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Props Slaps
 9 years ago '04        #3941
booie4 
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$5,201 | Props total: 1328 1328
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Quarterback Robert Marve finally made his much-anticipated Miami debut after a year dealing with a major hand injury and a one-game suspension.

Marve, a redshirt freshman, faced the fifth-ranked Florida Gators in Gainesville in front of a Florida Field record crowd of 90,833.

Although Miami lost 26-3, there were positives to take from the game including the play of Marve, who completed 10-of-18 passes for 69 yards and was sacked three times.

"I thought I did good, I felt very comfortable," Marve said. "Getting jittery or anything like that, I don't know how how it looked, but I felt good and I felt like I knew what I was doing."

Sophomore starting running back Graig Cooper, who rushed for 31 yards on 15 carries, was happy with Marve's performance.

"I am proud of him," Cooper said. "He handled himself real well. He was real calm and confident. We just got to play along with him. He was very confident in the huddle."

Marve's stats were not impressive, but he managed the game and kept the Canes within striking distance trailing just 9-3 in the fourth quarter.

"Robert did well," said coach Randy Shannon following the game. "No interceptions, no turnovers. We feel that we can go into a game if we don't turn the ball over, execute, and keep it close in the fourth quarter, we will have a shot."

Marve was proud of the team's effort as they faced the Gators for the first time since 2004.

"I definitely thought we fought hard," Marve said. "I am proud of that. You lose a game and guys are sad, but we did go out f!ghting. We did swing punches."

Marve's first drive a bit shaky as two of his receivers had drops. He did not complete a pass until his fourth attempt--a 3-yard completion to Leonard Hankerson.

"It felt great to get back honestly," said Marve, who missed the 2007 season with a hand injury. "It felt good to get hit again. It felt good to be in the game. It felt good to be a leader again. It felt great to get the 'U' put on my helmet."

After his first completion, he helped guide his team down the field on 16-play, 42-yard drive, which resulted in a 50-yard field goal by Matt Bosher. During the drive, Marve showed his playmaking ability with two runs of eight yards including one on a 4th-and-5 situation.

"I felt pretty in rhythm the whole game," Marve said. "I think it was unfortunate the ball didn't fall our way a couple times on third down. But I felt pretty good. They showed us what they showed on film. They played a lot of man. My mentality was to keep the ball safe and play tough."

Marve was replaced after the scoring drive by Jacory Harris for the next two drives heading into halftime. Marve said he agreed with the coaches decision although it appeared Miami had a chance to take advantage of a momentum swing.

Miami finished the game with 140 total yards on offense and picked up 11 first downs.

"I thought the offense--the number might not look great, I don't know what the numbers were--but we did move the ball, but it seemed like we got stuck," Marve said.

Florida scored two touchdowns and a field goal in the fourth quarter to put the Canes away for the first time since 1985--a span of six games.

"They are a top five team in the nation for a reason," Marve said. "They were a great team. We were right there, but we didn't finish them off. All of the praise goes to Florida, they have a great team. Their guys have been around for a while. They have a Heisman Trophy winner and guys on the Heisman watch. What happened in the fourth quarter happened, but we'll learn from it."

Miami (1-1) returns to the practice field on Wednesday, but they don't return to game action until Sept. 20 with a road game against Texas A&M (1-1).

"You saw a little bit of our dog, you saw a little bit of our f!ght," Marve said. "Hopefully Miami people are proud of us for f!ghting. We are going to keep f!ghting and go after Texas A&M."
 9 years ago '04        #3942
booie4 
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When Miami coaches decided a conservative offensive game plan was the best path toward victory in Gainesville, it exposed coordinator Patrick Nix to once again becoming a focal point. And even though the path might have given UM its best chance to win, now there's a lot of debate about the offense and the passing game.

Nix is never surprised by naysayers or angry fans that want to see the offense open up with more of a downfield passing attack.

In fact, one of his first messages to the team's all-freshmen quarterbacks during training camp was a reflection of his understanding of reality.

"You will be booed," Nix told each of the quarterbacks early-on this fall.

It's not an upbeat message, but Nix knew they needed to hear it.

"I tell them they will be booed off the field, that it's a fact," Nix said. "That's the way it is. I tell them, `Don't read the papers, don't listen to the radio and don't worry about getting booed.' That's the golden rule for athletes. You don't worry about it, just keep on going and doing your job."

Nix sees that as his job description, too - don't worry about anyone else, just do his best to come up with game plans that put the ball in the hands of his playmakers.

Last year that didn't happen too often. In Nix's first year at the helm the Canes ranked No. 110 out of 119 teams in the nation in total offense. At Florida, the Hurricane offense was outgained 345-140 on a night Miami's defense actually played quite well.

"You can always do better," Nix says.

Well, at least the offense can't do much worse.

Did Nix feel he had the pieces he needed on offense to succeed last year?

"I would say that last year was more of a poor job coaching instead of players," Nix said. "I don't like saying it's the players' fault. We could have done a better job. I could have done a better job last year of putting guys in some different spots and things like that. But you live and you learn. You go on. And you try to find a way to take the group you have now and do it. There's not a whole lot I can do about last year. I don't worry about that. I know what we've got now - the direction we've got to head now is all I can worry about."

Randy Shannon won't allow his coordinators to speak to the media about games or specifics.

But before the season, Nix said he was excited about the prospects for the offense this season. He spent time this off-season at Arizona State talking candidly with former Cane coach Dennis Erickson's offensive staff. In the past Nix has spent time learning from the likes of Bobby Dodd, Terry Bowden, Bobby Bowden, Jimbo Fisher, Rich Rodriguez and Chan Gailey, among others. He's also visited NFL teams like the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons.

Nix said he tries to put all of his experience to work when putting together a game plan, and he's constantly honing his ideas. Shannon is giving him every opportunity to succeed by setting up the skull sessions with successful offensive coaches like Erickson.

"You know what your core is and what you're going to do, but at the same time seeing other people doing it and seeing if you like their idea better helps," Nix said.

Something else that helps Nix: Always having a pen and paper nearby. He sleeps with a flashlight, pen and pad by his bed. He'll interrupt his wife mid-sentence at dinner to jot something down.

"I've drawn a lot of things on napkins," Nix said. "I'm sure some of the (things) we're doing right now come from that. You never know when you're going to have a thought. You don't want to wait till tomorrow to remember it."

If the offense fares well as this season progresses, it will come as a shock to a lot of national prognosticators. There was not one UM player selected to the ACC's preseason first or second teams. And what many perceive as UM's strength - the running game - was picked ninth in the conference in a pre-season Rivals.com analysis. That running game was dealt a further blow by the injury to Javarris James. The weak performance at Gainesville did absolutely nothing to change anybody's opinions.

Does it bother Nix that some in the national media seem to have written off the UM offense?

"Not a bit," he says. "I don't pay attention to that stuff. I have a lot more to worry about. Those [media] people can make a mistake and not lose their job. If we [win the rest of our games] there's not a single one of them that said we aren't going to be good that will lose their job. They couldn't care less, so why should I care about what they say? There's no accountability, so I don't care what they say."

One thing Nix knows about his offense: No matter how well the offense performs, Cane fans won't be satisfied.

"No matter what, everyone's going to want more and want it better and everything else," Nix said. "So you go out, do the best you can. You're never going to hit every deep ball, are never going to break every tackle. We'll just see which guys can go out and do it and see what happens."

Some have speculated Nix is on the hot seat this year if the offense doesn't come around. Nix says he doesn't concern himself with that kind of speculation.

"I don't worry what other people say and think," Nix said. "I have a job to do, and I'm going to do it the best I can. If it's not good enough there'll be another job out there that I go and get, and I'll just keep on going.

"If people are looking at this as a make or break season, that's crazy when you have as many young guys as we've got. You just hope they can grow each week, get a little better each week."

What would make Nix happy?

Wins and a productive offense.

And not too much jotting down notes after waking up in a sweat at night.
 9 years ago '04        #3943
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- There's no doubt Miami's defense made a statement with their performance against Florida in their 26-3 loss Saturday.

Through three quarters Miami's zone blitz defensive scheme held the potent Florida offense to just nine points and limited Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow.

Now Miami knows how good their defense can be this season.

Linebacker Colin McCarthy led a strong performance by the linebacker unit with a team leading seven tackles.

"All the defensive coaches prepared us the best they could for Florida and I think we held them," McCarthy said. "They felt like they were going to come in and beat us and we were physical with them and punched them in the mouth and I think they respect us for that."

"I think the thing we can focus on is finishing and that is something we didn't do against Florida. We had an opportunity late in the third quarter and early in the fourth to win that game and we weren't able to execute to get the win."

In the Florida game, the Miami coaching staff put a lot of responsibility on the linebackers to limit and confuse Tebow by blitzing from every angle on one play and then dropping back in coverage on the next play.

For most of the game against Florida, the linebackers performed very well. McCarthy was joined by Glenn Cook, Darryl Sharpton, and Sean Spence as Miami's leading tacklers in the game.

"Coach Barrow talked to the linebackers about being the leaders of the defense and that is a rule we had last year, but we didn't live up to it. This year we are trying to do that. We have a lot of young athletic linebackers this year, so with all of this together we are accepting the fact that we have to take more responsibility and do more checks and disguise our blitzes."

Spence is a player who especially impressed McCarthy with his play at Florida. He finished the game with five tackles and was the only player to sack Tebow on the night.

"He is a great player," McCarthy said. "Him being young doesn't affect his maturity on the field. He is doing a great job of picking up the defense and making plays. He is always in the right spot in the right times. He always has a nose for the ball and the big hit he had in the Florida game was a great read and big for the defense."

Even though Miami is coming off a loss this week, McCarthy says the team is very upbeat going into the Texas A&M game. He sees a lot of positives from the Florida game.

"With any loss, you try and take something positive out of it," McCarthy said. "As far as this year playing against the fifth ranked team and last year playing against the fifth ranked team, we have a lot more positives to take from this year's game. Defensively we did a great job and held them to nine points through the first three quarters and that is good for us. We chased the football and ran around and made plays."

"We learned a lot from them like where we are defensively and what it takes to stop an offense such as Florida with all the weapons they have. I think we did a good job with limiting their plays."
 9 years ago '04        #3944
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- It's no secret that the primary area Miami must work on this week is the passing game.

Miami's wide receivers combined to catch just ten passes for 64 yards against Florida.

Senior receiver Kayne Farquharson tied for the team lead with three receptions for 22 yards in the game.

"As a receiver group, we had about three drops," Farquharson said. "I dropped the first ball and I think Hankerson had two, but other than that we played well. We didn't turn the ball over and we blocked well. I think we did a good job."

Many would particularly like to see Miami attempt more passes down field. The longest pass of the game by Miami was a 14-yard reception by Leonard Hankerson. According to Head Coach Randy Shannon, the deep pass plays were called, but receivers weren't getting open.

"We threw deep," Shannon said. "Guys didn't get open and that is the bottom line. We called pass plays to go deep, but guys didn't get open."

Farquharson said he felt like on a few plays the receivers could have done a better job of getting open, but most of the Florida game receivers were getting open.

"I guess on certain plays, we could have created a little more separation, but as far as the all-around game, we did a good job of getting open," Farquharson said.

Part of the problem with the passing game may be that the receivers can't get into a rhythm because they are constantly being rotated in and out of the game. Miami played nine wide receivers against Florida. Farquharson says that just makes him play hard when he is in the game.

"When your number is called you just have to make a play," Farquharson said. "That is the name of the game. Everybody is rotating, but it is just the way it is. Everybody is competitive and wants to play more, but whatever the coaches want to do, I will support that 100 percent."

Farquharson said he was impressed by the poise of quarterbacks Robert Marve and Jacory Harris played with in The Swamp. Marve and Harris did not commit any turnovers and had good command of the offense.

"They did a good job of getting out of the pocket. Two or three sacks came at the end of the game when. They didn't throw any interceptions and had no fumbles. They did a great job of managing the game and played well."

Overall, Farquharson says the morale and attitude of the team is very upbeat even though the team is coming off the loss to Florida.

"We didn't turn the ball over, but we just didn't do a good job of punching the ball in," Farquharson said. "It is hard to lose a game when you don't have any turnovers on offense. Up until the third quarter, the score was 9-3, so the ball game could have gone anywhere."
 9 years ago '05        #3945
Junior G 114 heat pts114
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Three programs jump on junior Jeffrey Godfrey
Class of 2010 ESPNU 150 Watch List quarterback Jeffrey Godfrey has already received offers from Tennessee, Oregon and Florida International, affiliate Web site InsideTheU.com reports.
However, he's waiting on the hometown Hurricanes, "It would be great to get an offer from Miami. If I get it, I am going to go there. I like the tradition that they have at Miami. It is great to be a Hurricane."
Florida also figures to be in the mix for Godfrey, who threw for 1,287 yards and 13 touchdowns with four interceptions, while running for 345 yards and seven touchdowns last fall.

____________

I don't see why he wouldn't get the offer
 9 years ago '04        #3946
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami freshman defensive tackle Marcus Forston has played well beyond his years early in his UM career.

As a true freshman, Forston started his first game at Miami against Florida last week.

Forston responded with one tackle and constant pressure by disrupting the middle of the offensive line early in the game.

Here, Forston discusses his performance in the Florida game, the play of the defense, and why he wasn't surprised about how Sean Spence played.

What were your overall thoughts on the Florida game and what things can you take from that game to move forward this season?

"To be a true freshman in the second game of the season and go into The Swamp, I can say that I got a lot out of that game. The thing I got out of that game was the ability to play in front of a huge crowd like that. When I came out of the tunnel and saw the stadium rocking and everybody was against us and our backs were against the wall, I knew I had to be ready."

Was it a dream come true to have your first career start as a Hurricane be at Florida?

"It was a dream come true, but I have to just put that behind me and keep on working and work to keep that job."

Talk about the play on Florida's first drive where you chased down Tim Tebow from behind. What was the feeling that came over your body after that play?

"I was so hyped. Nothing could have stopped me from chasing Tebow down on that first drive. One thing Coach Shannon stresses to us is to finish and I just wanted to finish on that play. I was just thinking that I wanted to make that tackle and not miss that opportunity."

After watching film of the game, were you pleased with your performance?

"You are never going to be satisfied and because we lost I feel like I could have contributed more if I gave a second effort on some of the plays. That is something I need to work on and get better at for the rest of the season."

How pleased is the defense with the performance of the Florida game?

"We started off the game striking on first, second, and third down. The defense was playing balls to the wall, but we didn't finish and that was the main thing. We didn't finish the game."

What type of statement did the team make by keeping the game close through three quarters of the game?

"They never gave us a chance. They were talking about how the U was theirs and all their fans was talking. Those players had it in their heads that they were just going to blow us out, but we came out and punched them in the mouth, so it kind of shocked them a little bit I think."

Talk about Sean Spence and the excellent performance he showed during the game.

"I knew he was going to ball. We are roommates and the two days before the game that was all we talked about was Florida and how everybody is going to be watching and we need to make plays. I knew that he was going to come out and perform like he did."

A lot of people were surprised by the way Sean played in that game, but you have seen that from him his whole career. You weren't surprised were you?

"I wasn't surprised. I have been around him for so long and I know what he is capable of doing. If I see him mess up or something I tell him that I know he is better than that and he corrects it and he will tell me the same things when I mess up. We both know what we are capable of."

Sean was the only player in the game to get a sack on Tebow. Has he bragged about that to you guys yet?

"No, he doesn't talk about it. He took the loss hard. We come from a winning school and I don't even know when the last time we lost was. That hurt us bad and brought us down, so we just have to keep our eyes on the front of our head, not in the back of our head. We have to keep looking forward."
 9 years ago '04        #3947
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- It's been five years for running back Derron Thomas to get to this point, but with starting running back Javarris James out for at least the next month, Thomas is likely going to be one player who benefits a great deal as he will get a lot more carries splitting time with Graig Cooper.

Thomas has thickened up physically and runs with a lot more force now than he did in the past and it's shown as he's gotten more reps.

But the next three to four weeks will give a good indication as to how he reflects when he looks back on his UM career.

"Of course I am trying to take advantage of my reps. I am trying to do that every game. I am trying to get my carries. Now that JJ is out, my reps are going to go up and I am going to do whatever I can do to help this team win," Thomas said.

Coming into this season, Thomas' best season was last year when he rushed 40 times for 200 yards. He should break 40 carries by the time the 'Canes play Florida State.

Thomas was the only running back that had any success against Florida last Saturday as he rushed seven times for 22 yards. His 3.1 yards per carry was a team high.

"We felt real positive after the game for the things we did right," Thomas said. "We didn't win so that's always a negative, but we felt like we gained a lot from the game. We would have liked the W, but we want to keep on f!ghting and finishing."

Thomas said the running game struggled against Florida because the Gators defense was ready.

"They had good schemes. We missed a couple reads, they confused us a bit. They mixed up a couple of things. Sometimes the running backs missed a few things, sometimes the o-line made some mistakes. The bottom line is Florida stopped us."

One of the things the running backs continue to work on is not being taken down be the first tackler. It starts in drills.

"We always want to get better at that and never let the first man tackle you. We always want to stay up. JJ is out so we have to take it ourselves to get those hard tough yards. Until he gets back we just have to get it together as a unit," Thomas said.

Thomas also wants to see the improvement in the little things, especially from himself.

"All the little things that fans don't see. It's not all about the rushing yards, if you can run, but not pass block, they won't mean anything," Thomas said.

The biggest challenge of the season is now past, but the 'Canes will get another chance to face an incredibly hostile crowd at Texas A&M next weekend, but the Aggies have also suffered an embarrassing loss at home to Arkansas State in the season opener, so it's not exactly the same thing as the Florida. But the crowd will be rowdy.

"Now that we played in The Swamp, we feel we can go into any stadium and work with the noise. We are not going to let that be an excuse. We are going to move on the snap of the ball," Thomas said. "When you see the snap of the football I don't hear anything. It's regular football. You don't even know if you are home or away."

Thomas is ready for his chance though.

"I am always ready for the opportunity. I've been waiting for this for a while. I feel like I am one of the veterans of the offense," Thomas said.
 9 years ago '04        #3948
booie4 
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As Robert Marve calmly prepared for his first career snap as the University of Miami quarterback, he said he felt ''comfortable'' and ''honored'' and ``blessed.''

Then came the adrenaline surge.

''The coolest thing for me was when I first lined up and really wasn't paying attention to the crowd, I lifted my leg for the snap, and I couldn't even hear myself think,'' Marve said of Florida's record crowd of 90,833. 'And I was like, `This is pretty awesome! This is really cool!' ''

It could get cooler. Marve will go into Texas A&M on Sept. 20 ready to tackle another well-known opponent -- and eager to face a defense that is coordinated by his father's former NFL linebackers coach, the man who recruited Robert for Alabama.

''I really want to get after them now since their defensive coordinator was my dad's linebacker coach with the [Tampa Bay Buccaneers],'' Marve said. ``We have some ties there, so I want to take care of them.''

That coach, Joe Kines, coached Eugene Marve in Tampa Bay from 1988 through '90. Kines also served as defensive coordinator at UF in the early '80s and at Georgia in the mid-'90s, among other coaching stops.

He went to Alabama in 2003 as the a.ssistant head coach to Mike Shula, and he also served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. When Shula was fired (before Nick Saban was hired), Kines flew to the home of Marve's mother to meet the family and a.ssure Robert that Alabama still wanted him to be its quarterback.

''Joe a.ssured Robert that everything Alabama promised him was still there,'' said Eugene Marve, who played in the NFL for 11 years. 'But I still remember him joking that, `I may be cutting the grass when you get there, but everything promised you is still there.' ''

Indeed, that was Kines' last season at Alabama.

''It's crazy, isn't it? After the 2006 season, he was sitting in the kid's living room, and now he's game-planning against him,'' Eugene said.

``I tell you what, I was the captain of the Tampa Bay defense, and Joe Kines is a very capable coordinator.''

Robert Marve changed his commitment to UM in early 2007 after being less than enthused about Saban.

''I know Coach Kines pretty well,'' he said. ``He was one of the main reasons I was going to Alabama. I don't talk to him on a regular basis, but, whenever we run into each other, there are fun conversations.''

Those conversations will be nonexistent until at least the game clock ticks to 00:00 in College Station, Texas.

Marve, a redshirt freshman, is intent on leading the Hurricanes' offense to a lot more than the 140 total yards it garnered against the Gators.

Marve's numbers: 10 of 18 for 69 yards. He was sacked three times.

''My guess is 140 yards means we have a lot to improve on,'' said Marve, who seemed poised and comfortable rolling out of the pocket and likes to throw on the run. ``I really think it's little things.

``I was very excited how we did move the ball, but it always seems we got stuck on third downs.''

IN NIX MARVE TRUSTS

Marve said he trusts offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, and he isn't buying into the criticism of Nix for not opening up the passing game. UM coach Randy Shannon blamed the lack of aerial yards on ''guys not getting open. That's all it was,'' Shannon said. ``But the guys are responding, and they know what they have to get done.''

Marve will not second-guess Nix.

``I don't want to get into who is saying what, because everyone has opinions about everything. We played two games so far. We scored 52 points the first game, and no one said anything.

``Then we played a top-five team in their place. So let everyone say whatever, but I have Coach Nix's back 100 percent. He's my coach. He's my guy.''

But, still, would Marve like to throw more?

He smiled and said: ``A quarterback always wants to throw. . . . But it's up to the coaches. If [tailback Graig] Cooper grabbed the ball and went for 50, we wouldn't talk about throwing, would we?''

When asked about the flurry of dropped balls by receivers, Marve refused to point fingers: ''We're a young team, and we played in a hard atmosphere,'' he said. ``Line us back out there and give me another shot, and we'll go out there and do it.''

`I JUST WANT TO WIN'

Marve said he wasn't frustrated by freshman quarterback Jacory Harris coming into the game after UM's scoring drive. ''It didn't take me out of my rhythm,'' he said. ``It helped me see what I needed to do.

``I don't care if I'm in. I just want to win.''

Harris also defended Nix.

''Coach Nix is a great coordinator,'' he said. ``Running is the strength of our team, and, with the great backs we have, we're trying to establish the run first.''

With tailback Javarris James out (high ankle sprain) for the Texas A&M game, most expect UM to be more aggressive in the air.

Either way, Marve does not want his defense, ranked 21st nationally, to have another dominant showing and still come away empty.

''The most frustrating thing was to see how well the defense played and to not come away with points,'' Marve said. ``When we looked at it on film, it was like, `We're so close to blowing it up on offense.'

'The defense played lights-out. They played hard, they played fast, and they kept talking to me -- `Let's get some points!' We'll get it done for those guys.

``I promised them.''
 9 years ago '04        #3949
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The Miami Hurricanes practiced on Thursday for the final time of the week.

Miami (1-1) is off this week before traveling to Texas A&M (1-1) next week. The Aggies are also off this week.

SHANNON QUOTES

"We are only practicing twice this week to give them a break. We were in a physical game and we had to give them a break. We just came out and half the time we worked on Texas A&M and the other half we worked on technique and having ones against ones."


NEWS & NOTES

? Florida Marlins' Luis Gonzalez and Wes Helms were at practice, which was rare to see. The Marlins open up their final homestand of the season tomorrow with nine games in 10 days.

? NFL scouts from the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, and Chicago Bears were in attendance.

? The practices this week had a lot of first team vs. first team to help adapt to the speed of the opposition.

? Freshman S Joe Wylie had a walking boot on his right ankle during Wednesday's practice, but was out of the boot on Thursday, but still did not practice. Wylie did not travel for the Florida game.

? Shannon says the reason why Miami only had 79 yards passing on 22 attempts against Florida was largely due to the receivers inept ability to get open.

? Through two games, Miami is ranked 101st in passing offense averaging 135 yards a game. Last year, Miami was ranked 108th averaging 169 yards.

? WR Sam Shields has caught two passes for 21 yards this season--both in the first game. Shields, who came into the year with 64 receptions for 847 yards and seven touchdowns, has not received very many reps this year and Shannon has not specified a reason why when asked about it. Coming into the season, Shields, a junior, was the team's most experienced receiver and the only receiver with at least 10 career receptions.

? S Ryan Hill, who had four tackles against Florida, replaced JoJo Nicolas on the first team as Nicolas was out due to a sickness.

? The UM-UF game was the third most watched regular season game in the history of ESPN's college football coverage. The game drew a 5.0 rating and had 6.95 million household impressions.

? Practice resumes Tuesday.
 9 years ago '04        #3950
booie4 
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University of Miami receivers have a connection with the program's former stars such as Roscoe Parrish, Reggie Wayne, Santana Moss and Andre Johnson.

As a redshirt freshman in 2004, senior Khalil Jones practiced with Parrish and saw his knack for making big plays. Junior Sam Shields said he occasionally seeks advice from Wayne, a Pro Bowl player for the Indianapolis Colts.

On the field, this season's group is still trying to connect with that legacy. The Hurricanes have dropped key passes and struggled to get open, particularly in their 26-3 loss against Florida on Sept. 6.

''We threw deep; nobody could get open. Bottom line,'' Miami coach Randy Shannon said. ``We called pass plays to go deep and they couldn't get open.''

Part of the problem could be that many of the receivers are inexperienced.

The Hurricanes' 2008 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the nation by several services, and six receivers from that class are on the field.

Leonard Hankerson, who leads the team with six catches and 42 yards, is a sophomore.

''In my opinion, they're still learning,'' receivers coach Aubrey Hill said. ``It's their second game. We still have to keep that in perspective.

``They know the fundamentals, but sometimes when they get into live competition, they tend to forget their fundamentals.''

The group hopes to show progress when the Hurricanes play at Texas A&M at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Aggies (1-1) are No. 24 in the nation in pass defense, giving up an average of 157 yards after two games.

In preparation, Hill said his team worked on basics during the bye week, focusing on everything from running routes to beating the press to concentrating on catching the ball.

The Hurricanes' longest pass play this season was a 35-yard catch by Dedrick Epps, a tight end. No receiver has a catch for more than 20 yards.

Despite leading the team in receptions and receiving yards, Hankerson has been singled out by Shannon for dropping passes.

The lack of play-making probably means stacked fronts to stop the run from opposing defenses until the Hurricanes can make them pay downfield.

''It's not frustrating,'' freshman quarterback Robert Marve said after the Florida game. ``We're out there to make plays, but they're working just as hard as I am. Florida was a great team. They [were] fifth in the nation, a great squad. You know, the ball didn't really bounce our way a lot all night, but at the same time we fought and I was proud of that.''

Because of the youth, Hill said he is focused more on forming a capable group than finding a go-to guy.

Coaches said the plan in Miami's first game against Charleston Southern was for several players to catch passes and gain experience. So far, 13 players have catches and only Hankerson has more than three.

''We need a group of receivers game in, game out,'' Hill said. ``Now, to answer your question. Do we need one guy to step up to consistently make plays? Absolutely, and we'll continue to work until we find that person.''

When the Hurricanes were annually competing for national championships at the beginning of the decade, big-play receivers were a constant.

Moss and Wayne terrorized opposing offenses in tandem, Johnson's athleticism made him quarterback Ken Dorsey's favorite deep threat and Parrish's speed created opportunities as a receiver and in the return game.

But the Hurricanes haven't had a 700-yard receiver since the 2002 season when Johnson went for 1,092 yards.

When Jones looks at his teammates, he sees that kind of potential.

He said it's just going to require more work and patience before the Hurricanes find their next star.

''As the leader of my group, we're on each other hard,'' Jones said. ``I've been around to watch Roscoe. I know what it takes, and we're on track.''

Miami Herald sportswriter Susan Miller Degnan contributed to this
 9 years ago '04        #3951
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Hostile crowd, crazy student section, a stadium so loud you can't hear yourself think.

Been there, done that.

That's the attitude Miami's players are bringing with them into this weeks game at Texas A&M.

This week's game against at College Station won't be Miami's first game in a tough road environment.

Having just played in front of 90,833 fans at The Swamp UM's players believe they should be able to handle the hostile Texas A&M crowd.

"I've heard it is going to be just like The Swamp and it is still going to be loud," quarterback Robert Marve said. "The players here from Texas tell me how loud it is. I am excited to play in another atmosphere like that."

Kyle Field has a capacity of close to 83,000 and one of the nastiest student sections in the country.

Texas A&M is home of the "12th Man," a moniker they have trademarked, which symbolizes the enthusiasm and excitement of A&M's student section.

How crazy are Texas A&M's fans? It is said that close to 40,000 students will meet the midnight before the game for yell practice. Kyle Field is regarded as one of the toughest environments in all of college football.

Said quarterback Jacory Harris: "The crowd is a crowd and a stadium is a stadium. You have to go out there and make things happen. Now we are moving on to Texas A&M where the crowd is similar...I don't look at anything above eye level, so I wasn't paying attention to that when I was on the field."

The stats don't lie, Texas A&M plays much better at home. Coming into this season Texas A&M has a record of 35-17 (.673) since 2000 at home with a 16-23 (.410) record on the road. While Miami will be bringing a young team to College Station this week, playing in a tough stadium on the road.

"They have the 12th man because their student section is real loud," cornerback DeMarcus Van Dke said. "That game against Florida really helped us out and we should win that game. [At Florida] we got used to it after a while. In the first drive we had to get adapted to the crowd."

Miami should expect a much tougher game than the 34-17 upset win they pulled off against then 20th ranked Texas A&M last year at the Orange Bowl.

Texas A&M has historically been a much better team at home.

"Nobody likes losing, but that Florida game really helped us out with giving our team confidence," Van Dke said. "We stayed with a top five team in the nation until the fourth quarter, so we are ready now for another big game against Texas A&M."
 9 years ago '04        #3952
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CORAL GABLES - Hours before practice, Anthony Redd*ck is trying to keep this positive.

The field is mostly empty, with Redd*ck the only player present. Still, with no one around, he feels the need to cover up. As he poses for a photo, he is asked to turn his forearms up so a couple tattoos are visible.

Redd*ck politely declines and becomes more comfortable when he changes from a revealing tank top to a more respectable green University of Miami polo that hides most of his body art.

With a career that has been attached to so much negativity, it makes sense why Redd*ck is sensitive when it comes to his portrayal. Two knee injuries and his unfortunate participation in an ugly on-field brawl two years ago have left him fortunate of receiving another chance.



"I felt I've had a lot of bad luck," said Redd*ck, a senior safety. "Everything was going bad. Nothing was going good."

Those feelings are now past tense.

These days, Redd*ck oozes with positive energy. He's back on the field, playing the game he loves and part of this rebuilding project at UM that seems headed in the right direction. After missing most of the past three seasons, Redd*ck started both games this year.

"You've got to think highly of Anthony Redd*ck because he's been through two knee surgeries," cornerback Bruce Johnson said. "He's getting older, this is his fifth year. He's like an old man, but hats off to Redd*ck because he's still out here f!ghting."

Old jokes aside, a simple glance at those forearm tattoos is the best way to describe his feelings. On one arm, it says "Truly." On the other, "Blessed."

Yes, he feels truly blessed.

"Everything happens for a reason," said Redd*ck, who played at St. Thomas Aquinas. "I just don't think about it. You just try to go out and accomplish your goals. ... I think I've been able to accomplish a lot."

The 6-foot, 210-pound Redd*ck began his UM career with so much promise. He started six games as a freshman in 2004, finishing sixth on the team with 73 tackles and an interception. It earned him Freshman All-America honors.

Then things went bad. In a hurry.

The following season Redd*ck tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the season opener against Florida State. It was only the beginning of his troubles.

He returned in 2006 unable to unseat Kenny Phillips, who had replaced him after the injury. Redd*ck played mostly special teams and was involved in the infamous brawl against Florida International. He was seen swinging his helmet in the melee and was suspended four games.

Redd*ck, who has earned his degree, was upset with the criticism of his image. What the media and fans thought became the least of his worries. For him, the most disappointing part was returning to his old Fort Lauderdale neighborhood, full of young admirers, and having to apologize for his mistake.

"Will it ever go away? No, I don't think so," Redd*ck said. "But it's in the rearview mirror now. I learned from it. It's a situation that happened, and unfortunately it happened to me. I got a second opportunity, and I want to take advantage of that opportunity that I have."

Turning the corner has been difficult. After the brawl, he had hoped for a fresh start. Instead the string of bad luck continued while grabbing a simple rebound in an on-campus pick-up basketball game in the spring of 2007. This time, Redd*ck tore the ACL on his opposite knee. Another season on the sideline.

"He was always very positive, even after the second one," St. Thomas Aquinas coach George Smith said. "If you look at it, he was a Freshman All-American and then everything just happened like, Boom! But he was very impressive in the way he handled it."

So far, Redd*ck, who has six tackles, has stayed healthy in this his fifth season after coach Randy Shannon held him out most of the preseason to avoid injury. Defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff said the key has been Redd*ck's mental toughness.

When Redd*ck made his first appearance on the field in more than two years, against Charleston Southern two weeks ago, he treated it as if he were playing in elementary school.

"It felt amazing," Redd*ck said. "I didn't even think about it. I went out like I was in little league. Back then, you didn't think about winning or losing. You just played football."
 9 years ago '04        #3953
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Plantation's McGee picks Hurricanes to stay close to home
Plantation's Brandon McGee has committed to UM to take care of his ailing father and visit the grave site of this mother in an effort to be close to home

He's 6 feet tall, nearly 190 pounds, lean, muscular, fast, athletic, popular and every adjective a 17-year-old young man wants to be. He's a leader, star quarterback and cornerback on Plantation High's football team with a football scholarship to the University of Miami waiting for him in December. He's a good student with a 3.8 grade-point average, who has made good on a promise to his mother about never getting a ''C'' or lower on his report card.

On the surface, it appears Brandon McGee always has had everything going for him, but that's only half of his story.

''It really is unique when you think about the type of person Brandon has become,'' Plantation High football coach Steve Davis said.

McGee's life off the field has been far from storybook.

In 2000, his father, Curtis McGee, now 48, developed throat cancer. Although he finally beat it in 2007, he had to have his larynx removed, forcing him to speak through a voice simulator.

In 2002, McGee's mother, Hilda, developed brea$t cancer. After a mastectomy, complications arose. She passed away in March 2004, leaving Brandon, her only son, to care for his recovering father.

While learning to cope with life's many obstacles, Brandon discovered through a member outside his family he has a different biological father.

Said Davis, "With his dad battling cancer, his mom passing away and everything else he's been through -- it's been a lot for a kid to deal with, especially at the age he started with it. I think some adults would have had problems with what Brandon has been through. But he's been through it and he's coming out with flying colors.''

STAYING FOCUSED

For McGee, the past eight years often have been difficult, but he refuses to let anything set him off his path.

''I was really shocked when I found out,'' said Brandon, who asked that his biological father's name be withheld. "It hurts to think my real father has wanted nothing to do with me until now. But as far as I'm concerned, I only have one real dad -- Curtis McGee. I'm not going to shut anybody out of my life. But I'm going to move on with mine.''

To see where Brandon McGee releases his pain, you have to watch him on the football field. ''He dedicates every game to his mother,'' Davis said. "I've always admired that about him.''

On game night, before kickoff, McGee will sit at his locker, pray, and -- when nobody is looking -- he will shed tears for his mother. Before he runs out to the field, he'll kiss a three-by-five-inch photograph of her and put on a headband with a personal message on it ''RIP Mama, 3-29-04.'' Before racing onto the field, McGee will pay one last moment of respect when he points skyward and closes his eyes in a moment of silence. Only after locking eyes with his father, who sits on the 40-yard line, is it time to focus on football.

''I feel like she's up there watching me, protecting me,'' said McGee, who is considered one of the nation's top 100 recruits and who projects to play cornerback in college.

SILVER LINING

"With all the things I've been through, I keep asking myself how can I be so blessed? I definitely think she has a lot to do with it. She gives me willpower.

''We were real close,'' said McGee, who says he slept in his parents' bed until the fourth grade. "Every day before I'd go play football with my friends, I'd do my homework right next to her in the kitchen. When I'd come home all bruised up from football, she'd yell at me but me clean up, too. You can definitely say I was a mama's boy. Still am.''

To this day, his father says, McGee will hop the backyard fence of their Lauderhill home and walk less than 100 yards to the cemetery where his mother now rests. He spends hours there, praying and talking to his mother, sharing his achievements and worries.

He says he often went there before making one of his toughest decisions in his life last month -- choosing from more than 30 college programs expressing interest since 10th grade.

A fan of Deion Sanders most of his life, McGee always dreamed of playing for Florida State. But after spending much of the past eight years with his grandparents, his aunts and his ailing father, McGee chose to stay close to home so they could make it to his games.

Although he's not bound to his commitment until he signs a letter of intent, he said his plan is to graduate from Plantation in December and enroll at UM a semester early. He wants to get a head start on achieving the next promise he made to his mother -- graduating from college and reaching the NFL.

''The only way I won't end up at UM is if it blows up,'' McGee joked. "And it's not going to blow up.''

His father, who stood at his son's side f!ghting off tears last month when he announced his college choice, said Brandon's mother would be proud of the person her son has become. He says the 9-year-old boy who used to wake up and cook grits, eggs, bacon and sausage and deliver breakfast to his parents in bed makes everyone in the family smile.

''The same way he's handled adversity is the same way he's handled success,'' said McGee, a former construction worker. "He's never let it get to his head. He's been humble. I smile from ear to ear when I think about how me and his grandparents can make the drive right down the road to watch him play.''
 9 years ago '04        #3954
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami is coming off a bye week and goes to Texas A&M this week.

Miami is looking to bounce back after falling to Florida 26-3 on the road. Last year Miami beat Texas A&M in the Orange Bowl 34-17.

Read here to see what Coach Shannon is saying going into this week's game at Texas A&M.

OPENING STATEMENT

"We just came off a real good week of practice of concentrating on what we have to get done as far as an emphasis on special teams, the receivers and quarterback connections and also creating turnovers on defense. Those were the main emphasis this past weekend and improving on things we had to do from last week's game."

NEWS & NOTES

? Texas A&M will have a different look offensively this year under Head Coach Mike Sherman and implement more of a pro-style offense. "They are going to run the power game, they are going to run the toss-sweep, and they are going to do a lot of play-action deep balls," Shannon said. "You have to try and contain the running back and what he is trying to do in the game."

"[Coach Sherman] understands the NFL mentality of running the football and doing play-action off of it to try and get a home run ball."

? Texas A&M quarterback Stephen McGee is questionable (shoulder) going into the game this week. Backup quarterback Jerrod Johnson is regarded as a more athletic quarterback, while McGee is a pocket passer. Shannon says the team will prepare for both quarterbacks this week. "You just try to look at what they do on offense and simulate what they do on offense because usually when you watch both quarterbacks, they are running the same offense."

? The Miami defense has not forced a turnover yet this season and that is an area Shannon said he is emphasizing this week. "Turnovers always changes momentum and changes field position and gives you a short field," Shannon said. "They come in bunches sometimes. You may not have a turnover for two or three games and then the next thing you know you get one in the next five or six games."

? Dwayne Hendricks is listed as a starter ahead of Antonio Dixon on this week's depth chart. Shannon said offensive lineman Chris Rutledge will likely be used heavily in the offensive line rotation at guard. Leonard Hankerson was moved from the X to the Z receiver while Khalil Jones will play both the X and Z receiver position.

Defensive ends Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey are still listed on the second team.

? Shannon said he will likely play seven receivers at Texas A&M rather than the eight or nine he has played in the first two games.

? Shannon on the play of Orlando Franklin: "He has been ok, not great," Shannon said. "He is a true sophomore and we are trying to push him into positions where [he can be successful]. Most good offensive linemen that you will see are juniors. He knows that he has to get better all the time and he understands he has to get better for us to be successful."

? Shannon said he has never experienced a game at College Station, but a few of the a.ssistant coaches on the staff know what to expect. "Coach McGriff, Coach Robinson, and Coach Young have all experienced that stadium. It is a tremendous college atmosphere and there is tradition there that has been there for a long time."

? With Javarris James out for this week's game, Miami will have to depend more on backup running backs Derron Thomas, Shawnbrey McNeal, and Lee Chambers. According to Shannon, Chambers has picked it up in practice lately. "Lee Chambers had a tremendous practice this last week. He is looking very good."

? One thing Shannon was pleased about was the mental toughness kicker Matt Bosher showed during the Florida game. "Mentally, shanking a football on the first punt and coming back and punting well as he did I thought was tremendous for him and what he is doing in handling all three duties for us. He knows he has to be more consistent on everything and he puts a lot of pressure on himself all the team."

? Shannon on Jermaine McKenzie: "Jermaine is like any other receiver. We don't play favorites here and whoever is good to play, we are going to play. As you can see we play freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The one thing I will never do is put a kid in the game that is not ready to play. No matter if somebody thinks he is the greatest person in the world or the greatest player in the world. Guys have to prove it to us in practice and that is the only thing we have to go by. Is Jermaine doing great? Yes he is doing wonderful. We think he is going to be tremendous and we think he is going to help us out this season. Now he is back and we will see what he can do."

? According to Shannon, Arthur Brown has been "nicked with an ankle injury" that is slowing down his progress. Shannon said he expects for Brown to play on special teams this week.
 9 years ago '04        #3955
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami's passing offense ranks 106th in the country.

The Hurricanes leading receiver--Leonard Hankerson--has caught six passes for 42 yards and one touchdown.

The longest reception by a wide receiver this season is 20 yards by freshman Thearon Collier.

If the coaching staff can't figure out a way to get the receivers involved in the offense, it is going to be a long season.

However, coach Randy Shannon believes it is the receivers fault for not getting open.

"We threw deep (against Florida). Nobody could get open. Bottom line," Shannon said. "We called pass plays to go deep and they couldn't get open."

Quarterback Robert Marve can throw the ball. It doesn't matter how old he is. He can flat out throw the ball and make plays. However, Shannon would like to play more conservative on offense, limit interceptions, and throw screen passes to the receivers to see if they can pick up yards after the catch.

That game plan could also make for a long season especially with a running game that is struggling and losing starter Javarris James for up to four weeks with a high ankle sprain.

After an off week, Shannon has decided to make a change with his starters at wide receiver listing Aldarius Johnson as a starter in place of Khalil Jones--who has nine career receptions in 37 games--and Sam Shields is listed at the top of the depth chart as a co-starter with Hankerson.

It's good to see Johnson and Shields at the top of the list since they are in fact Miami's best receivers. Shields, although maligned at times during his first two seasons mainly for not being on the field, is talented enough to make plays and has 66 career receptions and seven career touchdowns.

Johnson is an extremely talented receiver and is good enough to catch 40 passes in his first year. He just has to be given opportunities. Right now, he has two receptions--one in each game.

According to a source close to the situation, redshirt freshman wide receiver Jermaine McKenzie has been cleared to play after missing the first two weeks with an injury, which could help the passing game as well.

Wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill said they took advantage of the off week by working on "getting in the end zone, looking the ball in, making sure they know all of their a.ssignments, and not having any busts."

For the passing game to improve, coach Shannon and offensive coordinator Patrick Nix will need to give more freedom to Marve to make plays and make mistakes. Additionally, the receivers will have to catch the ball when called upon. And most importantly, the best receivers need to be on the field as much as possible.

Getting consistent reps in games has also been hard to come by for the receivers as nine played in the opener--all in the first half and nine played against UF.

"How we rotate guys all depends on if we can find someone that can stand out," Hill said.

In case you were wondering, Texas A&M ranks 24th in the country in passing defense allowing 157 yards a game and 21st in pass efficiency defense.
 9 years ago '04        #3956
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Redshirt freshman Jermaine McKenzie has been officially cleared to play this week and can finally work toward making his college football dreams come true.

McKenzie was sidelined for UM's first two games of the season with a sprained MCL on his left knee. He says he now feel 100 percent healthy and is ready to focus on preparing for the Texas A&M game on Saturday.

"I am so eager to get out here," McKenzie said. "I always dream about catching my first college ball and scoring a touchdown and the fans cheering and mom and dad crying."

Currently, McKenzie is working as Miami's Z receiver behind Khalil Jones, Sam Shields, and Travis Benjamin. Shannon said he will likely play about seven receivers this Saturday, but wouldn't give any indications as to who will be left out of the mix.

Though he has battled nagging injuries throughout his career, McKenzie is expected to bring a boost to the UM passing game. He showed great promise during summer workouts prior to his freshman season, but he was never able to get on the field that year because of a car accident that injured his vertebrae. McKenzie also battled nagging injuries during the spring and fall camp.

"Everybody goes through phases during their career," McKenzie said. "In high school you are the big star and then in college you come out here and compete and work your way up. Everybody has the feeling that they want to play, but my motto is to just come out here and work hard everyday and when my number is called I will be ready."

"My injuries are what they are. God doesn't do any wrong doing so I don't really question why I was hurt time and time again."

Rumors had been circulating recently that McKenzie was upset about not receiving playing time yet and he had considered transferring, but he says that is not true.

"I wanted to be a Miami Hurricane since I was little, so all of the rumors about me transferring, I am not going anywhere," McKenzie said. "Miami is my home for the next four years."

Even though McKenzie wasn't on the travel squad for the Florida game he still decided to drive himself up to the game to show support for his teammates.

"I feel like I had to support my teammates even though I didn't make the travel squad," McKenzie said. "Everything happens for a reason and I trust in Coach Shannon and Coach Nix and I feel like it is my obligation to go out there and support my teammates in Gainesville. I was just getting my mental reps as far as getting used to the pace of the game and reading defenses and what defensive backs were doing. I basically got better mentally while I was out, which is a good thing."
 9 years ago '04        #3957
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- One of the biggest points of emphasis for Miami this week will be to create turnovers.

Probably Miami's most glaring statistic going into this week's game at Texas A&M is the zero turnovers the defense has forced.

Miami currently ranks 115th in the country with one forced turnover.

The one turnover Miami has forced this year came on special teams when Charleston Southern punt returner Phillip Ashley muffed a punt and Ryan Hill recovered.

"Turnovers always changes momentum and changes field position and gives you a short field," Coach Randy Shannon said. "They come in bunches sometimes. You may not have a turnover for two or three games and then the next thing you know you get one in the next five or six games."

While Miami's defense hasn't created turnovers this season, the defense has still done a good job in forcing punts and limiting the scoring opportunities of opposing offenses.

Miami ranks 18th nationally in total defense with 235 yards per game allowed and 36th nationally in scoring defense with 16.5 points per game allowed.

Even still, the measure of a dominant defense is by how many turnovers they force. Last season the top 12 teams in the country in turnovers gained averaged ten wins.

During UM's last National Championship season in 2001 Miami led the country in turnovers gained with 45.

"We haven't had a turnover yet and we really need to emphasize that to get the offense going and in better position to score and get some momentum going," cornerback Chavez Grant said. "Turnovers on downs are good, but we really want to create turnovers and k!ll the morale of the offense."

"You want to take the crowd out of it and silence them right there. Offense and any team really feeds off the crowd, so we feel like we need to jump on them and silence the crowd early."

In last year's 34-17 win over Texas A&M, Miami's defense recovered two fumbles and forced one interception and set the tone of the game early with a physical style of play along the defensive line.

"Last year we came out with a lot of energy and we jumped on them hard in the beginning and the defense did a great job," Grant said. "We knew early on that it was a blowout."

Through the first two games of the season the Miami defense has played soundly, but for the defense to be great and for this team to win more games this season turnovers must be forced.

"If we come out with the same effort we did in the last game, we will win," safety Randy Phillips said. "We are not going to change, we are going to tweak some things and correct mistakes, so I hope you guys will be watching because it is going to be a good game."
 9 years ago '04        #3958
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- University of Miami defensive end Steven Wesley is listed as the starter again this week for the Texas A&M game.

Wesley started the first two games of the season for UM and has posted three tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and one pass break-up.

Here Wesley discusses what he can take from the Florida game two weeks ago, his evaluation of his play this season, and the importance of the defense setting the tone early in the game this week.



Talk about going into another hostile environment and the challenges that brings to the defense?

"It is going to be a real good experience for our defense. We got to learn how to communicate and work together as a defense because that is what happened to us in the Florida game with a hostile environment. We had a couple of miscommunication issues here and there and that made some big plays. This week we are trying to eliminate the mistakes and get better."

What do you know about Texas A&M's two quarterbacks right now?

"We all know that Jerrod Johnson is more of an athletic quarterback and they run the zone with him. We know when he gets in the game we have to be on our toes as far as him running around like Time Tebow did. He is like a Tebow kind of guy who likes to scramble around and doesn't really throw that much. Stephen McGee is more of a pro-style quarterback who will sit in the pocket and hold onto the ball a real long time. We are going to try to work on hitting him and getting more sacks this week."

How important is it for the defense to take the crowd of the game early in the game?

"The crowd is going to be really into it on the offensive side, especially if they make some big plays, so we have to come out there and shut them out the first couple of series and set the tone."

"The thing that stands out to me about last year's game is the way we came out and started off and got the whole crowd into the game. I know we were on defense first and when Eric Moncur had that first tackle for loss, that set the tempo for the whole game and how that whole game was going to be."

How would you evaluate how you have played in the first two games?

"I think I am doing pretty good. I am trying to be more consistent on making plays and that is one thing Coach Hurtt congratulated me on--how consistent I am. Right now I am trying to help the younger guys make that next step because I know how they feel right now. They are kind of frustrated on not being able to play and I was in the same position they was in. I am trying to keep them all focused right now."

How is Allen Bailey progressing right now?

"You know how Bailey is. The dude is a monster. He came in and he sat out camp. He just started playing defensive end, so it is going to take him a while to get back in the groove from sitting out camp and just playing defensive end in the spring."
 9 years ago '04        #3959
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- After sitting out for a year linebacker Glenn Cook didn't know if he would get a medical redshirt in order to play his senior year at Miami.

The NCAA granted his wish, gave him a medical redshirt and now Cook is the leader of the Hurricanes defense.

Following a loss at Florida which was disappointing for Cook and the rest of his mates, the 'Canes are getting ready for Texas A&M this weekend, but they are practicing how they expect to play.

"It wasn't just a week off. We worked hard on some things, special teams. We did a lot of hitting," Cook said. "Actually I haven't seen that much film on them. They have a pretty good running back, some quarterbacks that move around a bit. It will be a tough environment, but I think we'll handle it."

After playing at Florida the constant theme around the program is the 12th man which is the nickname of Kyle Field, Texas A&M's home stadium.

"We know we are going to a tough place, we have to be just as hype this game (as the Florida game). It is important and we have to bounce back," Cook said.

Cook has heard stories about Kyle Field. All he has to do is read up on some of the battles between Texas A&M and Texas Tech where it's gotten nasty in the stands before.

"No good news, a couple war stories. People said Florida was going to tough. It was loud, but we were able to handle it well," Cook said.

One of the keys to winning the game will be the start the 'Canes get off to. The 'Canes were able to jump on top of Texas A&M last year in Miami, a game that many thought the 'Canes would lose as the Aggies came in ranked only to be embarrassed by Miami 34-17.

But getting off to a good start will ride on the heels of some turnovers the defense has yet to be able to force through eight quarters.

"It's extremely important (to get turnovers)," Cook said. "It will help our offense a lot with a short field."

With an incredibly young team, the 'Canes youth will face another hostile crowd, something Cook isn't worried about after Florida.

"Yeah I think the fact we did go to Florida did help get our feet wet so I don't think it will be tough since that was their first game," Cook said.

On Sean Spence

One of the young players that has looked to Cook for guidance is freshman Sean Spence who is quickly becoming a sensation on the field.

'Sean still has a lot of things to improve on. But he's a playmaker, he's consistently around the ball. You just got to get him on the field. He has a knack for the ball. He's really instinctive, he's a big hitter, he's a big playmaker," Cook said.

On Texas A&M and the revenge factor

"I think they'll be pretty hyped up. They came in expecting to win (last year). People thought it was an upset. We have to be prepared. They'll be cranked up to get some revenge. Last year, the atmosphere that night was kind of crazy. The fans were into it. And everyone was running around."
 9 years ago '04        #3960
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- With Javarris James out this week with a high ankle sprain, Miami needs a group of backup running backs to pick up the slack.

Senior Derron Thomas, sophomore Shawnbrey McNeal, and redshirt freshman Lee Chambers, will be used in a group effort to fill the void James will leave.

"We are going to play more than one back," running back coach Tommie Robinson said. "Graig will get the start for us and Derron will get the bulk of the reps [after that], but Shawnbrey, Damien Berry, and Lee Chambers will also play."

"It is time for guys to step up."

Through three games this season Thomas, McNeal, and Chambers have totaled 129 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.

Thomas in particular is expected to receive a big bulk of the carries along with Graig Cooper. After James went down with the ankle injury during the Florida game, Thomas ran for 22 yards on seven carries.

"You never know when injuries are going to happen and that is why I come out and treat myself like a starter," Thomas said. "When stuff like this does happen I just take advantage of the opportunities that do come."

With their group of running backs, UM will look to establish the ground game against a Texas A&M defense which has proved to be suspect against the run this season. In week one Texas A&M allowed 255 yards rushing to Arkansas State. In their second game against New Mexico, the Aggies allowed 216 rushing yards.

Texas A&M currently ranks 113th in the country in rushing defense.

GOING HOME

One player who is particularly excited about this week's game is Shawnbrey McNeal, who is from Texas and committed to the Aggies early in the recruiting process. He said he is excited to play in front of his family this week.

"I am very excited to go back home and play in front of my people," McNeal said. "There is going to be about 20 of my family members there and my mom has never seen me play college football in person, so this will be a good opportunity for her to see me. I really can't explain the type of emotions I am feeling right now."

"Shawnbrey is very excited about going back to Texas," Chambers said. "Me and Shawnbrey have grown very close together, so we are always talking about the game this week and sometimes I have to tell him to calm down."

Chambers didn't receive a carry against Florida, but Miami Coach Randy Shannon highlighted him as a player who performed well at practice last week and should expect to see more opportunities this week.

"Lee Chambers had a tremendous practice this last week," Shannon said. "He is looking very good."

Chambers said he had a good week of practice because he is a lot more comfortable with the offense.

"It is just studying my playbook," Chambers said about why his play has improved. "When you know what you are doing, you can play the game faster. Once you study the playbook and know your stuff, you can play the game faster without thinking."
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