I just got back from a busy morning at The U where football coach Randy Shannon, his two new assistants, defensive coordinator Bill Young and receivers coach Aubrey Hill, and basketball coach Frank Haith and guard Jack McClinton held press conferences. To listen to what they had to say, just click on their names.
I'd love to have a chalk full of quotes ready for you, but it's going to take me some time ot piece it all together. Here are the highlights from my notebook...
* THE QB SITUATION: Shannon said much like last year he doesn't plan to name a starting quarterback until the fall -- likely a week before its over -- and added he wouldn't rule out using a 2-QB system. He also told reporters he doesn't really feel redshirt freshman Robert Marve has an advantage because he's already been in the program one year and incoming freshman Jacory Harris and Cannon Smith are newcomers. Shannon said offensive coordinator Patrick Nix has been doing a good job working with his new QBs, especially with 2-hour weekend throwing sessions and 7-on-7 voluntary workouts. ‘‘You have to be careful about naming someone too early," Shannon said. ‘‘It's wide open between them. The best man wins the job."
* YOUNG SAYS FORMER DOLPHIN PLAYED ROLE IN HIS COMING TO THE U: The Canes can thank a former Dolphin for their new defensive coordinator. Bill Young said former Dolphins defensive end Trace Armstrong, who played for Young and then Shannon when he was an assistant with the Dolphins, facilitated the meeting between Young and Shannon. Young said the meeting didn't happen until after Kansas played in the Orange Bowl and when he was at the national coaches' clinic. Young called it "an early Christmas" coming to UM. As for his relationship with Shannon and the type of defense he plans to implement, Young said it will not be much different than what Shannon installed here years ago. In fact, he said he "semi-stole" stuff from Shannon when he was at Kansas.
"We hope to be a more aggressive, attacking defense," Young said. "Ultimately, you do what your personnel allows you to do. But we do want to be a pressure football team. We want to mix it up, keep the offenses off balance if we possibly can. We'll still have a four-man rush."
Young also said he is happy Shannon is a former defensive coach himself and says both men are comfortable with the situation. "He's the boss."
* REDSHIRTS?: Shannon told us he expects an answer from the NCAA concerning medical redshirts for linebacker Glenn Cook and Romeo Davis soon, likely later today or Monday. Cook, who I feel will likely end up being Miami's starting middle linebacker, has switched his number from 55 to 3 according the roster we received. "It would be a tremendous asset to have those guys," Shannon said.
* TOUGH LOVE FROM DAD: Shannon surprised me a little when he said WASN'T excited that his son, senior Xavier Shannon transferred to The U from FIU. Shannon also said his son, who is expected to compete for the starting center position, is not on scholarship. He said Xavier never warned him he was transferring to Miami. "I don't talk to him, say much at all. I say `Hi,' that's about it," Shannon said. "He graduated from FIU, wants to go to grad school at Miami, have classes FIU wasn't offering. I don't talk to him. That's coach Nix, coach Stoutland. He wanted to go to school here. I told the coaching staff he wants to come here they got to deal with him. He knows he has to work hard, and even though I'm his dad, I'll treat him like a regular player."
* HILL GETS RIBBING FROM GATORS: Aubrey Hill said he was "jumping off the roof" when he was called by Miami to become its new receivers coach. He said he's also been getting a lot of ribbing from his former Florida Gator teammates. "I'm a Cane," said who played at Florida in the early 90s. "A former Gator and a Cane." As for his receivers, Hill said his new group of receivers are "very eager" to hit the field. He says players have been staying late after workouts to familiarize themselves with him.
* INJURED/OUT LIST: Shannon added defensive tackle Luqman Abdullah, linebacker Eric Houston and defensive lineman Dwayne Hendricks to the list of players he told us on National Signing Day would not be participating in the spring. The others were linebackers Romeo Davis and Colin McCarthy, defensive end Courtney Harris and offensive lineman Orlando Franklin. Fullback Jerrell Mabry was not listed on the spring roster and is no longer believed to be on the team.
* BACK AND HEALTHY: Shannon said safety Anthony Reddick, who is returning from his second season-ending knee injury, will be full go and ready to contribute. He said receiver Jermaine McKenzie and defensive tackle Antonio Dixon have also returned to full health from their injuries. McKenzie had that serious neck injury he sustained in last summer's car wreck. Dixon had knee problems. Shannon also said he was very happy to announce the team will be two-deep at each position in the spring. Last year, he pointed out how Miami only had spurts where only four healthy linebackers were available during the season.
* BAILEY TALK: Shannon addressed the move Allen Bailey made from linebacker to defensive end and said it was solely based on the fact Bailey now weighs close to 290 pounds. "When you're 290 and try to get after guys like [Graig] Cooper, you're going to get tired."
* NAMES BACK ON JERSEYS: Shannon said his desire to put names back on UM's jerseys was a result of how feels the team is taking on the image he wants. Shannon originally decided to take them off last season because the players weren't thinking like a team enough. "Having no names on the jerseys was unique, they felt at the end it was more of a team than individuals thing. That's when I decided to put the names back on. These guys see the big picture now."
* PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Practice begins next Tuesday and the team will average four practices a week. The only practices open to the public will be on Thursday night at 6 p.m., March 6th, a scrimmage at Traz Powell and the weekend of Canesfest, Saturday, March 29th, at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale at 10 ap.m.
* FOCUSED ON MARYLAND: When I spoke to UM basketball assistant Jake Morton yesterday, he admitted to me he knew it was going to be tough to get the team back down to earth from its big win over Duke Wednesday. But guard Jack McClinton and coach Frank Haith both made it a point to stress the team is still very much hungry to finish the season strong and isn't going to be just satisfied with what it accomplished against Duke.
"We haven't accomplished what we've wanted to accomplish as that's making a strong enough case to make the NCAA Tournament," Haith said. "We can't rest on our laurels. Beating Duke, I don't know if they give us two wins for that. It's just one. It would be nice to have two. But it's just one."
* Haith said UM, which beat Maryland twice last season including an upset in the first round of the ACC tournament, said Miami will once again have to win the battle on the glass and play "a rugged game" inside.
* He also took the blame for Miami coming out flat against FSU earlier this month. He said he was "scared" his players might get injured during practices because some of them were sore and took practices a little lighter. "We stopped doing some of the things that make us who we are," Haith said. "We stopped with our Circle The Wagons and Pay The Piper drills and I think it stopped us from being aggressive, the way we needed to be."