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Buoniconti makes plea to Ireland; Fins, Canes, Heat; More reasons why UM is angry with NCAA

FRIDAY BUZZ COLUMN 

For years, it has been a Dolphins’ problem that seemingly can never be solved. As they continue their elusive search for a high-impact stretch-the-field tight end, general manager Jeff Ireland keeps defending the maligned player he drafted; several intriguing veterans approach free agency; and Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti is making an impassioned plea for Miami to follow his advice on the issue.

“There’s one guy that can change this offense and that’s Tyler Eifert,” Buoniconti, a Notre Dame alum, said of the 6-6 Fighting Irish tight end and former receiver.

“But I’m not sure the Dolphins have the vision to get him,” Buoniconti said. “If he stays healthy, he will re-write the tight end record books. He’s that good. If the Dolphins had any sense of wanting to improve the team down the middle and open it up for other receivers, this is the guy. He’s a gem.

“I’m sure he doesn’t fit the mold for the Dolphins. He’s too good.”

Some draft analysts consider Miami’s 12th pick high for Eifert, but Buoniconti said he’s worthy of a top-10 selection. He’s also an option if Miami trades down.

“He’s a heck of a player,” said Kiper, who projects him 30th but said he would have no issue picking him in the middle of the first round.

“Eifert and Stanford’s Zach Ertz are splitting hairs,” Kiper said. “Both have a chance to be great players in the NFL. Both have pass catching skills of receivers and can overwhelm corners with very good size.”

Asked if Eifert or Ertz should be in the mix at No. 12, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said: “At No. 12, both those guys are talented. They’re what today’s tight ends are all about. Both of their strengths are getting down the field and catching the ball. Eifert did a better job blocking.”

But Sporting News analyst Russ Lande said Eifert “is not a guy like Rob Gronkowski who will run away from people and run people over.” Some evaluators have raised Heath Miller and Kyle Rudolph as more appropriate comparisons.

ESPN’s Scouts Inc. says Eifert “uses his frame well to box out defenses, and is fast enough to work the seam and make defenses pay for biting on play action, but not going to make many defenders miss.”

Mayock calls San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar (52, 543) the third-best tight end after Eifert and Ertz and sees a dropoff after that.

“It’s a pretty good group,” Kiper said, calling UF’s Jordan Reed a potential second-rounder (“he can stretch the deep middle”) and Michigan State’s Dion Sims and Escobar third- or fourth-rounders.

The Dolphins are expected to try to re-sign Anthony Fasano for modest money while also seeking a skilled playmaker to complement him with a different skill set. That player obviously could start if he's good enough and if the Dolphins can actually acquire him, which they've had no success doing for five years. They’re expected to kick the tires on Jermichael Finley if the Packers release him.

At least four potential free agents would be upgrades: Jared Cook (Tennessee might franchise him; Miami once nearly drafted him before regrettably taking Patrick Turner instead), Washington's Fred Davis (off a torn Achilles’), the Jets' Dustin Keller (injury-plagued in 2012) and Martellus Bennett, who said he prefers to stay with the Giants and also wouldn’t mind playing with his brother Michael, a defensive end who had nine sacks for Tampa Bay.

But Ireland also keeps insisting third-rounder Michael Egnew, who played just 25 snaps and wasn’t thrown a pass as a rookie, is going to have a “good season” in 2013, even though teammates are dubious.

When WQAM’s Joe Rose expressed skepticism about Egnew and asked Ireland what he sees, Ireland said: “I see a 6-4, 260-pound guy who runs a 4.65. I see a guy having vertical speed down the middle of the field. I see a big guy that moves well. I see a developing player with his hand in the dirt.

“I see a competitive guy. I can name several players at that position that did very little in their first year and became big time playmakers. That’s a position that develops differently. Other than quarterback, that position is the most mentally and physically demanding.”

Ireland mentioned a Super Bowl tight end that did little in his first year -- presumably Baltimore’s Dennis Pitta, who had one catch for one yard as a rookie but then blossomed.

But here’s one of the problems with Egnew: According to a teammate, he lined up on the wrong side during pregame work before the season-finale and had troubling remembering the plays.

Ireland explained Thursday that finding a tight end can be challenging because “you’ve got a lot of detached receiver types that fit a tight end body and then when you use a system that uses a traditional tight end, you’re sometimes trying to project that player and the projection business is difficult.”

CHATTER

### As if the NCAA hasn’t done enough already to aggravate UM, add this to the list: Last week, UM and the NCAA engaged in serious settlement talks, and several UM people expected a deal because president Mark Emmert seemed initially supportive. UM wanted a settlement and likely would have accepted modest scholarship reductions.

But a source said the NCAA then informed UM there would be no deal and suggested to UM the enforcement staff and two key boards were against it because of concerns about “not deviating from the rules.”

### Also, UM tried to convince the NCAA to not use the words “lack of institutional control” – and was hopeful at one point it might be changed to the less serious “failure to monitor” – but the NCAA wouldn’t back down.

### UM spring practice starts March 2, and Duke Johnson – hardly content - said one reason he wants to "bulk up and get stronger” is because “I don’t want to get taken out on short yardage because I can’t block.”… New offensive coordinator James Coley is hitting it off with Stephen Morris: “What a great young man. He makes great decisions. He can do something very special this year.”

### Tweet of the day, from NCAA critic and former Canes great Alonzo Highsmith, who's in Indianapolis for the scouting combine in his role as a Packers executive: "Well, I visited the NCAA and asked for [president Mark] Emmert but wasn't in!!!! I said, 'Tell him Alonzo came by.' I think I need to visit Emmert dressed like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction."

### There's no bigger Canes hater than ESPN's Mark May, who tweeted Thursday: "Let's hope the NCAA stands firm vs. Miami. The self-imposed penalty is not even close for their violations."

### Though the Heat would consider adding a player to replace Dexter Pittman if the perfect fit becomes available, there's nobody Miami's targeting at the moment. They had no interest in Kenyon Martin (who signed with the Knicks tonight). And Jermaine O'Neal, who might get a Phoenix buyout, was considered high-maintanance during his stint here and isn't a Heat target.

The Heat decided there was more potential with Jarvis Varnado than Pittman, whose option likely would not have been picked up this summer anyway.

### More evidence of how our market is changing, thanks to Heat success and Dolphins missteps: Last Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game on cable produced nearly as high a rating in Miami-Fort Lauderdale (12.6) as the Dolphins-Texans opener on free TV last season (13.5). Remarkable.

Comments

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Quijote

Thank you for the FIU coverage.

In related news, Pitino Sr was at FIU cheering on his son to a winning season. Look for FIU to make noise in the Sunbelt tournament, before jumping to Conference USA next year.

Congrats to Mario on his promotion and vertical leap to Alabama football. I guess Nick didn't forget that scare we gave him a few years ago, up in the third quarter.

Freddie

Ireland has a blind spot with tight ends.Can't identify them. Can't acquire them.

Omaximus

Those TV ratings don't bode well for the Dolphins stadium referendum (if there actually is a referendum). Wasn't the original story that the referendum was going to be in May? Is Stephen Ross going to shell out the millions of dollars a referendum will cost? Are they going to try and stick that expense to the taxpayers?

It will be interesting to see just how much ROI Stephen Ross gets on all those "campaign contributions" he passed out to Mayor Giminez and his buddies this past year.

Ed

Wish they would sign Martellus Bennett one of these years.

bob strong

sign both Benetts!!

Don

Am I the only one skeptical about whether they will actually improve their skill positions as much as fans hope?

Billb

Mark May makes me sick. To be so eaten up with hate over some school's football program seems just sick to me. Is he some sort of reverse racist who dislikes his own people? Did someone in Miami step on his toes at some time? I would really like to see Al confront him over this sometime in the future. How can anyone hate a good, clean coach like Al and the good kids who play for him? None of these people had a thing to do with this Shapiro mess, and yet May relishes seeing these young people suffer. Something's really wrong with this picture. the kids and Al have been through enough with this mess.

Worse than Lebron

Quijote,

FIU still?

Go read the student newspaper over there. You can find a copy at La Carreta on 8th street.

We come here to read about real teams.

Gary

Mark May sits next to the biggest in the history of college football and yet says nothing. Lou Holtz. Go to where he has coached and after he leaves and notice the trouble and probation he leaves behind. Mark May is an overblown wind bag just like all the other college football guys at ESPN.

Sarasota 'cane

Mark May is right. You do the crime you do the time but YOU cannot determine the punishment. Just keeping it real - trust me we DONT want to go to court where the can then subpoena former players. Do you really want Kyle Wright and Vince Wolfork on the stand?

Go 'canes

Celia

FIU's athletic program is hardly news.

 UGoCane

Mark May is an Enigma....

He is perplexing because he has Visceral Hate in his eyes when he talks about the 'Canes.

When he played football, he must have had a bad experience against our 'Cane alumni players, because as he looked at the 'Canes flying high, his Pitts were nothing but "B" league or even "C".

When Miami becomes a power program -like we will again- he will be forced to eat his words..

Death Penalty he predicted for Miami and smiled, when this scandal broke not knowing any facts..

What an A******.

Pitt in the ACC is now a problem for him...

Total idiot..

Disregard his commentary..
We have done without his sarcasm, at least Herbie is now on Board and giving some love to the 'U'.
Go 'Canes

green

Thank you for the FIU coverage.

Posted by: Quijote | 02/21/2013 at 10:57 PM

scream & shout ...
jump up & down ...
but you're not on par with the University of Miami ...
unequal interest ...
unequal accomplishment ...
unequal league ...
know your place ...

BENEATH U

green

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE41V5fnDZg

until fiu starts to matter in a big way in a way that UM matters there will never be the same coverage at least not on the sports page.
-- fiu student media

TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE

sickandtired

Buoniconti is the man!! One of the only former players that isn't afraid to call the team out for the garbage they have been. I believ M. Fernandez is another. 5 years as GM and we have one play maker (Wake) in a play maker's league. No wonder 7 of their 8 games should have been blacked out. Can you say Basketball town?

green

Thank you for the FIU coverage.

Posted by: Quijote | 02/21/2013 at 10:57 PM

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/30/sports/30colleges.html?_r=0

minor-league college athletics with a make-believe fan base subsidized by the strong-arm of an unsuspecting student body warrants scant attention from a major-league metropolitan newspaper ...
you are what you is ...

BUSH

green

http://theuhoops.tumblr.com/post/43645389725/did-um-inspire-the-heats-alley-oop-dunk-dwade

On SportsCenter: DWade says @SLarkin_0 and @kadji35 inspired their backboard alleyoop dunk last night
– hurricanesports

KIDS DO THE DARNDEST THINGS

green

http://rdublog.com/2013/02/21/exciting-new-restaurants-coming-to-terminal-1/#more-277

The ACC is opening a restaurant with a full bar … This will open at the Raleigh airport, with considerations to do it in other ACC states as well. I honestly thought this was a joke when I heard about them talking about this a few weeks ago….if you opened a restaurant in each one of the major cities in our states, we could make some serious bank eventually. #gazillions
– westmc9th

McACC

UMike

MARK MAY is gay and sucks Lou Holtz's weener.

F**K MARK MAY, he knows nothing.

SCR*W THE NCAA.

Mark May and Lou Holtz and the rest of the country are in love with Notre Dame and Michigan, etc., schools that get ranked BECAUSE OF THEIR NAMES ONLY!

Hey Mark: News Flash: UM is going to once again set the precedent, like so many times in the past, and not only stand up to the NCAA for their TAINTED INVESTIGATION, but SUE THE HELL OUT OF THEM...go tell your boyfriend Lou Holtz that, too!

GO CANES!

We STAND With "The U"

UMike

Quijote is an idiot..he wants FIU to have coverage...UM's baseball team averages four times as many fans per game as FIU's basketball team....coverage? For what, because you have a coach who's getting jobs because of his dad's success...because you play in the prestigious SUN BELT and you're 10-8 in conference play? COVERAGE FOR WHAT?

Half of your entire student body are UM fans, COVER THAT Quijote, you big whining school girl!

Maria

Mark May is useless. I stopped watching him years ago, he has no clue what is saying on ESPN. His comments are so stupid.

What in the world does ESPN see in them!

green

http://www.siriusxm.com/collegesports

Miami big man @Regg_42 is a regular weekly guest on my Sirius Show and I can’t wait to hear him Friday after his game-winning hoop

Landslide. RT @TroyMachir: Totally agree with @GoodmanCBS . Miami big-man Reggie Johnson is the best interview in college hoops this season.
– jeff goodman

DO I AMUSE U

Johnny Cochran

Lack of institutional control added to repeat offenses. The U aggrivated at the NCAA? They should be thrilled that they found a way to throw out some of the evidence.

Doesn't really matter though, 'lack of institutional control', again, means they are in-line for the DP.

By the way Barry, how's the PED investigation coming along with the UM's strength and conditioning coach. You've been awful quiet on that front.

green

By the way Barry, how's the PED investigation coming along with the UM's strength and conditioning coach. You've been awful quiet on that front.

Posted by: Johnny Cochran | 02/22/2013 at 01:38 PM

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-source-miami-baseball-players-pass-hgh-test

AP Source: All Miami Hurricanes baseball players passed test to detect whether they were using HGH.
-- @ByTimReynolds

WITH FLYING COLORS

green

Lack of institutional control added to repeat offenses. The U aggrivated at the NCAA? They should be thrilled that they found a way to throw out some of the evidence.

Doesn't really matter though, 'lack of institutional control', again, means they are in-line for the DP.

Posted by: Johnny Cochran | 02/22/2013 at 01:38 PM

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/21/3246648/ncaa-drops-the-ball-in-um-investigation.html

I wouldn't bet the rent on what the Committee on Infractions is ever gonna do. They could say, No, there are still problems, 80 percent is still significant, we're gonna impose other penalties. Or almost equally likely the Committee could take out its frustration on the enforcement staff and let Miami off.
-- ncaa expert john infante

DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY

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