CORAL GABLES—For the first time this spring, the Hurricanes took the field without Ryan Williams.
The fifth-year player, a former star at Miramar High, was widely expected to be Miami’s starting quarterback next season. He’d led the competition throughout the spring, but tore his ACL in the Hurricanes' scrimmage on Friday night.
Tuesday, players and coaches reiterated how badly they felt for Williams, but stressed it’s time to prepare the Hurricanes’ other quarterbacks for the challenges ahead.
“Ryan’s a class individual. He’s always been unselfish and done a great job leading. Now it’s time for us to give some of that back to him. He’s going to need our support. There’s going to be a lot of days ahead where he’s going to be on his own doing rehab and all of that. So the team has to rally around him and we need some other leaders to step up and I saw that today,” Miami coach Al Golden said. “I saw a really spirited effort today. I was really excited about it. I thought Gray Crow came out and really performed his best, without question and I thought Kevin [Olsen] did an excellent job too. That was a good start for those two guys and I think the team rallied around them today.”
Olsen, a redshirt freshman, is listed as the No. 1 quarterback on a depth chart released Monday night, while Crow, a sophomore who estimates he’d usually taken between 5-10 snaps during practices before Williams’ injury, is now Miami’s back-up quarterback.Both quarterbacks made some nice plays on Tuesday each connecting with Rashawn Scott for a couple of receptions, though Olsen did overthrow a ball that was picked off by safety Jamal Carter.
For the most part though, both quarterbacks and Miami’s coaches were pleased with the way the pair handled their new roles.
“It was a really good quarterback competition today. That will continue through the spring game and then we’ll have two more guys in that mix before Ryan comes back,” Golden said referring to incoming signees Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier, who are scheduled to arrive on campus next month. “As soon as Ryan gets through this initial recovery phase and transitions into rehab, he’ll be around. He’ll be leading, I promise you he will.”
Added Olsen, “I think the spring has gone really well for me. Even when Ryan was here, I was taking a lot of the 2-reps. I thought it was going pretty good. I thought I was getting a good grasp of the offense and I felt like the guys were starting to rally around me a little bit and starting to see that I could be the guy.”
More details on Miami’s quarterback situation on a story I’ll post later, but in the meantime, here are some other notes from Tuesday’s practice at Greentree:
Johnson, Yearby back in action
Golden said Monday during an interview with WQAM’s Joe Rose that he expected to have injured running backs Duke Johnson and Joseph Yearby in limited action this week. Sure enough, both participated Monday and took snaps in controlled non-contact situations.
Golden said after practice he expects both will take more reps in Thursday’s practice, Miami’s last one ahead of Saturday’s spring game.
“Number one, I just expressed our gratitude from everyone in the organization because that took a lot of work. For them to be out there, where they are right now, took a lot of work. It took a lot of individual time, took a lot of time over here when we’re practicing over here, not complaining and getting better,” Golden said of the rehab processes both Johnson and Yearby endured since their respective injuries last fall. “We’re grateful for what they did and clearly, I think [Duke] took Joe under his wing and brought Joe along. After what I saw today, I have no doubt that if we had another two weeks in practice, they’d be back. That issue is resolved. They’ll do a little bit more Thursday, get a little run in the stadium without any contact and then be ready to transition to full go.”
Also returning to action was defensive tackle Olsen Pierre, who missed several practices while dealing with what Golden described last week as a head injury.
Here’s who was wearing the leader jerseys Tuesday after Friday night’s scrimmage. In orange for the offense: RT Taylor Gadbois, TE Stan Dobard, RB Gus Edwards, WR Stacy Coley, LG Jon Feliciano, WR Malcolm Lewis, LT Ereck Flowers and K Matt Goudis.
In black for the defense: S Dallas Crawford, LB Alex Figueroa, LB Raphael Kirby, LB Denzel Perryman, DT Earl Moore, and LB Jermaine Grace.