Canes Open 2017 Fall Camp
#CanesCamp Report – August 1
By David Villavicencio
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The sun shone bright over the Greentree Practice Fields at the University of Miami on Tuesday as the Hurricanes opened their 2017 preseason camp with the first official practice of the year.
Head coach Mark Richt began his 17th overall fall camp as a head coach and second on Greentree, and he could feel the excitement from Miami coaches and players as they took the field for the first time this season.
“I felt like today was typical of Day 1, in that [there was] a lot of energy, a lot of excitement, probably even turned into guys fatiguing a little bit faster in the heat and just being coached and all that kind of thing. It’s typical for Day 1,” Richt said. “I thought guys gave great effort. You could see who the veterans are – I know I say that every year – but veterans, easy to see who they are. They know how to practice with the tempo that we want. They know how to finish a drill. They know their plays. You got a bunch of young guys that stick out like a sore thumb – not sure how to line up, not sure what to do, can’t really keep up with the tempo that we’re going, quite yet, from a mental or physical standpoint. They’ll learn.”
Senior tight end Christopher Herndon IV was one of the veterans leading by example on Tuesday. After teaming with NFL first-round pick David Njoku to form a potent duo in 2016, Herndon is the clear starter at tight end, but he knows he needs to do more than just prepare himself for the season.
“I’m just taking it day by day,” Herndon said of being the top tight end. “It’s also part of me being a leader. I have a bunch of young guys behind me. It’s not just me. I have to bring them along with me because we are going to need more than one this season.”
Defensively, Miami enters the season with a talented and productive group that excelled in its first year under defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. The Hurricanes finished ninth in the country in 2016 in yards per play and fifth in the NCAA in team tackles for loss. Defensive lineman Kendrick Norton believes that was just the beginning of what the Canes are capable of on defense.
“The sky is the limit for us,” Norton said. “We’ve got a lot of returning players and a lot of young guys who could possibly step in. They have a lot of older guys in front of them to show them and a lot of younger guys that can step in and contribute.”
Miami’s depth on the defensive line was impressive entering the season, but junior RJ McIntosh believes the addition of talented freshmen DJ Johnson and Jonathan Garvin should only help keep the bevy of gifted pass rushers fresh.
“If they can play, they’re going to play,” McIntosh said. “Adding them to the D-ends is a good thing. It will also give Chad [Thomas] and Joe Jackson a break. They’re going to play.”
While Miami’s incoming class experienced their first official camp practice as Hurricanes, senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios was one of many Hurricanes who opened their final collegiate training camp on Tuesday.
“It’s crazy. They tell you it flies by and you don’t believe it at first, but now I’m sitting in the center of that front row and this is my last camp and it’s real,” Berrios said. “It came quick. Summer really flew by and we got a lot done. Coming out here, there are mistakes on the first day that are typical first day things but we are excited and I think you can feel that. Energy is really high and I think we are well off and well ahead of where we were at this point last year.”
Miami opens the season at home on Sept. 2 against Bethune-Cookman. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m., ET. Click here for ticket information.