Jarren Williams working on keeping his eyes downfield

ORLANDO, FL - AUGUST 24: Jarren Williams #15 of the Miami Hurricanes warns up before the Camping World Kickoff game against the Florida Gators at Camping World Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - AUGUST 24: Jarren Williams #15 of the Miami Hurricanes warns up before the Camping World Kickoff game against the Florida Gators at Camping World Stadium on August 24, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Jarren Williams was sacked 10 times against Florida. Part of that was him holding on to the ball too long. He is working on keeping his eyes downfield beginning this week against North Carolina.

Against Florida, Jarren Williams understandably spent a lot of his time watching the rush. Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Dan Enos attributed half of the sacks Florida had to Williams holding on to the ball too long. Williams has been working on his pocket presence during one of the Hurricanes three bye weeks.

Jarren Williams raw numbers were impressive versus Florida. The redshirt freshman QB finished 19-29 for 214 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He was 12-14 for 158 and the lone TD in the first half. The Gators pass rush intensified in the second half. Florida had only two sacks in the first half.

Jarren Williams preferred the middle of the field throwing the football. Tight end Brevin Jordan was Williams’ favorite receiver. Jordan led Miami with five receptions for 88 yards and the lone TD. Miami’s second-leading receiver, wide receiver K.J. Osborn had half the yards Jordan did with four catches for 41 yards.

"“I would say really my pocket presence (has improved since last game), not watching the rush…Every play you’ve got to keep your eyes down the field. If you have to run, you can run. When you watch the rush you tend to run out the pocket when you can step up and make the throw.I’ve been making that a point of emphasis this week of not watching the rush, just keeping my eyes on my progressions and getting the ball downfield to my receivers.”"

Williams’ learning curve keeping his eyes downfield while maintaining an awareness of the rush will help the Miami offense. The evolution of the young Miami QB should help the veteran Osborn to increase his yardage total. Many predicted Osborn would lead Miami in receptions this season.

The early bye week was critical for Miami with a young QB. If gave Enos and Diaz a chance to see what Williams could do and then spend a week working on that before having to get ready for the next game.

Williams said the extra bye week helped

him regroup.

"“The extra week is a huge help…We get to go through the game plan and then by the next week we really solidified the game plan. We might cut some things out, we might add some things in, but it really gives us that extra everybody knows we’re on the same page. Getting that repetition is really good.”"

Williams and his teammates are not taking North Carolina lightly. The Tar Heels had seven tackles for loss and three sacks in a comeback victory over South Carolina on Saturday. North Carolina’s pass rush won’t challenge Miami as Florida did. The Hurricanes offensive line has to improve how they played against the Gators.

Williams was impressed by what he saw with North Carolina. More than their front seven, the Tar Heels secondary will also challenge the Hurricanes. UNC held South Carolina to 270 total yards and 4.43 yards per play.

"“They’re a tough team…They fly to the ball, but coverages-wise the safeties and the DBs we’re going to treat it like we treat every other game. We’re excited to play them.If you go through your progressions, one, two, three, and no one is there, no one is open, then you can tuck it and run, but the thing is most all of the time there is always somebody open…You’ve just got to find them.Also, if somebody comes off the edge free, you’ve got to make a move maybe, but 90 percent of the time you’ve got to keep your eyes down the field and you’ve got to step up in the pocket and go through your progressions.”"

Offensive coordinator Dan Enos had mentioned there were receivers open downfield against Florida that Williams did not see. Only one South Carolina receiver had more than two receptions. Williams did an adequate job spreading it around to Jordan and Osborn. The Hurricanes need to get more receivers involved against UNC.

"“I had (Jeff Thomas) on a mesh route and we had a Z (open) and I’ve got to be aware of that…Against our defense they never give us that look so we kind of didn’t practice it. Just understanding the defense and what they give me, I’ve got to be able to make that. I missed him a couple times.I’m very comfortable. I just feel like I’ve got to go out there every day, give it my all, and try to help the team any way I can.”"

With the Florida game behind them, the Hurricanes now look forward. It’s a cliche, but Jarren Williams said that the Miami football team has been working hard since losing to the Gators.

"“You can tell the team’s real hungry and everybody’s working really hard, but we just, you can tell we’re a team that wants to get better each and every day and we can’t take plays off. Just really having that mindset of taking it one play at a time and really trying to get better on each play.”"

Williams was also asked about the prospect of playing in front of a raucous crowd away from home for the second straight game to start the 2019 season. Saturday night is North Carolina’s home opener and the first game in Chapel Hill since he left in 1997 when he was hired at Texas.

"“I feel like it helps everybody really, not just me. The O-line, the receivers, the defense, just being in that type of environment definitely gave us a good feeling, understanding of the game.And especially for me, just kind of understanding how things go, understanding when I break the huddle, I need to get my eyes on the play clock and get the play called and get things moving smoothly.”"

Williams is quickly growing into the role of the leader of the offense that is expected from the QB. He reportedly had difficulty finding the play clock in Orlando. The defensive coaches on the Miami Hurricanes have staff played in Chapel Hill in 2017. The entire offensive coaching staff for Miami is new.

Backup QB N’Kosi Perry was a redshirt freshman when Miami played at North Carolina two years ago. Navaughn Donaldson is the only starter for Miami who was a starter in that game. WRs Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley also played in the game in Chapel Hill two years ago.

Next. Manny Diaz and Dan Enos pushing Miami good for future. dark

Jarren Williams should get a chance to get used to the stadium in a walkthrough and before the game on Saturday.  He should feel more comfortable in his second start.