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Josh Darrow makes unusual transition: broadcasting to UM football staff; Role changes for Haslem, Deng, Chalmers

Though UM hasn't announced his hiring yet, Josh Darrow, UM's new assistant director of football operations, today joined a small group of media members who landed jobs in the "front-office" of a sports team or university.

There are other, much higher profile examples: Former New York Mets general manager Frank Cashen was previously a sportswriter.

Marty Hurney covered sports for The Washington Times before becoming general manager of the Carolina Panthers, a position he lost in 2012.

Several media members have gotten jobs in public relations for teams, but that's not what we're talking about here.

Darrow did good work as WQAM's football sideline reporter, as an architect of SFHSSports.com (which diligently covers recruiting) and previously, as Joe Zagacki's partner on UM basketball games before WQAM eliminated the color analyst position for financial reasons.

Among the reasons UM’s Al Golden hired Darrow: He established a very good rapport with players and parents in reporting for the South Florida High School Sports web site; he is liked and trusted by the UM staff; and he’s sharp (Pennsylvania grad).

He is expected to have a multitude of duties, including organizing clinics, getting UM's message out to recruits and their families through the Internet and other means, among other duties handled previously by Kevin Beard before his promotion to receivers coach.

Check back later this evening for a lot more UM news, plus Dolphins.

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The Heat’s acquisition of Goran Dragic and loss of Chris Bosh have sent a ripple effect through the rest of the lineup, with several players directly impacted.

For Luol Deng, it means adjusting to playing at least part of the game at power forward, competing against bulkier players.

For Mario Chalmers, it means settling into the role of backup shooting guard after holding down the starting point guard job for much of the past 3 1/2 years.

And for Udonis Haslem, it means returning to the starting lineup at power forward --- a role he handled for five years here previously.

“I really haven’t played four [power forward] since [spring] 2010, before the Big Three,” Haslem said this week. “The last four years, I played five [center]. But I’m a natural four anyway.”

With a premium now placed on power forwards with shooting range, Haslem said the starting power forward job here has changed slightly from when he started at the position from 2004 through 2009.

That’s why Haslem, who had taken only 13 three-pointers in 751 NBA games before Friday, has launched three (and made one) in the past three games since Chris Bosh was sidelined for the season by blood clots in his lungs.

In fact, Haslem said Erik Spoelstra told him before the season that "If I want to play [power forward], I have to shoot the corner three."

“It’s part of our offense,” Haslem said. “If I’m going to play the four, I have to implement that. You’re not going to make all of them, but you have to take them with confidence. I’m going to make some.

“Coach gives me confidence. He sees I’ve been working on that. He’s seen me knock it down a thousand times in practice. I have confidence in shooting it. I’ve just got to take good ones. Take the ones that are open. Don’t force it.”

Erik Spoelstra said he does not “mind him shooting the corner three. He has reinvented himself so many times in 12 years. He can find a way to be effective no matter how we play.”

Though Deng continues to start at small forward, a lot of his minutes are coming at power forward as part of a smaller lineup with Deng, Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic and Mario Chalmers or another wing player. He was terrific Monday, scoring 29 points on 11 for 14 shooting.

“When we get comfortable, we’re going to be quicker [with that small lineup],” Deng said. “We’re going to put teams in a lot of switches they’re not used to, so their defense will not be as organized. There’s definitely advantages to it.”

Deng, listed as 6-9 and 220 pounds, said he played some at power forward in Chicago when Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were injured.

“It’s definitely different,” he said.

Offensively, playing power forward means “doing a lot of dribble handoffs, finding myself at the top of the key a lot, getting the team into second situations that CB [Bosh] was so good at, spreading the floor, going into the next pick and roll. Now I’m involved in a lot of screens instead of being in the corner.  It’s totally different.”

And defensively, “I’ve got to guard the screen and make the calls for the guards,” Deng said.  “I’m used to guarding the ball…. It’s a different game when you’re battling in the post.”

For Deng, it’s yet another adjustment in a season of transition and tumult.

“We just got Dragic; I’m playing out of position; D-Wade just got back. It’s a lot going on,” Deng said. “The CB news hit us. You kind of appreciate seasons you had in the past where you roll out and play. But we’re all about challenges. My whole life has been about some type of challenge and I’ve always been OK with that.

“[Power forward] is something I can do. The way we want to play here is not think of positions, but you think a lot when you’re the four [power forward]. And that’s something CB was so good at.”

As for Chalmers, the acquisition of Dragic and the recent development of Shabazz Napier means most of Chalmers’ minutes figure to come at shooting guard.

The enjoyable part of playing that position is “being able to attack,” he said. “As a two guard, your main objective is to attack and pass when you can’t get a score. It’s a little bit different mentality.”

Chalmers is easygoing about switching between guard spots. “I was starting point guard, back to reserve two, to starting point guard” and now backup shooting guard again. “You just have to be ready for anything.”

Wade said “I like this role” for Chalmers. “We really need him to embrace it now. When he embraced it earlier in the year, he did unbelievable.”

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz... Check back tonight for a lot more.

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