Most of Miami football team back on Greentree Practice Fields

According to a statement by head coach Manny Diaz to the Miami Herald, most of the Miami football team was back on the Greentree Practice Fields on Tuesday.

About two-thirds of the Miami football team spent Tuesday in voluntary workouts on the Hurricanes Greentree Practice Fields as told by head coach Manny Diaz to the Miami Herald. Diaz spoke at length to Miami football beat reporter Susan Miller Degnan and mentioned that “most of our team is back’. 

Diaz told Miller Degnan he estimated that about “maybe two-thirds of the team”  including star transfer quarterback D’Eriq King was back as of late Tuesday afternoon and practiced earlier in the day. The Miami football team has been away from Coral Gables for nearly three months because of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Miami was able to conduct four practices this spring before all collegiate sports were stopped in the second week of March. The Hurricanes commenced spring practice March 4 through the end of that week before taking a week off for spring break. Miami was never able to return after spring sports were eventually canceled.

This was going to be an important spring for new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and King being new to the Miami football program. Offensive line coach Garin Justice and wide receivers coach Rob Likens were other new hires by Miami during the offseason. Miami added three other transfers in addition to King.

Kicker Jose Borregales and defensive end Quincy Roche would also have gotten a chance to get acclimated to the Miami football team during spring practice. Last month Miami added freshman offensive tackle Issiah Walker after he spent one semester at Florida. Miami is expected to begin training camp on time in August.

“It’s voluntary. I can’t monitor (the workouts). If they all have to check in with me then it wouldn’t be voluntary. You get in trouble doing those things. Within the past 10 days I’ve had a one-on-one Zoom session with every member of our football team.

Universally everybody talks about missing the routine, but more than that they talk about missing the connection with their teammates. They’ve been very positive. They’ve been very upbeat. I sense a strong focus.’

We’re still trying to finalize the exact plan of when they can return to our campus for structured lifting sessions, what the testing procedure ahead of that will look like. We still don’t have that final step of approval on that, so we’re just in that holding pattern until we know.

June 15th is a possibility for us being able to open our building [the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility and other athletic offices] back up to small groups, but that is not a certainty now. There are multiple dates we have [as options].’

There is no set limit yet for a group size on workouts…It’s still hard to say (how physically fit the players are) because we haven’t had a chance to really train our guys yet, but I do think, in talking to them, they’ve done a pretty good job of being active. I’d imagine you’ll have some extremes at both ends.

(On Covid-19 testing) All I’m going to say is there will be testing. We work at a university that has an outstanding medical health system attached to it. Those experts, starting with the expertise of our university president [Julio Frenk], will be the ones that will be setting those models in place.’’

What if a player does test positive (for the Coronavirus)? We’ll do what the medical experts tell us to do. There’s no opinion here. There’s science and there’s the facts, and we go by what the rules are, which is what we’ve been doing this whole time.”

With just over three months left until Miami hosts Temple on September 5, getting the players in now is significant to getting the Miami football team prepared for training camp in early August and then the season. Diaz has previously commented that he expects the player to return in different levels of conditioning.

The Miami football players have different levels of access to workout equipment. Diaz mentioned last month that some have more access to weights and some had more access to being able to do cardiovascular workouts. Most college football teams are going to be in a similar place when they reconvene.

Depth is likely to become more important than ever. The players lost three months during the offseason to continue getting in shape and transforming their bodies. Miami strength and conditioning coach David Feeley has to pack in five months of work over the next two months before training camp starts.