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UM battles looming; Dolphins, UM/NCAA and Oden updates; Tino/Marlins fallout

WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN

UM football camp opens Saturday, with several battles percolating. Here are seven worth tracking:

### Cornerback: Ladarius Gunter (UM’s most consistent cornerback, according to defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio) and Antonio Crawford (UM’s fastest corner) enter camp as favorites to start, though Tracy Howard has a shot to overtake Crawford.

UM believes Howard began playing better last season when he became more receptive to coaching and playing the defensive technique he was taught. He’s fast, but not quite as fast as some fans expected…. Improved Nate Dortch is the favorite for the No. 4 job, but expect impressive newcomer Artie Burns to seriously challenge him.

### Middle linebacker: Jimmy Gaines versus Raphael Kirby looms as one of camp’s best battles.

D’Onofrio said Gaines led at the close of spring and “Gaines’ importance can’t be underestimated as far as how smart he is to get us lined up."

But Kirby was more heavily recruited and has a higher ceiling athletically. Both should play a lot, especially if Miami plays a 3-4 defense at times, which some players expect. (Using more 3-4 has been discussed, and we'll see if coaches go ahead and do that. Everyone expects to continue to see a lot of 4-3 defense, too)….

Denzel Perryman (UM wants more consistency) and impressive newcomer Alex Figueroa are heavy favorites to start at outside linebacker. And when/if UM shifts from a 4-3 to a 3-4, Tyriq McCord should play as an outside edge rusher. Backup defensive end Kelvin Cain also could play outside linebacker when UM uses a 3-4.

### Receiver: Allen Hurns and Herb Waters ended spring as the starters, but Rashawn Scott, Phillip Dorsett and Malcolm Lewis will push them, and all will play.

“We knew Waters would be a big wide-out,” coach Al Golden said. “But we’re learning he has lateral quickness and can make people miss.”

UM people rave about freshman Stacy Coley and the improvement of Jontavious Carter, but cracking the top five will be very difficult for either barring injuries.

### Tight end: Like last year, Asante Cleveland entered the summer first on the depth chart, ahead of Clive Walford, with newcomer Beau Sandland third. UM is hopeful Walford (biceps) will be ready to start the season, and he remains the favorite if he's healthy.

But offensive coordinator James Coley appears to have a higher regard for Cleveland than predecessor Jedd Fisch did. So if Walford is healthy, this might evolve into a battle between Cleveland and Sandland  -- who's a skilled receiver -- for the No. 2 job, with Jake O’Donnell and Standish Dobard behind them. Sandland has excellent receiving skills, but the transition from junior college was bumpy at times this spring.

"The transition of speed and size is still an adjustment for him," tight ends coach Larry Scott said earlier this offseason. "You've got to handle being moved around."

### Offensive line: UM believes it has at least seven players capable of starting. Seantrel Henderson and Brandon Linder are presumed starters on the right side. Shane McDermott is the front-runner at center.

On the left side, UM figures to use some combination of Ereck Flowers, Malcolm Bunche and Jon Feliciano, with two of them starting. UM is open to playing Bunche at guard and tackle. And tackle Taylor Gadbois and guard Danny Isidora have impressed coaches enough to become factors.

### Safety: UM ideally would like Deon Bush and Rayshawn Jenkins to seize starting jobs and expects them to reach heights, over the next three seasons, that Ray-Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque never could. Bush, off a hernia operation six weeks ago, hopes to be ready for the start of the season.

But Bush and Jenkins still make young player mistakes at times; Bush had D’Onofrio exasperated during the first scrimmage in March before closing strong. If either has serious missteps, UM would be open to starting heady A.J. Highsmith or Kacy Rodgers.

### Defensive tackle: D'Onofrio said Olsen Pierre, Curtis Porter and Luther Robinson ended spring far ahead of any of the other tackles, including Earl Moore and Corey King. Ufomba Kamalu will help immediately… Robinson, much improved in the past year, will be given every chance to push front-runners Pierre and Porter for a starting job.

### Elsewhere: Dallas Crawford, among UM’s most improved players, has a leg up for the backup running back job behind Duke Johnson, but UM expects newcomer Gus Edwards to help in short yardage, with Maurice Hagens also factoring in there. Eduardo Clements (neck) received medical clearance on Tuesday, according to caneinsight.com, but a UM spokesperson said he had no confirmation of that… Ryan Williams enters camp clearly ahead of Gray Crow for the backup job behind Stephen Morris

When UM plays a 4-3, Shayon Green -- despite his lack of pass-rush skills -- again figures to play a lot opposite Anthony Chickillo because UM loves his toughness and the fact that he’s difficult to displace on running plays. The depth will be better here, with elite pass-rushing freshman Alquadin Mohammad and former Wisconsin starter David Gilbert (UM expects him in August) joining Cain, improved Dwayne Hoilett and Jelani Hamilton as top reserves. Dyron Dye remains out with an injury, and the NCAA hasn't told him if he will be eligible, anyway....

Cincinnati transfer Pat O’Donnell will be the punter, and Matt Goudis likely the kicker. UM lists Dorsett as the primary punt returner –- ahead of Johnson –- and Dorsett or Lewis as the first-team kick returners. Coley and Corn Elder could factor in with returns.

CHATTER

The NCAA quietly has sent out word to some involved parties that it would like to announce UM’s sanctions around Aug. 8 but made no guarantees…. Elite defensive end Mohammad has qualified academically for UM, his high school coach, Don Bosco's Greg Toal, said Tuesday. UM expects Mohammaed -- rated by rivals.com as the 49th incoming recruit in the country -- will contribute on defense this season. But UM is pessimistic about ace pass-rusher Devante Bond’s chances of qualifying.

### Before signing Julius Pruitt after a workout on Tuesday, the Dolphins auditioned not only established veterans Laurent Robinson and Austin Collie, but also former college standouts Keenan Davis (Iowa) and Lavaiser Tuinei (Oregon/briefly with the Cowboys). (UPDATE: The Dolphins on Wednesday signed Davis as well, while waiving Jasper Collins and the injured Armon Binns.) The Dolphins like and wanted to work out former Arizona Cardinals receiver Early Doucet, but he already had a Seattle tryout booked.

The Dolphins were intrigued with Robinson and put him through a physical (unlike Collie). But there have been concerns about Robinson’s health after a concussion with Jacksonville last season. Robinson wasn't told if his health factored into the Dolphins' decision. 

### The problem with receiver Rishard Matthews’ knee injury -– expected to keep him out several weeks –- is that it happened during training camp, which means the Dolphins cannot stash him on the PUP list for the first six games of the season. So if he’s not healed by the opener, Miami must decide whether it's worth keeping him on the roster or whether to cut him and potentially re-sign him when he's healthy. Matthews impressed the team during the offseason program.

### We hear a few Marlins players are annoyed that Derek Dietrich and his agent waited more than two months to go to management to accuse since-ousted hitting coach Tino Martinez of physically confronting Dietrich.

“Derek didn’t want to ruffle feathers, but he ruffled feathers anyway,” infielder Greg Dobbs said. “You don’t sweep it under the rug and rehash it two months later. You deal with it then and there. I hope it’s a learning experience for him and his agent.” Another Marlin also expressed disappointment in Dietrich....

One Marlins person said Martinez wouldn’t have tried his abusive tactics with accomplished players such as Giancarlo Stanton. (See Clark Spencer's Marlins blog for more Martinez fallout today.)

### Center Greg Oden probably won’t decide among the Heat and five other teams until this weekend, agent Mike Conley Sr. said Tuesday, adding that formal offers haven’t been made yet. He said the Heat has seen “all it needs to see” from a medical standpoint and that Oden won’t necessarily take the highest offer. But asked if a Heat offer at the $1 million minimum would be good enough, Conley said he was not sure.

Comments

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here u go again... Front runners in August, young, inexperienced and injured in December... dejaVu u

"I think the biggest thing was to not change, was just to take all the young kids, the 14 or 15 freshmen we played over there and just to quiet their minds down, settle them down a little bit."

.

Sure, it makes perfect sense... If something is completely broken, why fix it right corch ?

Well that and constantly playing "14-15" Freshman excuse card year after year ...

Let the ifs, buts, wouldas, couldas, shouldas, i think, i hope, we might and maybes all over again.

Well it's been the cane mantra for nearly a decade and will continue under Golden. EXCuSE u

.

"Nothing to see here, trust me. I have a 500 page binder full of Penn State and Temple game and program plans..."

Corch Goldy

ps- but, we're still young, inexperienced although healty for now, but still completely depthless of and talented 2-deep talent for now...

Ed

face it - we better outscore people cause we're not stopping anybody. just reality.

UMcanes

"here u go again" - GET A LIFE, WILL YOU!

Your senseless, meaningless posts are the laughing stock of this site - we all know you're secretly a Gator or FSU or FIU "fan"...you HAVE to be the most uneducated low life to grace this site in years.

Do you honestly think that you're fooling someone?

Get lost, SCUM BAG - this is UM COUNTRY.

NO SKANKS ALLOWED!

Rolle, Philips, and Co

I think Kirby should start @ middle. Gaines should play outside and let Figs be backup mike. Gaines is good in coverage and has a knack for INTs. Man oh man, we need to play more physical defense. I heard the terminology is a little confusing..

Start T. Howard. for Gunter. He's a Sr. whose prob not getting drafted and is a little to slow for opposing #1 WR's. Boy I sure hope Chick has gained some explosiveness, hes almost 280 lbs. Id say 265 lbs would be ideal. Man to man coverage boys! We will get it done. Aug 30 and Sept 7 Be there!!!! Go canes!

Caldwell101

No mention of Jalen Grimble at DT/DE?

Cant F'in Wait

SEPTEMBER 7th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reality Bites

O line looks good
The QB is experienced
Receiver corps are solid
TEs seem fine
Duke is very good but will not last all season without help
Duke's backup is yet to be determined and unknown how useful he will be
Then there's the defense
The biggest thing there was to not make any changes
But changes were made
As in 4 of the better defenders were let go and one more graduated
Of course you can count on the freshmen
Count on a freshman LB to start and produce
Count on freshmen pass rushers to generate a non existing pass rush
Then you must count on the existing members of the #116 ranked defense to play better
Just because they can lift more weights now
And just because they are a year older
Hope springs eternal

Barry Jackson

Caldwell 101: Grimble will compete for playing time on the d-line, but he has been a big disappointment.

JaxCane

Can we have just one post without that troll? How much time does he devote to trolling this site? He's probably not a Gator on a FSU fan, he's probably not a fan of anything. Seems like a very sad individual.

Now, with the added weight and experience on that defense I think this will be a pretty exciting team. The defense won't be close to elite but things should open up once we get more pass rush. The fact that AQM and Gilbert will be joining is great!

Let's go Canes! I say ten wins this year

MiamiSouthPaw

This is the first year in a long time Kendall Thompkins hasn't been hyped as UM's breakout receiver.

JaxCane

It's time to move on from last year. Yeah, last year was rough on defense. But we knew that going in. I remember looking at the roster and was hoping just to get to six wins. They predicted us to only win four games and we overachieved. This year our over/under is at 8.5 and I'll take the over.

Maria

deja vu u...............get a life and go somewhere else to complain.

Hey Gators........we are coming after you!!!!

Great job as always Barry, you are truly the BEST! And greatly appreciated.

Seth

Gators 24 Canes 10

Maria

Gators 3 Canes 31

Lt. Lois Einhorn

Reality Bites, you're writing poetry about UM football now? I think you may need to reassess some things...

Great news that Mohammad qualified, Miami needs every defensive lineman they can get!

Reality Bites

Posted by: Lt. Lois Einhorn
Thank you for calling my analysis "poetry", I thought it was very good too.
Great news indeed about Mohammed, we will soon find out if he can be the instant pass rush cure that is expected.

Posted by: Maria
Keep up the tough talk girl. You seem to be a good canefan, tough in the Spring and Summer.

I was pretty pumped about all the off season moves by the Fins, but as the opener nears I am very concerned about the O line. If they can't protect T Hill then we are back to where we started.

About time Greg Oden makes up his mind, this is getting boring. If the Heat can't find another decent big man then it can be said that they got worse this off season with the loss of Miller.

Still No "D" In ur 'efense

Gained weight only ='s slower quickness and overall foot speed...

They were slow to begin with, now they're bigger and even slower...

But they'll look better filled out in their uniforms looosing ground to opponents sprinting towards the goal line this year. So there's an improvement there somewhere riiieet ?

JaxCane

Building muscle does not mean losing speed. Who is this guy? You really don't think players are supposed to get bigger from high school to the NFL?

Marios

How do you do it Barry J?
Keep it coming baby.

Sad times

Posted by: Still No "D" In ur 'efense | 07/31/2013 at 03:29 PM

Still no life.

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