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9 a.m. update: UM adds opponents to 2014 and 2015 schedules; Dolphins coaches opine

Look for UM to announce later today that it has booked Cincinnati for a home-and-home football series. The Bearcats will visit Sun Life Stadium in 2014 and UM will visit Cincinnati in 2015.

That leaves UM with this non-conference schedule next season: at Nebraska, home against Arkansas State, home against Florida A&M and home against Cincinnati.

The Bearcats are 8-2 this season and have won five in a row. UM had spoken to Southern Mississippi about playing in 2014, but as those talks fizzled, Cincinnati emerged as a realistic option.

The Nebraska and Arkansas State games are both part of home-and-home series. Nebraska will visit UM in 2015, and UM will visit Arkansas State in 2017.

Notre Dame, Toledo and Michigan State are also scheduled for future non-conference series against UM. Check back later today for a lot more UM news.

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A few notes and quotes from today’s Dolphins media briefing and a look at how the schedules stack up among top contenders for the AFC's sixth playoff spot:

### Investigator Ted Wells arrived at the Dolphins’ facility at 7 this morning and began interviews with players and other team personnel as he examines the Dolphins’ bullying scandal. Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said “we were told they will do everything they can not to disrupt the flow of the normal week.”

Some coaches, including Mike Sherman, will meet with Wells on Tuesday.

“We’re sticking to the [normal] schedule,” Joe Philbin said. “We’ll be fine.”

### Philbin and Sherman praised the Dolphins’ makeshift offensive line, which was missing three starters Sunday. The Dolphins allowed three sacks but ran for 104 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

“They hung in there,” Philbin said. “Didn’t have a lot of mental mistakes. There’s still a lot of improvement we can make.”

Undrafted rookie Sam Brenner started at left guard and played 61 of the Dolphins’ 66 offensive snaps. Veteran Danny Watkins played five and rookie third-round pick Dallas Thomas played one.

Why did Brenner get the start over Watkins and Thomas?

“We’ve been keeping our eye on Sam,” Philbin said. “Thomas has been getting most of his work at tackle. Brenner gets the vast majority of his reps at guard. He has been progressing very well.”

Sherman said Brenner played largely because, well, "he there’s every day. We don’t have a lot of numbers in that group. I’ve been watching him since camp. He’s made a lot of improvrement. He did pretty well.”

Nate Garner played well at center in place of Mike Pouncey, who missed the game because of a gall bladder illness. “We’re very fortunate to have a guy like Nate Garner… Garner played well,” Philbin said.

Also key: Right tackle Tyson Clabo has improved after a dreadful start to the season. “His pass sets have been better,” Philbin said. “The guy is a pro. He’s maybe a little more detailed in his preparation" than earlier in the season.

### Sherman said since he has been with the Dolphins, this is the best work he has seen from Daniel Thomas in generating yards after contact. “Daniel ran very physical.” Thomas closed with 57 yards on 10 carries.

### Ryan Tannehill underthrew a deep ball to Mike Wallace and among passes thrown at least 20 yards, Tannehill has now completed only 3 of the 16 intended for Wallace. Overall, Tannehill is 9 for 34 on those passes, having misfired on six in a row over the past two games.

“We underthrew [Wallace] on a touchdown pass that we can’t do,” Sherman said. “We needed those points. We didn’t get them.”

Sherman said Tannehill and Wallace have worked on deep balls after practice, and “we've got to get them on the same page. The two of them have to come to an understanding how it’s going to work.” He said that has been and will continue to be a priority until the problem is fixed.

Though Wallace’s numbers were modest Sunday (4 catches for 39 yards), Sherman said: “Mike had a tremendous game. He ran his routes very disciplined. He was open on a number of occasions. Sometimes there were protection issues. He had a tremendous impact on the game because he [affected] how they played us.” Sherman said Wallace is still dealing with “a leg issue” --– a hamstring specifically.

###  Kevin Coyle, on his defense, which had three sacks in the fourth quarter after none in the first three quarters: “We got good pressure a number of times in the game. We got sacks at critical times.”

### Dimitri Patterson was limited to 18 of 65 defensive snaps because he re-aggravated his groin injury. When Nolan Carroll comes in, “We don’t change much,” Coyle said. “It hasn’t had a major impact.”

### Dion Jordan played 22 snaps and “did a very good job” covering Chargers tight end Antonio Gates a few times, Coyle said.

“Dion is like a power forward in basketball,” Coyle said. “Very smooth athlete, great length. He can run like a deer.”

### Koa Misi played only 15 snaps primarily because Coyle spent much of the game using a two-linebacker package.

PLAYOFF UPDATE

The Dolphins and Jets – who both have 5-5 records -- are the two teams that control their own destiny for the sixth and final AFC wild card spot.

Of the six AFC teams that are 4-6 (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Cleveland, Oakland and Tennessee), the Ravens and Steelers would seem to be the greatest threats to Miami. The Dolphins own head-to-head tiebreakers against the Chargers and Browns, and the Titans --– without starting quarterback Jake Locker --– face three straight road games (Oakland, Indianapolis, Denver). Oakland has a difficult schedule (including road games at Dallas, San Diego and the Jets) and home against Kansas City and Denver.

The Ravens hold the tiebreaker over Miami based on their win against the Dolphins, and the Dolphins and Steelers meet Dec. 8 in Pittsburgh.

Here are the remaining schedules for the Dolphins, Jets, Ravens and Steelers:

### Dolphins: Carolina, at Jets, at Steelers, Patriots, at Bills, Jets

### Jets: at Baltimore, Dolphins, Oakland, at Carolina, Cleveland, Miami

### Ravens: Jets, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, at Detroit, New England, at Cincinnati

### Steelers: at Cleveland, at Baltimore, Miami, Cincinnati, at Green Bay, Cleveland 

             

Comments

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DJ Baracus

keith simms said on pregame his guess would be that Brenner would start because as a practice squad CENTER he was used to making the line calls, and could help Garner with these calls. I thought that was interesting...
not sure why Keith is SO against Pouncey playing guard though...isn't that ideal for an athlete link him?

MikeM

Think you need to keep Pouncey at center. But he probably would be a pretty good guard.

Lt. Louis Einhorn

No coincidence the Greater Pouncey took less per year to sign a 5 rather than 4 year deal, the Pounceys will reunite in Miami.

Now the question is do you want your Greater Pouncey at center or guard? Common sense says center, so I don't see any problem moving the Lesser Pouncey to guard now.

Jeff

Pouncey has been having trouble blocking all year. He's currently rated as one of the more mediocre centers in the NFL.

joe r

remember this one: Joe Philbin said. “We’ll be fine.”

long time cane

Golden has his players now thinking that since they are unable to do what the almighty DOnofrio tells them they should be doing....that he ll just shake up the depth chart with youngsters.Fine because it still won t matter.Golden needs to do much more research on Miami s past great defenses.They attacked they did not sit back and react.THAT is the difference in success and failure.Maryland s defense gets coached up to beat VT but Miami s gives up a zillion yards and mpoints.What is mGolden seeing????Al.......you get defensive and don t explain your pal s scheme at all.You are open and forthright with everything else pretty much.Guess it pains you deeply to see the guy/your pal/your buddy failing big-time.Fans are fed up with him and you too for refusing to make a change.

NC_Cane

I think he meant "home and away series."

rboud

long time cane - you're right about Golden answering questions forthright about all things but defense. He changes the subject quickly when asked about overall defense and says all aspects of team needs improvement. That's true, but defense needs improvement way ore than any other aspect. I think D'Onofrio will do the right thing and leave at end of year. If he's really Golden's friend, he knows he must leave.

D-Rod

Barry ,

How in the Gridiron Heavens can a program which so mightily struggles to draw over 40,000 against decent teams, can they give us a:
home against Arkansas State, home against Florida A&M and home against Cincinnati?!!

That is simply unacceptable, and truly a sign that UM will not be drawing anything close to 40,000 for those games. t will depict and 2/3 empty stadium. So sad.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

D-Rod, you're way off base, Miami drew 70,000 for Florida and 50,000 for Virginia Tech.

Miami will draw crowds for big games and will never in a million years draw crowds for anything less. They will never draw crowds for UNC, Duke, or anyone who isn't Florida, FSU, or Virginia Tech. That's just the way it is, Miami fans are the worst in the country, bar none.

It's always been that way and always will be, as much as people complain about the attendance at Joe Robbie Miami drew more fans for Bethune-Cookman last year than they did for three different crap games in the Orange Bowl during the 2001 championship run.

Miami is now doing what EVERY other team in the country does - the home out of conference schedule will be one marquee matchup, one mid-level (~USF) matchup, and two absolute cupcakes.

That's as it should be, there's no reason to play multiple tough out of conference games.

D-Rod

Um. Lt. Dan.. uh.. Lois,

Your obvious ignorance jumps off the screen. My point was that unless UM again (which now during their down times should have been easier),begins to schedule home and aways with the ilk of Nebraska, etc..big name schools (there are plenty to try and choose from), then like any tourist city/metropolis( LA, NY, Chicago, San Fran, Boston, Philly, Vegas)you do notice none of the prior mentioned can even come close to Miami (LA being the exception), in fan support nor athletic excellence, because there is simply just too much entertainment and activities to go around for the average dollar.

This isn't swamp land like Gainesville and Tallahassee, or for that matter Orlando and Tampa. Fans here do attend big games, like they do in all other major cities that it can only be compared to.

Lt. go find your nut sack now.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

You're unambiguously wrong, attendance numbers are black and white, not at all subjective.

Miami fans are among the worst in the country, easily the worst of any major CFB program in attendance.

That's just the reality, and FYI the plan is still to have ONE single marquee OOC game a year like every other major program.

This year it was UF. 2014 and 2015 it's Nebraska. 2016 is Notre Dame.

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