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Noon Fins GM update; Loria changes approach; Fins, UM, Heat chatter; Kobe's UM class

Noon update: The Dolphins have added a new candidate for their GM job: New England Patriots  personnel director Nick Caserio. He's interviewing here today, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Patriots are the only team Caserio, 38, has worked for. He was previously a scout, assistant offensive coach and receivers coach in 2007. He has been their pro personnel director since 2008. He becomes the fourth known candidate for the job as of Friday morning. He's concerned very smart, sharp, and Bill Belichick trusts him.

The others: Lake Dawson, Brian Gaine and Dennis Hickey. Dawson and Gaine have second interviews scheduled. Hickey has been in discussions with Miami over the past 24 hours and might interview again.

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FRIDAY BUZZ COLUMN

Among the positives to emerge from the Marlins’ front-office changes: Owner Jeffrey Loria has such faith in his executives that for the first time, he has been deferring to them on baseball decisions.

“He’s far happier with the baseball department now,” a friend of Loria said. “They presented him with a plan and he has agreed to everything.”

Loria has ordered many moves in the past – everything from significant (such as pursuing Jose Reyes and John Buck and giving a three-year deal to Heath Bell) to minor ones (demoting Chris Volstad, not promoting journeyman Chris Valaika after last summer's Tino Martinez fiasco). But he hasn’t demanded anything this offseason, according to an official who has spoken to the Marlins’ front office.

Loria still sits in the meetings and gives opinions but has apparently concluded, at least so far, that he needs to let his baseball people do their jobs. The staff is now headed up by president of baseball operations Michael Hill, general manager Dan Jennings and three new hires.

The question is whether Loria will be tempted to start meddling again when the season starts or as soon as something goes wrong.

With a promising young rotation and four new starting position players, the Marlins believe they will be much improved from last season’s 100-loss team.

CHATTER

### Though owner Stephen Ross loves Tony Dungy and gave thought to hiring a football czar who would oversee over his GM, he knew luring Dungy wasn’t realistic, and he decided not to give Carl Peterson the job, even though a friend said Peterson would be interested.

“I have not had any conversation with the Dolphins about a position with their organization, nor do I intend to do so,” Dungy said this week. “…I have retired from the NFL and will not be returning in any capacity.”

So instead of a football czar choosing a GM, Ross is doing it himself, and as of early afternoon Friday, had candidates remaining from only losing franchises (his own, Tennessee, Tampa Bay), with four candidates having declined interviews and a fifth (Ray Farmer) declining a follow-up interview. And so it goes.

But internal candidate Brian Gaine is respected around the league, and his chances increase at least somewhat with Farmer's decision not to pursue the job further. If Lake Dawson gets the job, Peterson's influence would again be apparent; he drafted Dawson and thinks highly of him.

### As the Dolphins prepare to interview Dawson and Gaine again, they also remain in conversations with Tampa Bay player personnel executive Dennis Hickey.

### Hialeah Champagnat four-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine, a UM priority, will visit LSU this weekend and is down to LSU and UM. He said UM’s Al Golden and LSU’s Les Miles will visit him on the same day in late January, and told ESPN his decision will hinge partly on “the last words they tell me. Who proves that they need me more is going to put one school over the top.”

Valentine plans to announce on National Signing Day (Feb. 5).

It’s highly unlikely three-star North Carolina-based prospect Lamont Gaillard will emerge as a realistic option at defensive tackle for UM. Gaillard, who calls himself a solid Georgia commitment, canceled his visit to UM this weekend and isn’t sure he will rebook.

### Highly-regarded former junior college defensive tackle Calvin Heurtelou is expected to enroll at UM in the next few days. He had 14 tackles for loss and four sacks this past season for Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC.... Louisville and former UM assistant Clint Hurtt took a job as the Chicago Bears’ defensive line coach. He won’t have to worry about serving out the NCAA’s two-year show-cause penalty if he spends the rest of his career in the NFL.

### With the Spurs visiting Sunday, Heat guard Ray Allen will be reminded a lot this week about the shot that tied Game 6 of the NBA Finals and ultimately saved the Heat’s season. But Allen is also reminded of the shot every time he walks into his home.

As a Christmas gift for her husband, Allen’s wife paid artist Alexander Mijares to paint a photograph of Allen holding the ball in the corner before launching that three-pointer. Allen recently hung it over his fireplace.

“I totally don’t mind if people define me by that shot,” he said. “It holds great relevance to any guy on this team. It’s something that takes this franchise to the next level, so you can start building a dynasty.”

Months later, strangers continue to ask him about the shot, which tied Game 6 with 5.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter and ultimately propelled the Heat to an overtime win. They’ve broached the topic to him in restaurants, gas stations, even at a urinals (which can be pretty awkward), and Allen is always happy to oblige.

“As much as people want to say congratulations, it’s more about them, how they feel, what they were doing at the time,” he said. “I let people have those moments.”

 Allen believes Jamie Foxx is still planning a commercial on the shot. “Last I heard it was [still on],” he said. “He has it written.”

Curiously, Allen said he hasn’t once gone to his computer or VCR to watch a tape of the shot. But he said he has seen it more than a dozen times just by happenstance.

“When you’re on Instagram or some social network, it always pops up,” he said. “It’s one of those things I’m a part of forever.

“I can describe my whole life around that single shot. It didn’t start with just that shot, it was about everything I did up to that point…. Anybody that knows me or has been around me knows that it wasn’t luck. Everybody who is around me said, 'Yep, that’s what he does.'”

### To appreciate the impact Greg Oden already has made on defense, consider: In his appearances before Thursday night, the opposing team managed just four points in the 12 possessions that ended when the man Oden was guarding took a shot or committed a turnover. That points-per-possession (.333) --- albeit in very limited minutes --- is exceptional. (Indiana’s Roy Hibbert is at .732).

Chris Bosh said he has felt “an initial comfort level” playing alongside Oden: “We keep things simple. You know where he’s going to be… To have that ready for [Indiana], it will be good.”

Offensively, we saw an impressive left-handed jump hook tonight from Oden, who closed with five points, five rebounds and a block in 10 minutes, his longest stint to date. He said afterward that his timing "isn't that great" -- which is understandable -- but said "tonight was good and very encouraging for me."

### Imagine taking a class at UM, showing up and seeing Kobe Bryant in the back? That's what happened Wednesday afternoon, when the injured Lakers star --- in town for Thursday's Heat game --- sat in the back of a marketing management class at UM, soaking in a discussion about the role of social media in the re-launch of the Ford Fiesta.

The office of Eugene Anderson, the dean of UM’s School of Business, got a call Wednesday morning saying Bryant wanted to attend a marketing or management class at UM, as he had done at Boston College the previous week.

“He picked mine,” UM professor Jeffrey Weinstock said. “I was flattered…. The [students] were excited but not distracted.”

Accompanied by the dean, Bryant arrived a minute after the class started, quietly acknowledged the boisterous applause, then took a seat for the 75-minute class. Bryant, who went from high school to the NBA, conducted a five-minute Q & A session at the end. “He said he’s a psycho-perfectionist,” Weinstock said.

### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

Comments

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IMAWriter

KOBE!
Without him, there is no...ahem...BEEF in the Laker's attack, nor any defense either.

joe r

ross needs to follow lorias lead and micky arisons and stay out...they need a gm asap then ross needs to move on to something else

Mr. B

Winning teams have a clearly, defined power/leadership structure. The Dolphins obviously do not. They are a muddled-up, distorted, mess (pardon the redundancy, but it really looks that bad).

mike

the canes could really use lamont for some added depth along the defensive line and he could get immediate playing time here .barry do you plan a story on who is visiting this weekend and next also what these recruits are saying about their visits that have been lately?thanks barry for all the updates lately now if we can just keep could just keep non um fans off .

Ted B.

Given the broken management structure of the Dolphins, the only way that Mr. Ross will see the light is when season ticket sales hit rock bottom this year. Fans will not keep supporting a losing proposition where the right people are not in place.

AnonymousCane

Barry ...on top of your game ... as usual!

Mr. Titman

If anyone is still wondering why Bill Parcells bolted after Ross became his new boss,I think that it is quite evident now. Even though I personally never believed that Parcells was the answer,and I was surely correct in my thinking based on the state of the Dolphins before and after his tenure,I now think Ross is the real problem here and has been since day one of buying out Huizinga. Ross is a self made billionaire and you do not get that successful by luck. He has made great hires and surrounded himself in his real estate ventures with the best of the best. So I ask myself,why can't he do this with his NFL franchise?

keeping it real always

Was glad to see Oden do a few positive things last night.It was especially hopeful to the Heat future when he altered a couple of shots the majority of which most teams would have scored on.He seems to be running strong,no limp,no pain and making some progress each game he plays.I liked their ball movement but the defense still has far to go to play to their usual excellent standards.Obviously....everyone s watching Wade s health,his knees and how it all plays out in terms of team chemistry moving forward.

Seth

Loria is quickly becoming one of the best owners in MLB.

lite headed

An open letter to Stephen Ross: Mr Ross, when you first purchased our beloved Dolphins, I felt as if we were gaining an owner who must be brilliant, and you talked as if bringing a championship was your only goal. At this time I still believe both of these are true, however the perception by many of us true fans has changed. The money you spend truly shows the desire to win, but the methods in which your attempts to improve our beloved franchise are put forth are,to be frank, foolhardy. The NFL is a different kind of business, and quite honestly requires a different kind of leadership. A leader needs to have the power to lead, to have control of his franchise,to pick the people who work for him to achieve a common goal. I'm sorry to tell you that football is not your forte', and the system that has evolved since you took ownership is not working. The many hats you are trying to wear, are all looking like clown hats when it comes to the Dolphins,and the decisions being made are laughable in many ways.
If you take a retrospective look at the past six years, it is plain enough to see. We need a leader,a Pat Riley type of leader,a man of vision and purpose, with league wide respect. He doesn't have to be loved by all, but he must be respected! Personally,I don't know who it is, but I am certain he is out there, and it is time to use your considerable resources to find him!

TheSergeantMajor

I have to agree with Mr. B's "defined power/leadership structure" comment a several comments above regarding leadership, or the lack there-of. The Dolphins GM search pretty-much exemplifies the rudderless organization that they are at the top, and that they have been since Mr. Stephen Ross bought this team. Leadership zero, and now there's evidence that there were power struggles within the organization of this headless leader.

Too bad for us Dolphins fans. Too bad for our players. Too bad for some of our coaches. I mention (some) coaches only because it's fuzzy how much Head Coach Joe Philbin contributes to the dysfunction near the top. I do think he's a good coach, but I hope he's not a contributing factor to this obvious gaggle.

I believe being a successful organization takes a total "cohesive and harmonious" effort starting with the fans, the players, the coaching staff, the front office, and the owner. Unfortunately we're missing some of that, and I don't expect much of a change in results under this truly leaderless franchise.

Sad Truth

Dawn Aponte having influence.

Enough said.

TRW

I am afraid that the Dolphins have declined to the point where there is almost no realistic chance of a resurgence. Ownership, management, and coaching are laughable, unless you are an opponent.

I certainly hope that the UM will have a great recruiting class and that they improve this year. This year should be Golden's last if they falter, especially on defense again.

D-Rod

About Boss Ross:

I, unlike most, gave Stephen Ross the proper and adequate time and grace period to prove his competency. I never had an issue with him coming in and letting Bill Parcells continue running the team. I did however have an issue with the prior ownership giving Bill Parcells that job to begin with. Here was a man, who had historically been lacking professional character. Who while leading a New England franchise to the Super Bowl, was in negotiations with not only another team, but a divisional foe in the New York Jets! To me that is unforgivable and something that as an owner, would preclude me from even considering bringing him on staff. While he proved to be a superior to most HC, he again openly displayed his lack of professionalism when he admittedly was about to sign on as the Atlanta Falcons football Czar, while using their offer to get a ludicrous deal from our prior owner (and one who is a decent man, very similar I think to Ross), HW Huizenga, that would allow him to bolt at any time while keeping a King's ransom in compensation. Bill Parcells, the man who would bring us, Jeff Ireland and Tony Sporano vis a vis, Joe Philbin etc. To be honest, everything went off the rails further back when HWH allowed Jimmy johnson to name his successor, but I digress.

So I pragmatically understood Ross keeping Parcells. I never cared for or about all the limelight stars which were "given" marginal % stake in the MDs. It was silly, but at least did cause some national chatter, and as they say, any publicity is good publicity (uh, we might rethink that today my friends).

Ross also was overt in his willingness to spend money to build/buy a winner. That is a very positive virtue for an NFL franchise and its fandom. So he was doing well for the most part. And to be honest, I do believe he badly wants to win it all, I do. But that's when the chinks in the teflon began to appear. His handling of the Sporano/Harbaugh/Ireland hiring/firing was a fiasco. When he chose not to hire our DC Nolan after it became public knowledge, kept Sporano, and insultingly threw money at him as if that would placate him, and suffice as a public and professional apology, was just as bad if not worse. You neutered your HC and began to shadow your organization with a taint of dysfunctionality. Strike 1! A big 1.

The petition for public funds to renovate Joe Robbie Stadium, at a time which came in lock step with the Miami Marlins fleecing (not the Marlins fault, but the City of Miami's), of public dollars, while a very fair and necessary request, should have been delayed, should have been marketed better to the public, and led to rumblings of possible relocation. Strike 2. Minor, but still.

This brings us to the 2013 Dolphins season. Where to begin? From the inexplicable extension given to J. Ireland prior to the season, which was kept hush~hush, until a surprising start, allowed all kittens to be liberated from their money bags. Strike 3!

The O-Linemangate (can we stop adding gate to all scandals now? Please. It was the 1 word name of a complex for goodness sake), anyway. A distraction of epic and humiliating professional proportion, which while not downing an entire season, again dipped that all mighty brush, into a thicker and scarlet hue, visible to not only sporting media, but mainstream media as well. Strike 4! Australian rules apply now anyone?

And unmercifully, the end of the 2013 season collapse, not even showing up to put up what could at worst be considered a meager scrap, at the hands of our 2 woeful NY rivals, expulsing this now near dreaded franchise from the playoffs, and providing any semblance of positivity that was so desperately needed. Leading to what has turned into the biggest and final death blow to this now anciently proud franchise, and to wit, my opinion of Stephen Ross.

How can any Owner/CEO, when restructuring his organization, not start from the top down? How do you fire the man who helped cause such dysfunction to begin with, and not part with all those who he was responsible in bringing in. Yet you keep a HC who had never been a HC prior to this current job, whose fire and inspirational ability has always seemed to those on the outside, to be deficient. And, whose team never showed up for their biggest games in recent franchise history. Strike 5! or is that 6?

The subsequent, and prolonged to create, structural design and hierarchy thereafter, which has caused widespread national rebuke, and appropriate ridicule. Where professionals and peers who are in Jr. levels, are turning you down not only to interview, which is a travesty in itself, but a 2nd follow up interview, where in most cases, put ones odds of attaining their desired career advancement at better than 50/50. Struck down and out!!

Unfortunately, ones business acumen does not transfer across all realms and fields. In this case, certainly not to the football field.

yuma

Cheer up guys, 50 years from now Ross will be gone!

Marios

I would love it if one day a coach would tell a high maintenance guy like Valentine to go screw himself and stop being such a biatch.

Ship shape

Ross and Ross alone is the sole reason this franchise is such a disgraceful mess. What a complete buffoon this Ross basshole is. Ross needs to sell or die. (a natural death).

green

http://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2014/01/espn-networks-present-ninth-consecutive-year-live-comprehensive-national-signing-day-coverage-february-5/

#Canes will be featured on @ESPN coverage of #CanesNSD14 on February 5. Mark Schwarz will be reporting from The U
-- Hurricanes Football ‏@MiamiHurricanes

OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD

johnnie j

Some really excellent posts from readers concerning Ross lack of leadership and imagination.He does come off as wishy washy and less than serious in his searching for ABSOLUTELY TOP people in the Dolphin hierarchy.He seems to "settle" or just bring in mediocre candidates for everything.It s as if he has zero connections and is clueless in acting like a powerful man with a strong financial arsenal.Just puts himself out there in a laicidaisical manner.

Reality Bites


OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD

Posted by: green

LOL lil' green pea, that's as newsworthy as reporting that there will be a sign in Yankee Stadium that says "theacc.com". Again you get so excited about the most trivial things.

Go Heat!

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