I must have missed it in the pre-scrimmage notes and news in all the buildup to the event but apparently the designated theme for Friday night's scrimmage in Fort Myers was: "It's just Spring."
I heard that phrase several times and thought it to myself often enough during the evening to actually begin to believe it: It's just Spring.
On a perfectly balmy and breezy Spring day on Florida's Southwest coast your Miami Hurricanes played their second scrimmage of Spring practice at the Bishop Verot High School field. And what a field it is!
From the appearance of the entire campus and the state of the art stadium and field I guess it is pays to be Catholic and is good to go to one of the top 50 Catholic high schools in the Country.
On a day when the Boston Red Sox were playing in front of another sold out Spring training crowd of around 9,000 only a few miles away, a gathering of over 6,500 orange and green clad Hurricane fans came from near and far to get a glimpse of the 2012 product that head coach Al Golden intends to put on the field.
What those fans, like my Fort Myers crew, myself and Brian "The Beast" London who drove several hours to get there saw was, in a word: BORING.
I should have known what kind of an evening it was going to be when I peppered "The Beast" with several pre-scrimmage questions like: "What do you think about Denzel Perryman moving to middle linebacker?" and "What do you think about the way Rashawn Scott has stood out at WR so far?" and all he could say (repeatedly) was: "It's just Spring."
Now before you go and get your knickers all in a bunch please understand this: I am a verified and certified, long time, hard core UM fan who loves and supports what Al Golden is doing at Miami.
What I do not understand is why Golden would drive his team over 2 hours across the always dangerous Alligator Alley simply to waste an opportunity to show fans and recruits in the Southwest Florida area how exciting this team is going to be and what a great honor and thrill it is to be a Miami Hurricane.
Sure it was an even better than expected turnout at a great facility in an area that UM is trying to claim as it's own, much like the Hurricanes lay claim to the Southeast coast of the State that includes Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties.
However the product that Golden put on display Friday night had some of the most ardent and fanatical of 'Canes fans scratching their collective heads. Some were even seen walking out early.
Sure I get the fact that "It's only Spring" and the fact that Miami has about three healthy WRs on the roster at the current time (after WR Phillip Dorsett went down with a pulled hamstring), and that Golden like all of us wants the 2012 Hurricane football team to be bigger, stronger, tougher...yeah we get that.
However, the scrimmage was not entertaining in the least, in fact it was downright BORING. Yes, the cheerleaders were there and coach Kehoe even took the time to throw up "The U" for us but other than that the Hurricanes ran only a handful of plays in a scrimmage completely dominated by the defense.
The defensive line in particular looked solid with Porter and The Plug in the middle and Chickillo and Hoilett on the outside accounting for several tackles and sacks.
Perryman, Paul, Johnson and Kirby all looked solid at linebacker for the Canes and the defensive backs as a whole also played better than expected.
If you want to spin it in a positive way then yes it certainly was a positive to see the defense play so well. But it was hard to tell if that was really the case as the 'Canes ran the same running plays over and over again and almost none of the pass plays were designed to be completed over 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.
The only real bright spot for the UM offense on this night was WR Rashawn Scott who continues to tear up practices and scrimmages so far the Spring.
Well that and the UM cheerleaders, they were great as usual.
But before you get too excited please remember: "It's just Spring."