10 a.m.:UM stadium update; Riley news; Barkley rips Heat fans; Player views on Dolphins' new offense; UM, Marlins; Jimbo responds
The Wednesday buzz column is below, but first, four items from the past 12 hours:
### At a noon news conference today, David Beckham's camp will unveil designs for a 20,000 seat stadium to be built at the boat slip site next to AmericanAirlines Arena, pending voter approval in August or November.
MLS said it still hasn't ruled out doubling the size of the stadium to 40,000 seats to accommodate the UM football team, but that seems like a long shot at this point.
UM has had discussions with Beckham's camp and is still awaiting word from MLS about whether Beckham wants to go ahead with plans to accommodate the UM football team. MLS hasn't given UM a final answer by any means.
If MLS/Beckham say they want to do that, then UM would consider the offer --- it's interested --- and see if it could escape the last 18 years of its lease with Sun Life Stadium.
At this point, I would be surprised if that happens because of assorted issues. MLS people insist the "slip" site is big enough to accommodate 40,000 seats (UM's absolute minimum requirement) and that they could go back to the drawing board and double the size of the stadium from what they're planning now if they decide to include UM in the plan.
One high-ranking county official said the site would be snug for 40,000 seats but not impossible.
But MLS/Beckham --- though intrigued by the idea --- has concerns about building a stadium big enough for UM, including traffic issues. And building a 40,000 seat stadium would obviously be more expensive for Beckham's group, which has said it will privately finance the facility.
If MLS feels it needs to include UM in the plan to win voter approval, it's possible it could double the size and ask UM to play there. But there are obviously major hurdles.
### With the Heat trying to win a third consecutive championship, an attorney for Heat president Pat Riley last week filed a trademark to use the phrase "3-Peat" on jewelry, primarily rings and sports
memorabilia, according to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell.
Riley would not need to file for a trademark simply to put "3-Peat" on the Heat's championship rings if Miami wins another title. But last week's filing would protect Riley's interests if he wants to
license the phrase to companies making championship gear or selling rings at retail, according to the report.
Riley first filed a trademark for "Three-Peat" at the start of the 1988-89 season after his Los Angeles Lakers won their second title in a row. The Lakers lost to the Pistons the following season, but Riley has cashed in on the phrase multiple times: with the Chicago Bulls in 1993 and 1998, the New York Yankees in 2000 and the Lakers in 2002.
Riley has registered the phrase in various forms over the years, including "3Peat" and "ThreePeat." The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has protected Riley's rights by ruling against filings by others who sought to trademark terms such as "Heat3Peat" and "Big3Peat."
### Here's the latest rant from TNT's Charles Barkley on Scott Van Pelt's ESPN Radio show today:
"I've always thought [LeBron James] was going to go back to Cleveland," Barkley said. "Nobody dislikes LeBron. I think LeBron made a huge mistake with that 'Decision' crap. He's come back and since admitted that. That's the only thing people hold against LeBron.
"He's a great player, a great person. I hope he goes back to Cleveland. Those fans in Miami are not real fans, those fans in Cleveland are real fans. I've always hoped he would go back to Cleveland. That would be a great way to finish his career."
### Paul George's status for Game 3 is undetermined because of a concussion.
WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN
Associates of new Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, Philadelphia’ former quarterback coach, said he was advised by the Eagles not to take the Dolphins job if Joe Philbin didn’t give him total control of his unit. Philbin has given him that authority, and Dolphins players are excited about the system he’s implementing.
“It’s reminiscent of Chip Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia, with the tempo and style,” said one Dolphins player who asked not to be named.
Kelly uses a spread offense, and the player said the spread is an important part of this Dolphins attack, but there is more to this offense than that.
“There are some West Coast offense concepts,” the player said. “Some shotgun, some under center. They’ve discussed having both no huddle and huddle. It’s fast tempo.”
There’s no natural fullback, though there is a role for an H-back and multiple tight end sets, the player said.
Other Dolphins players have mentioned similarities between their offense and the Eagles’, though –-- as Joe Philbin has noted --– “we’re going to have a variety of formations.”
The offense will try to maximize the deep ball, a deficiency for Ryan Tannehill last season. It’s a “big play offense,” Mike Wallace said of Lazor’s system.
Last season, Philadelphia’s quarterbacks threw 82 passes of 20 yards or more and completed 35 with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Dolphins threw 66, completed 17, with three touchdowns and seven picks.
Though he's not the quarterback coach, Lazor will earn his money if he can extract from Tannehill (24 TDs, 17 INTs last season) what he and Kelly got from Nick Foles, who threw 27 TDs and just two picks last season. And Lazor obviously needs to maximize a unit that ranked 27th in total offense and averaged 19.8 points per game.
But the Dolphins player emphasized that Lazor also “has a strong belief in the running game.” Under Mike Sherman last season, the Dolphins tried to pass on 65 percent of their offensive plays (we say tried, because that 65 percent includes sacks). The Eagles were more balanced, passing 53 percent of the time.
Though the Eagles played up tempo a lot, especially early on --– and at a breakneck speed in Kelly’s first regular season game as coach last season --– they didn’t always go without a huddle and finished 13th in offensive plays run.
How quickly the Dolphins operate their offense will be based on several factors: the defense they’re facing, the score at the time and how well Dolphins players respond to playing at that speed, which remains to be seen.
Keep some of these elements in mind about Kelly’s offense, should we see them in this Dolphins offense: It’s designed to get the Eagles’ best players in space, and so short area quickness and elusiveness are important. There were a lot of crossing routes to pick off defensive backs. There were swing passes and wheel routes to the running backs (this is where Knowshon Moreno will help). Nick Foles was in shotgun the majority of the time. There are a lot of three-receiver, one-back sets and many other sets. Kelly is adept at getting multiple formations out of a single personnel package.
Early indications are that Lazor --- who ran a pro style offense at Virginia from 2010 to 2012 --- has taken a lot from his year in Philadelphia with Kelly, while also seizing on his experience working for Mike Holmgren, Joe Gibbs and Dan Reeves.
“Bill’s very, very intelligent,” Kelly told me at the NFL owners meetings in March. “When we first interviewed him, his intelligence just kind of jumps out at you. He’s an Ivy League guy that has a great way of teaching and has great knowledge. He did a great job with our quarterbacks.”
### A player at Dolphins offseason workouts said Tannehill has shown more consistency with his deep ball, after completing just 6 of 36 deep passes (throws of 20 or more yards) to Wallace last season.
### Among highlights from UM coach Al Golden’s spring tour: He said Ereck Flowers could end up being the best left tackle in the country and made clear UM will run a lot this season. Asked if he wants to run it 25 times a game, he said that’s actually low….
Eight signed/committed UM players haven’t yet arrived on campus, and UM expects them to enroll this summer, barring academic issues: Carol City receiver Trayone Gray (still needs a test score), defensive tackle Michael Wyche (projected starter), offensive linemen Tyler Grimsley and Joe Brown (both need to quality academically), receiver David Njoku, tight end Christopher Herndon, receiver Darrell Langham and linebacker Terry McCray.
### After losing out recently in a battle for two transfers (MJ Rhett and Tashawn Thomas), UM is now one of four finalists (with Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Drexel) for Campbell 6-9 center Darius Leonard, who averaged 10.2 points and 4.9 rebounds last season. Leonard, a junior from Raleigh, is transferring but will be eligible to play this upcoming season. UM very much wants to add an experienced power rotation player from another school.
### Before he spoke to FSU fans in Coral Gables on Saturday, I asked FSU coach Jimbo Fisher if he considered independently punishing quarterback Jameis Winston for stealing crab legs from Publix, even though baseball coach Mike Martin suspended him briefly.
Fisher’s answer: “When you have two parents, does each parent punish a kid separately? Baseball is the sport he's in, and we move on.”
Fisher said he told Winston “to make good decisions and understand what you represent.”
On the request by Winston’s father to have a security person with Winston all the time, Fisher said: “We do have extra security on him, taking him around for things. But you can't put a guy on a guy 24 hours a day. That's impossible.”
### Even though Marlins manager Mike Redmond said Rafael Furcal is still “a ways out” from playing, he said the decision to sign infielder and 2002 American League MVP Miguel Tejada, 39, to a minor-league contract is unrelated.
“We signed him to see how much he’s got left,” Redmond said. “He’s a Miami guy and wants to play.” Tejada’s 105-game suspension for amphetamines runs through June 5. He hit .288 with three homers and 20 RBI in 53 games for Kansas City in 2013.
### The Marlins promoted top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney from Double A Jacksonville to Triple A New Orleans. Heaney, considered the top left-handed pitching prospect in baseball, was 4-2 with a 2.35 ERA at Jacksonville.
### Nielsen says 24.4 percent of Miami/Fort Lauderdale homes with TV sets tuned in Game 2 of Heat-Pacers, the Heat's highest rating of the postseason so far.
Please see the last post for postscripts and reaction from Game 2 of the Heat-Pacers series.