Despite several starters at the offensive skill positions being limited on Saturday, the Miami RedHawks were still able to get some good work in at the Spring Showcase thanks to the play of some of the younger players looking to make their mark for the Red and White.
The top three recievers (James Gardner, Jared Murphy, and Sam Martin) and tight end Ryan Smith did not participate in the Showcase, the passing game was still able to be somewhat effective to the tune of 248 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions in 11-on-11 competition. Newcomer Dominique Robinson stole the show Saturday with four receptions for 100 yards and a score, but rumors of a torn meniscus certainly put a damper on his day. Luke Mayock, nephew of NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, and Tyler Fleetwood also made the most of their opportunities with 5 catches for 120 yards and a pair of TDs on the afternoon.
Billy Bahl got the lion’s share of the reps at quarterback Saturday as he went 9-17 for 154 yards and two scores with 16 more yards coming off of two rushes. The presumptive starter Gus Ragland only attempted four passes on the day, perhaps out of fear out of repeating what happened last spring when he tore his ACL in spring ball and missed the first half of the 2016 season. Incoming freshman Jackson Williamson had his moments at QB, going 4-11 for 77 and a TD, showing he has a lot to learn before he is able to compete for the job.
The offensive line looks to be a strength of this Miami team with the return of Jordan Diamond and Jarrett LaRubbio being cleared to play after sitting out all of last season due to NCAA transfer rules. There were only eight rushing attempts during the Showcase, but that probably has more to do with the environment of a spring game than what the offense will actually look like during the fall. It’ll be interesting to see what that offense actually is if Chuck Martin wants to go with more RPO concepts and take advantage of an athletic QB in Ragland or stick with a more traditional offense for simplicity’s sake.
The defense performed as well as can be expected in a spring game setting that’s geared for offensive success. That side of the ball still needs to find an answer for the DE spot as no one really stood out and took advantage of their opportunities on Saturday. We’ll see what happens in fall camp, but this is the position that could be the difference in Miami’s season in 2017. If Miami has to blitz a lot to make up for its deficiencies on the edge, the defense could really get gashed and put the offense in some really bad situations.