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 9 years ago '04        #4901
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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(Joel Auerbach/US Presswire)

Coaches are quick to come to his defense, too. Reid said that Union had standard drug screening for its athletes and that Williams never failed a single test in the time he was there. Fiddler said that when Glenville State pushed Williams about his past, he was remorseful and open, admitting that he had made mistakes and that he didn’t want to push the blame anywhere else.

“You have kids come in and act like they’ve never done anything wrong,” Fiddler said. “He didn’t do that.”

Fiddler said Williams was never a behavioral problem, either – a sentiment backed up by Coker.

“We never had a problem with him at Miami. It wasn’t an issue at all with us,” Coker said. “… I’ll tell you what, there’s no doubt about it, he’s a very bright kid. The intelligence factor, that’s not an issue with Willie. I think the thing that was a problem with Willie as a youngster was he was probably a little immature. He was a follower, and it’s one of those things that sometimes many kids do, you want to please those people around you. I think that was tough for Willie.”

Now Williams will have to please some NFL team, proving that his largely unharnessed talent is worth what it will bring in tow. Inevitably, any team that brings him in will be forced to confront the issue of character, and how Williams has proven to them that his is in the right place. And Williams will be forced to re-live the last five years, answering how such a promising start could fall apart so completely.

And while he tries not to live with regret, he admits there is one thing he would change if he could.

“My record,” Williams said. “I’m not lying, I did some really stupid stuff when I was younger.

“All I want is a shot. If I get my foot in the door, I’m going to give 185 percent. I’ll do anything. I’ll help the film men set up and pack up. I’m going to put my all into it. One day, I want to be one of the greats. No matter what it takes. I just want to play. I don’t care if they tell me ‘Willie, we just want you on special teams.’ I’ll say ‘Coach, no problem. I’m going to run down like I’m running a 40 every time, until you tell me to slow down.’”
 9 years ago '04        #4902
booie4 
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The defensive line is deep. There is no doubt about that. The Spring proved that once again as a true freshman on early enrollment, Olivier Vernon, made head waves as he was a starting defensive end by the end of the Spring.

The depth was proven when guys were knocked out of action giving the likes of Vernon the opportunity to earn time and show what he could.

By the end of the Spring, Vernon was arguably the best defensive end on the team. While senior Eric Moncur has been granted another year of eligibility, once again he did not compete in Spring practice. He is a player, that while it would be great to have him available, simply can't be relied upon to step in.

However, the 'Canes are loaded at defensive end. Anyone of four different defensive ends could start when the season begins, but quite frankly, after the Spring finished it was still wide open as to who would be on the first unit in the Spring.

The favorites when the Fall begins are Adewale Ojomo who played a lot in the Spring and played well until late when he was held out of CanesFest, Marcus Robinson who was the 'Canes best defensive last year as the season progressed, Courtney Harris who should be back in full form from his Achilles injury that forced him out of last season, and Vernon.

Andrew Smith and Gavin Hardin would be on the outside looking in, but they would get reps as well and would be ready to step in if given the opportunity. Moncur remains the "X" factor. If he's healthy and can play at full speed, he would be a huge help and would bring a great deal of leadership to the defensive line.

At defensive tackle, the 'Canes are similarly deep. Joe Joseph and Marcus Fortson are expected to be the starters when the Fall begins, but there was a lot of flip flopping with the lineup during the Spring.

All of the defensive tackles got the opportunity to play and get reps this Spring including early enrollee Curtis Porter.

Allen Bailey was moved to defensive tackle this Spring after playing defensive end last season so it's another change for Bailey. He was also held out of CanesFest so fans didn't get to see his progression in the Spring.

Josh Holmes, Jeremy Lewis and Micanor Regis also got plenty of reps this Spring.

Either way, similarly to the defensive end position, depth is what is good about the defensive tackle position. However, no one has truly stepped to the forefront as the leader of the group yet. No one is dominating and that is what will make this group special. The second that one guy steps up and becomes a dominating presence, then this group will be able to say it has arrived.
 9 years ago '04        #4903
booie4 
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The linebacker position was one of weakness in 2008. Injuries hurt the unit as freshman Sean Spence was thrust into immediate playing time because of the lack of playmaking ability and depth in the unit.

Veteran Colin McCarthy missed most of the season with a shoulder injury and the 'Canes were forced to rely on a number of players that normally wouldn't get a lot of playing time.

The Spring saw much of the same.

Spence was clearly the leader of the group playing on the outside while Daryl Sharpton moved to the middle and Ramon Buchanon played on the strong side.

However, by the time the Spring ended, Buchanon was on the sideline with an injury making way for Jordan Futch who took his spot at CanesFest.

Arthur Brown was the backup at middle linebacker and showed his penchant for knocking ball carriers off their feet in the backfield and showed the ability to play downhill very well. However, whether or not he can cover running backs and/or tight ends in the open field remains to be seen.

Sean Goldstein is the interesting story of this unit. Goldstein, who is a walk-on, was given reps in the Spring. He got chances to see the field in the scrimmages and did a fairly good job, but it's unlikely he will get any significant playing time during the 2009 season.

However, hard working players like him are always a need. He has the ability to always push the other guys and inspire them to do more.

No matter which way you slice it, linebacker is a position of concern. It's such a concern that coaches moved C.J. Holton to linebacker after recruiting him to Miami as a safety.

Holton still has a lot to learn about the position, but physically he can handle it. He was a big safety and at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, he's pretty much the same size as Brown is and already bigger than guys like Spence and Buchanon.

The "X" Factor for the 'Canes at linebacker remains McCarthy who missed the entire Spring. If McCarthy is in the lineup, it changes the entire look of the 'Canes defense. McCarthy automatically becomes the starting middle linebacker with Sharpton moving back to the strong side and Spence on the weak side.

It creates more depth and gives the 'Canes far more experience on the field. However, if he's unavailable, the 'Canes are looking at a wide open battle at strong side linebacker and changes to depth.

Spence is the other key. He continued to get better in the Spring, but the key of course for Spence is getting bigger and stronger. If he can replicate the season he had last season and this time finish it off rather than wearing down late in the season, it would make a major difference at linebacker.
 9 years ago '04        #4904
booie4 
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The University of Miami has produced some of the best defensive backs over the past 30 years. From Bennie Blades to Ed Reed to Ryan McNeil to Daryl Williams to Mike Rumph to Antrel Rolle and Sean Taylor, big time defensive backs have a history of coming through the University of Miami. As recently as Kenny Phillips just a year ago, the 'Canes have had numerous defensive backs taken in the first round of the NFL Draft.

This Spring, the new crop of defensive backs took the stage and for the most part, outside of Randy Phillips, it was the young guys who dominated on the field. Brandon Harris is entrenched as one starting corner with DeMarcus Van Dke likely the other starting corner, but freshman Brandon McGee surely made waves in the Spring. With senior Chavez Grant likely to be the nickel back, the 'Canes have a young core at corner.

By mid-season, it's quite possible that Harris and McGee will be starting opposite each other and will lock down the position for at least the next three years together. Sam Shields moving to corner has provided the team with depth at the position. While he won't be expected to be the man at the position, he could provide some help on the edge.

At safety is where head waves were made this Spring. Coming out of Long Beach Poly there was no doubt that Vaughn Telemaque was a tremendous talent. Everything that had been said about him by high school coaches and high school opponents led you to believe that he would be a star in college. An injury prevented that his freshman season and now as a redshirt freshman, he's a sure fire starter as he made play after play in the Spring and showed an ability to tackle in the open field as well. Randy Phillips' is a welcome back to the defensive secondary providing a leader in the deep secondary. Phillips will likely be the starter opposite of Telemaque, but his leadership is a key for the unit to be successful. Phillips is the player that keeps the unit grounded. In fact, he's probably the guy that keeps the entire defense grounded. JoJo Nicolas started a good part of the 2008 season, but he needs to show marked improvement if he expects to keep that position and beat out Telemaque or Phillips. However, he would still provide depth at safety. Ryan Hill provides depth at safety and can be on the flip flops between safety and corner while Jared Campbell and Joe Wylie will also see time at safety. It's an exciting time at the position though because the youth is getting a chance to truly see what its made of in 2009 without even including incoming freshman Ray Ray Armstrong.
 9 years ago '04        #4905
booie4 
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There is no off-season for Hurricane football coaches.

And one of the most hectic times of year is fast approaching - the May evaluation period. Seven coaches at a time will be on the road during a four-week span between April 15 and the end of May.

Head coaches aren't allowed to go out and do the scouting, per NCAA rules.

"(May evaluation) is extremely important," UM recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt said. "That's the tough part of recruiting - making sure that you get out and really, really grind in the month of May. The biggest thing is just understanding and identifying kids early. For example, two years ago I knew about (Cane signee) Jamal Reid (from seeing him practice and talking to his coaches). I knew about him when he was a 10th grader, which made it easier to recruit him - if I hadn't known him until his senior year it would have been harder (to land him).

"May is a critical time of the year. There are a lot of kids that are 16 or younger, so their bodies change. A linebacker might have been 5-10, 195 who was a great player but real small. And all of a sudden he had a three inch spurt and now we can take that kid. May is a time of following all your tracks and follow up with all your kids."

Cane coaches will watch an endless stream of recruits for this year and beyond. But they won't be talking to the players per NCAA rules.

Miami coaches are allowed one phone call to each recruit during the time period per the rules.

"We're not allowed to talk to them (in person)," Hurtt said. "It's very difficult (when a kid wants to talk at school). You can say hello, but let the kid know immediately `I'm not allowed to speak to you.' It's hard, stops you from being a human being a little bit. But you have to work your way through it. You are allowed to make one phone call in that time, and we try to get our calls in before we go out (to visit practice) so we can communicate that (we can't talk) so the kid doesn't feel we're rude."

Miami's evaluations will result in more scholarship offers.

But, for those hard-core recruitniks out there, beware of those with verbal offers. Until that written offer comes, nothing is for sure.

"I don't know what a verbal offer is - if they say they have a verbal offer, you aren't offered," Hurtt says. "My belief is unless you have something in black and white you haven't got it."

What is the process UM goes through to extend a scholarship offer?

"I watch film of every kid regardless of position," Hurtt says. "There might be sometimes where some guys (on the staff) may feel he's an offer, others may not feel he is. Myself and Randy (Shannon) will have the final say so on that."

"Sometimes if a position coach feels strongly about something, you hear him out. It's not a dictatorship. You have guys who look at players in the past and turned down a kid, and he ends up being an NFL Hall of Fame player. People make mistakes in recruiting. The more eyes and coaches you have watching the film, the better."

The Canes will look to get some commitments as they extend more offers. But Hurtt and the rest of the Cane coaching staff knows as commitments come in, several of those players will want to take a full slate of official visits.

How does UM deal with that?

"We keep recruiting hard," Hurtt said. "I've been dealing with this the last three years. Everyone makes a big deal out of it, says that kids don't understand what commitment means. Well, some do, some don't. I don't make a big deal out of it. I look at it like there's no honor among thieves. If Florida gets a commit, it isn't like we're going to stop recruiting that kid, and Florida won't stop recruiting our kids. That will last through the end of the final day. In the three years that we have been here there has only been one kid that has pulled out on Signing Day. That's a pretty good percentage. I have no problem if these kids want to go out and have fun - who are we to say he can't go anyplace (for a visit)? I tell the kids I trust them. If I didn't trust the young man and his commitment - even if he is going to take trips - I wouldn't even take the commitment."

Hurtt says he doesn't expect Miami to fill the allowed total of 25 scholarship players in the coming class. He says he expects the final number of signees to be around 21 or 22.

While nothing is set in stone and numbers fluctuate as recruiting goes forward, here is a very tentative look at a position-by-position breakdown per Hurtt: 1 quarterback, 1 running back, 3 tight ends, 2 wide receivers, 2 defensive linemen, at least 3 linebackers, 4 defensive backs, 4-5 offensive linemen and one kicker.

"21-22 (scholarships) - we're right in that area to give," Hurtt said.
 9 years ago '04        #4906
booie4 
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Booker T. Washington High School RB Eduardo Clements says he's talking regularly with Cane coaches Wesley McGriff and has also spoken with Randy Shannon.

"I talk two or three times a week with coach McGriff," Clements said. "He's a great coach, is very down to earth.

"Coach Shannon, I talk to him occasionally. He says I'm a big guy on their board as a running back and if he can get me and another running back for 2010 it'd be a great addition to the team."

For now Clements says he has Georgia as his top school.

"No. 2 is Miami and then Florida State," he says.

Why is Georgia at the top?

"Just their whole recruiting process and their offensive scheme and their running backs they have in the NFL," Clements says. "Miami's not far behind. Every team right now is neck and neck."

Of what he likes about UM, Clements says, "Guys that attended my high school go there, they tell me about how the school has great brothership and all the team is together. And the atmosphere of the games I went to were great. And the fans and the coaching staff are great."

Clements says he's in regular contact with former teammates and current Canes Brandon Harris and Davon Johnson.

"I call them my brothers," Clements said. "They keep my whole mindset and whole workout ethic better. When I was at Booker T. with them I used to work out with them.

"They will help me with my decision, and they told me to go to every visit and treat every school the same, to do what's best for me. They tell me how the team is and how the coaching staff is at Miami."

Clements lists 22 scholarship offers.

"It'll be a tough decision for me," he said. "I just have to make the best decision for me. I won't make that decision until Signing Day. That gives a lot of schools that haven't offered me a lot of time so I can decide what's best for me."

Clements has several other high profile teammates. Might they wind up at the same school together?

"As of right now all of us are thinking we have to do what's best for us, and two or three of us might go to the same school because that's how we feel about the program and we're doing what's best for us," he said.

Of what's most important to him in a college, Clements said, "Just education-wise and a good coach's bond with me. I want a coach that has a good bond with me that will keep my head right."
 9 years ago '04        #4907
booie4 
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This is strength coach Andreu Swasey's time of year.

Once spring practice ends, the ball is in his court as far as making the Canes faster, stronger and more explosive. And that's what he's busy doing. To get a handle on what he's working with, Swasey recently held post-spring ball testing. And the results show this team has plenty of speed.

The results (note that among those that did not test for undisclosed reasons – Darryl Sharpton, Demarcus Van Dyke, Travis Benjamin, Dedrick Epps, Joel Figueroa and Richard Gordon):

40-YARD DASH

1 Sam Shields 4.20

2 Brandon McGee 4.23

3 Graig Cooper, 4.37

4T Tommy Streeter 4.40

4T Ryan Hill 4.40

6 Javarris James 4.41

7T Damien Berry 4.43 (he also ran 4.54 time)

7T Kendal Thompkins 4.43

7T LaRon Byrd 4.43

10T Ramon Buchanan 4.48

10T Leonard Hankerson 4.48

10T CJ Holton 4.48

10T Randy Phillips 4.48

Other notable times:

Joseph Nicolas 4.49

Chavez Grant 4.51

Mike James 4.52

Sean Spence 4.55

Thearon Collier, 4.58

Arthur Brown 4.64

Allen Bailey 4.65

Aldarius Johnson 4.67

Olivier Vernon 4.75

Adewale Ojomo 4.81

Marcus Forston 4.84

SHORT SHUTTLE

1 LaRon Byrd 3.98

2 Kendal Thompkins 4.04

3 Leonard Hankerson 4.06

4T Jared Campbell 4.07

4T Ryan Hill 4.07

4T Sam Shields 4.07

7T Ramon Buchanan 4.09

7T Brandon McGee 4.09

9 Sean Spence 4.10

10 Tervaris Johnson 4.11

Other notable times:

Chavez Grant 4.12

Aldarius Johnson 4.12

Joseph Nicolas 4.16

Marcus Robinson 4.17

Graig Cooper 4.18

Javarris James 4.19

Davon Johnson 4.20

Mike James 4.24

Olivier Vernon 4.28

Arthur Brown 4.31

VERTICAL

1T Randy Phillips 39.5 inches

1T Marcus Robinson 39.5

3T Allen Bailey 39

3T Ramon Buchanan 39

3T Graig Cooper 39

6T Daniel Adderley 38.5

6T Joseph Nicolas 38.5

8T Chavez Grant 37.5

8T Sam Shields 37.5

10T Leonard Hankerson 37

10T Colin McCarthy 37

Other notable results:

Damien Berry 36.5

LaRon Byrd 36.5

Javarris James 36

Tervaris Johnson 36

Adewale Ojomo 36

Mike James 35.5

Olivier Vernon 32

* TE Jimmy Graham's test results: The basketball player who appears as though he will be on the football field this fall ran a 4.63 40 time, had a 4.23 short shuttle and jumped 37 inches.

The team also did strength testing pre-spring. Here are those results:

BENCH PRESS

1 Harland Gunn 425

2 Allen Bailey 405

3T Marcus Foston 395

3T Joe Joseph 395

5T Eric Moncur 390

5T Micanor Regis 390

7T Orlando Franklin 375

7T Patrick Hill 375

9 AJ Trump 370

10 Mike James 350

Other notable results:

Damien Berry 345

John Calhoun 335

Arthur Brown 330

Randy Phillips 330

Dedrick Epps 315

Javarris James 315

Kylan Robinson 310

Ramon Buchanan 300

CJ Holton 300

Jared Campbell 295

Ryan Hill 295

Leonard Hankerson 295

Joseph Nicolas 285

SQUAT

1 Harland Gunn 600

2 Allen Bailey 565

3 Javarris James 545

4T Richard Gordon 535

4T Darryl Sharpton 535

6 Jeremy Lewis 515

7 Patrick Hill 505

8 AJ Trump 485

9 Joe Joseph 480

10 Kylan Robinson 465

Other notable results:

Damien Berry 455

Jason Fox 455

Adewale Ojomo 445

Steven Wesley 440

Arthur Brown 435

Graig Cooper 435

Sean Goldstein (walkon) 435

Mike James 435

Jared Campbell 425

Sean Spence 425

Chavez Grant 415

Joseph Nicolas 415

Ryan Hill 415

Ramon Buchanan 400

POWER CLEAN

1Allen Bailey 375

2 Eric Moncur 340

3T Harland Gunn 330

3T Micanor Regis 330

5 Ramon Buchanan 318

6T Jason Fox 308

6T CJ Holton 308

6T Randy Phillips 308

6T Matt Pipho 308

6T Javarris James 308

6T Olivier Vernon 308

6T Steven Wesley 308

Other notable results:

Damien Berry 301

Darryl Sharpton 301

John Calhoun 286

Richard Gordon 286

Leonard Hankerson 286

Ryan Hill 286

Joseph Nicolas 286

Mike James 279

Taylor Cook 274

Kylan Robinson 274

Sam Shields 274

Sean Spence 274

Jordan Futch 264

Patrick Hill 264

Swasey broke down the positions and what he sees at this early juncture:

QUARTERBACKS

Swasey says Jacory Harris' weight has increased substantially. He came in at 168 pounds and now he is 186 pounds.

Is that a good weight for Harris?

"Do we want him to continue to gain weight? That's an understatement," Swasey says. "We want to put muscle mass on right at the same time."

Harris also benched 225 pounds, power cleaned 230 pounds and squatted 325 pounds. He ran a 4.7 time in the 40 and had a 4.29-second short shuttle time. His vertical of 35.5 inches set a new record all-time for Cane quarterbacks. It broke Kenny Kelly's record of 35 inches set in 1999.

Taylor Cook's strength numbers were also impressive.

He had a 385 pound squat, a 274 power clean and a 4.65 time in the 40 and a 4.4 time in the short shuttle

His power clean was an all-time school record for quarterbacks.

Cannon Smith didn't run the 40 but had a 4.47 short shuttle time. He benched 215 pounds, cleaned 230 pounds and his squat was 340 pounds.

RUNNING BACKS

Freshman tailback Mike James has impressed Swasey.

"I've been very impressed with his numbers," Swasey said. "He's coming in with a great base at a 435 squat, 280 clean, 350 bench. And a 35.5 vertical. He's weighing 217. He's a good size for a young freshman coming in."

Of Graig Cooper and Javarris James, Swasey says, "I'm very excited about both of them increasing speed and Cooper being at a good weight. He's up from 190 to 200 pounds now. He's become more explosive and they're getting faster."

WIDE RECEIVERS

Of all the players on the team, perhaps LaRon Byrd made the biggest jump up from a year ago.

"He's a blue collar worker," Swasey said. "He came in and made the biggest jump I have seen in the 5-10-5 (aka the short shuttle) because he has an unbelievable work ethic.

Byrd's short shuttle went from a 4.17 last year to 3.98 this year, best on the team. He weighed in at 203 pounds last year and is now up to 214 pounds.

Strength-wise his squat went from 250 pounds last year to 320, his bench went from 225 to 260 and his power clean improved from 132 pounds to 230.

He verticalled 35 inches last year; now he's at 36.5 inches.

"He has to continue to get stronger," Swasey says.

Swasey also points to Tommy Streeter as a receiver he's particularly impressed with.

"He ran a 4.40 from 4.55 last year, so I'm excited about that," Swasey said.

TIGHT ENDS

Richard Gordon is usually a weight room freak, but he didn't test post-spring.

A player Swasey says impressed in post-spring testing is tight end Jimmy Graham, who is taking up football after playing basketball at UM.

"He has a great frame, great size," Swasey said. "He just got in here and you can see with his numbers he has great physical skills."

OFFENSIVE LINE

Swasey spoke about newcomers Jermaine Johnson and Brandon Washington.

Both were tested the day they arrived on campus in January, and both have already shown significant improvement in the weight room.

Johnson has gone from a 275 squat to 305; from a 315 bench to 355 and from a 152 power clean to 196. Washington has remained at a 400 bench and has improved his squat from 315 to 365 and his power clean fro 176 to 242.

"Brandon weighed 351 pounds when he arrived; now he's at 335," Swasey says. "Johnson was 302 when he arrived and he's still 302 pounds."

A returning player that has Swasey expecially excited?

"I'm really excited about Orlando (Franklin)," Swasey said. "Last year he was at 345 pounds; now he's at 328. He feels more comfortable at that weight. And Jason Fox gained weight - he's at 310; last year he was around 295 pounds."

DEFENSIVE LINE

Allen Bailey is currently tipping the scales at 290 pounds, Swasey says.

And he spoke about newcomer Curtis Porter, who has made big strides.

"Coming in Porter weighed 337 pounds - now he has dropped to 314 pounds," Swasey said. "Porter squatted 365 and benched 315 when he came in and cleaned196; now he's a 274 power clean, 335 bench, 405 squat."

LINEBACKERS

Sean Spence has put on a lot of weight since arriving at Miami as a 193-pounder. Swasey says he currently weighs 214 pounds.

Swasey also says Colin McCarthy is back in the weight room off a shoulder injury.

How long before he's back at 100 percent strength?

"Right now we're just trying to keep him healthy," Swasey says. "I'm not worried about his maximum strength numbers at this point. What we're doing is making him more functional and injury-free."

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Brandon McGee matched Travis Benjamin as the fastest freshmen Swasey says he's seen in his time at UM.

"Both of them have track backgrounds, came in running 10.3 in the 100," Swasey says.

Swasey says of this position that "Coach (Randy) Shannon has created more depth at DB by putting Sam Shields at corner and making them faster and more versatile as a group, and taking Ryan Hill and moving him to DB also. That has helped with depth across the board, and that's the whole philosophy. We're trying to create depth in all facets of the program."

* Swasey's overall thoughts on this team's progress in the weight room?

"I'm overly pleased with the development," he says. "They have a commitment to work together, pay attention to details. I'm excited about the progress. It's a four-year plan (for each player). We had freshmen last year, and to see the progress and them developing is the goal."
 04-23-2009, 08:17 PM         #4908
The Lefty  OP
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Brandon McGee going to be a stud
 9 years ago '04        #4909
madness 14 heat pts14
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@cooper runnin a 4.3.....that n*gga stays gettin caught from behind

streeter runnin a 4.4? a big, speedy 6'5 redzone target....dont sleep

allen bailey 290 lbs and runnin a 4.6?:wow:

and good to see the linebackers gettin faster, hitstick holton and cookie will be blowin plays up in the backfield
 04-23-2009, 08:30 PM         #4910
The Lefty  OP
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 madness said:
@cooper runnin a 4.3.....that n*gga stays gettin caught from behind

streeter runnin a 4.4? a big, speedy 6'5 redzone target....dont sleep

allen bailey 290 lbs and runnin a 4.6?:wow:

and good to see the linebackers gettin faster, hitstick holton and cookie will be blowin plays up in the backfield
Bailey going to be a nasty 3-4 OLB in the League..

that s**t will be scary.
 9 years ago '04        #4911
booie4 
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naw Bailey way to big for that role, maybe Marcus Robinson, Bailey's a classic end in a 3-4 defense
 9 years ago '04        #4912
KiNgJaMeS305|M 58 heat pts58
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them 40 times look a lil off
 9 years ago '04        #4913
Playnogames305 
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Shannon Discusses New Coordinators
Apr. 24, 2009

By: David Lake





Randy Shannon
Arguably the biggest challenge for the University of Miami during the month of spring football was adjusting to new offensive and defensive coordinators and the schemes that they brought with them.

Newly hired offensive coordinator Mark Whipple and defensive coordinator John Lovett were both hired after mid-January and only had a few weeks to implement their scheme.

“Offensively and defensively we have come a long ways since the first day of spring compared to where we are now,” coach Randy Shannon said.

The transition of learning a new scheme would be tougher for an offensive coordinator. Whipple was bringing a new playbook with new terminologies and concepts from the NFL, but according to Miami Head Coach Randy Shannon Whipple and the rest of the offense made a lot of progress this spring.

“He came in this spring and we wanted to decide what we could do offensively and could the players handle what his vision is,” Shannon said of Whipple. “The versatility and the creativity we had with the offense was very productive. A lot of the players responded with what he implemented and they like what he is doing.”

From the standpoint of a new offensive scheme, Shannon says he particularly excited about the creativity of Whipple’s plays and play-calling along with the way he recognizes the strengths of each player and caters the offense to those strong points.

“I think everything coach Whipple brings to the offense helps us out mentally with his NFL experience and being around championship teams and coaching in the Super Bowl…The offense will be different,” Shannon said. “The creativity of what Mark Whipple brings in and the versatility of the way he uses players is going to be unique.”

One reason why Whipple was hired as Miami’s offensive coordinator is because of his reputation of molding young quarterbacks. Whipple coached Ben Roethlisberger when he was a rookie for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was given a lot of credit for molding Roethlisberger when he was a young quarterback.

Following the month of spring football, Shannon says he can see how Whipple’s mentoring will help starting quarterback Jacory Harris develop going into his second season.

“When I looked at it this spring, maybe the first week or two of practices [coach Whipple] was really instrumental in the development of Jacory,” Shannon said. “We were in a controlled situational scrimmage and Jacory went 17-for-18 where he completed passes and got it to the right guy. I think that is what coach Whipple brings, is that he gets Jacory to understand that you are the guy who controls what we do offensively and you can get the ball in the playmakers hands.”

Defensive Coordinator John Lovett

According to Shannon, the transition of learning a new defense wasn’t as intense. Lovett worked with the defense on the basic concepts and understanding of the new scheme.

“It is more subtle [than the offense], but it was similar to coach Whipple,” Shannon said of adjusting to a new defense. “We wanted to see what the players could handle technique and fundamental wise and what we can do as a defense. The players really responded with what he implanted and installed with his coverages, fronts, and blitzes. The players respond to him not only as a person, but also as a friend.”

Lovett brings a lot of experience to Miami having been the defensive coordinator at Clemson, Auburn, and Ole Miss. Shannon believes that his mix of experience and a youthful enthusiasm for coaching has been a good fit for Miami’s young defense.

His biggest strength though may be his ability to communicate to his players what he wants from them on each play that he calls.

“John brings a lot of experience and that goes back to the days when he was at Clemson when we used to play them,” Shannon said. “John is very experienced and knowledgeable, but he also brings a lot of excitement to the job. That is the one thing you look for from coordinators is that if the players respond to your enthusiasm then they are going to play for you. That is one thing I can see in John.”

“What he is doing is he is a guy who understands the weakness and strengths of what we are doing. If we are running a certain blitz, he explains it to the players—what are the strong points and the weaknesses of it—and when the players understand that then they can play fast.”
 9 years ago '04        #4914
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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From Inside the U:

ATHENS, Ga. -- Byrnes (S.C.) star junior Marcus Lattimore is one of the best running backs in the nation.

Lattimore is a big back at 6-foot and 205 pounds with a frame to carry more weight and has good speed. As a junior at one of the top programs in the country, he rushed for over 2,300 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Currently, he has 29 scholarship offers.

“It’s been fun to me,” Lattimore said. “My mom and I just think it’s fun. It’s all just a blessing. All these schools really want you and you can go to any school that you want. They try to sell themselves as much as possible. I just thank all of the schools.”

One of the schools he recently picked up an offer from is the University of Miami, a school that he is interested in.

“The offer came during school,” Lattimore said. “Coach Lovett, the defensive coordinator, wrote me a letter. I think he recruits my area. I called him and they really didn’t know much about me, that’s why they didn’t offer me already. I was like oh okay, I believed him. He sounded like they really need that big back down there. The offensive coordinator has been in the NFL and they run a pro-style offense, which would fit me."

Lattimore says he would like to make a trip down to Miami at some point, possibly this summer or for an official visit in the fall.

“I’m really interested (in Miami),” Lattimore said. “I’m going to try to take a visit sometime at least, maybe an official, I don’t even know yet. I’m definitely going to give them a call. I haven’t talked to the offensive coordinator, but I’m going to give him a call.”

Lattimore’s high interest in Miami has to do with their rich tradition in producing big-time running backs in the NFL such as Edgerrin James, Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, and Willis McGahee.

“Miami is Miami,” Lattimore said. “All of the great running backs, the tradition they got down there, it’s the U. Everybody throws it up. I love that. It’s an offer that I really like.”

Although he likes Miami, they are still new to the recruiting scene for his services and right now he has a top three of Auburn, Florida State, and Georgia with Auburn leading.

AUBURN: “When I went down there, I had heard so much about them from Lache Seastrunk and he was just telling me how it was. I asked him why he liked them so much and he just said, go see for yourself. So I went up there about two weeks ago and I loved it. Their coach is passionate about everything they do. I had a good visit, the whole visit was great.”

FLORIDA STATE: “Some of my players are down there right now and they love it. I love Tallahassee, the city. It’s a lot of fun down there, especially at night, but I wont get into that. It’s great. Just Jimbo Fisher and I got a real good relationship with Coach Carter, he’s a real good guy.”

GEORGIA: “It’s great down here. It’s just an hour and a half from where I live. They are high on my list, obviously. They are in the SEC. They have a great tradition of running backs here. I love the practice fields, the campus, everything.”
Lattimore was named running backs MVP of the Athens Nike Camp on Saturday, where he starred in the passing game and during 1-on-1 drills.

“It was good. I needed this,” he said after the camp. “I needed to workout today. I learned some new things about pass blocking techniques, which is the main thing colleges look at. If you can pass block, you are going to play on the next level. And also, my footwork. We did some footwork drills and I liked that. I’m going to take that back to my high school.”

While he has received a lot of attention as one of the top 2010 backs in the country, it was good for him to take home the MVP honors as he does face some doubters.

“I know there is a lot of doubt about me, they doubt my speed, they doubt everything about me, but I think I am working hard and trying to get everything set for the next level,” Lattimore said.

Since he has a bigger back, he tries to emulate Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson.

“Adrian Peterson. That’s my man. I try to run like him. He’s the best. If I ever met him, man, that would be crazy,” Lattimore said.

Lattimore says he will make his college destination announcement after the state championship game.
 9 years ago '05        #4915
Junior G 114 heat pts114
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Jose Jose's fat a.ss committed to Tennessee. it's a win for Miami, this slob is too f**kin fat.
 9 years ago '04        #4916
C.R.I.P. 3 heat pts
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 Junior G said:
Jose Jose's fat a.ss committed to Tennessee. it's a win for Miami, this slob is too f**kin fat.
agreed...dude will be like 4000 lbs by the time he gets to Tennessee
 9 years ago '04        #4917
madness 14 heat pts14
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 Junior G said:
Jose Jose's fat a.ss committed to Tennessee. it's a win for Miami, this slob is too f**kin fat.
theyre bringin him in as a DT...kiffen's in for a rude awakening
 9 years ago '04        #4918
madness 14 heat pts14
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 P. Dedos said:
our new commit jeremy davis is fast as shyt


hes the cuzo of phillip buchanon
he's buchanon's brother:greetings10:

and yeah he's a speed demon
 8 years ago '04        #4919
Playnogames305 
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Q&A with Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 | Feedback | Print Entry


I had a chance to visit Miami last week and spoke to Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon about the state of his program, how it had fallen from the proverbial mountaintop and what it will take to get back to winning national titles:


Q: What do you see as the biggest reason why the program went into decline the past few years and also saw the end of Miami's record run of first-round draft picks?



Shannon: It's the recruiting aspect of it. You have to make sure you recruit the right type of players that fit what you do offensively and defensively. That's when you'll get back to where you have players drafted like that. Sometimes you can make a mistake by recruiting players just because he is "a name" or he's considered a "top-10" or "top-5" guy. Well, that may look good on those recruiting reports, but when it all comes down to, are you winning, that makes more difference than anything. You have to recruit the right type of players.



Look, I was here for almost everybody. I was recruited by [Howard] Schnellenberger. I played for Jimmy [Johnson]. I coached with Dennis Erickson, so I've seen the transition. I coached with Butch Davis when we got it back going, and then I coached with Larry Coker.



With Butch, we identified players that we felt were great athletes that we could play at different positions. When Edgerrin [James] came in, we tried him at receiver. He finally went to running back. We got Santana Moss. Nobody knew about him, but he fit what we needed because he was a fast guy that had great hands and was explosive and a tough kid. Dan Morgan was a free safety/running back in high school, but he was an athlete. Jon Vilma was a tight end/linebacker. We found tough athletes and realized those were the guys that made a difference. And that's what we're doing now. Finding athletes that can do more than one thing out of high school, and then when they come here, they'll be better players.


Q: Is it simply doing more legwork and being more thorough as you evaluate not only how tough and athletic they are but also the character side of things?



Shannon: It's being on guys earlier and really having people at the school you trust. You do not want to take a great player who will be detrimental to your team. You have to be very careful now, especially with the APR and the way everyone is on coaches about making sure you don't bring in the wrong players who represent the school in a negative light.


I insist on all of our guys making sure we talk to everybody we can. It may be a janitor at the high school. It may be a counselor. It may be a regular student. Anybody that you can talk to so you can find out the information on a kid to find out, is this the right person? Is he going to be passionate about playing football? Is he going to represent your university well? That's the key.


Q: I remember hearing [Butch Davis' right-hand man] Pete Garcia saying that after the probation that you guys had to make sure you had strong leadership within the locker room so that it could police itself, and then after that maybe then you could roll the dice on a borderline guy with the thinking the team will have an influence on that player. Do you think at one point the program may be strayed too far from that?



Shannon: My first year as the head coach we just didn't have many leaders. We had "guys." They were all friends, but no leader to really step up like an Ed Reed would or a Dan Morgan or a Santana Moss would. When I was a player here, we had Jerome [Brown]. Or when [Micheal] Barrow played here, he was a leader. We're getting that now. Jason Fox is a leader. Jacory [Harris] is a leader. Sean Spence has that. Randy Phillips has that. We've got a mixture now that want to be part of it. When you see that your team doesn't have that, when it can't police itself from the inside to making sure the locker room is clean, make sure guys are showing up on time for classes and for everything, then you know you've got to change up how you're doing the evaluations.


Q: When you're signing 25 kids, do you look at your recruiting board and see who those guys probably are?



Shannon: To be honest, these last two years we've done a great job with that. My first year, we got [CB DeMarcus] Van Dyke and a couple of players here and there, but we really just had a month to put it together. But since then, I think we've done a great job of hitting on the right kids. You see it at receiver. You see it with Sean Spence. You see it with Marcus Robinson. You can go to any position on the team and you see that we did hit on some real good kids that are hard-nosed, that love UM, want to work and you won't have to worry about any problems.



Q: From interviewing top college players around the country the past year or two, I hear about how a lot of kids grew up as Miami fans at first but then shifted over to other schools as they move into the recruiting process. When you hear that, what do you think?



Shannon: A lot of people say when we recruit them, "Ah, I always loved Miami." Well, the hardest part is really getting people to understand where Miami is located. Some kids and parents think we're right in the middle of Liberty City. They don't understand we're in Coral Gables. They don't understand that Miami is a private school, that we only have 8,000 students. They think Miami is 40,000 students. That perception you have to knock down real quick.



If we can get the parents on campus with the kid at the same time, I think we have an 80 percent shot that we're gonna get him.



Q: When you first got the job, some of your rules got a lot of attention, especially your mandate that your players could not have any guns. You've got a reputation as a strong discipline guy, but the pressure is building to get Miami back to the days of contending for national championships. How connected are these two things?



Shannon: The wins will come. The thing I always believed is that when you have distractions, it's very hard to win because you're f!ghting other battles instead of coaching and your team sticking together. The wins will come. I think we have 56 freshmen and sophomores on this team. That's unheard of. And out of that 56, probably 38 to 40 of them are going to contribute. We've got a senior class and then these freshmen and sophomores. There is a big drop-off between. We have only about eight juniors.


Q: If you didn't have the two new coordinators, where your opponents are probably more in the dark about what they might see early, would you be more worried about having to open with those first four games [at FSU, against Ga. Tech, at Va. Tech and against Oklahoma]?



Shannon: I'm pretty excited about it. [Former UM defensive coordinator] Bill Young was great, but he went back home to his alma mater. He's probably going to retire at Oklahoma State. [Former UM offensive coordinator Patrick] Nix is a good coach. I felt we just needed to get something else going. I hired coach [Mark] Whipple because he's a great offensive mind, and he's also a great quarterback coach, so he could work with Jacory. And on defense we got John Lovett, who has that experience, and he knows the ACC. They bring a lot to the table, and the players see that.


I go back one year ago and I didn't know what was going to happen because we had so many young kids we had to depend on. Right now, I'm thrilled to death. I'm excited about what we have going into next season. The players are much more experienced, and they're much better athletes going into the season.


Q: How did the players here handle the end of the first-round draft streak?


Shannon: The players on the team took it as a challenge. Most Cane fans probably were shocked but then the reality hit: The program had probably got worse than what everybody thought it was. I mean we had one guy drafted [LB Spencer Adkins] and maybe three guys get free agent contracts out of maybe 18 seniors.



Q: And that recruiting class had a pretty high ranking when it was signed …



Shannon: See, that's what I'm saying. You have to be careful of going about rankings and what's on the board instead of going after players. We've been fortunate the past two years. We got players now, but they were all young and we had to play them. A lot of people get on me for playing them so early, but they were still our best players.


Q: How many guys do you suspect might become first-round picks in the 2011 draft?



Shannon: You probably could have four. In terms of the NFL draft, 2011 and 2012 will be big years for us.



Q: What kind of similarities do you see to when you get the head coaching job and to when Butch Davis came in?


Shannon: Back then, we still had four or five players. We had Ray Lewis, Kenard Lang, Kenny Holmes and Duane Starks, so we won nine games, but when we ran out of those guys, we had nobody. We went 5-6 and had to play Santana, Reggie Wayne, Dan, Damione Lewis when they were so young. That's what we had to do in 2008 and we went 7-6. It's kinda like the same situation. After we went 5-6, then we went 9-3, then 11-1 and then we won it. Well, we as a team feel like we should be a whole lot better than 7-6 next year.


Q: What would it take to win the ACC this year?

Shannon: Luck. And what I mean by that is we have to stay injury-free. Jacory cannot get hurt. We have to bring the second-team QB around, and the offensive line and linebackers have to stay healthy. We gotta get more depth. Our first-team offensive line is full of seniors and juniors and then behind them are guys who haven't played a snap. We don't have that third-year sophomore who has played some. All we need are two guys to come around. Right now, there's a gap. Now that's not supposed to happen in a program, but that's called rebuilding.
 8 years ago '04        #4920
madness 14 heat pts14
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Good to hear Andre Johnson and Wayne plan to work with UM receivers this summer. ''That's my way of helping,'' Wayne said. "This group is way more talented than the group of me, Santana Moss, Andre King and a young Andre Johnson. I like their speed and size.''
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