martell chose to move from Columbus to Coral Gables.

Martell completed 4-11 passes on Saturday after going 22-28 during the 2018 season with Ohio State. N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams looked far sharper and ready for the season on Saturday than Martell did. How well the players are performing an in an intrasquad game is meaningless towards what happens in the fall.

With the spring game on Saturday in Orlando, Martell needs a good performance to gain momentum heading into the offseason. Martell has not lived up to the hype he received when he committed to Miami in January. Diaz was quoted in the Sun Sentinel regarding the QBs performances on Saturday.

"“Jarren kind of looked like N’Kosi, kind of looked like Tate. They all kind of stood in there, they all made some throws…What’s fun from my vantage point is just seeing all those guys, in a week’s time, how much more comfortable they are with where to go with the ball.They’re starting to understand where the answers are and where to find the open guy. I think as that progresses … what I’d like to do now, is I’d like to [see more of] that by next Saturday.We’re better than we were a Saturday ago, but if we let anything that happened — good, bad or indifferent — make us feel like we’ve arrived or that all of our problems are solved, we’re fooling ourselves.We’re just a little bit better. We need to get a little bit better. We really need to get a lot better by the time August rolls around.”"

The credo has been put out there by Diaz for the Miami QBs to improve. Getting quality play at QB is essential for the Miami offense to improve under new coordinator Dan Enos. The Hurricanes were abysmal offensively in 2018.

The Miami offensive line has been a mess all spring. Injuries have hindered the Hurricanes depth and have caused key players to move to positions they are unlikely to play this fall. Diaz spoke about the uncertainty up front and in relation to other positions that have been limited by injuries and lack of depth.

"“It’s tough. And we’re bare-bone thin. We have a whole team of guys that are not practicing right now, thankfully nothing that’s too long-term, but, a lot of guys that are out for a short amount of time and so the guys that went today, they’re going a lot.You may or may not be noticing a lot of offensive linemen are pulling double duty. A lot of receivers and tight ends are pulling double duty. A lot of guys on the defensive side of the ball up front are pulling double duty. We’re shifting guys around, a safety in at LB, but the guys that went today, I thought went hard.I thought they did well with the pacing of the game. Some ‘TV timeouts’ tried to help with that, appreciate the breeze and every now and then, some cloud cover. God chipped in. That helped.”"

The lack of depth in most positions will be helped by the addition of several arrivals over the summer. Transfers, defensive tackle Chogozie Nnoruka from UCLA, defensive end Travon Hill from Virginia Tech and safety Bubba Bolden from USC have not enrolled at Miami yet. Their addition will be significant to the Miami defense.

All three are likely starters if not at the least a big part of the rotation on defense. The Hurricanes linebacking depth has been depleted this spring by injuries to DeAndre Wilder, whose career is in question after a spinal injury last year and to Bradley Jennings on Saturday. Freshmen Avery Huff and Samuel Brooks haven’t enrolled yet.

Next. Miami football players who shined in Saturday's scrimmage. dark

Adding Huff and Brooks will help the Hurricanes depth at LB. They both need to be ready as freshmen. Senior LBs Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney staying healthier this season will be one of the biggest keys on the Miami football team.