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NFL evaluators assess state of UM program; Dolphins, UM, Heat, Marlins notes

SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN

With Thursday's critical game against Virginia Tech looming, we solicited input from three NFL evaluators and others on the state of the Hurricanes program:

### Among the points raised by NFL scouts, who asked that their names not be used: This is the worst defensive line they’ve seen from the Hurricanes in many years; the defensive play-calling should be more aggressive; but Al Golden is doing about as well as can be expected with this roster.

“Look - you lost your senior class, then you lose five of your better juniors, then you lose Ray-Ray Armstrong,” one longtime scout said, also acknowledging tackle Curtis Porter’s absence due to an appendectomy. “Has any school ever lost five juniors the same year? Who the hell is left? They have young athletes, but you need some experience to win.”

### The consensus is UM must find better defensive linemen to become a big winner again. “Worst I’ve seen from a Miami team,” one longtime NFL scout said. “What they miss most is those strong, athletic, really good 6-4, 290 pounds defensive tackles. LSU and Alabama have three or four of those guys. The irony is the last couple years, Temple had a better defensive line than Miami does now. That’s how far Miami has fallen.”

Said another scout: “They just don’t have the size and strength up front. When was the last No. 1 pick they had on the defensive line?” That would be Vince Wilfork in 2004.

The scout, who observed a closed Hurricanes practice this season, said if you take the UM jersey off the back, you could not distinguish most of Miami’s front-seven defensive players from, say, Central Florida or any other FBS program not in one of the major conferences.

"I’ve never seen the upper class talent so thin there,” the scout said. “UCF might be able to beat them if they played. The overall talent is mediocre. I said at the start of the year, if Al Golden won six games, it would be a great coaching job.”

### One scout said sophomore Anthony Chickillo is getting more attention from opponents because there’s no pass-rush threat opposite him. “And Chickillo is not dynamic,” he said. “If you’re going to be his size, you need to be an explosive pass rusher.”

### One scout, asked to assess some of the others as college players (not as pro prospects): “Eddie Johnson is going to be a stud. Deon Bush is going to be a very good player but since the safeties don’t get much support up front, they are always running downhill to make tackles. That’s a lot of banging for a freshman like Bush. He’s going to be beat up.”

### An AFC scout, on defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio’s approach: “They could play a little more aggressive. If you can’t rush the passer, why sit back? Why are you seven yards off a receiver? I would be sending people left and right, playing pressure coverage. They’re giving up yards anyway.”

### Another scout questioned offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch for throwing to Robert Lockhart instead of running the ball on a third and two deep in FSU territory last week, and said Mike James – not Duke Johnson – should be used on short yardage. “Duke is not going to be a Clinton Portis or Edgerrin James, where you hand him the ball 25 times a game.”

By the way, Fisch said Saturday that UM burned Lockhart's redshirt because he "has made some amazing one-on-one playts in practice" which reminded the staff of Tommy Streeter last year.

### The scouts were optimistic about Stephen Morris improving, but one expressed concern with his accuracy issues and “lack of touch at times. He’ll be better next year. One problem is his receivers don’t catch the ball.”

### One scout said of the receivers, “I like Rashawn Scott the best, with his size. He has the most upside.” He likes Phillip Dorsett’s talent, but “it looks like the bigger the game, he’s not ready for that.” And the offensive line “is disappointing. Physically, they look as a good as any in the nation.”

### Recruiting analyst Larry Blustein said “if UM expects to keep the train rolling with the 2012 class, they need to get [Oakland Park Northeast] receiver Stacey Coley and [Booker T. Washington offensive tackle] Denver Kirkland.” (They are rated by rivals.com as ninth-best in the nation at their positions.)

He said they also must keep oral commitments Alex Collins (running back) and Kevin Olsen (quarterback).

But Collins is also considering FSU and Wisconsin and sent a tweet last week saying he has “been doing a lot of thinking” and is “close to decision time.”

Delray Beach Atlantic's Keith Bryant, rated 17th among all defensive tackles and Miami’s only oral commitment among defensive linemen, visited Purdue and has told rivals.com he’s also still considering FSU, South Carolina and won’t announce until signing day – putting UM in a bind.

Miami is in the mix for other defensive tackles, including Toby Johnson, a four-star prospect at Hutchinson (Ks.) Community College. Booker T. Washington linebacker Matthew Thomas, rated the nation’s 15th best player by rivals.com, says he has Miami even with six other schools.

### Among draft-eligible players, the scouts see Brandon McGee and James as potential mid-or-later round prospects. “James has power, can catch the ball, runs hard, some shiftiness,” one scout said. “McGee has size (6-0), speed and long arms.” One scout said he wouldn’t draft junior Seantrel Henderson until late because he “can’t be counted on.”

ESPN’s Todd McShay said he entered the year with draftable grades only on Vaughn Telemaque (who lost his starting job) and McGee; he had Ramon Buchanan as a seventh-rounder before his knee injury. He said Miami’s talent “has been dwindling for the last several years and 2013 stacks up as one of the worst classes from an NFL draft standpoint since I’ve been involved.”

Remember, from 2001 to 2004, the Canes had 19 first-rounders and 35 drafted overall. From 2008 to 2012, UM had one first rounder and 22 overall.

CHATTER

### With the trade deadline looming Tuesday, a Dolphins official said the team hasn’t pursued a deal for Kansas City receiver Dwayne Bowe as of last week, but wouldn’t rule out eventual interest, potentially as a free agent in March. Bowe, a Miami native, reportedly has interest in playing here.

Owner Stephen Ross has told people the Dolphins want to add a quality receiver this offseason. But the front office is pleased with how the current group is playing and would be fine riding out the year with these receivers, barring injuries.

### CBS reported Arizona has interest in Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore, but it would be risky for Miami to move him in case of an injury to Ryan Tannehill. What about trading Moore, an impending free agent, for a draft pick and re-signing David Garrard?

Garrard’s agent said the Dolphins haven’t called and Garrard still isn’t ready to play after preseason knee surgery that was supposed to sideline him only until mid-September. The Dolphins like how Moore has supported and mentored Tannehill and weren’t sure how Garrard would embrace that role.

"I've heard rumors," Moore said of a potential trade. "But everything I know is that I'll be here."

### Mike Redmond impressed the Marlins in his interview and is still considered the favorite for the managerial job, though not a sure thing, with Reds pitching coach Bryan Price also having some support. The odds are against Larry Bowa, who interviewed Friday. Ex-Marlin Luis Gonzalez, mentioned elsewhere as a possibility, had not been contacted as of Saturday. More interviews remain.... Candidates have been meeting with multiple Marlins officials and also spending some alone time with Jeffrey Loria... “We need more pieces that fit – not just fit on paper,” Giancarlo Stanton said of the roster. “We need help everywhere: lineup, bullpen, rotation.”

### TNT’s Chris Webber, on LeBron James: “With all that he has been through, he can [now] play with the freedom he hasn’t had in a while. Last year, they didn’t play with the mentality of, ‘It’s OK, we’re been through it.’ That’s why the rest of the league should fear them.’”

NBA TV analyst (and ex-Heat guard) Steve Smith concurs: “He’s at peace. It’s scary what the Heat can do in the next two or three years.”… ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy, who picked the Heat the past two years, said: “It’s going to be a Miami-Oklahoma City final and I just think this year OKC is going to figure out a way how to win it.” Van Gundy made the comment last week, before the James Harden trade late Saturday night.

### Kudos to former UM forward DeQuan Jones, who beat out veteran Quentin Richardson for a spot on Orlando's 15-man roster. 

Comments

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green

Today's economics of college football simply doesn't benefit UM -- Small school, private

Posted by: Q (Quijote) | 10/28/2012 at 09:37 PM

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,557024,00.html

usc, stanford, notre dame ...
elite private schools ...
not too shabby football ...

U GET WHAT U PAY FOR

green

Today's economics of college football simply doesn't benefit UM - no on campus stadium.

Posted by: Q | 10/28/2012 at 09:37 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3DKCRUHWhQ

U got paid an extra $5M a year to move uptown …
momma didn’t raise no dummy …
opulence on someone else’s dime …

SUGAR BABY

green

Today's economics of college football simply doesn't benefit UM - no on campus stadium.

Posted by: Q (Quijote) | 10/28/2012 at 09:37 PM

http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/blog/2012/10/should-taxpayers-pay-for-sun-life.html

Now that Sun Life stadium is a frontrunner for a landmark Super Bowl event, should taxpayer dollars go toward renovations?
-- South Florida Business Journal

valet parking
ample parking
concierge attendants
comfortable chairbacks
hospitality suites
luxury suites
club seats
field-level seats
high-volume drainage
bermuda grass
plasma TVs
HD jumbotrons
state-of-the-art ribbon board, press box, locker room
interactive zones
pre-game concerts
edible concessions
sit-down restaurants
hard liquor
bars, bistros, lounges
Kohler toilets

our royal palace trumps your bareboned boondoggle ...

SMALL-TIME GIRL LIVING IN A LONELY WORLD

green

UCF, on the other hand, is why they are know a better team than UM... Large school, public, and an on campus stadium. FAU and FIU are next, moreso FIU since they more closely resemble UCF.

Posted by: Q (Quijote) | 10/28/2012 at 09:37 PM

working from a faulty premise when he makes that argument ... FIU has never been able to beat good teams. At no point.
-- bobbob1313

For all the hype surrounding this year's UCF Knights football program, Central Florida hasn't had a lot of success against teams from one of the six BCS AQ conferences. During the Knights' brief stint in college football's top division, UCF has gone just 3-47 (0.060) against teams in one of the six BCS AQ conferences.
-- bcinterruption.com

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

green

Today's economics of college football simply doesn't benefit UM

Posted by: Q (Quijote) | 10/28/2012 at 09:37 PM

http://twitter.com/McMurphyESPN/status/245929834860122112

Atlantic Coast Conference and ESPN announced a restructured television rights deal that will increase the league’s exposure and pay member schools approximately $4 million more per year than the agreement the conference announced in July 2010.

The restructured contract, which binds the ACC and ESPN through the 2026-27 sports season, will go into effect on July 1 and is worth $3.6 BILLION

Once Pitt and Syracuse become official members of the ACC, each of the league’s 14 teams will receive on average $17.1 million PER YEAR in TV revenue from the conference.
-- newsobserver.com

As for renegotiation of the media rights deal with Notre Dame in the fold, the ACC has wasted little time opening a dialogue with ESPN.

“We will renegotiate our television contract with ESPN and we’ve already begun those discussions,” Swofford said. “Obviously beforehand we had already done some analysis as far as what impact that Notre Dame’s involvement with our league would have on that agreement and we exepct that to be a positive one.”

As for that timeline?

“I’m not sure negotiations on television ever happen as quickly as you think they will,” Swofford said, “but I would not anticipate that would be a long, drawn-out affair.”
– chicago tribune

PAY ME NOW & PAY ME LATER

green

Today's economics of college football simply doesn't benefit UM

Posted by: Q (Quijote) | 10/28/2012 at 09:37 PM

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8554125/big-east-negotiate-networks-other-espn-new-tv-deal-according-sources

$43-million, five-year contract (CUSA) reached with Fox Sports
-- orlando sentinel

POPCORN, PEANUTS, CRACKERJACKS & CANDY KISSES

green

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/eye-on-college-football/19486550/acc-and-orange-bowl-announce-12-year-partnership-beginning-after-2014-season

Enhancing its partnership with the Orange Bowl, the ACC will continue to send its champion to Miami for another 12 years. More significantly, the league can shop the Orange Bowl to the highest bidder and will keep at least 50 percent of the TV money.
-- foxsportscarolinas.com

Some point in the next 10 years, the Big 5 conferences are going to start seeing schools take home at least $30M/yr from conference distributions with schools in the Big Ten/SEC (and Texas) probably shooting for $40M+.

It’s just crazy to imagine how big those budgets are going to get compared to the “little guys.”

The distributions from the playoff will certainly be important but the main story is that the Big 5 are guaranteeing themselves even larger cuts through control over the 3 New Years’ Day bowls.

The Big East has officially been relegated to second tier status as well which is important.

Thus, even if the playoffs revenue sharing is merit based, the 5 conferences are going to end up so far ahead of everyone else that even differences of $10-15M (or whatever it may be) between the top Big Ten/SEC and the bottom ACC are going to be relatively minor; they’re all going to blow away what everyone else receives…
– zeek via frank the tank

EAT MY DUST

green

FIU Large school, public, and an on campus stadium.

Posted by: Q (Quijote) | 10/29/2012 at 09:54 AM

a tier 4 commuter school located in a flash flood zone ...
whose students, faculty & alumni unabashedly root for U ...
whose everlasting credo reads ...
go to class ...
drive away ...
never look back ...

CHEAP. CLOSE. INDISCRIMINATE.

green

Let me say that again, because I know much that hurts you... ON CAMPUS STADIUM.

Posted by: Q | 10/29/2012 at 09:54 AM

http://twitter.com/i/#!/DavidJNeal/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2F4MeJzlTD

It is also annoying we spent $40+ million on a (20,000-seat) stadium (that has high school bleachers) that can't attract more than 500 or so home fans during a nationally televised (ESPNU) game.
-- All American Panther

f-i-u-don't-matter draws flies ...
exaggerates crowd size to appear larger & meet D1 requirements (15,000 per game)
but for strong-arming an unsuspecting student body through obscene activity fees ...
their unwanted athletic program would die a lonely death ...

ORPHAN'S PARADOX

green

I'm done here.

Posted by: Q (Quijote) | 10/29/2012 at 09:54 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon_complex

So tell me, why should our next 4 star recruit pick us over UCF, USF, Miami, Louisville, or anyone else for that matter? What makes us special? What is our selling point, our advantage over all these other schools? Ir's not facilities, university prestge, history and tradition, fan base, crowd size, opportunity to be seen on TV, or chance to go to the NFL. So what is it?
-- FIU2011?

pick on someone your own size ...

LITTLE GUY SYNDROME

loneoutcast

Hey "Q" for Quijote, seems you forgot to mention The U's 8th place ranking over the last decade!
Here it goes again:

http://cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/rankings/decade_team_rankings.php?period=2001-2010

From 2001 til 2010 The U is still considered a top 10 football program!

so much for asinine come backs! smh

Swampbilly

It would so nice to just have Oliver Vernon on defense. Fortson was a disappointment last year but even he would look good. The agent was right when he/she said when you lose juniors, your team will hurt.

CANETILLIDIE....DH

It would so nice to just have Oliver Vernon on defense. Fortson was a disappointment last year but even he would look good. The agent was right when he/she said when you lose juniors, your team will hurt.

Posted by: Swampbilly |
-------

Agreed but that is wishful thinking and that only amounts to a pile of garbage. Might as well say it would be great to have BWash on the Oline alongside everyone else, Streeter out wide and LMiller in the backfield with Duke and James. What's done is done. They made their beds they need to lay in it. We need to move forward. I will not judge Golden's first year with someone else players. 1st year is a mulligan, I judge the 3rd year team's production. This year will end however it will end. I was hoping for 8-4 and even crossing my fingers at 9-3. But we sit right now at 4-4/3-1 in the Coastal. 7-5 is looking more realistic right now. Fisch needs to make aggressive play calls and run the rock down everyone's throat. Coach No D needs to do the opposite of what he has been doing all season. Doing the opposite can't be any different than his current approach. This is the ACC not the MAC. Cute defense doesn't cut it. Leave that for the MAC or less divisions. Coach No D isn't ready for this or any other league of college football. Maybe he should go to a defensive coordinators' seminar and bring a huge yellow notepad.

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