Canes Football: It’s Brad Kaaya Time

It was an eventful weekend for the Canes as the Labor Day opener at Louisville approaches.

It all started Friday when Louisville’s top wide receiver DeVante Parker was sent to see an orthopedic specialist for his foot after an injury during Friday’s practice. Parker, you may remember, had a career day against the Canes in the 36-9 shellacking in last season’s Russell Athletic Bowl. The 6-foot-3, 211 pound NFL prospect hauled in 9 passes for 142 yards and scored as he was matched up with the highly touted cornerback Tracy Howard, who seemed to be overpowered in every aspect.

While you never like to see a kid get hurt, especially with such a promising future, it will be a big factor for the Canes that Parker is in fact not able to play in the opener. He is scheduled to miss 6-8 weeks with a broken metatarsal in his foot.

After Sunday’s practice, head coach Al Golden was scheduled to meet with the media, and several people speculated he would be naming a starting quarterback, and name a starter he did.

The Brad Kaaya Era has begun in Coral Gables.

The 6-foot-4 true freshman from California was in a tight competition with senior transfer QB Jake Heaps. During the preseason #CanesCamp, coaches and players raved about both of the QB’s every day. Preseason All-ACC Senior LB Denzel Perryman made a comment that not even he could rattle Kaaya during practice or scrimmages, and that his poise and composure is unmatched. “I would trash talk him, Tracy (Howard) would too, everyone would, really. But he’d be calm, collected, quiet, and just smiling. He’s a relaxed guy,” the LB told the media. Offensive Coordinator James Coley made it clear that Kaaya didn’t play like a freshman and he “acts like he’s 30.” Both Coley and Golden have been impressed with the number of hours Kaaya has spent in the film room and grasping the playbook.

What was this biggest difference between Heaps and Kaaya? Accoring to Coley, “I think the ability to see the entire field, I think Brad could see it very well down the field, and he can throw the ball down the field.” For Kaaya, the sky is the limit. He has all the tools to succeed now, and in the future. Not to mention the plethora of talent he has around him to make plays like star RB Duke Johnson and WR’s Stacey Coley, Philip Dorsett, and Malcolm Lewis. This biggest thing for the freshman will be that he doesn’t try to do too much and get the ball to his playmakers.

The Canes have won four of their five National Championships with a rookie QB. Could they make it five this season?

Not all of the news from “The U” was positive, though. Tight end Beau Sandland will ask for a release from his scholarship and transfer. Palm Beach Post reporter Matt Porter points out that Sandland is very unhappy with his role on the team and that he wouldn’t be getting the playing time he feels he deserves. Sandland is third on the team’s depth chart behind Clive Walford and Standish Dobard. The 6-foot-6 260 pound tight end came to Miami last season rated the #1 JUCO TE by almost every recruiting service.