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Ryan Williams ready to prove himself to "doubters"; Dolphins, Marino, Heat, Marlins

SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN

The battle for UM’s quarterback job begins in earnest with the start of spring practice next weekend, and front-runner Ryan Williams knows there are some fans who will look at his unimpressive Rivals.com recruiting ranking (two stars) and his limited number of offers out of Miramar High (Memphis, Eastern Michigan were the best) and decide it makes more sense longterm to give the job not to Williams --- a one-year stopgap --- but to more ballyhooed Kevin Olsen, who has four years of eligibility left.

“There probably are doubters, but I never want to listen to the outside,” Williams said. “Kevin was an Under-Armor All-American. I wasn’t. I had to go to Memphis first. He came straight here.

“It’s always going to be looked upon as a lower status, but it’s something I’ve got to break through. Fans look at ratings, and I wasn’t highly rated. Fans hold that as a negative against me.” 

UM coaches obviously don’t. There will be an open competition between Williams and Olsen, but Williams enters as the favorite because the staff sees a mature, responsible leader who has improved his accuracy and arm strength. Gray Crow is realistically an afterthought in the spring competition, and incoming Brad Kaaya (likely Olsen's strongest competition in 2015) and Malik Rosier arrive in the summer.

“With Ryan, you see plays that are second nature to him,” offensive coordinator James Coley said. “I love the fact he’s tall [6-6]. He’s savvy…. Before, he was a paw thrower. Now he will turn his shoulders.”

Coach Al Golden said last month that “Ryan has done a really good job, but you're not anointed the starting quarterback. In terms of his growth, maturity, football intelligence, he’s someone we're excited about."

Teammates have noticed other encouraging signs. “Since Coley came here, Ryan’s arm strength is better,” said departing running back Eduardo Clements. “His deep balls are better, more accurate.”

Williams admitted his arm strength was a considered “a negative” when he signed with Memphis, but he can now throw “60 to 65 yards and accurately” – a 10-to-15 yard improvement from when he transferred.

Beyond being generally accurate on intermediate routes, Williams “keeps his cool and he’s really good in the pocket,” tight end Beau Sandland said.

Still, there’s some uncertainty because of his limited body of work. He threw for 2075 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 picks in 10 starts as a freshman on a 1-11 Memphis team in 2010, then transferred when the coach changed the offensive system from pro-style to spread.

At Miami, Williams has completed 37 of 52 passes for 569 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in two years as Stephen Morris’ backup.

“I don’t want to be given anything,” said Williams, who threw five touchdown passes in Miramar’s victory in the 2009 Class 6A state championship. “I want to go out and earn it. That’s what I plan on doing.”

Does Williams look at this as his team now, in terms of leadership?

“That’s what I’m going to try to do,” he said earlier this winter. “I want to try to take over and be a big influence and get the young guys caught up to speed and make sure they know there’s no more Allen Hurns, no more Stephen Morris, and it’s us now.”

Any doubt he can be quality starter at this level? “No. I definitely proved myself at the Division 1 level before. We didn’t win a lot of games. But after these last three years of learning, I’m so much better.

“My overall accuracy on every ball has improved. Just looking back at myself, everything – body type, arm strength – it just looked bad. [Now], I feel good about myself on the field.”

It wouldn’t be surprising if Williams throws more intermediate routes and fewer deep balls than Morris did. “Maybe I’ll take people by surprise and can sneak a few deep balls and open up some thing underneath,” he said.

“If it’s a team we feel we can take shots on, we’ll take shots. I don’t have any limitations of what I can run offensively.”

The UM staff likes Olsen’s skill set but wants to see more maturity (after a bowl game suspension unrelated to academics) and quicker decisions (“don’t overthink it,” Coley said). Golden said last season he wants to see Olsen work to get better in the film room.

“It will be a great competition,” said Olsen, who is in good spirits but declined to discuss his bowl suspension. “Ryan has the experience factor on me.”

CHATTER

### Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has interest in Dan Marino becoming involved with the franchise but likely not in a powerful role, such as director of football operations, barring a change of heart. Problem is, Marino wants a meaningful role, according to an associate. There’s a decent chance they compromise and find one.

### A friend of Ross said Ross feels no need to hire a Bill Parcells-type president because he wants to make the decisions that a czar would – such as hiring a GM and coach, and that’s one of the fun things of being an owner. “So why pay someone else to do it?” the friend said.

### Danny Granger, 30, acquired by Philadelphia, reportedly wants a buyout so he can sign with the Heat or a Western Conference contender, and Caron Butler, 33, also will welcome Heat overtures if he gets a buyout from Milwaukee, as many expect. (It's too early to tell if Granger will get the buyout.)

So who would be better for Miami? Heat players would clearly prefer Butler; he and Dwyane Wade are close from their days as Heat teammates, and Granger irritated the Heat’s stars by getting in their faces after fouls in the 2012 playoffs. At the time, LeBron James called Granger’s conduct “stupid.”

Granger, 6-8, is shooting just 35.9 percent; Butler, 6-7, is shooting only 38.7 percent. But players guarded by Granger are shooting 30.9 percent, compared with 47 percent for Butler.

“They’re very comparable,” an Eastern Conference scout said. “Granger is better off the ball, Butler a little tougher.” The scout said Granger has lost a step, but Butler isn't clearly better, and the scout would lean toward Granger for Miami because the Heat could pick his brain on Pacers’ personnel and tendencies, adding “that definitely has value beyond what you get studying film.”

Ben Gordon, 6-3, is expected to get a buyout from Charlotte, but a perimeter player with more size would have more value to the Heat. Shannon Brown, a 6-4 guard, is also available after his Spurs 10-day contract expired, but Miami has passed on him before. Power forward Glen Davis, set free from Orlando, reportedly leans toward joining the Clippers.

### Pacers center Roy Hibbert, speaking to ESPN’s Bill Simmons about the Heat rivalry: “I have nothing against Chris Bosh, LeBron James, D-Wade. I love Birdman. Whenever he checks in the game, I'm always like 'Birdman! Birdman!' I have nothing against those guys. I don't hate them. I want to beat those guys so bad. They're talking about three-peating. Nah, we're going to stop that….

David West and myself take pride when we see the Heat play other teams and seeing LeBron score in the halfcourt [and make] open dunks in the halfcourt against set defenses. We take pride in knowing that he doesn't get that kind of stuff [against us]. Obviously he's at the top of the mountain in terms of the NBA right now. We're coming for him and I think our defense is going to put us over the edge."

### With Jeff Baker, Greg Dobbs and Jeff Mathis essentially assured three Marlins bench jobs, the other two or three probably will go to outfielder Brian Bogusevic (cannot be demoted without going through waivers) and infielders Donovan Solano or Ed Lucas (both can be sent to the minors without passing through waivers), with Reed Johnson and Ty Wigginton pushing for a spot.

### Around town: UF says it has discussed scheduling a home-and-home men’s basketball series with UM as early as next season and the following one…. With Broward County expected to give the Panthers a bailout to help cover their losses, it will be easier for new owner Vinnie Viola to stick to his plan to allow GM Dale Tallon to spend up to the $71 million NHL cap next season.

The Panthers are expected to have more than $30 million in cap space and can clear even more by dumping several veterans, including Scottie Upshall, by the March 5 trade deadline. The Panthers have asked for an $80 million buyout to help cover what they say are $30 million annual losses; the Broward commission likely will give the Panthers something, but it's undetermined how much.

Comments

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Dom

How funny would it be with all the smack talk indy is doing that they get eliminated before the east finals. There like 7-8 over last 15, and heat are 15-4 vs winning teams.........

Good luck Williams and Olsen. If its even, ryan sorry, but you got to go with the freshman, but Ryan did look good in mop up duty, and 1 more year of learning can probably help Olsen, although Manziel, Winston , were also redshirt freshman, and Olsen was 1 of the best in the 2013 class, nationally.

Community Organizer

It will be more funny if the heat get swept

joe r

dan marino doesnt seem like the guy that is going to be burning the midnight oil in davie, didnt they dance with this fella a few years ago for a position and how did that work..ross needs to get past celebrities and former dolphins and move on and pave his own way..btw, wins are the only thing that is going to put this behind them and that folks is well beyond 2014 so enjoy the ride..also, whatever happened with the committee that was going to make locker room recommendations, code of conduct or whatever it was...

Harleyray

For all the heat and bad pr that Dawn Aponte received after Ireland and Ross agreed to part ways,has anyone noticed how our cap space has been since she was hired? We are,once again, at a great cap level even after all of the huge FA signings last year. You have to give the credit to her,just sayin.

Usaywha

Cap space? You see how many free agents we have...how far you think that space will go to fill our holes of players without contracts? Not far.

lloydfarmer

With all respect to Stephen, who I believe was a good leader when our program desperately needed it, I think the offense is going to run much more smoothly under Williams; and I'm excited as hell to see what this offense will look like when we are more consistently moving the ball and having fewer negative or no gain plays.

Let's go Canes!

u are u ... N.I.T. u

### Around town: UF says it has discussed scheduling a home-and-home men’s basketball series with UM as early as next season and the following one….

U'll then have to drop early season patsie games against the likes of College of Charleston, St. Francis, FAU and Florida Tech to do so... U won't though. U don't want to play and get rolled by the GATORS in Hoops. It would be just one more sport in which u would be owned.

eddienlynn

who rolled who in football and baseball this year c-a-n-e-s and it all about the

Not our rival

Posted by: u are u ... N.I.T. u | 02/23/2014 at 08:33 AM

Hush nerd, no one here besides other UF trolls care about your fake internet rivalry.

In real life Miami beat your team 7 of the last 8 times in football including last season and we're not scheduled to play again.

Go find a chatroom if you want to troll people on the internet, stop pathetically trolling Miami Herald sports blogs, you sound ridiculous.

AnonymousCane

Sorry but it's the Canes who have done the "rolling," lately or do you live under the bridge? 20-16 over the top ten ranked Gators,On the diamond.. 6-4 and 5-2 so far. U need to lay off the juice, learn to read and I'm sure you are counting the days until the prison (Raiford) doors fly open for you.Seven thousand,(7,300) days and counting! That's 20 more years for you since I'm sure you can't do the math! Sorry for ya!

jmike

Usaywha, The only thing players care about is money, and how much of the contract is guaranteed. And the FA the Fins signed last year were perceived to be the best on the market. Whether they performed up to that way is irrelevant.

Not our rival

Posted by: u are u ... N.I.T. u | 02/23/2014 at 08:33 AM

Hush nerd, no one but you Gators internet trolls care about your fake internet rivalry.

In real life the Gators have lost 7 of the past 8 to Miami, lost to them last season, and aren't scheduled to play again.

Take your trolling of the Miami Herald blogs elsewhere, no one here's interested in your fake internet rivalry.

green

http://on.nfl.com/1la8lNC

At 6'7" and 331lbs ...
Seantrel Henderson's 40-time = WOW.
7th among all OLs.
MUST-SEE video #NFLCombine
-- NFL @nfl

BEHEMOTH

green

https://twitter.com/NikeBased/status/435581038069567488/photo/1

Nike Miami Hurricanes Concept Uni's #NikeBased
-- NIKE ‏@NikeBased

IT'S U

green

The other 2/3 went to see the visiting team.
But hey, at least you have a milkshake selling record. Must count for something, no?

Posted by: Reality Bites | 02/22/2014 at 03:43 PM

https://twitter.com/hurricanesports/status/437377714325291008/photo/1

MIAMI LOVES @CanesBaseball as evidenced by the PACKED HOUSE!!!! #MarkLightMob
-- Laz ‏@CutlerRidgeLAZ

the comely color of gaturd currency is pure green coffee bean ...
the University of Miami thanks you ...

LEGAL TENDER

Reality Bites

lil green pea you know it. In baseball just like in football the sorry canes need the team in Orange and Blue to sell out the respective venues and give some cash to the coffers of the University of Mediocre.
This weekend was no exception with barely no money coming from cane loyalists who were given free admision again as another gimmick to pump up the dismal attendance.
Most of the receipts for the weekend series are from Gator fans and kids who got in free buying milkshakes.
Too funny.
That is why the canes are thinking of having the Gators come in to the high school gym known as the BUC for some hoops.
It's all about the money
Shalala never saw a check she couldn't wait to cash. That famous picture at the bowling alley with the big check from Shapiro and the stupid grin comes to mind.
Pathetic.

Reality Bites

Talking about sorry cane football, Ryan Williams should be worried. You have Peyton Manning and Russel Wilson coming in as freshmen so they should be ready to step in from the get go. No room for Williams and time for Kevin to grow up. Seems like a glut of talent at Qb. Reminds me of when you had both Jacory Harris and Morris at the same time, just a glut of talent. This should work out similar for you don't you think?

green

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twx2XaInhV0

Saturday also marked a victory for Canes fans. The packed crowd of 76,869 set a UM record for the Dolphins’ stadium and included plenty of Florida fans, yes. But there were a lot more fans touching thumbs to form a U than there were slapping palms in a Gator Chomp. The Canes absolutely enjoyed the home-field advantage some doubted it would have
-- greg cote 9/8/13

TELL ME SWEET LITTLE LIES

green

kids who got in free buying milkshakes.
Too funny.

Posted by: Reality Bites | 02/23/2014 at 01:12 PM

https://vine.co/v/MmOU9PH7MVt

The prize at the end of the line: @MarkLightShake #worththewait
-- Brian Bowsher ‏@brianbowsher

priced at $6.50
pricy but worth it ...

BOOMSHAKALAKA

green

Shalala never saw a check she couldn't wait to cash.
Pathetic.

Posted by: Reality Bites | 02/23/2014 at 01:12 PM

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/02/18/3943988/ums-donna-shalala-is-latest-sand.html

Shalala also has been a powerful fundraiser, overseeing the university’s Momentum campaign that brought in $1.4 billion in private money for the school’s endowment, facilities, and its academic and research programs. She now is leading the charge to raise $1.6 billion by 2016. A $12.5 million gift announced this month puts the campaign over $1.26 billion.

“It’s ahead of schedule, substantially,” Shalala said of UM’s Momentum2 drive, acknowledging that it will likely reach its goal before 2016.
-- Miami herald

HER MAJESTY

Lou Vales

How about the Heat just signing everyone off of each roster in the NBA and then request a change in roster size to allow 20 on a team and then allow them to go through all the players and choose the 20 man roster.

Rabblerouser

Excellent stuff Barry!
I say we've already seen enough of Ryan Williams to know he's not the guy for us at UM to start. Terrible mechanics. I've seen Williams and this is not the guy to lead us going forward. He may be a stop gap but he is definitely not the answer at QB.

naplescane

We need to improve the qb productivity for sure. Hope we are past the mediocre days of jacory and steven.

Not our rival

Posted by: Reality Bites | 02/23/2014 at 01:19 PM

Hush nerd no one cares about your fake internet rivalry.

Not our rival

Posted by: Reality Bites | 02/23/2014 at 01:19 PM

Hush nerd, no one cares about your fake internet rivalry, go find a chatroom to troll.

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