Hurricanes hosting on-campus spring game Saturday, looking to boost recruiting and see players ‘compete’

CORAL GABLES — Who says the Miami Hurricanes don’t have an on-campus stadium?

Miami is hosting its annual spring football game on Saturday, but instead of a spring jamboree at Chase Stadium in Fort Lauderdale or a home game at Hard Rock Stadium, the Hurricanes will play the game in front of a small crowd at Cobb Stadium, the UM soccer and track stadium next to the Hecht Athletic Center that normally seats just 500 people.

Although the Hurricanes are adding additional seating for Saturday’s exhibition and expect to bring capacity close to 5,000, the event will not be open to every fan who wants to buy tickets. Instead, the crowd will mainly be player and staff guests, recruits, donors and other exclusive invitees. ACC Network Extra, an online-only extension of the ACC Network, will broadcast the game, which begins at 4 p.m.

Still, players are excited to end spring practice on a high note in front of those attending.

“I’m really excited to be out there with the team, actually,” freshman linebacker Bobby Pruitt said. “See the vibe and the feeling to be on the football field with the full team in full (uniforms). I’m really excited for that, and (to) see how (we) react to adversity when we play against each other, how we move around and how we bounce around the field.”

Holding the game on campus is expected to be a boon for Miami’s staff when it comes to recruiting. Last year, the Hurricanes picked up a commitment from four-star wide receiver Chance Robinson at the spring game, and the staff will be able to spend the whole day showing prospective players around campus instead of having them travel to an off-campus stadium.

The Hurricanes have six commits in the 2025 class, recently adding four-star tight end Luka Gilbert. UM’s staff expects about 50 recruits to attend Saturday’s game.

“We’ve had a real steady and strong influx of talent coming in because it’s important that people come in and see what we do and how we do it,” coach Mario Cristobal said. “It would be no different than the different stops that we were at. . . . We just try to always dial up, I would say, the intensity and the passion and the energy behind it. The spring game will be no different.”

The spring game’s format will be similar to last year’s. The Hurricanes will play with live tackling in the first half and move to “thudding” or simulated tackling in the second half, Cristobal said. The playbook will be vanilla, Cristobal said, so as not to give away any clues to UM’s opponents this year.

“It’s still playing ball,” Cristobal said. “We’re still live but just not going to the ground. When you go into a spring game — especially all these spring games that are nationally televised — you just can’t do all the stuff that you’ve been doing this spring. That wouldn’t be the right thing to do. But you want to see guys play with great fundamentals, great technique. You want to see them compete and really try hard to win every single one of their one-on-ones, all their battles, and to continue building the DNA, to continue just elevating the standards for our culture. At the end of the day, I think we’re starting to understand that standards are actions. They’re not words or slogans or T-shirts.”

Miami is also hosting alumni this weekend and will honor former UM stars Andre Johnson and Devin Hester, who are Class of 2024 inductees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, former Hurricanes coach Mark Richt and donor Carol Soffer.

“It’s important for our players to see that, to understand how important gratitude is as well as be around the people that got the University of Miami going and what it means to be a Hurricane,” Cristobal said. “Michael Irvin will be speaking to the team (Friday), and (he is) obviously a great example of what hard work is all about.”