1 p.m. UM update; Kiper mock draft; Lazor philosophy; Oden reax; LeBron on state of team; New UM offers
1 p.m. update: Today was the first day coaches could speak with recruits in several weeks, and UM coach Al Golden and recruiting coordinator/receivers coach Brennan Carroll traveled across country to Chaminade High in West Hills, Cal., the school of quarterback Brad Kaaya, a UM oral commitment. UM is trying to stave off UCLA and Boise and hold on to Kaaya, rated the 10th-best quarterback in the country.
Chaminade coach Ed Croson said he expects Kaaya will sign with Miami but also said UCLA and Boise "have a shot at him." Kaaya met with Golden and Carroll for breakfast, and Kaaya reportedly is expected to visit Miami this weekend.
Also, Croson said Golden was scheduled to meet today with senior receiver Brayden Lenius, who's very close with Kaaya. Though he's rated only a two-star prospect by rivals.com, Croson said Lenius is much better than that.
"He's 6-5, has great hands, faster than you can imagine," Croson said. "He went up against the No. 1 rated cornerback in the country, Adoree' Jackson, and beat him deep and drew two holding penalties."
Would luring Croson help Miami's chances with Kaaya? Croson said yes. "That would be a good ploy," he said. "Make sure his buddy is happy."
But Croson emphasized that Lenius can "stand on his own" as a prospect. Lenius has drawn interest from UCLA, Minnesota, Washington State and others.
UM also is recruiting two other Chaminade players --- sophomore receiver Diamond Lee and junior defensive tackle Bar Milo.
Dolphins, Heat and Canes items late on a Wednesday night:
### Mock drafts this early should be taken with a grain of salt (or pepper). As Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith noted today, the player who was No. 2 in Mel Kiper’s mock draft last January (Damontre Moore) ended up being drafted 81st last April.
That said, for those curious, Kiper’s first mock draft has Miami using the 19th overall pick to select Alabama left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, who struggled in the Sugar Bowl. “While he had inconsistencies at the position, he also has the physical tools of a potentially dominant NFL starter at left tackle,” Kiper said.
### The five players Kiper slotted before Kouandjio: FSU defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, Notre Dame defensive tackle Louis Nix, North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix and USC receiver Marqise Lee.
The five players Kiper has going after Kouandjio: Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin, Louisville safety Calvin Pryor, FSU receiver Kelvin Benjamin, Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard.... By the way, Kiper has Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel going first to Houston, and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater eighth to Minnesota.... For a lot more on the draft, please see our post from Saturday night.
### Some insight on the new Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s approach as a coach, as shared with Philadelphia media in November:
“We really don’t focus on the stats. Ever,” said Lazor, a former standout quarterback at Cornell who earned praise for his work with Nick Foles as the Eagles’ quarterback coach this past season.
“We just focus on, ‘How did you play?’ We grade on accuracy, not on if it was a completion but if it was in exactly in the right spot. And when the guys in the room are doing it with you and they buy into it – ‘Yeah coach, I should do better than that’ -- you have a chance to keep getting better.
“We focus on: ‘Was the ball one foot in front of the numbers on a crossing route so we can catch it on the move? On a screen pass, was it right on the running back’s front shoulder pad, so he can catch it and turn it right up?”
Lazor, who said today he's excited to work with Ryan Tannehill, said in November: "What you want out of your quarterback is a guy who takes that [bad play], internalizes it, understands it, and that's a part of his
library on that play, and if it comes up again, [he's] not going to make that mistake again."
### NFL Network reported late tonight that the Dolphins have reached out to Vikings GM George Paton about their GM opening, but it's unclear if he will interview. (Pro Football Talk reported something similar earlier.) Paton previously worked for the Dolphins. Miami interviewed Detroit executive and former Broncos GM Brian Xanders on Wednesday.
### Good to see Greg Oden have success in his first regular season game in four years, one month and a week. He finished with six points (including two dunks) and two rebounds in eight minutes of the Heat’s 114-97 loss at Washington. Miami outscored the Wizards by three points with Oden in the game.
Oden said his surgically repaired knees “felt good.”
Though he would loved to have played sooner, he said he was on board with the Heat’s approach of holding him out the first 2 1/2 months “This is the plan and it’s gotten me this far,” he said. "The big thing now is to have that connection with my teammates."
Erik Spoelstra wasn’t sure he would play Oden tonight, but “as soon as we went down 30, we might as well try to reward him for the work he’s put in. You see the size and activity. He’s a skilled player for somebody that big… We’ll have to see how he feels and responds. He’s been very studious. The next step in the plan is see how he feels [Thursday].”
Spoelstra said he started Oden in the second half so he wouldn’t get stiff.
### LeBron James’ take on Oden: “How do you keep getting a dunk in your first attempt? It happened in New Orleans in the preseason and it happened again tonight. He was very good for us. He has no pressure. Whatever he can give us, with his time on the floor, is a plus. He can block shots. He can clog the paint. He can catch and finish.”
### James, on the state of the Heat after Miami’s third straight loss: “Defensively, we’re just not very good right now. There’s no way we can give up 43 points in the first quarter. It just can’t happen. It’s more mental than anything. Don’t know if it’s mental fatigue or lack of focus. We have to figure this out. It’s a good test for us. We love adversity more than anything. The connection defensively is not there right now. I’m a little bit concerned but not that concerned.
“It looks like we’re mentally fatigued when we hit the floor. I don’t know why we love to do this,… where we’re not that good [for a stretch] and we just click. The say it’s the dog days, but you can’t let that seep into your locker-room. You can have these type of moments, but you have to stop it at some point. It seems like we’re just tired.”
### The Heat hadn’t lost three straight since January 2012, a span of 173 games…. Ray Allen remains in a prolonged slump, having missed 38 of his past 45 shots over the last seven games… Also disturbing: The Heat has nine losses against sub-.500 teams, compared with four all of last season…. The Heat felt one short of equaling the 1961 Celtics’ record for most consecutive division wins (23).
### Even with 28 oral commitments (seven of whom are early enrollees), UM has offered scholarships to a few players in recent days, including Cochran, Ga.-based two-star safety Tavon Ross (a soft Missouri oral commitment who also drew an offer from Georgia) and Tampa Jefferson High athlete Deiondre Porter, a USF oral commitment. Porter played quarterback this season and had a state-best 4683 yards and 53 touchdowns combined passing and rushing.
Ross is planning a visit here in two weeks. UM is trying to get Porter to visit.
UM also is making another push for Louisiana-based Malachi Dupre, the nation’s No. 1 ranked receiver, but luring him will be very difficult; dozens of school are after him.
Please check out the last post, if you haven't already, for an in-depth look at UM's oral commitments and early enrollees on offense.
### UM's offense unraveled down the stretch in a 63-53 loss to Florida State, which went on a 13-0 late run before Miami scored the game's final two points. Donnavan Kirk and Rion Brown each scored 21, but the rest of the team shot 4 for 31, with no other Canes player scoring more than four. UM falls to 9-7, 1-3... UM said 1706 students attended, which is a a Bank United Center record. Overall attendance was 7413.
### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz