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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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Jo jo

Like it or not...there s plenty of Miami haters out there.Of course they ve been happy seeing the NCAA s involvement and upcoming sanctions.No sense feeling sorry because the Canes WILL be back again.Not jealous or envious fans or the NCAA can keep them down.True ,Shalala could have done a much better job weeding out Shapiro by listeneing to Shannon and the Compliance Officer at that time.However......SHE DID NOT.She is now paying the price for her laikadaisical oversight during that time.Regardless.........the transgressions were made and one way or another.........Miami must pay their debt/punishment.The end is in sight albeit will be a slow crawl to the finish line it appears.GO CANES.

TK SWAN!!

IF MARK MAY HATES THE CANES NOW WAIT TIL WE BASH HIS BELOVED PITT PANTHERS YEAR AFTER YEAR. AS FAR AS LOU HOLTZ GOES! I HAVE TO RESPECT HIM FOR WHAT HE'S DONE FOR THE SPORT OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL BUT HE IS STILL UPSET THAT MIAMI BEAT HIM IN '89 AND KEPT HIM FROM WINNING NC BACK TO BACK. HE FORGETS THAT HE ACTUALLY LOST IN '88 UNTIL THE ND OFFICIALS REALIZED THEY HAD TO STOP THAT. HOLZ ALSO ENDED THE GAMES BETWEEN THE TWO SCHOOLS. THIS YEAR AFTER THE CANES ARE WINNING AGAIN PLEASE REMIND THE PEOPLE OF ESPN EXCEPT HOWARD AND CORSO THAT WE DO NOT WANT THEM ON OUR BOAT. GO CANES!!

A.A. Taylor

If The Dolphins had the sense that the U has had for twenty five years-and that is to draft players from their own back yard as in from the U, then they would have been successful year after year.

It really pains me to see Ed Reed, Warren Sapp, Devin Hester, Antrell Rolle, Cortze Kennedy, Russell Maryland, and now Frank Gore just to name a few, spend their valuable Hall of Fame years elsewhere. Go figure.

Concerning Miami, I wish someone would teach Business, social and even religious ethics to our young players, staff, and directors as well; including Donna for selling out. The NCAA is obviously displaying hard prejudice in their version of a fair investigation and should let it rest before too many innocent people get hurt. There will be no winners in this cyclone of a sporting mess!

JOSE

DO YOU RELIZE THE NBA AND COLLEGE BASKETBALL ARE WARTERD DOWN BOTH LEAGUES EVERYBODY SUCKS THATS WHY THE HEAT AND UM ARE WINNING THE NFL IS HARD TO WIN EVERYBODYS GOOD YOU EARN YOUR WINS IN BASKETBALL ITS EASY TO WIN EVEN IN THE FINALS WHERE THE OKLAHOMA THUNDER QUIT IN THE FINALS LAST YEAR NBA HAS NO UPSIDE IT HAS A DOWNSIDE ITS GONNA GET WORSE WATCH NFL IS GONNA GET BIGGER EVERY YEAR

Tipstercal

ireland is a complete fool!! there is no way we are going to improve no matter how many more picks in the draft we receive.. he cannot pick talent and certainly doesn't have the knowledge capable of building a winner!! what a moron!! Fire ireland!!

relax

UMangini/UMike,

Why are you such an angry troll? What did the world do to you?

UMike

Quijote: The SCARE you gave Alabama...ya know, you're one SICK, DELUSIONAL Puppy, really.

Did your mother drop you on your head when you were an infant?

FIU this, FIU that....FIU is NOT RELEVANT and has nothing to do with ANYTHING that is going on in sports right now...The Herald only gives them some coverage so idiots like you will SHUT UP....UM's baseball team is out-drawing FIU's basketball team, 5-1, since UM is averaging about 2,800 per game, and FIU's basketball team is averaging about 700 per game...get outta here, will you...?

It's not FIU that people hate, it's their MORON FANS like YOU who say the stupidest things...got get your head checked for a concussion....you're a total IDIOT who knows nothing...FIU, FIU...can't even win the Sun Belt Conference, and NOW you want coverage and you're talking about Conf. USA being some great conference...I think the SUN BELT might be better than Conf. USA...you're a MORON!! You're an idiot and you're dumb as SH*T!!

Jo jo

Dear JC: Nice try but too funny.Miami DEFINITELY WILL NOT get the death penalty.That s a fact and it s even less likely now that the NCAA screwed up themselves for their own lack of institutional control.Hilarious.Miami I agree made transgressions and should be punished.They have self-imposed and MAY get hit a little bit more.THAT said.....eventually the NCAA will want to get past the U and their own stink.THAT is exactly what will happen from the COI.They will rule with more fair deliberation with BOTH party s transgressions and deliver more appropriate and MATURE sanctions to bring closure to this escapade .....by both sides.

Jo jo

Regarding Sunday s post about the Defensive Coordinator(or at least that s what he s called)and Shayon Green.It seems Golden s DC has Green clearly playing OUT OF POSITION.The guy has 67 tackles and ZERO sacks.Not many effective pass rushes either one would think.He s obviously too SLOW,WEAK or FAT to rush a QB.HE should not even be starting.HE should be a BACK-UP, used for DEPTH.Let 1 of the new young speed rushers or all of them take his place instead.Shuffle the UNPERFORMING PASS RUSHER ENDS.NO BRAINER.IMPROVE or be FIRED as the DC this year.

Mark Faugno

People like Mark May lived and played in an era when it was common practice to take money from boosters.
I am quite certain that his pockets were lined comfortably with dead presidents when he was at pitt. Its hard to figure the hypocrocy people have when they get into that chair and preach to other people, players teams and schools knowing they did the exact same thing


hswalden@gmail.com

The only way to deal with NCAA is get the attorney general involved to hear evidence and proof in case, Donna and Miami will not get a fair shake, NCAA enforcement staff needs to be remote of the other depatments, they will drag this out for another year. The problems children in NCAA need to be removed by the college world, they have forgotten the purpose period. I would not take Marks word for anything or the COO or Remy covering their u know what.

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