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Live Q&A tonight from 8 to 9 p.m.

What's up Eye on The U Crew? I took four days to recharge my batteries this weekend, attend a wedding and host some visiting family members from out-of-town. Now, I'll be back for the rest of this season.

Tonight, there will be a live Q&A session on this blog, one similar to the one Canespace hosted with me last week. Please, leave me some Canes football-related questions so I can already have a few to answer by the time the chat gets going tonight.

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Could you envision seeing Freeman be used like Tim Tebow in red zone situations?

whats being done about the OB / DS situation. is there something being done to save the old girl? or are the trustee's goin to be greedy and play at DS. (bad move i think)

A lot of polls don't have Miami rank. Do you see Miami rank by the end of this season and how high?
Out of Oklahoma, Florida State, and Virginia Tech, which team does Miami have the greates chance to beat on the road and why?
Thank you
Go Canes!!!!!

its up to you, who's the RT? Rutledge or Youngblood? and Why.

I have a two part question keeping in mind you cover the team and know the pulse of the players and coaches since RS took over.Do you think Randy Shannon has what it takes to be a winner at Miami? What do you perceive to be the strenths and weaknesses of the team related to job he has done so far?

Do you think Miami can have a Top 5 defense this year? Also a lot of people are saying Miami has no chance at beating Oklahoma this year, do you feel that they have a good shot at beating Oklahoma? Last but no least what's up with Allen Bailey I have not heard anything about him, is he really going to be an immmediate impact at MLB?

How is Leggett really looking in practice?
I went to the first one that was open to the public and he looked terrible. Dropping balls and slow.
If he doesn't get it by now he never will. So i ask you do you think he's ready to step up or should we just throw in Hankerson and let him play with Jenkins, Shields and Hill who all look pretty good to me.

Manny
Any recruiting buzz on O-linemen

Outside of Legget, Shields, and Jenkins who do you think will be the next best receiver?

Daniel Aldderley is listed as 6'6/215 is he really that big? Do you think he is going to stick at WR or will Shannon move him over with the TE's.

Go Canes!!!!!

I know you're not allowed to watch practices, but how are the RBs handling situations like blocking, catching screen passes, etc.?

Manny,great job on the blog.With the injuries to our DT's and LB's, is there quality depth behind the starters to make this defense a top five and be the strength of the team as our offense catches up?

Shoud Wright and Freeman not pan out again this season, given our much improved O-Line, and our absurdly deep stable of backs, do you think we can have a 10, 11, win season while switching to a predominantly running defense?

Should this switch happen, with a creative as an OC as Nix, I am sure we would not look like an AirForce, but instead be running from various formations.

Manny,

Whats the status of Ponder? Will he make it back for Marshall? Will he still be the starter?

Alright Manny one more and I will stop.
Read on another site that Reddick practiced limited today. Is this true? Any chance we get him back this year?

Thanks Bro


Go Canes!!!!!

Manny,

Who is the most underrated offence weapon the hurricanes have. Have you heard anything new on the recruiting trail.

Nix said that the talent level when he was at Georgia Tech was the same as the talent level at the U... Is he serious? Are we that middle of the pack? Cna you clarify this with him in the future... Just worries me on his outlook oon his tenure at the U -- like this is no special place and I am just using it to be headcoach somewheres else.

Nix is not going to be the UM OC forever. He's not burning any bridges, b/c he'll eventually be a HC, most likely in the ACC. I wouldn't read too much into the comment. BTW, IMO, GT is upper third of the ACC. Not a bad place to be if you're GT. I would be worried if the comparison was NC ST.

All good questions above, so I'll ask an easy one: How many tickets have been sold for the Marshall game?

After his speech at the HOF, Michael Irvin has gained respect he had damaged in the past. If he wanted to coach at the U, would he be accepted by you and the administration? He certainly has the charisma and experience as a true Hurricane to benefit the team. Thank You

I've seen players who practice great and freeze under game pressure and some who practice poorly but need gametime pressure to perform. Wright has tremendous potential but seems to have game anxiety, how can you tell if he will perform when the pressure is on?

Thank You

Hey Manny,what kind of offense do you see us running .

Manny, I had a lot of questions to ask U but the legion asked 'em already. Thankxn for the info.

Best comment yet from the national press......

-- Miami coach Randy Shannon has some tough new rules for his Hurricanes. No guns. No cell phones in class. (Class!) No hats in team meetings. Must have a 2.5 GPA or move into campus dorm. I hear a couple of Hurricanes said the hell with it and transferred to Harvard.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2007/08/12/SP7GRGDAB.DTL

Good Point MiamiMike. I guess as long as we gots RS we will be OK...

Manny will be waiting for you Q&A later....

how big of an impact do you think Sam Shields will have this season?

What's the difference between DC Shannon and DC Walton both in philosophy and coaching style?

Manny,

What are the chances, realistically, that Richard Gordon returns kickoffs this season?

I envision it might look like a video game, with opponents literally flying in the air after he runs through them

I want to second the O-Line question... how are they progressing now, and what do we have in the future to look forward to as far as the BIG O boys go?

Also, Bailey... will we see him playing early this season?

Thanks Manny, see you at 8:00pm.

Manny, do you know of any good hurricane offensive lineman(past or present) that were 6'2" height?

Hey guys. Sorry I'm late. Got held up in a meeting. But I'll make it up to you by staying a little later.

Thanks for leaving me some good questions. I'll start with the first one.

Q: Could you envision seeing Freeman being used like Tim Tebow in red zone situations? Posted by: Sy-Cane | August 14, 2007 at 09:06 AM
A: Honestly, I see Freeman being used in anyway that will help the team in run situations. Although Patrick Nix has not been very forthcoming, he’s basically said he will do whatever it takes at quarterback to win games. If that means lining up Freeman in situations in the red zone where they can use his legs, I don’t see why he wouldn’t.

Q: What’s being done about the OB / DS situation is there something being done to save the old girl? Or are the trustee's going to be greedy and play at DS. (bad move i think) Posted by: CJ | August 14, 2007 at 09:31 AM

A: The Orange Bowl | Dolphins situation is pretty much still where you last heard it, which is basically barring unforeseen circumstances, the Canes will most likely be playing in Dolphins Stadium in 2008.

Q: A lot of polls don't have Miami ranked. Do you see Miami ranked by the end of this season and how high? Out of Oklahoma, Florida State, and Virginia Tech, Which team does Miami have the greatest chance to beat on the road and why? Thank you Go Canes!!!!! Posted by: norm | August 14, 2007 at 09:42 AM

A: Norm, Miami honestly doesn’t deserve to be ranked right now. Nobody following a 7-6 season does. But by the end of the season Miami could certainly climb back into the polls, especially if it is contention for the ACC title. But if the Canes lose to all of the three teams you mentioned, I don’t think they’ll get in. That being said, I think Miami ’s best shot at a victory is at Florida State.

Not that former offensive line coach Mario Cristobal should be considered an expert (he's now at FIU), but when I met with him at the FSWA meetings in Tampa two weeks ago he told me he thinks the Canes can beat Florida State soundly. And I kind of agree. The Noles, who are ranked, are very similar to Miami in that they have their own quarterback issues, a strong defense and some good young playmakers on offense. Miami has won at Florida State before and a date in mid-October is better for the Canes than the season-opener or late in the year like the game at Virginia Tech.

Q: What are the chances, realistically, that Richard Gordon returns kickoffs this season? I envision it might look like a video game, with opponents literally flying in the air after he runs through them. Posted by: DH | August 14, 2007 at 06:21 PM

A: Funny you picture it like that because I do too. 6-4, 260 returning kickoffs back? Sounds absurd. But I'm getting the idea the Canes coaching staff is serious. When I spoke to DeMarcus Van Dyke this afternoon, he told me Gordon and Ryan Hill were the two returners on first team with Van Dyke and Shawnbrey McNeal as the primary backups. He said Chavez Grant and Graig Cooper are the leaders for punt returns.

Seeing Gordon bowling over fliers on kickoffs is exciting to think about. But I also get the sense big men are usually prone to fumbles. I mean, how many times have you seen a big man like Gordon pick off a pass or pickup a fumble only to see it get jarred loose. Gordon is going to have to prove to me he can handle the rock.

By the way, you guys can post fresh questions if you like. I have a few I've already answered and I'm pouring in little by little.

Q: It’s up to you, who's the RT? Rutledge or Youngblood and why? Posted by: Esteban | August 14, 2007 at 09:56 AM

A: If we’re basing this decision on talent and experience alone, I go with Youngblood, who started 12 games last season. But if I’m trying to send a message – like Shannon always is – I start Rutledge, who has made tremendous strides in not only losing weight, but becoming a leader and someone the line can depend on. That will only make Youngblood hungrier to play better and raise the level of intensity for other guys who believe they can overtake the more talented player with hardwork. Over the years, competition is ultimately been the secret ingredient that’s made UM what it has been. Talk to players and they all say the same thing, practice is tougher than the games. Miami needs to make it that way again.

Q: How big of an impact do you think Sam Shields will have this season? Posted by: Dave | August 14, 2007 at 04:16 PM

A: As big, if not bigger than last year. He's the fastest guy on the team with a supposed 4.26 40-yard dash time. If he runs like that on Saturdays, Patrick Nix is going to all he can to can the ball in Shields' hands plenty.

Q: I have a two part question keeping in mind you cover the team and know the pulse of the players and coaches since RS took over. Do you think Randy Shannon has what it takes to be a winner at Miami ? What do you perceive to be the strengths and weaknesses of the team related to job he has done so far? Posted by: footballfreek40 | August 14, 2007 at 10:28 AM

A: Shannon certainly knows what it takes to win. His defense for the past six years has carried this team. The new rules he’s implemented have led to noticeable results in the attitudes of players – especially on the offensive side of the ball (Miami ’s weakness the past several seasons). Shannon comes from the old-school of Hurricane thought where a strong level of competition within practice and a strong bond between teammates makes a difference on Saturdays. I think the only weaknesses left on this team is the one area he truly lacks talent – quarterback and kicking – and in some cases experience (receivers and linebackers). The strength in terms of talent is at running back, defensive line and in the secondary.

Q: Do you think Miami can have a Top 5 defense this year? Also a lot of people are saying Miami has no chance at beating Oklahoma this year, do you feel that they have a good shot at beating Oklahoma? Last but no least what's up with Allen Bailey I have not heard anything about him, is he really going to be an immmediate impact at MLB? Posted by: Elliott | August 14, 2007 at 10:30 AM

A: I think the Canes are likely due for a bit of a dropoff on defense. Maybe not Top 5 nationally, but Top 20. The injury to Glenn Cook comes at a spot on the defense weak in talent and experience. Cook was the veteran of that unit and his loss for the first three to four games will be felt. The secondary, which does have an All-American candidate in Kenny Phillips, is truly a little green. Lovon Ponder’s injury could slow his progress a little this year and let’s not forget cornerback Glenn Sharpe has spent most of his career on the injured list. Also, one of the defensive tackles from last season – a strength last season – is being replaced.

As for Oklahoma, there’s no question Miami will go in as underdog. But saying Miami has no chance is crazy. The Sooners are good, not great. And it's the second game of the season for both teams. Somebody could prove to be not ready for a tough game this early in the season.

As for Bailey, I think coaches are still trying to determine where he’ll be most valuable on the roster. At 6-4, 270, its not natural to picture Bailey lining up at middle linebacker. Shannon likes Darryl Sharpton. If he’s healthy, he’s the starting middle linebacker. But with more and more injuries, Bailey has to be moving up the depth chart. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bailey playing defensive end/rush end if needed.

Manny, where do we stand as far as getting some OL, are we waiting on the next recruiting class and just going after Patchman right now. Is Shaw and Goodman out of the picture?

Thanks.

Manny, whats the name of the LB who is 80 percent leaning toward Miami according to Rivals?

It seems like Patrick Johnson's dad doesn't really want PJ to go to Miami. Do you think in the end PJ ends up a Cane?

manny
any news on the recruiting front regarding offensive linemen I think this is a big question mark for next years incomong class

Q: How is Leggett really looking in practice? I went to the first one that was open to the public and he looked terrible. Dropping balls and slow. If he doesn't get it by now he never will. So I ask you, do you think he's ready to step up or should we just throw in Hankerson and let him play with Jenkins, Shields and Hill who all look pretty good to me? Posted by: cubancane | August 14, 2007 at 10:33 AM

A: Lance Leggett is on his last leg (parden the pun) in my opinion. Darnell Jenkins has been the best receiver in camp by far. He’s scored four touchdowns in three days and the only reason he got shutout Tuesday was because another receiver got in the way of his pass. Shields, who is the fastest guy on the team with sub 4.3-speed, has also been consistent. The thing is, I’m not sure Hill or Hankerson will honestly be ready to play the role of the third receiver. I think Leggett’s size (6-3, 188) will ultimately be what keeps him in the starting lineup. Jenkins and Shields are smaller, quicker receivers. Shannon is going to need the guy who can go up and get skyward balls. But I fully expect Jenkins and Shields to have better seasons this year.

Manny-
Mike Bianchi from the Orlando Sentinel reported on the radio in Jacksonville today (that sounds absurd) that Kirby Freeman is leading in the Freeman/Wright battle for starting QB. Is there any truth to the statement?

I can't see Bianchi at Canes practices and I definitely don't envision Shannon or Nix talking about the situation until the week of the Marshall game. What gives?

Thanks.

Q: Manny, any recruiting buzz on O-linemen? Posted by: formulacane | August 14, 2007 at 10:34 AM

A: Seffner Armwood tackle Matt Patchan is still the No. 1 guy on the Canes’ board. I think Miami ends up getting him. As for other names, I don’t think Miami will end up getting Miami Columbus offensive tackle Mike Goodman, from what I hear its going to be Boston College or Wake Forest . Greg Shaw from Monsignor Pace could be a possibility, but he’s likely to follow his brother Willie Williams to Louisville.

Damn, Manny, you type fast. So thats what they teach to journalism majors

Last year was as difficult a season with off field distractions as any in college footbal. Do you see any hang-over this year?

There are great examples of letting go... no names, DJ cutting his hair, etc.

I don't want there to be undercurrents, but the question remains, are there?

Will the addition of Graig Cooper be good or bad for Baby J? the way I see it, this could possibly be a Reggie Bush / Lendale White combo.
Also if Kyle Wright has a solid season is there no reason to believe we can actually be in a national championship run?

Q: Manny, whats the name of the LB who is 80 percent leaning toward Miami according to Rivals? Posted by: mike | August 14, 2007 at 08:38 PM

A: Keon Wilson, a kid from Jacksonville who plays JUCO ball at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi. If it sounds familiar, its because that's one of the schools Willie Williams tried to transfer to.

On the surface, its hard to believe the Canes are going to add yet another linebacker to their 2008 class. But there are reasons reports keep coming out from Rivals and other sources other linebackers are still interested. Dunnelon's Lerentee McCray and Palm Bay's Ray Buchanon are considered iffy because they aren't in prime UM territory. Plus, I know for a fact Homestead linebacker Marcus Robinson wants to take other trips, despite his connection to Michael Barrow. Robinson is a kid Miami could lose anyway to grades or poor test scores.

The only recruits I truly consider locks at linebacker are Northwestern's Sean Spence and Chaminade's Jordan Futch.

The other prospective linebacker UM is interested in is Melrose High Tenn.'s Antonio Harper, a former teammate of Graig Cooper.

How difficult has your job become with Randy Shannon, a many of few words, compared to my husband, Larry, a man who probably said too much?

j/k

What is the dynamic like with the new coaching staff? How do you see them working together as a "family" just as they have the team working together as a "family?"

Thanks.

Manny, do you know of any good hurricane offensive lineman(past or present) that were 6'2" height?

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