Miami Football: Winners and Losers from the Hurricanes' 2013 Spring Game

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistApril 13, 2013

Miami Football: Winners and Losers from the Hurricanes' 2013 Spring Game

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    The Miami Hurricanes' football team emerged from the smoke for the first time at Sun Life Stadium in 2013 to cap off spring practice.

    Miami's annual spring game was broken into Orange vs. White teams by head coach Al Golden with plenty of big-time matchups. Each quarter lasted 12 minutes except for the fourth, which was only eight minutes long due to anticipated inclement weather.

    The Orange team, led by senior starting quarterback Stephen Morris, finished the day with a 35-20 victory.

    Sophomore receiver Herb Waters suffered a left elbow injury in the first half, and freshman Alex Figueroa was slowed by a left ankle injury, but neither looked too serious.

    Here are the winners and losers from the Hurricanes' 2013 spring game.

    Disclaimer: Don't read too much into the stats, because as many people say, "It's just the spring game."

    Note: For those interested, here is the official roster for the game.

Winner: Stephen Morris

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    He wasn't going to lose his starting job, but wow.


    Stephen Morris absolutely manhandled the White team from the pocket all day long.

    Granted, the starting secondary was primarily on Morris' team, but Tracy Howard and an improving Nate Dortch were opposite the Orange receivers.

    Morris finished the day with 256 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

    Rashawn Scott (94 yards, two TDs) and Herb Waters (one TD) were the biggest beneficiaries of Morris' big day.

Loser: White Team Quarterbacks

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    Ryan Williams and Gray Crow are in a battle for the second-string position, but 1992 Heisman Trophy winner and UM alum Gino Torretta may have had the best throw of the day for the White team.

    Toretta connected with former 'Cane and current NFL star Andre Johnson for a 55-yard touchdown to cut the Orange's lead to 28-17.

    Yes, of course it's a joke.

    But in all seriousness, Williams (10-of-25, 123 yards) and Crow (2-of-8, 50 yards) both had their fair share of struggles throughout the day.

    Williams tossed two interceptions and was a step too far for his receivers on many throws, but Crow couldn't find his target on the majority of his attempts.

    To make a long story short, Crow didn't do anything to surpass Williams, but Ryan didn't pull away, either.

Winner: Duke Johnson

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    Duke Johnson is slowly starting to find himself in preseason Heisman Trophy discussions, and if Saturday was any indication, he might be even better than last year.

    In the first half alone, Duke ran for 120 yards on just 10 carries, including a long run of 48 yards showing great vision and elusiveness.

    On one play, defensive tackle Corey King was in the backfield as Johnson was taking the handoff. But Duke didn't go straight to the ground, he ducked below King's tackle and burst through the line for a gain of 21 yards.

    His agility and quickness is still improving, and Duke will continue to be a force this season.

Loser: Tracy Howard

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    A much-heralded recruit from Miramar High School, Tracy Howard has not lived up to his lofty expectations yet.

    With that being said, cornerback is one of the toughest positions to play in college football, and Howard is only a sophomore.

    Regardless, little-known Stephen Sweeney separated from Howard on a hitch and snagged a laser from Morris for a short third-down conversion. Rashawn Scott also beat Howard with a break over the middle and caught Morris' third TD pass of the day.

    Howard did have a couple bright spots, including forcing Scott out of the end zone on a well-thrown fade route, but he still has plenty of room to improve.

    He hasn't lost the trust of defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio though:

    D'Onofrio feels pretty good about his first 3 corners -- Gunter, Crawford, Howard. But he's looking forward to Artie Burns arrival #UM

    — Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) April 13, 2013

    Howard had a rough day, but his future is still bright.

Winner: Orange Team Defensive Line

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    Danny Dillard was the primary running back for the White team, but he didn't find many holes to run through at all.

    Headlined by Anthony Chickillo, Shayon Green, Luther Robinson and Curtis Porter, the Orange team rarely allowed Dillard room to run.

    They also "sacked" QB Gray Crow on two of three plays in the fourth quarter, pushing the White team out of the red zone.

    The four players mentioned are expected to be serious contributors during the fall, and they played significantly better than much of 2012.

    Of course, it is pretty hard to play worse than last season, but that's easy to say from a keyboard.

Loser: White Team Defensive Line

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    As previously mentioned, Duke Johnson ran for 120 yards in the first half.

    Dallas Crawford switched to the Orange team in the second half, gained some decent yards and scored a touchdown, too.

    Possible starter Jalen Grimble was disruptive on a few plays, but the White team was generally unable to pressure Morris throughout the day.

    Dwayne Hoilett did force a fumble, but Golden will absolutely be looking for better production out of his second-string linemen in the fall.

Winner: Denzel Perryman

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    Al Golden called out Denzel Perryman earlier this week for inconsistency, but he responded well in the spring game.

    Even dropping a chance at an early interception, "'Zel" finished the day with two picks. He caught a tip from a slightly misthrown pass by Williams for his first and jumped in front of a receiver for his second.

    Perryman also landed a huge hit on Dallas Crawford in the first half.

    The move back to outside linebacker this spring definitely fit Perryman's strengths, and the junior had a solid Saturday.

Winner: Orange Team Offensive Line

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    It certainly helps when you're protecting an experienced quarterback who knows how to get rid of the ball, but the Orange offensive line had a great day.

    Seantrel Henderson had a superb day at right tackle consistently protecting Morris and opening up a massive hole for Duke Johnson's long run of the day.

    New offensive coordinator James Coley had high praise of the left side of the line, according to Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald, too:

    #Canes OC James Coley praised the blocking of OT Ereck Flowers today. "When I wanted five yards today we ran behind him."

    — Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) April 13, 2013

    Oh yeah, three of Miami's starting linemen didn't even play in the spring game.

    The talent and depth of the "big uglies" is certainly a phenomenal sign for the 'Canes.

Winner: Malcolm Lewis

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    Who cares if Golden scripted this play?

    Like the the AP's Tim Reynolds alluded to, who cares if it altered the "real" final score?

    Malcolm Lewis took a quick slant from Morris and scampered 75 yards up the sideline into the end zone.

    Lewis, who suffered an absolutely horrendous-looking injury against Georgia Tech early in 2012, was joined by his teammates to celebrate his return to the football field.

    The sophomore from nearby Miramar High School might have an essential role in the offense from the slot receiver position, and he's started out 2013 with a touchdown to his name.