Improved Jarren Williams, Hurricanes looking for first win

Miami travels to North Carolina after Week 1 bye

Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz said weeks ago that the biggest improvement is from week 1 to week 2.

If that's the case then the Hurricanes should be a completely different team when they travel to Chapel Hill to open the ACC slate against North Carolina on Saturday.

The Hurricanes opened the season in what was considered "week zero" against Florida in Orlando. Which means they had an extra week to prepare for their next opponent. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams looked solid in his first start but there was plenty of room for offensive coordinator Dan Enos to critique and improve.

"What happens here every day is just daily improvement," Diaz said. "You come in, you run your stuff and you just find a way to do it better than the day before. He's doing well but it gets back to the same point of if we were to have thrown a touchdown pass in the last drive and won 27-24, we would have not come in here and done anything differently. Jarren, like all the guys, is coming in finding a way to better master what we're trying to do."

"I would say my pocket presence, not watching the rush," said Williams when asked about which area of his game saw the most improvement. "Every play, keeping my eyes down the field and if you have to run, then you have to run. But when you watch the rush, you tend to run out the pocket when you can step up and make a throw. I just feel like I've been really making that a point of emphasis this week of not watching the rush, just keep my eyes on my progressions and getting the ball down the field to my receivers."

The receivers also feel like they could contribute to Williams' improvement with better production from their end.

"The only thing we can do is make tough catches for him," senior wide receiver KJ Osborn said. "Coach Enos is going to coach Jarren to do what he does. We can come back and communicate with him on the sideline, talk about different coverages and things like that, but the only thing we can do is keep running routes and keep getting open, communicate with him, and make tough catches for him to make his job easier."

Over the course of the bye week, Tate Martell went from backup quarterback to wide receiver. His experience as a quarterback helped the receivers get a greater grasp of Enos' offensive leading up to Saturday's game.

“He’s very smart." Osborn said. "And he helps us out in the room. Like, if there’s a question about something, Tate, he’s got the answer. You know, quarterback reads, or line, or anything. He’s very smart coming from the quarterback position.”

This will be a game to watch for the intriguing quarterback matchup between Williams and North Carolina freshman Sam Howell, who also has mobility.

“He’s definitely a young quarterback, plays with a lot of passion,. He’s not scared to tuck it and run. He doesn’t run away from contact either,” senior linebacker Shaq Quarterman said. “When you’re dealing with a guy like that, you gotta be weary of coming out of pass coverage, first response it to the scramble.”

The key for the Hurricanes will be the offensive line play. The double-digit sacks that were given up against Florida will likely not happen against UNC but only because of how unprecedented that was but it will be hard to see Williams' improvement when the name on his jersey is covered in dirt.

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