Running Game Shines in First Scrimmage
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Miami Hurricanes' three-headed rushing attack of Mike James, Duke Johnson and Eduardo Clements stole the show Sunday during the first #CanesCamp scrimmage.
The scrimmage lasted a little under two hours in the 90-degree heat and ended before a torrential afternoon thunderstorm. The scrimmage opened with goal line and short yardage situations as the offense showcased a number of different looks. The next set of plays flipped the field, with the ball being spotted inside the five-yard line.
The running corps of James, Johnson and Clements showed toughness up the middle and burst to the outside throughout the day, while the offensive line showed athleticism and mobility to move to the outside and block to spring runs down the sidelines. The blocking wasn't limited to the O-line; the wide receivers made some nice blocks on the outside to aid James and Johnson in long runs.
"We need [big plays]," second-year head coach Al Golden. "We need some guys to step up. We lost some explosive players from a year ago."
The senior James rushed for a team-high 137 yards on 13 carries with three touchdowns, including an impressive 51-yard burst down the sidelines, while outrunning three defenders. Johnson had 49 yards on nine carries and posted four touchdowns – three rushing and one receiving. He took a Morris screen pass 37 yards for a score, eliciting several "oohs" and "aahs" from teammates on some of his cutback moves.
"We've been saying it all camp: Mike [James] looks quicker," Golden said. "He has always been strong but now he looks healthy.
"[Duke Johnson] found [the end zone] a couple of times today," Golden said. "He has a low center of gravity and a knack for diving and finding the end zone."
Quarterbacks Stephen Morris and Ryan Williams showed good footwork to elude pressure in the pocket and scramble for yards when needed. Morris completed 24-of-36 passes for 193 yards with four touchdowns and one interception towards the end of the scrimmage. Williams threw for 121 yards and three scores on 12-of-17 passing.
"I thought both [quarterbacks] showed command of the offense," Golden said.
Morris and Williams threw completions a variety of receivers; Johnson led all receivers with 44 yards. Malcolm Lewis caught three passes for 42 yards, while Kendal Thompkins hauled in a team-best five catches for 22 yards.
The scrimmage ended on an interception when Dwayne Hoilett batted a ball up in the air and into the hands of Tyrone Cornileus.
A.J. Highsmith registered a team-high nine tackles, while Cornileus, Tracy Howard and Ramon Buchanan all recorded seven tackles apiece. Anthony Chickillo, JaWand Blue and Cornileus each recorded a sack for the defense.
The Miami Hurricanes will return to the Greentree Practice Fields Tuesday at 8:20 a.m.