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Props Slaps
 10 years ago '04        #3776
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Freshman defensive back Brandon Harris made the defensive play of the game during UM's most recent scrimmage Friday night.

On the play Harris was playing the nickel position and was showing blitz before the snap.

As soon as the ball was snapped, Harris dropped back into zone coverage and quarterback Robert Marve attempted to throw a quick slant to a receiver behind Harris.

That's when Harris quickly changed the direction he was going and made a diving interception that energized the defense.

"I faked the blitz and came out of it and Marve tried to throw a slant route behind me and I just stretched out and dove behind me for the interception," Harris said. "It got the defense pretty hyped and we dominated from that point on."

The play was so impressive that Harris' teammates were impressed by his athleticism days after the scrimmage.

"He made a pick the other day in the scrimmage and he just amazed me with how he got the ball," safety Ryan Hill said.

Harris is currently rotating in and out of the first team defense as the nickel back. He says in practice he is getting reps on the outside, but his main focus right now is perfecting nickel because that will be his responsibility during the season.

One player who has helped Harris tremendously through fall camp transition to the college game is junior cornerback Chavez Grant. For the past two seasons, Grant was the nickel back at Miami. It appears this season Grant is settling in as an outside cornerback and Harris has been picking Grant's brain about the intricacies of playing the nickel.

Harris feels comfortable picking Grant's brain this fall because the two already had a connection before this fall. When Harris was a sophomore at Booker T. Washington, Grant was in his senior year.

"He is helping me a lot from the time I stepped in on campus," Harris said. "He played the nickel since he has been at Miami, so he knows the position really well. He has been teaching me a lot right now as well as Coach McGriff. He is helping me out tremendously and all the success I have on the field I owe to him."

"The hardest adjustment is just learning a new scheme after being in a certain defense for four years at high school and when I get here, it is a faster speed of play and there is so much going on during one play that it is hard to keep track of your a.ssignment sometimes."

Harris is one of the many players this fall receiving reps at kick returner this fall. Harris believes returning kicks is an area he can help the team this year and make a quick impact.

"I think that is a big part of my game," Harris said. "A lot of people saw me return kicks in high school and were very impressed. When I got to the college level, they gave me the opportunity to return kicks here and hopefully I can take advantage of it."

Through the first two weeks of fall camp Harris says he can't complain about the progress he has made in adjusting to the college game and if he continues to make plays like he did in the most recent scrimmage, Harris will be a key contributor this season.

"I feel like I have done great," Harris said. "There is always room for improvement. I have made some mistakes, but Coach McGriff was always there to correct me in the film room and tell me my mistakes and correct it. I feel like I am having a good camp right now."

 10 years ago '04        #3777
madness 21 heat pts21
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Hurricanes gain speed with freshman receiver Travis Benjamin

Speed has never been out of style at the University of Miami, but lately the Hurricanes have come up short in the playmaker department.

Coach Randy Shannon and his staff made finding fast athletes a priority in their last recruiting season, and, two weeks into fall practice, it's apparent the Hurricanes succeeded in that quest.

''Our offense has plenty of speed,'' senior linebacker Glenn Cook said. "That will be a big help.''

Freshman receiver Travis Benjamin has stood out in practice since coming to Coral Gables, and the speedster from Belle Glade hopes to join Miami's long list of players who can break a game open.

Benjamin's biggest moment in his brief Miami career came Friday night in a scrimmage. He opened some eyes when he took a screen pass from Robert Marve, found an opening and never stopped until he reached the end zone 60 yards away.

Benjamin, it is said, can't be caught.

WAY OUT FRONT

''He reminds me of Ted Ginn Jr. -- once he opens that stride, he's gone,'' senior receiver Kayne Farquharson said. ``He just separates from guys. He can't be caught from behind. There are special guys around the nation, but I think he's one of them.''

So, how fast is he? Benjamin, when timed by strength coach Andreu Swasey, ran the 40-yard dash in a Porsche-like 4.26 seconds.

Benjamin's teammates believe Swasey's stopwatch, and Farquharson said he thought of Benjamin while watching the Olympic sprints this past weekend.

''There aren't too many dudes who can run a 4.26,'' Farquharson said. "The guy who set the world record in the 100 may have trouble matching that number in the 40. [Benjamin] should give the Olympics a try one of these days. I would if I were him.''

It's that kind of speed that has coaches drooling in meetings, their minds spinning while coming up with new ways of getting their fast freshman the football.

Benjamin, who helped lead Glades Central High to a state championship at Dolphin Stadium as a junior in 2006, is expected to return kicks for the Hurricanes come opening night against Charleston Southern on Aug. 28.

Benjamin could be Miami's most feared threat on special teams since Devin Hester left Coral Gables to become a star with the Chicago Bears.

Last year, as a high school senior, Benjamin accounted for 339 yards in a game against Palm Beach Gardens. He caught two touchdown passes and also ran back a kick and a punt for scores.

''We will find a role for Travis, without a doubt,'' said receivers coach Aubrey Hill, a former standout in Steve Spurrier's Fun 'n' Gun offense at the University of Florida.

"His ability to soak everything in and execute on the field has been huge.''

Said Shannon: "[Benjamin's] made a lot of plays. A lot of plays.''

Hill, in his first season with the Hurricanes, says these first few weeks of practice have been exciting because of all the new talent Miami has at receiver.

Aside from veterans Sam Shields and Farquharson, the Hurricanes expect to find freshmen Jermaine McKenzie (redshirt), Laron Byrd, Aldarius Johnson, Thearon Collier, Tommy Streeter, Kendall Thompkins and Davon Johnson all vying for playing time in an offense Miami hopes is better than it has been the past few seasons.

''Coach Shannon went out and got us some speed guys, that's for sure,'' defensive back DeMarcus Van Dyke said. "We have a lot of different players who we need to get the ball to so they can show off a bit.''

'HE'S JUST A BLUR'

Benjamin showed his speed during the scrimmage.

''His speed is unreal. He's blazing,'' Van Dyke said. "You let him get one step on you in one-on-ones, and he's gone. He's just a blur.''

Of course, speed alone isn't going to get Benjamin or any of his other quick teammates on the field.

But it sure does help.

''We have so many guys with so much potential, it's really fun to watch,'' Hill said. "We have football players with great speed.

"These guys aren't one-dimensional. It's not just the speed. These guys have the ability to change a game. That's going to help us win.''
cant wait to see what this kid does on gameday:applause:

 10 years ago '04        #3778
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The Miami Hurricanes have completed all four of their two-a-day practices and have just one more scrimmage tonight.

The season opener is just nine days away.

There is beginning to be some concern about the availability of starting defensive ends Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey. Neither player has participated in team drills thus far although coach Randy Shannon has said they both will be ready for the Aug. 28 opener against Charleston Southern.

I would not be surprised if they were held out of the opener as a precaution to make sure they are healthy for the Sept. 6 matchup at No. 5 Florida.

Shannon said he might name a starting quarterback on "Thursday or Friday". The sooner the better. However, keep in mind. Last year, Shannon didn't name a starting quarterback until days before the opener at the press conference leading up to the game. The pre-game press conference will be on Monday leading up to the Thursday night matchup.

Marve Appears to be the Starter

Robert Marve has done everything that one could hope for in his competition to be the team's starting quarterback.

He's performed well in the spring scrimmages and again in the fall. He's been consistent, limited his mistakes, and has thrown touchdowns.

It appears more and more each day that Marve will be the starter with Jacory Harris backing him up. (Watch Video)

Harris has done well since arriving on campus in January, but still could use a season under his belt to continue his adjustment to the college game.

When the starting quarterback is named, I wonder how long it will take before a controversy will ensue. Or maybe the starter performs well enough and the teams wins to silence a controversy. Obviously, the second statement would be a better outcome.

James Continues to Work in the Slot

Running back Javarris James (Watch Video) began doing a lot of work as a slot receiver this spring and put in a lot of time in the off-season working on his hands.






James said former Hurricane Lamar Thomas gave him some pointers and the two did some 1-on-1 work together.

"I've been working on my hands a lot more," James said. "Hopefully getting out there in the slot and getting a chance to have the ball in my hands."

James (pictured right) also caught passes with Kellen Winslow, another former Hurricane. NFL Pro Bowl receivers Chad Johnson and Reggie Wayne were also working out at UM in the summer.

"Working with all of those guys is a privilege," James said. "Those guys are really great. They come back and put in the work with us. Hopefully I'll join them one day."

With James in the slot, look for Graig Cooper to handle more of the tailback responsibilities and James to be used more in the passing game.

In his first two seasons, James has caught 31 passes for 300 yards and one touchdown. Only one returning player, wide receiver Sam Shields, has caught more passes (64) in their career.

Hard Hitters

Junior linebacker Darryl Sharpton (Listen to Sharpton) has widely been considered one of the hardest hitters on the team at 5-11, 235 pounds.

So who are the other hard hitters?

Safety Anthony Redd*ck, freshman linebacker Arthur Brown (Listen to Brown), and defensive end Eric Moncur round the top hitters on the team according to one senior.

Sharpton has always been a hard hitter since he arrive on campus in 2005, but he is beginning to progress as an overall player. Currently, he is the starting strongside linebacker after posting a career-high 57 tackles last year.

JoJo Nicolas on first team?

So JoJo Nicolas is a first team safety and Lovon Ponder says he wouldn't be surprised to see him start. Umm, what?

Nicolas was a seldom-used player last season as a freshman and mainly saw action on special teams. Now he is on the first team along with Redd*ck.

It's great to see Nicolas performing well. But what about Randy Phillips? Something doesn't sound right. Earlier this fall, Phillips (pictured below) admitted he was not on the field in some games last year due to disciplinary action. Hopefully everything is okay with him.

We will see what we can find out.





Futch Gets the 'U'

Freshman LB Jordan Futch (Watch Video) has a 'U' shaved into the back of his head and plans to keep it there.

"That's his style," running back Javarris James said.

Meanwhile, James has decided to let his hair grow out during fall practices, but will go back to having a clean look for the season.

In other hair news, offensive lineman Orlando Franklin continues to have a design on the side of his head with a mohawk.

We're Hurricanes...

The team practiced in the rain on Monday morning with Tropical Storm Fay on the horizon.

Following practice, two players--Kayne Farquharson and John Calhoun--acknowledged the weather with the same response.

"We play in the rain, we're Hurricanes," they said.

Just an interesting observation.

Recruit Wearing UM Shorts

American Heritage offensive lineman Jared Wheeler, a high priority for the Hurricanes, was at Friday's scrimmage wearing UM shorts.

This has to be a good sign for UM fans, although it is typical to see recruits wear gear of a variety of colleges.

Florida, which is believed to be UM's toughest competition with Wheeler, already has three verbal commitments from offensive linemen.

Upcoming Practice Schedule

UM has a scrimmage tonight before a day off on Wednesday. They will resume practice on Thursday morning, but a 5:30 AM practice on Friday is a bit shocking. They are off on Saturday before getting into game week preparations on Sunday.

 10 years ago '04        #3779
madness 21 heat pts21
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Scrimmage 3 wrap-up

The third and final scrimmage of the fall is all wrapped up. Even though we didn't get to see a single snap of this one (we at least got to see a little of No. 1 and No. 2), it's apparent the offense had it's best scrimmage of the fall so far.

"I think as far as an offense, this was our best scrimmage by far," left tackle Jason Fox said. "We executed. We didn't have a turnover tonight. Pass protection was there. I'm not sure if we gave up any sacks. No dropped balls. I think we had one penalty. This was a great way to finish off camp as far as an offense."

Fox told reporters the offense scored seven to eight touchdowns. Well, it wasn't that much. Chavez Grant told me somebody was multiplying by two. After all the interviews, I've concluded there were four.

Three belonged to sophomore receiver Leonard Hankerson, who told us he caught two long passes (one from Robert Marve and Jacory Harris) and another on a bubble screen (from Harris). Hankerson admitted he's been feeling the heat from the freshmen, who up until Tuesday had been receiving all the praise from coach Randy Shannon.

"I felt I had to play well because in the previous [scrimmages] I didn't do as well as I should of," Hankerson said. "So, today I just had to come out and show I can play. The performance I figure it help with the coaches and my confidence too."

Hankerson, who said he's lined up at all three receiver positions (flanker, split end and slot), said he caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Harris in the end zone. His 45-yarder from Marve was caught at the 25-yard line, he then raced past the secondary into the end zone. His third and final touchdown came on a bubble screen at the 30-yard line.

"I guess he has that deceptive speed," cornerback Chavez Grant told me. "He's not a slim guy. He's kind of heavy set. He runs great routes. But you don't expect him to jump on the horse, but he did tonight. We kind of busted some coverages and once the offense got the momentum going. They just did well."

> Grant said the defense was called for offsides four times -- including once on a punt block, giving the offense new life.

> Shannon didn't say a word about Hankerson, a St. Thomas Aquinas grad once after we asked him who shined during the scrimmage. The only name that came out was freshman receiver Thearon Collier, whom Grant told us had a rushing touchdown. Shannon said Collier did a great job on punt returns.

Shannon told reporters before Tuesday the final scrimmage was going to focus on special teams. He reiterated that if the season started today, sophomore Matt Bosher would handle all of the kicking duties. Grant said he, Graig Cooper, Collier and Benjamin are the guys primarily working on punt returns and pointed to Ryan Hill, Brandon Harris and Shawnbrey McNeal as guys working in the kick return game.

> Grant said part of the reason he thinks the receivers have been enjoying so much success this fall is depth, something UM obviously hasn't had the past several season.

Chavez_grant
"I think we have a lot of speedy freshman, big strong guys like Laron Byrd," Grant said. "They're coming in, making it tough for us. They're rotating every play, so they got fresh bodies. It's making us tough on our DBs. All of them have great talent. If they keep rotating, they're going to be real good."

Grant said he and Bruce Johnson are the guys starting at cornerback, but admits he moves inside when DeMarcus Van Dyke comes in the game. He said Brandon Harris is seeing a lot of time at nickel. "I don't even want to take that spot back," Grant sad. "Right now, just like it was for my first two years, he's doing a phenomenal job, making all the right checks, that's his spot right now. You just got to give it to who is performing the best right now."

> Shannon said defensive end Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey still aren't participating in full contact drills. Safety Randy Phillips was held out. So was freshman receiver Tommy Streeter.

> I know Shannon doesn't want to be accused of favoring his son Xavier, who is expected to start at center. But we all cracked a laugh tonight when I asked him how Xavier is doing. "Don't know, don't watch him," Shannon said.

> Jason Fox is officially becoming my favorite quote on this team. He's answering questions honestly and with real thought. I asked him for his take on several subjects...

How is Xavier doing at center? "With Xavier, he's playing a new position, he played tackle over there, so he's picked it up. He's quick. He hasn't missed a beat. He's graded out well in scrimmages."

Who on the offensive line would you say has made the most progress since camp began? "AJ Trump he's a guy if he's not starting, he'll be the sixth man. He'll play a lot. He had a block that sprung a touchdown on the last play. He's a guy that's been working real hard and shined."

Who on the defensive line is making an impression on you? "Same old name keeps popping up -- Marcus Forston. He's a hard worker. He's playing real well for a freshman. He's making a lot of plays."

> UM is off Wednesday. Ill be back on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. The team practices at 5:30 a.m. on Friday.
good to hear Hank get back into the mix, he's kinda been the forgotten guy with all the freshmen ballin'

 10 years ago '04        #3780
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Freshman wide receiver Travis Benjamin made the play of the scrimmage Friday night.

Benjamin took a quick screen pass from quarterback Robert Marve and immediately got up the field and scored a touchdown from 60 yards out.

"I had a decent day," is all Benjamin said about his performance following the scrimmage, but he had his teammates abuzz about his 4.26 speed.

Head Coach Randy Shannon: "He is very, very fast. I remember watching Travis when he played Northwestern in the jamboree. He caught a hitch route and went 90 yards and that hasn't changed. Any time he can get one-on-one with anybody, he can go the distance and those are the kind of players we need on this team."

Quarterback Jacory Harris: "Oh man, Travis Benjamin is amazing. He displayed his 4.26 speed today on a screen. He just caught it and found the hole and took off."

Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dke: "He reminds me of Ted Ginn how he caught the pass and just ran with it up the middle. He is just so fast."

Running back Damien Berry: "That guy has got speed, man. He is from Belle Glade, so what else can I say. He caught a screen and got guys missing."

"His speed is awesome. He makes moves on a dime and gets guys missing."

Benjamin has been making plays all of fall camp and figures to be pushing strongly for a heavy role in the offense this season, but Benjamin says he will be happy this season if he can just get in the playing rotation.

"I don't think I should be a starter," Benjamin said. "We are a team as a receiving corps and if I keep doing what I am doing, maybe I will get in the rotation."

If Benjamin keeps performing like he has through the first two weeks of fall camp, it will be hard to keep him off the field. Benjamin is a versatile threat on offense for Miami because he has the speed to line up as an outside receiver and stretch and defense vertically and he can lineup in the slot and use his quickness to get open.

"I know I had to come to college and work hard. In college you have to work harder than in high school," Benjamin said. "Since I am a freshman, everyone is going to kind of underrate me or something and I know I have to just work hard at my position."

Since arriving at UM this summer, Benjamin says he has dropped his best time in the 40 from a 4.4 to a 4.26. The University of Miami is known for having speedy players at the skill positions, and Travis Benjamin appears to be the next great home run threat for the UM offense for years to come.

"I think I have impressed most of the people that I have came in and made plays like I do," Benjamin said.

 10 years ago '04        #3781
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Since Greg Olsen left Miami two years ago, UM has been searching for a productive tight end.

In Dedrick Epps, Chris Zellner, Richard Gordon, Tervaris Johnson, and Daniel Adderley, Miami has five candidates at the position, but which player will separate themselves from the pack?

According to Epps, the coaching staff has made no secret about their confidence in his playmaking abilities.

"The coaches look at it like I am the go to guy, but I just play my position and when the ball is thrown to me then I catch it," Epps said.

Epps made the most of his opportunities when he had them last season. Epps came up huge in the 37-29 win over Florida State, when he caught the game winning 13-yard touchdown in the corner of the end-zone.

Used primarily as an H-back last year, Epps made zero starts and caught just eight passes for 83 yards and one touchdown.

Even though last season the tight ends were rarely used in passing situations, Epps says the quarterbacks this year are doing a better job of getting the ball to them.

"They look for us more," Epps said. "If the receivers aren't open, they will check down to us if we have a drag or a hitch. We are helping them out a lot more."

And are there any plays in which the tight ends are the primary targets?

"Coach Nix has drawn up a few plays like that," Epps said.

This fall Epps has made multiple plays for the offense in which he has caught the ball in the flat and gotten yards after the catch by running defenders over. Epps says he loves to run over opposing linebackers and defensive backs because of the energy it brings his teammates.

"They say that I am going to be the one that gets to offense hyped after making a catch and running over a few people and then getting yards after the catch," Epps said. "It helps us come together as an offense and it helps us build off of each other."

"A lot of guys are running defenders over though, like Javarris. We got a lot of big bodies on offense, so it is going to be something to see in the season."

The 2008 season is Epps' time to become the go-to receiver at tight end. The coaches have placed the expectations on Epps this year and he says he is ready to embrace that role.

"I am excited about those expectations," Epps said. "I don't feel like there is a lot of pressure on me. I can play that role well."

 10 years ago '08        #3782
904Nole 1 heat pts
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Travis B.= Santana Moss

 10 years ago '04        #3783
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami running back Graig Cooper is excited and ready to go. The University of Miami's leading rushing last season wants to start hitting the hole against opponents and not teammates.

When he speaks, it's easy to see his excitement and how jacked up he is to get on the field next Thursday when the 'Canes open their season against Charleston Southern.

"Man we've been tasting it for 49 days. We've been counting down for 49 days. We've been taking it day-by-day. We always concentrate on the day we are working on, but we've been talking about it for 49 days," Cooper said.

Cooper was equally excited with the performance of the offense during Tuesday night's scrimmage as well even though he didn't get too many carries as coach Randy Shannon is attempting to protect his franchise running backs in Cooper and Javarris James while giving other backs the majority of the carries.

"We did pretty good. We executed. We only had 2 penalties and no turnovers, so we did pretty good," Cooper said.

With the season opener looming at Dolphin Stadium next week, Cooper said it doesn't matter where they play.

"I mean it's alright, we'll play anywhere, we ready, we just ready. This is what we've been preparing for," Cooper said.

More importantly for Cooper is his confidence. It's improved a great deal since he started off his career last year at 190 pounds. Now weighing 203 pounds, Cooper feels the difference throughout his body and when he runs the ball in between the tackles.

His teammates are the first ones to constantly make mention of his ability to run through arm tackles now, something he couldn't do last year. Just watching film from last year's game, opponents would toss him because he wasn't strong enough to battle them.

"Oh man, I am just a whole lot more confident from 190 to like 203, it's a big difference so I just go in there with a lot more confidence than I did last year. Last year when I saw a big guy coming I'd take him on, I don't care, but now I got a lot more confidence. I got a little more weight and strength to go back with it," Cooper said..

Beyond weighing more and being stronger, Cooper feels like he is still 190 and has the same burst he had last year even though he's bigger now.

"I did it all so good that I barely feel it. It's still feels like I am 190. I am just so comfortable," Cooper said.

One thing that Cooper has taken notice is the difference from last year's camp to this year's camp. While it hasn't been easier per say, the team has been given more days off, something it didn't get last Fall which led to a very unhealthy team when the season began.

"Yeah man, we feel real good. Everybody is healthy. I am glad we got everyone out of camp real healthy. And everybody is confident. Offense sees that the defense looks real good and the defense sees that the offense looks real good and we are just getting ready for the season, that's it," Cooper said. "Coach is being cautious with everyone, not just us. We need everyone healthy."

Even so, the 'Canes will practice on Friday at 5:30 a.m., something Cooper was unaware of following Tuesday's scrimmage.

"This Friday coming up? I didn't know that," Cooper asked with a laugh. "God. I am going to sleep early Thursday. I will go to sleep at 5:30 p.m. That is something new for us. That hurts my soul. You hurt my soul with that one."

But Cooper is ready to go.

"We've been ready for Charleston Southern since Thursday at workouts. We are just ready to go," Cooper said.

 10 years ago '04        #3784
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- It was a big day for the offense this morning in practice as the 'Canes began their official preparation for their season opener against Charleston Southern next Thursday at Dolphin Stadium.

SHANNON QUOTES

"Today's practice we worked on Charleston Southern. We broke up offensively and defensively and did some special teams. As far as execution, we executing pretty well. no illegal procedures or offsides so guys are focused on the first game."

NEWS & NOTES

? There is no update on when the starting quarterback will be named.

? WRs Khalil Jones, Sam Shields, Kayne Farquharson and Travis Benjamin all caught touchdown passes this morning in practice.

? Freshman DE Marcus Robinson received first-team reps, but is a second-team player according to Shannon, and will have an opportunity to receive substantial playing time this season.

"He's a young kid who has done a great job of pass rushing," Shannon said. "He's one of our premier young pass-rushers for the future. We are really excited about him. He has been getting to the quarterback and chasing the football."

? Freshman Joe Wylie is playing safety this fall, which is where he played in high school. There was some consideration about playing Wylie at cornerback.

? Freshman CB Brandon Harris continues to impress his teammates at cornerback and nickel back position. Look for Harris to be one of the top freshmen performers this season.

? Shannon would like to have seven offensive linemen in the rotation. Right now, the sixth guy is OT Chris Rutledge and the seventh is OG/OC A.J. Trump.

? WR Leonard Hankerson was playing inside slot receiver earlier this fall, but was moved back out to the outside, which is where he was when he scored three touchdowns in Tuesday's scrimmage.

? DEs Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey have doctor appointments later today to get the latest on their status. Shannon still expects both to be ready for the Aug. 28 opener.

? RB Derron Thomas is a bit banged up and sore after taking a lot of reps this fall as Javarris James and Graig Cooper are being rested.

? Graig Cooper, Shawnbrey McNeal, Ryan Hill, Thearon Collier, Travis Benjamin, Davon Johnson, and Brandon Harris are still in the running to be the team's returners this season. Aldarius Johnson was on kick return, but was recently taken off.

? Matt Bosher is still the guy that will kick field goals, punt, and do kickoffs. "Right now, it looks like he is going to have to do all three until we get into the games until we get K Jake (Wieclaw) and see what QB/P Taylor Cook can do," Shannon said. Bosher missed a 54-yard field goal in practice recently, but came back and hit a "40-something yarder".

? Practice resumes Friday morning at 5:30.

? UM classes start on Aug. 27.

 10 years ago '04        #3785
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- For the past two years, junior cornerback Chavez Grant has worked his way into the rotation playing the role of nickel and dime back. It's a role he took on and worked very hard at. It's a role that he is now teaching for another former Booker T. Washington graduate and former high school teammate in freshman Brandon Harris.

He's teaching the role to Harris because right now Grant is working as a first team corner opposite of Bruce Johnson.

Grant's play has improved so much that he's currently ahead of DeMarcus Van Dke, someone everyone expected to be as close to a lock as a starter as anyone on the team.

As much as his play has been excellent in Fall practice, he's also taken on the role of mentor with a passion and pleasure.

"I am at corner right now. It's a big change from having to deal with a lot of motion and check calls on the inside. Like I said I am on the corner now. There's a lot more one on one. We have Brandon Harris who stepped in and he's doing a phenomenal job. He's stepped in like a champ and he's playing it very well. We have corners me, Bruce, Van Dke and Carlos Armour. Guys are stepping up and doing their role," Grant said. "I played a lot of nickel and dime and accepted my role. That's what I did. I played it my best. And now I am teaching it. We are just teaching each other and help each other. That's the only way we can get better."

Grant was very complimentary of the offense though following a strong scrimmage Tuesday as the offense got the best of the defense. Grant said teammate Jason Fox was multiplying when he said the offense scored 7-8 or either touchdowns, but was smiling when he said it.

"Nah, he's multiplying," Grant said with a smirk. "The scrimmage went okay. You know we had a lot of mental mistakes. They didn't beat us up physically. It wasn't the scheme. Mentally we had a lot of mistakes. A lot of credit to the offense, they really impressed me today," Grant said. "They ran the ball well and threw the ball well. I am real proud of those guys."

The mental mistakes though are something the defense needs to get past and not make when playing a team like Florida.

One of the concerns that Grant had was the play of the safeties who got beat a few times in the scrimmage.

"We had a lot of penalties, a lot of offsides, a couple of blown coverages where there safeties weren't staying deep," Grant said. "We just have to have each other's back. Football is a bunch of ups and downs. The offense just had some more ups than we did today."

Grant has also been impressed with the play of the wide receivers throughout Fall practice.

"They always do we well. We are just competing. Hank (Leonard Hankerson) caught a screen and turned it into a touchdown. Sometimes they are going to have good days and sometimes we are going to have good days. We are going back and forth, we are just competing."

 10 years ago '04        #3786
booie4 
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Per the Fort Myers News Press:

Former Fort Myers High star C.J. Odom said he plans to travel to Hargrave Military Academy this weekend and renew a football career that hopefully will lead him to the University of Miami in January.

Odom left Milford (N.Y.) Academy after a week of freshman orientation and didn't return on his scheduled reporting date of Aug. 10. After talking with Miami running backs coach Tommie Robinson, Odom said he's confident his change of schools won't affect his status with the Hurricanes.

"I called coach Robinson and he's a real positive, honest guy," Odom said. "And he said he wasn't gonna give up on me.

"Miami always has been my favorite school and the school I've wanted to attend. I'm really going to work hard to wind up there in January. I want to be part of the building there."

Troy Davis, a former Cape Coral High coach who's now at Hargrave, said he's been in touch with Odom. "We're kind of still seeing where we're at," he said.

Matthew Brawn, Hargrave athletic director, said Davis and school administrators will decide whether Odom can be accepted this late, but added he was confident everything will work out.

Odom said his heart was set on going to Miami; but when he fell 50 to 70 points short on his test scores, he needed to attend prep school so he could get his test scores and be academically eligible for college in January of 2009.

"Everyone in my neighborhood is big fans of Miami's, too, and when I couldn't go there right away, I kind of hurt inside," he said. "I felt there were a lot of people I disappointed; and I didn't know I had other options."

Miami placed him at Milford, Odom said, because it was a last-minute situation, but he said it wasn't a good fit. When he returned to Fort Myers, he said spent time alone to sort things out.

"He told me he's got everything figured out now," said John Schwochow, Fort Myers High defensive ends and running backs coach.

While Odom's brother Johnny Brown could take him to the Chatham, Va., campus, Fort Myers High coach Sam Sirianni, Jr. said he's there if needed.

"No matter what it takes, we'll get him there," Sirianni said. "This is too great of an opportunity to miss out on. We're not going to be hard on him, we just need to get him in school."

 10 years ago '04        #3787
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- If the season were to start today, freshman Marcus Robinson would be Miami's starting left defensive end.

Today was the first day Miami started their preparations for the Charleston Southern game on August 28 and Robinson was elevated to first team after an impressive performance in the last scrimmage in which he totaled two sacks.

Because starters Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey are still being held out of practice due to injuries from the summer, Robinson will have to prepare like he is a starter for UM's season opener.

"Today I went a lot with the first team because I don't know if [Moncur and Bailey] will be able to play the first game," Robinson said. "They are just getting me ready for the first game of the season."

"It is challenging for me right now knowing that two good guys are out. It is just motivating me to go harder every day to backup those guys and be a starter for the first game."

At 6-feet-1 and 231 pounds Robinson is the smallest defensive end on Miami's roster, but he makes up for his lack of size with his speed and quickness.

Though Robinson was recruited to play linebacker at Miami, he primarily played defensive end at Homestead High School, totaling 46 sacks during his junior and senior seasons.

"I was recruited as an outside linebacker, but when I got in there was a couple guys who got hurt and coach brought me in his office and asked what I think about playing defensive end and I told him it wouldn't matter," Robinson said.

Already plenty fast enough, Robinson says the areas he had to work on during fall camp was his hand placement and footwork.

"In high school I used my speed, but now everything got quicker and faster so I have to use my technique too," Robinson said.

Though Robinson admits he is nervous about the prospect of starting the first game of his UM career, one aspect he is looking forward to about the Charleston Southern game is being able to make the tackle when he gets to the quarterback.

"That is tough for me right now because I can't tag off on [the quarterbacks], but I know in a game I have to run through them really hard and I can't slow up like I slow up in practice," Robinson said.

 10 years ago '04        #3788
1000bluntz 
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There's a rumor going around that Marve and like 4 other players are suspended for the first game. Anybody know what they did? Marve's first career start could be at the Swamp, that would be some scary sh*t.

 10 years ago '04        #3789
madness 21 heat pts21
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 1000bluntz said
There's a rumor going around that Marve and like 4 other players are suspended for the first game. Anybody know what they did? Marve's first career start could be at the Swamp, that would be some scary sh*t.
probably for his arrest last year

and it's not like 1 game against charleston southern wouldve prepared him for a night game in gainesville

 10 years ago '04        #3790
1000bluntz 
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 madness said
probably for his arrest last year

and it's not like 1 game against charleston southern wouldve prepared him for a night game in gainesville
True, he'd get rocked either way. What he get arrested for?

 10 years ago '04        #3791
madness 21 heat pts21
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 1000bluntz said
True, he'd get rocked either way. What he get arrested for?
breaking a car window and running away. from what i hear he was supposed to attend anger management classes but didnt finish them, thats why he's in trouble.

guess we'll find out when shannon reveals the depth chart sunday.

 10 years ago '05        #3792
Deeangoe 2 heat pts
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 madness said
breaking a car window and running away. from what i hear he was supposed to attend anger management classes but didnt finish them, thats why he's in trouble.

guess we'll find out when shannon reveals the depth chart sunday.
lol wasnt this at the grove or something

so i guess we can blame marve for the new bullsh*t a.ss 3am curfew at the grove lol

 10 years ago '04        #3793
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The team practiced at 5:30 in the morning as they prepare for the season opener less than a week away.

SHANNON QUOTES

"It was a fun practice. They were enthused. They fly around and got a lot of things done on Charleston Southern. We are going in the right direction."

NEWS & NOTES

? The team practiced at 5:30 for over two and a half hours. The early morning practice was because of freshman orientation for all students, which started at 9 a.m.

? Freshman WR Tommy Streeter will miss the 2008 season after having surgery and was not at practice. A source has confirmed that Streeter injured his wrist. "Injuries happen," Shannon said. "You feel bad for Tommy, but it happens. You have to move on, we'll rehab him, and get him ready for next season."

? There is still no update on when the starting quarterback will be named. Shannon said: "I don't know when I'm going to announce it. I may announce it at 10 o'clock tonight, tomorrow, Sunday, I don't know."

? Shannon said he would probably release a depth chart on Sunday regarding the other positions. He will also give an injury report at that time, Monday at the latest. In the off-season, the ACC coaches agreed to give an injury report similar to the NFL's policy this season during game week.

? DEs Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey had a doctor's appointment on Thursday, but Shannon said he had not heard the results. Both have not been cleared to participate in team drills.

? Freshman Brandon Marti was not at practice, but has been cleared. Marti has to go through orientation before he can practice.

? First-team kick returners were freshmen Travis Benjamin and Davon Johnson. Jermaine McKenzie and Thearon Collier were on second team. Benjamin and Johnson are two of the fastest players on the team and should improve the kick return game, which averaged 19.3 yards a return last season.

? The coaches are preparing the team for Charleston Southern, who runs a spread offense and does a lot of zone blitzing. "We can't take them lightly," Shannon said.

? TE Tervaris Johnson has received praise from Shannon this fall. Johnson moved to tight end, where he played in high school, following spring practices after playing safety in his first two seasons. Johnson is adapting to the tight end routes at UM, which are fairly basis running either an out, drag, or fly pattern. There are no designed post corner routes for the tight end like he ran in high school.

? The first-team offensive line is as how it has been projected after last season. LT Jason Fox, LG Orlando Franklin, C Xavier Shannon, RG Joel Figueroa, and RT Reggie Youngblood.

? Back-up offensive linemen A.J. Trump and Chris Rutledge are the only two, who are not wearing scout team numbers this week.

? The second-team offensive line is: LT Tyrone Byrd, LG Ian Symonnette, C Matt Pipho, RG A.J. Trump, and RT Chris Rutledge.

? Back-up RBs Derron Thomas, Shawnbrey McNeal, and Lee Chambers are not on the scout team. RB Damien Berry is handling the scout team duties.

? DT Dwayne Hendricks is lined up as the first-team defensive tackle alongside Antonio Dixon. Hendricks, a senior, has missed some practices this fall with a minor injury. Last season, Hendricks recorded 19 tackles, two for a loss, and one sack in six games--making three starts including the 2007 season opener ahead of Dixon and Joe Joseph.

? Practice resumes Sunday at 6 p.m.

 08-23-2008, 05:48 PM         #3794
Cheeze  OP
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With Marve reportedly out for the first game of the season (suspension) how do you guys think Jacory gonna handle Charleston Southern?

 10 years ago '04        #3795
madness 21 heat pts21
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 JNyiri77 said
With Marve reportedly out for the first game of the season (suspension) how do you guys think Jacory gonna handle Charleston Southern?
he'll do fine, this is why shannon gave both harris and marve so many first-team reps during this summer, he already knew marve would be out first game.

things will get interesting if jacory does really well and fans are clamoring for him to start.

 08-23-2008, 07:01 PM         #3796
Cheeze  OP
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 madness said
he'll do fine, this is why shannon gave both harris and marve so many first-team reps during this summer, he already knew marve would be out first game.

things will get interesting if jacory does really well and fans are clamoring for him to start.
I know the run game is gonna be fine, I'm just hoping Harris can air it out a little to take pressure off the backfield. With the amount of wr's we got it should be interesting who steps up in the first game. I'm tired of 'hearing' about Byrd and Benjamin I wanna see them in a game already :angry12:

 10 years ago '04        #3797
madness 21 heat pts21
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 JNyiri77 said
I know the run game is gonna be fine, I'm just hoping Harris can air it out a little to take pressure off the backfield. With the amount of wr's we got it should be interesting who steps up in the first game. I'm tired of 'hearing' about Byrd and Benjamin I wanna see them in a game already :angry12:
word, i get a lil excited when i hear about them boyz ballin in scrimmages and practices and sh*t but none of that means a damn thing if you dont do it on saturdays when it counts.

 10 years ago '04        #3798
booie4 
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his team more days off this fall than he did a year ago.

Last year, the team practiced 18 days in a row to start fall camp before a day off.

This year, they started fall camp with six consecutive practices. Since then, they have not had more than four days in a row before a day off.

"It's a lot different," Shannon said. "Guys know what we expect out of them. We don't have to drill them all the time on making sure you get this or that done. Now it is a more of they understand the type of practice we're trying to get done, what we need, the tempo, and now it's easier for practice."

The days off are helpful for the players in preparation for the season, but some feel the break is only minimal.

"It gives us a little break," junior wide receiver Sam Shields said. "But it doesn't matter because I don't think we ever rest. We are always working with Swasey. It's never off."

Shannon has also limited the reps for running backs Javarris James and Graig Cooper this fall for precautionary reasons to make sure they are healthy heading into the season especially with the Sept. 6 game at No. 5 Florida just two weeks away.

"You have to get running backs running tough," Shannon said. "I think they understand that now. They did it this spring and they did it this fall. We pick and choose what we are going to do to get them ready for the season."

There has only been three major injuries this fall as offensive linemen Chris Barney (8-12 weeks) and Ben Jones (leg) are expected to miss substantial time. Wide receiver Tommy Streeter is out for the season with wrist surgery.

Hopefully the days off will prevent the team from hitting a wall during mid-season like it appeared they did last season losing six of their last seven games.

The Aug. 28 opener against Charleston Southern should be a tune up with the showdown with the Gators.

It's important for Miami to play well against UF to help their confidence against Texas A&M the following week and ACC match-ups with North Carolina and Florida State all within their first five games of the season.

The Canes had a day off Saturday and resume Sunday evening. They will also practice Monday and Tuesday with a walk-through on Wednesday before the game on Thursday.

 10 years ago '04        #3799
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Special teams is a phase of the game Miami Head Coach Randy Shannon has put a heavy emphasis on during his first two years.

Miami has always prided itself on strong special teams and for UM to have an improved season this year, one area they must improve is all areas of special teams.

Miami ranked 67th in the nation in punt returns (8.27) and 100th in kickoff returns (19.27) and UM did not score a single touchdown in the return game.

In net punt return average UM ranked 58th nationally (35.05) and 69th in kickoff return yardage defense (21.70).

Read here to learn more about UM's special teams going into the 2008 season.

? Sophomore Matt Bosher is being asked to handle field goal, punting, and kickoff responsibilities. Bosher, who was recruited as a kicker, but played as the team's punter last season, has been UM's most consistent kicker in all three phases this fall.

"We are expecting big things out of him," Pannunzio said of Bosher. "He has been with us now for three years and he has a lot of talent. It is a lot to ask of him, but I think he is up to the challenge."

? Bosher averaged 40.2 yards per punt last season and had a net average of 36.7 yards. Bosher made big improvements at punter as the season progressed. In the opening game against Marshall Bosher averaged 26.8 yards per punt on four punts. Late in the season against Virginia Tech Bosher averaged 51.7 yards per punt on six punts.

"If you look at him in the first three or four games last year, everybody thought it was going to be a nightmare, but as it progressed he got better. As he become more comfortable, I thought he became pretty good."

? Bosher has the strongest leg of all the kickers and Pannunzio says his field goal range goes out as far as 55 yards.

? According to Pannunzio, running back Graig Cooper will get the first shot at punt returner. Freshmen receivers Travis Benjamin and Thearon Collier will also receive looks during the year with Chavez Grant available if the staff wants a sure-handed player to handle the responsibilities.

Expect Benjamin and Collier to get serious looks at punt returner as the season progresses. In Miami's most recent scrimmage Shannon named Collier as a player who stood out in the punt return game and Pannunzio calls Benjamin "lightning."

"He is very comfortable fielding the ball," Pannunzio said of Collier. "He seems to be making good decisions. He is a young guy though and it is one thing to do it in practice and then carry it over to the game. He is a guy who has a lot of talent and has great quickness."

? At kick returner, safety Ryan Hill and running back Shawnbrey McNeal figure to get the first look with Bruce Johnson, Brandon Harris, and Aldarius Johnson all rotating in during the season.

? All the returners will get reps throughout the season until the staff finds the right combination of players who can consistently pick up yards without turning the ball over.

"You start with the veteran guys, but there are some young guys behind them who will get some opportunities and see who gets hot," Pannunzio said. "With the return guys you don't have to coach a whole lot. You don't have to coach Roscoe and Devin. God blessed those guys when they were born."

? Walk-on quarterback Jake Byrne will handle the short-snapper responsibilities for field goals with fellow walk on Matt Perrelli working as the holder. The snapping and holding phase of field goal kicking is very important and Pannunzio feels confident with Perrelli as the holder because he was Bosher's holder at Jupiter High School.

? Pannunzio says he likes what he has seen from freshman kicker Jake Wieclaw through fall camp, but Wieclaw is still getting used to kicking off the ground rather than kicking off a tee for field goals like he did in high school.

"Jake Wieclaw is going to be a good kicker, but right now he is transitioning from kicking off the tee to the grass and then his length isn't quite as long as Matt's is," Pannunzio said.

 10 years ago '04        #3800
booie4 
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Although it hasn't been officially announced yet by University of Miami coach Randy Shannon, there are enough reports and confirmation of these reports that freshman Jacory Harris will be the starting quarterback when the season begins Thursday against Charleston Southern at Dolphin Stadium.

These reports have also stated that Robert Marve actually won the competition for the position, but is being suspended for the opener because of his October 2007 arrest. What means for the future beyond Thursday's game remains to be seen, but there is one guarantee this week and it is that Harris is the starter.

Fear not though, the quarterback position is in good hands with Harris as long as he remains in control of it. He went 30-0 as a starter at Miami Northwestern High School leading the Bulls to back-to-back state championships and a mythical National Championship.

He doesn't know what it feels like to lose and doesn't want to learn the feeling. Throughout his career at Northwestern the Bulls rolled to win after win, but he also faced incredibly adversity in the second to last game of his high school career.

Trailing 14-12 against Deerfield Beach in the Class 6A state semifinals, Harris led his team on a 12-play, 99-yard drive that ended on a five-yard touchdown run by Tyresse Jones giving Northwestern a 19-14 win.

All questions about Harris in crunch time were answered with that drive. Any thoughts that he couldn't come up with the big drive if he needed to were put to rest when he led the Bulls on that drive.

While the Denver Broncos may call the 1986 drive led by John Elway "The Drive," in Liberty City, what Harris led was the real drive doing it in a little over two minutes. That drive culminated a phenomenal high school career.

As a senior, Harris threw 49 touchdown passes to only six interceptions, one better than Marve did when he set the state record in 2006 at Plant High School. Although Harris broke Marve's record, it wasn't a state record as Marve's successor at Plant Aaron Murray threw 51 touchdown passes setting the state record last year.

It didn't keep Harris from being named Mr. Football, the first time a Miami-Dade County football player ever won the award.

There are a number of questions when it comes to Harris including his arm strength. Rest a.ssured Harris can throw the ball. He's extremely accurate which was proven by his 70 percent plus completion percentage while in high school.

To give himself a legitimate chance to be the starter his freshman year, Harris enrolled at Miami to get a good grasp of the play book which he has clearly done. His performances in the Spring, although not spectacular, were solid. He could have only gotten better since then.

With Marve suspended for the opener, Harris now has his chance to be the starter and keep the job entering the Florida game and possibly beyond that.

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