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More draft tidbits, UM talk, from the NFL Combine

Tidbits as we enter our final day from the NFL Combine:

### In the past couple days, several UM players were asked by national media how the Hurricanes can have eight players at the Combine but only a 6-6 record last season.  The players had a tough time explaining it.

"Very disappointing,” Sean Spence said, noting the losses were by narrow margins. “It was very frustrating. It hurts. Talent isn’t the problem. We had a lot of people looking at us to change Miami, to bring it back. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that.”

But several players told national reporters that Al Golden is the right man to fix it. “He will get the program back to where it needs to be,” Spence said.

Brandon Washington’s hope is rooted in this: “Al Golden instilled unity with the players. And there’s more teaching now. You spend three hours out there - an hour in the individual period, an hour with them teaching you, and an hour of practice. Everyone has bought into it.”

Marcus Forston said: “The way coach Golden came in and the things they taught us, I never learned that as a player. The way [how close] that locker-room was this year, it never was like that the four years before that I was there. The U-tough, all that stuff they did was great.”

### Several prominent former players have been tutoring current ones. UM’s Travis Benjamin said he has been receiving one-on-one sessions from former NFL receiver and ESPN analyst Cris Carter, “who is my mentor.” LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson is being tutored by Chad Pennington, who has decided to stay retired and remain a broadcaster for Fox. UM’s Jacory Harris has worked with former Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson.

### Among the numerous players the Dolphins have met with: Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram, Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, FSU offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders, UM defensive tackle Marcus Forston and North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples.

### Tackle Riley Reiff, an option with the No. 8 pick, isn’t the only Iowa offensive lineman on the Dolphins’ radar. They also will consider mid-round tackle Markus Zusevics (who injured a pectoral muscle at the Combine) and guard Adam Gettis, a potential late-round pick who was second team All-Big 10 and had an impressive Combine. Remember – Dolphins receivers coach Ken O’Keefe was Iowa’s offensive coordinator the past 13 years.

### NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi, the former Raiders executive, is among the minority who says the Colts should at least consider taking Robert Griffin instead of Andrew Luck, partly because how his speed could be exploited on the artificial turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. “He’s a modern day Steve Young, being that explosive,” Lombardi said of Griffin. He said the Colts need to ask themselves “What player fits our home field and can dominate the division?”

### Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said “it looks like there’s some excellent prospects” at quarterback.

After Andrew Luck and Griffin, and then Ryan Tannehill, there are three potential second-rounders: Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden (who keeps trying to convince teams his age – 28 – shouldn’t be held against him), Arizona’s Nick Foles (who must improve his football, Mayock said) and Arizona State’s 6-7 Brock Osweiler (who was limited this week by an injury).

Mayock expects Tannehill to go in the first 10 picks: “I like everything about him except he stares his receivers down.”

Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins, who comes across very well, had a strong showing Sunday and could rise to the third-round range. He said the best quarterbacks are “great leaders, very accurate and great decision makers. Those are my three biggest strengths.”

### Boston College inside linebacker Luke Kuechly has bulked up to 243 pounds, and people have been telling him he’s similar to former Dolphins great Zach Thomas, though Thomas was shorter (5-11 to 6-2). “I was always watching him growing up,” said Kuechly, who calls himself “an instinctual player. I’m a smart player.”

### A Combine story that amused us: Brian Billick said when he once interviewed a player who seemed half asleep and disinterested, he asked him, “Are you a thug or stupid?”

To which the player said: “Are those my only options?” But the unnamed player had a 10-year NFL career.

 

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