CORAL GABLES, Fla. — There are 180 days until the University of Miami football team opens its 2014 schedule at Louisville.
Tuesday morning marked the third day of spring practice, and the Hurricanes put on pads for the first time at Greentree Practice Fields.
Though players were allowed to hit, they cannot fully tackle until the three scrimmages on March 28, April 4 and April 12.
Miami is coming off its first bowl game since 2010. Spring football will be a time for veterans such as Denzel Perryman to help the early enrollees get acclimated with their new surroundings and system.
"Good effort, good energy, good group to coach right now," head coach Al Golden said. "A lot guys learning. Not a lot of yelling just teaching going on, which is good. Good start. We’ve got a long way to go as a team. We’re starting to learn more about our guys."
Senior defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo and junior wide receiver Herb Waters should be back following next week’s spring break.
Sophomore defensive backs Nate Dortch (knee) and Corn Elder (knee) as well as redshirt sophomore wide receiver Malcolm Lewis (sports hernia) should be integrated into practice soon with yellow jerseys.
NATIONAL TITLE HOPE
Sophomore defensive back Artie Burns, the Atlantic Coast Conference champion in the 60-meter hurdles, has not participated in drills.
Burns will compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M. Golden expects him back for football three days later.
"We’re just protecting him because he has a chance to be a national champion," Golden said. "I don’t want him to turn an ankle before the national championship."
Tim "Ice" Harris’ biggest contribution could be the discipline and life skills he imparts to his teams.
Harris, who has returned to the UM program following a national championship with Miami Booker T. Washington, will be the assistant director of football operations. He previously coached at Miami when Randy Shannon was at the helm.
"We felt it was a good opportunity and time for us, and he felt the same," Golden said.
Defensive end Trent Harris was cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center and practiced for the first time on Tuesday.
Golden had only good things to say about the early enrollees: linebackers Darrion Owens and Juwon Young and defensive back Ryan Mayes.
They have handled the transition from high school to college with ease.
"Really pleased with those guys, their approach," Golden said. "Pleasant surprise for us. I’m excited for those guys. We knew they were talented, but their maturity and ability to learn with everything else going on. They don’t even know where half the buildings on campus are."
Junior Dallas Crawford, Miami’s leading scorer with 13 touchdowns as a running back in 2013, has looked comfortable in his move to safety.
Crawford, a former quarterback in high school, was also holding for field goals.
"Really good as you can imagine," Golden said of Crawford. "You just feel his presence out there. Physical, same old Dallas. You only have to tell him one time. Coach him up and next play he gets it right."
Junior Matt Goudis and redshirt senior Ricky Caroll will compete as All-ACC punter Pat O’Donnell’s successor. They have so far been to the side practicing drills. Golden will incorporate them into practice soon.