08/24/2014

Kaaya news fallout; Details on ESPN's new documentary about UM football; Dolphins, Canes, Heat/Beasley, Marlins

The Sunday buzz column is below. First, a few thoughts and tidbits on freshman Brad Kaaya being named UM's starting QB this afternoon:

### Sensible move for this staff to go with its quarterback of the future right away instead of investing a year in a stopgap option (Jake Heaps) who had the nation's fifth-worst rating and third-worst completion percentage last year.

If you had a senior who was a proven, established winner, then starting him ahead of the freshman would be justified. But that was not the case here.

Most importantly, Kaaya was UM's best quarterback in the past month and coaches believe he gives them the best chance to win Labor Day night in Louisville.

### Offensive cordinator James Coley said Kaaya began to distance himself from Heaps eight days ago. Al Golden said he made the decision today. 

With Kaaya, "it went from flashes to 'I can see it' to 'He's the guy,' Coley said. "He got stronger and stronger and stronger with command and his passing percentage got better as camp went on, which is crazy. The kid acts like he's 30, watches a lot of film."

### Coley said Kaaya has made a "big-time" improvement in pre-snaps reads, which was an area that Heaps excels at.

### Asked what gave him the edge over Heaps, Coley said: "He can see the field." (He then added Heaps can do that too.) Being "6-4 helps. He's got spatial awareness."

### Coley said the offense won't be conversative because a freshman is starting. "You've got to let him play. I don't want to build a crutch for anybody. Conservative deal? I don't see it that way."

### Asked how Kaaya is similar to FSU's Jameis Winston, Coley said: "Their confidence is very similar."

### Coley said when he saw Kaaya in high school, he thought "this kid is cool, calm, collected" and wondered "when he gets here, what's he going to do when he sees that speed."

Coley said he got his answer quickly. "When we got out here the first couple days, I said, 'Hold on. This guy is pretty special.' The speed did not affect him at all."

### Linebacker Denzel Perryman said he tried to rattle Kaaya this summer and "I couldn't rattle him for nothing. He's poised."

### Coley said Kaaya's arm strength is "very good."

### Phillip Dorsett said Kaaya is usually the first guy to show up for practice and "has been playing his butt off. He's a calm, cool, collected guy. He's going to be able to handle it." He said Kaaya has good arc on his deep ball.

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SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN

No, director Billy Corben assures, the much-anticipated ESPN sequel to the “U” documentary will not evolve into The Nevin Shapiro Show.

“This is not what the movie is about,” Corben said, as he and producer Alfred Spellman craft another two-hour film about the University of Miami football program, set to air sometime this winter.

“Make no mistake, [the Shapiro saga] will be in there, but the focus is on the 2001 team.”

Even so, UM declined to participate, just as it did for the first film, which debuted in 2009 and drew the most viewers (2.3 million) ever for an ESPN documentary to that point.

This time around, UM denied their request to speak with president Donna Shalala, coach Al Golden, offensive line coach Art Kehoe and strength and conditioning coach Andrew Swasey.

“This is not a surprise to me but perhaps not the wisest strategy,” Corben said. “I’m never shocked but always disappointed by UM. They’re perpetually in damage control mode. Nobody wants to see the documentary the administration wants you to see. People want to see the unauthorized story.”

Corben said UM tried to obstruct the process during the first movie “but the consternation they needlessly caused us last time was a positive for us. I was shocked the last time how they treated us.”

Corben wanted to speak with Shapiro, but inmates in federal prisons are not permitted to do on-camera interviews, Corben said.

Shapiro couldn’t speak by phone with Corben because he said Shapiro’s phone and email privileges were revoked.

“There is some very compelling new information we’ve received to offer something new to the Shapiro narrative,” Corben said, declining to detail the information because he understandably wants to use it in the movie. “We have received a lot of insights that shed light on previous allegations or refute prior allegations. Not new allegations but new information that we’ve received on the record.”     

Corben assures that none of the new information could result in a new NCAA investigation.

Several players agreed to discuss the Shapiro scandal, on camera, and Corben and Spellman are deciding how much of that to incorporate. We hear former safety Randy Phillips spoke candidly, on-camera, about the perks Shapiro gave players.

“For some, it was a sensitive subject,” Corben said. “Some were outright cool talking about it. Some brought it up themselves.”

Corben and Spellman interviewed close to 30 people. Among them: Ed Reed, Bryant McKinnie, DJ Williams, Jonathan Vilma, Phillip Buchanon, Santana Moss and Sinorice Moss.

The documentary begins where the last one left off, in 1992.

“It’s not a dissimilar arc to the first movie – the rise and fall [of the program],” Corben said. “The bulk of the story is coming out of the Pell Grant scandal, the NCAA sanctions of 1995, the SI cover story of 1995 and what Butch Davis did.

“You have this down-on-its-luck team experiencing a lot of issues, and in comes Butch Davis and he builds it even better than years before. Those 2000, 2001 and 2002, what should have been three consecutive national championships, that’s the primary focus.

“They had 17 first-round picks and nearly 40 players from a single roster that ended up in the NFL; 2001 is not only greatest college team of all time but probably the greatest NFL team ever assembled. The idea that after the devastating sanctions of the early-to-mid 90s, the idea you could not only rebuild the program to former glory, but surpass that, is a measure of hope for the future.”

That aspect of the story held personal meaning for Corben, who was a UM freshman in 1996.

Though Corben and ESPN share editorial control, he said the network has not pushed him to include more about the Shapiro scandal.

Corben originally planned to incorporate the 2001 team into the first documentary but realized there would not be enough time to fit that into a two-hour film. Corben pitched ESPN on a sequel in 2010 and 2011, before doing another critically-acclaimed and highly-rated movie for ESPN (Broke, about athletes squandering money).

“I gave up any hope we would do [the sequel],” he said. “Then, very early this year, the opportunity came from them. I said, ‘Hell, Yeah.’”

The name of the film has not been determined.

Bono would be pissed if we called it U2,” Corben said. “At the moment, The U Part 2 is the working title. Names are above my pay grade. The [original movie] was entitled Hurricane Season. ESPN said, ‘Why don’t we call it the U?’”

### A 90-minute documentary about UM football, which was co-directed by former Hurricanes fullback Najeh Davenport and is entirely separate from the Corben/Spellman film, focuses on the resurrection of the program in the mid-1990s through the early 2000s and will debut at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the O Cinema Wynwood ($50 admission, limited tickets) and be shown again to the public at 5 p.m. Sept. 1 at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ in South Miami ($25 admission), hours before the UM-Louisville opener.

The U Reloaded: Rise for Five also is available for $20 on DVD. See theureloaded.com for more information.

CHATTER

### We’ve all heard questions about why these UM coaches do certain things the way they do. Addressing a few of them:

Many, including former UM receiver Randal Hill, are puzzled why UM has its entire offense often look to the sideline seconds before the play is run. (No matter how many times this happens, it's always a strange visual.)

The thinking there is UM wants to see how the defense lines up, and that offensive coordinator James Coley is in better position than the quarterback is to change the play. But Coley’s approach isn’t unusual; Steve Spurrier was one of the first to do it.

Former players also have criticized the fact that UM’s defensive line isn’t often set before the snap –-- which is sometimes the result of coordinator Mark D’Onofrio having the defensive ends flip positions before plays. But as one former Canes standout said, it makes the defense look like a fire drill and sometimes leaves open gaps.

So why does D’Onofrio do this? “We’re trying not to tip our hand as far as who the fourth rusher is,” he said.

Some have asked why UM doesn’t allow its defensive backs to play more press man instead of zone. Former Canes and NFL cornerback Duane Starks said “something has to change” to allow UM’s defensive backs to “disrupt routes instead of playing so far off. They have guys that can do that.”

Ladarius Gunter said he sometimes lobbies D’Onofrio to play more press man. But D’Onofrio said: “We played more man-to-man last year than previous two years. And our man-to-man is press.”

### The Dolphins could use another stretch-the-field tight end to complement Charles Clay. So why not re-sign Dustin Keller?

“Dustin needs a little more time” after last August’s gruesome knee injury, agent Eugene Parker said. The Dolphins haven’t inquired about him recently.

Jermichael Finley, about whom Miami made an inquiry earlier this offseason, hasn’t been cleared medically to play after a neck injury, according to his representation.

Perhaps Harold Hoskins eventually becomes another stretch-the-field threat --- if he makes the team. He had an impressive 27-yard TD catch Saturday.

### Please see the last post for Dolphins-Cowboys postscripts, notes, quotes and thoughts.

### One veteran NBA scout said Michael Beasley is a far better player than journeyman Shawne Williams and questioned the Heat for signing Williams to guaranteed money. So why hasn’t the Heat tried to re-sign Beasley when it could use his offense?

A person with direct knowledge cited several reasons for the Heat's lack of interest: Inconsistency, lack of trust in his defense (and ability to execute the Heat's defensive system), and maturity/focus issues, which are still a concern even though he improved somewhat in that regard last season.

I would give Beasley another shot at the minimum; he ranked in the top 52 in points-per-48 minutes last season and the Heat might regret not having his offense this season if Dwyane Wade or Danny Granger is injured. Beasley would have interest in returning if the Heat calls.

But essentially, this comes down to lack of trust by the Heat coaching staff after working with Beasley for nine months. It spoke volumes that the Heat instead prefered a player (Williams) who has had just one good NBA season (2010-11 for the Knicks) and spent much of last season in the Developmental League.

The Heat has told Beasley it has not closed the door on a return, though Miami never really tells any free agent that it has ruled out a return. But Miami hasn’t made an offer to him, either, and it appears barring a change of heart that the Heat has moved on, having given Beasley's jersey number to Williams. The Lakers recently auditioned Beasley.

### A reminder, as we noted last month, that the Heat's 2015 No. 1 draft pick that was originally sent to Cleveland and ended up with Philadelphia in the three-team Kevin Love trade is top-10 protected for Miami in 2015 and 2016 but unprotected in 2017. Miami traded that pick to Cleveland in 2010 in the sign-and-trade for LeBron James.

### Though the Marlins were criticized by some for giving up 2013 first-rounder Colin Moran in the Houston trade, a team source said Moran had slow feet, low energy and “wasn’t what we expected,” to the point he was nicknamed The Sloth.

The deal has worked out well so far: Right-hander Jarred Cosart, under team control through 2019, has been very good.

Kike Hernandez (.323 in Triple A this season) could develop into an Emilio Bonifacio-type backup, with a chance to be a starting second baseman if he can hit well enough. Speedy outfielder Austin Wates is hitting .217 at Triple A New Orleans, but was better at Triple A Oklahoma City (.299) before the trade.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz... Please see the last post for a lot more Dolphins chatter.

08/23/2014

Marino hired; Postscripts, notes, quotes, thoughts from Dolphins' preseason win against Dallas

Postscripts from the Dolphins’ 25-20 win against Dallas at Sun Life Stadium on a night Miami outgained the Cowboys, 491 to 251:

### Can confirm NBC's report late tonight that Dan Marino will be named a special advisor to owner Stephen Ross and team president Tom Garfinkel next week. The sides have been working for months on creating a job for Marino.

### So how exactly does the Dolphins’ first-team offense muster just three points in five possessions (excluding an end-of-first-half kneel down) against a dismal Dallas defense that ranked 32nd last season and lost two of its best players from that unit?

Don’t blame the running game, which was excellent (200 yards for the night on 35 carries; 5.7 per carry if you don't have your calculator).

Knowshon Moreno was splendid in his Dolphins debut, hitting holes quickly and decisively and closing with 64 yards on 10 carries. Lamar Miller added 34 yards on 7 carries.

Ryan Tannehill’s first drive ended in a 26-yard John Potter field goal after a third down completion to Rishard Matthews was short of a first down. But the first-team offense couldn't generate any more points the rest of the night.

Here’s how the four other Tannehill-led possessions were ultimately undone:

### Dion Sims fumbled trying to get extra yardage after a third-down catch, and Moreno inexplicably failed to pounce on it despite being in position to do so. Barry Church recovered for Dallas.

### Bruce Carter jumped in front of Sims and nearly intercepted a third-down pass, ending Miami's third possession.

### Brian Hartline dropped a very catchable third-down pass, but the drive was extended because of a Dallas penalty on the Miami punt, which was blocked because of a missed assignment by Rishard Matthews.

But Tannehill subsequently overthrew Mike Wallace on a deep route. (This is a recording). CBS-4 analyst Nat Moore blamed Wallace, saying he stopped running as hard as he could because he couldn’t locate the ball.

“The lights and location, it didn’t quite hook up,” Joe Philbin said.

But Tannehill said there was miscommunication on the play and blamed himself.

That possession ended when two Dallas pass-rushers descended nearly untouched on Tannehill, forcing an incompletion. A mixup involving Samson Satele was partly to blame for that.

### Tannehill’s fifth and final drive, to begin the third quarter, ended with a Tyler Patmon interception in the red zone on a poorly thrown ball to Hartline. That drive had been sustained by a three-yard run by Damien Williams on a fourth and one.

### Tannehill’s final numbers: 12 for 21, 119 yards, no touchdowns, one pick and a poor 57.4 rating.

“I thought Ryan played well overall,” Philbin said, oddly enough. “They played cover 2 on that particular interception. I thought he managed the game well, was seeing things well.”

### Aside from the gaffe involving Satele, the first-team offensive line was sharp. Shelley Smith got the majority of the first-team snaps at right guard and blocked efficiently in the running game.

Dallas Thomas was beaten in pass protection on one of his first-half snaps, forcing Tannehill to rush a throw.

### Matt Moore threw a nine-yard pick-six to Patmon on a horrible pass to Armon Binns but was otherwise effective, closing 12 for 19 for 173 yards with one TD (a 27-yarder to Harold Hoskins), one pick and an 88.3 rating.

### More from Philbin: “Our guys made some plays in the fourth quarter…. We moved the football well but when you turn the ball over close to the red zone and in the red zone, it’s difficult. We were minus three in the turnover margin and still won the game. That doesn’t happen very often... [Moreno] ran the ball well, broke a couple tackles. Vision was good.”

### With Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee both sidelined with hamstring injuries, Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa both excelled in their bid for roster spots.

Williams finished with 33 yards on seven carries, a one-yard touchdown and a two-point conversion.

Darkwa had 71 yards on six carries and a one-yard TD run with 1:45 left, accounting for the final points of the night.

### The other D. Williams, receiver Damian Williams, made a case for a roster spot by catching a 57-yard pass from Moore.

Williams, very much on the bubble, could stick in a couple of ways: as the sixth receiver, if Miami keeps that many, or as the fifth receiver if the Dolphins trade Matthews.

### The Dolphins unveiled a package in which Miller and Moreno played together, with Miller motioning out to receiver. "There are possibilities there, part of the package," Philbin said.

### Hoskins, who led all tight ends in touchdown receptions at Marshall last season, made a terrific effort to get into the end zone on his 27-yard score from Moore. It was a more impressive reception that departed Michael Egnew ever made during his two years here.

Hoskins, at the very least, should be on the practice squad and still has a chance to make the 53-man roster.

### Koa Misi sat out with a shoulder injury, but WFOR reported the injury isn’t serious. Philbin, typically, declined to give details about the injury.

Jason Trusnik started at middle linebacker. Jordan Tripp again impressed with a couple of impressive plays, just as he did last week.

Philip Wheeler, as usual, whiffed on a couple of tackles, and committed a third-down penalty that would have given the Cowboys a first down if Dallas hadn’t already converted it. But he did have a tackle for loss. Weeeee! But Dannell Ellerbe played well, which was encouraging.

### The defensive line was generally quite good in the first half. Cam Wake had two sacks and Olivier Vernon one.

The Dolphins held DeMarco Murray to 18 yards on six carries, and limited Tony Romo to a 68.5 rating (10 for 18, 87 yards, no touchdowns or picks).

### Holding Dallas to six first half points was commendable, considering the explosiveness of the Cowboys' offense.

### John Potter suffered a hip flexor injury, leaving the Dolphins without a kicker for much of the night. Philbin said he doesn’t know the status of Potter or Caleb Sturgis, who missed the game with a groin injury.

The Dolphins likely will need to add a kicker in the next day or so, and one name worth considering is undrafted Washington State rookie Andrew Furney, who kicked a 51-yard field goal in the Jets’ preseason opener but was cut this weekend because he wasn’t going to beat out Nick Folk. Furney kicked a 60-yard field goal in college.

### Final receiver numbers of note: Wallace 6 for 67; Williams with the one catch for 54; Ryan Spadola 1 catch for 27 yards (on the game-winning drive), Hoskins 1 for 27; Darkwa 3 for 25; Hartline 3 for 25; Landry 2 for 20; Charles Clay 1 for 18; Miller 2 for 3.

### Jamar Taylor was beaten for a 27-yard TD by ex-UM receiver Laron Byrd but also made a couple of good plays in coverage.

Will Davis began the night as a the No. 3 corner and likely will keep that spot. He gave up a first-down completion to Dez Bryant on a 4th and 3 but was solid otherwise.

### Marcus Thigpen sat out with a hamstring injury, but Landry didn't exactly seize the return job in his absence. He fumbled one punt (Miami recovered) and gained 26 yards on his three punts returns. His two kickoff returns netted 42 yards.

Please check back Sunday for the Sunday buzz column, with Dolphins, Canes, Heat and Marlins... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

08/22/2014

A Thursday night/Saturday fall planner: A look at this season's college football TV schedule

Wondering how to plan your Saturdays this fall? Here’s a look at what already has been determined about this season’s college football TV schedule, with many more games to be added a week or two in advance:

Saturday, Aug. 23

Sam Houston State at Eastern Washington, ESPN, 3:30

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Abilene Christian at Georgia State, ESPNU, 7

Thursday, Aug. 28

Texas A&M at South Carolina, SEC, 6

Eastern Illinois at Minnesota, BTN, 7

Wake Forest at Louisiana-Monroe, ESPNU, 7

Idaho State at Utah, Pac-12, 7:30

Tulane at Tulsa, CBS Sports Net, 8

Boise State vs. Mississippi in Atlanta, ESPN, 8

Temple at Vanderbilt, SEC, 9:15

Rutgers at Washington State, Fox Sports 1, 10 p.m.

Weber State at Arizona State, Pac-12, 10:30

 

Friday, Aug. 29

Brigham Young at Connecticut, ESPN, 7

Jacksonville State at Michigan State, BTN, 7:30

Bowling Green at Western Kentucky, CBS Sports Net, 7:30

Colorado vs. Colorado State in Denver, Fox Sports 1, 9

UT-San Antonio at Houston, ESPNU, 9

UNLV at Arizona, ESPN, 10:30

 

Saturday, Aug. 30

Central Florida vs. Penn State in Dublin, Ireland, ESPN2, 8:30 a.m.

Northern Iowa at Iowa or Youngstown State-Illinois, BTN, noon

Ohio State vs. Navy in Baltimore, CBS Sports Net, noon

UCLA at Virginia, ESPN, noon

Appalachian State at Michigan, ESPN2, noon

Western Michigan at Purdue, ESPNU, noon

North Dakota State at Iowa State, Fox Sports 1, noon

Tennessee-Martin at Kentucky, SEC, noon

California at Northwestern OR West Virginia-Alabama in Atlanta (regional), ABC, 3:30

Rice at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30

Florida Atlantic at Nebraska, BTN, 3:30

South Dakota State at Missouri, ESPNU, 3:30

William & Mary at Virginia Tech, ESPNews, 3:30

Arkansas at Auburn, SEC, 4

Clemson at Georgia, ESPN, 5:30

Idaho at Florida, ESPNU, 7

Central Arkansas at Texas Tech, FSN, 7

Samford at TCU, FSN, 7

Fresno State at Southern California, Fox, 7:30

Southern Miss at Mississippi State, SEC, 7:30

Oklahoma State vs. Florida State in Arlington, Texas, ABC, 8

Washington at Hawaii, CBS Sports Net, 8

N.C. Central at East Carolina, ESPNews, 8

LSU vs. Wisconsin in Houston, ESPN, 9

South Dakota at Oregon, Pac-12, 10:30

 

Sunday, Aug. 31

North Carolina A&T vs. Alabama A&M in Orlando, ESPN, 11:45 a.m.

Utah State at Tennessee, SEC, 7

Southern Methodist at Baylor, Fox Sports 1, 7:30

Monday, Sept. 1

Miami at Louisville, ESPN, 8

 

Thursday, Sept. 4

Arizona at Texas-San Antonio, Fox Sports 1, 8

GrandValley State (Mich.) at Azusa (Calif.) Pacific, CBS Sports Net, 9

 

Friday, Sept. 5

Pittsburgh at Boston College, ESPN, 7

Washington State at Nevada, ESPN, 10:30

 

Saturday, Sept. 6

Akron at Penn State, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 (TBA), noon

Oklahoma at Tulsa, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 (TBA), noon

Missouri at Toledo, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 (TBA), noon

Buffalo at Army, CBS Sports Net, noon

McNeese State at Nebraska, ESPNU, noon

Central Michigan at Purdue, ESPNews, noon

SMU at North Texas, FSN, noon

Kansas State at Iowa State, Fox Sports 1, noon

Florida Atlantic at Alabama, SEC, noon

Southern California at Stanford, ABC, 3:30

Maryland at South Florida, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Ball State at Iowa, ESPN2, 3:30

Ohio at Kentucky, ESPNU, 3:30

Missouri State at Oklahoma State, FSN, 3:30

Georgia Tech at Tulane, ESPNews, 4

Eastern Michigan at Florida, SEC, 4

Mississippi at Vanderbilt, ESPN, 4:30

Michigan State at Oregon, Fox, 6:30

Northwestern State at Baylor, FSN, 6:30

Arizona State at New Mexico, CBS Sports Net, 7

East Carolina at South Carolina, ESPN2/ESPNU, 7

San Jose State at Auburn, ESPN2/ESPNU, 7

Brigham Young at Texas, Fox Sports 1, 7:30

Michigan at Notre Dame, NBC, 7:30

Virginia Tech at Ohio State, ESPN, 8

San Diego State at North Carolina, ESPNews, 8

Memphis at UCLA, Pac-12, 10

Colorado State at Boise State, ESPN2, 10:15

Air Force at Wyoming, ESPNU, 10:15

OregonState at Hawaii, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

Texas Tech at Texas-El Paso, Fox Sports 1, 11

 

Thursday, Sept. 11

Louisiana Tech at North Texas, CBS Sports Net, 8

Houston at Brigham Young, ESPN, 9

 

Friday, Sept. 12

Toledo at Cincinnati, ESPNU, 7

Baylor at Buffalo, ESPN, 8

 

Saturday, Sept. 13

Boise State at Connecticut, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, noon

East Carolina at Virginia Tech, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, noon

Kent State at Ohio State, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, noon

West Virginia at Maryland, BTN, noon

Ohio at Marshall, CBS Sports Net, noon

Indiana at Bowling Green, ESPNU or ESPNews, noon

Syracuse at Central Michigan, ESPNU or ESPNews, noon

Pittsburgh at Florida International, Fox Sports 1, noon

Massachusetts at Vanderbilt, FSN, noon

Central Florida at Missouri, SEC, noon

Wyoming at Oregon, Pac-12, 2

Arkansas at Texas Tech, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 3:30

Iowa State at Iowa, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 3:30

Miami (Ohio) at Michigan, BTN, 3:3

Georgia at South Carolina, CBS, 3:30

N.C.State at South Florida, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Arkansas State at Miami, ESPNU, 3:30

Mississippi State at South Alabama, ESPNews, 4

Illinois at Washington, Fox, 4

Minnesota at TCU, Fox Sports 1, 4

Louisiana-Lafayette at Mississippi, SEC, 4

Army at Stanford, Pac-12, 5

Southern Miss at Alabama, ESPN2, 6

WakeForest at Utah State, CBS Sports Net, 7

Louisiana-Monroe at LSU, ESPNU, 7

Texas-San Antonio at OklahomaState, FSN, 7

Purdue vs. Notre Dame in Indianapolis, NBC, 7:30

Kentucky at Florida, SEC, 7:30

Southern California at Boston College, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Tennessee at Oklahoma, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Penn State at Rutgers, BTN, 8

Navy at Texas State, ESPNews, 8

UCLA vs. Texas in Arlington, Texas, Fox, 8

Portland State at Washington State, Pac-12, 8

Rice at Texas A&M, ESPN2, 9

Arizona State at Colorado, ESPNU, 10

Nebraska at Fresno State, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

Nevada at Arizona, Pac-12, 11

 

Thursday, Sept. 18

Auburn at Kansas State, ESPN, 7:30

Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Alabama State, ESPNU, 7:30

Southeastern Oklahoma at Henderson State (Ark.), CBS Sports Net, 8

 

Friday, Sept. 19

Connecticut at South Florida, ESPN/ESPN2, 8

BEYOND THIS DATE, THE SATURDAY GAMES ALREADY CLAIMED BY NETWORKS ARE LIMITED AT THIS POINT. NETWORKS WILL ADD A LOT MORE GAMES, OBVIOUSLY, A WEEK OR TWO IN ADVANCE. 

Saturday, Sept. 20

Troy at Georgia, SEC, noon

Rutgers at Navy, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Miami at Nebraska, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Louisiana Lafayette at Boise State, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

Louisville at Florida International, Fox Sports 1 or FSN, TBA

 

Thursday, Sept. 25

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State, ESPN, 7:30

Appalachian State at Georgia Southern, ESPNU, 7:30

Missouri Western at Lindenwood (Mo.), CBS Sports Net, 8

UCLA at Arizona State, Fox Sports 1, 10

 

Friday, Sept. 26

Fresno State at New Mexico, ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion, Fox Sports 1, 8

 

Saturday, Sept. 27

Iowa at Purdue, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 or BTN, noon

Western Kentucky at Navy, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Cincinnati at Ohio State, BTN, 6

Boise State at Air Force, CBS Sports Net, 7

Illinois at Nebraska, BTN, 9

Nevada at San Jose State, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

 

Thursday, Oct. 2

Central Florida at Houston, ESPN, 7

Florida Atlantic at Florida International, FSN, 7

Alabama State at Alcorn State, ESPNU, 7:30

Benedict (S.C.) at Miles (Ala.), CBS Sports Net, 8

Arizona at Oregon, ESPN, 10:30

 

Friday, Oct. 3

Lafayette at Fordham, CBS Sports Net, 6:30

Louisville at Syracuse, ESPN, 7

San Diego State at Fresno State, CBS Sports Net, 10

Utah State at Brigham Young, ESPN, 10:15

 

Saturday, Oct. 4

Ball State at Army, CBS Sports Net, noon

Navy at Air Force, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Stanford at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30

Michigan at Rutgers, BTN, 7

Nebraska at Michigan State, ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Boise State at Nevada, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

 

Thursday, Oct. 9

Brigham Young at Central Florida, ESPN, 7:30

Minnesota State-Mankato at Winona (Minn.) State, CBS Sports Net, 8

 

Friday, Oct. 10

San Diego State at New Mexico, ESPNU, 9:30

Fresno State at UNLV, CBS Sports Net, 10

 

Saturday, Oct. 11

Rice at Army, CBS Sports Net, noon

VMI at Navy, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

North Carolina at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30

William & Mary at New Hampshire, NBC Sports Net, 3:30

Penn State at Michigan, ESPN/ESPN2, 7

Colorado State at Nevada, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

 

Tuesday, Oct. 14

Louisiana-Lafayette at Texas State, ESPN2, 8

 

Thursday, Oct. 16

Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh, ESPN, 7:30

Colorado Mines at Fort Lewis (Colo.), CBS Sports Net, 8

Utah at Oregon State, Fox Sports 1, 10

 

Friday, Oct. 17

Fresno State at Boise State, ESPN, 8

Temple at Houston, ESPNU, 9

 

Saturday, Oct. 18

Rutgers at Ohio State, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/BTN, 3:30

Utah State at Colorado State, CBS Sports Net, 7

Nebraska at Northwestern, BTN, 7:30

Hawaii at San Diego State, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

 

Tuesday, Oct. 21

Arkansas State at Louisiana-Lafayette, ESPN2, 8

 

Thursday, Oct. 23

Connecticut at East Carolina, ESPNU, 7

Miami at Virginia Tech, ESPN, 7:30

 

Friday, Oct. 24

South Florida at Cincinnati, ESPN/ESPN2, 7

Troy at South Alabama, ESPNU, 7:30

Brigham Young at Boise State, ESPN/ESPN2, 9

Oregon vs. California in Santa Clara, Calif., Fox Sports 1, 10

 

Saturday, Oct. 25

Minnesota at Illinois, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 or BTN, noon

San Jose State at Navy, CBS Sports Net, 1

Ohio State at Penn State, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 8

 

Thursday, Oct. 30

Florida State at Louisville, ESPN, 7:30

Troy at Georgia Southern, ESPNU, 7:30

St. Joseph's (Ind.) at Indianapolis, CBS Sports Net, 8

 

Friday, Oct. 31

Cincinnati at Tulane, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Tulsa at Memphis, ESPN/ESPNU, 8

 

Saturday, Nov. 1

Air Force at Army, CBS, 11:30 a.m.

Wisconsin at Rutgers, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/BTN, noon

Indiana at Michigan, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/BTN, 3:30

Florida vs. Georgia in Jacksonville, CBS, 3:30

Brigham Young at Middle Tennessee, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Colorado State at San Jose State, CBS Sports Net, 7

Illinois at Ohio State, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Notre Dame vs. Navy in Landover, Md., CBS, 8

San Diego State at Nevada, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

 

Tuesday, Nov. 4

Bowling Green at Akron, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Toledo at Kent State, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

 

Wednesday, Nov. 5

Buffalo at Ohio, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Northern Illinois at Ball State, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

 

Thursday, Nov. 6

Clemson at Wake Forest, ESPN, 7:30

 

Friday, Nov. 7

Fordham at Bucknell, CBS Sports Net, 6:30

Memphis at Temple, ESPNU, 7:30

Utah State at Wyoming, ESPN2, 8

 

Saturday, Nov. 8

Connecticut vs. Army in Bronx, N.Y., CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Boise State at New Mexico, CBS Sports Net, 7

Ohio State at Michigan State, ABC, 8

San Jose State at Fresno State, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

 

Tuesday, Nov. 11

Toledo at Northern Illinois, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Akon at Buffalo, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

 

Wednesday, Nov. 12

Ball State at Massachusetts, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Kent State at Bowling Green, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

 

Thursday, Nov. 13

East Carolina at Cincinnati, ESPN2, 7

Southern Miss at Texas-San Antonio, CBS Sports Net, 8

California at Southern California, ESPN, 9

 

Friday, Nov. 14

Tulsa at Central Florida, ESPN2, 8

 

Saturday, Nov. 15

Army at Western Kentucky, CBS Sports Net, noon

James Madison at Richmond, NBC Sports Net, 12:30

Northwestern at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30

Georgia Southern at Navy, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Michigan State at Maryland, BTN, 8

 

Wednesday, Nov. 19

Bowling Green at Toledo, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Kent State at Buffalo, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

 

Thursday, Nov. 20

Kansas State at West Virginia, Fox Sports 1, 7

North Carolina at Duke, ESPN, 7:30

Arkansas State at Texas State, ESPNU, 9:30

 

Friday, Nov. 21

Texas-El Paso at Rice, Fox Sports 1, 8

Air Force at San Diego State, CBS Sports Net, 9:30

San Jose State at Utah State, ESPN2, 9:30

 

Saturday, Nov. 22

Fordham at Army, CBS Sports Net, noon

Louisville at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30

New Hampshire at Maine, NBC Sports Net, 3:30

Richmond at William & Mary, NBC Sports Net, 7:30

 

Thursday, Nov. 27

TCU at Texas, Fox Sports 1, 7:30

 

Friday, Nov. 28

Western Kentucky at Marshall, Fox Sports 1, noon

Arkansas at Missouri, CBS, 2:30

Stanford at UCLA, ABC, 3:30

Colorado State at Air Force, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Arizona State at Arizona, Fox, 3:30

Virginia at Virginia Tech, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU, TBA

 

Saturday, Nov. 29

Rice at Louisiana Tech, CBS Sports Net, noon

Grambling vs. Southern in New Orleans, NBC, 2

San Jose State at San Diego State, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

 

Thursday, Dec. 4

Central Florida at East Carolina, ESPN/ESPNU, 7:30

 

Friday, Dec. 5

MAC championship in Detroit, ESPN2, 7

Pac-12 championship in Santa Clara, Calif., Fox, 9

 

Saturday, Dec. 6

SEC championship in Atlanta, CBS, 4

ACC championship in Charlotte, ABC/ESPN, 7:45 or 8

Big Ten championship in Indianapolis, Fox, 8

Mountain West championship, CBS, 10

C-USA championship, ESPN/ESPN2, TBA

SWAC championship in Houston, ESPN network, TBA

 

Saturday, Dec. 13

Army vs. Navy in Baltimore, CBS, 3

 

### Couple other notes: The new Miami Beach Bowl at Marlins Park, matching BYU or an at-large team against the American Athletic champ, will be at 2 p.m. on Dec. 22, and the Boca Raton Bowl at FAU (MAC vs. Conference USA) is slotted for 6 p.m. Dec. 23….

The Orange Bowl (featuring an ACC or at-large team against a Big Ten or SEC team or Notre Dame) is scheduled for Dec. 31 at 8:30.

The two national semifinals (Rose and Sugar) will be played at 5 and 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 1, with the winners playing the championship game Jan. 12 in Arlington, Tx.

08/21/2014

3 p.m. Egnew news, reaction; Evaluators weigh in: Mixed reaction on Dolphins' veteran newcomers; UM, Heat, Marlins

3 p.m. update: So Michael Egnew is gone from the Dolphins, the latest third-round pick to flame out.

Here's what's odd about Egnew, who was released today to give him time to latch on with another team: Jeff Ireland drafted him believing he could run routes and catch passes downfield but not block especially well. He drafted him even though several Missouri tight ends since Kellen Winslow flopped in the NFL.

As it turned out, tight ends coach Dan Campbell said recently that Egnew's strength in the past year was blocking but that he needs to improve on running routes and helping in the passing game. So exactly the opposite of what Ireland thought he was drafting.

Here are the Dolphins' third round picks since the turn of the century:

2000: Ben Kelly

2001: Travis Minor and Morlon Greenwood

2002: Seth McKinney

2003: Wade Smith and Taylor Whitley

2004: Nobody

2005: Channing Crowder

2006: Derek Hagan

2007: Lorenzo Booker

2008: Kendall Langford

2009: Patrick Turner

2010: John Jerry

2011: Nobody

2012: Olivier Vernon (72nd) and Egnew (78th)

2013: Dallas Thomas and Will Davis

It's too soon to judge Thomas and Davis, but beyond them, there's not a single Pro Bowler in the group, though Vernon looks like he's going to be a very good player. Crowder was a solid linebacker before Ireland ditched him and Langford was an asset against the run before bolting to St. Louis, but none of the third-rounders (pre-Vernon) had LONG distinguished careers here. And so it goes...

Figure on the Dolphins looking closely for tight ends on the waiver wire. They need a third or fourth, depending on what role they give to rookie Arthur Lynch. Brett Brackett will get a long look. Charles Clay and Dion Sims are in line to be the No. 1 and No. 2 tight ends.

### The Dolphins also released cornerback Jalil Brown and defensive tackle Micajah Reynolds. Both were injured.

##################################################################################

FRIDAY BUZZ COLUMN

Dolphins fans get their most extensive look at Dennis Hickey’s free agent pickups on Saturday against Dallas, and there are still lots of unanswered questions about this group. Such as: Did Miami get productive starters in Shelley Smith or Daryn Colledge? Will Knowshon Moreno be more productive than Lamar Miller? Will Earl Mitchell be as disruptive as Paul Soliai?

ESPN pundit and former Colts GM Bill Polian, ESPN Scout Inc.’s Matt Williamson (a former Browns scout whose evaluations have been on-target over the years), NBC’s Cris Collinsworth and an NFC general manager who requested anonymity offered feedback on Hickey’s free agent moves, and we added our own early impressions:

### Moreno: The Dolphins clearly need someone who can push Lamar Miller, who averaged 4.0 yards last season but has just 14 yards on 7 carries in preseason. (The Dolphins want Miller to break more tackles.) But some evaluators aren’t convinced Moreno --- who’s back from June knee surgery --- is the answer.

“Solid contributor, but not a No. 1 back,” Polian said of Moreno. “Most of his success from 2013 was a function of [Denver’s] system. His acceleration to the hole is [not very good]. The rest of his game is good, he just doesn't hit the big plays you need from a No. 1 running back.” …

Williamson: “I’m less than impressed. He entered the league with a lot of fanfare and didn’t live up to that. He’s trying to transform himself into a hard charging tough guy who needs a lot of touches to succeed. But he benefited from a lot of light fronts with Denver.

"If they had six in the box, Peyton Manning would switch to a run and Moreno would run against that. He never had to run against stacked fronts. He’s a get- what’s-blocked type of back. I don’t think he’s the answer. I see a short-term fix. But he’s a big upgrade in pass protection and he’s better than Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, especially Thomas.”

### Smith: Was a disappointment early in camp and now has a chance to redeem himself if he can win the right guard job, where he’s still competing with Dallas Thomas.

Williamson: “I was very impressed what I saw in St. Louis. A better run blocker than in pass protection. Moves really well. Light on his feet. Starter caliber.”… The GM: “He could be your best run blocker. Over-aggressive at times in pass protection but not horrible in pass protection, either.”

### Colledge: His pass blocking has been very good but his run blocking has been subpar in preseason so far. Joe Philbin, who knows him well from Green Bay, declined to give him an endorsement this week, asserting the left guard job is still open even though Colledge continues to take the first-team snaps.

Williamson likes him: “Great fit in this up-tempo offense that stresses movement over power and size from offensive linemen. Upgrade for sure.”

### Cornerback Cortland Finnegan: Has had a strong camp, fully meeting Miami’s expectations so far. The GM: “He brings a physical element to your team. He’s tough and gives you position versatility because he can play the slot and outside. Not everyone can do that. We were looking at him in free agency. As long as he’s not a knucklehead, he’s a good value contract.”…

Polian: “He loves to mix things up as an edge-setter and gets under the skin of opposing wide receivers, but his style of play lends itself to poor technique. He struggled against double-moves during the 2013 season.”...

Williamson: “He played poorly for the Rams. But I looked at it like the Saints signing Champ Bailey. He might be a leader in the cornerback meeting room, a good influence behind the scenes and a stopgap player. Maybe he goes back to where he was a couple years ago. He plays with an edge but gets beat too often. Feisty. Better in the slot.”…

Collinsworth: “He didn't have a good year last year but I will tell you what he is: He's tough and physical. At practice, he is a borderline jerk. But he brings an intensity.

“And he hits his own guys. You can't be lackadaisical when he's on the field. Those are the guys you used to hate to practice against, but you were glad they were with you on Sunday.

“If I had to say of all the guys in the league of what I'm trying to describe - and it's a compliment – he would be one of those guys that you want on your team to stir the pot every day. Richard Sherman and Brandon Spikes stir the pot every day. Those guys are hard to find and you want them on your team.”

### Defensive tackle Earl Mitchell: Early signs are encouraging; teammates praise his motor, and he will play a lot in a three-tackle rotation.

Polian loves him: “Mitchell has become a real inside force and one of the most productive penetrators in the NFL at generating consistent inside pressure. He is a much better athlete than most guys who play his position, and his effort is outstanding. Good quickness and really works to finish the play. He is young and will only get better.”…

Williamson: “He and Soliai [now with Atlanta] are very different players. Soliai is a big run stuffer who demands a double team. Mitchell is much more of a penetrator. Mitchell is the better player, more upside.”…

### Safety Louis Delmas: Has looked decent so far but missed a tackle in Saturday night’s game at Tampa.  An upgrade over Chris Clemons as a play-maker but also vulnerable to being burned occasionally. Most importantly, his knees have held up.

Williamson: “Delmas makes a lot of big plays. He will show up on SportsCenter a heck of a lot more than Clemons but is a little more inconsistent. Injuries are the big issue. He’s reckless with his body in some ways.”… Polian: “Really good player who has been hampered greatly by injury."

### Left tackle Branden Albert: Been solid so far but the run-blocking needs to improve.

“Below elite but one of the top 10 tackles in the league and worth the money at very much a need position,” Williamson said… The GM: “He thinks he’s elite, but he’s not. But a good player. Pass blocking is his strength, and he has good feet. Durability is a question.”…

Polian: “He doesn't make a lot of mistakes. Has an elite skill set, but he doesn't always seem to play up to those skills.”… Collinsworth: “Brandon is getting paid to be Anthony Munoz. He's very good. Is he Anthony Munoz? No, but I don't think anybody is. He gives them that guy where maybe we don't have to be great at guard.”

### As far as veteran free agent pickups trying to make the team: Not much support for Brady Quinn, who appears unlikely to make it. As Williamson says: “Certainly a step down from Matt Moore.”…  Former Titans receiver Damian Williams: “If you’re the fifth receiver on game day, you better be a solid special teams contributor and I don’t think he is,” Williamson said. He has had a good camp but has done nothing to win the punt return job and it's difficult to see him sticking barring an injury or trade in the next two weeks.

Jason Fox: “LaAdrian Waddle, an undrafted free agent, went right past him in Detroit,” Williamson said. “He’s not the pass protector you want on the left side, not the mauler you want on the right side. Not terrible in any area, but not a standout in any. I thought he would be better coming out of college.” The belief here is that the last offensive line job could come down to Fox or Sam Brenner.

### Please check the last post, from Thursday evening, for more Dolphins tidbits, including two of Jeff Ireland's picks trying to stick around.

CHATTER

### There will be subtle changes in UM’s offense: Expect a more controlled passing game (bubble screens, short and intermediate routes) with fewer deep balls. UM will still try to go deep selectively but likely not as much as Stephen Morris did.

### UM loves what freshman running back Joe Yearby is going to add, and coordinator James Coley said there’s a package with both Yearby and Duke Johnson playing together (with one lining up at receiver).

### Freshman quarterback Malik Rosier, who played in the shotgun in high school and has mishandled some snaps under center during practice, hopes UM creates a special package for him, but Coley said that’s undecided.

“I really believe he’s more than a Wildcat quarterback,” Coley said. Rosier plans to play baseball at UM, too.

### Rashard Lewis, whose Dallas contract was voided because of knee surgery, conveyed to the Heat that he would love to return here, but Miami already signed Shawne Williams for that role (backup stretch power forward). Williams essentially has had only one good season (2010-11 with the Knicks) but performed well in offseason workouts.

### Scouts are raving about Christian Yelich, who is hitting .323 since the All-Star break and ranks fourth among all qualifying MLB left fielders in average (.288). He has become so popular among Marlins
fans that not only is he getting dozens of letters a week, but a couple people drew and sent him portraits of himself.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz... Please see the last post for a few UM and broadcast items.

Quick hits: Ireland picks trying to hang on; UM, broadcast items

A six-pack of notes on a Thursday evening: 

### You would like to see two of Jeff Ireland’s pet projects and higher-than-warranted draft picks, Daniel Thomas and Michael Egnew, give a convincing reason for Miami to keep them to start the season.

They could still survive nevertheless because nobody on the roster has necessarily outplayed them for the No. 3 running back and tight end jobs, respectively.

Thomas, who has been limited recently by a hamstring injury, “was having a good camp,” Joe Philbin said today. “Hopefully, we can get him some game action here soon. He’s a good fit [for the zone-blocking scheme].”

Thomas returned to practice earlier this week but sat out Thursday's session, curiously, raising questions about his status for Saturday's Dallas game.

But Mike Gillislee remains out with a hamstring and Damien Williams (17 carries, 22 yards) hasn't made a convincing enough case for the No. 3 running back job. Nor has Orleans Darkwa, obviously. So Thomas might survive by default.

As for Egnew, “he missed a little bit of time [with a concussion], but he’s come back,” Philbin said. “He got a limited amount of playing time the other night. He’s had a good week of practice. So we’ll take a look at him again in the game on Saturday and see how well he performs.”

Charles Clay and Dion Sims will be on the team, and I suspect rookie Arthur Lynch probably will be too unless he’s surprisingly placed on injured reserve. That leaves Egnew competing with Kyle Miller, Brett Brackett, Harold Hoskins and every tight end who will be released over the next two weeks.

### Philbin is encouraged by how well Brandon Gibson has returned from last October’s major knee injury.

“When he got hurt in New England, third down, he was one of the leaders in the league in terms of percentage of conversions,” Philbin said. “I think he’s a quarterback-friendly guy. He’s got very good hands and he’s smart. He can read coverages, understands the leverage, when I turn out and turn in, when I should stay on the move, when I should sit down. So I think the quarterbacks, most of them, get comfortable with him pretty quick.”

### Remember those five UM players who left early after the 2011 season? Give Ireland credit for drafting the only two who have had successful careers to this point: Lamar Miller and Olivier Vernon.

We were reminded of this today when the Patriots released Marcus Forston, who played in three games for them last year. Of the other two, Tommy Streeter (Tampa Bay) and Brandon Washington (St. Louis) are trying to win roster spots. 

### Of the seniors on UM’s team last year, the most prominent who’s not in an NFL camp is Curtis Porter, who wasn’t signed after tryouts with the Oakland Raiders and Montreal of the CFL.

### The Hurricanes basketball team swept all four games in its trip to Spain, and several new players delivered what UM hopes will be a harbinger. Sheldon McClellan, the Texas transfer who sat out last season, averaged 20 points per game, and high-end freshman combo guard Ja'Quan Newton averaged 13.5.

And junior power forward Ivan Cruz Uceda, a newcomer, averaged 11 rebounds per game. 

### Former UM basketball player Erik Swoope has played 22 snaps in Indianapolis’ first two preseason games (no receptions) and is trying to make a case to be kept on the Colts' practice squad. (The 53-man roster is unlikely.) 

“We’re still in the process of molding Swoope, but he has all the things that you can’t teach, and that’s amazing athleticism, phenomenal strength and balance and hand-eye coordination, and it’ll be fun to watch him grow and progress,” Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. 

### Fox people have told us how impressive former Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt was in his audition and predict he’s going to be very good as one of the network’s new college football studio analysts this year.... Fox is keeping Brady Quinn's job open for him in case the Dolphins cut him, which is where it seems this is headed.

Please check back tonight for lots of Dolphins and some Marlins, UM and Heat in the Friday buzz column.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

08/20/2014

Wednesday evening Dolphins and Hurricanes chatter; Stanton's future; Heat

Dolphins and UM notes on a Wednesday night:

 

DOLPHINS TIDBITS

### Tough break for rookie safety Walt Aikens, who had been coming on strong before a left hand injury in practice this week. Though a firm timetable hasn’t been established, he’s out indefinitely. With Aikens out, Don Jones moved up to the second team at safety, alongside Michael Thomas.

Jones, Thomas, Jordan Kovacs and Jalil Brown appear to be fighting for at least two roster spots. Thomas has had a good camp and seems to have a good chance of sticking. That is, unless the Dolphins find somebody they like better on waivers.

### The Dolphins and Dan Marino continue to talk about a potential role in the organization, and Marino has been visible recently.

On Wednesday, he attended practice for the second time in seven days. He spoke for at least 10 minutes with Joe Philbin and Dennis Hickey (separately) during practice, spent much of the rest of practice with Dawn Aponte and chatted with Cortland Finnegan and Reshad Jones and Brent Grimes during a break.

“He was here to observe and chat,” Joe Philbin said. “Great to have him here. I told him he’s always welcomed anytime.”

### Difficult to envision Brady Quinn making the team after throwing five interceptions over the past three days. He threw two picks today: one to Jamar Taylor and another that Jimmy Wilson returned for a touchdown.

The Dolphins seem likely to keep two quarterbacks and sign at least one for the practice squad --- perhaps Seth Lobato or recently released Pat Devlin.

### Will Davis made a couple of more outstanding plays to break up passes and remains ahead of Jamar Taylor, at least for now, in the battle for the No. 3 cornerback job.

### In Davone Bess, Dan Carpenter and Derrick Shelby, the Dolphins have had some success finding undrafted rookies who make the team and contribute. Who’s likely to be this year’s Bess?

We explore that in a story on the Herald’s sports home page that will be posted this evening, but Chris McCain appears to have the best chance. He had a sack on Matt Moore today and has flashed an interesting skill set and the versatility to play linebacker or defensive end.

Anthony Johnson, the undrafted LSU d-tackle, still has a decent chance to stick, but he missed some practice time this week with a shoulder injury.

Damien Williams, the undrafted Oklahoma running back, has just 22 yards on 17 carries in preseason but Joe Philbin blamed that largely on blocking. “These next two weeks for him are going to be very important,” Philbin said.

### On Wednesday, Knowshon Moreno looked the best he’s looked since returning from June knee surgery, scoring on a 15-yard run. “I feel good,’ he said.

He said the Dolphins want to see him practice Thursday before deciding whether he will play Saturday against Dallas. But Moreno says he’s ready. He said his conditioning is fine and that he’s at the weight he will play at.

CANES CHATTER

### UM coach Al Golden indicated today that he isn’t sure when he will name a starting quarterback. Offensive coordinator James Coley said it remains “pretty heated, pretty close.”

Jake Heaps was back at practice after missing the Monday scrimmage with soreness in his elbow. Doctors advised he sit out Monday. But Golden said "he threw the ball well today" and Heaps says he's fine.

Golden said Brad Kaaya, who is battling Heaps for the starting job, “is poised, unflappable.”

Golden also made a point to praise Kevin Olsen today, saying: “I have no doubt he’s made a longterm commitment.”

### Philip Dorsett said it doesn’t matter who wins the QB job and offered this comparison between Heaps and Kaaya: "One has played in games and one hasn't. One has the experience in big-time games and one just came from high school. I don't know if that'll play a big part in the decision, I don't think it would. We'll just go with the better guy - whoever wins, wins."

### We mentioned yesterday how UM coaches have been impressed with Braxton Berrios. Golden said today he’s rising up the depth chart at receiver because “he’s smart and he’s tough. Not afraid to block. Wants the ball. It's ridiculous what he's doing” after offseason ACL surgery.

### Al Quadin Muhammad, who had two sacks in Monday’s scrimmage, is now the first-team defensive end opposite Anthony Chickillo, overtaking Trent Harris.

### Some musings from defensive coordinator Mark O’Onofrio about Monday’s scrimmage:

Olsen Pierre “did well. Calvin Heurtelou and Courtel Jenkins did a nice job. Anthony Chickillo did a really good job, made a lot of plays. He's just doing an unbelievable job of doing his job on every play. Now he's making more plays than he ever has. It's exciting. Chad Thomas is doing some nice things.

“I thought Thurston Armbrister played really well. Thurston has been great. He has had a tremendous training camp. He's our most versatile player, has played multiple positions.

"Jermaine Grace had a really good scrimmage. He just has to finish a few more plays. Very productive. He was as productive as anybody we had out there."

D'Onofrio says in the secondary that "the corner position, there wasn't a lot of separation throughout camp in those five guys [in the mix to start] --- Artie Burns, Corn Elder, Tracy Howard, Ladarius Gunter and Antonio Crawford.

“A couple of guys created maybe a little separation based on this last scrimmage, but that's been an ongoing battle. I think that's the No. 1 position where we have the most competition right now, but there is competition at every position….

"Artie had a really strong performance [in Monday’s scrimmage]. He competed like crazy. He made a lot of plays, was really good. And Corn was a playmaker in the scrimmage; his technique was really good."

### ESPN assigned Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer and David Pollack to UM’s Labor Day opener at Louisville.

### Please see the last post, if you haven't yet, for news on Giancarlo Stanton's future and Heat free agents discussions.

08/19/2014

Marlins have a plan with Stanton; Heat pursues free agents; Dolphins, UM chatter

WEDNESDAY BUZZ COLUMN

The thinking around the Marlins, going back to last winter, had been pretty simple: Offer a long-term contract this winter to Giancarlo Stanton, who can become a free agent in November 2016, then likely consider trade offers this winter if he rejects it.

The second half of that scenario has changed.

According to a person with direct knowledge, the Marlins’ current plan is to make an attractive multiyear offer to Stanton this offseason but keep him to start the 2015 season even if rejects it. The Marlins are prepared to pay him whatever he will command as a second-year arbitration-eligible player this winter --- potentially in the $13 million to $14 million range for 2015.

Though it's possible owner Jeffrey Loria could change his mind if Stanton requests a trade, two factors have influenced the team’s thinking:

### The Marlins believe they will be a playoff contender next season, with the prospect of Jose Fernandez coming back around the All-Star break, and know Stanton helps their chances in 2015 more than anything they could acquire for him via trade.

### The Marlins are confident they can get a lot for Stanton even if they wait closer to his eligibility for free agency, perhaps before the 2016 season or during it. Last month, the Red Sox traded ace Jon Lester three months before free agency and got Yoenis Cespedes from Oakland.

Stanton wants to see the Marlins make a commitment to winning consistently. The Marlins' hope is that even if he turns down their offer this winter, he might accept one the following offseason if the Marlins are a playoff team in 2015 and prove they're ready to win consistently.

If it reaches the point of trading Stanton eventually --- and the Marlins know it would be foolish to lose him for nothing --- they will not seek merely prospects in return.

According to an official who has spoken to the Marlins, the team sees at least five clubs that could put together an attractive package for Stanton, with big-league players and prospects: the Dodgers, Boston, Texas, Pittsburgh and Houston.

If it reaches the point of trade discussions, expect the Marlins to ask the Dodgers about Yasiel Puig. But trade conversations haven’t happened.

Though the Marlins know of Stanton’s affection for California, they hope he will genuinely consider their offer this winter.

Asked if he will consider a Marlins offer with an open mind, Stanton --- who’s hitting. 295 with 32 homers and 88 RBI --- said last week that topic “doesn’t matter” to him and he won’t think about it until the offer happens.

Stanton enjoys living in Miami, according to associates. But many believe he wants eventually to play in California or for a perennial winner.

I'll be surprised if he signs a multiyear contract with the Marlins to buy out some of his free agency years, but hopefully he'll surprise us, for the sake of baseball in South Florida.

Stanton said he’s having his most fun as a Marlin because “every other year in my career, we’re 20 games out at this point in the season.”

He’s hitting .315 with 21 homers and 60 RBI at home but said earlier this summer he still believes the Marlins need to move in the fences at Marlins Park, which the team has been disclined to do but hasn't ruled out.

### Loria, incidentally, has not informed his front office of a projected payroll for next season. It's close to $50 million this season and will need to rise to accommodate raises for several arbitration-eligible players.

CHATTER

### The Heat is serious about adding another shooting guard and a big man if it can find two good ones willing to take the veteran’s minimum. After recently working out Jordan Hamilton (who signed with Toronto) and Chris Douglas-Roberts, the Heat also has inquired about Leandro Barbosa and Jordan Crawford, who both hold appeal to Miami.

Among power rotation players, the Heat has shown interest in Emeka Okafor and has considered Ekpe Udoh. Preliminary inquiries were made on Andray Blatche and Jason Maxiell. Agent David Falk said he talked to the Heat about Elton Brand but that Brand is unlikely to end up here.

### Dwyane Wade said on social media that he has spent the past few days working out with Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem and Josh McRoberts at Indiana University, which is coached by Tom Crean, Wade's friend and former coach at Marquette.

### Word is Brad Kaaya did not especially help or hurt his chances in Monday’s scrimmage, with Jake Heaps sidelined with an arm issue that he says isn't serious. Kaaya threw two touchdowns but his accuracy wasn’t always great on downfield throws. He goes through periods where he's very hot, and other stretches where his accuracy drops off. But UM coaches like what they've seen overall.

### Thurston Armbrister returned a Malik Rosier interception for a touchdown during the scrimmage, but the staff likes Rosier's upside.

### The UM defense has been unable to effectively cover quick, shifty freshman slot receiver Braxton Berrios, and he’s going to be difficult to keep off the field.

Berrios says he has been hearing the comparisons to Wes Welker for six years and “there are definitely similarities. If I have a tenth of what he has, that’s a good thing. I’ve been studying Welker, DeSean Jackson, Tavon Austin, Steve Smith, Danny Amendola.”

### UM people are raving about how running back Joseph Yearby looked in Monday's scrimmage, even though he's not even 100 percent back to form after last fall's ankle surgery. He is going to get a lot of playing time this season.

### Killian safety Jaquan Johnson tonight became UM's sixth four-star oral commitment in its 2015 class. Johnson previously had been leaning toward Florida State.

### Baltimore-based Dolphins fan Neal Driscoll, who works in sales, has gotten 806 fan signatures on a petition to try to get the Dolphins to move Dion Jordan from defensive end to linebacker, which is a bigger need area for Miami.

Jordan’s message to Driscoll? “Stick to sales. They got me here to pass rush. That’s what I should be focusing on, not playing linebacker.”

He says he’s comfortable at defensive end and believes he has had a good training camp/preseason.

### Undrafted rookie making the strongest push? Linebacker/end Chris McCain, who was dismissed from the California team last September and had offers only from the Dolphins and St. Louis.

“He’s got an interesting skill set we are trying to get to know better,” Joe Philbin said.

McCain is working mostly at linebacker but some at defensive end on third downs and said he's being used in ways similar to Jordan's role in the Dolphins' speed package.

### Mike Wallace said the NFL’s renewed emphasis on defensive holding and illegal contact is helping “other teams, not our team. We don’t get those calls. I don’t know why.”

Please see the last post, from this afternoon, for more Dolphins, UM and Heat chatter... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz   

Tuesday 3 p.m.: UM quarterback update; Dolphins Tuesday practice notes; Heat

Some Tuesday afternoon quick hits:

### The arm issue that sidelined UM quarterback Jack Heaps from Monday’s scrimmage isn’t serious, according to Heaps.

Heaps, who had a pre-arranged interview with ESPN today but did not speak to the general media, told ESPN he is fine and looks forward to Wednesday’s practice.

UM has declined to say, to this point, whether he’s injured. But Heaps was wearing a protective sleeve over his right elbow during the scrimmage. And he was not rested Monday because the job has been settled.

The quarterback race had not been decided as of late Monday night. UM did not practice today.

A UM official said Brad Kaaya played OK during Monday’s scrimmage, very good at times, but also had some throws that weren’t especially sharp. Kaaya remains very much in the running for the job.

### From today’s Dolphins practice: Will Davis began the day as the No. 3 corner but Jamar Taylor finished the day in that job. Davis slipped and was beaten for a long touchdown by Kevin Cone….

Joe Philbin was non-committal about whether Knowshon Moreno would play in Saturday's preseason game against Dallas.  During a break in practice today, Moreno ran over to the sideline to do conditioning work with Mike Pouncey....

Ryan Tannehill had several impressive deep throws: two to Damian Williams and one to Armon Binns.

John Potter, trying to replace injured Caleb Sturgis, hit three or four field goals. His 51-yarder hit the side of the goalpost. Sturgis declined to discuss his situation afterward....

Brady Quinn threw two interceptions and has three the past two days. He isn’t making a convincing case for the third QB job....

I asked Joe Philbin if Jordan Tripp, who got some more first team work today, appears able to make a contribution on defense and special teams this season or whether he’s a developmental prospect. Philbin said he likes what he sees and will know a lot more in the next two weeks.

"I thought he flashed some good things in the first couple of games," Philbin said. "He’s very smart, very hard working and diligent. I think it’s going to be an important two-week stretch for him to answer that question.”

The guards (Daryn Colledge on the left side and Shelley Smith on the right) remained the same as Monday...

Sam Brenner and Anthony Johnson returned to practice. Terence Fede, Jalil Brown, Sturgis and Marcus Thigpen remained out, and Daniel Thomas appeared limited. Walt Aikens left practice early, for good, with a finger injury....

Michael Egnew made a terrific catch on a sideline pattern from Matt Moore, the best catch I’ve ever seen him make.

OTHER STUFF

### Agent David Falk tells us guard Toney Douglas, who finished last season with the Heat, has signed to play in China. Douglas wanted to return to the Heat, but Miami did not make an offer. Douglas appeared in 27 games for the Heat following his midseason acquisition and started 17 games, filling in when Dwyane Wade was injured... Free agent combo guard Leandro Barbosa is among several free agents being considered by the Heat.

### Heat single-game tickets go on sale on heat.com and ticketmaster.com at 10 a.m. Wednesday and at the AA box office at 10 a.m. Thursday.

### Jason Taylor, who left ESPN a year ago, took a job with NBC Sports Network on Tuesday, as an analyst on Pro Football Talk with Mike Florio.

Please check back later for the Wednesday buzz column... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz           

08/18/2014

Monday 5:30 p.m. Dolphins report; Race allegations and how law enforcement mishandled the Ray Allen case

Two days after Dallas Thomas was overwhelmed by Tampa Bay All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the Dolphins tinkered with their offensive line on Monday, giving another look to the veteran free agent addition they originally expected would emerge as a starter.

Shelley Smith replaced Thomas with the starters at right guard during Monday’s practice, returning to the position he held throughout May and June practices.

But coach Joe Philbin said afterward that Smith has not been anointed the starter, the job remains an open competition and he does not know who will start at right guard in Saturday’s third preseason game against Dallas at Sun Life Stadium.

“We don’t have a first-team right guard right now,” Philbin said.

Philbin said left guard also remains open and he doesn’t know who will start at that spot, either. Daryn Colledge has started at left guard for the first two preseason games and played most of the first-team snaps at practice.

“We don’t have clarity at those two positions yet,” Philbin said. “We are going to have a good week of practice and make the determination of who that’s going to be. Just because that person starts, he may start the next week, may not.”

There is also some measure of uncertainty at center, where a timetable on Mike Pouncey’s return from hip surgery remains undetermined. Pouncey, who hasn’t been cleared for practice, said Monday he hopes to return by the fourth game of the season, Sept. 28 against London in Oakland, a game that is followed by a bye week.

One thing is clear: The Dolphins need much better blocking in the running game. The Dolphins, who averaged 4.1 yards per rush last season, averaged 2.5 yards per carry in their preseason opener at Atlanta and 1.8 in the Tampa game.

“There was too much penetration,” Philbin said. “That was problem number one. Problem two is we didn’t break a lot of tackles.”

The Dolphins had entrusted Thomas with first-team right guard duties before Saturday’s disaster, when he allowed a strip/sack, a quarterback pressure, committed two penalties and also was beaten on two negative running plays.

On Monday, Thomas took snaps at backup right guard. Rookie third-round pick Billy Turner, who had been the backup right guard, played behind Colledge at left guard.

Smith, signed to a two-year, $5.5 million contract in March, was the Dolphins’ first-team right guard throughout offseason workouts. He began training camp at center, filling in for Pouncey, but had several errant snaps.

After the Dolphins signed Samson Satele, Smith was shifted to second-team left guard. That finally changed Monday.

“Shelley is going to be a heck of a player for us,” Pouncey said. “He does a heck of a job in the zone scheme, gets underneath the defenders.”

Asked Monday if he was pleased to be with the starters again, Smith said: “You never know what’s going to happen. I’m ready to go wherever needed. We’ll see how it shakes out.”

Smith played left and right guard in his three seasons in St. Louis, which included eight starts.

“It will take some reps to get back in the swing of things on the right side, but I feel comfortable there,” he said.

As for Pouncey, he said Monday he’s “just praying that they don’t put me” on the physically unable to perform list to start the regular season, which would require sitting out the first six games and also would prohibit him from practicing during that time. He said he’s not sure when he will be cleared for practice.

“In my head, right now I feel I can [practice] because I’m a competitor,” he said. “But they’re taking the safe route and make sure I won’t have any relapses when I come back. I appreciate them letting me get stronger every week. I’m thinking I’m ahead of schedule. I feel really good. I can’t wait until they set me loose.”

KICKER ISSUES

The Dolphins’ kicking situation has become more interesting than anyone expected, to the point that Philbin said Monday he’s not sure who will be his kicker for the regular-season opener against New England.

Caleb Sturgis, who had been sidelined with a groin injury earlier in camp, re-aggravated the injury before Saturday’s game and will miss multiple practices. John Potter remains in contention to win the job after hitting 48- and 51-yard field goals against Tampa.

### Tight ends Charles Clay and Harold Hoskins, running back Daniel Thomas and offensive tackle Jason Fox returned to practice. Clay, who had missed two weeks with a knee injury, said “there was never any point in time where I thought it was bad.”

### Center Sam Brenner (shoulder), cornerback Jalil Brown (thigh), defensive end Terence Fede (knee), defensive tackle Anthony Johnson (shoulder) and receiver/returner Marcus Thipgen (thigh) will miss multiple practices.

Defensive tackle AJ Francis (knee) and running back Mike Gillislee (hamstring) remained sidelined with previous injuries.

### The Dolphins signed undrafted Villanova defensive end Rakim Cox and released running back Cameron Marshall.

###############################################################################################

Until the Coral Gables police files charges against the seven 18- and 19-year olds who walked uninvited into Ray Allen's home late Wednesday, expect to hear comments like this one posted on Facebook by Miami criminal defense attorney David Edelstein:

"When black teenagers sneak into a white person's house in the middle of the night, it's called burglary. But when well off white kids sneak into a black person's home, it's a silly prank."

None of the seven people who entered Allen's home are black. According to the Coral Gables PD, six are Hispanic males and one is an Hispanic woman.

After studying Florida Statutes on Sunday, I suspected Coral Gables police were making a mistake by deciding not to level a burglary charge against the seven young adults who entered Allen’s home.

That view has been reinforced when I spoke with a couple of credible people today.

Police spokeswoman Kelly Denham had said the state attorney’s office initially advised detectives that elements of a burglary had not been met and that the appropriate charge was trespassing. Denham said today that trespassing is the likely charge but would not rule out a burglary charge, either, after saying earlier that burglary would not be the charge.

Originally, Coral Gables police said they did not intend to charge the teenagers with anything, but that apparently has changed in the wake of Ray Allen complaining and hiring an attorney.

Despite what the Gables police are saying, a former captain for the Miami-Dade County police department and a former Miami-Dade County prosecutor said a burglary charge would be justified in this case.

“In my opinion, they should have been charged with felony burglary,” said Charlie Miller, a former captain with the Miami-Dade police who ran the division’s burglary unit during a 30-year career before retiring 10 years.

“Let it go through the system. We would always charge in this case and later plea bargain or reduce if they made restitution, apologized, did community service. These are adults. These are not juveniles. This is a felony burglary. It was an occupied residence. They knew right from wrong. It doesn’t matter whether the Allens are home or not.”

Allen’s wife and their four children were home at the time.

Antonio Jimenez, a Miami-based criminal defense attorney who previously worked as a prosecutor for Miami-Dade, said the teenagers “should have all been arrested for burglary and at that point let the prosecutor decide whether to file formal charges or reduce it to a trespass.”

Denham said the teenagers explained to the officers that they merely were curious to see what the home looked like. She said there was no burglary charge because there was no intent.

But Florida Statute 810.07 said “proof of entering… a structure… stealthily and without consent of the owner or occupant is… evidence of entering with intent to commit a crime.”

And using the Coral Gables PD's initial reasoning (remember, they originally planned to file no charges against the teenagers), someone who tries to break into your home, walks in, and then changes their mind because the alarm went off would be charged with nothing? That's preposterous.

Said Jimenez: “You are inside the home, there is an assumption in the law that you are intending to commit a crime. The crime can be anything. You can even make the argument that the crime itself is trespassing. If you are in there, that’s a burglary, which is a second-degree felony.”

Jimenez said prosecutors then would have had 21 days to determine if there’s enough evidence to file a charge of burglary or reduce it to trespassing or take no action.

Police said Allen’s door was unlocked; Allen’s attorney said it was locked. Denham said in the police report that Allen’s wife, Shannon, said the door that was entered had a “problem with the lock and easily [could] be opened.”

But Jimenez said that “makes no difference’ in determining whether a burglary charge is warranted.

Jimenez said “black clients don’t get away with things as much as wealthy, white juveniles might. If they [the seven teenagers] were in a mansion next to Ray Allen, they were friends with someone wealthy or someone with a wealthy family.

“You have that dynamic. I’ve seen how Gables PD treat wealthy residents. They would arrest them sometimes but said, ‘Let’s all move on.’ Cases would get resolved a lot easier than other residents.

“If you have a case involving resident with the parents [having] real money, it’s not that difficult to get case to go away. You just notice there are certain cases in Pinecrest, Gables, Miami Beach, certain cases easier to resolve than others. A lot of times it comes down to money.”

Denham said he had no response to Jimenez’s comments and she knew nothing about the socio-economic status of the seven teenagers because “it’s not pertinent to the investigation.”

By the way, Denham said that Shannon Allen never called 9-1-1 when the teenagers walked into their home but instead called the Tahiti Beach guard shack, who contacted the police.

Please see the last post for lots of Heat chatter, plus UM, Dolphins and Marlins.    

    

08/17/2014

Sunday buzz column: Exploring Heat's longterm future; Dolphins, UM, Marlins chatter

SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN

Now that the dust has settled after LeBron James’ move to Cleveland, a few points to consider on the Heat’s future:

### Everyone is pointing to Kevin Durant’s free agency in the summer of 2016. What's encouraging is that the Heat has only about $29 million in guaranteed cap commitments for 2016-17, with the prospect of an $80 million cap, according to ESPN projections.

But Durant easily could stay in Oklahoma City (“I love it here,” he said recently) or go to his hometown Washington (he admired James for returning to his roots) or sign with another marquee-market team with a lot of cap space that summer (Lakers, Bulls, Knicks).

So even though Durant owns a condo in Miami --- he’s remodeling it but hasn’t decided whether to sell it --- Durant would be more wishful thinking than a likelihood for the Heat. So if not Durant, then what could Miami do to build a team to genuinely compete with the James/Kevin Love/Kyrie Irving troika in Cleveland?

The hope in that scenario would be to land blue-chippers from among a 2016 free agent class potentially including centers Dwight Howard (if he opts out of $23.2 million), Joakim Noah, Al Horford and David Lee, and wing players Mike Conley, DeMar DeRozan, Danilo Galinari, Nicolas Batum and Chandler Parsons (opt out), Brandon Jennings, Joe Johnson and declining Deron Williams. Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade will be free agents that summer but look like lifers with their franchises.

That’s not a long list of quality players considering most teams will have at least $10 million in 2016 cap space, as Pat Riley noted. But here’s the big caveat: The list of 2016 free agents will grow if some of the top players in a deep 2015 class take contracts with player options after one season, which is very likely.

That 2015 class, some of which will be available again in 2016, includes DeAndre Jordan, Rajon Rondo, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Danny Green, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Goran Dragic, Marc Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler, Thaddeus Young, Wesley Matthews, Rudy Gay, Corey Brewer, Amir Johnson, Robin Lopez and Brook Lopez and potentially, Love, Greg Monroe, Eric Bledsoe, Roy Hibbert and David West.

### If the cap rises as much as projected, the Heat would have enough to sign one max-caliber player and a pretty good player (or two good but not max players) in 2016 to complement Chris Bosh and Wade. But signing two new max-caliber players would be unrealistic because max contracts would rise significantly if the cap rises.

Cap expert Larry Coon said max contracts will increase from $3.8 million to $5.3 million per year (depending on years of experience) if the cap jumps by $15 million in 2016. That would make James and Howard eligible for potentially $27 million in 2016-17.

And with teams flush with cap space in 2016, there would be little incentive for a Horford or DeRozan to take substantially less to sign anywhere.

Besides Bosh at $23.7 million and Josh McRoberts at $5.7 million, the Heat’s only other cap commitments for 2016-17 are Shabazz Napier (team option at $1.3 million) and James Ennis, if still around, with a non-guaranteed $980,431.

The Heat’s flexibility will depend, to an extent, on whether Miami adds any long-term salary next summer (probably not much, if any) and whether Wade --- who’s curious to see what he can command with a higher cap --- would take another big cut from the $16.1 million he’s due in 2015-16.

Another factor: Will Bosh and Wade still be top players at that point, to the point that other stars want to join them here?

### What about accelerating the plan a year and making major upgrades next summer? That’s not how the Heat has positioned itself; Miami already has $74.3 million in 2015-16 commitments, with the cap projected to fall at $66.3 million.

That commitment number would fall if Luol Deng opts out of his $10.1 salary for 2015-16, if the Heat parts with Norris Cole (restricted free agent with a $3 million qualifying number next summer) and if Danny Granger ($2.2 million) opts out.

But that still wouldn’t be enough to be a major player in free agency next summer unless Wade opts out, which he sounds disinclined to do.

Riley could be tempted to blow it up a year earlier if this team flops. But he wouldn’t have the space to sign another star and he seems resolute about waiting to 2016.

The Heat will have a midlevel exception of close to $6 million next summer, with Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer among those potentially shopping in that mid-level market.

### High-level Heat people have been telling people this team will surprise people and will be better than people think. We’ll see. One pointed to defensive deficiencies in Cleveland’s roster.

“There are a lot of people counting us out,” Udonis Haslem said last week. “We still think we can compete for the Eastern Conference title.”

### The Heat lost out in its pursuit of free agent forward Shawn Marion, who reportedly has agreed to terms with Cleveland.

### Ray Allen is understandably peeved that the Coral Gables police filed no criminal charges against the teenagers who walked univited into his home late Wednesday night. If you missed it, please see our post from Friday night to read Allen's comments and remarks from his attorney.

In response to Allen's comments, the Coral Gables PD said it's now working with the Allen family and the State Attorney's Office regarding the possible filing of charges.

Here's how the Gables PD responded this weekend to Allen's comments:

"After further investigation and completion of the suspect interviews, the detectives, following established procedure, consulted with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office.  Upon learning from the detectives that, although the individuals had entered the residence, there was no proof that they had the intent to commit any crimes inside, the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office advised the detectives that no arrests should be made at that time, in that, the elements of a Burglary had not been met. 

"The Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office advised that the appropriate charge in this case was the crime of Trespass in an occupied structure, a misdemeanor.  Law enforcement officers are not permitted by Florida law to make an arrest for a Trespass of this nature unless the crime occurs in their presence. Accordingly, the Coral Gables Police Department is continuing to work with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office and will work with the Allen Family regarding the filing of criminal charges."

CHATTER

### What if Jake Heaps (a former starter for BYU and Kansas) and freshman Brad Kaaya end up about even in the UM quarterback competition? “If it’s dead even, then the experience probably overrides not having it,” offensive coordinator James Coley said Friday.

Besides his ability to see the field, coaches love Kaaya’s instincts, accuracy and knack for escaping pressure with his feet. UM people cite Heaps’ pre-snap recognition among his greatest strengths.

Kaaya’s high school coach said he’s not a typical teenager. As Kaaya noted Friday: “I would stay up until 1 a.m. on school nights watching film in high school. I sacrificed having that social life and going out a lot.”

He was very superstitious earlier in his life --- he felt he needed to knock on wood four times before he put on his helmet --- but stopped doing that last year because “I figured I don’t need it. Let my talent just win games.”

Kaaya has established relationships with two Heisman Trophy winning UM quarterbacks: Vinny Testaverde (“I’ve talked to him a whole bunch”) and Gino Torretta (“he gave me good advice”). He studies New England’s Tom Brady a lot on tape because the Patriots “run a lot of our play fakes, play actions and protections.”

### As for Kevin Olsen, we hear his suspension was not an extension of last year’s bowl suspension but a new one for a new failed drug test.

For now, I’m definitely here longterm,” Olsen responded when I asked him about possibly transferring. An associate say Olsen was discouraged when Heaps was brought aboard, though Olsen insists he never viewed it as “a bad thing.”

### The representation for tight end Charles Clay, the Dolphins’ most important 2015 unrestricted free agent, has spoken to the team about a new deal, but said nothing has materialized. The Dolphins are holding off for now, though that could change at any time. Waiting, should they choose to continue to take that approach, would allow them to make sure his surgically-repaired knee (which was aggravated two weeks ago) holds up and that he repeats last season's breakout year.

Clay had much better numbers last year (69 catches for 759 yards) than Kyle Rudolph (30-313), who recently landed a five-year, $36 million deal with Minnesota.

Clay told The Palm Beach Post in Tampa on Saturday night that he definitely will be ready to play in the Dolphins' regular-season opener against New England.

### One Dolphins player said one reason the move of Koa Misi to middle linebacker was needed was that Dannell Ellerbe, now playing weakside, made mental errors and wasn’t quick enough in diagnosing plays and changing the calls at middle linebacker last season.

### Please see the last post for postscripts from the Dolphins-Tampa Bay preseason game.

### Perhaps the Marlins need to stop signing American League catchers coming off career seasons. They were convinced that Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 29, wouldn’t be anything like the John Buck disaster of 2011, but Saltalamacchia’s first season here (.219, 10 homers, 34 RBI and an MLB-catcher-high 12 errors) has been even worse than Buck’s first year here (.227, 16, 57, five errors).

What's more, Saltalamacchia is hitting just .165 with runners in scoring position. There also have been grumblings internally about his defense, but the Marlins believe he will be better next season after a full year in the National League.

If he’s not, they could eventually trade him back to an AL team (he’s due $7 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016), especially if well-regarded prospect J.T. Realmuto (.295, 6, 51 at Double A) keeps emerging. Realmuto easily has surpassed Rob Brantly (.259, 3, 31 at Triple A) as a prospect. “I would have expected better,” a National League scout said of Saltalamacchia. “His swing is too long.”

### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz... And again, please see last night's post for a lot more Dolphins chatter.