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2 posts from February 4, 2013

February 04, 2013

UM players disappointed by Collins; Canes recruiting update; Heat

With Alex Collins announcing Monday night that he's committing to Arkansas, UM badly needs Staten Island-based running back Augustus Edwards to choose the Hurricanes over FSU.

A few Canes reacted on Twitter to Collins choosing the Razorbacks over UM, UF and Wisconsin:

"Wow, man, really thought he was coming here - it could of been something special with him and Duke [Johnson]," Anthony Chickillo tweeted.

"That sucks - oh well," Deon Bush said. "No worries: We got Duke."

Then there was this amusing reaction from running back Dallas Crawford, who has a chance to play more than he did if Collins signed here: "So in other news, LeBron went 13 for 14 tonight."

With Wednesday's National Signing Day looming, here's an update on the status and announcement plans of several recruits in the mix for UM:

### Defensive tackle Jaynard Bostwick (announcing 8 a.m. Wednesday). His coach calls it a tossup among UM, UF and Alabama. His coaches say he's close with UF's defensive coaches, but he also liked his visit here.

### Offensive tackle Denver Kirkland (9 a.m. Wednesday, ESPNU). No, this is not a joke. Booker T. Washington coach Tim Harris told us that he believes Miami is back in the mix for Kirkland, as this soap opera continues. He’ll choose among UM, FSU and Arkansas.

### Linebacker Matthew Thomas (9 a.m. Wednesday, ESPNU). FSU has always been confident, but UM, Alabama, Georgia and Southern Cal remain in the mix, according to ESPN.

### Receiver Stacy Coley (11 a.m. Wednesday, ESPNU). FSU has pulled even with the Canes, according to Canesport.com. USF and Mississippi are behind them. This is the one receiver Miami really wants.

### Defensive tackle Keith Bryant (1 p.m. Wednesday, ESPNU). His coach said FSU has pulled ahead of South Carolina and UM, but there’s no final decision. FAU told him to go home during his visit a couple days ago because the coaches thought he wasn’t treating it seriously.

### Linebacker Jermaine Grace (2 p.m. Wednesday, ESPNU). Down to UM and Louisville. Grace once heavily favored the Hurricanes, but the Cardinals have made a strong late push.

### Running back Augustus Edwards (undetermined time Wednesday). He liked his Miami visit, and it’s considered a tossup between UM and FSU.

### Defensive tackle Terrell Brooks. The junior college All-American will choose among UM, Baylor and Kansas State sometime in the next 24 to 48 hours. He has been very complimentary of UM publicly.

### Also, ESPNU lists UM, Stanford and Vanderbilt as finalists for University School receiver Jordan Cunningham, who will announce at 10 a.m. Wednesday on ESPN.com. But his coach said UM hasn’t pursued him much recently.

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Couple historical footnotes on LeBron James' 13 for 14 shooting performance Monday:

### It's the best shooting game, percentage-wise, in James' career (topping a 9 for 11 game in March 2012 against New Jersey) and ties Alonzo Mourning for the second-best in Heat history (minimum 10 attempts), behind only Shaq's 15 for 16 against Seattle in 2006.

### James attempted only one shot outside the paint and didn't attempt a shot longer than 15 feet for the first time in his career.

### James said he was fouled on the one shot he missed, but it wasn't called. "I felt good all game," he said. "I didn't feel tired or jet lagged. I just had it going from the start."

### He's shooting a career-best 55.5 percent for the season.

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In sorting through the differences between individual Heat players’ performance at home and on the road, here’s one factoid that stands out:

Four Heat players are shooting significantly worse on the road than at AmericanAirlines Arena: Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem, Dwyane Wade and Mike Miller.

Allen’s disparity is particularly eye-opening: He is shooting 53.8 percent and averaging 13.0 points in Miami, compared with 39.5 percent and 9.0 outside South Florida.

Allen shot moderately better at home in each of his five seasons in Boston, but the difference was never this dramatic, and he always shot between 44 and 48 percent in road games those years.

After shooting better on the road the previous three seasons, Wade is shooting 55 percent at home, 46.4 on the road. And he’s scoring 22.4 at home, compared with 18.7 on the road.

Udonis Haslem (54.4 percent to 44.5) and Mike Miller (45.3 to 36.1) also are shooting much worse on the road. LeBron James is averaging more points on the road (27.1 to 26.1) but shooting better at home (56 to 53.9 percent).

And though Chris Bosh has played better offensively away from Miami, he rebounds worse on the road (6.9 to 7.5 boards per game).

The Heat entered Monday 18-3 at home, but just 12-11 away.

Reviewing highs, lows from CBS' Super Bowl coverage; Analysts assess Fins; Canes, Heat

Note: If you haven't read the Sunday buzz -- in which we assembled a panel of ex-GMs and analysts to assess the Dolphins and what they should do this offseason - please see our last post. There's also Canes recruiting, Heat and Marlins news. For now, we're posting a final Super Bowl media column in this space:

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Musings from a Super Bowl Sunday on the couch:

### This was hardly the way CBS wanted its Super Bowl telecast to be remembered – for a stadium power outage that briefly silenced its game announcers. But the network handled the 35-minute delay competently and then caught a break when the 49ers turned a blowout into compelling theater.

CBS is the only NFL carrier that doesn’t use sideline reporters during the regular season. But Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcots, assigned to the role Sunday, did good work updating viewers during the delay.

After the outage disabled the microphones for Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS went to break, before Tasker reported what was happening. After another break, CBS’ studio team returned, but without Boomer Esiason, who was working the game on radio.

“Immediately after the power failure, we lost numerous cameras and some audio powered by sources in the Superdome,” CBS said in a statement. “We utilized CBS’ backup power and at no time did we leave the air.”

There were a few unanswered questions, though. Among them:

1) Why would no NFL official go on air to explain this mess?

2) Why was Shannon Sharpe confused by the 28-6 score at the time of the outage? First he said it was a 21-point margin, then said it was 17.

3) Why did Ravens coach John Harbaugh unleash an expletive-filled tirade at the NFL's director of game operations, and why didn’t CBS explain what that was about?

### Oops: After the game, CBS picked up audio of Baltimore's Marshal Yanda saying: "Holy [expletive], huh?" and then Joe Flacco yelling “[Expletive] awesome!” More Super Bowl fun for the FCC!

### Simms explains the game in simple terms, but this wasn’t one of his best performances. He spoke excessively and wasn’t entirely accurate when he said early on that the 49ers “don’t give up big pass plays down the field.” They usually did not in the regular season but relinquished three touchdown passes of 20 yards or more in their first two playoff games, and had major issues Sunday.

### Notably, Simms did not criticize the 49ers for running on two third and long situations early in the game, nor did he criticize the Ravens for attempting a fake field goal when up 14-3, even though Nantz noted it was "a lot to expect" for Justin Tucker to convert a fourth-and-nine.

But Simms questioned the 49ers for challenging the spot on a fourth-quarter play, then admitted it was a smart move after the 49ers won the challenge.

And after asserting the referees were correct in not calling defensive holding on the 49ers’ incomplete pass on fourth and goal late in the game, Simms admitted he was “confused” after watching the replay again.

He then said the Ravens shouldn’t take a safety, but justified the move after they did. It wasn't exactly flip-flopping, but Simms came off as less than decisive several times.

### After Flacco’s first touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin, Simms said he heard all week that Baltimore would look for Boldin in that situation. But he should have said it before the play.

### Nantz incorrectly said a 49ers fumble was not a fumble but was otherwise very good.

### Jim Harbaugh wouldn't come out of the locker-room to be interviewed by Tasker after the game. But CBS, in a rush to leave the air, didn't criticize him, as it did when Bill Belichick refused to be interviewed after the Patriots lost the AFC Championship.

### CBS erred by using a noisy outdoor set for the first 2 ½ hours of its pregame. The crowd cheering and chanting nearly ruined a serious discussion about concussions.

### Credit Sharpe for asking two pointed questions to Ray Lewis about his involvement in the stabbing deaths of two men in 2000. (Murder charges were dropped against Lewis, who accepted a plea deal and admitted at the time to giving misleading statements to police.)

Sharpe asked Lewis what he would tell the families of the two victims, who recently have accused him of knowing more than he has ever shared. His answer would have been unsatisfying to those families. “If you really knew the way God works, he doesn’t use people who commit anything like that,” Lewis said.

That answer also didn’t appease Esiason, who snapped: “He knows what went on there. He doesn’t want to say. He paid off the families.”

 CBS said on air that Sharpe didn’t ask Lewis about an allegation that he used deer-antler spray because the interview was conducted before the Sports Illustrated report surfaced.

### CBS delivered three exceptional pre-game features: on Ravens front-office official and former player O.J. Brigance (who explained that Lou Gehrig’s disease prevents him from speaking or moving but doesn’t diminish his cognitive skills); another on Colts coach Chuck Pagano’s battle with leukemia (CBS smartly had one of his daughters, Tori, narrate the segment), and an emotional piece on two Gateway High students – one who died, one who survived - the Aurora, Col., theater shooting last summer.

### Scott Pelley’s interview with President Barack Obama was respectful, unlike Fox’s Super Bowl session two years ago, when Bill O’Reilly repeatedly interrupted Obama.

Pelley surprisingly opened with a question Obama was asked by the New Republic a week ago: If you had a son, would you let him play football? “I’d have to think about it,” Obama said, again.

### Dan Marino did not seem distracted by Thursday’s revelation that he fathered a child out of wedlock in 2005. As expected, the topic was not broached on the broadcast.

### Thankfully, CBS did not subject us to any of those inane red carpet interviews that polluted the Fox and NBC pre-games the past two years.

###  CBS Sports allows sponsors to infiltrate its editorial content more than any other network, and that continued with a cheesy segment (no pun intended) in which Sharpe and Esiason asked fans to shout “hut, hut!” in exchange for food from Pizza Hut.

### After James Brown pointed out that none of the 15 coach or general manager openings were filled by minorities, commissioner Roger Goodell said changes would be made to the Rooney Rule. But James should have asked Goodell a follow-up: What changes?

### Funniest moment: After Sharpe inadvertently called Greg Gumbel “J.B.,” Gumbel said, “Alright, Sterling.”

### Oddest pre-game note: Tasker said the 49ers rehearsed how they would handle pre-game snacks.

### CBS insider Jason LaCanfora said Ravens safety Ed Reed might sign with the Colts this offseason.