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 9 years ago '04        #2181
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August 27, 2007

CaneSport.com Staff

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Marshall coach Mark Snyder said today that the quarterback uncertainty at UM affects his preparation somewhat for this Saturday's noon game at the Orange Bowl.

"We're going to prepare for both anyway," Snyder said. "They do bring different things to the table."

Of preparing for new offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, Snyder said "It's tough because you don't know what you're going to get. We're going to have to play some things on principal. That's what's neat about first games."

Snyder says he's well acquainted with Cane players.

"I've known Randy (Shannon) for a while, recruited a lot of these kids when I was at Ohio State, so I know just about his whole football team," Snyder said. "They've been very, very successful defensively. I'd be shocked if Randy changes that. Tim Walton's a great young defensive coordinator. We think we know a little bit about what we're getting, but we won't know until Saturday.

"We recruit Miami, Fort Lauderdale, the west coast (of Florida), have players from that area that have been to the (Orange Bowl). They're excited (to play at the Orange Bowl), and I'm excited to get down there. I've played in the OB but never coached in the OB."

Marshall is a 19-point underdog entering the game.

"(Miami's) very talented," Snyder said. "Defensively they're as good as anyone in the country. We can't go in there and turn the ball over. That's going to be the key for us. And we have to tackle people in space."

* The Coaches: Mark Snyder: 9-14-0 (2) at Marshall; 9-14-0 overall (2)

Randy Shannon: First Season as Head Coach

* Game Preview: Miami will kick off the 2007 season welcoming the Thundering Herd for the first time ever to Miami, Fla. for a Noon match-up on ESPNU on Sept. 1...The Hurricanes edged Nevada 21-20 to claim the MPC Computers Bowl and close out the 2006 season...Head coach Randy Shannon enters his new role on Saturday as the Miami native has served the last six seasons as the Hurricanes' defensive coordinator...Since the beginning of this century, Miami has the fourth best record of any team in the nation, posting a 71-16 record and an .818 winning percentage since 2000...The Hurricanes return 61 lettermen, including 16 starters from last season...Marshall's offense features one of the nation's top centers in senior and three year starter Doug Legursky and tight ends sophomore Cody Slate...The Herd returns 17 starters from just a year ago...Defensive end Calais Campbell and second-team All-ACC safety Kenny Phillips will again guide the UM unit that led the ACC in defense against the run and was seventh nationally in total defense.
 9 years ago '04        #2182
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August 27, 2007

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Game 1 of the Randy Shannon era will begin this Saturday at noon against Marshall.

And the Hurricanes are a good bet to get a win to start off the season against a team that was 5-7 last season.

The Herd certainly is playing up the game.

Marshall University president Stephen Kopp said of the game that, "We begin our season at Miami and I can't wait to join the team down in Miami for that game."

The school's Athletic Director, Bob Marcum, added, "Our football program has played in a lot of big games and in a lot of big stadiums. Miami -- a school that has won numerous national championships -- you can't get any bigger than that."

With a suspect defense, Marshall will likely need to score a lot of points to remain close with the Canes.

And the Marshall offense will miss leading offensive threat Ahmad Bradshaw (1,523 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns).

But there are some pieces back from last year's group that averaged 25.9 points per game.

Leading the way is veteran quarterback Bernard Morris, who has 17 career starts.

Morris struggled last year, throwing for 1,346 yards with eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He can also make an impact with his feet - Morris has run for almost 600 yards and six touchdowns in his career.

Morris' top target from last year is back – tight end Cody Slate is considered one of the nation's top players at his position after he hauled in 43 passes for 684 yards and six touchdowns last season.

There are also a host of returnin wide receivers with some experience - Darius Passmore, Courtney Edmonson, Emmanual Spann and Tavarus Thompson will all likely see playing time.

Statistically speaking, Spann is the top returning wideout with 383 yards last year.

And Marcus Fitzgerald is also coming back from surgery in spring practice, and he has played in 32 career games and has 65 catches for 754 yards and 2 touchdowns.

At tailback the team is expected to turn to freshman Darius Marshall, who overtook a pair of upperclassmen with a strong fall. He showed his playmaking ability with a 96-yard touchdown run in a fall scrimmage.

Also look for Chubb Small (42 carries, 196 yards) and Kelvin Turner (5 carries, 26 yards) to work into the mix.

The backs will run behind a line that loses starting tackles Seth Cook and Wesley Jones. The projected starters this year: John Inman (LT), David Ziegler or Josh Evans (LG), Doug Legursky (C), Brian Leggett (RG) and Daniel Baldridge (RT).

Legursky is the rock the Herd builds its line around. After playing in every game as a true freshman in 2004, he has started every game at center in 2005 and 2006 and earned All-Conference honors and Rimington Award candidate status along the way.

The line is looking to improve after allowing 19 sacks last season.

And it's a group that, like Miami, has done its share of mixing and matching this pre-season.

"We've been plugging guys in and out all preseason, but for the most part it's been working out," Inman said.

Marshall's defense suffered a major blow when end Albert McClellan, one of the nation's top ends, suffered a torn ACL. Last season McClellan was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year when the sophomore led the conference and ranked among the national leaders in tackles for loss (19), sacks (11.5) and forced fumbles (four).

Including McClellan, there are three starters gone from last year's line. The only experienced threat returning is Byron Tinker – he had eight tackles for losses and 4.5 sacks.

Tinker and fellow lineman Ryland Wilson, who is expected to start at tackle, are the only senior defensive starters.

"We have to step up, being the only seniors on defense," Wilson said. "There are only two of us, so we have to show leadership on the field.

"And the young guys have to catch on quick."

At linebacker the leading returner is Josh Johnson (72 tackles). The Herd needs to fill the shoes of all-conference performer Matt Couch and senior Brandon Souder with some inexperienced players.

The defensive backfield took a blow with the departure of All-Conference safety Curtis Keyes, who had 104 tackles last year. And then cornerback Zearrick Matthews, who had 43 tackles, six passes broken up and four forced fumbles last year, was injured in fall drills. He is not expected to play in the game.

That leaves only a couple of experienced players in the secondary -- J.J. Johnson had 66 tackles and two interceptions last year, and safety C.J. Spillman had 79 tackles and two interceptions.

Some youngsters will have to step up.

"That's why they come to play big-time college football, to have the opportunity to play," coach Mark Snyder said. "This is their opportunity and they better make the most of it through the first two or three games before (Matthews) gets back."

A bad sign for the defense: There were some key personnel losses from a group that averaged allowing 29.2 points and 390.9 yards per game.

On special teams the Herd relies on senior kicker/punter Anthony Binswanger.

Last year he made only five of 13 field goal attempts (his long was from 50 yards). This is his first year handling both kicking and punting duties.

"I feel real strong and real confident throughout camp," Binswanger said, "I've got a lot to prove. Not only to the Coach Snyder, the whole coaching staff, the teams, the fans and myself.

"This year I changed my technique up. I shortened my steps and made everything real compact so there is no room for error."

* This is the first-ever meeting between the teams, and the game will be televised on ESPNU.
 9 years ago '04        #2183
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UM FOOTBALL
UM freshmen likely to play in opener
The Hurricanes have a highly touted group of first-year players, and coach Randy Shannon indicated several will be getting playing time.
Posted on Mon, Aug. 27, 2007
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BY SARAH ROTHSCHILD

True freshman wide receiver Leonard Hankerson will be expected to contribute this year.
PETER ANDREW BOSCH / MIAMI HERALD STAFF
True freshman wide receiver Leonard Hankerson will be expected to contribute this year.

Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson trudged off the Hurricanes' Greentree Field after a recent practice drenched in sweat and so winded he stopped at a bench near the field to sit.

Hankerson, one of the University of Miami's prized freshmen, might not have much longer to catch his breath. When UM opens the season Saturday against Marshall at the Orange Bowl, several freshman are expected to play.

Coach Randy Shannon said Sunday he believes about six or seven true freshmen ''are going to have to play this year,'' not counting redshirt freshmen.

''You don't want freshmen to start now,'' Shannon said. ``Last year [in some games] we had five freshmen starting and it showed. We want guys that can contribute in certain situations, and if we could get every freshman that comes in and plays this year to play about 25 plays a game, we're going to be way ahead of schedule.''

True freshmen projected to play include Hankerson, running back Graig Cooper, guard Orlando Franklin, cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, and safeties Joseph Nicolas and Jared Campbell.

''They're real important,'' said junior defensive end Calais Campbell, the older brother of Jared.

``Right now we have a lot of guys that want to step up and be big-time players for us.''

The freshmen are considered a highly touted group. Consider:

• Cooper, Mr. Football Tennessee as a senior in 2005, rushed for 1,327 yards and 15 touchdowns last year in eight games at Milford Prep. He averaged 12.5 yards per carry.

• Van Dyke, who chose UM over Florida, had 56 tackles and seven interceptions as a senior at Miami's Pace High last season.

• Hankerson, of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, averaged more than 20 yards per catch his junior and senior seasons. As a senior he had 39 receptions for 803 yards and 14 touchdowns.

• Nicolas, who starred at Homestead High as a wide receiver and safety, was ranked the No. 18 player in the state of Florida by Scout.com

• Franklin, a product of Delray Beach Atlantic High, is 6-7, 320 pounds, and is ''as physical as anybody I'm coaching,'' UM offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said.

Franklin, Cooper and Van Dyke are getting rave reviews from teammates.

Offensive tackle Jason Fox said Franklin needs to master his technique but could make an immediate impact.

''That kid is unbelievable,'' Fox said. ``He's so strong, so athletic.''

Several players praised Cooper's speed and Van Dyke's comfort playing with the first team.

Van Dyke said making his debut against Marshall would give him valuable experience and perhaps earn him playing time for big games, such as UM's second game at Oklahoma.

''I think it will help to get out there right away because after that first game you don't want to be nervous,'' Hankerson said.

Fox, who started 12 games last year as a true freshman, splitting time at left and right tackle, recalled running through the smoke at the Orange Bowl before the season opener against Florida State and feeling ''scared'' and overwhelmed by the moment.

Chavez Grant, who started five games last season and played special teams and primarily in the nickel package, said getting experience early helped accelerate his development.

He said some freshmen have sought his advice about his emotions before his collegiate debut and how he dealt with making mistakes.

''You're real nervous,'' Grant said, ``but you feel like you've made it.''
 08-27-2007, 02:11 PM         #2184
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This is the sig I really wanted to get everyone to rock.. But no animated Sigs..


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 9 years ago '04        #2185
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Time to shine for Hurricanes' DB
Carlos Armour has been slowed by injuries but is in position to get serious playing time this season.

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Posted on Sun, Aug. 26, 2007
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BY SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

UM cornerback Carlos Armour warms up before the University of Miami's final morning football practice at Greentree practice field in Coral Gables on Sunday, August 19, 2007.
JOHN VANBEEKUM / MIAMI HERALD STAFF
UM cornerback Carlos Armour warms up before the University of Miami's final morning football practice at Greentree practice field in Coral Gables on Sunday, August 19, 2007.

The man with the square jaw and intense look has awaited his turn for three seasons.

Carlos Armour looks the part: tall, muscular, overall a physically imposing football player. He's tough at the line of scrimmage, using his 6-3, 204-pound frame to lock down opponents and make it difficult to break off fast enough.

But the fourth-year junior cornerback's career usually has had some asterisks attached:

• A torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee the spring before his sophomore year, forcing him to be medically redshirted in 2005.

• A hamstring injury in 2006, which limited him much of the season.

• Suspended for one game after participating in the brawl with Florida International University.

• A now-healing foot injury that has limited his practice this preseason.

But despite the obstacles, Armour has impressed his coaches and pushed himself to be in a position to get serious playing time in 2007. Last week, with formerly projected starting cornerback Glenn Sharpe sidelined with an injury and fellow first-teamer Randy Phillips returning Friday from a week off to tend to his undisclosed injury, Armour played with the first team much of the time.

''He's a very important part of our defense,'' defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff said. ``Carlos is a good man-to-man cover guy and mentally strong. And with that body and the type of speed he has, Carlos has the size and the ability to be an every-down guy. We're trying to get him to that point.

``Right now, he's giving us every indication by the way he's practicing that he will be playing.''

Said coach Randy Shannon, not known to overly praise his players: ``Carlos is doing well. He practices hard.''

Armour, 21, grew up in Memphis and graduated from Melrose High School, where he was rated the No. 10 player in Tennessee by SuperPrep. He was the runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles (personal best of 14.3 seconds) and 300-meter hurdles at the 2003 Tennessee Track and Field Championships, and chose Miami over Auburn, Arkansas, Louisville and Mississippi.

''I'm feeling good,'' he said. ``I come out every day with a clear head, ready to do whatever I can to help the team. Overall, it hasn't been the ideal career I planned to have coming out of high school, but hey, you can't do anything about things that haven't happened. The injuries were out of my control -- the ACL, the hamstring.

``I knew I should have been on the field my second year, and it was hard for me mentally to sit out and not practice because I'm used to being very active. But I'm coming back.''

Armour played special teams as a flyer, otherwise known as a destroyer, on kickoff return during the last six games of 2006. He has played in 10 games during his UM career.

Recently, coaches have been using Randy Phillips, Armour and freshman DeMarcus Van Dyke to rotate among the pair of first-team cornerbacks.

''It's been kind of like a mixer,'' Armour said. ``Like the coaches say, everyone is a little nicked up, so we have to switch it around.

``Right now my role is to stay healthy, step up and be a go-to guy on defense. This season I plan to defend any pass at any cost. I want to help this team win a championship.''
 9 years ago '04        #2186
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Randy Shannon: A tough road to the UM coaching job

Dave Hyde | Sports Columnist
August 26, 2007

In her home, with her pain, alone each night, Dorleatha Johnson bows her head and prays for the four children who have left her and the one who hasn't. They aren't long prayers. Just something to remember them by.

She prays first for Joanna, whom everyone called Jo-Jo, because she was the first to go. Jo-Jo's boyfriend had put her in drug rehab and, for a while, it looked like there might be a happier ending.

But then the boyfriend was shot and k!lled — another kid lost — and Jo-Jo, who once dreamed of being an Olympic sprinter, instead became the most tragic currency in America, a black kid lost on the streets.

Maybe it was crack cocaine. Maybe it was a man with the virus. Whatever, her form of AIDS, when it came, was particularly ravenous. From diagnosis to death was six months. Jo-Jo died in 1989. She was 33.

Ronald, one of the twins, gets prayed for next. Johnson had warned all of them of the epidemic blowing through their side of Miami in the 1980s. But the crack and the needles were the girlfriends they wouldn't stop seeing, as she told the twins at the time.

One day, years before Jo-Jo got sick, Johnson diagnosed the chalky whiteness around the twins' mouths as the first footprint of AIDS. She had no doubt. She was nursing double shifts on the AIDS floor at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, after all.

Her children would join her on that 11th floor, one by one, when it came time. She treated, bathed and soothed them every night, through each double shift, right to their final breath. Ronald died in 1991. He was 40.

Donald, the other twin, went the next year. He could have been a disc jockey.

Clifford, the fourth child, gets prayed for next. He hasn't left her. Not like the others, anyway. But he stole her old Buick to the point she had him arrested a couple of times and has been among drugs so long the hooks are in, and he has gone to jail so many times it's hard to keep count. Maybe he'll straighten out. She prays for that, anyhow.

Finally, each night at the end, she gets to her youngest, Randy. And each night she says the same brief line to end the prayer. She says, "Well, Lord, you gave me one."

A wrenching question
"What does it take to save a kid?"

Randy Shannon sits at his new desk and asks the question he couldn't at age 3, when he became one kind of at-risk statistic after his father was murdered, or at 16, when he became another kind of at-risk statistic as a father himself.

"What does it take to save a kid?"

He couldn't ask the question at 19, when University of Miami officials yanked him from football practice thinking he had been arrested for grand theft, breaking and entering and possession of burglary tools. His name and birth date were on the police report. Turns out it was Clifford, his brother, using his good name, as he would several times across the years.

"What does it take to save a kid?"

Shannon couldn't ask that question to friends, because he dealt with all the decay around him in survival mode: He pulled up the drawbridge and allowed no one inside. His coach at Miami Norland High, Louis Allen, thought he was an only child. His UM roommate and Dallas Cowboys teammate, Michael Irvin, expresses shock today upon hearing about Shannon's siblings.

"I don't think anyone knows Randy, really knows him," says Steve Walsh, who also played with Shannon at UM and Dallas.

"Randy's a mystery man," says Tolbert Bain, who grew up and played at UM with him.

Even when Shannon was named Miami's coach last winter, despite most of two decades there as a player and a.ssistant coach, school officials couldn't answer if he was married (he's divorced) or how many children he has (four), much less know that his oldest child, 24-year-old Ty, had served in Iraq with the Navy.

It's not their fault. It's his way. Here's a story: On the day of his brother Donald's funeral, Shannon worked the morning in his duties as a UM defensive a.ssistant, preparing for the daily practice and that Saturday's game against Texas Christian.
 9 years ago '04        #2187
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Just before noon, he stuck his head in coach Dennis Erickson's office and said, "I've got something to do. I'll be back." He then went to the locker room, slipped into the suit he had stashed there and drove the 25 minutes to Liberty City for the funeral.

A couple hours later, he reversed the process. He made practice that afternoon and, as importantly, avoided questions and sympathy.

Sympathy, he hates. Sympathy just gets in the way. Sympathy means hugs and handshakes and nowhere conversations for days, maybe months, certainly long after he has dispatched with the pain in the only way he knows, the way Donald told him to in their final conversation.

This was on that 11th floor of the hospital, two weeks before Donald died. Neither mentioned how sick Donald was. There was no need. They both could see it for themselves, Donald's body shriveling and his skin darkening, especially around the mouth, which they both knew was the endgame of AIDS.

Randy had spent much of his teenage years warning his siblings about the dangers of drugs, even though the twins were 13 years older. They'd shoo him away with a backhand in the air, like an insect. They'd ask, "Who do you think you are, our dad?" Then they'd hit the street and break out needles or smoke some crack and return in a haze.

"Don't worry about me," Donald said this last meeting. "I chose this path. You did the right thing. You just keep going forward. Just keep going."

And so the youngest child just kept going forward, and the world kept turning, and 15 years strolled by, and now he's the coach and voice of Miami football. He's the face of the university, really. And the significance of all that's happened in getting to this point isn't locked back there anymore, somewhere in the past, amid the pain and death he won't let anyone see.

"It's down there," he says, pointing through his office window, to football players lifting weights a floor below.

Shannon asks the question building for a lifetime.

"What does it take to save a kid? To make him do what's right and responsible? Because there are eight or nine kids down there who are fathers themselves, just like I was at their age. One of them has two children. I know just what they're going through. I'll help them."

He scans the weight room.

"One kid down there, 20 or 21 years old, recently had his dad come up to him and say, 'I'm not your real dad,'" Shannon says. "He was hurting. That was a three-month deal of talking to him, going to his home, helping him. Then he met his real dad. That's another process. I made sure to be there for him, supporting him. We talk all the time. Imagine throwing all that up into some kid's life."

He nods to a corner.

"There's another kid down there whose mom lives in a shelter," he said. "In high school, the neighborhood took care of the kid. He went from apartment to apartment to apartment. No one thought he could make it. I can't let him fail. He's got a 2.6 [grade-point average] now. His mom came out here one day, just out of rehab, going back into the shelter, and said, 'Thank you for saving my baby.'"

He points to the bench press.

"Another kid down there had family distractions weighing on him and didn't want to go to class," he said. "I talked to him about keeping going. Don't get frustrated or flustered. Don't think the world's coming to an end. Don't think just because things aren't going right you're going to quit on yourself. He's going to be fine."

He turns from the window.

"I know one guy in the NFL now, I love him to death, his mom basically bankrupted him," he said. "We talked about handling it and adjusting to it. I know all about family causing problems. I know what he went through.

"Another kid I recruited on this team who's in the NFL now was running numbers [a gambling operation] in his house when I recruited him. Sitting on the table were marijuana roach buds. He came here, saw a world out of the neighborhood. I don't think he goes back there at all."

The stories stack up, if you ask around. Shannon once slept in front of a refrigerator so Cortez Kennedy, then a senior defensive tackle, wouldn't eat himself out of coming NFL millions. He counseled Twan Russell, then a UM linebacker, so regularly about family problems that Russell now says, "Without Randy, I wouldn't have made it."
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That's the answer, then. This is how you save a kid: You save yourself first.

"I don't worry about my life being saved no more," Shannon says. "It's the young guys in the weight room I now worry about. Those guys, down there, they're my family now."

'He's got to succeed'
"Randy's got to win."

The way Michael Irvin talks, it sounds part demand, part prayer.

"No one wants to hear about how the talent pool he can get has shrunk or the facilities are bad or any of that junk," Irvin says. "He's got to succeed. Win. You know how hard it was for him to get to this point? For any African-American coach to get there? How long people've waited? How many people are looking at him?"

There are six black coaches among the 119 major college programs. Of those, only UCLA's Karl Dorrell and Washington's Tyrone Willingham are at national-caliber programs. Opportunity is needed, and growing pains are involved for everyone, like the way the buzzword "recruiter" already is stuck on Shannon, not unlike the way "articulate" can be to black players.

Shannon knows the angles and pressures. He thinks this team needs toughening. It's why he practiced his team 18 straight days this month, often twice a day. It's why, when one player asked about having a pool day, like in recent Augusts, he was told to get in one of the tubs the players use to cool down after practice and splash around.

It's why there became such a noticeable difference in the practice speed and focus that, one day, Bain called former teammate Melvin Bratton from the sideline.

"We're back," he said.

That remains to be seen. But Shannon knows what's asked. And if you don't, Irvin says it one more time, under his breath, like a mantra: "He's got to win."

New rules, new era
Before stepping on the practice field for the first time this summer, each UM player was handed a sheet of paper titled "Football Team Rules." Ten were listed. This wasn't some handout. It was a contract, with a line at the bottom for each player to sign on.

It could have been titled "Things Randy Shannon Has Learned About Life:"

1. Any student-athlete involved in any incident of any kind, including traffic and otherwise, after midnight will be subject to a one-game suspension.

2. Any student-athlete possessing a firearm of any kind for any reason will have an automatic team suspension.

3. Any student-athlete involved in theft of any kind will be automatically expelled from the team.

There was a rule stipulating a 2.5 GPA being necessary to live off campus. Another told how anyone with "inappropriate material" on Internet sites such as Facebook or MySpace would be "subject to suspension."

Rigid discipline has been considered a college coach's domain since the likes of Bear Bryant's boot camp at Texas A&M. But this is a contract of new rules from a new coach spelling out another era. Already, a UM source says, one player has been kicked off for Rule No. 3. Stealing.

But examine the full thinking behind one rule, any rule. Take No. 2: No guns. Was the Second Amendment repealed? Has the National Rifle a.ssociation heard?

Shannon's first sentence by way of explanation says that doesn't matter. This is personal: "Remember, my dad was k!lled by a gun," he says.

The k!lling continues around him, too. Last season, UM defensive tackle Bryan Pata, who just weeks earlier had opened a drawer and shown off his guns for a reporter, was k!lled in his apartment parking lot. The k!ller still runs free.
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"It's gotten bad now," Shannon says. "It's not just here. Lots of other schools have problems with guns. I ain't gonna let it happen. I just say, 'No weapons.' You got one, I'll just say, 'Here's your papers.'

"That way, I don't have to wait for a court ruling, don't have to hear a player say he was protecting himself. See, we can have investigations and go to court. Then if you get off scot-free, you'll still end up like O.J. Simpson in civil court.

"On and on it'll go. Why go through that? I'll put it back on these kids. No guns. The other night in Miami, a 12-year-old got shot because he had a plastic gun. If you want to be part of this team, you sign a legal document and we keep it on file. No guns."

OK, but why not allow some wiggle room, some way out, like coaches do?

"Because I care," he says. "You think another coach is going to stick his tail on the line like this? Like I'm doing? We'll win at the University of Miami. I'm not being c*cky. We'll win. We have great kids, a great coaching staff.

"But my other job is to make sure we'll do the right thing and teach these kids right."

A wider world
On the third Thursday of August, following the custom of UM coaches for generations, Shannon stands in the grand ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel. Before him sits what's announced as a record crowd of 350 members for the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

It's a decidedly business crowd in a decidedly upscale city that is decidedly white in makeup. Shannon calls up the city manager, Dave Brown, a Hurricane fan who has missed two home games since 1969.

Shannon holds out a yellow No. 2 pencil. "Can you break this?" he asks.

As Brown snaps the pencil in half and holds it up, Shannon mentions how easy it is to defeat one of anything. One person. One city. One whatever. He then reaches into his suit pocket and brings out a few dozen pencils wrapped in a rubber band.

"Can you break these?" Shannon asks as the crowd laughs. Brown says he can't do it, but Shannon insists, "Hey, try."

So Brown tries, even bending over in effort, to more laughter. It's a strength-in-numbers shtick with a lesson that bends to any audience. Shannon discusses the importance of not just his players being a team, but the community being part of the program. As fans. As donors. He says in driving recruits from the airport he purposely drives through Coral Gables' tree-lined streets, by the Venetian Pool and Biltmore hotel.

"It's home," he says.

This added role of university spokesman is one Shannon had to a.ssume this year. Privately, school officials wonder how he'll handle it. For years, they've only seen him drawing that three-foot circle around himself and keeping people out.

Asked about the pencil trick, Shannon says, "I've got another one like it I'm going to use." These are scraps he has picked up along the way and stuck in his pocket for this kind of moment. There are other, more fundamental, scraps in that pocket that allow a black kid born of poverty to learn to walk amid white businessmen.

"You know what helped me as a kid?" he asks. "Dade County schools had programs to show you how to move on with your life instead of going back to the neighborhood.

"There were field trips to places like Eastern Airlines that opened up the world. There was an etiquette course on how to set a table and how to eat using salad forks and soup spoons. We learned to pull out a chair, how to waltz.

"Crazy as it may sound, imagine if I didn't know how to open a door for someone. Imagine how that would look to people in a job interview. It can trip you up. I might not have got here.

"I can still go back in the neighborhood and be comfortable there. But I can go in any world, talk to anyone at all."

Little-known facts
 9 years ago '04        #2190
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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To underline this, Steve Walsh was making small talk with Shannon one day, just asking what he was up to in the way you expect a nothing-much-how-about-you answer. "I'm going to Austria," Shannon said. "Gonna hike in the Alps."

Walsh burst out laughing. "Wha-at? You? In Austria?" he asked.

So there's another, also hidden side of Shannon. He traveled to Greece and saw the Parthenon this summer. He plays Scrabble. He loves Clint Eastwood movies. He's a big fisherman. He likes Elton John, Bon Jovi and has Sting, in concert, on DVD. He runs three miles each morning to reduce high blood pressure.

"He cheats at Spades," says his 20-year-old son, Xavier, a center for Florida International.

Xavier is as joking and expressive as his father can be serious. He tells the story of how, when he would get in trouble as a kid, his father could make him cry by just getting on the phone. But he tells another story that suggests maybe dad's privacy isn't just a wall to fence off people from his past.

Maybe it's also because, as Randy says, "I'm a loner."

Xavier was talking with his father on the phone early in December about whatever things sons and dads talk about. School. Football. Grades. He can't really remember the nature of the conversation, only that it went on for a while. Fifteen, maybe 20 minutes.

After hanging up, Xavier turned on the TV.

There, scrolling across the bottom of the screen, was the news Shannon had been named UM's new coach.

"I picked up the phone and called him back, but it was busy the rest of the night," Xavier said. "He'd taken the phone off the hook. I asked him, 'Dad, how could you not tell me that?' He said, 'Aw, we were talking about other things.'"

On field, one focus
A week before the opener, he walks off the practice field to the shade, takes off his hat and sidesteps reporters' questions about who will play quarterback. He says the defense is looking fine. He says no, he's not worried if some opponent is videotaping practice from up there in the parking garage.

"As long as they get my good side," he says.

He's any coach after any practice at any school in America. It doesn't matter in this setting if the only memory of his father is eating Lay's potato chips together. Or how he was too smart and too talented for his dead siblings' destiny to be his. Or that he carries an identification sheet, complete with fingerprints, in case he's mistaken again for his surviving brother.

No one will be interested come kickoff Saturday that he still cares for that brother, still talks to him, even gives him some money on occasion. ("What am I going to do?" he says. "He's my brother, my mother's son.")

His is a complicated story about to turn simple. Plays. Points. Wins. Losses. It's a bottom-line business, baby. Randy Shannon enters the machine now. He's just another new head coach entering another season opener, trying for win No. 1 at a place demanding he be No. 1.

But, until that kickoff, considering what he has endured and where he now stands, ask yourself this: Hasn't he already won?

Dave Hyde can be reached at .
 9 years ago '07        #2191
ttime236 38 heat pts38
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Randy Shannon is a fu**kin man and is PERFECT for the U.....i cant wait to play oklahoma on national tv and show were back
 9 years ago '05        #2192
Deeangoe 2 heat pts
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so what time is shannon announcing the starting qb tom?
 9 years ago '04        #2193
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August 25, 2007

CaneSport News Wire

Talk about it in Gary Ferman's War Room
Never miss breaking news on Miami sports and recruiting. Sign-up for CaneSport.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!

The University of Miami Hurricanes will wear orange for their football opener against Marshall on Saturday, and fans are encouraged to wear orange on Friday as part of the "College Colors Day" national campaign and again on Saturday.

The team will wear their orange uniforms for Saturday's noon kickoff and are asking that fans and students show their support. Orange game day shirts for students will be available the week leading up to the game and local retailers will be supporting the "Wear Orange" campaign as well.


Oh and i think Kyle Wright is gonna be the starter. I think i saw that on the Miami Herald website this morning. Not sure yet though.
 9 years ago '04        #2194
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UM fans, don't be crushed by Orange exit
Mike Bianchi | SPORTS COMMENTARY
August 26, 2007

A few days ago, approximately 75 University of Miami fans showed up outside the Orange Bowl to protest the Hurricanes' move to Dolphin Stadium.

That's right -- 75 fans. Which, if you're scoring at home, probably represents the entire UM's season-ticket-buying public.

We kid because we love.



Actually, we bring this up to make a point about all this ruckus and romanticism being spewed concerning UM's abandonment of the rickety old Orange Bowl after this season. A Web site -- savetheorangebowl.com -- has been created; petitions have been started. The only thing missing is Harris Rosen threatening a countywide referendum if UM doesn't start playing its games at the Orange County Convention Center.

When former UM player Melvin Bratton heard the news of UM's move to Dolphin Stadium, he exclaimed to The Miami Herald: "OH MAN, NO! The Orange Bowl gave us the edge."

One columnist for a UM fan Web site lamented: "Without the Orange Bowl, the 'Canes lose a part of their heart and soul. The Orange Bowl mystique is irreplaceable. Move the team and there will be more unthinkable losses due to a sedate and smaller fan base."

Oh, stop it.

I have been following UM football with amazement for the past two decades and have reached the conclusion that it is a program totally unique in college football. The 'Canes don't need a "home-field" advantage. The 'Canes don't need plush facilities. The 'Canes don't need extensive newspaper coverage. The 'Canes don't need a legendary coach.

No, the incredible UM football tradition is built on one thing and one thing only -- playuhs.

The Hurricanes didn't set the NCAA-record home winning streak of 58 games because of the Orange Bowl "mystique." They did it because of the UM "physique" -- because their players, many from the graffiti-scrawled streets of inner-city Miami, were bigger, stronger, faster and meaner than everybody else's.

It doesn't matter that next year Miami will be playing in an NFL stadium, almost in another county and almost an hour away from its campus. The fact is, Miami never has had much support, even in the Orange Bowl. When the Gators used to play UM back in the day, there were more UF fans in the Orange Bowl than Miami fans. In fact, one of the main reasons the Gators dropped the 'Canes from the schedule in the 1980s -- besides being a bunch of chickens -- was because Florida administrators were tired of subsidizing UM's program by playing a de facto UF home game in the Orange Bowl every other year.

UM football, unlike Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas, Alabama, Southern Cal, Notre Dame and just about every other football factory you can think of -- does not rely upon the traditional building blocks of other elite programs.

The infrastructure of Miami's program is abysmal and always has been. UCF has better facilities, more resources and, by next year, probably more season-ticket holders, too. The Gators are amid adding another $30 million wing to Florida Field, because, well, they don't have anything better to spend their money on. Florida State just hired a bunch of new high-priced a.ssistant coaches, some of whom make nearly as much as new UM head Coach Randy Shannon.

Why does Shannon not even make as much as UCF's George O'Leary? Because UM coaches have proved to be interchangeable, that's why. Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, Dennis Erickson, Larry Coker -- they all won national championships. Not because they were better coaches than everybody else, but because they had better players.

A few years ago, Schnellenberger, the man who started it all, told me the basis of his blueprint. It was his idea to create the now-famous "State of Miami" recruiting area, which was composed mainly of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

"I knew we couldn't compete with Florida or Florida State in facilities or fans," Schnellenberger said, "but I knew if we could get the South Florida recruits, we could surpass them in talent."

Why do you think Coker was fired last season? It wasn't just because the 'Canes finished with a 7-6 record.

It was because Coker had begun to lose a grip on South Florida recruiting while Florida's Urban Meyer gained a foothold.

And why do you think Shannon was hired even though he never had been a head coach? Because he grew up in Miami, played at UM and knows all the high school coaches in Miami-Dade County. Already, it is paying dividends. Here we are more than six months before national signing day, and Shannon has 18 oral commitments from stud recruits -- the vast majority from South Florida.

Orange Bowl-Smorange Bowl. With players like they've had in the past, the 'Canes would have been successful playing in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Liberty City.

There's one reason and one reason alone why Miami has more national titles than Florida and Florida State combined.

Because UM is not built upon first-rate facilities.

It's built upon first-round draft picks.

Mike Bianchi can be reached at .
 08-27-2007, 08:38 PM         #2195
Sh0wty 
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Have a Good Good Source from Coral Gables that Kirby will be named Starting QB Tomorrow..
 9 years ago '05        #2196
Deeangoe 2 heat pts
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ahh let it be true
kirby > wright
 9 years ago '04        #2197
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ive heard that Kirby just flat out beat Wright in a dominant fashion to win the job.

one person said at the rate Kirby was going in practice, it would roughly had translated to like 30 TD's in the season.


we can only hope and pray we have that type of success
 08-27-2007, 10:40 PM         #2198
Hurricane Ra 
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I use to be on Kirby bandwagon.. He makes a lot of mistakes and his arm is nothing compared to Kyle's.. Hopefully our offense will include more roll outs and stuff with Kirby there
 08-27-2007, 10:57 PM         #2199
Hurricane Ra 
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And to just add on. Not that I don't trust Kirby or Shannon's choice (Cause hes been dead on) but I just want people to remember that the back up QB is always the most popular person on the team... till he plays. But lets hope whoever he chooses fu*ks sh*t up
 9 years ago '04        #2200
C.R.I.P. 3 heat pts
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well i mean he did come into last season with very little PT in his career.

- he split the games 2 in 2, should have been 3 -1, if Ryan Hill just catches the ball with his hands.

- he lead us in a bowl victory with 275 yds Pass 3 TD's and 1 Int including a 78-yard TD pass to Sam Shields.

- Kirby leads the team better than Wright does.

- it doesnt matter who's arm is stronger because of 1 thing, Kirby isnt afraid to take his chance's while Kyle is gun shy.

- in fall practice Kirby has been the one throwing the majority of the TD's while the majority of Int's came from Wright.
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