DraftBrowns.com Staff Writer: Justin Higdon
Last Saturday the Miami Hurricanes defended their home turf against the in-state rival Florida Gators. The ‘Canes followed Clemson’s lead from the previous week, and defeated a favored, highly ranked SEC opponent, further enhancing the ACC’s early-season profile. Here’s a look at how some of the draft-eligible players from both Florida schools fared.
#7 QB Jeff Driskel
- Solid deep ball to WR Solomon Patton who makes a tough, over the shoulder catch
- Misses a wide open Quinton Dunbar in the end zone then gets picked off in the red zone because he threw late back across the middle – awful decision
- Stuffed on a QB sneak on fourth down
- Drilled but connects with Dunbar on a high throw
- Hangs in and takes another big hit but overthrows the WR deep and is almost picked off
- Throws another red zone INT – thrown before Trey Burton turns to look for the ball
- Sacked from the blind side and fumbles deep in his own territory – not on him, poor protection
Overview: Driskel is a terrific athlete who has already been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. He proved his toughness Saturday by hanging in on a number of high-pressure situations, and he threw for a career-high 291 yards. But both of Driskel’s interceptions – one a horrible choice, and one a hurried throw – occurred in the red zone. Driskel is still just a junior, and has time to work on the finer points of his game, but right now he lacks the processing speed needed to become a starting NFL quarterback.
#8 ATH Trey Burton
- Makes the catch on a short cross and gets yards after the catch for a first down – shows good speed to the corner
- Stopped short on ill-advised two point conversion pass to him out of the swinging gate formation
- Running wild cat and he gets dropped behind the line of scrimmage – looked indecisive on the play
- Makes a catch on a crossing route, gathers himself and cuts back up the field to get some extra yards after the catch
- Loses a fumble in the red zone just before he hits the turf
- Makes a fingertip catch and keeps his balance long enough to get a first down
- Lines up at slot wide receiver and makes a 16-yard catch on a post and hangs on after a big hit
- Doesn’t turn around in time on an INT thrown by Driskel – should have been looking for the ball but the throw was rushed
Overview: It was an up-and-down game for the Gators’ jack-of-all-trades. Burton has intriguing versatility and good speed, but he is still a man who has never had time to hone his skills at one position. As a result, he looked unsure of himself on a couple of different plays. It will be interesting to see if he grows into a more defined role as the season progresses. Thus far, the team seems to be gravitating toward using him more and more as a receiver.
#83 WR Solomon Patton
- Makes a lunging, over-the-shoulder catch on a deep throw from Driskel – pretty good throw and Patton blazes past the defensive back
- Makes a move after catching a hitch and looks quick picking up yards after the catch
- Makes a catch on the post for an easy touchdown late
Overview: The seldom-used senior receiver had a career day with six receptions for 118 yards and the late score. Patton is small in stature, but he showed excellent speed and nifty open-field moves on Saturday. He has a chance to enhance what had been a virtually non-existent profile if he can build off of this terrific performance.
#1 WR Quinton Dunbar
- Makes a couple of early receptions – wide open on one and tries to make a move on the other but is held to a short gain
- Great job to hang on after a big hit on a high throw from Driskel
- Goes up and grabs a deep ball at the high point for a long gain
Overview: The redshirt junior receiver was one of the beneficiaries of Driskel’s airing it out on Saturday, and he saved his quarterback with a couple of leaping grabs. Dunbar will likely continue to see plenty of targets, so he may consider a leap to the NFL at the end of the season.
#2 DT Dominique Easley
- Gets pressure and draws a hold
- Gets pressure on a bull rush versus the left tackle and draws a second holding call in a row
- Pressures the quarterback up in the pocket and Ronald Powell gets a hit on the QB just as he throws
- Blows up a run play and even gets the tackle for loss despite being grabbed by the center
Overview: The undersized lineman seemed to have intimate knowledge of the Hurricanes’ snap count, and caused problems for their offensive line all day. Easley is lightning quick off the ball and proved nearly impossible to block one-on-one. He has a good opportunity to be selected in the first round of next May’s draft.
#15 CB Loucheiz Purifoy
- Flies right up the middle of the protection to block a punt
- Makes a big stop on a run play – solid tackle
- Misses a tackle on a run after the catch by WR Allen Hurns
- Misses a tackle for loss opportunity on RB Duke Johnson
- Cleans up for Powell and gets a tackle for loss on a reverse a few plays later
Overview: Purifoy’s outstanding special teams ability was on display with the punt block, but his inconsistent tackling reared its head as well. The junior corner is a talented, yet unrefined prospect at this point, and he was playing his first game of the season after serving a one game suspension.
#17 QB Stephen Morris
- Morris rolls right and finds Hurns along the sideline
- Back shoulder throw in the red zone looks dangerous and gets broken up by Jaylen Watkins
- Finds WR Herb Waters on a corner route for a seven yard touchdown pass – excellent ball placement
- Throws high for WR Phillip Dorsett, who jumps for it but can’t hang on
- Throws way behind Dorsett on a go route – well short of his target
- With time finds Dorsett wide open deep for a long TD – took a shot as he let the ball go
- Rolls to his left and tries to fire a ball to Hurns but he doesn’t get enough on it
- Next play makes a dangerous pass that is tipped up and should have been picked off
- Next play makes a dangerous pass down the middle that is nearly intercepted – three near INTs so far
- Throws into tight coverage to Dorsett and nearly gets intercepted – good D by Dorsett to break it up
- Overthrows Dorsett way over his head on a third down play and gets picked off
Overview: One minute Morris was connecting on brilliant touchdown passes and the next he was living dangerously and throwing into coverage. Morris ended the day with only 12 completions, and his one interception could have been five. He was a popular choice among draft analysts this summer for the title of “top senior quarterback”, but he failed to live up to that billing in his first test against an upper-tier college defense this season.
#1 WR Allen Hurns
- Gets both feet in bounds on a sideline throw from Morris
- Called for a personal foul on bad low block
- Makes a grab on a hitch and breaks a tackle on the sideline to pick up big yards after the catch
Overview: The senior receiver caught four passes for 60 yards in the game, but his modest performance gave a glimpse into his value as a prospect. Hurns always knows where his feet are and he has strong hands so he’s perfect for tough sideline catches. He is also big and strong enough to break tackles and gain extra yards. Hurns has potential to develop into a better pro than collegian, and he is hovering just beneath the radar right now.
- Miami’s front seven played a strong game, led by seniors Shayon Green and Curtis Porter, and juniors Anthony Chickillo and Denzel Perryman.
- Florida’s junior linebacker Ronald Powell turned in a few excellent plays, including a sack on Morris when right tackle Seantrel Henderson and guard Brandon Linder had a miscommunication about the blocking assignment.