CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The calendar flipped to the first of April on Saturday morning, but there was no fooling around on the Greentree Practice Fields.
The Miami Hurricanes battled each other, and battled the heat, for two hours before wrapping up their sixth spirited practice session of the spring.
“Hot, but you know we’re having a good time, especially on the defensive side,” sophomore defensive lineman Joe Jackson said. “We’re just coming out to compete every day. We got a lot of new people, a lot of new talent, so it makes it harder to see who’s going to start, who’s not going to start.”
As expected, Miami’s defense has been flying to the ball throughout the spring, but the offense is holding its own, as well.
“It’s been going well,” senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios said. “There’s a great competition at QB right now, which makes everything a lot better, I think, but from day one to day six there’s a tremendous improvement coming from all phases of the offense.”
The Hurricanes lost four of their top six reception leaders to either graduation or the draft, which gives players like Berrios and sophomore Dionte Mullins a chance to showcase their skills in the spring. Head coach Mark Richt has been impressed with what he’s seen from Mullins thus far.
“Today in particular and it was a very hot day by the way,” Richt said. “I saw him push past the first rep of the drill, and having juice, and the second rep not so much and third rep he looked tired. I know that [wide receivers] coach [Ron] Dugans has been onto him about that. And we have all been talking to everybody about that.
“You have to be able to play the second, the third play, a fourth play if it’s a four-play rack. And I saw him really pushing and actually trying to enjoy the day. I love energy and I love enthusiasm too, and he had both today.”
Mullins is making the most of his opportunities, but also looking to improve.
“I feel like I’ve improved on my route running, but I still keep working on my eye coordination,” he said. “It’s pretty good, but I’m still working on it. I’m not trying to be average.”
The Hurricanes hosted a high school coaches clinic after practice. More than 100 attendees enjoyed lunch with the players and coaches, followed by a presentation from Practice Like Pros and chalk talk sessions with Miami’s coaching staff.
“We want the high school coaches to come and watch our practices as close as they want to get,” Richt said. “It is a good day for them and we are thankful we had a good turnout.”