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 10 years ago '04        #4726
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Shannon Owens: Miami Hurricanes are right in not retiring Sean Taylor's number

Shannon Owens | Sentinel Staff Writer

Seminole senior Ray Armstrong wants to be the next Miami football player to wear No. 26 says his high school football coach Mike Cullison.

As a lot of Floridians know, the late Sean Taylor wore that number during his playing days with the Hurricanes where he helped the team to a national championship in 2001.

Surprisingly, the number has not been retired since Taylor, playing for the Washington Redskins, was slain in his South Florida home.

Senior Anthony Redd*ck last wore No. 26 last in the 2008-09 season. And it doesn't appear the school will make the number unavailable.

By contrast, the Redskins haven't reissued his No. 21 since and probably won't ever again if not for a long while. I actually agree with Miami on this one. What purpose does it serve to retire anyone's jersey? Isn't that a nice way of forgetting someone?

The best way to honor someone's legacy is to keep it going. I wrote a column a few years ago about a similar situation regarding FAMU alum Henry "Killer" Lawrence. His Rattlers jersey was being retired years after he collected three Super Bowl rings with the Oakland Raiders (wow, seems like a lifetime ago).

While he was flattered, he actually preferred to see his number on the backs of future generations. He worked too hard in that uniform to see it go away.

People tend to forget history.

We remember Taylor now because the tragedy is still fresh. But how will generations of athletes later remember what kind of player Taylor was or even who he was if the jersey gets buried in a dusty old hallway?

Good for Miami to keep Taylor's number. It only heightens the sense of duty for those who wear it.

 10 years ago '04        #4727
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Eye on Spring Football: The Storylines

Spring football practice begins Tuesday at the University of Miami. In order to prepare you, I've compiled a list of important story lines and players to follow throughout camp, which ends March 28th with the BankUnited Canesfest at Lockhart Stadium.

Randy Shannon This year, unlike the previous two under coach Randy Shannon, the media will be allowed to watch some of what goes on behind the scenes as the first four practices (Feb. 24-25, 27-28) will be open to the press. Two practices will be open to fans (the spring game March 28th, and a scrimmage at Traz Powell Stadium in Miami at 6:30 p.m. on March 12th). The team will sandwich some time off from March 13-23rd for spring break, but will basically practice on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On the days I'm in town (and not following Frank Haith's basketball team) I'll be around to provide updates from football practice.

One thing I think needs to be understood about spring football (and all of the reports you'll be reading in the next few weeks) is that this time of year is really used by coaches to create depth and to experiment with their players more than anything else. Anything you read in the next couple of weeks should be used simply as a progress report heading into the fall. In nearly every case, it's fall camp where positions are really won and lost. So, just because you might hear Randy Shannon say Kylan Robinson is practicing with the first team at outside linebacker should by no means be taken as Robinson is going to be a starter in the fall. A lot of what is said by coaches this time of year is used to feed their players motivation (not only for the guys healthy and who have served as backups for most of their career, but for the guys who are hurt and need a little push when they return in the fall).

Anyway, here are the important storylines/questions the U will be trying to solve during the next few weeks of spring practice.

> 1. Does UM have the talent on the team right now to patch up the holes on its offensive line? According to the coaches I've spoken with the answer is yes. Here's what UM wants to accomplish this spring: find an everyday center, at least two solid rotating tackles to start alongside and backup captain Jason Fox and find at least three guards to rotate in the interior. That's not an easy task for position coach Jeff Stoutland, who really got average at-best performance out of Xavier Shannon, Chris Rutledge and Reggie Youngblood last season before they graduated.

Orlando Franklin will start at left guard, but if others emerge he may be given a shot to move to right tackle The center job will most likely fall to senior A.J. Trump (6-3, 300), who is more experienced and more talented than redshirt sophomore Tyler Horn (6-4, 289). Trump, who has plagued by injuries most of his career, started nine games at guard last season and is definitely considered one of the top five linemen for UM behind Fox and junior Orlando Franklin. So, if Horn were to emerge at center, there is a very good chance he would move back to guard and remain in the starting lineup.

As for the interior, Franklin will begin the spring at left guard, where he started 11 games last season. But the ideal place the 6-7, 328-pound behemoth would like to play is at right tackle (where he could get a shot if others step up). The question is will they? Redshirt sophomore Harland Gunn, highly-touted freshman Brandon Washington and 6-9, 351-pound junior Ian Symonette will all be given an opportunity to show what they've got inside. Washington, a former standout at Miami Northwestern, is the most likely to emerge although Gunn will reportedly begin with the first team at right guard with junior Joel Figueroa (shoulder surgery) out for the spring.

The right tackle position will begin with a battle between senior Matt Pipho (6-7, 307) and redshirt freshman Ben Jones (6-5, 310). But as I said earlier, ultimately, Shannon wants the best five on the field come the fall. Look for prep school freshman Jermaine Johnson, slated to backup Fox on the left side, to get a shot in that rotation too.

Is Demarcus Van Dyke (up to 180 pounds) ready to play like an everyday starter? > 2. Who will emerge in a secondary loaded with question marks? Ask Shannon to give you a depth chart at cornerback and safety and he simply can't. There is no area with greater unknowns on the team than here where every starting position is really up for grabs heading into the spring. While six veterans return with defensive back playing experience, each has plenty to prove. At corner, sophomore Brandon Harris, junior Demarcus Van Dyke and senior Chavez Grant will be joined in competition by seniors Ryan Hill (moving down from safety to corner) and Sam Shields (moving over from receiver) and true freshman Brandon McGee.

At safety, senior Randy Phillips is back after missing nearly all of last season, along with junior Jojo Nicholas among the veterans. But the name everyone expects to see a lot from is redshirt freshman Vaughn Telemaque, whom Shannon compared to Ed Reed at the end of last season. Those three are likely to be in the mix with the first team while redshirt sophomore Jared Campbell, redshirt freshmen C.J. Holton and Joe Wylie compete behind them. While more help will arrive in the fall in the form of players like Prince Kent, Ray Ray Armstrong and Jamal Reid, it's often very hard for true freshman to see the field immediately and beat the guys who have been competing since the spring for starting spots. But in this case, where so many guys have yet to prove they are the man, I would be surprised if it happened this year.

 10 years ago '04        #4728
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3. Whom, besides sophomore Sean Spence, is going to prove he is worthy of playing time at linebacker? Say what you want about the lack of big-time playmakers in UM's secondary last season, I thought the bigger problem was finding guys at linebacker who could make the basic plays (like tackling and stopping scrambling quarterbacks from carving the Canes defense). With John Lovett taking over for Micheal Barrow (who is now classified simply as a defensive a.ssistant), task No. 1 will be finding guys who not only consistently wrap up, but have the speed and ability to make those special plays. The talent is said to be there with sophomores Arthur Brown, Jordan Futch and Ramon Buchanon, but we'll have to see how much they've really grown.

As it stands, the loss of Glenn Cook, Spencer Adkins and Romeo Davis means UM only has Spence (weakside) and senior Darryl Sharpton (middle) as healthy players on the roster this spring who have played actual real minutes at linebacker in games. Shannon said seldom-used junior Kylan Robinson (strongside) will get an opportunity to compete on the outside along with the young guys. The ideal goal for UM is finishing this spring knowing they've got playmakers behind Spence, Sharpton and Colin McCarthy (when he returns from his shoulder injury in time for the fall).

> 4. Will Richard Gordon get his act together or will the tight end position at The U disappear until real help arrives? Since the day he arrived at UM all we've heard about Gordon is what an athletic freak he is. At 6-4, 260-pounds, he's been used just about everywhere. He even handled a job as a kick Will Richard Gordon emerge at tight end? returner for a few games two seasons ago. The bottomline is Gordon simply still hasn't found a place to contribute. This spring, with Chris Zellner gone (graduation), Dedrick Epps out until September at the earliest (torn ACL) and Tervaris Johnson battling injury woes, Gordon will have every opportunity to work with the first team and try and impress a new coordinator. When he needs some rest, sophomore Daniel Adderley, a recruiting bust, and Steven Wesley, who could move over from defensive end, are expected to share the snaps at tight end. Still, it's Gordon who is the only healthy Cane who has any of the ingredients to be a legit tight end. Last season, he had only three catches for 24 yards. Gordon's biggest problem according to position coach Joe Pannunzio has been route running. There's a chance new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple could devise an easier way to utilize Gordon. But if that doesn't happen, I seriously wonder if UM might just go into the fall deciding to abandon the tight end position until real help arrives.

> 5. Who will take a step forward as the backup quarterback to Jacory Harris? A year ago we went into the spring knowing Robert Marve would likely go into the fall with Harris as his backup. This year with Robert Marve gone, we know who the starter for The U will be for the next two seasons. But one of the biggest keys according to Randy Shannon this spring will be finding a backup to Harris. The candidates are the two guys who were red-shirted last season as freshmen, 6-7, 225-pound Texas native Taylor Cook or 5-11, 200-pounder Cannon Smith. Most expect Cook, who has the stronger arm and ideal size to emerge as the frontrunner to backup Harris heading into the fall. But we'll have to see how far along he's come since last year when the former option quarterback looked like he was struggling with his basic mechanics. For what it's worth, Smith actually took a few snaps last spring before getting injured on the scout team in the fall.

Posted by Manny Navarro at 03:29 PM in Randy Shannon, University of Miami Football, University of Miami Sports
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 10 years ago '04        #4729
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UM FOOTBALL
University of Miami begins spring football practice Tuesday
The Hurricanes open spring practice Tuesday, and the search for a No. 2 quarterback will be a top priority.
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Texas product Taylor Cook, above right, will be in competition with Cannon Smith for the Canes' No. 2 quarterback position behind Jacory Harris.
Texas product Taylor Cook, above right, will be in competition with Cannon Smith for the Canes' No. 2 quarterback position behind Jacory Harris.
DAVID ADAME / FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

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* Blog | Eye on the U
* Chat with other Hurricanes fans
* Top recruit Bryce Brown might not visit the University of Miami

BY SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN


Now that there is no quarterback controversy at the University of Miami, fans can start talking about the next best thing -- the backup quarterback.

Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon said Monday that he expects a better 2009 than 2008, and among the top three items on his to-do list: Secure that backup.

Also on his wish list as Day One of the 15 days of UM spring football practice kicks off Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in Coral Gables: Beef up the offensive line and linebacker corps.

''I don't know if you'd call those three things question marks, but it's important we develop those three areas this spring,'' Shannon said, ``Who is going to step up and be the No. 2 guy between Cannon Smith and Taylor Cook?''

Smith and Cook played on the scout team during last season's 7-5 campaign. Cook, from Eagle Lake, Texas, is 6-7 and 232 pounds and will be a redshirt freshman. Smith, a 5-11, 200-pounder, played in the 2008 opener against Charleston Southern and completed his only pass for two yards. He also ran once for 2 yards. Shannon said Smith had a leg injury last season. He is expected to be granted a redshirt for 2008 and have four years of eligibility remaining.

''I haven't seen much,'' Shannon said of the quarterbacks vying to play behind Jacory Harris. ``They've been in one-on-one meetings with coach [Mark] Whipple, learning the offense and doing film work. We'll soon find out how they are on the field.''

Same goes, respectively, with the linebackers and offensive linemen. The Canes need a new center and right guard, and Shannon said he is hoping players such as Tyler Horn (backup center), Harland Gunn (temporary right guard while Joel Figueroa recovers from shoulder surgery), Ben Jones (backup right tackle to begin spring) and Ian Symonette (backup left guard) ``step up this year.''

Shannon said he expects Darryl Sharpton to ''finally come on'' at middle linebacker, and Jordan Futch, Ramon Buchanan and Kylan Robinson to help build depth at the position.

Shannon said sophomore Arthur Brown will play in the middle, but Futch will be on the outside.

Other issues Shannon discussed Monday:

• A possible contract extension on his two remaining years: ''No, not yet,'' he said. Is he concerned that will scare away recruits? ``No.''

• How he feels about his job security: ``I don't worry about it.''

• The range of new defensive coordinator John Lovett's control: ''He'll have total control,'' Shannon said.

• UM's first four games at Florida State, against Georgia Tech, at Virginia Tech and against Oklahoma: ``If we win the first four games we can be in the top 10 real quick.''

• Lack of tight ends, with Dedrick Epps recovering from major knee surgery: ``Richard Gordon is going to get a big opportunity to show what he can do, and it's about time for him to show it.''

• UM fans: ``I don't worry about them.''

• The type of player that turns him off most: ``Guys who are very talented and don't work hard. I don't like guys with a gift who just ease through it.''

• The type of player that impresses him most: ``Guys who don't have the most talent but outwork the ones who have it.''

Except for a 6:30 p.m. scrimmage March 12 at Traz Powell Stadium in North Miami and the BankUnited CanesFest at 9 a.m. March 28 at Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium, the Hurricanes' spring practice sessions are closed to the public.

 10 years ago '04        #4730
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Top recruit Bryce Brown might not visit the University of Miami
Top national recruit Bryce Brown's father said the running back might switch his last official visit from UM to LSU.
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Wichita East running back Bryce Brown still plans to choose a college March 16, his father said.
Wichita East running back Bryce Brown still plans to choose a college March 16, his father said.
PHOTO BY MIKE SHEPHERD

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* University of Miami begins spring football practice Tuesday
* Blog | Eye on the U
* Chat with other Hurricanes fans

BY SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN


Top national football recruit Bryce Brown will continue his well-orchestrated plan for choosing a college to attend, his father, Arthur Brown Sr., said Monday.

But because the University of Miami apparently is losing interest in the running back, Arthur Sr. said, the Browns are ''leaning heavily'' toward making this weekend's trip to LSU the player's final official recruiting trip.

Arthur Sr. said a UM a.ssistant coach called him and Bryce Thursday afternoon at separate times to relay the school's concerns.

''They said they were very, very concerned about the media circus around his recruitment,'' Arthur Sr. told The Miami Herald. ``I think they pretty much wanted him to make a decision immediately without him going through his plan. Bryce told them he would have to talk to his family about that and that we would call back at 7 p.m. Thursday.

``We called back at 7 p.m. and left messages with [running backs coach] Tommie Robinson and Randy Shannon. We told Coach Shannon on the message that [Bryce is] going through his original plan and that Miami is in that plan and he would take his visits as planned and make his decision March 16.''

Neither Shannon nor any coaches have called back, the elder Brown said. Shannon might not be allowed to initiate a personal call to Bryce, 17, because of recruiting limits, Arthur Sr. said, but Shannon can take a call from Bryce.

`IT'S ALL RUMOR'

Does Arthur Sr. interpret UM's lack of response as a loss of interest in Bryce?

''Pretty much,'' he said. ``But unless it comes from Coach Shannon, it's all rumor and speculation.

``In all fairness to Coach Shannon, I have to kind of say I understand where they're coming from. This thing has turned into something we never anticipated.''

Bryce Brown's father, whose other son, Arthur Jr., is a linebacker at UM, said he regrets the way this saga is ending. Now it seems likely there won't be an official visit to UM on March 3 during spring practice, as Bryce wanted. Instead, all things point to LSU being the final official visit.

UM is not allowed to comment on specific recruits. On Monday, in an interview with The Miami Herald, Shannon said UM has ``three or four scholarships left, and at this present time we're not looking at anybody. But if somebody pops up that can help us, we'll evaluate him and look at him carefully. You can always carry over the scholarships you don't use from one year to the next.''

Bryce Brown, of Wichita, Kan., has made official visits to Missouri, Oregon, Clemson and Tennessee, and an unofficial visit to Kansas State. He is rated the nation's No. 1 prospect and has until April 1 to choose a school. National Signing Day was Feb. 4.

''It has gotten to the point where this whole thing should have been avoided and could have been avoided,'' Arthur Brown Sr. said Monday. ``If we could do it all over again, there are a lot of things we should have and would have done differently. For Bryce, I'd say regardless of how you express the need to make additional visits, if that's your plan, then don't commit. Don't commit. Also, you should keep a very frequent communication with the coaches -- Coach Shannon and the other coaches.

``If you have that time constraint, then keep in mind that [the coaches] have time constraints, too, and you should be sensitive to that.''

UM STILL IN THE MIX

Should Bryce not visit UM, would that keep the Hurricanes out of his decision-making process March 16?

''No, not at all,'' Arthur Sr. said, 'unless we know they definitely don't want him. Come March 16, if he feels like he wants to be at UM, he'd get on the phone and call Coach Shannon. If Coach Shannon said, `Yes,' he'd go to UM. If he said, 'No,' he wouldn't. He'd do that privately.''

Arthur Sr. reiterated that Arthur Jr., who will be a sophomore, loves UM.

''This won't affect Arthur in the least,'' his dad said. ``The only thing Arthur is concerned about is that Bryce prays on it and does what's right.''

Arthur Sr. was asked if the process has affected the Browns' relationship with Shannon.

''No,'' he said. ``He's family.''

 02-24-2009, 11:55 AM         #4731
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RANDY SHANNON START OF SPRING PRESS CONFERENCE

Opening statement: Today will be the first day of practice, all shorts, no hits, no collision. It'll be seven on seven with receivers, defensive backs, no quarterback pressure. It's more of a fast-paced walkthrough for the first two days. On Saturday we'll be in shoulder pads.

Q: What is Micheal Barrow's role?

Shannon: Coach Barrow is more of our special a.ssistant on defense and offense, special teams. His role is a.ssisting everyone on defense. Most people think it's a demotion. It's not a demotion. It's giving him more responsibilities to keep going and further his career. It's a big change for us.

Q: With two new coordinators, how much have they installed?

Shannon: Coach (Mark) Whipple, he's been here the longest, we get to meet twice a week with the kids. They've installed a lot. Defensively it's a little easier because you just want your basic overages in, the concepts. Offense you have your four receiver sets, two back sets, one back sets, three tight ends in the game, a lot of different sets and formations you have to install. That takes a little bit longer. It's in, but now they actually have to do it on the field now Ė the movements and shifts, get the timing down. That'll be more than anything (the biggest adjustment).

Q: Before the bowl game you said those 15 practices were a head-start for spring ball. Did you lose that edge with the coordinators leaving and players leaving?

Shannon: Not really. The thing is terminology (that is new on offense). It's concepts a little different on defense. For Arthur Brown, those 15 practices of middle linebacker helped him tremendously. Now it's the same, he just has to get terminology.

Q: Arthur Brown going to the middle, why that move?

Shannon: For four years we had Tavares Gooden at outside, he wasn't productive. We put him in the middle his senior year, he was. You have to move guys around and eventually they'll show what they can do. I think by (Bown) moving in the middle he seems more comfortable, quicker reacting, can diagnose plays faster than before.

Q: Will you know by March 28 who your starting MLB is?

Shannon: We'll try to come out at every position a first clear-cut guy. Now, it depends how the summer goes, how they're working out. Are they really competing in August?

Q: Did the hype around Brown weigh on him?

Shannon: It always weighs on guys like that. When DJ (Williams) first came in, he had a lot of accolades. Arthur had a lot of accolades. The guys how come in with ratings, a lot of people look at `You need to come out and start now.' He was a great special teams player for us, helped us win some games. Now he's taking the next step.

Q: How did he react to not playing a lot last year?

Shannon: He was fine. He was still happy, made some plays on special teams, especially kickoff. Against Virginia the first kickoff return was a reverse. If Arthur Brown doesn't beat everyone down there it's a touchdown. He happened to beat his guy, run down and hit the guy.

Q: Is there anything out there right now distracting Arthur?

Shannon: No. He's fine. He's happy to be here, excited and ready to go.

Q: Why start spring practice so early?

Shannon: We wanted to get six weeks of weight lifting in. We have to get those guys strong in the weight room. When spring football is over we have a month to get back in the weight room, then finals after that. If we backed it up we might have got seven weeks of lifting; when spring football is over you're down to one week of being in the weight room because you have reading time, finals. So there was an opportunity to really lift hard in the weight room and get spring practice in.

Q: What is April about for these guys?

Shannon: Getting stronger. When spring football is over we have to increase (weightlifting) numbers. a.ss soon as April is over with you have down time (because of rules from) the NCAA. You don't want to just maintain. When you get that lull in May and June it's hard, because the weight room is not involved Ė it's more voluntary. It's not a scheduled workout with your team (per NCAA rules) until July.

Q: What excites you the most about what Whipple brings to the table?

Shannon: Coach Whipple brings a lot to our offense, developing quarterbacks. We have young quarterbacks, and he's proven he can develop young quarterbacks. When he was at UMass and Brown, the offense scored points. Sometimes you have to outscore people. That's something coach Whipple has always been able to do.

Q: He has a lot of different formations, has lined up five receivers on one side.

Shannon: Everybody uses different formations. Sometimes you line up five guys on one side and motion a guy back just to give you a chance on defense to screw up. If they see that weakness they'll get you on a big touchdown. Those are things you have to use as a setup.

Q: What do you see for a successful pro style offense?

Shannon: Get the ball out quick. When Dennis Erickson was here it was pro style, getting the ball out quick. It's more using talent around you Ė that's the one thing you have to do now. You have talent. If you can get receivers or a quarterback throwing for 3,000 yards, two running backs rushing for 1,000 yards, tight ends getting 400, 500 yards, you're going to be successful. That's a pro style offense Ė using everyone in your offense. It's using everyone in your offense to be successful. Some of the best offenses I've been around you always had a tight end, receivers and a running back (doing well).
...............

 02-24-2009, 11:56 AM         #4732
The Lefty  OP
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Q: Richard Gordon only has four catches in his career. Do you think he can develop into more than a good blocking tight end, be a good receiver?

Shannon: I told Richard it's his time now. We have guys out that are out, are going to come back in the fall. This is his opportunity to put his stamp on the tight end position Ė you're big, fast, can run, now it's up to you to get it done. He's been fine catching the football. How many balls are thrown to him?

Q: Do you want him also in his special teams role?

Shannon: This spring we want him to be a tight end. Spring ball is the time to get players' mindset on what we are trying to get done offensively and defensively.

Q: What's an ideal number of touches for Graig Cooper in a game to conserve his body?

Shannon: Don't really know. We're going to use him this year on kickoff return and punt return. (Last year) we had to pull off (because) Javarris (James) was hurt. Lee Chambers was out, got back healthy. You wanted to keep using Cooper (as a returner), but we didn't have the depth because of injuries. Toward the end we put him on kickoff and punt return. He's going to get more of an active role in that and will also get carries at tailback.

Q: How important are the early enrollees?

Shannon: Last year early enrollees helped us out a lot. I think they'll help us out. It's 15 days of practice they wouldn't get in the fall. Spring football is more physical than summer football. Spring is two days on, one day off, two days back on. Summer you get more time (between practices). Spring football is brutal. They get accustomed to that and also going to class which is very key.

Q: How much of the Florida State game gets installed this spring?

Shannon: You don't do it. We have enough time the summer.

Q: Did you put some things in for Florida in the spring last year?

Shannon: No.

Q: You played a lot of receivers last year. Would you like to see more separation this year?

Shannon: It's up to those guys. You have (Leonard) Hankerson playing two or three positions, Kendal Thompkins playing two or three positions. Everybody's playing two or three positions. Those guys are older now. Last year you couldn't get guys to learn two or three positions. They know now what to get done.

Q: Daniel Adderley you said was going to leave. What happened with him?

Shannon: He felt he wasn't able to play at Miami. I was honest with him, said right at this point in time the things you're doing, you're putting yourself behind the eight ball. He came back maybe three weeks ago and said, `Coach, I'm going to give it a shot, see if I can really play at Miami. I'm going to force myself to do the things you said I have to get done to be at Miami.' He said he appreciated me being honest with him, telling him those things. He's out there working out. We'll see how he's feeling. He told me, `Coach, I'll find out this spring if I want to be at Miami or not. I'm working to be a Miami player, or I'm just going to leave because I'm not that type of player yet.'

Q: What seniors have a chance to really shine now?

Shanon: Darryl Sharpton, Javarris James. You go back to Javarris' first year, and I told Javarris this, he was hungry. He came in as a true freshman, wanted to play. He had 800 yards. Then the next two years null and void. Did he slack off his work habits, doing the little things? I told him if you want to be the great running back here this is what has to happen. Now if you don't, we always bring in guys to have competition. He knows I care for him, but he understands the big picture is if you want to be a great football player what did you do as a freshman and what do you need to be doing now? If you go back to those ways, we're going to be a great football team. Darryl, it's time for him to be the Jon Vilma, DJ, Ray Lewis. It's Darryl's time, and that's the reason we recruited him.

Q: What do you want from Jacory Harris this spring?

Shannon: Learn the offense, get control of it. It almost seems he's the frontrunner as far as the leader of this football team because of the way he carries himself. It's been very good for him so far. We're excited about him.

Q: Do you limit Harris' reps?

Shannon: I don't think we don't have to limit him. He's going to get his reps; the other two guys (Cannon Smith and Cook) will get equal amount of reps. Eventually one of them will emerge as the No. 2 guy.

Q: Can Harris get more done now that he's not a No. 2 guy?

Shannon: That stuff never bothered Jacory last year. Last year was a situation where we had to get depth on the football team. If we lived and died with one quarterback we could be in a situation where we're starting with a guy that never took a snap again. This year is different. Jacory's been there. We have to build depth still on who is the No. 2 guy.

Q: Talk about Taylor Cook's arm.

Shannon: He really does have a strong arm. He's 6-7, gets back, good rhythm, and when he releases it now it has a lot of velocity on it. His short throw are nice touch passes. When he wants to throw it downfield he can throw it downfield.

Q: Can he move around a bit?

Shannon: Yeah. In high school he was a free safety and tight end. He has that ability. And he played basketball. He's an athlete.

Q: When Taylor came in there was talk he could be a tight end. How is his development as a quarterback?

Shannon: Taylor was on scout team last year, has a live arm. Yes, he'll be a punter if he wanted to be a punter. We're excited about him being a quarterback right now.

Q: Who are some players that redshirted that you expect big things from?

Shannon: Expect Vaughn Telemaque to do some good things at safety, Gavin Hardin at defensive end is a very explosive guy, Joe Wylie is big, physical at safety. Jeremy Lewis, Micanor Regis Ė those 300 pounders look in better shape than when they got here. We're excited about the way they've been running around.

Q: Colin McCarthy could practice this spring?

Shannon: He probably can go through some things this spring, but we won't let him. Colin has played both weakside and strongside, so now (it's about) learn middle linebacker. We know come fall he'll be at the outside position unless something happens at middle linebacker.

Q: How is everybody academically?

Shannon: No problems.

* Shannon said he sees Kendal Thompkins as a slot receiver. Shannon also says he wants to see Travis Benjamin improve his technique instead of simply relying on his speed.

"This is an opportunity for him to get better this spring," Shannon said.

* Benjamin, Davon Johnson and Brandon Harris are in track and won't practice this week. Eric Moncur is among injured players who won't be participating this spring.

Shannon said Moncur is working to lose weight.

"Eric needs to lose about 15 pounds, be at about 245, 250," Shannon said. "He knows it, has been working at it to get it done. He's about 265, 268."
..................

 10 years ago '04        #4733
booie4 
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Spring football is a time when the best go against the best, first team against first team and the competition is high on every play.

The position battles in spring lay the foundation for the upcoming season and give the players a glimpse on how far they have come from the previous season and what they need to improve to move up or solidify their spot on the depth chart.

The following five position battles will be the most important areas of competition as the Hurricanes continue to develop for the 2009 season.

************************************************** ***

Defensive Tackle

This spring will be a time for Allen Bailey and Marcus Forston to fulfill their vast potential and become difference makers for the defensive line. Veteran Joe Joseph also returns and Josh Holmes will have an opportunity to prove he can be a consistent contributor after battling injuries throughout his career. Also key this spring will be the development of Micanor Regis and Jeremy Lewis--both of whom are big athletic bodies that could add needed depth at the position. The talent ceiling for the defensive tackle position is very high for Miami and this group could be dominant if they develop.

Wide receiver

The wide receiver position is always going to be a battle with the seven freshmen that were brought in with the 2008 recruiting class. The big question with this group is which players will make a big jump in their development this offseason? Aldarius Johnson, Travis Benjamin, LaRon Byrd and Thearon Coller all showed during their freshman season in 2008 that they have a chance to be very productive players if they continue to progress. Redshirt freshmen Tommy Streeter and Kendal Thompkins will also get an opportunity to work their way up the depth chart. This spring will be a big opportunity for some receivers to separate themselves from the pack and become primary targets for quarterback Jacory Harris.

Linebacker

This position battle will be interesting because it will be a bunch of young players pushing veterans. UM's starters appear to be solidified with Sean Spence, Colin McCarthy, and Darryl Sharpton, but the coaching staff likes to rotate the linebackers which will give Arthur Brown, Jordan Futch, and Ramon Buchanan an opportunity to gain some playing time. All three of the young linebackers are extremely talented and don't be surprised if one of them pushes a veteran for a starting job. Look for at least one of the bunch of Brown, Futch, and Buchanan to make big strides this spring and shoot up the depth chart this spring.

Cornerback

This position returns DeMarcus Van Dke, Brandon Harris, and Chavez Grant from last season--all of whom received significant playing time. These players have shown flashes of strong play throughout their careers at Miami, but each must show more consistency if they are going to raise their game to another level. This spring will be key particularly for the development of Harris and Van Dke. Both players have all the ability to be very good corners, but they need to use this spring as a time to build some confidence to play on an island. Because of Miami's lack of depth at the position, early enrollee freshman Brandon McGee will get a legit opportunity to crack the playing rotation. Sam Shields will make the move from receiver to cornerback and will get a chance to carry over special teams success to the defense.

Right Tackle

Of all the positions battles this spring, this one could be the closest. Senior Matt Pipho will get the first crack at the starting job. Pipho stepped in and played tackle admirably at times last season against Virginia and Virginia Tech. Now he will have to show he has the consistency to be a starter. Redshirt freshman Ben Jones, and junior Orlando Franklin are going to push Pipho for the job. Both Jones and Franklin have more physical upside at the position, but will that be enough to overtake the more experienced Pipho? No matter who wins the starting job at right tackle, Miami will need to develop somebody who they can rotate in at the position and add depth. Look for freshman Jermaine Johnson to also get some reps at the right tackle spot and push for a starting job.

 10 years ago '04        #4734
booie4 
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The University of Miami hasn't felt so confident at kicker in quite some time.

Although it would be nice for Matt Bosher to have someone take over the punting duties so he can simply concentrate on kicking field goals and kickoffs, Bosher is as solid the 'Canes have been at kicker since Todd Sievers booted field goals for the 'Canes earlier this decade.

As a sophomore, Bosher had an exemplary season.

He was 18 for 20 kicking field goals and averaged 40.3 yards per punt.

Bosher was as close to an automatic as Miami has ever had kicking field goals and his leg was a big reason Miami won seven games in 2008.

The area of his game that needs to be improved is with his punting. While he had some real good games punting and had the ability to boom some kicks, he struggled at times with his drops forcing shanked kicks that were devastating for winning field position battles.

He simply had far too many shanked punts that cost Miami major yardage in games.

At the same time, he more than likely wore down as the season went on because his kickoff game struggled as well.

He loved to tackle and came up with big Special Teams tackles, but many times he was the reason he had to make tackles because of his inability to pin opponents deep on kickoffs. He especially struggled with getting touchbacks. He only had six in 69 kickoffs.

It would certainly be helpful for Bosher if Jake Wieclaw stepped up and handled the punting duties, but until that happens, Bosher will remain the lone active kicker on the roster.

The overall Special Teams play though was mediocre especially in kickoff coverage. Beyond the fact that Bosher struggled with kickoffs, the coverage was poor too often forcing Bosher to have to make too many tackles.

The 'Canes also need to get more from their kick returners. While Travis Benjamin showed a spark early in the season, as the season wore on, the 'Canes got little in terms of kickoff or punt returns.

Expect Benjamin to line up with Brandon Harris as the primary kickoff returners while Benjamin and Thearon Collier should handle the punt return duties.

 10 years ago '04        #4735
booie4 
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It's a common theme on the University of Miami football team that depth remains an overall concern at almost every position.

Last year, cornerback was a position where depth was a major problem. A year later, it's still an issue, but at least the 'Canes have youth on their side as the two corners that are expected to start will return for at least one more season after 2009.

Now, the 'Canes need to start developing that depth. While they have recruited players they hope will provide that depth, only time will tell if the right decisions were made.

At the same time, the 'Canes have to be feeling good about what they have returning at safety, a position that has developed the depth necessary to become great again.

So who is lining up in the Secondary this Spring?

*********************************************

Cornerback - 5

Brandon Harris and DeMarcus Van Dke are expected to be the starters when Spring practice begins today with Chavez Grant as the third corner.

However, there remains a depth problem in the Spring so Sam Shields was moved to corner in hopes of providing some depth even though he hasn't played the position at all during his career in Coral Gables.

True freshman Brandon McGee is the lone corner who enrolled early which will give him a true chance to get a lot of playing time as a freshman.

McGee played safety in high school, but has the football mind, body and speed to play corner at the college level. He has leaderships qualities similar to that of Brandon Harris and it wouldn't be all that surprising if McGee cracked the rotation his freshman season similar to the way Harris did in 2008.

Safety - 6

At the safety, the 'Canes are a little more sure of what they have entering the Spring.

Randy Phillips and Vaughn Telemaque are expected to begin the Spring as the starters.

Backing them up will be JoJo Nicolas, Ryan Hill, Jared Campbell and C.J. Holton.

While Telemaque redshirted his freshman year, is talent is considered to be great. He has the potential to be a phenomenal safety.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Nicolas who started a number of games as a sophomore, but seemingly fell down the depth chart as the season progressed.

But the group is deep and they will all have a chance to play. Who steps up remains to be seen.

 10 years ago '04        #4736
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Randy Shannon said after the team's first spring practice that "You can't really tell much the first day. You're in shorts and guys are flying around, chasing the football. The offense is catching and throwing. That's really all you can do the first couple of days. Shannon pointed to a some newcomers as doing well. He said DE Olivier Vernon was an early standout, saying, "Olivier chased the football like he's been here already." Shannon also said DT Curtis Porter "did some good things, but he's a big guy so he's a bit tired right now." Shannon also said CB Brandon McGee was "fine" and that RB Mike James "for the first time did a nice job." Asked what he saw out of Taylor Cook today, Shannon said, "He threw the ball around, has a strong arm, did a lot of good things." * TE Richard Gordon knows, with a very thin depth chart at his position, that this spring is his time to shine. "It is my opportunity, and I just feel I have to do it on the field this year," Gordon said. Gordon says he's dropped 15 pounds since weighing 280 pounds last year. "That was a big problem on the field, moving," he said. "I dropped down to 265 right now, and speed-wise it's coming back around. Hopefully I'll just lose the weight like Randy (Shannon) wanted me to." Gordon had somenice grabs in practice today. "I've been catching with Jacory on the weekends, just get anyone to throw with me," Gordon said. Gordon says he's not disappointed with his lack of production in the past. "A lot of times they would just use me as a blocker," he said. "I feel I could have caught more balls." * Freshman CB Brandon McGee said his first practice "was definitely what I expected. The University of Miami, you come here to work hard, come here to compete and get better every day. "It was definitely exciting just to come out here." Of getting the early reps, McGee said, "It definitely helps me. I get to watch the first group and everything, learn from my mistakes when I come on the sidelines. The older players take me to the side, talk about some of the mistakes I made and how to get better at those things." McGee says going against Miami's receivers "gets me better every day I'm on the field." The biggest thing McGee has learned so far at UM? "Just being accountable for your own actions, taking responsibility with everything you do," McGee said. "You have to be here on time. Coach is real strict on that." McGee says he's getting reps at right cornerback right now. * WR LaRon Byrd says the team's goal this season is simple. "BCS, a national championship," he says. And that goal began today with the opening spring practice. "Everybody's a little rusty," Byrd said. "We have to put a little oil in the tank, loosen up. But I think we're going to progress." Byrd says he spent a lot of time throwing on his free time with Jacory Harris in the last two months. And he says he's impressed with how quickly Harris picks things up. "He's got a Peyton Manning mind with a Tom Brady arm," Byrd said. * The opening stretch depth chart: First team offense: TE Richard Gordon, WRs Leonard Hankerson, LaRon Byrd, Thearon Collier, QB Jacory Harris, RBs Javarris James and Graig Cooper, FB Patrick Hill, OL (from left to right) Jason Fox, Orlando Franklin, AJ Trump, Harland Gunn, Matt Pipho. Second team offense: TE Daniel Adderley, WRs Tommy Streeter, Aldarius Johnson, RB Damien Berry, FB John Calhoun, QBs Cannon Smith and Taylor Cook, OL (from left to right) Jermaine Johnson, Ian Symonette, Tyler Horn, Brandon Washington, Ben Jones (There's more than 11 because there was some rotating in and out) First team defense: DEs Steven Wesley, Marcus Robinson; DTs Allen Bailey, Joe Joseph; OLBs Arthur Brown and Sean Spence; MLB Darryl Sharpton; CBs Chavez Grant, Ryan Hill; Safeties Randy Phillips, Jared Campbell/JoJo Nicolas. Second team defense: DEs Andrew Smith, Adewale Ojomo; DTs Josh Holmes, Marcus Forston; OLBs Jordan Futch, Kylan Robinson; MLB Ramon Buchanan; CBs Brandon Harris,Sam Shields; Safeties Vaughn Telemaque and Joe Wylie

 10 years ago '04        #4737
booie4 
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Quarterback Jacory Harris said after UM's opening spring practice that he is extremely impressed with new coordinator Mark Whipple's offense. "I love the offense because there's always something open," Harris said. "It gives you time to progress through your reads. You can check down to the running backs, so the backs might have 10 catches a game. It's fun. It's something we have fun doing." Harris says when he first laid eyes on the new playbook "it was 10 inches high." "I looked at it, then the next day we were going over things and I knew basically everything he was talking about," Harris said. "I'm very impressed (with the playbook)." After the first spring practice today Harris says most of Whipple's offense is already in. "We've learned 75 percent of the offense," he said. "It's a lot of plays. All these receivers, the O-line, the whole offense has learned everything and knows it like the back of our hand." Harris says Whipple told players that his offense "is bits and pieces of everything he's been in. That's his style." Harris adds, "You can sense the creativity in the offense." And Harris says "it has the feel" of an NFL offense. That's not just Harris' opinion. Whipple has hammered home that NFL feel by having the offensive players study NFL film. "We'll watch the Eagles vs. the Giants, the routes we've installed," Harris said. "We'll watch Donovan McNabb run Texas Wild. We just go through the reads." Last year the team only watched college film. "This time (last year) we were watching spring from the year before or cutups from the last year's regular season," Harris said. "I feel (watching the NFL tape helps). Looking at the playbook was humongous, but then once you learn the concepts it shrinks down." Harris says a key to the offense is to get the ball out quickly. "I'm just here to get the ball to the playmakers," Harris said. "Catch the ball, three steps and then throw." Of getting back on the field for practice 1, Harris said, "I was really excited to get back out here. We came out fired up. Everyone came out here having fun. We've been wanting to get back on this field for a long time. The offense went out and did great, and the defense did well too." Of not having to battle for a starting job anymore, Harris said, "I was just talking to LaRon Byrd, telling him how comfortable I feel out there because it's like now I don't have to go out there and make any plays. I don't have to force anything just to show that I'm there. "I can just go and take care of my business and do what coach Whipple has me doing." Harris says he feels more mature entering year two. "I have to step up and be a leader, have to be held accountable for everything I'm doing," Harris said. "And that's something I have to learn and grow on as the year progresses." * Harris was asked about WR Tommy Streeter, who missed last year due to injury and is back now, and said, "He's a sub-4.4. guy. It's something amazing by looking at Streeter running down the field and you throw it up and he's running past cornerbacks. It's going to be amazing to watch Streeter on the field." * Asked how much better the offense can be with a different coordinator and the returning personnel, Harris said, "It's depending on how the players pick up his offense, how the players go out there and learn the playbook and things like that. That will determine if we can be a 40-point team, just score points."

 10 years ago '04        #4738
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Head coach Randy Shannon addressed the media Tuesday morning as the team begins spring practices in the afternoon.

The team will be in shorts the first two days, shells on Friday, and shoulder pads on Saturday.

Practice will be open to the public on March 12 with a scrimmage at Traz Powell.

The spring game is on March 28 at 10 a.m. at Lockhart Stadium.

The Hurricanes are coming off a 7-6 season and an appearance in the Emerald Bowl.

*************************************************

News & Notes

? The reason why practices are starting early is because Shannon wanted to have the team go through six weeks of a hard weight training program after the season and have a month after spring practices for another weight training program before school is over.

? Shannon mentioned LB Darryl Sharpton, RB Javarris James, and TE Richard Gordon as upperclassmen that need to step up this spring.

? LB Darryl Sharpton will get a crack at middle linebacker this spring.

? WRs Travis Benjamin and Davon Johnson as well as CB Brandon Harris will miss the first week of spring practice due to track obligations.

? WR Travis Benjamin changed his number to 3, from 80 and CB Sam Shields changed his number to 9 from 83. No other players have switched numbers.

? CB Sam Shields is making the switch to cornerback after three years at wide receiver where he caught 75 passes for 971 yards and seven touchdowns including two 100-yard games. Last season, Shields fell out of favor in the receiver rotation catching just 11 passes for 124 yards.

? There are six new enrollees: RB Mike James (#22), OL Brandon Washington (#72), OL Jermaine Johnson (#78), DE Olivier Vernon (#35), DT Curtis Porter (#96), and CB Brandon McGee (#21).

? LB Arthur Brown has been moved to middle linebacker after playing strongside last season. Shannon said Brown has been happy in his time at UM despite only playing on special teams last fall.

? QB Taylor Cook is competing with Cannon Smith for the backup quarterback job. According to Shannon, Cook has a very live arm.

? TE Daniel Adderley is still on the team although Shannon said he would be transferring. Shannon said Adderley approached Shannon about staying on the team.

? RB Graig Cooper will be used at kick returner and punt returner this season. Travis Benjamin will also be used as a returner, but it appears Cooper has the upperhand as the team's primary returner with a healthy Javarris James in the backfield to ease the pressure off of Cooper.

? DE Eric Moncur and TE Tervaris Johnson will be limited in spring practices. OL Joel Figueroa is out after having off-season surgery.

? Shannon would like DE Eric Moncur to lose about 15 pounds to get down to the 245-250 range.

? DL Allen Bailey, as reported a week ago, will begin the spring as a defensive tackle.

? a.ssistant coach Micheal Barrow will a.ssume the role of being a defensive a.ssistant coach as opposed to a linebackers coach, which he served last season. Shannon says it is not a demotion, but gives him more responsibility to coach a variety of positions.

? Practice begins at 3:30. A complete practice report including player interviews and an interview with offensive coordinator Mark Whipple will be up as soon as possible.

 10 years ago '04        #4739
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Today was the first day of spring practices. Find out which players stood out, which players were on first and second team, which players were held out, and more in this practice report.

The team was in shorts.

************************************************** *********

News & Notes

? QB Jacory Harris took the first snap as expected and looked good in a variety of drills. The one thing he did a good job at was throwing the ball into space and letting his receivers go get it even before they break, which is something that quarterbacks need to trust, which hasn't always happened at UM in recent years.

? QB Taylor Cook took the second snaps followed by Cannon Smith. Cook has a very good arm and showed it during practice. He didn't throw a lot of deep passes, but he gets the ball out to his receivers. Smith showed good footwork in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

? There were no touchdowns in today's practice during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. Graig Cooper caught a nice screen pass and raced up the sideline, but would have been tackled if the defensive players were allowed to do so. Most of the completions were quick throws where the quarterback got the ball out fast.

? The first-team wide receivers on the outside were LaRon Byrd and Leonard Hankerson. Aldarius Johnson and Tommy Streeter were on the second-team. Kendal Thompkins and Thearon Collier were the slot receivers on both units.

? The first offensive line unit was as follows: LT Jason Fox; LG Orlando Franklin; C A.J. Trump; RG Harland Gunn; and RT Matt Pipho.

? The second offensive line unit was as follows: LT Jermaine Johnson; LG Ian Symonette; C Tyler Horn; RG Brandon Washington; and RT Ben Jones.

? RBs Graig Cooper and Javarris James split time with the first unit with Cooper getting the first rep. Cooper caught a nice screen pass along the right sideline during a 7-on-7 drills and got upfield in a hurry. James made an excellent cutback move on a screen in the middle of the field as he shook LB Kylan Robinson before getting to the outside, drawing a cheer from his teammates.

? Ryan Hill was playing cornerback today as he is expected to play there this spring especially with the limited number of corners on the team. Chavez Grant, Sam Shields, and freshman Brandon McGee were the other cornerbacks. Shields looks raw at this point in the spring but he did show he can plant a foot and break on a ball nicely.

? Ramon Buchanan is playing linebacker as we reported he was doing late in the season. He showed very nice speed moving sideline to sideline and has a lot of range.

? C.J. Holton and Joe Wylie are safeties despite rumors of them playing linebacker.

? The first unit linebackers were: WLB Sean Spence, MLB Darryl Sharpton, and SLB Kylan Robinson.

? The second unit linebackers were: WLB Ramon Buchanan, MLB Arthur Brown, and SLB Jordan Futch.

Freshman Watch

? There are six freshmen who have enrolled early: RB Mike James, OLs Brandon Washington and Jermaine Johnson, DE Oliver Vernon, DT Curtis Porter, and CB Brandon McGee.

? Freshman RB Mike James looked good as he is clearly physically impressive, which wasn't a surprise from seeing him in person during his senior year and around campus. James has good feet and did a nice job of catching the ball as well.

? James' roommate CB Brandon McGee got a lot of reps during practice as the team only has four cornerbacks participating in the first week. Physically McGee looks like he can immediately compete with the rest of the corners, but at times he struggled with footwork. Overall though McGee had a good day.

Injury and Status Updates

? The following players were wearing green jerseys, which means they were limited in practice: WR Kendal Thompkins and TE Tervaris Johnson.

? WRs Travis Benjamin and Davon Johnson and CB Brandon Harris will be held out this week due to them having track this weekend. All three were at practice, but didn't participate in drills.

? LB Colin McCarthy was in uniform, but did not practice.

? TE Dedrick Epps (torn ACL) and OL Joel Figueroa (right arm surgery) will be out this spring.

 10 years ago '04        #4740
madness 21 heat pts21
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thanks to everyone for the updates

 02-24-2009, 10:39 PM         #4741
Cheeze  OP
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wow it all sounds surprisingly good. shields should feel at home at CB he's used to batting down balls. Glad to read that Jacory is leading the team. Seems like he's poise for a breakout.

 10 years ago '04        #4742
madness 21 heat pts21
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[pic - click to view]


Taylor Cook


[pic - click to view]


Curtis Porter


[pic - click to view]


Colin McCarthy


[pic - click to view]


Lee Chambers


[pic - click to view]


Joe Joseph and Josh Holmes


[pic - click to view]


Ben Jones


[pic - click to view]


Damien Berry


[pic - click to view]


Brandon McGee and Mike James

 10 years ago '04        #4743
madness 21 heat pts21
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[pic - click to view]


Arthur "My Lil Bro's an Attention Ho" Brown


[pic - click to view]


C.J. "Hitstick" Holton


[pic - click to view]


Brandon Washington


[pic - click to view]


Orlando Franklin


[pic - click to view]


Harland Gunn


[pic - click to view]


Jermaine Johnson


[pic - click to view]


Jordan Futch


[pic - click to view]


Randy Phillips


[pic - click to view]


JoJo Nicolas


[pic - click to view]


Sam Shields



the freshmen o-linemen look massive

 02-25-2009, 12:31 PM         #4744
Cheeze  OP
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Yeah they all look really big. Curtis Porter is a house goddamn. Randy Phillips lookin like Sean Taylor in that pic.

 02-25-2009, 05:11 PM         #4745
The Lefty  OP
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Brandon McGee wearing #21 >>>

 10 years ago '04        #4746
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Newly hired offensive coordinator Mark Whipple participated in his first University of Miami football practice today. Whipple was hired in late January and has been working hard to install most of his playbook as he can in these four weeks. After his first practice as offensive coordinator, Whipple says he is throwing a lot at his players and he is impressed by the talent that he sees on the field. "They were good today," Whipple said. "I am sure I will look at the tape and see a lot of mistakes, which there were, but we threw a lot at them. I think they responded pretty well, but the big thing is can they retain it for 14 more practices. We are going to ask a lot of them from in-between their ears and I think they handled it well today." "We have talent, there is talent everywhere." For now Whipple says he is treating these first spring practices almost as mini-camps by throwing a lot of information at the players. Many of the players have said that Whipple's offense already appears to be complex and the playbook is thick, but Whipple says he just wants to find out what the strengths of his personnel are and he will tailor his offense to those strengths. "You kind of just keep you plays over the years with the different ideas and fit them with your personnel," Whipple said. "Jacory is going to be different than Taylor and Cannon. They are each going to have a different gameplan. Ben Rothlisberger is going to be different than Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb or A.J. Feely. How we are going to use those guys to the best of their abilities is what we will piece together." One position that should be expected to be a focal point of Whipple's offense is the running back position. Many of the pass plays during Tuesday's practice were intended to the running backs. Whipple talked about Graig Cooper and how the running backs can be used in the passing game. "I think [Cooper] is a really good receiver and a great running back," Whipple said. "He has been really good. There is a lot more pass routes than they have had. There is a lot more technique things in the pass game that they haven't had--the type of things with Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter." "I think it is the one place in college where you can use your running backs a little bit more. It is not as much of a mismatch in the NFL, but in college you can match them up pretty good, so that is something we might look at." Tuesday was the first chance Whipple really got to work with quarterback Jacory Harris on the field and he says he has been impressed by Harris' approach to the game. "I think he has worked hard and studied hard and he has a good grasp on what he is doing. Today was the first time I saw him throw and he has good touch. He is a little more athletic than he looks on tape. He is a confident kid, but not c*cky. He has a good presence."

 10 years ago '04        #4747
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Highly touted linebacker Arthur Brown seems to have found a home at middle linebacker for the University of Miami. During his true freshman season last year Brown played outside linebacker during practice and was a part of the kickoff coverage team, but during the bowl practices he switched to middle linebacker and performed well. According to coach Randy Shannon, the move to middle linebacker made Brown much more productive in practice. "It is like Ray Lewis when he came in," coach Randy Shannon said. "When he played outside linebacker as a freshman when he came in, I thought he was awful. Then about five days later we put him at the middle linebacker position and it was like, whoa who is this guy?" "Sometimes you have to move guys around and eventually they can show you what they can do. For Arthur Brown, those 15 days of practice helped him tremendously." Shannon says that Brown is a much more instinctual player at the middle linebacker position and that he plays at a faster speed. He is currently with the second team at the middle linebacker spot behind Darryl Sharpton. "It seems like he is more comfortable moving and he is quicker," Shannon said. "He is quicker reacting to plays." Brown finished the 2008 season with four tackles by playing on special teams. He came to the University of Miami last spring as an early enrollee for the 2008 recruiting class and was ranked as the sixth best player in the country by ESPN. Shannon said he believes maybe the high expectations placed on Brown for his freshman season could have weighed on him throughout the season. "It always weighs on guys like that," Shannon said. "The guys that come in with all the accolades, a lot of people look at it as you need to come out and get it done now. I think it weighed on him a little bit, but he was a great special teams player for us last year and now he is taking the next step." During the spring game last year, Brown recorded a team high eight tackles and one interception. Look for Brown to show that type of performance more consistently during this month of spring football.

 10 years ago '04        #4748
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Today was the second day of spring practices. Find out which players stood out, which players were on first and second team, which players were held out, and more in this practice report.

The team was in shorts.

Former Hurricane all-American and current NFL superstar Ed Reed was in attendance as well as former Michigan Heisman Trophy Winner Desmond Howard.

Former Canes Kevin Beard, Bruce Johnson, and Antonio Dixon were also at practice.

A number of recruits were also in attendance, which are listed later in the report.

************************************************** *********

News & Notes

? CB Ryan Hill returned an interception by Taylor Cook 55 yards back for a touchdown during 11-on-11. Hill jumped in front of a short route by walk-on WR Kris Kimball and raced down the sideline. Hill has been doing well in practice at cornerback, is showing good footwork, and is getting a lot of work in.

? OL Orlando Franklin and DE Gavin Hardin were jawing at each other after an exchange of pushes. Hardin's helmet came off during a play and locked up with Franklin, and proceeded to take Franklin's helmet off also. The two separated and there was not other incident the rest of practice.

? WR Leonard Hankerson caught the most passes during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. He caught at least four passes for at least 25 yards all along the sideline. Hankerson beat CB Chavez Grant on a stop-and-go route, but Taylor Cook overthrew him which would have resulted in a touchdown. Hankerson caught a deep pass from Cannon Smith with Brandon McGee in coverage, caught a 30-yard strike from Cook, a 35-yard pass from Jacory Harris with Grant and safety Vaughn Telemaque in coverage, and a 25-yard pass from Harris over C.J. Holton. Hankerson has been primarily on the first team in the first two days of practice.

? QB Jacory Harris had an average day, sometimes he was on and did a good job of throwing into space, other times he struggled with his accuracy constantly throwing short in one drill and throwing wide to his receivers.

? QB Taylor Cook did a nice job of rolling out of the pocket and throwing on the run. He has been impressive the first couple of days of practice despite throwing an interception today. Cook has a strong arm and is the favorite to win the back-up role to Harris.

? RB Graig Cooper dropped a toss to the right, but recovered by picking up the ball, and shifting by the defense during an 11-on-11 drill and got into the secondary. He appeared to be on his way to the endzone before CB Chavez Grant tracked him down 10 yards short. The fumble fooled some of the defensive players, but Grant caught up to Cooper, who should have scored.

? WR Aldarius Johnson continues to look very polished for a young player, running crips routes, and making catches in traffic. Johnson had the second-best day amongst the receivers behind Hankerson. Johnson caught a 50-yard pass from Jacory Harris along the left sideline and nearly scored a touchdown before going out of bounds.

? Defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff praised CB Ryan Hill in practice for his technique. McGriff also thought CB Brandon McGee did a great job of being physical with WR LaRon Byrd on one drill.

? CB Chavez Grant didn't have the best practice as he was struggling during drills with his technique and then during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, he gave up a number of passes.

? WR Tommy Streeter is looking very fluid in practice and is running good routes. The coaches have been on him about the little things like finishing his routes, but he is doing well.

? The first-team defensive ends were: Steven Wesley and Marcus Robinson. The second-team defensive ends were Andrew Smith and Adewale Ojomo. Gavin Hardin and Olivier Vernon were on the third team.

? The first-team defensive tackles were: Allen Bailey and Joe Joseph. The second-team defensive tackles were Josh Holmes and Marcus Forston. Micanor Regis, Jeremy Lewis, and Curtis Porter were the other defensive ends.

? Safeties Vaughn Telemaque and JoJo Nicolas are getting a lot of work together on the first unit. Expect Randy Phillips to win a starting role as Randy Shannon has talked to him about being one of the team leaders.

? CB Sam Shields has some work to do if he is going to play cornerback this season after making the switch from wide receiver. He's a bit loose in his footwork and has a tough time staying with the receiver when they make breaks on their cuts.

Freshman Watch

? There are six freshmen who have enrolled early: RB Mike James, OLs Brandon Washington and Jermaine Johnson, DE Oliver Vernon, DT Curtis Porter, and CB Brandon McGee.

? CB Brandon McGee struggled a bit today during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills as he was out of position on a deep ball against WR Aldarius Johnson. However, McGee is taking the coaching well and has good footwork.

? DT Curtis Porter is getting a good push on the line of scrimmage and projects as a nice player in career.

Injury and Status Updates

? The following players were wearing green jerseys, which means they were limited in practice: WR Kendal Thompkins and TE Tervaris Johnson.

? WRs Travis Benjamin and Davon Johnson and CBs DeMarcus Van Dke and Brandon Harris will be held out this week due to them having track this weekend. All four were at practice, but didn't participate in drills.

? LB Colin McCarthy was in uniform, but did not practice.

? TE Dedrick Epps (torn ACL) and OL Joel Figueroa (right arm surgery) will be out this spring.

Recruits in Attendance

Stephen Plein, a 2009 signee, was at practice today and yesterday.

Here are the 2010 recruits that were at practice: Corey Lemonier, Calvin Smith, Ravonne Carter, and Tommy Heffernan.

Here are the 2011 recruits that were at practice: Denzel Perryman, Anthony Rabasa, and Jerron Seymour.

Next Practice

The Hurricanes will be off on Thursday and return to the practice field Friday afternoon for their third practice of the spring.

They are expected to be in shells.

 10 years ago '04        #4749
booie4 
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The Miami Hurricanes were one of the first teams in the country to start spring practice on Tuesday. I spoke with coach Randy Shannon Tuesday morning about his expectations for the program heading into his third season. Here are the highlights of our conversation:

To start, what are some of your top priorities this spring?

Gary Rothstein/Icon SMI Miami coach Randy Shannon is putting a positive spin on his team's difficult 2009 schedule.
RS: Building depth on the offensive line. The two positions we've got to get some depth at are offensive line and linebacker. We have your so-called first units, but you don't want to get caught in a situation without depth at those positions and that's the one thing we have to develop. We've got a lot of guys back -- (Jason) Fox was a starter, (Joel) Figueroa played a lot, Orlando (Franklin) played a lot, (A.J.) Trump played a lot, (Matt) Pipho played -- but that next batch, we need to develop that sixth, seventh guy.

How many early enrollees do you have?

RS: Six. The last two years we've had seven or eight.

How much will it help you to have those guys for the spring?

RS: It helped us a lot last year because we played so many of those young guys. Of the eight guys that came in, seven helped us last year. These guys come in and they may have an opportunity to help us also. They get ahead.

Do you think the fact that last year's class did that and played so much helped you guys recruit this year because people saw they do have a chance to play as true freshmen at Miami?

RS: I think it did. People understand we're not afraid to play young guys coming in, and that if they're better than the guys we have on the football team they'll definitely get an opportunity to play.

With that said, how big of a step does this sophomore class now have to take and grow up a little bit more?

RS: They have to grow up a lot. Those guys played a lot last year and we have to now move forward. The seniors we do have, they're going to be very key to being leaders now. These guys have played two or three years under the new staff and we look for big things from them.

How did you wind up with such a brutal schedule?

RS: It is what it is, Heather. We have to look at it from the standpoint of, after the first four games you have an opportunity to be in the top 10 in the country. That's how you've gotta look at it. You can't look at it like the world is coming to an end, how are we going to get through this? You can't.

How far back did you schedule Oklahoma?

RS: That was before I was the coach. That was some years ago.

What kind of immediate differences are you hoping your new coordinators can make?

RS: You always want them to make a quick difference. That's the one thing you're always looking for. Offensively, we're looking for the offense to score a lot of points, and defense -- coaches are going to say the same thing -- we want guys to stop guys. We feel like we've got some talent to do that, and we want to be exciting on both sides of the football and have fun.

I know the media has made a lot about the turnover on your staff. Is it important for you to eventually get some staff stability?

RS: Yeah. Eventually. That's what you need to be successful. Sometimes turnover is good, sometimes it's bad, but it seems like everybody in the country is going through turnover right now.

You guys played so well during that five-game winning stretch on defense, is there something you need to do to get back to that?

RS: You know what I think happened? I think with so many young guys playing, we got to that point where, you don't ever want to say hit the wall, but I think they hit the wall at that point in time. That will help us out in the long run because in the upcoming years they'll understand hey, we've been there. Let's move on, we can't slack off.

Do you think that answer you just gave me also translates to the bigger picture with the whole team?

RS: Yes, I think it will. The whole team will understand.

I guess the question is, what do you guys need to do as a team to take the next step? You were in contention there for the Coastal Division.


RS: We were. Until we played Georgia Tech, and that's what got us. I'll tell you what happened. The guys, we're taking everything step by step. The guys understand that and they know we're going to be very competitive and we need everybody to win these games. We don't want anybody to take anything for granted. We need everybody to work hard, and do things on and off the field the right way. And you need a little luck every now and then, but we tell the guys on the team you create your own luck by doing all of the positive things.

How much better do you think your secondary can be than it was last year?

RS: I think it will be a lot better. We've got some young guys back there. You've got Randy Phillips coming back, you've got Demarcus VanDyke, Brandon Harris ... we put some guys over there. Sam Shields is not going to cornerback. He's doing a great job as far as picking it up in the classroom, now we've got to see if he can do it on the field.

You and I have talked before about how the idea of a three-year time limit for head coaches to turn programs around is more of a pressure the media creates, but what are your expectations for yourself? What kind of pressure are you putting on yourself in your third season?


RS: I put more pressure on myself every year to win. That's the one thing you always have to do -- you have to be better than you were the year before to consider that success. I think that's the thing we always have to do as coaches -- be better than you were last year and you will be successful.

How close do you feel you guys are to being where you want Miami to be?

RS: I don't know. I really don't know. It always comes to, like I said, you need a little luck here now and then. Do I think we can do it this year? You always think that as a coach. Realistically, you've got the linebacker position with the depth, and the offensive line position with the depth is going to be key to this team's success.

How does your defensive line look?

RS: We've got a lot of bodies. We've got a lot of guys returning. We've got all of our defensive ends, we've got Eric Moncur coming back. We moved Allen Bailey down to defensive tackle; he's about 300 pounds now. We're athletic, we're young, but we've got a lot of numbers there. A lot of guys up front have played.

I hate asking you this question because I feel like I know your answer, but are there any true freshmen coming in you have a gut feeling are going to make an immediate impact?

RS: Don't know.

I knew it.

RS: You don't know. Every year since I've been here, we've had freshmen come in and play, so there's a chance it may happen.

Aside from building depth, is there a starting position battle that's going to be a good one this spring and summer?

RS: All of them. The one position you could say is quarterback. We've got to find a second guy, which is between Cannon Smith and Taylor Cook. We'll see who emerges as the second guy.

Did that really hurt your depth there, (Robert) Marve leaving?

RS: Yes, but we've got confidence in the other two guys they can get it done. That's why we recruited so many that year.

 10 years ago '04        #4750
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Newly hired defensive coordinator John Lovett is thrilled with the athletes he gets to coach at the University of Miami.

Lovett says he has heard stories from coaching colleagues of the type of players he will get to coach at Miami and now after two days of spring football he is excited about the players he will coach during the 2009 season.

"I am thrilled to death and honored to work here," Lovett said. "I have always wanted to work at this place. Everyone speaks very highly of this place and the history that is here. This place is a powerhouse and where you would like to get an opportunity to work."

"I was hoping [the players] would be like this. That is one of the reasons why I took the job. We have players whose interest level and intensity is at a certain point which I like."

Lovett has been at UM for two weeks now, so he hasn't had time to totally install his defensive playbook. Lovett says his goal this spring isn't to implement all of his defense this spring though, but rather to just get the players familiar with his defensive concepts during the next month.

"We won't get that aggressive," Lovett said of installing a new defense. "We will touch on things so it is not Chinese when we get to the fall, but the thing that is going to win football games for us is executing and effort. If the kids out-execute and give maximum effort, then they will play. I am not trying to scheme coach Whipple, I am just saying this is how we blitz. I don't care what [the offense] is doing because we need to execute."

Even with a new defensive coordinator in place this season, Lovett believes the learning curve won't be too steep because he has many of the same defensive philosophies that Bill Young did.

"I think there is a lot of similarities to what they were trying to do last year to what we want to get done. We may coach some of the schemes differently as far as what our emphasis are, but the basic fundamentals carryover."

"I just want to see them grasp the concepts of what we need to do and play better technique-wise."

Part of the duties at Miami for Lovett is working with the linebackers during practice. Lovett talked about what he has noticed about the group of linebackers after working with them for two practices and why it is important that he works with that unit as the defensive coordinator.

"They are a good core group of guys who want to work hard and learn and get better at their craft," Lovett said. "They have a professional outlook on this. They work at their craft and they try to get better with their technique. They watch a lot of film and ask great questions so you know it is important to him."

"It is right in the middle of the defense, so you are just more involved when you work with the 'backers because they are in the middle of everything."

One of the big goals this spring for Lovett is grooming a middle linebacker for the 2009 season. Lovett talked about both Darryl Sharpton and Arthur Brown and how he is excited to coach athletic linebackers in the middle.

"That is the guy who sets the front and who makes the calls and we will funnel the ball back to him," Lovett said of the middle linebacker. "I think we have a couple of guys in there who have a chance to do pretty well. Sharpton and Arthur Brown is playing there some. Both of those guys are tremendous experience. I can remember recruiting Arthur because we tried to get him to North Carolina."

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