Advertisement

Details on UM’s surprising lineup decisions. And opponent assures Miami won’t get revenge

A 10-pack of Miami Hurricanes notes on a Monday:

▪ Biggest lineup surprises of Week 1 against Miami of Ohio?

1). The fact that UCF transfer Davonte Brown didn’t start at cornerback after starting for most of the offseason. 2). Tight end Jaleel Skinner not playing at all. 3). Isaiah Horton playing ahead of Louisville transfer Tyler Harrell at wide receiver.

Though Oklahoma transfer Jaden Davis and returning player Daryl Porter Jr. started at cornerback, Brown played more snaps than Porter (21 to 14), per Pro Football Focus. Brown’s younger brother, freshman Damari Brown, played 22 snaps.

Per PFF, Davis played the most cornerback snaps (40), while Te’Cory Couch played 27 and Jadais Richard 22.

So this will remain a competition among six cornerbacks, with the best performers getting the most snaps.

FYI: Couch allowed 4 of the 6 passes thrown in his coverage area to be caught for 58 yards. Miami of Ohio completed 3 of 4 targets against Davis, but for only 17 yards, and 3 for 4 against Davonte Brown, for 34 yards.

Damari Brown allowed one 37-yard completion in two throws against him. Miami of Ohio was 0 for 1 throwing against Porter.

There’s also a seven or eight-way battle for snaps at wide receiver, and the snap count broke down this way in Week 1: Xavier Restrepo 48, Jacolby George 44, Horton 31, Colbie Young 29, Brashard Smith 17, freshman Ray Ray Joseph 15, Harrell 13 and Frank Ladson 4.

That means the only scholarship receivers who didn’t get snaps were junior college transfer Shermar Kirk, veteran Michael Redding and freshman Robby Washington.

▪ The Canes had a very comparable distribution of snaps among their top four running backs: Henry Parrish 19, Mark Fletcher and Ajay Allen 16 and Don Chaney 13.

At tight end, with Elijah Arroyo still out for Week 1 after last September’s knee injury, Cam McCormick played 38 snaps, freshman Riley Williams 5 and fellow freshman Jackson Carver 2.

Skinner, the four-star 2022 recruit who picked UM over Alabama, was surprisingly a healthy scratch in the opener.

“He’s working his way into the lineup,” Mario Cristobal said when asked why he didn’t play. “He’s working to get more reps. He’s a good player.”

Cristobal said he isn’t sure if Arroyo will be ready to play on Saturday, though the coach said he was encouraged by Arroyo’s progress on Monday in his return from the knee injury.

▪ Loved how the Hurricanes used Matthew McCoy and Samson Okunlola as extra lineman on a few running plays.

McCoy played 12 snaps and Okunlola four. They appear to be the sixth and seventh offensive linemen.

“When you have big guys up there at the point of attack, it moves people,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said.

▪ At linebacker, the fact that Louisville transfer K.J. Cloyd started ahead of Wesley Bissainthe was notable, but credit Bissainthe for a great effort off the bench, including a sack. Cloyd played 22 snaps, Bissainthe 13.

Washington State transfer Francisco Mauigoa’s size and instincts make a difference at middle linebacker. He played 27 snaps, compared with 20 for Corey Flagg Jr., who had a good camp but was beaten out by Mauigoa.

“He’s relentless,” Mario Cristobal said Monday, of Mauigoa. “Plays fearless, accurate and detailed in his assignments. Tremendous nose for the ball.”

UM is deep at defensive end, and snaps were split this way: Akheem Medisor 19, Nyjalik Kelly 21, Jahfari Harvey 19, Reuben Bain 14, Cyrus Moss 7, Chantz Williams 12 and freshman Jayden Wayne 13.

At defensive tackle, starters Leonard Taylor and Branson Deen played 15 and 18 snaps, respectively.

Other interior defensive lineman who played: Jared Harrison Hunte and Thomas Gore 16, Ahmed Moten 13, Jacob Lichtenstein 8 and freshman Joshua Horton 8.

▪ Of Leonard Taylor playing just 15 snaps, defensive coordinator Lance Guidry said: “Still getting in shape to where he can last throughout games... We need Leonard to play well. He can really be a force inside.”

Guidry said Taylor’s snaps would increase.

▪ PFF’s top five graded Canes players on defense on Friday: Bissainthe, Porter, Mesidor, Mauigoa, Cloyd.

▪ PFF’s top five graded Canes players on offense on Friday: Young, Restrepo, Riley Williams, Van Dyke, George.

▪ The offensive line was so good that four of the five starters didn’t allow a quarterback pressure, let alone a sack. (It also helped that Tyler Van Dyke got the ball out quickly, mostly on short routes.)

Freshman right tackle Francis Mauigoa allowed two pressures.

Matt Lee, Jalen Rivers and Javion Cohen graded out as UM’s top three offensive linemen.

▪ UM faces a loaded Texas A&M offense that struggled last year but scored 52 points in a 52-10 thumping of New Mexico on Saturday, a game in which quarterback Conner Weigman threw five touchdowns.

Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher hired Bobby Petrino as offensive coordinator and it clearly has made a difference with their offense.

“He knows how to get players the football,” defensive coordinator Lance Guidry said of Petrino. “You see some of coach Fisher’s flair” in the offense, too.

▪ Aggie defender Shemar Stewart, the former four-star Class of 2022 Miami Monsignor Pace standout who picked UM over Texas A&M, told Aggies reporters on Monday: “Everybody [down in Miami] was mad at me and kind of shunned me for a little while.”

But he also said: “My parents didn’t want me to stay home.... I mean, it’s Miami. The nightlife can get pretty distracting.”

And Stewart, via Texas A&M beat writer Carter Karels, added: “I know they want to get revenge on us after last year. But that ain’t gonna happen this year. Maybe some other time. Not this time.”

Texas A&M won 17-9 against UM in their meeting last September in College Station, Tx.

Joe Tessitore and Jesse Palmer will call Saturday’s UM game on ABC at 3:30 p.m.