Coral Gable – The Miami Hurricanes are less than three weeks away from their opening game at home against Python Cockman and there is a week of training (including melee) for coaches to extract ideas from.
What has Mario Cristobal got from camp so far, and what have we learned from the players and those with full access to the drills and bickering?
• Hurricanes managed to escape serious injuries until Saturday’s brawl. Cristobal said the freshman running back Trifonte had a “significant” knee injury, and there was no timetable yet for his return.
“It will take some time,” Cristobal said. “We will give a full description of it when the time comes.”
New receiver Isaiah Horton, a four-star recruit in the last cycle, said new receiver Cristóbal will miss three to four days of training after being caught up in the melee. Defensive intervention Jared Harrison Hunt missed Monday’s training, but Cristobal said he should be back on Tuesday.
Left Intervention Zion Nelson, who had an arthroscopy on his left knee a month ago to get rid of the soft cartilage, has been out of his watch since late last week and was seen on the field Monday working in tandem with the training staff.
“A lot of times when men come back from an injury, the reason they get injured again is because they’re in bad shape,” Cristobal said. “(Staff physical therapist) Joe Girardi makes sure when he steps on the field they are ready to play. We fit in with them. They go from 7 to 7 into the team passing period and get ahead before they get the real dose.”
Obviously, the Hurricanes won’t rush Nelson back into the field. Miami doesn’t line up against a Power 5 opponent until September 17th at Texas A&M — plenty of time for Nelson to be game-ready.
• An ambulance drove to the field on Monday after a media viewing portion of practice, but Cristobal dropped the idea that it involved a serious injury.
“That was a precaution,” Cristobal said. “We do not suspect any serious injury in practice today.”
• Miami will fight for the second time next weekend. “(Like the first fight), we’re going to try to get 150 to 180 plays here on campus,” Cristóbal said. “We have no reason to leave Greentree.”
• In his review of the first team scrimmage, Cristobal said: “Both sides of the trenches did a good job of taking care of the business in the line of scrimmage in providing enough knockout and penetration to make it a home and away game.”
We’ve heard Miami’s first-team attack scored in his first offensive streak as Key’Shawn Smith managed to capture a short pass from Tyler Van Dyke, who slipped the pressure and made a fine throw. But Miami’s deep defensive line eventually dominated – as Cristobal pointed out – and forced multiple wins.
“The midfielders were hot and cold,” Cristóbal said. “They are tested with a very aggressive defense and makes the windows tighter.”
We heard that both Jake Garcia and Jacquery Brown were keeping some sweet moments, as Garcia threw a touchdown pass to run Don Chaney Jr and rushed for a score himself. But the defense mostly shut down the running game in Miami and made things difficult for the second and third teams’ attack lines.
Cristobal said if the Miami front seven could handle the way they did on Saturday “we’d be a good defense.”
• Cristobal said the position of receiver in Miami is “still a work in progress”.
Two people who were in the brawl on Saturday said Xavier Restrepo had the best day among the receivers in Miami. athlete. But there were a lot of dips by receivers as a group.
“I just did what I was supposed to do,” Restrepo said of his melee performance. “The coach called the right plays. We just executed. (The drops) were a big focus in the reception room – just catching balls. So we’re going to keep our guys, including me, consistent.”
Cristóbal said Restrepo was “without a doubt the most productive large-scale receiver in the camp.”
“It’s his approach to practice,” Cristobal said. “It’s not hard to find. There were about 10 professional scouts today and that’s the first thing they said, ‘Look at this guy. Look at this engine. That’s the goal of every team – we want players who work this way. We need that more. We are very clear in saying that this is the DNA of the tournament. We are working on improving that. There is just room for growth.”
• Asked about Miami’s debut at number 16 in the pre-season poll, Restrepo said: “Just ready for the first week.”
• One element, Key’Shawn Smith, said he enjoys playing in Josh Gattis’ system compared to Rhett Lashlee’s offense last season that he is “moving” from playing wide inward into the hole.
Last year, Charleston Rambo (11 percent), Romelu Brinson (11 percent), Jacoby George (19 percent) and Smith (8 percent) rarely lined up the standings. Mike Harley (6 percent) and Xavier Restrepo (12 percent) have rarely lined up widely.
In Michigan last season, the Gates had three primary outdoor receivers—Roman Wilson, Dylan Baldwin, and Andrell Anthony—ranked in at least a quarter of their shots.
“We’re trying guys in multiple locations,” Cristobal said Monday of the receivers. “We will keep this competition alive. It needs to be. We will demand the best from them. There is progress, but we need more.”
• Tight end Will Mallory (left shoulder) was not involved in Saturday’s brawl, which left plenty of cast for Elia Arroyo, Jalil Skinner, Dominic Mamarelli and Khalil Brantley.
“(Brantley) took a big step (both) in the running game as well as the passing game,” Cristóbal said.
• Cristobal said that high school “had a wonderful spring” and “started where it left off”.
They’re physical, and they handle really well,” Cristóbal said.
Camryn Kenshins’ safety was intercepted in a brawl on Saturday before leaving with a foot injury. However, Kenshins returned to training on Monday and said he’s 100 per cent.
“He plays really good football,” Cristobal said. “All these guys are back there. It is no coincidence that positions that play at high levels have a lot of competition.”
Cristobal said the defense uses up to nine different groups of people, and there are times when Kenshins, Avantay Williams and James Williams – Miami’s three biggest safe groups – are on the field at the same time.
“When you look at it, you have to see what the offense does as well,” Cristobal said. “Sometimes we want to have more speed on the field. It’s safety for us. Sometimes different formations, movements and readings require him to get in (the box) and be a gap B fitter. James is really smart and that means a lot to James. He’s been working hard. Guys like that, we just want to keep creating and growing roles to get the most out of them.”
• Spectators said Caleb Johnson’s move to UCLA took an important step forward in securing a key quarterback job with his performance on Saturday.
“The light shines,” said Cristobal. “I had experience against him when I was in Oregon and he was at UCLA. He’s a really good player. He’s in a center room where the guys play good football. He’s really competitive. What Caleb brings to the table is that he’s explosive, athletic, very fast (and capable of) He tracks the ball carriers and gets close to the midfielders. He has the natural ability to rush. He has a lot of experience, and he played football a lot. There is an adaptation period, but he had a very good camp.”
• West Virginia Transition Achim Messidor was also one of the most prominent figures in the camp. “I could feel his presence,” Cristobal said. “Really good in terms of using his hands, defining edges, and being able to tackle. Very few players are able to stumble and get out of it with a good counter movement. He has that. He can bend. Very smart, competitive. He has an edge for him too. We want guys who have an edge.” .
Messidor said he spends an hour to 90 minutes of overtime in the movie room and on the field with positioning coach Rod Wright learning Miami’s defense and adapting to playing outside on the defensive end.
“The most important thing I need to play is the confidence of the coaches,” Messidor said. “That’s what I’m trying to earn right now.”
Of the 607 shots he played last season in the 3–4 Mountainers defense, Messidor lined up inside 78.2% of the time. The Canadian made 38 saves, eight to lose, and 4 sacks in 2021.
“I feel like I still have some adjustments to make,” Messidor said. “I still need to rest outside again. I have more space to work with now. I line up mostly on the narrow end. It’s kind of hard on the eyes, but I fit in. I feel more comfortable inside, but I’ll get it back.”
Mesidor, who adjusted the rotator cuff in the Mountaineers’ bowl game, arrived in Miami in May. He’s cleaned his shoulder and kept up with his summer workouts. He said he gained about 15 pounds and weighs 280.
“I feel a bigger difference in my upper body. I hurt a little bit in my shoulder (in the ball game), but I got stronger,” Messidor said. “I hope I can play all three techniques, but I like the scheme and I think it would be perfect for me.”
He said he studies All-Pro Aaron Donald and likes crossover drippers like Donald. He also studies Cam Jordan, who plays abroad on the edge. Mesidor signed an NIL deal with LifeWallet after relocating to Miami and filmed a commercial back home in Ottawa. He said he sends money to his mother.
(Top photo of Xavier Restrepo’s wide receiver: Manny Navarro/ the athlete)