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UM says no to a Gator; Dolphins' contract talks; Heat/Obama visit set; Fins, UM, Marlins, Heat

SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN

When UM coach Al Golden arrived on campus two years ago, Miami had only three scholarship quarterbacks (including the immortal Spencer Whipple) and Golden admitted being “scared to death as I go to sleep every night that you don’t have the depth to get you through a season.”

Now, UM feels so good about quarterback that it quietly rejected recent overtures from the Gators’ 2012 opening day starter.

West Palm Beach Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said UM was the “top choice” of Jacoby Brissett, who is transferring from UF,  but the Hurricanes informed him “they don’t have room for him” because they have five quarterbacks on scholarship and a sixth (Kevin Olsen) arriving this summer.

Brissett, rated the third-best duel purpose QB and 75th player overall in the 2011 class, completed 23 of 35 passes for 249 yards in 2012. He started the season opener against Bowling Green but was replaced after a quarter, replaced an injured Jeff Driskel and helped rally UF to avoid an upset loss against Louisiana-Lafayette, then started against Jacksonville State and threw for just 154 yards. He then lost the job to Driskel, decided to transfer, and likely will pick between North Carolina State and West Virginia, Daniels said.

Based on how he closed last season (11 touchdowns, no interceptions in the final four games), UM believes Stephen Morris should be among the nation’s best as a senior. “He’s been spectacular,” Golden said. “We had maybe the hottest quarterback in the country the [final] four games. He has grown into a man. His leadership is extraordinary.”

The job in 2014 will be an open competition among Ryan Williams, Olsen (ESPN’s No. 5 quarterback in the 2013 class), Preston Dewey (finished the year ahead of Gray Crow), Crow and David Thompson, who is recovered from labrum surgery but will skip spring football to play baseball. But people close to the situation make Olsen the favorite if he’s as good as the UM staff believes.

“I like Olsen’s chances,” said former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci, who coached him at an All-Star game last weekend. “He has size, smarts, has enough arm strength and good touch. I’m anxious to see him play.”

### Former Miami Palmetto High quarterback Wyatt Chickillo, cousin of UM defensive end Anthony, is about to become the fourth Chickillo to play at UM, dating to 1950. He’s walking on, potentially as a receiver.

### In scheduling the Hokies to play at UM for a second year in a row, the Atlantic Coast Conference finally consented to the Hurricanes’ wishes to split up the Virginia Tech and FSU series so that UM plays one at home and one on the road. The Canes also have asked the ACC not to give them a Thursday night home game and are optimistic that will be granted. It could hurt UM in recruiting if high-school players see small crowds on ESPN Thursday games.

### UM doesn't know what to expect when it receives NCAA allegations imminently, but UM is optimistic there won't be any big surprises based on the fact that the NCAA hasn't informed UM of any bombshells recently. UM is hopeful of avoiding another bowl ban, but nobody will know that until the infractions committee rules in a few months. Scholarship reductions remain likely....

By the way, Jamie Israel, who was UM's associate compliance director when some alleged violations occurred, now works for the NCAA, as assistant director for academic and membership affairs. He's not involved in the investigation, but the NCAA says there is no rule to prevent him (or anyone else) from giving information to the enforcement committee. Israel, who is respected by his former UM peers, declined to comment.

### For more on the NCAA investigating and UM recruiting news, see our last post.

DOLPHINS CHATTER

The Dolphins have opened talks with defensive tackle Randy Starks and made clear they want to sign him. But the sides aren’t close on financial terms. Some had speculated that Miami might prefer to move Jared Odrick to tackle and draft or sign a starting defensive end. But that would become a possibility only if Miami is unable to sign Starks.

### Matt Moore would love to find a team where he can compete to start and has relayed to the Dolphins that he is going to test the free agent market, barring an incredible offer from Miami.

The Dolphins told Moore they want to keep him but have never given him a firm offer. If the Dolphins lose Moore, their free agent backup quarterback options include Jason Campbell, Brady Quinn, Tarvaris Jackson, Drew Stanton, Rex Grossman, Matt Leinart, Charlie Batch, Brian Hoyer and Bruce Gradkowski. Third-stringer Pat Devlin, a favorite of Joe Philbin, also could compete for the No. 2 job if Moore bolts.

### Among the season’s biggest disappointments: Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman expected a fast-pace, no-huddle offense that would average 75 plays per game. But because the Dolphins couldn’t sustain enough drives, they actually averaged fewer plays this season (61.3) than in 2011, when they huddled and averaged 61.9 --- something nobody in the organization ever would have expected.

### Daniel Thomas’ mid-December knee injury required surgery, according to his representation – he should be fine by the spring – and the second-round pick has fallen behind Lamar Miller in the organization’s eyes. Disconcerting: His three fumbles were the most by any NFL back with fewer than 100 carries, and only four backs with as many attempts had a lower per-carry average than Thomas’ 3.6. Incidentally, Reggie Bush tied for the league lead among backs with five fumbles.

### Look for the Dolphins this week to propose using public money --- partly through a hotel tax and possibly through a sales tax – to partially fund upgrades to Sun Life Stadium. The cost of the project has risen to $400 million.

“We’re furious what the Marlins did slashing payroll, because this will make it more difficult for us [with politicians],” a Dolphins official said. If approved, “Sun Life will be like a new stadium,” the official said, “and it will delay the need for a new stadium by 25, 30 years.... Stephen Ross will cover a large chunk of the costs.”

CHATTER

### Center Chris “Birdman” Anderson, who auditioned for the Heat on Tuesday, is staying in South Florida to work on improving his conditioning, with the hope Miami will sign him. But the Heat has made no decision.

### Though free agent Kenyon Martin would love to play here, he’s less appealing to Miami because his rebounding numbers for the Clippers last season weren't especially good --- clearly below Udonis Haslem’s this season….

### The Heat's visit to the White House has been scheduled for Jan. 28, according to someone invited to the ceremony honoring the NBA champions. President Obama was unavailable when the Heat visited Washington in early December.

### Nothing has pleased the UM basketball staff more than the improved focus and play of forward Kenny Kadji, whose numbers are better (13.8 points, 9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks) in the six games without injured Reggie Johnson. “People who scouted me only think I can shoot, so people run at me,” Kadji said. “I had to work on ball-handling, rebounding and defense, so if I don’t shoot well in a game you can affect it in other ways.”

### Look for the Marlins to re-sign outfielder Austin Kearns (.245, four homers, 16 RBI)… The Marlins are among several teams in talks with Matt Capps, who had 14 saves for the Twins in 2012, but also a rotator cuff injury.

### Besides forbidding president David Samson from doing his radio show, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria also told Samson that he can no longer do interviews. That’s short-sighted, because Samson made himself more accountable and accessible than many team presidents, even amid unpopular decisions made solely by Loria. Loria, by the way, has refused to speak to the media since mid-November.

Comments

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The Fins Suck

Loria can suck a fat sausage.

Eddie

I liked Samson's radio show. The man knows movies.

DPGK

Ryan Williams looked awful in his playing time. Im thinking Kevin Olsen will be the way to go.

Kenny Kadji has been great this year. He's developing his game nicely. Might help his NBA chances.

Ron

Dolphins asking for public money is hilarious. How about they win a playoff game first?

ChampCane

So Golden ran other players off the team, to sign a bunch of unheralded quarterbacks. Then allowed a transfer from Memphis, with subpar numbers, onto the team as well. I am still waiting for the great coaching and recruiting to come from Golden.

WZard

Loria should take his team and move. Nobody would care. We can use the stadium to feed the homeless.

mike

Brisett had his chance when we recruited him he should of came then.good luck whereever u go though west va. looks good with geno smith gone .

marcus

Loria = my hero. Samson not so much.

Frankie

Prediction: The Dolphins will not get a great or even very good wide receiver. Another offseason will pass with nothing good.

cane-up

Lets not cry cane fans to all the real cane fans -its the u

Vegas Baby

Thanks for the FIU coverage.

whomp-ee

Everyone knows Ross wants to win. Maybe if he fixes up the stadium it will help, especially if they move the seats closer to the field like at the OB.

As long as he pays for most of it, sounds like a great idea to me. If he doesn't do something, we're going to be playing in another crappy beat-up a la 1990's Orange Bowl in 10 years

AND SIGN A FREE AGENT RECEIVER!

StanDaMan32

The reasoning behind Ryan Williams was t build up depth behind S.Morris. all we had was nothing pretty much. So be, thankful Golden was able to find someone at least capable of playing QB behind Morris

Sam

why would anyone give that team public money after the marlins hoodwinked south florida???

Sam

the dolphins, that is

K-Fed-toe-the-line

i don't think anyone is willing to help ross unless he offers to pay for most of the cost.

i know that a football stadium actually helps the economy because of BCS, SB, etc (unlike a ballpark) but people feel burned by the marlins. he better realize that.

don't be dumb, Ross! make us an offer we can't refuse! your staidum needs work but you better foot most of the bill!

TamarcMike

Stephen Ross wants public funds to upgrade his stadium.I say he foots 50% of the bill and split the rest between Marc Anthony , Gloria Estefan and the Williams sisters.Ticket prices are outrageous refreshments are astronomical and parking is ridiclous.Lets not line the pockets of the wealthy with taxes on the average family.Looking forward to good football next year in S.Florida and a good finish by the Canes B.B team

rboud

Many people, myself included, predicted Brissett would end up transferring from UF when he signed. The kid followed his heart and his good friend, Matt Elam, to UF. Elam is leaving for the pros after 3 years. You never base a decision on where to play because of friends who may be on the team. You have to look out for your own best interests.

Tony in Miami

Loria & Samson are gansters... they should be banned from baseball and the MLB force Loria to sale the team

FloridaFred


To do nothing to improve the stadium would kill any
hopes of getting the 50th SuperBowl. And God knows, Miami and the surrounding area could use all the good
press they can muster. Finally, we longtime Phinfans have suffered mightily with the team mediocrity of the last 15 years. Our interest in a change of logo is hardly a priority for most of us. Go Dolphins !!

DaveM

Fred, why do we need to spend public money to get a Super Bowl? How does that help anyone in Florida?

Stewbaby

Not sure Golden made the best decision not allowing Brissett to transfer to the U. Crow and Dewey does not appear nowhere near ready to play. Thompson may not stay with the team. Brissett would look very good after he redshirted a year and learned the system. Hope this does not come back to bite.

Omaximus

No public money should go towards renovating the facilities of a very successful private business. The NFL as a multibillion dollar business is perfectly capable of financing their own renovations.

It is mostly a lie that the greater community benefits from hosting a Super Bowl or BCS game. Aside from a few billion dollar hotel chains, it is only a small number of local bars and restaurants that see a small economic benefit. And that benefit is nowhere near the $200 million or so the dolphins are going to be asking for. The money could be more efficiently spent on cutting business taxes, or funding schools or basically any way other than lining Stephen Ross's pockets.

Jo jo

No one in Miami cares diddly anout Loria.Olsen s got to be better than Williams.Williams doesn t show any spark as a Cane QB.The NCAA isn t going to get Miami all intimidated from their over exagerrated allegations.If they provide sketchy evidence or proof....Miami s attorneys should aggressively refute each and every questionable allegation.Bar none.THAT said....glad the time is near.Miami s program needs to move forward.Recruitment has suffered and it will explode once the NCAA moves on to other colleges.....which is what they re doing now.......to maintain their existence.GO CANES.

IbisAttack

Kadji continues to impress. But Julian Gamble is even more surprising. Both of them are seniors and they play like it, especially against North Carolina.You could tell that UNC was very talented but they didn't play together like Miami did.

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