Miami Hurricanes

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Props Slaps
 10 years ago '04        #3301
madness 16 heat pts16
$13,084 | Props total: 3389 3389
props cap peeler and caneboi
 03-27-2008, 04:49 PM         #3302
dytcity07  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
i love sean taylor he is a beast
 10 years ago '04        #3303
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$5,397 | Props total: 1876 1876
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- When you talk about seizing the opportunity, that's what University of Miami redshirt freshman Adewale Ojomo is doing every day in practice.

As a true freshman last year, Ojomo had a chance to watch All-American Calais Campbell from the sideline during games and had the chance to practice as a member of the scout team.

But now, Ojomo will be expected to step up and be a playmaker. With Allen Bailey and Eric Moncur slated in as the likely starters at defensive end, Ojomo will likely get plenty of playing time rotating in for either one of them.

However, Spring practice has him prepared already as he is getting as many at 40 snaps in a row daily.

"I've became a tougher player in the spring by all our d-ends not being here, going to class and having other things to do, I've been taking all the reps and just became tough mentally," Ojomo said. "I've been getting in shape by being in there for all those reps. I've been going 40 reps straight. I've been getting different looks and just by learning how to push through adversity."

What Ojomo is hoping for is that the amount of reps he is taking each day in practice turns into reps in games. And he hopes that all the reps he's been taking makes the game that much easier.

"In the season, it's 60-70 plays in a game. I'm going 40 plays straight and you know when you have halftime and water breaks and the in-game commercials, so I am just getting tough, so the game should be easy for me," Ojomo said.

When asked if he's in the best shape he's even been.

"Definitely," Ojomo said.

So what's been the key for Ojomo's improvement and what he wants to keep on working on to make him continue to get better.

"Just staying focused. Staying focused on the plays and doing my job and the task at hand. That's been the biggest challenge for me," Ojomo said.

As a high school defensive end, he was known for his rough and ruggedness on the football field and on the basketball court when play on the hardwood, but Ojomo says he is much strong that he was just a year ago.

"I am much stronger. When I left high school, I was benching 275. Now, I am probably benching 330. I am stronger in everything, squatting, benching. Coach Swasey does a great job with strength and conditioning," Ojomo said.

Ojomo has really taken an appreciation to Spring practice though because of the strides it's allowed him to make towards the 2008 season.

"I've progressed a lot. People think the season is so far away. But you have to take every day like the season is tomorrow. You have to come out and get better every day. The same attitude I took on the scout team I take out here. I try to come out here and get better everyday, no matter what mood I'm in, no matter how tired I am. I am going to come out here and work," Ojomo said.
 10 years ago '04        #3304
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$5,397 | Props total: 1876 1876
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Linebacker Darryl Sharpton has improved his knowledge of the defense this spring by becoming a versatile piece to the linebacker unit.

Sharpton began the spring as the first team strong-side linebacker and moved to middle linebacker at the midway point of the spring.

For most of his career, Sharpton has played middle linebacker, but during the end of last season, he played primarily at strong-side.

Sharpton has used this spring to become comfortable playing both positions.

"My knowledge of the game has taken that next step in my development," Sharpton said. "I am reading all the keys on defense and being more of a student of the game. As a linebacker when you know where the other guy is and what his responsibility is then that helps you out tremendously. I can look at the strong-side and remind him what to do because we have a lot of young guys. If he has a question for me, then I can tell him what to do."

"I am comfortable wherever I go at linebacker now. The coaches explain everything good. There is differences in playing strong-side and middle linebacker, but it is not completely different for me."

Last season Sharpton started five games, finishing with 57 tackles and six tackles-for-loss.

With the new zone-blitzing scheme defensive coordinator Bill Young has implemented, Sharpton says this spring has been a refreshing time for the defense.

"It definitely feels like a fresh start now," Sharpton said. "Everything is new with the defense and what I am doing out here, so I feel like it has been a fresh start. It is a new defense and everybody likes it a lot."

In many situations this spring, Young has sent two linebackers on blitzes while the defensive ends drop back into coverage. Sharpton says the scheme will be effective because it fits the athletes Miami has on its roster.

"I like the new scheme a lot," Sharpton said. "I feel like it is a good fit for the players that we got. When you attack the quarterbacks with the athletes that we have, it can disrupt any offense."

Freshmen Sean Spence and Arthur Brown have brought depth and athleticism to the linebacker corps.

"They add a lot of skill and diversity," Sharpton said. "Arthur has a lot of talent out there with his ability and strength. Sean Spence is a really smart linebacker who picked the system up immediately. I was thrown back by his knowledge of the game. I have been very impressed by him. He came in and had a good background of the game as if he had been here all these years."

When asked which linebacker has made the biggest improvement from last season o now, Sharpton nominated senior Glenn Cook.

"I feel like Cook has made a big jump. I can see a big difference in him physically. He has gotten bigger and stronger and you can see it in his play. He has a lot more force and strength right now. Even just going against him in individual drills I feel a serious shock back when we hit."
 10 years ago '04        #3305
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$5,397 | Props total: 1876 1876
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- For the University of Miami to get back on top, more than anything it starts up front on the offensive line. Over the past few years, the offensive line has not been on the top of its game, however, things started getting better last year.

With three starters returning this year, the 'Canes are in a lot better shape than they've been over the past few years.

Although right guard Harland Gunn was a redshirt last year and didn't see the field at all, he's making noise working with both the first and second units getting reps to make himself a better player. And while he makes himself a better player, he makes the 'Canes offensive line better.

Currently slated as starters at tackle are Chris Rutledge, Reggie Youngblood and/or Jason Fox. Orlando Franklin would be penciled in as a likely started when he's healthy and Joel Figueroa would be the two guards while Xavier Shannon is the likely center.

But Gunn will provide some much needed depth and give the 'Canes a good offensive lineman who can do the job if called upon.

"We are doing good, making good strides. As far as communication, we are doing good on everything," Gunn said.

At times during the Spring, Gunn has worked with the first team, but he said that the unit is mixed up daily so that everyone gets work in with everyone and gets used to everyone.

"We mix it up everyday so we really don't have a set string right now," Gunn said. "We are just get better and better everyday.

The main thing that Gunn says he does is try to improve. Whatever he made a mistake on in one day of practice he tries to correct the next practice.

"We just got to get better. Improve on something you messed up on the previous day," Gunn said.

At 6-foot-2, 310 pounds, Gunn has a lower base than most offensive lineman. With that low base, it allows him to come out of his stance lower than many offensive lineman can making him a very good run blocker.

"I feel like my strength is explosion," Gunn said.

At the same time, Gunn is continuing to work to make himself better.

"Small details that every player needs to work on, like hand placement, feet placement, stuff like that," Gunn said.

As a young guy though, Gunn gets the most of his daily work in the trenches and said he gets the best battles from defensive tackle Antonio Dixon.

"When I got here my freshman year, it was Dix," Gunn said.

According to Gunn, it still is.
 10 years ago '04        #3306
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$5,397 | Props total: 1876 1876
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson is working to become the red-zone threat at receiver UM was lacking last season.

Hankerson (6-2, 218) has put on close to 20 pounds since reporting to UM as a freshman last fall and has become a more physical presence this spring.

Last season Hankerson played in seven games and worked primarily out of the slot, finishing the year with six catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Now, Hankerson is working only as an outside receiver and is using his size to his advantage.

"In the red-zone I can really go up and get the ball with the short field," Hankerson said. "In the running game I can block the linebackers and the safeties."

Because Hankerson has shown a more aggressive style of play this spring, he has worked his way up the UM depth chart and is now working with the first team offense.

"I knew being physical and blocking would be one of my specialties," Hankerson said. "I am a bigger receiver and that is one thing I have to do and I know I have got to do. I feel more physical now than last season."

"I have worked my way up the depth chart by just coming out and studying the plays and doing what needs to get done in practice, but I am not comfortable out here because somebody can take my job away at any time."

Hankerson says one of the main reasons he has produced in the spring practices is his route-running has become more crisp.

"My route running is better and I am just in better shape right now, last year I had to jump into practices and I didn't feel in shape," Hankerson said.

Hankerson says because he is working with the first team and he has produced this spring, he is a more focused player no than he was last season and when he makes a mistake he is quicker to correct it.

"I still have some drops every now and then and I just have to keep my mind focused and just keep working hard and cut down on the drops," Hankerson said.

Going up against the new defensive scheme implemented by Bill Young has been an adjustment, but Hankerson says it has been a good scheme for the receivers to adjust to.

"We have been playing good, but the defense has been coming at us hard the past couple weeks," Hankerson said. "With the zone that they run I just need to find those spots and sit in them until the ball gets to me."
 10 years ago '04        #3307
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$5,397 | Props total: 1876 1876
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Offensive coordinator Patrick Nix is looking to help improved the Hurricanes offense in his second year.

Last season, the UM offense 110th (out of 119) in the country last season averaging 315 yards a game. In comparison, Tulsa led the nation with 544 yards a game.

The Hurricanes will have a new quarterback in 2008--either Robert Marve or Jacory Harris as they look to help the team back to a bowl game.

Here are some hot topics surrounding the offense as Nix addresses each one:

1. Break Coming Soon

Nix has been getting to the football offices at 5:30 every morning and does not leave until 9 at night. He's looking forward to the break after the spring game on Saturday. "When we're done, we'll see what we did good and bad--we experimented on a lot of different things," Nix said.

2. Quarterback Update

Nix on the quarterbacks: "They've all done good. They've all had their good days and bad moments. I don't think any of them have truly had a bad day necessarily. They've had some bad moments, but we've put them in some bad situations too. We've asked them to do things that we probably won't ask them to do in a game. There's very few quarterbacks in the world that you'd ask to do some things, but you have to find how they will react. We've purposely set them up for failure because whether you like it or not, you're not going to succeed on every play or in every game. That is part of it. They don't have experience of failure and success, so you have to find ways to give it to them in practice and put as much pressure on them as you can. For the most part, they have handled it well. They have made their mistakes and we've jumped on them. They've learned from it and see what we're saying. Each one of them is very coachable and listen to what we're saying and want to get better."

3. Receivers Making Plays After Catch

Aldarius Johnson and Ryan Hill are two receivers that have been singled out by receivers coach Aubrey Hill as guys who are making plays after the catch. Coach Nix believes every unit has to do that: "The running backs have to do that, the tight ends have to do that, and the wide receivers have to do that. Whoever has the ball, you have to make a play."

4. One Receiver Emerging?

Sam Shields returns as the team's leading receiver, but has not emerged as the clear-cut number one guy. "They all have been pretty good," Nix said. "Nobody has really stood out as head and shoulders above the rest. They've each had their good days." Nix did say the team is deeper this year than a year ago even with the departures of Darnell Jenkins and Lance Leggett.

5. Building Depth

One of the main goals of spring practices is to build depth across the board. Nix believes the offense is doing a good job of doing so, but did say, "you never know, it's spring". However, it is encouraging to see that the team has two capable quarterbacks, two solid running backs with two more ready at a moment's notice, a handful of receivers making plays, and an offensive line unit which should be strong across the board. Nix added: "You can think you have something now, but in the fall you never know what is going to happen."

6. Epps Emerging From the Pack at Tight End?

Junior Dedrick Epps has had a productive spring thus far--coach Shannon has went as far as to say he has had a phenomenal spring. "He's had his moments, but so has Richard (Gordon) and (Chris) Zellner). Dedrick is a very talented guy and can do a lot of different things so hopefully he continues to come on and be a playmaker for us." Zellner leads the returning tight ends with 22 career catches for 145 yards and 3 TDs. Epps has eight catches for 82 yards and 1 TD. Gordon has one catch for eight yards.

7. J.J. Moving Around

Junior running back Javarris James has been held back a bit this past week. Coaches have repeatedly said that it is because they know what James brings to the table and they want to get the other guys some more reps. When he has been in, he has played a lot in the slot in different formations. "Spring is all about putting guys in certain situations to see what they can do and part of it is moving them around at other positions," Nix said. "Some guys can't handle it mentally or physically so you have to be careful of that, but J.J. can handle it."
 10 years ago '04        #3308
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$5,397 | Props total: 1876 1876
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Bill Young's defensive philosophy is very similar to what coach Randy Shannon believes in.

However, Young's defense this spring has focused on more zone with the cornerbacks and more blitzes with the linebackers to help create more turnovers in 2008.

"We want turnovers," Young said. "Our number one goal on defense is to score. Our goal is to lead the country in forced turnovers."

Miami had 25 takeaways last season--13 interceptions and 12 fumble returns--good for 49th in the nation.

"We're doing a real good job, but we're making mistakes and have a long ways to go," Young said. "At the same time, we are correcting on those and building. They have been very receptive of what we're doing."

A number of cornerbacks have talked about how much they enjoy the new zone scheme, which allows them to make more interceptions.

"With eyes on the ball you have a better chance of getting interceptions so hopefully that will be the case," Young said.

Young noted that there is one area the team needs to improve on.

"At defensive tackle, we have to make some progress there," Young said. "But we have some young guys that are coming and getting better like Marcus Forston."

Young said the linebackers are playing "good" and the cornerbacks are playing "pretty well".

The team has had 13 practices thus far in the spring with just two more remaining until the spring session is complete. It has been productive for Young in his first spring at UM.

"It's been just spectacular," Young said. "It's been really, really good. Our players are picking up the defense and we're getting better every day."

The future appears to be bright for the defense with freshmen DE Allen Bailey, DT Marcus Forston, and LB Sean Spence.

"Without question, those are some great young people," Young said.

Young noted that senior DT Antonio Dixon and senior LB Glenn Cook are also playing well this spring.

Earlier this week, Cook was granted a sixth-year of eligibility. Cook has recorded 109 tackles, 15.5 for loss, one fumble recovery for a touchdown, and four pass breakups in his career at Miami.

"That is a great thing for him and for us," Young said. "He's a veteran player. Tremendous football player and a very smart player. He's been around and has seen it all. He brings a tremendous load of experience to our team."

Junior cornerback Chavez Grant has been one of the standouts this spring.

"He's had a couple of interceptions this spring and ran them back for touchdowns," Young said. "He's done real well. I think he's going to be in the mix, without question. He is going to play a lot."

The Hurricanes have their annual spring game on Saturday and Young has one goal in mind.

"Come out and don't have anybody get hurt," he said.
 10 years ago '04        #3309
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$5,397 | Props total: 1876 1876
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Cornerback Bruce Johnson has added weight and is making plays this spring.

Johnson, 5-foot-11, played the 2007 season at 170-175 pounds, but he recently weighed in at 186 pounds.

"I thought it would slow me down on the field, but it hasn't," Johnson said. "I can still run with it. I can stay with my jams more. Not too much has changed. I thought I would lose my quickness, but I haven't."

There is a lot of attention on the cornerbacks this spring after some ups and downs last season.

Johnson returns with fellow senior corner Carlos Armour, juniors Chavez Grant and Tervaris Johnson, and sophomore DeMarcus Van Dke.

They have played "pretty well" this spring according to defensive coordinator Bill Young, but Johnson believes practice does not matter as much as the games.

"We can't really base it off practice, I feel we have to put it towards the game to see how good we work," Johnson said. "When the games come, we have to step it up and make plays."

Johnson believes he is doing well this spring.

"I'm doing pretty good myself," Johnson said. "I have surprised myself and have competed a little bit better so it's not a guessing game anymore. I think I'm doing pretty good."

In the last scrimmage on Saturday, Johnson returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown.

"It felt real good because I had been looking to make a big play all spring," said Johnson, who has had a number of pass break-ups. "I got a late start because I was with track. Once I got it, I wanted to try to take it to the house and that's what I did."

Johnson talked about the new zone scheme with the cornerbacks, which helps generates interceptions.

"We can read the quarterback and play off the man," Johnson said. "Being in the zone helps a lot [with interceptions]."

Johnson's uncle, former Hurricane and current Seattle Seahawks cornerback Kelly Jennings was at practice on Wednesday.

"We talk all the time and text a lot," Johnson said.

Jennings was a three-year starter at UM and was drafted in the first round in 2006 with the 31st overall selection.

"He was real coachable," Johnson said. "Me and him are two different people and I'm not trying to be like him, he has his style and I got mine. But as far as picking up things to get better, I have no problem with that. He stayed in the film and did what the coaches asked him to do--that is what I'm trying to do."

The Hurricanes return to practice today before the spring game on Saturday.
 10 years ago '04        #3310
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$5,397 | Props total: 1876 1876
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Daniel Adderley has moved to tight end from wide receiver this week.

On Monday, tight ends coach Joe Pannunzio told Adderley he was with the tight ends from now on.

"Let's go, let's do it, let's get physical," Adderley responded. "Let's make it happen."

Adderley redshirted last season, his first as a Hurricane after starring at Southside Christian School in Simpsonville, S.C.

Adderley said he felt he was doing "good" at wide receiver and has a productive spring.

"If I have more springs like this, I think I will develop into a pretty good player," he says.

Adderley has had two practices at tight end and is getting used to the adjustment of a new position in college.

"I'm not doing too bad," Adderley said. "On offense, you have to learn all the plays. I pretty much know what to do on passing plays, I just have to understand the blocking schemes. I have to get better blocking technique. I'm not too bad for my weight."

Adderley is currently 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds.

"They don't talk about where they'd like me at, I'm just eating as much as I can to try to get my weight up there," he said. "I don't have a set goal or anything like that. I just want to get to a weight where I wont get pushed around."

Adderley is one of four tight ends on the roster joining senior Chris Zellner, junior Dedrick Epps, and junior Richard Gordon.

"Those guys are awesome," he said. "Chris took me on my visit and Dedrick and Richard are two goobers so we just have fun."

Coach Pannunzio is the team's tight ends coach.

"He's an awesome coach," Adderley said. "I've always loved Coach P. He's a good teacher."

"It's an experiment," Pannunzio said on the position change.

The Hurricanes resume practice on Friday afternoon before the annual spring game on Saturday.
 03-29-2008, 10:50 AM         #3311
$n/a | Props total:  
After The Spring Game..these Wr's Are Still Dropping Passes..jacory Harris Seemed Better And More Accurate Than Marve..graig Cooper Is A Beast..and Sean Spence And A.brown Had Phenominal Games..a.brown Ahad A Pick And 8 Tackles
 10 years ago '04        #3312
madness 16 heat pts16
$13,084 | Props total: 3389 3389
This is from someone over at Canestime...

Brynn's take on the Spring Game


My ride had to leave a little early, so I may be first to write anything up.

Best performers:

1.) #2 Graig Cooper. He is fast. He is quick. He makes people miss. And now he is lowering his shoulder, DELIVERING the hit. He was great last year, but if the spring game is any indicator, he will be much better in year 2.

2.) #5 Javarris James. He was shiftier than ever, and trucked damn near anyone in his way. The two backs are both studs, and we are very lucky to have them.

3.) Starting OL. Run blocking was FANTASTIC. QB's had decent time to throw. They need to cut out the false starts, but overall they opened holes, which is good to see. The Center, Xavier Shannon, is the worst shotgun snapper I have ever seen. Left, right, low, and every single snap was SLOW SLOW SLOW. They hung in the air and were off target more often than not. This needs to be fixed or we will have some serious turnover issuesi n the shotgun.

4.) Defensive backs. Good coverage, prevented much seperation. DVD blocked a FG, and Jojo had a very nice 40" leap to bat down a long sure-fire TD bomb.

Best freshmen:

1.) Marcus Forston. Get used to #99 being in the backfield. He is lightning quick off the ball, sheds blockers with amazing leverage, and with Antonio Dixon eating up 2-3 holes next to him, I fully expect him to surpass all of our DT play since Russell Maryland. It is alot for a true freshman DT, but he has the skills I have not seen in a long time. This kid is a real stud 1 gap DT who could realistically play DE with his quickness (he did in HS, they lined him up everywhere. Realize as a Junior at Northwestern, he had 21 sacks. Then as a Senior, when he faced permanent double teams and general triple teams, his production dropped: to 20 sacks). He is scary good.

2.) #11 Aurthur Brown. His technique needs alot of work: he tackles way too high and doesn't shed blocks all that well. But he was in the mix every snap. He made a few tackles, and was around the ball every single play, pass or run, either side of the ball. He is going to be good, especially if LB coach Barrow can work on his leverage and driving tackles skills.

3.) Jake Wieclaw, K. This kid had one blocked, but he has a booming leg we haven't seen in a long time. I was impressed.

Unfortunately, I'd guess Derron Thomas is done for the year, he took a nasty fall with a guy bending his knee real bad. It was a shame, he made a GREAT move, then another, then as he made a 3rd to maybe break a big one, someone got him from behind and curled up his knee. I hope he recovers, but it definately looked BAD from where we were sitting.

Shawnbrey McNeal looked good as the replacement though. Not the fastest guy, but he makes people miss and has tremendously stupendous vision. Seriously, if he was a hair faster, he could start over James and Cooper. But not right now. He is a great 3rd back though, and broke a sweet little screen for a 65 yard gain (didn't quite score)

Our defense wasn't quite where it should be: usually at this time, the D is WAY ahead of the offense. That was definately not the case. I hope it is due to an improved offense, but you never nkow if it is good O or bad D.

Our WR's still can't catch. Drops from Aldarius Johnson, Khalil Jones (he caught 1, dropped 3, maybe...could be so great..but not), Farquharson...Shields was invisible, Ryan Hill caught the 1 ball he was thrown, and Gordon/Zellner had 1 catch each. Our passing game really predicated on dumps to the RB. Our defense had no answer for it though, which really scares me as the way we ran them, delay, look down field, them dump to the RB, is eerily similar to a QB draw/scramble up the gut. We haven't had too much success defending that in the past, and it doesn't look like we will now either.

Spencer Adkins looked good at MLB. I like Brown as the WLB, and Darryl Sharpton looked good blitzing...I'd think he'd make a great SLB. McCarthy didn't play, nor did Lovon Poner. Redd*ck looked big but slow. I don't think he'll ever be the same as he once was...a shame, cuz he was awesome his first season here. Our OL can run block. We are as big as I have ever seen. Guys over 310:

Joel Figueroa OL 6'5 344
Matt Pipho, OL 6'7 315
Ian Symonette OL 6'9 364
Orlando Franklin OT 6'7 345
Chaz Washington DL 6-4 320
Chris Rutledge OL 6'5 314
Reggie Youngblood OT 6'5 312
Chris Barney OL 6'5 340
Antonio Dixon DL 6-3 328

Then you have Byrd and Harland Gunn both at 309, and Trump at 308. Wow. Is this Nebraska or a Little 11 school? I don't remember ever having this many guys that heavy. USually we see a few guys over 300, but not over 310, 320, 350...

Franklin was a stud today. I think he'll end up starting at RT. I'd love to see them move Youngblood over to LG. Our best OL, IMO, would be:

LT: Fox
LG: Youngblood
C: Figeuroa or Shannon (if he can fix his snap) or AJ Trump
RG: Trump or Pihpo
RT: Franklin

Symonette needs to get quicker. He is a mountain, in size and mobility. If they can get him to learn to drive his feet he'll end up a late 1st round pick as a RT.

Jacory Harris was the better QB. He has more zip on the ball and it seemed like he was a bit more accurate. Marve didn't look bad though, and he managed to scramble and gain yards despite the "touch" and your down policy. Marve has a Marino-like release: he snaps that ball out incredibly fast. If our OL stuggles in pass protection, Marve is the guy. The combination of a quick release and great scrambling ability can make any OL look improved. I'd say they are neck and neck right now, but both are noticeably better than Kyle or Kirby. They all stink at the bomb though. I don't know why...maybe the Miami water supply prevents kids age 18-22 from throwing a football more than 40 yards with any accuracy.
 03-29-2008, 06:59 PM         #3313
Sh0wty  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
I was there... We got two real good QB's. But Marve will be our starter..
 03-31-2008, 07:38 AM         #3314
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Fort Bend (TX) Hightower DB Colton Valencia watched teammate A.J. Highsmith commit to Miami.

And he took an unofficial visit to UM with Highsmith for last weekend's spring game. They arrived on Friday and leave today.

"I really liked Miami," Valencia said. "I like the coaches, liked the spring game a lot, how they flew around for the ball. I like the city. I could see myself there one day.

"The coaches, I gave them my tape and one of the coaches watched it Friday and then they were real interested. He said he's going to talk to (Randy) Shannon and they're going to offer me."

If that offer comes through, Valencia says there's a good chance he'll become a Cane.

"I'd talk it over with my mom because I'm from Houston and then I'd make my decision then," Valencia said.

Highsmith adds, "He wants to go to Miami. Florida's real interested in him, but I think he wants to go to Miami."

For now Valencia lists verbal offers from Oklahoma State, Houston and Baylor. Several other top programs are also recruiting him hard.

"After Miami saw my highlight tape and saw me in person they got real interested," said Valencia, a 5-foot-11, 187-pounder who ran a 4.49-second 40 at the University of Houston camp.

Valencia has started at safety since his sophomore year, but he says UM is recruiting him as a cornerback or safety.

As a sophomore he had 67 tackles and 17 passes broken up.

This past season he finished with 89 tackles, 23 passes broken up and six interceptions, three returned for touchdowns.

"That was my breakout year," Valencia said.
 10 years ago '04        #3315
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$5,397 | Props total: 1876 1876
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Freshman linebacker Sean Spence came into the Spring expecting to play, but no one could have foreseen the absolutely immediate impact he made.

While Spence was expected to see action, not only did he see action, but he cemented himself as the starting weakside linebacker when fall practice begins.

Spence finished a ridiculously good Spring with two interceptions in the Spring Game Saturday morning and showed his knack for making plays. Teammates were raving about him from quarterback Robert Marve who is still in shock that Spence is not even 18 years old yet to coach Randy Shannon who has said he's been great throughout the Spring

Defensive coordinator Bill Young still can't believe he has freshman early enrollee linebackers who compete at the level that Spence and Arthur Brown do.

When it came down to it, it looked just like high school for Spence as his knack for getting to the ball is about as good as it gets at any level.

"You know I got a knack for the ball so once I seen it in the air I wanted it to be mine and I just got it. Last one same thing. It was tipped up wobbly and just landed in my hands," Spence said. "Coach Barrow always stresses turnovers. Once I saw the ball, my eyes got big and I just attacked it. I was in the right place at the right time. I read the quarterbacks eyes and was just trying to make my proper drops."

While many questioned Spence's size coming in at just under 200 pounds, he's already put on ten pounds of muscle, but more importantly, Spence has an understanding for the game that almost no freshman ever has. Of course, he also have the physical ability to fly around the field and make plays.

"Coach Barrow gave us the opportunity to come through. He knows we are going to make mistakes, but he just wants us to play hard and get to the ball," Spence said. "I think mental (is the most important thing to get down) cause you have coach Barrow. He's an awesome coach and he's going to get the physical part down for you so you got to get the mental part of the game down."

Even with two interceptions in the Spring Game, Spence, a perfectionist at heart as he went 30-0 over his last two high school seasons in capturing back-to-back state championships and a National Championship continues to strive for more. He is never left satisfied even though most people would have k!lled for a day like his.

"I feel like I did good. I could have did better, but I feel okay," Spence sad.

But Spence is happy with the way he's progressed since he arrived on campus.

"I am very pleased with my development. I came in and got the mental part down. I wasn't too worried about the physical part very much. Coach Barrow wanted me to take care of the mental part and I feel like I got a good portion of it down," Spence said. "It was just learning all the steps, the blitzes, the coverages, what to check off to and the motions."

There was the chance the Spence may not have made it into school on time, but luckily everything got cleared up just in the knick of time for he and his three Northwestern teammates to get into school early.

Early enrollment has paid huge dividends for Spence.

"I feel like if I came in during the summer, then I would have only gotten a month to get ready for the season. Now I get a lot of time to learn the system and adjust to the college game," Spence said. "I didn't know what to expect. I knew it would be hard. Doing the spring drills and lifting weights and playing with the big boys has been tough."

But Spence is always ready for whatever challenge that is thrown in front of him. He's not only been learning the weak side linebacker position, but the strong side as well, something that may very well be needed from him at some point in the season. What makes Spence special is he has the football aptitude to make the transition with ease.

"It was another big adjustment that taught me how to play both sides of the defense. In a game situation, if somebody goes down then I am going to have to play both sides of the defense," Spence said.
 10 years ago '04        #3316
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Ask any Hurricane player to tell "the alligator story," and they know exactly what you're talking about.

"It's a crazy story," DB Demarcus Van Dy/ke said.

Van Dy/ke won't tell the story, though. And neither will his teammates.

The story has to come from the source, DE Allen Bailey.

Bailey, who was raised living in a trailer in a nature haven on Sapelo Island (CLICK HERE TO REVIEW BAILEY'S ROOTS), grew up eating deer, wild hogs, raccoons, possums and even snakes.

He can give a dissertation on how to clean and cook them.

But it's his alligator story - or stories, to be more precise - that piqued his teammates interest. And yes, he's also eaten freshly k!lled alligator on his home island.

Story #1, courtesy of Bailey, involves how as a youngster he k!lled an alligator with a shovel: "It was in the bushes - you couldn't really see it," Bailey said. "We came up from behind and wacked it. That was a big one."

Story #2: "It was like my junior year. I'd started carrying a gun when I was like 14 (to hunt for food). After work in the summer I came home and my mother told me there was an alligator in a ditch (in front of the home). I had a little cousin around my house and she didn't want to mess with it. She wanted it out of the ditch because it was too close to the house. So she told me to go get it, take the alligator out of the ditch. I had to k!ll it because I wasn't going to (wrestle it out). I took it back to the house, tossed it in the freezer outside on the patio. I forgot about it. A month later it was frozen. I'd forgotten all about it. I went outside after workouts, checked it out. I took it out (and disposed of the carcass)."

WR Ryan Hill is standing nearby as Bailey told the stories.

Would Hill, who was raised in Tallahassee, be able to k!ll an alligator?

"If his life depended on it, maybe," Bailey said.

Hill says of Bailey's stories that "People on the team every now and then call him `Alligator k!ller.'"

Some of Bailey's teammates try to live up to his stories.

But they don't quite measure up.

"I k!lled a kangaroo once," WR Sam Shields says.

He's joking.

We think.

"I've k!lled an opossum with my bare hands," Hill said. "JJ (Javarris James) has a picture of me holding the opossum on his cell phone."

Even if true ... and James wasn't available to verify the claim ... it's not quite the same as protecting your little cousin from an alligator lying wait in a ditch.
 10 years ago '04        #3317
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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March 31, 2008

Gary Ferman, CaneSport Publisher

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Spring practice is a season of hope wherever you go in college football and you almost always walk away from it with an uplifted feeling about your football team.

It is no different here at Miami.

Fans of the Miami Hurricanes showed up at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale Saturday morning for the Spring Game wanting to see something that would make their toes tingle. You could feel that anxiety as they filed in by the thousands, the most impressive showing at a Canes scrimmage in recent memory.

A starvation of joy from a 5-7 season coupled with euphoria from one of the nation's top recruiting classes has generated a buzz around the UM program.

After experiencing the two-hour Canes fan rehab center, and monitoring the team's progress through the spring, I thought it was a great time to take another position-by-position look at the development of the team.


The most amazing thing to me is how much better Robert Marve seems to be right now than Kyle Wright or Kirby Freeman ever became. I find myself constantly questioning myself on this perception because it doesn't seem based on reality. Marve has never taken a snap in a college game. How could he already be better than guys who were in the program for four or five years? But I keep seeing signs that this perception is real. I see it in the leadership ability that is on display with Marve. Some of the prettiest passes I saw Marve throw this spring weren't even completed. This is a kid developing an NFL arm who will really blossom when the performance and talent level at receiver gets back to its appropriate benchmark. I like the way he throws on the move, way better than Wright or Freeman were able to. And that will come in handy as Marve's lack of height will prevent Patrick Nix from strictly making him a pocket passer. I also like the way Marve feels the pocket and slides away from pressure. When he has to tuck it under and run, Marve has nice speed. Marve's leadership qualities will make teammates believe in him. I would like to see him gain 10 pounds this summer.

Jacory Harris, right out of Miami Northwestern High School, is not real far behind Marve in the race to start. Harris looks extremely good out there considering he is just three months removed from high school football. His passes are a little inconsistent as he adjusts to the speed of the game. But he also is a leader and has the ability to make things happen when plays break down. I look for both to play a lot this fall. If Harris is No. 2 on the depth chart, I don't see coaches just having him stand on the sideline. He will get opportunities to continue his development. UM will not have the luxury of creating class separation by redshirting him. Those decisions can be made down the road, just like UM did in the old days when Vinny Testaverde played as freshman after losing out to Bernie Kosar and then picked up a redshirt year in his second year so he could have two years alone as a starter. Testaverde ended up winning the Heisman Trophy.

Cannon Smith looked overmatched in the spring game and other scrimmages, so it is uncertain where he will stand once Taylor Cook enters the fray in the fall. But that was not really a surprise. I would have liked to see the development of a little more of a downfield passing game, but Nix was likely holding some things from public view in the open scrimmages and also managing how much he asked the young quarterbacks to handle.


This position has been refortified with Javarris James and Graig Cooper looking very much like future NFL No. 1 draft picks and Shawnbrey McNeal looking like a home run threat every time he touches the ball. James, about to be a junior, told me he has been working real hard on gaining his speed back, and it is quite evident. He is in great shape and really looked fluid throughout the spring. If he stays on the track he is on and remains healthy, you will be watching James for the last time in 2008. He is getting a lot of work catching footballs also as offensive coordinator Patrick Nix moves him around and sometimes puts him in the slot with Cooper in the backfield to get his two greatest weapons on the field at the same time. This is a package I expect UM to use a lot next year as Cooper or James is capable of being utilized in that role. While James has been working on his speed, Cooper has been bulking up so he can handle more carries this fall. He is up to 202 now which is good. I felt throughout last season that Cooper was underutilized and was a guy who must get closer to 20 touches a game.

Patrick Hill was brought in to be a punishing lead blocker as a fullback but we only saw a handful of short-yardage running plays in scrimmages. Most of that work was done in the privacy of closed practices, so we won't find out until fall if UM has improved in what was a weak area in 2007. I like the look of freshman John Calhoun. He may redshirt this year, but will be a key guy down the road. Lee Chambers got a lot of work in the spring game and looks to still be in development mode. Shawnbrey McNeal showed his afterburners with a 66-yard gain in the spring game, but he also has work to do. Derron Thomas sprained a knee, but he will continue to be a serviceable utility guy buried down the depth chart.
 10 years ago '04        #3318
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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Don't be misled by this group's uneven performance in the spring game. The players here made good strides this spring under the significantly upgraded guidance of new receivers coach Aubrey Hill. Sam Shields comes out of spring playing the best football of his three-year career at Miami. He will be a go-to guy in the fall even though he didn't catch a pass on Saturday. Coaches will game plan to get him the football. Kayne Farquharson has been looking very good as a possession receiver. It is abundantly clear that Aldarius Johnson will get a lot of playing time as a true freshman this fall. Khalil Jones had a great spring until dropping a few balls in the spring game. Shaky hands have been what have always held Jones back. He always seems to be open. As he enters his senior year, I still am not convinced this problem is something he will ever totally shake. But coaches were happy with his improvement this spring. Randy Shannon even wondered if they should have more public scrimmages to help guys like Jones get used to performing at a high level in front of a crowd.

Leonard Hankerson also had a nice spring. It was disappointing that Jermaine McKenzie was hurt throughout the spring and didn't really get a chance to leave an imprint. Look for that to change in the fall. I also would not be surprised to see Ryan Hill moved to cornerback to fortify that position. He seems destined to be an average receiver as he enters his third year as a Hurricane.


It still doesn't appear that this position will be utilized a lot in the Patrick Nix offense. But Richard Gordon, Dedrick Epps and Chris Zellner all had very good springs and will be ready to be solid, if not spectacular, in 2008. Gordon would seem to have the most potential for greatness like UM had grown accustomed to in this spot under past regimes. But he is down the totem pole in an offense that will justifiably feature James and Cooper and a quick passing game that will protect the young quarterbacks. Look for this group to be a little more of a factor in short yardage situations. But how much more they will be allowed to do remains to be seen.


Maybe my expectations of this group are unrealistic, especially with starting guard Orlando Franklin sidelined throughout the spring. But I was really disappointed with the lack of consistency I saw from this group as whole. On isolated plays they would look great. On others, the quarterbacks would be under severe pressure or sacked. I am not ready to anoint the Miami defense as one of the best in the nation just yet. So I expected the offensive line to be a little more consistent and dominant than what I saw. The work this group puts in this summer could be one of the main variables that determines Miami's fate when the season begins in late August. I wonder if the older guys like Reggie Youngblood and Jason Fox have the leadership to pull the younger guys to a greater level in their four months away from Coach Jeff Stoutland's watch. They need to challenge themselves and will themselves to become stronger and better and more consistent. By the end of spring, it looked like Xavier Shannon might be emerging as the starting center. Shannon spent last year starting for 1-11 FIU. That he can walk into Miami and become a starter in three weeks shows the recruiting deficiencies that have plagued this position for several seasons. It got Art Kehoe fired under Larry Coker and Mario Cristobal wasn't at the helm of this position long enough to get it turned around. It looks to me like offensive line is the position where the Miami team is furthest away from where it needs to be. A starting foursome of Fox, Youngblood, Joel Figueroa and Orlando Franklin should be real good regardless of whom the center is. But there is a big dropoff after them with the exception of backup tackle Chris Rutledge, who will play a lot. Quality depth is an issue for Miami in several positions on defense as well and will be an overriding factor in the success of the team in 2008.


Quality depth is a massive issue at this position. I think the potential starting line-up of Allen Bailey and Eric Moncur at end and Antonio Dixon and maybe Marcus Forston at tackle could be very good. But UM will need a lot more guys to produce to be successful. The jury remains out on all the rest Ė Dwayne Hendricks, Joe Joseph, Luqman Abdallah, Chaz Washington. None of these guys have made a significant impact or their presence felt. Like offensive line, this position continues to suffer from bad recruiting and only time can heal the wound. The off-season will be critical for all of those guys on the fringe. Joseph and Hendricks in particular played a lot of football last year. Can they make themselves better? Washington showed signs of improvement this spring. Can he take his game up notch? Only time will tell. But Jeremy Lewis and Micanor Regis are a pair of freshmen who could quickly be thrown into the mix in the fall. At end, Steven Wesley and Adewale Ojomo must continue to progress and provide depth along with Courtney Harris, who missed the spring but will return for fall practice.
 10 years ago '04        #3319
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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The Hurricanes have the potential to be pretty good at this position now that Glenn Cook is back and freshman Sean Spence is emerging as a guy ready to play from Day One. Cook, Spence, Darryl Sharpton and Colin McCarthy will give Miami four solid starting level players and Romeo Davis will also be back for the fall. Arthur Brown, another freshman, is improving quickly and also will likely be ready for fall playing time. Spencer Adkins, who played a lot in 2007 but struggled, will be allowed to provide depth this time around rather than be thrust into a role he can't handle. The linebackers made a lot of big plays in the spring game and seemed very athletic. The fall battle for starting positions will be one of the most intriguing elements of fall practice.


Coaches were pleasantly surprised by the spring performances turned in at the cornerback position while the safety play was not as good as they might have expected. Lavon Ponder and Randy Phillips need to step up the level of their game while Anthony Redd*ck continues to work his way back from injuries. JoJo Nicolas is another guy that should be able to start elevating his game. None of the safeties really made the kind of impact this spring that might have been expected. Demarcus Van Dyke looks rock solid at one corner spot and Chavez Grant could be working himself out of strictly a slot corner role on third down into a starter. Bruce Johnson also has played a lot of football and is a candidate to start. It is believed that freshman Brandon Harris will be good enough to challenge here in fall camp. Tervaris Johnson, a junior now, seemed to make some progress this spring. Carlos Armour is solid at times but continues to seek consistency. Don't be surprised if true freshman Ramon Buchanon moves up the safety depth chart quickly in the fall and challenges for serious playing time.


This is probably the biggest problem area on the team. Who will be the kicker in the fall? Matt Bosher appears to have the best leg, but it was disappointing to see him badly miss his only field goal attempt of the spring game. Truth is, this team needs him to get his act together as a kicker. He was recruited to be the kicker, but has had struggles adjusting to kicking off the ground and seems to be battling the mental game. Jake Wieclaw made a chip shot in the spring game and will likely get the nod if Bosher can't get his technique straightened out. Bosher will remain the punter.


Randy Shannon has significantly upgraded, in my opinion, by bringing in Bill Young and Aubrey Hill, and the results are already showing. UM will be much more defensively aggressive in 2008 and, even though Shannon's schemes have had success over the past six seasons, it never hurts to inject some variety and new ideas to keep conference opponents guessing and working. The receiver play was clearly better this spring under Hill, who also is having success accelerating the development of Aldarius Johnson. Offensively, Patrick Nix has done a nice job creating a scheme for Javarris James and Graig Cooper to be on the field together. My only concerns are the absence of a bread-and-butter running game and a third down, long-yardage passing attack. UM must be careful in trying to do too many different things with too many personnel groups offensively and not establishing an identity or a toughness.
 10 years ago '04        #3320
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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$12,859 | Props total: 0 0
March 31, 2008

Matt Shodell, CaneSport Magazine

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Tampa (Fla.) Plant High School Orson Charles was working out today when his high school coach called him outside.

"He was on the phone with coach (Joe) Pannunzio," Charles said. "I got on the phone and coach Pannunzio was telling me I had just officially just got offered by Miami."

Charles had been hoping for a Miami offer, and his advisor, Vernon Williams, said that Charles almost committed on the spot.

"I was about to cry," Charles said. "I couldn't believe it. I was jumping up and down. I'm supposed to be talking to them again tonight."

Charles says he spoke to his coach and that he has decided not to rush into any decision.

"My coach said to make sure this is what you really want," Charles said. "It's 50-50 right now (that he'll be a Cane in the end)."

Charles says his other favorites are Georgia, FSU, Florida and LSU.

"I'm going to Georgia this weekend and we're visiting Florida, FSU and Miami (in the next few weeks)," Charles said. "I'm going to wait a while (to commit anywhere) because I want to take my official visits."

Charles transferred to Plant High after last season and was previously at Riverview - he was primarily a blocking tight end in the Wing T offense there and last season had 12 catches for 400 yards and three touchdowns.

As a sophomore he had three catches for 75 yards.


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