Miami football team grateful starting training camp

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13:(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13:(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Miami football team put on pads and returned to the Greentree practice fields for the first time since March after spring practice was canceled after four workouts.

The new-look Miami football team held their first practice of training camp for the 2020 season on Friday night at the Greentree Practice Fields. The Hurricanes returned to Greentree for the first time since spring practice was canceled following four meetings in March. Miami gathered following a big day of news on Thursday.

The ACC released the 2020 schedule on Thursday morning, which was followed by five-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor committing to Miami early in the afternoon and the surprising news that star redshirt sophomore defensive end Greg Rousseau was choosing to opt-out of the 2020 season later in the day.

Head coach Manny Diaz discussed many things following the Hurricanes’ first practice of training camp on Friday. The general prevailing thought was that as a team they were thankful to have football back. The opportunity to practice Friday and be in that moment was not lost on Diaz and the Miami football team.

Miami will hold their second and third practices on Saturday and Sunday nights at 6:30 PM back at Greentree. It is going to be a challenging season for Miami and the rest of college football with the uncertainty regarding the 2020 season. One benefit for Miami is the depth on the defensive line to absorb the loss of Rousseau.

"“Just talking to the team right now as we broke it down, you could see, especially at the end, guys had great energy…But that moment happened where you realized you’re present and the thing I think we missed for so long is where you just get lost playing the game.I think there was a real sense that today was not promised to us and it was just a real appreciation for all of us to be out there and have the opportunity to sort of immerse ourselves in this game.”"

The Hurricanes added graduate transfer, Quincy Roche, from Temple and Jaelan Phillips who joined the Miami football team in January 2019 as a transfer from UCLA. Roche is expected to be one of the leaders of the Miami defense in 2020 with redshirt senior linebacker Zach McCloud. Roche spoke about the 2020 season.

"“It’s definitely different. I think it’s going to be different for everybody across the country, but I was just excited to be out there playing football…With everything going on, I was just excited to be out there and have something to look forward to and look toward.”"

McCloud redshirted as a true senior in 2019 after losing playing time to the striker position. The graduations of LBs Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney who McCloud started with as true freshmen in 2016 create openings in the middle of the Hurricanes defense in 2020. McCloud discussed the outlook for this season.

"“This is a season I redshirted to come back and play. … I control what I can control and all I can do is keep coming out here and working like I’m going to play every single game and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m very thankful and blessed to be in this position right now.”"

McCloud and Roche lead what should still be one of the best defenses in the country in 2020. Under Diaz as defensive coordinator from 2016-18 and as head coach beginning in 2019, the Hurricanes defense has been elite nationally. Even without the unexpected departure of Rousseau in 2020, the pass rush should be exceptional.

Next. Manny Diaz, Blake Baker show great leadership following Greg Rousseau opt-out. dark

Roche had 19 tackles for loss and 13 sacks for Temple in 2019. Phillips was the top signee in the country with UCLA in 2017. The 2020 season will be one of uncertainty. McCloud’s attitude of focusing on what he can control and Roche realizing that the 2020 season will be different for everyone should keep the Hurricanes focused.