BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
One of My All-Time movies was Back to the Future.
On Saturday, April 16 at DRV-PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, I made a return to the site that was once Lockhart Stadium to cover a Miami Hurricanes Spring Football Game.
When I covered the Miami Hurricanes from 1982-83, the head coach was Howard Schnellenberger and the Sports Information Director was Ron Steiner.
Ron was one of the best Public Relations professionals that I’ve ever dealt with!
I would later work with Coach Schnellenberger at Florida Atlantic University as he built this program from scratch. We had a father-son relationship.
In my return to the new venue located West of I-95, off Commercial Blvd and Powerline Rd, this day seemed like old times but the individuals were different.
The Hurricanes Head Coach is Mario Cristobal, who was hired this off-season from the University of Oregon.
Cristobal previously coached at Florida International University and his star wide receiver was TY Hilton.
My PR contact is Camron Ghorbi and I’m looking forward to working with him this season!
When you cover a Spring Football Game, what do you get out of them?
1. It’s a first class guessing game as to who will play in the fall.
2. There will be a lot of game film between now and August.
3. In the case of this year’s Hurricanes, it’s a chance to see the new coaching staff in action. One of the biggest hires of this off-season is the addition of former University of Michigan Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis, who is in charge of leading the Canes offense.
4. For myself, this was the first time that I’ve been at DRV-PNK Stadium and being here brought back many memories of covering the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League, and later the FAU Owls at Lockhart Stadium.
5. One of the writers came up with an interesting line called “A Very Impressive Zero.”
6. It’s always interesting to see the QB Battles and in this case, Tyler Van Dyke and Jake Garcia were taking the snaps under center.
In this Spring Game, there were 13 series for a total of 120 plays, averaging 4.4 yards per play. Five QB’s saw action.
Van Dyke finished 20 of 33 for 175 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on two carries. He guided the Hurricanes to three touchdown drives in his five series.
Garcia was 14 of 24 for 117 yards.
Running back Henry Parrish scored two of the Hurricanes four touchdowns on the day and showed very good burst carrying the ball and catching as his 21-yard run off the right tackle was the longest run of the day and his 16-yard reception was the seventh longest. Parrish finished 38 yards on eight carries and caught three passes for 32 yards.
Wide receiver Xavier Restrepo led all players in receptions with six and receiving yards with 60.
Cornerback Te Cory Couch had a nice pass breakup on a pass by Garcia over the middle of the field and came up with a tackle for a loss on a reverse by Brashard Smith to highlight his solid day. After the Spring Game, Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele said he was “pleasantly surprised “ by Couch’s performance.
Defensive end Cyrus Moss came up with a strong performance by recording a team-high three sacks and one resulted in a forced fumble.
The offense defeated the defense 31-27.
During the beginning of the game, I had the opportunity to talk about the Hurricanes Program in Oakland, CA, click on the link to listen to the show.
I spoke with Mark Mancini and Bruce Kessinger and the main topics discussed were some of the previous Hurricanes Coaches, namely, Randy Shannon, Manny Diaz and Mark Richt.
We talked about the addition of Cristobal and I told these guys that he left a cushy job in Oregon to return to his hometown.
I addressed his accomplishments at FIU. You’ll enjoy this live broadcast that also talks about My return to Fort Lauderdale covering this game.
After the game, Cristobal addressed the Media and you can watch that video in this story as well.
So now, it’s time to let the evaluation of the current players begin and the incoming freshman will be here late in the summer.
Cristobal inherits a 7-5 team and former Coach Manny Diaz has moved on to Penn State University as he has a dual role as the Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach.
Cristobal has worked under Butch Davis, Greg Schiano, Larry Coker and Nick Saban.
His overall college record is 62-60. He’s 3-3 in Bowl Games.
He guided FIU to a pair of Bowl Games and defeated Toledo 34-32 in 2010 at the Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit.
In three seasons at Oregon from 2017-2021, he was 35-13 (.729) and 23-9 (.719) in the PAC 12.
But once again, it was great being back in Fort Lauderdale covering the first college football team as a sports writer and am hoping to build on this in 2022.
Back to the Past turned into Back to the Future.
The estimated crowd was about 8,000 for an 18,000 seat stadium. This was not bad in the Hurricanes Return To Broward County.
The game was supposed to be scheduled at Hard Rock Stadium but was switched to Fort Lauderdale on short notice because there was construction taking place building a race track for a Formula One Race.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.
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