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1 posts from March 1, 2014

March 01, 2014

Ten nuggets from UM's football spring practice opener Saturday; Dolphins staff change; UM hoops win

Nice win for UM hoops moments ago --- 85-70 at North Carolina State to improve to 15-14 and 6-10 in conference. UM closed the game on a 21-5 run. "We played a great game," Jim Larranaga said.

Center Tonye Jekiri had his best game of the season (14 points, 13 rebounds). "Tonye was a monster on both backbaords," Larranaga said. Rion Brown scored 20, Garrius Adams 16 and Erik Swoope and Manu Lecomte 15 apiece.

Now on to 10 notes from UM’s first session of spring practice Saturday:

### Denzel Perryman, who shifted to outside linebacker last season, was back in the middle on Saturday and said he expects to play there primarily, though Mark D’Onofrio said a final decision hadn’t been made.

Perryman said the coaches suggested the move and he’s comfortable there. “I played the first six games of my sophomore year inside,” he said. “You have to make all the reads” there.

Raphael Kirby, who was expected to succeed Jimmy Gaines at middle linebacker, instead lined up at outside linebacker, with Alex Figueroa often at the other linebacker position when UM played a 4-3 scheme Saturday.

### D’Onofrio said the Hurricanes will use both a 4-3 and 3-4: “I think you have to be multiple in today’s game.”

### On the quarterback front, both front-runner Ryan Williams and backup Kevin Olsen had some good moments, with Olsen’s long touchdown pass to Rashawn Scott among the highlights. Scott juggled the ball, then out-ran Larry Hope to the end zone.

Offensive coordinator James Coley, on Williams: “He’s really comfortable. Not a lot fazes him. He made three or four really good audibles. He made seven checks. You want to see the transition of, ‘I’m the man.’ That’s going to come the more he plays. That’s what I want to see – where there’s no doubt.”

Al Golden also said he would like to see Williams become more vocal.

“One thing Ryan does pretty impressive is he throws the ball early,” Coley said. He said he believes Williams does that partly to “overcompensate” for his arm but added “he’s got a pretty strong arm.”

Williams’ arm strength appears much improved. In fact, he overthrow D’Mauri Jones deep downfield on one play Saturday.

As for Olsen, “he threw really well today, made some good decisions,” Coley said. “I want to see him being more comfortable out here.”

### Golden said Dallas Crawford wanted to move from running back to safety. “He’s physical, smart, tough, great on special teams,” Golden said, adding that people internally view him as one of UM’s top 22 players.

### Shane McDermott (on crutches with an ankle injury), Braxton Berrios, Corn Elder, Nate Dortch, Ladarius Gunter (shoulder in sling), Duke Johnson, Joseph Yearby and Clive Walford are expected to miss spring practice.

Anthony Chickillo, Rayshawn Jenkins, Herb Waters and Malcolm Lewis missed Saturday’s session but are expected back at some point this spring, UM said. Artie Burns and Phillip Dorsett were with the track team and not at football practice.... Offensive lineman Hunter Knighton, who was hospitalized this past week, is doing better but remains out, Golden said.

### The first team defensive line included Ufomba Kamalu and Al-Quadin Muhammad at end and Olsen Pierre and Earl Moore at tackle.

With Burns unavailable and Gunter and Elder out, Tracy Howard and Hope lined up at cornerback with the first group, with Antonio Crawford playing nickel... Jamal Carter and Deon Bush were first-team safeties.

### With McDermott sidelined, Alex Gall lined up with the first team at center. As expected, Ereck Flowers was at left tackle, Jon Feliciano at left guard. Danny Isidora was with the first team at right guard, Taylor Gadbois at right tackle…. Freshman Trevor Darling, a tackle in high school, lined up with the backups at guard.

### Gus Edwards, who has bulked up from 220 to 235, is one of only two healthy running backs who came here on scholarship. (Walter Tucker is the other.)

Edwards said he is working to improve on short yardage situations, and Golden said he wants to see him become “a better overall back, better in protections. We have to keep pushing him out of his comfort zone.”

### Rashawn Scott, who was suspended for UM’s bowl game, said, “I regret everything I do since I’ve been here” and said he knows he needs to get better.

### Ricky Carroll is the Hurricanes’ punter for now, but it’s an area that clearly needs to be upgraded. It wouldn’t be surprising if UM finds one over the next few months.


As expected, the Dolphins promoted John Benton to offensive line coach on Saturday and also hired Jack Bicknell Jr. as assistant offensive coach.

Benton, who had been hired in January as Miami's assistant offensive line coach, replaces Jim Turner, who was fired recently after being implicated in Ted Wells' report on the Dolphins' bullying scandal.

Benton has coached 27 seasons, including 17 in college. He spent the past eight seasons as the Houston Texans' offensive line coach. Before that, he was the St. Louis Rams' offensive line coach in 2005 and also
has coached at Colorado State and California University in Pennsylvania.

Bicknell Jr. was the offensive line coach for the New York Giants (2009-2011), Kansas City (2012) and Pittsburgh (2013) but was fired by the Steelers in January. He was the head coach at Louisiana Tech from
1999 to 2006.