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Props Slaps
 8 years ago '04        #4441
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$4,830 | Props total: 470 470
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.
 8 years ago '04        #4442
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$4,830 | Props total: 470 470
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.''


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.''


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.''
 8 years ago '04        #4443
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$4,830 | Props total: 470 470
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.


"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."


? 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.
 8 years ago '06        #4444
DEDOS 118 heat pts118
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NFL scouts from the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, and Chicago Bears were in attendance.

 8 years ago '04        #4445
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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
 8 years ago '04        #4446
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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."
 8 years ago '04        #4447
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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."
 8 years ago '04        #4448
madness 7 heat pts
$12,679 | Props total: 463 463
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.''


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.


"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.''
 8 years ago '06        #4449
DEDOS 118 heat pts118
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brandon Mcgee >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 8 years ago '04        #4450
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$4,830 | Props total: 470 470
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.


"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."


? 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.
 8 years ago '04        #4451
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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.
 8 years ago '04        #4452
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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."
 8 years ago '04        #4453
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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."
 8 years ago '04        #4454
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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."
 8 years ago '04        #4455
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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."
 8 years ago '04        #4456
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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.


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."
 8 years ago '04        #4457
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Miami (1-1) at Texas A&M (1-1), 3:30 EST, ABC
Why to watch: A couple of major programs seeking an identity will hook up for the second time in as many years. In Florida last September, Miami doubled up Texas A&M, 34-17, helped partially to a strange Aggie game plan that ignored RB Jorvorskie Lane, who was the team's hot back at the time. This is a much different 'Cane program, a younger program trying to recapture the glory days with a roster that's littered with talented freshmen and sophomores. In its first big test of the year, Miami got outclassed by Florida, 26-3, but earned high marks for the play of the defense. The coaching staff is calling the loss a building block that can pay dividends over the next three months. The Aggies are off to a rocky start in Mike Sherman's first season, dropping a stunner to Arkansas State and nearly getting picked off by New Mexico. The Aggies are adjusting slowly to Sherman's new pro-style attack and have been hindered by injuries to QB Stephen McGee and RB Mike Goodson.
Why Miami might win: The Hurricane defense may be young, but it's very fast and getting better with each passing week. In the game with Florida, it held the high-powered Gator offense to just one touchdown. Athletic linebackers Colin McCarthy, Darryl Sharpton, and Sean Spence will add to the Aggies' woes on offense, especially if McGee and Goodson are less than 100%. A&M has been awful stopping the run, which will lead to a career day for Graig Cooper, who'll get more reps now that Javarris James is injured.
Why Texas A&M might win: Until proven otherwise, Miami will have problems winning on the road with inexperienced quarterbacks. Freshmen Robert Marve and Jacory Harris managed to complete just 12-of-22 for 79 yards and no touchdowns in Gainesville, allowing the Gators to key on the Hurricane running backs. The Aggies will use the same blueprint, daring Miami to beat them through the air. Jordan Pugh and Jordan Peterson are a couple of physical defensive backs who'll keep the young 'Cane receivers from making plays without getting tagged.
Who to watch: With a game under his belt, Marve should take the next step in his progression as the quarterback of the future in Miami. Playing in the Swamp is an unfair debut for any freshman quarterback, but navigating the Texas A&M defense won't be nearly as demanding. The 'Canes need a threat from the passing game to open things up for the rest of the offense.
What will happen: The speed and intensity of the Miami defense will be too much for a Texas A&M offense in transition. The 'Canes will also get a huge day from Cooper, who'll rush for 150 yards and two scores, sending the Aggies to an 0-2 start at Kyle Field
CFN Prediction: Miami 27 ... Texas A&M 20 ... Line: Miami -4
 8 years ago '04        #4458
C.R.I.P. 3 heat pts
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hoo-ray i get to watch motherfu*kin VT @ UNC saturday instead of the canes game....some god damn bullsh*t;
 09-19-2008, 04:35 PM         #4459
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The offense better show up. Shields and AJ will be starting at wideout, Shields better take advantage cause homeboy is running out of chances.

The D played well last game but the secondary lookin suspect as hell, DVD stays lookin scared. Sadly young Harris already looking like the best CB on the squad.
 8 years ago '04        #4460
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Last year against Texas A&M wide receiver Sam Shields had a career game.

Shields caught six passes for 117 yards with a long reception of 51 yards.

With the struggles Miami faced in the passing game against Florida the UM offense could use some of the big play ability Shields displayed in last year's game.

Shields feels confident more opportunities will come for big plays in the passing game this week and that the receivers will capitalize on those plays.

"When I get the opportunity to get in there and do what I am supposed to do, I am going to do my job," Shields said.

"We have only played two games and a lot more opportunities are going to come. We just have to be patient and it is going to come and when it does come we will make those big plays."

Shields said that the offense and the passing game was able to work out some of the kinks during the bye week this last week. During the week, Shields says the wide receivers went through intensive film study time and they now understand what needs to be corrected.

"It gave us a lot more opportunities to work on what we are supposed to be working on with fixing the things that need to be fixed," Shields said. "Things that get fixed by just watching film and doing all the extra stuff."

"You have to go out and do the extra stuff like catch more balls after practice and watch a lot more film, not just when it is meeting time. You have to go in there and watch more film on your own."

According to Shields there has been plenty of big pass plays from the offense during practice and he expects the good practices to translate to the game this week.

"There is a lot of big plays," Shields said. "We just have to go out there and execute them. When the big plays are called, we have to go out there and make the plays."

This year Shields has totaled 21 yards on two catches. If he can put together the same type of game he had last year against Texas A&M, that would go a long way towards strengthening UM's passing game.

"I don't really focus on what I did last year because that is not going to help me to do what I am supposed to do this Saturday," Shields said. "We just have to go out and execute the plays and everything will come on its own."


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