Miami football first spring scrimmage Saturday

Sep 24, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team will hold the first of three scrimmages on Saturday. Head coach Mario Cristobal spoke to reporters on Thursday outlining the scrimmage. Cristobal stated after practice on Thursday that the scrimmage will not be open to reporters. This will be the first time Miami will acclimate newcomers in a scrimmage.

Cristobal has hired defensive coordinator Lance Guidry, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, linebackers coach Derek Nicholson, running backs coach Tim Harris Jr., wide receivers coach Kevin Beard and promoted Jason Taylor to defensive line coach from previously being an analyst in 2022.

Cristobal and the coaching staff have 15 early enrollee freshmen and eight transfers to integrate into the Miami football program this spring. Ten freshmen will enroll at Miami later this year. Dawson and Guidry will have a chance to see their systems at Miami in game situations for the first time on Saturday.

Dawson is expected to want returning starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke to push the ball downfield more often than he did last season. Van Dyke had a breakout 2021 season by throwing deep often. Van Dyke was fifth nationally in 2021 with six completions of 60 yards or more. Finding a go-to receiver will be critical.

"“Scrimmage, so we’ll have practice for the first half it’ll look just like today than those last 30, 40, 50 plays we’ll go live.”"

On defense, Miami has five transfers to integrate into the new system under Guidry. Middle LB Francisco Mauigoa is expected to be the transfer to make the biggest impact for Miami in 2023. Transfer defensive tackles Branson Deen from Purdue and Thomas Gore from Georgia State will have a chance to make an impact this spring.

The Miami football team is missing projected starting DTs Jared Harrison-Hunte and Leonard Taylor and backup defensive lineman Jacob Lichtenstein with injuries this spring. Cristobal also stated he expects to add more DT depth in the transfer portal. The transfer portal has been moved up to April 15-30 from May 1-15.

On offense, center Matt Lee and guard Javion Cohen should have the biggest impact among the transfers. The offensive line is also the focus among the early enrollees with five-star tackles Francis Mauigoa and Samson Okunlola challenging to be first team in 2023. Miami should have a more competitive offensive line this spring.

Jalen Rivers who has primarily played guard for Miami has taken reps at left tackle this spring. Miami also returns Zion Nelson at left tackle after he missed all of the 2022 season and rising sophomore Anez Cooper who the Hurricanes’ staff has a lot of confidence in. Miami is getting bigger and stronger on the OL.

Next. Mario Cristobal expects Miami active in spring transfer portal. dark

In addition to Van Dyke the development of backup QBs Jacurri Brown and true freshmen Emory Williams will be important. Brown has a lot of raw talent but needs to refine his passing. Williams has been praised early this spring for having a strong arm and being confident. Miami could still add a transfer QB for depth.