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 8 years ago '04        #4181
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Hurtt: D-Line making strides
It wasn't too long ago the University of Miami consistently housed some of the top defensive lineman in all of college football. From 2001-04, the Canes had four first round draft choices on its d-line -- Vince Wilfork, Jerome McDougle, William Joseph and Damione Lewis.

The tradition of top-tier lineman has continued over the last three years with Baraka Atkins, Orien Harris, Kareem Brown, Calais Campbell and the late Bryan Pata. But entering the 2008 season, Miami not only doesn't have a recognizable star, but it lacks the experience and established talent it once had on a regular basis. The D-Line, returns just one starter (Eric Moncur) and must replace Campbell (who left early to the draft) and 10-game starter Teraz McCray at tackle.

If that wasn't enough of a chore for defensive line coach Clint Hurtt, fall practice has begun with Moncur and very promising sophomore Allen Bailey sidelined and rehabbing from injuries. Tuesday, I caught up with Hurtt after practice to talk about how the defensive line is progressing. Among the topics, Scout Team MVP redshirt freshman Adewale Ojomo (YOU CAN CHECK OUT HIS VIDEO INTERVIEW LATER TODAY) and the progress others are making.

Hurtt, who is always upbeat and positive when we talk, sounded a lot like the Coach Hurtt I spoke to at the end of last year when he was running a short-handed ship. The good news is, that although most of Miami's talented linemen are young, at least they're making strides.

"Adewale is a high motor kid, has gotten a lot better rushing the passer," Hurtt said of Ojomo. "He's a very strong kid in the run game, has great explosion, great hands. We expect him to come in and be a key contributor, keep pushing Eric (Moncur) and the other guys because we want to get the best four linemen on the field. He's doing a great job of that. The offensive linemen come up and talk about him, but everybody's improving as a group."

When asked who is currently shining at end, Hurtt said he couldn't name just one.
"Right now you're always looking at playing about five," Hurtt said. "We like to keep that rotation heavy so guys stay fresh. Hopefully around five or six. It all depends on who is game ready. That's what dictates it. Ideally you want five, but you don't want to throw a guy out there who isn't ready to go."

But Ojomo, whom I spoke with Monday, said incoming freshman Marcus Robinson is providing signs he might be. Randy Shannon compared Robinson Monday to former Cane Javon Nanton, a third-down pass-rush specialist, and said he hoped to get 20-30 plays out of him a game. Hurtt and Ojomo said Robinson (who played linebacker and defensive end in high school and has 4.5-speed) has had several sacks in the early going of fall practices and has even deflected a few balls. Hurtt negated one of my primary concerns about the freshman by saying Robinson (who told me Sunday he's up to 240 pounds) will put on the weight he needs to because he will be eating right in college.

"He has more natural skills right now coming in the door than Javon did," Hurtt said. "I worked with Javon a lot, and Javon did some good things as a freshman. He was a little stiff. Coach Swasey and those guys did a great job in the weight room getting him together. Marcus Robinson has some unbelievable tools, great tools. So he's got a lot of potential."

As for the defensive tackle spot, Miami feels confident Antonio Dixon's weight loss this offseason will allow him to be better conditioned. Who starts alongside Dixon remains a mystery though. Hurtt said Tuesday Joe Joseph, who made five starts as a sophomore last year (primarily because of injuries to others) has had the most improvement of the returnees.

"He's definitely improved," Hurtt said. "Getting Dwayne Hendricks back healthy definitely helps out. Guys are working hard to get better, and there's competition. Micanor Regis has come in and done a lot of things. Competition makes us all better."

> The f!ght for the starting center job -- the only position on the offensive line really in doubt (I don't care what people are saying about Chris Barney at left guard it's Orlando Franklin's job to lose) --apparently is becoming Xavier Shannon's job by the day. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland told our Susan Miller Degnan Tuesday Shannon has done the little extra things to outshine his competitors, Tyler Horn, Matt Pipho and A.J. Trump.

"I feel very confident with him," Stoutland said. "I was amazed at how fast he was able to learn all this stuff. I have children myself. And I know coaches who talk to me and say I know your son is a coach's kid. Because he listens. He absolutely listens. And he tries to execute what we're saying. Xavier is a coach's kid. He's been around it his whole life.

"Here's a for instance. During the practice session, whoever is getting the play, I will look at the script and I look at whoever is getting the play and whoever is not getting the play. And I look over to a group of them and I'll look over to see who is not paying attention. And if your not paying attention, I might say to you "What's the play?' Now, you don't have a script, but you got somebody calling out the plays. And if you don't hear the play and I call on your name, then I know your real serious about learning. A mental rep to me is as important as a physical rep to me. And so Xavier, I was looking around when he wasn't in the game and someone asked what's the play. He rehearsed it to me(snaps his finger) like that. It's a maturity factor. It's the ability to focus and listen when coaches are coaching. And that's what some of the younger guys to be honest with you have to learn."

> Go ahead and scratch CJ Holton off the list of missing incoming freshmen at camp. That leaves linebacker Brandon Marti, defensive back Joe Wylie, defensive tackle Jeremy Lewis and defensive end Gavin Hardin.

Holton was at practice Tuesday, but didn't participate in team drills. "He has to go through the acclimation period, so it takes time," Shannon said. "You have to go through two days in helmets, the whole day. He did some conditioning stuff, which is good for him because he can't just come in and (play). A kid could get hurt that way."

I've spoken to the family of at least one of those players who is still waiting, who tells me they've had a hard time getting a phone call back from UM coaches or school reps. Among the remaining recruits, there is growing fear one of the four will be asked to greyshirt (enroll in January) because UM might be over its scholarship limit of 85.

> Junior cornerback Chavez Grant, who has played nickel back most of his career at UM, told me Tuesday he's spending most of his time on the outside this fall. "My role, I'm pretty much outside on the corner," Grant said. "Brandon Harris is right behind me, pushing me, so is DVD. I'm trying to be somewhat of a mentor to Brandon because he's working a lot at the nickel. And I kind of look up to Bruce, he's a great corner. We're all just working together."

> Shannon said running backs Lee Chambers and Damien Berry left practice because of "hydration issues." Berry was seen by a reporter leaving in a cart. Shannon has been extending practices a little longer than the usual two hours because he says he wants to get his younger players more reps.

> Despite not having a tight end on his roster who caught more than 13 balls or had more than 105 yards receiving last season, Shannon sounded optimistic Tuesday the tight ends will be more involved in the offense this fall.

"When you have guys only the first time playing last year it's kind of hard to get them going," Shannon said. "With a new offense coming in, guys never touched the field. Now these guys are making catches left and right in practice, big key catches. So we're kind of excited."

> Safety Anthony Redd*ck didn't practice for the second consecutive day. But Shannon said, "Everything's fine with him. He's doing well. We're just monitoring Redd*ck because guys come off knee injuries, you go and practice him every day you won't get much out of him. It's one day off, one day on, trying to ease him back into it. But he's doing fine."

Fellow safety Lovon Ponder didn't practice either. No reason was given.
 8 years ago '04        #4182
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Three days ago Lauderhill (FL) Plantation High School DB Brandon McGee said he ruled out Miami.

"I will not be picking Miami," he said at the time. "It's down to Tennessee, FSU and Ole Miss."

Three days later, guess what?

Miami's back in the mix.

"I've been talking with my coaches, my dad," McGee said. "The process is so hectic, getting so crazy. It's definitely confusing. My final four is FSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Miami.

"Some may say I'm playing games, but it's definitely confusing. Some schools are still contacting me outside the top four. A couple are trying to get into it. but I've stuck with that top 3, top 4. I have absolutely no clue as of right now where I want to go. All of them stand pretty even right now. I don't even have a frontrunner."

So how will he make a decision in just six days? (He's scheduled a press conference at his school for 10 a.m. Aug. 11).

"Sunday night I'm going to put out pros and cons with my dad and coach, and whatever I feel is best is the one I'll go with," McGee said.

He says he won't push back his decision date.

"I want to get it out of the way," he said. "I'll be glad when it's over."

McGee says he hasn't spoken to Cane coaches since he attended CanesFest on Saturday.

"I haven't been in contact with too many coaching staffs," McGee said. "I have people screening my phone calls and telling people I'm not here."
 8 years ago '04        #4183
madness 7 heat pts
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:celebrate0:good sh*t booie
 8 years ago '04        #4184
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Rumors have floated around that wide receiver Sam Shields will not be on the field when the season starts against Charleston Southern due to academic struggles, but they have been neither confirmed nor denied by coach Randy Shannon and/or Shields to date.

Regardless of his status for the opener, Shields says he's turned the page on the misgivings of the past season where he found himself benched a couple of times and relegated to the scout team because of rule breaking.

"I don't think about last year, just think about now and what I am supposed to do. I feel good out there. I gotta do what I gotta do to help the team," Shields said. "All the offseason, after I thought about it and talked to my mom and dad about the things I need to do. The main thing is just staying focused."

Naturally, staying focused is key, but staying on the field is just as important as Shields was the 'Canes most dangerous weapon last year, but he found himself in Shannon's doghouse too much in 2007.

Things have changed around Coral Gables. While Shields was looked to as a must needed player to perform and come up with big plays even he sees the new freshmen wide receivers as a threat to his starting position.

"It's a big help all these new freshmen coming in helping everybody. They are doing a wonderful job. Everybody is doing terrific. It's big competition. Everyone is fast, they know what they are doing already. There are going to be some young guys out there playing early," Shields said.

Shields is playing on the outside right now and will be facing battles from the likes of Kayne Farquharson, Aldarius Johnson, Jermaine McKenzie, Davon Johnson and Travis Benjamin as a downfield threat.

But he feels he's getting better. He's definitely also getting stronger.

"Everything has been improved. I've been worked with coach Swasey. He's been getting us bigger and stronger. I gained about five pounds, like 185 now," Shields said.

Shields is helping out the young guys though even though it's their goal to take his job.

"They going at it. They make good plays, good decisions, helping out the team, they are working hard. They just have to get used to the speed on the field and knowing what you gotta do out there on the field. The coach can't really tell you what to do on the field in front of the big crowd," Shields said.

However, what it comes down to for Shields are his own actions.

"I've matured a lot. I just have to go out there and help the team," Shields said.
 8 years ago '04        #4185
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Today was the first day in full pads and for the second straight day, a player left early due to dehydration with the heat index in the mid-90s.

SHANNON QUOTE

"Overall it was a good day. It was a very physical day and we emphasized the run game. We wanted to get physical with it being the first day in pads. Also, we did a lot of play action."

NEWS & NOTES

? DT Antonio Dixon left practice early due to dehydration and was taken to a local hospital. He went to the hospital to get him more fluids.

? Freshman WR Travis Benjamin scored three touchdowns including a 10-yard reverse run, a 50-yard reception, and a short touchdown during a redzone drill. "The other young guys are doing well, but those two stood out."

? Shannon singled out Benjamin and fellow freshman WR LaRon Byrd for having great days in practice.

? Freshman Gavin Hardin has been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse and will practice as early as Thursday.

? There hasn't been much separation from the quarterbacks according to Shannon thus far. He expects to base his decision on the starter based on the three scrimmages--Aug. 9, 15, and 19. Prediction: Look for a decision to be announced on Aug. 21--a day after the team has a day off.

? Freshman safety C.J. Holton still has to wait on the sidelines until he can fully practice per NCAA rules. Holton could practice in the second practice on Thursday during the team's first two-a-day.

? CB Chavez Grant had another interception today--his second in as many days.

? The defensive did a good job of recording sacks in various drills, which is a positive sign considering how many players are missing from the defensive line including starting DEs Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey.

? The kickers practiced at Dolphin Stadium today because the goal posts were up with the Miami Dolphins exhibition game on Saturday and the coaches wanted them to get some work kicking off the infield dirt from the Florida Marlins games.

? RBs Graig Cooper and Javarris James still expect to split carries this year. James scored a touchdown on a short running play up the middle. The goal is for each of them to touch the ball 15-20 times a game.

? WR Jermaine McKenzie took a couple of big hits the other day in practice, but did not show any effects of his neck injury he suffered a year ago.

? Practice resumes Thursday morning for the first of two practices on the day. The team will also practice Thursday afternoon.
 8 years ago '04        #4186
booie4 
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One day into full pad workouts and somebody is already in the hospital. Senior defensive tackle Antonio Dixon was taken to HealthSouth Doctor's Hospital on UM's campus for dehydration Wednesday morning and has been admitted.

"We sent him to get some fluids in him," Shannon told reporters after practice.

UM spokesman Kerwin Lonzo said doctors are running some tests on Dixon.
"We'll keep you posted," Lonzo said. Dixon is the first player to be hospitalized that we know of this fall. Shannon said Tuesday the team has been practicing longer to get more reps for the younger players. Javarris James, Damien Berry, Lee Chambers and Joe Joseph are other guys who have been sidelined by the heat since practice began Saturday.

> Shannon told reporters freshman linebacker Gavin Hardin has been cleared to arrive at UM. Freshman safety CJ Holton was out at practice Wednesday, but didn't participate in contact drills again.

> Safety Anthony Redd*ck missed practice for the third straight day. Redd*ck missed the 2005 and 2007 seasons with injuries. Not a good sign.

> Shannon said he sent both of his kickers -- freshman Jake Wieclaw and Matt Bosher -- to kick off the infield dirt Wednesday morning at Dolphins Stadium. "Since the goalposts are up because Miami is playing Tampa Bay this weekend, we figured they could get some work that way," Shannon said.

Special teams coach Joe Pannunzio said he tries to send his kickers to kick off an infield dirt surface every third day at UM. "We'll probably send them once or twice more [to Dolphins Stadium]," Pannunzio said. "Either that or we'll just go for it on fourth down [Pannunzio joked]."

> Pannunzio went into deeper detail about the progress of the special teams, particularly the kickers, the guys working in the return game, the fliers and more.

Pannunzio said freshman kicker Jake Wieclaw is "a very accurate kicker and getting better... his biggest issue is he's been kicking off a tee in high school... and it's a learning process for him. It's probably invaluable that he's been here since January."

Pannunzio said he's looking at all the skill players in the return game -- including all of the freshmen. "We're looking for somebody to get out there and give us some field position," Pannunzio said. "It doesn't matter what year their in."

Miami's search for a return man isn't the only spot in the special teams the Canes are trying to fill. Both long-snappers from last season -- John Rochford and Ross Abramson -- are gone. Pannunzio said Chris Ivory and walkon quarterback Jake Byrne are the two guys currently competing for the long-snapper duties.

As for the fliers -- the guys who go head-hunting on punt returns -- Pannunzio said "we should be good at that. We got Khalil Jones and Ryan Hill who have been my two guys for years."

> Regarding the tight ends, Pannunzio said he's excited -- especially about the three he says will play: Dedrick Epps, Chris Zellner and Richard Gordon. "They're a year older, a year smarter, a year stronger, a year faster and a year more mature," Pannunzio said. "They look like they're coming into their own so hopefully it will be a big year for them."


Pannunzio said he just doesn't have that all-around guy. He said Zellner is the better blocker and Epps is the better receiver. "With Gordon, I used to have to kick his ace to go to class," Pannunzio said. "But now all I have to do is push him a little. It's part of his maturity."

Pannunzio said he's been surprised by the play of Tervaris Johnson, who moved over from safety to tight end this summer. "He's better than I thought he would be and he's a guy you might see in there a little bit. He's got a big enough body and he's not afraid to put his face in there."

Pannunzio said it could prove to be tougher for redshirt freshman Daniel Adderley. "He's never had his hand on the ground, his facemask turned or his nose bloodied."

> Shannon said the team's first day in pads was very physical and focused on establishing the running game and focusing on playaction passing. Shannon once again pointed to Laron Byrd and Travis Benjamin as the standouts among the young receivers. "The other guys are doing well," Shannon said. "but those are two guys that are standing out right now."

> Shannon said he hasn't set a timetable as to when he'll be looking for separation among the quarterbacks. "We've got three scrimmages, so we got plenty of time," Shannon said. "That's why I'm not panicking and trying to rush things.

> Sophomore running back Shawnbrey McNeal said he's now weighing between 193 and 195 pounds. He came in as a freshman at 180 pounds. "Being JJ and Coop you learn a whole lot. It's not about just helping them. It's no hatred or down talk. Everyone has the same amount of respect for each other," McNeal said.

> I got a chance to speak to redshirt freshman receiver Jermaine McKenzie for about five minutes today and will have a feature on him later this week. McKenzie is obviously a kid who has endured a lot in his time at UM including the neck injury he suffered when he his car did several flips on I-75 with him at the wheel last fall which ended his freshman season. McKenzie didn't play in the spring because of high ankle sprain. But now he's back, bigger and stronger and competing with a talented crop of freshmen to get in the mix. Be sure to check out the story later this week.

DON'T FORGET TO... Listen to the audio uploaded from today's practice as well as the video interviews. I uploaded the feature on defensive end Adewale Ojomo this morning.

Posted by Manny Navarro at 11:48 AM on August 6, 2008 in
 8 years ago '04        #4187
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Randy Phillips languished in the Hurricanes secondary for the first three years of his career at the University of Miami. It wasn't because Phillips couldn't play and wasn't getting playing time. It was because Phillips was playing a position he is not made for.

It hit a crescendo last season when Phillips was toasted at Oklahoma as he simply couldn't stick with the faster OU receivers.

That seemed to be the end of the Phillips experiment at cornerback, but since he hadn't played his natural position of safety in quite some time, it wasn't like he could simply jump into the rotation at safety although he did get chances in spots.

Now he gets his real chance, the chance to show the kind of player he was always expected to be. Phillips is as close to a lock at safety as the 'Canes as three seniors are battling for two starting sports.

Phillips is battling Lovon Ponder and Anthony Redd*ck, but is expected to win one of the two safety spots when Fall practice ends.

"There is no where to go, but up for me," Phillips said. "I done hit rock bottom you know so I am just trying to get up."

But his experiences at cornerback over the past couple of years have made him a better player all around even though he didn't perform the way he would have preferred to have when given the opportunity last year.

Moving back to his natural position coupled with the experiences at corner have helped him understand the safety position even more than before.

"It allows me to recognize what the offense is trying to do, see the entire field and allow me to make plays. Being a cornerback, I know what the corners need and I know how they want me to help them," Phillips said. "I can tell a corner a certain thing to do so I can help him and things like that. It's showing from 7-on-7s that I am a big a.sset in the secondary because I've played corner."

However, Phillips was clear about one thing.

"Playing safety is all I ever wanted to do," Phillip said.

He also got the opportunity to play nickel back last year and came up big in Miami's 37-29 win over Florida State in Tallahassee.

"Florida State I went to nickel back and I had never played nickel back my entire life and had two interceptions," Phillips said.

But then Phillps also had games where he never saw the field, not for one single play, including Georgia Tech, North Carolina and N.C. State, all Miami losses.

"As far as the safety position, I missed three-four games that I didn't play in due to different reasons. But it was last year and that's out of the way," Phillips said. "I was there, I just didn't play. I got my act together. Everyone is so good, the veteran group is so ready. We are just rolling."

With the recent coaches poll that was released by the USA Today, Phillips was happy to see that.

"That's good. That's great. That's where we want to be. Let them (other teams) have all the hype and live up to what the media says or the coaches poll. Once you are up there, you have no where to go, but fall. Where we are, no one expects anything from us. When we come out and shock the world, everyone will be like whoa. It's a great feeling to be the underdogs. We are not even classified as the underdogs. We are the butts. We are the puppies. We ain't even born yet," Phillip said. "You are going to see a lot of success this year."
 8 years ago '06        #4188
DEDOS 120 heat pts120
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 8 years ago '04        #4189
madness 7 heat pts
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Dixon update; practice notes

UM coach Randy Shannon told reporters Wednesday that senior defensive tackle Antonio Dixon was taken to the hospital after suffering from dehydration. Thursday morning, he said Dixon didn't suffer from dehydration, but from hyperventilation.

"It was one of those deals we found out that Dixon was hyperventilating," Shannon explained. "He was excited during the practice and the drill he did. He got going, short of wind, short of breath and it was fine. His body temperature wasnít above and beyond the normal. It was just a little high, but nothing great. But he was fine.

"Dixon is a guy to get excited. And when Dixon hyperventilates, he hyperventilates. He does it all the time."

Dixon was taken to Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables Wednesday morning by ambulance and a UM press release Wednesday afternoon updated his status by saying the 6-3, 322-pounder was "in good condition."

One Canes website reported early this morning that Dixon had already been released, but UM football SID Kerwin Lonzo told reporters Dixon was still in the hospital as of 11 a.m. Lonzo said UM is expecting Dixon to be released later this afternoon. Shannon told reporters "he could be back out practicing here by this afternoon."

"I went over to see him [last night], everybody did," Shannon said. "He was joking around, talking about eating fried chicken and stuff like that. He was good. We just have to be careful with big guys like that. You always have those situations happen. Heíll bounce back, keep rolling."

Dixon, who has suffered from condition problems in the past and even earned the nickname Two Play Dix from defensive line coach Clint Hurtt, told reporters at media day last week he feels like he's in the best shape of his life after losing more than 15 pounds and dropping down to 322. Despite what Randy said, I doubt he'll be practicing this afternoon.

Miami once again practiced for more than two hours Thursday, but about 10 minutes earlier than usual. Shannon said earlier this week he's trying to get his young players extra reps.

MORE NOTES...
> Linebacker Arthur Brown did not practice in the morning session Thursday and Shannon told reporters he could be back by Saturday's first scrimmage of the fall.

> Defensive tackle Marcus Forston, safety Anthony Redd*ck and defensive ends Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey did not practice either. Of Redd*ck, who I believe has now missed four days of practice, Shannon said: "It was his day to rest."

Shannon said Forston was a weight related issue. "Some guys we just rest here and there," Forston said. "Like I said, weíre going to be very careful in monitoring the weight that they do. Players after every practice weigh in and weigh out, we keep their weight at a certain amount of pounds. So, sometimes weíll sit some guys out because they lost just too much weight. Itís certain amount of weight loss. You just canít go out and say you lost 10 pounds in practice and they only got two pounds back. You got to be careful about that. So, we make sure we monitor that, especially those big guys."

> Shannon told reporters not to ask him about the quarterbacks until after the second scrimmage.

> Shannon told reporters freshman defensive end Gavin Hardin was flying in this morning and said the school is still "waiting on two maybe three more guys" to be cleared by the Clearinghouse. Defensive back CJ Holton arrived at UM Tuesday, which means he likely won't practice until next week. Linebacker Brandon Marti, safety Joe Wylie and defensive tackle Jeremy Lewis still have not been cleared.

"When the paperwork goes in, theyíll just roll in,Ē Shannon said. "[Gavin] has to go through a five day acclimation period. He can only wear shorts, go through meetings. He can wear shorts, but he canít practice."

> With so many guys out on the defensive line, freshman Micanor Regis of Pahokee High says he's been getting so many reps at right defensive tackle he's lost count. Shannon said Regis is "showing flashes of of being the defensive tackle of what we [once] had. Heís young, got a motor. Sometimes heíll come off the ball looking like a typical freshman, but then heíll come off and cause havoc in the backfield. Weíre pleased with his progress and the way heís going right now."

Shannon said if the season were to start today, Regis would get upwards of 25 plays a game. Regis, who was already cut up in high school, said he's trimmed down from 320 to 317 and added more muscle. Shannon said his biggest obstacle is getting used to playing against guys his size. "In high school I was the strongest guy on the field, but now itís like there are 10 other guys just as strong as me," Regis said. "Now, instead of my strength I got to use my technique."

> Even though in the first week of practice several key players from a year ago haven't been practicing with the first team, I wouldn't read too much into it. Safety Randy Phillips is a perfect example. He's been practicing on the second and third team, providing leadership and instruction for the younger guys.

"Iím still not going with the first team. Just kind of practicing hard, working with younger guys and trying to get the younger safeties going," Phillips said. "If you got all the experienced guys going with each other then, you know, when I run with the younger guys I can tell them what to do, be the leader of whatever group Iím in. Iím just rotating every different day. Might go with the ones, the twos or the threes. Iím just floating around."

> I'm now convinced Laron Byrd is separating himself from the rest of the freshmen receivers as the most likely to make an immediate impact this season. Byrd said he caught two touchdown passes Thursday and has lost count of how many he's caught this spring. Thursday, he caught a long pass down the middle of the field on a pass from Jacory Harris during a two-minute drill, then hauled in another on a fade route in the corner of the end zone during short-yardage drills.

I asked Byrd point blank what he's doing to make Shannon, who has now mentioned him twice after practice, blush about him. "Iím just putting in the hard work and effort. Thatís all Iím doing. Every day Iím coming out to play. Iím just focusing on doing my job. We got to think hard, knowing your role and I know my role. I know what it takes to come in and play hard. If heís impressed, thatís good. But Iím just trying to do what I can to help the team."

Although I'm going to save my interview with receivers coach Aubrey Hill for tomorrow, Hill had nothing but great things to say about Byrd. ""He's a very smart player. He's a big kid who can run. In our meeting room he's smart too. He always has his playbook open. It's not like it's all new to him, a new language. He knows what he's doing."

Receivers coach Aubrey Hill says he's impressed with his young group.

Here's what Hill had to say about each of them:

* Laron Byrd: "He's a very smart, conscientious player, is a big kid who can run. He's been showing a lot of great effort. In our meeting room he's a smart kid, has his playbook open. It's not like it's all new to him, a new language."

* Travis Benjamin: "He's an exceptionally fast kid, a big play guy. He's another bright kid, is a big play waiting to happen. He's been doing very well."

* Thearon Collier: "Pimp [Collier's nickname] is an inside receiver for us and has been doing very well. He's catching the ball. He's a little bolt of lightning. He can get in and out of spaces really quickly."

* Davon Johnson: "DJ's a very fast kid. He's been banged up a little bit, is doing well now. He's doing a great job for us."

* Aldarius Johnson: "AD, we know he's a freshman, but he's a returning guy from the spring. He's kind of picked up from where he left off."

* Tommy Streeter: "He's a big, tall kid who can run. He's doing well for us catching the ball."

* Kendall Thomkins: "Superman [Thompkins' nickname] is doing a great job for us catching passes. He's lightning quick also."

-Freshman Ramon Buchanan, who played linebacker in high school, said he came to UM with intentions of moving to safety. He has split time between free and strong safety. "It's a little bit different," Buchanan said. "Safety, you've got to watch everything. Linebacker, you have to watch like a triangle, just the backfield."

-Freshman kicker Jake Wieclaw said he benefited from Wednesday's practice at Dolphin Stadium. The kickers were allowed to get a feel for the playing on the baseball infields. Even though Matt Bosher appears the front runner for the job, Wieclaw said he's still in the hunt. "I don't feel like I'm behind," Wieclaw said. "I feel like all of us kickers are where we need to be. It's just a matter of who handles pressure better."

-Today's Marve Moment: After practice, he shared a cool-down tub with Travis Benjamin and Shawnbrey McNeal.

-Today's Jacory Jib Jab: While he and Damien Berry were sitting on mini-cart after practice, the carted lifted almost causing both to fall. Jacory's response: "I guess I am gaining weight."
.....


Last edited by madness; 08-07-2008 at 12:30 PM..
 8 years ago '05        #4190
Deeangoe 2 heat pts
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$12,895 | Props total: 290 290
yes sir 21 days till kickoff
 8 years ago '04        #4191
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Going into his senior year, Lovon Ponder is the most confident he has been during his UM career.

Ponder no longer has to play behind players like Kenny Phillips and Brandon Meriweather and the starting position is almost his to lose.

"I am much more confident this year," Ponder said. "The last couple of years here I was playing behind Kenny Phillips and Brandon Meriweather--guys who were first round picks in the NFL. You kind of understand you are going to be a backup--but you want to be the best backup--because you know those two guys are going to play well."

This year Ponder is battling with seniors Randy Phillips and Anthony Redd*ck for the starting position. Phillips was moved from cornerback to safety during last season and Redd*ck is coming off an ACL tear that caused him to miss the season.

Ponder has more starting experience at safety than any player on the roster. He started 12 games during his UM career. His best season came during his sophomore year when he started nine games and made 53 tackles and on interception.

"Guys are competitive and the best man wins, but we also compliment each other really well," Ponder said. "Guys are prepared now and we are ready to go."

Throughout his career Ponder has dealt with nagging injuries. This offseason Ponder says he did a lot of preventative work to avoid injuries. This summer Ponder went through a full summer of workouts and he is stronger than he has ever been, raising his bench press to 315 pounds and his squat to 400 pounds.

"This offseason I was doing some proactive things with rehabbing," Ponder said. "I have some things that weren't hurting, but I knew they could possibly get hurt during the season, so I was strengthening those things."

"I was much swifter and much smoother out there in seven-on-sevens flying around. I was able to run with guys and make a big impact out there."

During his playing career Ponder has played with corners like Antrel Rolle, Kelly Jennings, and Marcus Maxey. He says he sees signs of DeMarcus Van Dye being a similar type of shutdown corner.

PONDER ON DEMARCUS VAN DKE

"He has tremendous makeup speed. We were out at seven-on-sevens one day and he got beat off the line by Kayne Farquharson and he just ran him down and ran the ball down and made the pass break up. I just stopped what I was doing and looked at him. He was flying to get back there. He can be one of the best cornerbacks in college football."

"I remember talking to him last year when he first came in and he was real nervous. He would always ask me about how fall camp is and how the defense is and how the receivers in college are. Now he is a guy who is ready for anything and he is just like I am ready to play."
 8 years ago '04        #4192
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Freshman wide receiver LaRon Byrd caught two touchdowns during today's practice and continues to be one of Miami's most productive receivers through the early part of fall camp.

Today's touchdowns came during the two-minute drill and during red-zone drills, in which he caught a fade route for a touchdown.

Byrd (6-4, 211) has been mentioned twice by Head Coach Randy Shannon--who doesn't like to single any player out--following practices he has performed well.

"I am just putting in hard work and effort," Byrd said. "Everyday I put on the pads and I am just doing my job. I have to think hard and know my role and I know my role is to play hard, so I am playing as hard as I can. If [Coach Shannon] is impressed that is good, but I am just doing what I can to help the team."

Byrd's blend of size and speed along with his advance understanding of the wide receiver position are reason's he has been able to make an early impact during fall practices.

[He is mature] not only on the field, but in the meeting room," wide receiver coach Aubrey Hill said. "He is a smart kid, he has his playbook open and asking questions. It is not like it is brand new to him it is not like it is a new language like it is with most freshmen. He is very physical and he has a presence about him."

Though he is only a freshman, Byrd may be the number one receiver option Miami has been searching for the past few seasons. He has shown the capability to be a strong vertical target with his speed and a good red-zone target with his size and leaping ability.

While Byrd has outperformed the expectations most had for him coming in as a freshman this year, he still feels like he has a lot of work to do before the season begins.

"I feel like I am doing alright, but there is always room for improvement," Byrd said. "Each day I try to come out here and correct the mistakes I made yesterday. I have been up in the film room everyday, so I look at the minor things I do wrong and I try to correct them everyday. I have a lot of work to do before I become a starting college receiver though."

"I need to clean up everything, from looking the defensive back off to running precise routes to flattening my routes off, and my footwork. Everything it takes to be a starting receiver, I need to work on that."

As a senior at Hahnville High School last year Byrd caught 50 passes for 630 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The toughest adjustment for Byrd during the first week of fall camp? Getting physical with the stronger college level cornerbacks.

"In high school, you might being playing against nobodys," Byrd said. "In college, it is all division one prospects, so it is real hard running your route pattern. You might have a 6-feet-3 corner jamming you, so with the physical part, you definitely have to step that up and then have the mentality and be smart. You have to be smart about the coverages. You don't want to run in the flat against a Cover Two because then the middle linebacker will knock your head off."

Byrd doesn't know how many touchdowns he has scored since fall camp began, but he cracks a smile when he talks about how many touchdowns he wants to score per practice.

"I don't know, I haven't kept count, but my goal is to try and score at least five a day,"
he said.
 8 years ago '04        #4193
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The team practiced in full pads Thursday morning and will resume practice in the afternoon for their first two-a-day. Another freshman stepped up and had a solid day scoring touchdowns.

SHANNON QUOTES

"Today was a physical practice. We had some goal-line and some short yardage. It was real physical. It was a good opportunity for a lot of guys to get some reps. It was pretty good, we balanced it off with offense on one half and defense on one half, which is a starting point of what we want to get done."

NEWS & NOTES

? DT Antonio Dixon is still in the hospital and will be released in the afternoon. He is still awaiting more test results. Complete report on Dixon

? Freshman LaRon Byrd scored two touchdowns in practice--one during a two-minute drill and the other was a fade route during redzone drills. Byrd continues to impress in the first week of practice. He did confirm that his name is spelled "LaRon" as opposed to "Laron", which is in the media guide. More on Byrd

? Freshman Gavin Hardin was cleared by the NCAA on Wednesday and was on a plane to Miami in the morning and was not at practice. He could be at practice in the afternoon, but will have to go through a five-day acclamation period before he can fully participate in practice.

? Freshman DT Marcus Forston did not practice because he lost too much weight from practice. Players constantly weigh in after practice to have their weight monitored. Some players have to sit out of practice if they have lost too much weight from the day before.

? Freshman LB Arthur Brown did not practice due to a minor injury and will miss the afternoon practice, but is expected to participate in Saturday's scrimmage following a day off on Friday.

? Freshman DT Micanor Regis would play if the game was today according to Shannon and he is getting a lot of reps this fall. He is playing right defensive tackle on the first and second units. Shannon would like him to play 25 plays this year. "We are kind of excited about him," Shannon said.

? Freshman Ramon Buchanan said he wanted to play safety as opposed to linebacker and is coming along well. He had two interceptions in Wednesday's practice giving him four this fall.

? Shannon said he will address how the quarterbacks are doing during the team scrimmages. The first scrimmage is Saturday, Aug. 9.

? S Anthony Redd*ck (knee) and LB Romeo Davis (knee) did not practice as a precaution. Both players are being guarded this fall as they recover from ACL injuries causing them to miss the 2007 season.

? Starting DEs Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey remain out with injuries.

? Practice resumes Thursday afternoon and the team has a day off on Friday.
 8 years ago '04        #4194
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The Hurricanes practiced Thursday afternoon to complete their first two-a-day of fall practices. The first major injury of the fall occurred as junior guard Chris Barney will be out four to six weeks.

SHANNON QUOTES

Shannon on Barney: "He'll be out probably four to six weeks," coach Randy Shannon said. "That happens in camp. It aint a blow, we got (Joel) Figueroa, Orlando (Franklin), Harland Gunn, and A.J. Trump so we still have four guys. You've got to move on."

NEWS & NOTES

? OL Chris Barney suffered an undisclosed injury on Thursday and will be out 4-6 weeks according to Shannon. Barney was the first-team left guard in the first week of practices. More on Barney

? DT Antonio Dixon has been released from the hospital and attended practice, but watched from the sidelines. He is expected to participate in Saturday's scrimmage.

? Freshman Gavin Hardin was at practice, but will not be able to fully participate in contact drills until August 15.

? Freshman safety C.J. Holton completed his fourth day of the acclamation period, which required players to have five days before fully participating. He will be able to go through contact drills on August 11.

? There were four NFL scouts at practice in the morning. Representatives were there to watch "6-7 seniors" according to a source. CB Bruce Johnson is the senior generating the majority of the buzz. WR Kayne Farquharson also has some eyes on him. Scouts from the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, and Jacksonville Jaguars were at practice. There have been 2-3 scouts at each practice this fall.

? Freshman LB Arthur Brown was held out, but is still expected to participate in Saturday's scrimmage.

? Freshman DT Marcus Forston missed the morning practice due to a weight loss and did not practice in the afternoon either. He is expected to practice on Saturday.

? Freshman QB Taylor Cook worked out at punter following practice. Cook was an all-State punter out of Eagle Lake, Texas last season averaging 42.3 yards per punt.

? Saturday's evening scrimmage will consist of 80-90 plays and will be closed. The scrimmage is at night because Miami's first three games are at night.

? The team will have a day off on Friday before a Saturday night scrimmage.
 8 years ago '04        #4195
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Junior offensive lineman Chris Barney suffered an undisclosed injury on Thursday.

Barney was the first-team left guard this fall.

"He'll be out probably four to six weeks," coach Randy Shannon said. "That happens in camp. It aint a blow, we got (Joel) Figueroa, Orlando (Franklin), Harland Gunn, and A.J. Trump so we still have four guys. You've got to move on."

Barney, 6-5, 345, dropped 15 pounds from last season after not playing as a sophomore.

"It's bad for him because he was been coming along, he dropped a lot of weight, and he's been doing great in practice," Shannon said.

Last season, Barney did not play in any games as he was relegated to scout team duties.

"Last year I was blaming everything on everybody else except myself," Barney said. "I sat down with the coaches and I finally realized it wasn't anybody's fault by my own. I was not doing what I needed to do, so I stepped my game up."

Barney played in six games--making one start--as a redshirt freshman in 2006.

The earliest Barney would be able to play would be September 4, two days prior to the Hurricanes second game of the season.
 8 years ago '04        #4196
booie4 
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Senior defensive tackle Antonio Dixon left Wednesday's practice on an ambulance after hyperventilating and stayed overnight at Doctors Hospital.

"Dixon is fine," coach Randy Shannon said. "He stayed [in the hospital] over night for tests, but everything they checked out was great. It was nothing major with Dixon. It is one of those situations where it is hot down here at Miami and we are always going to have precautions with everything we do. We put the safety of the kid first and everything else second."

Shannon and some of the players went to the hospital to visit Dixon and he was joking around with them and talked to them about eating fried chicken.

"We just have to be careful with big guys like that," Shannon said. "You always have those situations happen, but you bounce back, keep rolling, and he'll be ready to practice."

Dixon, 6-foot-3 and 322 pounds, said on media day he felt he was in the best shape he has ever been in.

"He was in great shape," Shannon said. "It is one of them deals where Dixon was hyperventilating. He was excited in practice doing the drill and his adrenaline got going. He got short of wind, short of breath, and he was fine."

Shannon said his body temperature was not above and beyond what was normal and said Dixon "will probably be back this afternoon" to practice.

Shannon originally said after Wednesday's practice that he had dehydrated.

"No (he did not dehydrate), but you always have to be careful when a guys does that," Shannon said Thursday. "Dixon is a guy that gets excited and when he hyperventilates, he hyperventilates and he does it all the time."
 8 years ago '04        #4197
madness 7 heat pts
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thanks booie

that sucks about barney, but at least big orlando franklin can step in now
 8 years ago '04        #4198
booie4 
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Some recuiting news i came across

* Brandon McGee, who was at UM's first practice last Saturday, has things narrowed down to four schools and UM is one of them. The Canes are in excellent shape here, especially considering their need for corners in this class. His press conference is scheduled for next Monday, when he'll announce his decision.

* Lamar Miller is still in the picture. While the Canes already have two running back commitments, Miller still has an offer from the Canes and this is still his dream school. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out but don't scratch Miller off the list just yet -- something a lot of UM fans did prematurely a couple weeks ago.

* Andre Debose spoke to one of the guys who covers LSU recruiting for Scout last night and indicated that his top 2 are LSU and Miami. Debose and two of his teammates (defensive end Dyron Dye and safety Ray Ray Armstrong) visited Miami recently and the Canes look to be in very good shape moving forward.

* Orson Charles had a very good visit to Miami last weekend. He's getting ready to narrow his list down some and you can be sure the Canes will make the initial cut. I think UM is still in excellent shape for him.

* In case things don't work out with Charles or in case the coaches decide to take two more tight ends, other prospects are still out there. Utah's Richard Wilson and Michigan's Dion Sims have both indicated recently that they plan on taking official visits to UM later in the year.

* Xavier Nixon, the top-rated offensive tackle prospect in America according to Scout, recently indicated that he knows who will get 3 of his official visits -- Miami, Florida, and LSU. While several schools are competing for his final 2 spots, Nixon expects to have a final 5 by the end of August. His desire to play early and the Canes lack of depth at the tackle position after the 2008 season should really help Miami's chances of landing the 5-star tackle.

* Jon Bostic's comments about Miami in an interview with Scout.com earlier this week don't sound too encouraging for the Canes. The UM coaches are likely working this one hard but there are other options -- Jarvis Jones, the top-rated recruit in the state of Georgia, plans on taking an official visit here, and Jelani Jenkins, the top recruit in Maryland, plans on taking an unofficial visit here soon.

* Jamal Reid was scheduled to visit UM a few weeks ago but he was unable to make it. Don't think that'll hurt UM's chances, as Miami is his dream school and he's indicated to me in the past that if he decides to play defense in college, he'll likely become a Hurricane.

* Kayvon Webster recently indicated that he might have a decision made before the start of his senior season. The Canes have offered the talented cornerback prospect and I'd be surprised if he ended up elsewhere.
 8 years ago '06        #4199
DEDOS 120 heat pts120
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^ good shyt... so i guess that shannon only can recruit in south florida can be thrown out the window now

debose :wow: no UF or FSU ? wowzers

by the way lamar miller was at the morning practice today... he talked to shannon, barrow, and other players
 8 years ago '08        #4200
904Nole 1 heat pts
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 P. Dedos said:
^ good shyt... so i guess that shannon only can recruit in south florida can be thrown out the window now

debose :wow: no UF or FSU ? wowzers

by the way lamar miller was at the morning practice today... he talked to shannon, barrow, and other players
Actually UF seems to have cooled on Debose a little bit

ďI havenít really heard from Florida in a while,Ē Debose said. ďI am not worried about it though, because I have other schools that are really getting my attention.Ē
And I know we`ve been stopped calling his garbage a.ss, so I guess it`ll be out of ya`ll and LSU...
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