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2 posts from September 28, 2013

September 28, 2013

Postscripts from UM's win against USF; Stephen Morris angry

Postscripts, notes and quotes from UM’s 49-21 thumping of USF Saturday in Tampa, which left UM at 4-0 for the first time since 2004:

### Al Golden said he isn’t concerned about Stephen Morris’ ankle injury, but Morris – who left the game, limping, in the second quarter - was fuming afterward about what he called “dirty” play by USF.

“South Florida’s a dirty team,” he said after the game to reporters in Tampa.

“When you’re tackled and everyone’s on top, they’re going to try to go for your ankles. We were up three, four touchdowns. Ain’t no point for me to mess with these guys who are going to play dirty. I wanted to score 70 points on them. They disrespected us so I had no respect for them. At that point, I felt like we should just keep pushing it. They obviously saw the injury report.”

Golden said with Morris: “The best way to explain it is he didn’t go backwards. It’s not like he re-injured anything. He wasn’t in a boot. He’s running around still. He should be a lot better by the time we get going” Monday.

### Golden, who said all week that he expected Morris to play today, said he went to bed last night thinking Ryan Williams would start. But Golden said he changed his mind after watching Morris warm up before the game.

### Others also left with injuries, including Eduardo Clements (hamstring), Philip Dorsett (shoulder) and Jermaine Grace (ribs). But Golden said: “I think we’re healthy.”

### It could have been a lot more lopsided, but Golden told WQAM: “We were laying off. From the first touchdown of the third quarter, we called off the dogs. If we didn’t call it off, we could have easily got a lot more points in the second half. It got a little sloppy in the second half. We played a lot of guys. That was about as efficient as we’ve been in the passing game for a half.”

“I told you it was going to be tough. Doesn’t mean it had to be close…. First third of the season – 4-0 – right where we want to be. Our guys are playing hard, playing really well.”

But Golden said Duke Johnson’s two fumbles near the goal line “were really disappointing.”

### Though safety Deon Bush had a sack and forced fumble (that Luther Robinson recovered), Golden said his “conditioning is not where it needs to be. He needs to recognize that.”

### Huge game for the UM receivers. Stacy Coley caught four passes for 96 yards, including a 34-yard TD pass from Morris and 11-yard TD from Ryan Williams. Dorsett caught three for 75, including a picturesque 55-yarder from Stephen Morris on Miami’s second drive. Allen Hurns had 5 for 81 and Herb Waters caught a 19-yd TD pass from Morris.

A 64-yard punt return by Dorsett was wiped out by a penalty.

### Good to see Coley regain his confidence after the two drops in the opener against FAU. Coley said he played only about eight offensive snaps against the Gators, but the staff is determined to get him a lot of work because he’s too talented to keep off the field. Offensive coordinator James Coley told WQAM: "Some players move the sticks. Stacy Coley changes the scoreboard.”

### Morris, before departing, completed 11 of 16 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns.

Williams closed 8 for 14 for 153 yards, with a touchdown and a pick, and threw a beautiful 55-yard pass to Waters. Williams said last week that his arm strength has improved significantly, and that appears to be the case.

Gray Crow had one of his passes intercepted and returned for a touchdown and threw an incompletion on his other pass attempt. He was lifted after a short stint, with Williams sent back in the game.

### UM allowed 75 yards on USF’s first drive and 96 on its last but just 117 in between. Among the highlights: Shayon Green’s first career sack (in the end zone), which forced a fumble that Jimmy Gaines pounced on for a touchdown.

Despite Green’s limitations as a pass rusher, UM coaches consider him one of the physically strongest players on defense – a player who is very difficult for offensive linemen to dislodge. Green continues to earn playing time on first and second downs, ahead of impressive freshman Al-Quadin Muhammad and former Big 10 honorable mention David Gilbert, the Wisconsin transfer.

### Duke Johnson closed with 14 carries for 84 yards – including a four-yard touchdown run -- but his game was marred by the two goal-line fumbles. Dallas Crawford, still the No. 2 back in the eyes of the coaching staff, had pedestrian numbers (13 for 34) but has five touchdowns in the past two games, including two today.

Gus Edwards didn’t enter until six minutes remained in the third quarter and rumbled for 39 yards on his first carry. But he had only 14 yards on his nine other carries and couldn’t get it in the end zone in three opportunities near the goal line.

Crawford then re-entered on fourth down and lunged for a score.

As much as UM would love for Edwards to develop into their short yardage back, he still runs too upright at times.

### UM said it set a school record for first half yards (411). Miami closed with 540 yards, well behind the school record of 689, set in 1998 vs. UCLA.

“We knew what they were going to do,” center Jared Wheeler said of USF’s defense. “They ran a safety blitz early and never ran it again.”

### Linebacker Alex Figueroa started in place of Thurston Armbrister, but Armbrister had a sack. UM already has surpassed its sack total of last season, when the Canes produced only 13. Besides the sacks by Green and Bush and Armbrister, Raphel Kirby also had a sack, and Miami's fifth sack was registered as a "team" sack, credited to nobody in particular. Kirby, by the way, had 2.5 tackles for losses.

### Tyriq McCord had UM's one interception.... Clive Walford caught one pass for 18 yards, meaning 18 of his past 19 receptions have gone for first downs or touchdowns. Beau Sandland caught 2 for 7.          

Saturday morning quick hits: Dolphins, Hurricanes, Panthers, Heat signing

Some quick notes:

### No matter how you slice the statistics, Ryan Tannehill's numbers are impressive. Here's one nugget that Pro Football Focus came up with: If you remove drops, spikes, throw aways and batted balls,  Tannehill has completed an impressive 78.2 percent of his passes this season. That’s fourth-best in the league behind only Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler.

Here’s what Saints coach Sean Payton said he noticed about Tannehill watching film: “He’s certainly confident - you can just see that. Just the last game in the two minute drill, he understands his progressions, his fundamentals. His accuracy has been outstanding. Most importantly, that position, the key is to lead their team to wins and give them a chance. And you can see him do that.”

### Payton is concerned with Miami’s offense because “you’ve got a lot of different targets that make it challenging to defend…. Charles Clay is someone that’s sudden and has a great understanding of the passing game.  I think also when you put the receivers that they have outside that position it becomes hard to say, ‘We’re going to double this guy or help this guy’ and often times those interior players such as a Charles Clay or the running backs become very good targets, and very dependable targets.”

### Through four games, Jake Long has allowed two sacks and 14 quarterback hurries for St. Louis. In three games, Jonathan Martin -– who replaced Long at left tackle for the Dolphins -- has allowed two sacks and eight hurries. But Long has been the far better run blocker. Pro Football Focus rates Martin 67 of 71 tackles in run-blocking. Among those who are worse: Dolphins right tackle Tyson Clabo and Baltimore’s Bryant McKinnie, whom Miami tried to sign.

### Because Corn Elder has done such a good job at cornerback for UM in practice, he won’t redshirt and the UM basketball team won’t get him until possibly January. But Jim Larranaga said he still hopes that Elder can help UM at point guard this season.

“I’m very pleased that Al Golden and the football program allow Corn to even consider basketball after the football season is over,” Larranaga said Friday. “Corn joined us for a few workouts this summer. He got hurt after the third one, so he didn’t get to do much more than that. But Coach Golden and I have spoken about him and Al has said that he’s a great kid, great athlete, and great energy, really demonstrates a lot of qualities that will be successful in football. They definitely correlate to the basketball court.”

### Though UM lost six of its top seven players from last season’s team, forward Erik Swoope said Friday: “Our athleticism is, if you ask me, 10 times what it was last year. I know we’re not as big, but I’ve seen in practice the new guys, the program that we’ve instilled last year, the guys’ athleticism, their speed, and their quickness is outstanding. To be honest, there’s going to be some fun games to watch.”

### NBA commissioner David Stern introduced the Panthers’ new owner, Vinnie Viola, to commissioner Gary Bettman, and the two had lunch a few weeks ago –- setting in motion steps that led to Viola purchasing the Panthers.

“If you want to come into the league, it helps to have lunch with me,” Bettman cracked at the Panthers press conference Friday.

Viola said he will be “very involved” but “I don’t see myself suggesting draft picks or trades.”

## Though the odds are against guard Roger Mason Jr. making the Heat, don’t completely discount his chances. He’s a career 38.4 shooter from three-point range, and 41.5 last season (66 for 159 on threes for New Orleans). Mason, 33, averaged 5.3 points in 69 games last season. Mason's signing gives the Heat 19 players. Teams can invite as many as 20 to camp.

### Gatorade will not renew the expiring contract of Kevin Durant, which is notable only because some speculated that his testy exchange with Dwyane Wade on Twitter this week was done to benefit Gatorade. (Durant and Wade taped a Gatorade commercial several months ago.) Wade insisted their exchange was not a joke, but he had nothing to do with Gatorade dropping Durant.