UM names A.D.; UM starter on suspension; UM roster shuffling; Barkley on Heat; Fins, Marlins chatter
Quick Friday morning update: The interim title has been removed, and Blake James is now UM's permanent athletic director. He has impressed president Donna Shalala with his handling of several matters since Shawn Eichorst left for Nebraska in September.
FRIDAY BUZZ COLUMN
Beyond adding 16 players on National Signing Day, a few other roster moves are playing out at UM, with one key player suspended and three changing positions.
Linebacker Eddie Johnson is “suspended indefinitely” for an accumulation of undisclosed issues, coach Al Golden told me. Asked if he would play for the team in 2013, Golden said he is “hopeful” but preferred not to discuss it further.
Johnson needs to starting behaving maturely, because UM needs his speed and skill set, especially after parting ways with Gionni Paul and losing senior Ramon Buchanan.
Johnson – who was fourth on UM’s defense with 59 tackles, including a team-high 7.5 for loss, plus three forced fumbles -- was left home for the Virginia and Duke games last November for violating team rules, prompting Golden to say at the time: “I’m disappointed he’s not doing the things he needs to do.” Tardiness was believed to be an issue.
Defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio, asked in general about players who had missteps, said: “We can’t have immaturity. We can’t have guys going into their second and third year not acting and not playing like veterans.”
If Johnson gets his act together, he presumably would continue to start along with linebackers Denzel Perryman and Jimmy Gaines. But D’Onofrio also is excited about Raphael Kirby and believes Devante Bond, who had 17 sacks in junior college last season, is ready to play.
Tyrone Cornelius, Gabe Terry, freshman Jermaine Grace and others offer depth.
Meanwhile, Golden told me three players are changing positions: Tight ends Dyron Dye and David Perry have moved to defensive end, an area that needed depth. And defensive end Jake O’Donnell, who redshirted, is shifting to tight end.
Dye, a former defensive end, started eight games at tight end in 2012, but the Canes believe they have enough at the position, led by Clive Walford (234 receiving yards in UM’s final two games), Asante Cleveland and two newcomers -- Beau Sandland (the No. 1 rated junior college tight end) and Standish Dobard.
### As for other possible roster moves, Golden told WQAM's Joe Rose on Thursday: "There could be a JC kid still available. There could be a transfer or two."
### Here were some signing day comparisons made by UM coaches: Mario Cristobal compared Sandland to Jeremy Shockey; Micheal Barrow called Grace “a combination of Sean Spence and Denzel Perryman” and running backs coach Terry Richardson (who left for the same job with the Jacksonville Jaguars) likened running back Augustus Edwards to Eddie George.
### Oakland Park Northeast's Donnell Bennett, the former Canes running back, is a possibility to replace Richardson, and Canesport.com reported Miami Central coach Telly Lockette also is a candidate, with both interviewing Friday.
### UM was surprised it didn’t get FSU-bound linebacker Matthew Thomas; some assistants were left with the impression he would pick Miami. Meanwhile, receivers coach Brennan Carroll revealed that UM-bound Stacy Coley told UM at one point that he expected to attend FSU. “Terry Richardson and Al Golden flipped the kid!” Carroll said.
### Former UM offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland left Alabama to join Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles staff as o-line coach.
### Whereas Brandon McGee and Mike James on Thursday were invited to the NFL Combine in two weeks, former Cane Ray-Ray Armstrong - once billed as potential first-round pick by ESPN - was not even invited. Armstrong did not play this past season but his father said he's working with one of Tom Brady's former trainers. Two FIU players were invited to the Combine -- Jonathan Cyprien and Tourek Williams.
### TNT’s Charles Barkley said on a conference call Thursday that simply adding Chris Andersen won’t be enough for the Heat. “They need another big guy to repeat,” Barkley insisted. “They need a big guy for this year but also the future. What LeBron James is able to do on a nightly basis to cover up all their flaws is remarkable.”
But the Heat wants to get an extended look at Andersen, who has impressed, before deciding whether it needs any more help. “They’re a very small team and it’s too difficult to win multiple championships when you can’t out rebound teams,” TNT’s Kenny Smith said.
### As much as Reggie Bush would love to stay with the Dolphins, they still hadn’t made him an offer as of midweek…. Impending free agent Chris Clemons said if the Dolphins keep him and 2014 free agent Reshad Jones together longterm --- and Miami wants to keep both -- "we can be the best safety tandem in the NFL." Among all NFL safeties, Clemons allowed the lowest percentage of passes in his coverage area to be completed for first downs or touchdowns, according to ProFootballFocus. Jones was fifth.... Among 57 big cities, only Los Angeles had a worse TV rating for the Super Bowl than Miami-Fort Lauderdale.
### One upshot of the Marlins’ depressing offseason: “Our minor league system is a lot better than it was a year ago,” executive Larry Beinfest said, with the Marlins placing six players among MLB.com’s top 100 prospects: pitchers Jose Fernandez (7), Justin Nicolino (72) and Andrew Heaney (82), outfielders Christian Yelich (13) and Jake Marisnick (70) and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (82), the only one of the six expected to open the season in the majors.
Beinfest said the Marlins’ minor league system “was a little unfairly criticized” before the Toronto trade, which netted Nicolino, Marisnick and Hechavarria, among others: “We have players that maybe don’t get the love some other players get, like [outfielder] Marcell Ozuna, who led the Florida State League in home runs.”
And Beinfest said Double A prospect Derek Dietrich, acquired from Tampa for Yunel Escobar, “could be our future third baseman. We love him.”