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Buzz grows around S. Morris; Canes chatter; Heat roster, coaching news; Fins, Marlins

WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN

Buzz around UM football as camp approaches Aug. 3:

### The program that used to be known as “Quarterback U” hasn’t had one drafted before the seventh round in, shockingly, 21 years, since Craig Erickson was plucked in the fourth in 1992.

Stephen Morris assuredly will be selected much higher than Round Seven next spring. And considering his talent and supporting cast, it's reasonable to believe he could produce the best season by a Canes quarterback since Ken Dorsey, who was drafted in the seventh round in 2003.

Morris -- who ended 2012 on an 11-touchdown, no interception streak and finished with the fifth-most passing yards in a season in UM history -- drew raves for his work at the Manning Passing Academy last weekend.

He won the skills competition, hitting short, intermediate and deep targets on a moving golf cart – beating out projected first-round pick A.J. McCarron of Alabama, Florida’s Jeff Driskel and others. And he also performed well in a passing exhibition with receivers, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen mentioned to us in an e-mail.

Though NFL Network’s Mike Mayock called North Carolina’s Bryn Renner the most polished quarterback there, he said Morris was “the guy I really enjoy. He threw a beautiful football. He’s got a big arm. Stephen Morris has great mechanics. You can see he has really been developed well the last couple of years.”

NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks said Morris “might be the most talented quarterback in college football,” and that he “spins the ball with exceptional velocity and zip while showing a deft touch on intermediate and deep passes. Most impressively, he is deadly accurate, capable of making pinpoint throws to every area of the field. He displays terrific anticipation, awareness and timing in the pocket.”

UM coach Al Golden said Morris can throw the ball at least 65 yards in the air.

Earlier in his career, Morris was so unassuming that teammates couldn’t hear him in the huddle. He fixed that by practicing in the mirror. Now, “I watch Stephen talk and am amazed by his maturity,” Golden said.

### Good to see former UM quarterback and Palm Beach Cardinal Newman coach Steve Walsh offer mentoring to Morris this offseason.

“I said to Stephen, ‘Your arm talent is as good as guys in the NFL.’ The thing is his feet. They get out of whack, and then the arm doesn’t look as good. I’ve told him that,” Walsh said. “If he can work on fundamentals, he can go in the top three rounds of the draft. From a pure throwing standpoint, his arm is as good as there is in college.”

One NFC scout said he could see Morris going in the second round.

FYI: The other UM QBs drafted since Erickson were three seventh rounders: Gino Torretta in 1993, Scott Covington in 1999 and Dorsey.

"I'm excited to see how Stephen develops," said Dorsey, now the Carolina Panthers' quarterbacks coach. "You see a lot of strides. He's in great hands with this staff."

### Of the summer freshmen arrivals, nobody has impressed more in informal workouts than receiver Stacy Coley. “A freak,” one veteran player said.

Also, Morris predicts much-improved Jontavious Carter “is going to do something really big for us." It’s difficult to see anyone initially cracking a top five receiver group of Allen Hurns, Philip Dorsett, Rashawn Scott, Herb Waters and Malcolm Lewis. But Coley could get some opportunities this season and also might get a chance as a returner.

### UM players were timed in the 40 last week, and one player said Dorsett was the fastest – below a 4.3. Duke Johnson and Waters were close behind. UM players say Antonio Crawford is their fastest cornerback.

### One player said UM experimented with a 3-4 defense more this spring than last year, and it wouldn’t be surprising if we see more of it, along with the 4-3, which has been UM's base under Golden. Tyriq McCord and Kelvin Cain would be a natural edge rusher at outside linebacker in 3-4 formations. So would Devante Bond, if he qualifies, which remains in serious doubt.

### Incoming freshmen defensive linemen Alquadin Muhammad and Ufomba Kamalu say they expect to qualify.

### Players have mentioned how much more mature Seantrel Henderson seems. He said he wants to be a first-round pick, not the fourth-rounder NFL people projected after last season. UM people now know that Henderson responds better to positive reinforcement from coaches than he does to being admonished.

### Golden is encouraged that “we’re so much stronger than a year ago.” And bigger, too, which was a priority across the defensive front seven.

Linebacker Denzel Perryman, who came to UM at 208 pounds in 2011, bulked up to 239, Golden said. Linebacker Raphael Kirby has gone from 215 to 230, end Anthony Chickillo from 255 to 270, among other examples.

CHATTER

### The Dolphins and Dion Jordan’s agent will speak again Wednesday with the hope of striking a deal before camp opens Sunday. The offset language issue still must be overcome…. Fullback Vonta Leach’s agent will resume talks with Miami this week, as well, with the hope a deal can be reached soon.

### The Dolphins normally don't make players available before the start of camp, but they've scheduled a Ryan Tannehill press conference for Wednesday night, as he continues to grow more comfortable in his role as one of the faces of the franchise. "Now I can lead the way I want," he said. Last year, "I didn't want to step on toes."

### Heat assistant coach David Fizdale received permission to interview for the 76ers head coaching job, as Yahoo! first reported late Tuesday night. The 76ers also reportedly have reached out to Bulls assistant and former Heat TV analyst Ed Pinckey, Denver assistant Melvin Hunt and Chicago assistant Adrian Griffin. They also are said to have interest in Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, son of UM coach Jim Larranaga.

Fizdale declined overtures to interview for Portland's head-coaching job last summer because he said he wanted to be part of the Heat's efforts to defend its title. But he said during The Finals last month that he would be interested in the 76ers job if they reached out to him. 

### With Mike Miller gone, the list of dangerous streak-shooting guards remaining in free agency include point guard Nate Robinson (his agent has reached out to Miami) and Richard Hamilton. But there's a good chance James Jones will get first crack at Miller’s old job, with forward Rashard Lewis also assuming a larger role.

Former Heat standout Lamar Odom, who can play small forward or power forward at 6-11, remains available, but he's 33 and coming off a disappointing season for the Clippers (4.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 39.9 percent shooting and 20 percent on threes).

### Forward James Ennis, the Heat's second-round pick via a trade with Atlanta, has averaged 10 points in three Las Vegas Summer League games (10 for 24 shooting) -- including 11 points in Tuesday's loss to Minnesota -- and doesn't seem NBA ready. If the Heat brings him to camp and keeps him, it could stash him on its NBDL team in South Dakota; the Heat now will run basketball operations for that team in Sioux Falls.

### Pretty neat: The Marlins' Jose Fernandez on Tuesday became the third 20-year-old pitcher in All-Star Game history with at least two strikeouts in the game, joining Dwight Gooden and Bob Feller.... The reason outfielder Austin Kearns hasn't played since early May - and might not again this season - is because he's an only child caring for two seriously ill parents. The Marlins paid him for at least a month when he was initially out, which was generous and not required, but have not paid him recently, which Kearns certainly understands since he's on the restricted list.

Comments

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Putney Swope

Another fantastic column courtesy of Barry. The depth and breadth of the UM information is off the charts.

Dee

Putney... I concur!!!

andy

concur alos want to praise sileo hes entetaining informative funny little off the wall but like his style bye bye eisy or maybe slater i vote eisy off c ya try 940 eisy

canesallltheway

excited about this Canes team but a little concerned about generating QB pressure and the secondary. lots of young players on the back end Bush, Howard, Crawford Jenkins only sophomores but talented. Our offense will have to score lots of points again this year. Go Canes!

Ed Purchase

Sad to hear about Kearns. Nice of the Fish to show a little humanity.

Maria

You are the BEST Barry....The BEST! Thank you again, for your hard work. It shows.

green

"Spurrier then turned his attention to another topic that felt out of left field at SEC media days in Hoover, Ala. The often gregarious coach brought Notre Dame into the mix, wondering aloud why the Fighting Irish are allowed to operate as an individual entity while most schools are part of a larger conference. Notre Dame became a partial ACC member this month, yet its football team won't begin its limited five-games-per-year deal with the conference until 2014.

"We're trying to figure out why the athletic director of Notre Dame is equal to all of the conference commissioners, and no one had a good answer except that's the way it's always been done," Spurrier said.

"All 14 of our head coaches thought that Notre Dame should join the ACC to play football like all the rest of us," he said. "Notre Damers can get mad at me and us coaches for saying that … but from the rest of us that are in conferences, we say, 'Why aren't they in a conference?' It's hard to figure out why."
-- espn.com

QUASIMOTO

Lake Alice Chum

What a treat to find my good buddy Putney Swope around here. Been a while. I can't wait for September 7th. It is going to be a great game.

green

ACC Bowls Beginning 2014

The College Football Playoff starts in 2014. It has changed the face of bowl games. The ACC's traditional top game is the Orange Bowl. The Orange Bowl is included as part of the playoff's seminfinal rotation. Another bowl game is set to have the ACC's top pick outside the College Football Playoff.

"Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando to get ACC top pick after (College Football Playoff)/major bowls," a BCS source told Matt Hayes of the Sports News.

The Russell Athletic Bowl essentially sits in the same slot it did prior to all of the change. The ACC recently signed a deal with the Pinstripe Bowl and a new Detroit bowl, but the Russell Athletic Bowl with simply move up the ladder as the league's top non-College Football Playoff destination.

The ACC also has bowl tie-ins with the Belk, Sun, Gator/Music City and Capital One (when a Big Ten team plays in the Orange Bowl.)
-- espn.com

LINE 'EM UP & WATCH 'EM FALL

green

I can't wait for September 7th.

Posted by: Lake Alice Chum | 07/17/2013 at 11:05 AM

7 of 9 @MiamiHurricanes ticket staff members agree, the #Canes vs #Gators game will SELL OUT before single game public on sale on Aug. 5
-- @ChrisFreet

7TH HEAVEN

green

Despite some fans wanting to retain tradition (and I don't blame them at all for those feelings) the ADs, Presidents, and coaches, not to mention the conference leadership, seem to be mostly on the same page. They wouldn't have signed a GOR (grant of media rights) if they weren't. Perhaps that unity was fostered in rallying against external threats, but most comments coming out, even about the highly charged fan issue of the basketball tournament moving, seem to be on the same page and that page reads as positive toward some movement into NYC. That's your clue. It is going there when facilities are available and the decision has already been made (although subject to change based on facility availability, etc).
-- CrazyPaco

THESE VAGABOND SHOES ARE LONGING TO STRAY

Lake Alice Chum

Green is here! Always like you, green. Now Canestool not so much. I think strength vs strength in that game. UM offense vs UF defense. Im already jacked up and we still have like 7 weeks to go.

green

Green is here! Always like you, green.

Posted by: Lake Alice Chum | 07/17/2013 at 11:22 AM

what's not to like ...

SERVICE WITH A SMILE

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Your obsession with Florida International is certainly something not to like.

You give that school far more attention than they warrant.

Lake Alice Chum

Relax there, Finkle. Don't you have some banana tucking to do. ;)

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Your gun is digging into my hip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhBr0lPNuuU

green

I qualify but I'm playing basketball this year
I will be there December
-- Derrick Griffin ‏@DRABB23

CHRISTMAS IN JULY

Posted by: green | 07/07/2013 at 11:08 AM

Christmas In July

Need a hoops fix? Check out ESPN.com's unveiling of 11 early-season tourneys.
-- espn headline 7/17/13

is it flattery ...
when the so-called worldwide leader routinely turns to you for quick inspiration ...
or is it theft ...
worthy of a good old-fashioned American lawsuit of an especially goddamned deep-pocketed parent company ...
either way ...

PAY THE PIPER

CarolCityCane

Thanks Barry, awesome detail and info in a compressed format! Keep em' coming...

green

Your obsession with Florida International is certainly something not to like.

You give that school far more attention than they warrant.

Posted by: Lt. Lois Einhorn | 07/17/2013 at 12:24 PM

what have these undeserving cockroaches done to deserve disproportionate coverage besides ebomb the rag's braintrust & pick a fight with the schoolyard bully ...

SPEAK UP I'M WEARING A TOWEL

Reality Bites

Easy there lil green pea leave the Golden Panthers alone, they do have a nice on campus stadium don't they. And why are the sorry canes so afraid to play them?
Hey green pea, you know someone saw the lil sign in Yankee Stadium, you know the one, and said who the heck cares about those losers.
Chum boy, I can't wait for Sept 7th either you better find a defense before then you hear.

Mike Miller will be surely missed, specially come playoff time. Hope he doesn't sign with a team like Chicago or Indiana.
Go Heat!

Reality Bites

BTW lil green pea, of course the Sept 7th Gator game @ Sun Life Rent a Stadium will sell out. The Gators are coming to town dude, they will sell out the stadium. The stands will be colored Orange and Blue. That will be one of the only two sell outs for your pathetic team. The other one will be thanks to FSU fans.
It's the truth and you all know it.
But then again it's what mediocre teams get, only sell out when the opponent is a national power.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Reality Bites, a "nice on-campus stadium"?

You're not a smart man.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5e/ForrestGump2.jpg

sflafan

I'm hoping Stephen Morris doesn't start thinking Heisman, start doing to much, and then hurt the team. This team needs to get Duke Johnson going early and often in each and every game. With the big O Line, the importance of having a great running game, and having one of the top 5 backs in the country, the "U" needs to run the ball FIRST. Morris can then use play action and situational football to pass efficiently. That is the formula Alabama has used to win National Championships. A big O Line, a talented back, pound the ball mercilessly, demoralize the defense, then let their QB pick the defense apart with wide open wide receivers. This year should NOT be about Morris. It should be about winning first. And a successful and elite DUKE gives the TEAM the best chance to win. I'm trusting Golden and Morris both understand this.

Lt. Lois Einhorn
Lake Alice Chum

Reality, I am a Gator fan. So not sure what defense we would need to find. Gators have one. ;)

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