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UM update: Golden addresses assorted issues

A THURSDAY UPDATE FROM AL GOLDEN'S BRIEFING WITH REPORTERS 

Ray-Ray Armstrong “got the message”; Brandon McGee isn’t where UM wants him; and defensive end (opposite Anthony Chickillo) looms as a major question. Those are some of the defensive headlines creating a buzz as UM prepares to open spring practice Saturday.

“Ray Ray had arguably the best offseason of anybody,” coach Al Golden said Thursday of the ballyhooed safety. “He got the message. Gave up his winter vacation and made a lot of progress. He’s leading by example.

“Last year, he made too many mistakes. Great safeties defend the deep ball well, get their team lined up and tackle well in the open field. We all know he gave up too many deep balls, didn’t get us lined up all the time like he needed to do and didn’t make enough open field tackles.”

But that, Golden said, “is all in the past. I expect him to have a real productive spring. I’d be shocked if he’s not playing a lot faster, tackling better in the open field.”

### McGee and Thomas Finnie are UM’s only returning cornerbacks who have played much, but McGee enters spring on the third team because he fell short in the offseason program. Finnie and early arrival Larry Hope, from American High, are the current first-teamers.

McGee “should be better than he is,” Golden said. “No excuse. That’s it, end of story.”

McGee gave up running track “and wanted to focus on football and didn’t work as hard as other guys in those [conditioning] areas,” Golden said. “And now he’s got his hands full. If I was in his shoes, I’d want to lock it up before six guys show up in August. He didn’t do that in Phase 1. He has a chance to do that in Phase 2.”

### At defensive end, here’s the unproven group on campus that’s trying to earn the spot opposite Chickillo and replace the departed contingent of Olivier Vernon, Marcus Robinson, Andrew Smith and Adewale Ojomo: Shayon Green (seven tackles in four games last season), Ricardo Williams (a three-star defensive end who is Homestead’s all-time sack leader but redshirted last season), Junior Alexis (a two-star recruit who joined UM last September after originally committing to Hawaii) and early arrival Dwayne Hoilett (a three-star recruit who had 52 tackles and 6.5 sacks at Vero Beach High but must bulk up from 230).

Green, who is first on the depth chart at the end spot opposite first-teamer Chickillo, “is stronger than he ever has been,” Golden said. “Very strong, explosive kid. Ricardo has developed nicely for us. Hoilett has a shot for us there. We’re bringing in several guys. We should be good there.”

Several well-regarded freshmen arrive this summer: Tyriq McCord, Jelani Hamilton and Jake O’Donnell.

### Golden is excited about tight end Asante Cleveland, who had only one catch last season and never regained his edge after shoulder surgery. Now he’s first on the depth chart, ahead of Clive Walford.

“Other than Ray Ray, Asante Cleveland has had the best offseason,” Golden said. “He’s almost 270 pounds [up from 240 two years ago], running well. We missed that at tight end – a big physical guy who can do it all. His body looks different.”

Said Cleveland: “Last year was frustrating because it was the first year I wasn’t playing.”

### Don’t overstate the significance of the depth chart, which is “based on the offseason program in general – on weight room and how they perform on the field,” Golden said. “There’s no message. We all coached a 6-6 team. That’s not good enough for anybody.”

### Golden, on the quarterback battle this spring with Stephen Morris sidelined after back surgery: “It’s going to be like a play-in game. Somebody will be competing with Stephen in the summer.” With Morris out, Ryan Williams, Gray Crow and Preston Dewey comprise the depth chart in that order. (Our Robbie Levin will have a story on Williams posted later on the web site.) Golden said he doesn't know how Morris got injured; he had surgery earlier this week and should be fine for August.

### Early arrival Ereck Flowers, the former Norland High standout, is listed behind Malcolm Bunche at left tackle and “has blown us away” in the offseason program, Golden said.

### Philip Dorsett is listed as the first team punt and kickoff returner, but UM wants to give Dallas Crawford a look in both roles.

“He came in a little out of shape [last year], got hurt, wasn’t in the mix,” Golden said.  “But he’s lost 18, 19 pounds and is 190. He’s quicker than he is fast and tough as nails and competitive. We’re trying to find spots for him to help us in addition to running back.”

### Golden said Eduardo Clements “is going to be a really good player. He just kind of figures it out. At the end of last year, he was the guy we wanted on the field on third down and in short yardage. We have two talented guys coming in.”

### Golden’s goal this spring? “That we become a fundamentally sound team, not a team that beats itself. You start to sense it’s a little different already because of the offseason program. We’re trying to build something that’s going to last. The guys have a much more mature, results-oriented approach.”

### Receivers coach George McDonald also will assume the new role of passing game coordinator, to assist offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch.

 

Comments

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Hymnal

Why is Dyron Dye not playing DE?

3G Cane

KEEP GRINDING!!!

[]_[] GO CANES []_[]

SickCaneFan

Results oriented... I like that. Golden is doing all the right things. The infrastructure building is phasing in and more players and leaders need to participate. However, not all have utilized the opportunity. Once the whole team is on board and a couple of years of experience in the program. Look out baby! Lock your doors and board your windows ACC, there a HURRICANE acoming!!!

johnny

all I know is that al golden is doing everything right, he can't throw it, catch it or direct players using a remote control, it all depends on the players if wether this team succeeds or not.

sflafan

Things looking up with the guidance of a true, no nonse LEADER in Coach Golden. Ray Ray knows that he has to have a great year this year so he can be drafted in the first round. There's no doubting the kids physical tools. If he gets his mind and body right, like it looks like he's done, he can dominate the middle of the field.

Cornerback? Not too worried. You can pencil in a likely Freshman All American Tracey Howard at one corner. The rest of the guys will fight it out for the other spot. With the return of stars like Chickillo and Perryman, I think the defense will be FAST and aggressive. Jelani Hamilton is a beast and might just be very productive at DE for the Canes.

When Morris gets back, we know he has talent. With some maturity and top notch coaching, I think we have our QB. I feel great about our eperience and size on the O Line. I feel fantastic with our RB's. We'll have a pounder with Smash. A do it all, smart touch runner who can block and catch in Clements, although he's not a home run hitter. But then we got the DUKE! Our next home run hitter. The next college Reggie Bush. I'm a bit worried at WR. Dorsett will have to prove he's the man. I'm wondering if Kendall Thompkins is going to finally come into his own and contribute. Hurns is a wildcard. I think we'll see some good things from freshman Malcolm Lewis.

All in all, I think the Cane's will be a faster, more physical team, better disciplined and likely funner to watch.

CANETILLIDIE....DH

Buenos Dias Hurricanes Fans


I couldn't be more proud as a Canes fan to have Al Golden as our head coach. The mentality he has brought to The U is what has been missing here. I truly believe that when he said that Miami is a destination job, he meant it. I believe that he will be here for years to come. Finally we will have a coach that will win here and stay here only to win more. I truly believe that we will be the Powerhouse of old again.

I know I'm coming off as a homer and I admit to being one. Hell I've been buying season tickets since I was 12 and I'll be 33 this summer so that will be 21yrs of season tickets to watch my favorite team of all time. But I'm being dead honest here. Golden is bring us back. Some people want it yesterday, some today, and some for tomorrow. It doesn't work that way. Those people simply don't understand simply because they have never played ball before, never coached before, or simply just don't have common sense. A team must be built. If the foundation is bad you must start over, from scratch. That takes time. I didn't judge Golden's first season as our head coach for 2 simple reasons: 1.It was his first season. 2.He was coaching with someones else players that already had a certain mentality built into them. Those players were never developed, simple as that. Now he has his guys and the ones left over from the previous regime that he felt that he can develop properly into college football players and young men. Everyone else took off to the NFL (exodus), were asked to transfer out, and others simply removed from the team due to their "lack of commitment".

Man I can't wait for April 14th. Hell I can't wait for this sunday's practice and see first hand what we'll have going into the rest of the spring and into next season.

FEAR THE TIE!!!!

GO CANES ALL DAY EVERYDAY!!!!

Vann

CANE TILL I DIE,
No worries, I am a self proclaimed homer myself. FK the haters! I love Golden also, he is doing so much to bring the program back and it just blows me away to hear so many self-proclaimed Cane fans say negative stuff about him when he has barely started. Can't wait for the regular season!!!

Joe

There s plenty of question marks in the spring.Defensively......Canes need HUGE iprovement.Brandon McToast s slow developement.....AGAIN this season....doesn t surprise me.The guy stinks.H es supposedly fast but...........not much of a player.He seems/looks real lazy.With all the young new D backs coming in...no problem.He ll get himself ready to be 4th string.No loss.HE proved last year HE CANNOT be counted on.HE doesn t deserve to play for the Canes.Bench him.......please.Offensively.........the QB play is key.Until that is set.....the rest of the Offense will just be going through the motions.A dynamic new QB who emerges as a legitimate leader needs to show through.

CANETILLIDIE....DH

@ Vann

Thanks nice to meet a fellow homer. GO U!!!!

@ Joe

Your sentiments on Brandon McGee are right on. I've been saying it forever. He's not a DB. He should be converted to a WR/PR/KR, that's it. He has tremendous speed (4.27-40 stated beginning of last season) but he can't turn his hips in time to keep up with slower receivers who are simply quicker than he is. He's basically slow off the line until he gets to 4th gear which isn't good. Straight line is great but if he has to match someone toe to toe you would expect someone with that speed to be able to but he just can't. I've been saying it since he got here. It's a shame really that a senior will be planted on a the bench because the incoming freshmen are simply that much better than he is. Make use of him and turn him into a WR is my simply suggestion. Tracy Howard will for sure be in the line up and most likely be starting sometime during the season. I have a big feeling it's gonna be Thomas Finnie on one side and Tracy Howard on another and alternating Nate Dortch, Deon Bush, Antonio Crawford, Ladarius Gunter, Rayshawn Jenkins, Larry Hope, and possibly Dallas Crawford who is an all around athlete and is right now with the running backs. During this season he was on the scout team playing wild-cat QB spot. He came in overweight and has lost 18-19lbs from what I read in another article.

Can't wait for sunday's practice and I'm dying for April 14th to come around.

Give Golden a chance and I truly believe that he'll turn The U back into the Powerhouse of old.

FEAR THE TIE!!!!

rboud

McGee has been an enigma since his arrival at UM. He has one last chance to prove he can be a productive player. It's now or never Brandon. You have NFL speed and if you can learn to play at a higher level, you'll be in the League. I really expected Armstrong to leave for the NFL. Unlike most of the players who left early, he showed some wisdom.

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