CORAL GABLES — Mario Cristobal was up before the sun the morning of his first fall practice.
The Hurricanes’ first-year head coach fired off a tweet at 4:15 a.m. — more than four hours before the start of practice — saying “#CanesAreBackToWork #Greentree.”
His players may not have been up as early as him, but they were just as eager to return to practice for the first day of fall camp on Friday.
“It’s good to get out there with the guys, get to work, start this year off,” said Will Mallory, who said he woke up at about 5:30 a.m. “I’m always excited to get out there and run around. It’s been a little while since I got the opportunity to do that, so it was good. But it’s just the beginning.”
There is major buzz around the Hurricanes in Cristobal’s first season. ACC media members picked Miami to win the ACC Coastal division. On the first day, Cristobal said he was not concerned about perfectly executing plays, but he wanted to see players show “full-throttle” effort.
“We’ve worked hard and a lot of stuff showed,” Cristobal said. “Some guys are more ahead than others, but the competition is making everybody better. Our pace of practice, Day 1, was solid, but it will increase, right? Our tempo, by the way we do things, will get better. But we’re demanding it and we’re getting it, for the most part. Of course, for Day 1, it’s just not where it needs to be.
“But all in all, some positive results. I like the type of attitude that we displayed.”
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A big reason for the excitement around the program is star Tyler Van Dyke, who enters the season as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and could emerge as a first-round NFL draft selection.
At this point last year, he was UM’s second-string quarterback, behind former quarterback D’Eriq King. He said entering this year as the starter is a little different, but he said he grew as a leader and became more vocal after being named the No. 1 quarterback after King suffered a season-ending injury early in the 2021 season.
“It’s different, but at the same time, you just go to work and do what I got to do,” Van Dyke said. “This year, I’m getting reps with the ones and being that leader. It’s a different role. I just have to embrace that. But it’s still football, the same thing.”
Joining Mallory and Van Dyke are more than a dozen transfers and freshmen, who first arrived on Miami’s campus after spring practice ended.
“It was great,” defensive lineman Jahfari Havey said. “Everybody was out there competing in the hot sun. Everybody getting after it. I like to see all the new people that came in that wasn’t here in the spring all put in work. It was great seeing everybody out there today.”
There are 29 days between the first day of fall camp and the season opener against Bethune-Cookman on Sept. 3. Mallory said he expects his team to keep the same energy throughout August and into the season.
“It’s the first day,” Mallory said. “Everyone’s excited. … So we’ve just got to keep that excitement going all throughout camp, and I think we will.”