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Thursday's practice report

Not much news to report from Thursday's practice other than a slight surprise at defensive tackle and in UM's secondary, as well as what was expected -- receiver Lance Leggett and defensive tackle Josh Holmes are out for this game.

* Defensive line coach Clint Hurtt said he's starting Vegas Franklin and not Joe Joseph, who made his first start last week, opposite Teraz McCray on Saturday at Florida State. The move will give the Canes two undersized guys together at defensive tackle, but will likely give them more speed in trying to rope in FSU quarterback Xavier Lee. Sounds to me like Hurtt is simply putting his best four guys -- McCray, Franklin, Calais Campbell and Eric Moncur -- out there.

* Glenn Sharpe, who played more than he had in a while last week against Georgia Tech and got beat on a few plays, will be limited in his role this week. Defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff said he noticed the sixth-year senior, who has battled hamstring issues his entire career, was gimpy in practice Wednesday. So that means freshman DeMarcus Van Dyke and juniors Bruce Johnson and Carlos Armour will play much more.

* Also playing more this week: Safety Lovon Ponder, who was hurt in the Oklahoma game and returned in a limited basis last week against Georgia Tech. McGriff told me Willie Cooper will start opposite Kenny Phillips but that Ponder, who began the season as a starter, will "play a lot this week."

* McGriff said this week will be arguably the biggest challenge for Miami's secondary -- especially because of FSU quarterback Xavier Lee's running abilitiies. Said McGriff: "It’s probably going to be the set of receivers we’ve faced as a core all year. They got height, speed and then you add the quarterback play. He can beat you both ways. It’s going to be a challenge for the secondary not because the receivers are so talented but because our guys have got to understand coverage. When that guy gets outside the pocket, he’s very athletic and he’s not always looking to run the ball. He can hurt you if you come out coverage. We have to do a great job staying in coverage until he crosses the line of scrimmage and then look out because its going to be tough to tackle him. He’s a big kid."

* Francesco Zampogna and Matt Bosher will continue to handle the kicking and punting duties this week, even though Randy Shannon didn't seem happy about. "We can't trade them or cut them," Shannon said. "They're all we got."

* On a side note, I asked McGriff how safety Anthony Reddick is doing considering this is another season going down the tubes for him because of injury.

"He has good and bad days. I mean you got to understand the guy has been battling injury. He’s a tremendous football player. He has his good points. Sometimes, he has his low points and wishes he could be out there helping the football team. He has done an outstanding job attending meetings. Being attentive in practice. He asks questions like he’s getting ready for games. His spirits are up for the most part. I think he’s just scratching and clawing to get back on the football field and get healthy.

What do you guys miss about him?
"The thing you really miss is his leadership ability on the field. He still does [lead]. But when he’s not out there its still pretty tough to provide leadership when you’re not out there and in the locker room. We really miss him from that standpoint of being the coach on the field because he really does bring a lot of leadership ability to this football team when he’s healthy and in the mix."

* OK guys, I'll be back tomorrow with our guest bloggers and my keys for the FSU game. Going tonight to watch Coral Gables take on Columbus tonight at Tropical Park. Gables has some nice talented underclassmen.

Speaking of recruits, I was reminded today how badly the Canes want Krop linebacker Etienne Sabino and Hialeah High defensive end Corey Liuget. Both are two of the top five recruits in Dade Miami has yet to get a commitment from. If I had to rank a Top 5, I'd list them like this: 1. Tommy Streeter, WR, Northwestern; 2. Brandon Harris, CB, Booker T. Washington; 3. Etienne Sabino, LB, Krop; 4. Corey Liuget, DE, Hialeah; 5. Ben Jones, OL, Miami Northwestern.

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