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Springing Forward

Go ahead and admit it Canes fans: You're already counting down the days until spring practice! Well, there are only 15 days left until Randy Shannon's football team embarks on a new season and until we see nine new Canes -- including a few of the studs from the national champion Northwestern Bulls -- wear The U for the first time.

To get you warmed up for spring ball my plan is to put together position previews over the next two weeks. In each preview, I'll provide facts and analysis on what UM lost to graduation and the NFL Draft, who is coming back, who is coming in and who potentially could be the front-runner to land the starting job at each spot. I also plan to raise some questions and shed some light on what fans should expect to see in the spring and beyond. And then with the help of recruiting experts like Larry Blustein, I want to provide a list of potential recruiting targets Miami may be looking at to fill holes/needs in the coming year as well as an outsider's take on what's happening at The U.

Monday, I got a chance to catch up with a UM insider, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt, who along with linebackers coach Michael Barrow was named one of the nation's Top 25 recruiters by Rivals.com last week. Hurtt and I talked about several topics including recruiting, Allen Bailey's move to the defensive line and much more. I'd love to share all of it now, but I've got save some of it for the next few weeks.

For now, here is an appetizer if you will and some of the highlights from my talk with Hurtt.

* THE NEW DEFENSE:
Since UM wrapped up one of the nation's consensus top five recruiting classes last Wednesday, Hurtt said the coaching staff has been deeply Bill_younginvolved in installing the system new defensive coordinator Bill Young has brought in with him from Kansas. While Hurtt said he and other assistants will spend a lot of time breaking down film on potential '09 recruits in the coming months, most of the time in the two weeks leading up to the start of practice will be spent on familiarizing players and themselves with what Young wants to do. "It's not that much different from what we did before. The thing is there are some concepts that are a little bit different. To some people it may look different. But it's not the case. There's a lot of stuff in terms of zone blitzes and man-free stuff we already did. But we'll have new things, new wrinkles in, but it's not so much different in terms of what we've been doing. It's still a 4-3 attack. But just like we had last year, there are some 30 packages. We're just not that far along into it yet really to give out details. I can just tell you it's going to be real exciting around here."

* THE '09 RECRUITING CLASS: Hurtt said regardless of what experts rated UM's class, he and the rest of the staff were more than thrilled with how UM fared last Wednesday. Despite failing to get a running back, a tight end and more than two offensive lineman and one cornerback, Hurtt said UM met all of its immediate needs with '08 class. So what will the Canes do in '09? Hurtt said UM will likely use up between 19-21 scholarships in its next class and zero-in most on offensive lineman, tight ends and cornerbacks. Here's what he told me he and UM are targeting per position: 1 QB, 2 RB, 1 WR, 3-4 TE, 4-5 OL, 2 DE, 2 DT, 1 LB, 3 CB, 1 S.

* RECRUITING PHILOSOPHY: Hurtt said UM could potentially end up having fewer scholarships Clint_hurtt_2available for new recruits if any of the 33 players UM inked last Wednesday do not qualify academically and Miami ends up resigning them next year. Without giving me any names, he projected that number at between two and four recruits. So far, he says, UM has already offered close to 30 potential recruits for its 2009 class. He said according to NCAA rules, UM is only allowed to offer kids already registered with the NCAA Clearinghouse. So, for those of us wondering why UM might not have already made an offer to a kid -- that may shed some light. As for offering more scholarships than what's available, he said...

"You have to look at it like this in recruiting: You have to offer five kids for every one you plan on signing. That's really how we look at it. The plan is if you have to go out and sign two defensive ends, you better go out and offer 10 -- bare minimum you better offer 10. That's really how the recruiting game works. If you get one kid from Arizona, that's all you may get from there. If you offer a kid from Texas, you'll have to beat Texas and Oklahoma to get him. When it comes to kids like that it comes to what kind of contact do you have with the kid? Does he have a family member that's a former Cane? Does he have a family member that's formerly lived in South Florida? So, things like that come into play and tells you how many to offer. For us, we want Florida to be our spot. So, if we need to sign 2 defensive ends, we're not only going to offer 10 defensive ends if eight of them from out of state. We'll have to go a little heavier than that. That's the outlook and that's the plan."

POSITION CHANGES: One topic that has been raised since Wednesday are potential position Jordan_futch switches for new recruits. For instance, since UM first began courting Melbourne Palm Bay linebacker Ramon "Cookie" Buchanon, the thought has been he could potentially be moved to safety. Then this past weekend, Canesport.com reported former Hollywood Chaminade linebacker Jordan Futch could get a shot at playing tight end. Hurtt dispelled some of those rumors saying none of the players he recruited to play on the defensive line would be moved to offense and declaring both Buchanon and Futch will be playing linebacker once they arrive in the fall.

"That's just all rumor. We haven't talked about moving anybody. When we sign recruits, we don't get in the business of moving them to other positions like other teams we know. Where we recruit you at is where you are going to be. And if after a year or so it just so happens there's something else you can do to help the team at another spot, then we'll bring it up to the kid. But we never force a kid to change positions."

"CORNERSTONE" OF THE CLASS: One person who will absolutely not be changing positions -- even though he definitely could play receiver -- is Booker T. Washington cornerback Brandon Harris, who Brandon_harris became the final recruit in UM's 2008 class Wednesday and perhaps it's most important signee. Hurtt talked Monday about how important it was for UM to land Harris, the only cornerback in the class and one of only four players who can play the position next season on UM's roster. While Hurtt said fellow defensive back recruit Joe Wylie of Boyd Anderson is the most likely of the '08 class to see some time at corner, there still has not been an official decision yet on whether or not receiver Ryan Hill will move back to corner (the position he was recruited at coming out of high school).

"Getting Brandon was a big deal for us. I sit down and look at the class and see where we're at. We got four corners on the roster right now. Two of them are seniors. For us, Brandon Harris was a guy we definitely had to make sure we got. If there was anybody who could have put a sour note on the day it was Brandon because of the priority of him at the position. He will definitely see the field next year. Sometimes, you have no choice because of numbers and where you're at. But he's definitely talented enough to see the field regardless."

BIGGEST WORRY: Hurtt had several tense moments on Wednesday as faxes were rolling into UM. But the player he feared losing most? Palm Beach Lakes defensive tackle Jeremy Lewis. "I actually thought he was going to end up bolting town. I called him up a couple days leading up to signing day. He kept going back and forth. He just thought it was the funniest thing because he had me sweating bullets. So, I told him, listen, you know now when you sign these papers and you come to UM, I'm going to get your ass back for all the crap you put me through. He's not going to be doing any extra running. But I'm going to give him some grief for all the sweating he made me do."

-----------------------------------
PROGRAMMING UPDATES: In case you missed it, I had some fresh recruiting stuff at the end of last week I posted on The Herald's website including a new podcast of The Countdown with Larry Blustein; a feature on Killian running back Lamar Miller, the Top Miami-Dade recruit in '09 (UM definitely wants this kid) and a list of the Dade/Broward Top 25 recruits in 2009 before the spring.

Comments

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Woohoo first

Manny, great post. There are not that many O linemen in South Florida. Where are they going to dig these guys up? Could you get the list of the offers we have and see where they are geographically?

Even cornerback, don't see them in numbers.

Nice work Manny!

I am going to post the link over on Canespace for you :-D

Thanks Manny,
Young has to be in heaven, he has more talent recruited in one season than he had total at Kansas.
Great work on the blog. Nice to read interesting facts rather than someone's opinion.
peace

Solid post Manny! With all these safeties we have signed, some of them will have to play at the corner position. Besides, they can't all be worse than what we had last year.

Thanx Manny awesome read...

Great info Manny, thanks from all the CaneSpacers

Great job...thanks for all the good info.....

Manny great info as always. I'm looking forward to the position breakdowns.

Hey Manny is there any talk about Miami hiring a QB coach to help with the young QB'S development? Do you think it is possible Miami could try and bring back Gary Stevens who coached the quarterbacks under Jimmy Johnson? Steve Walsh did say the QB play really dropped off when he left. Do you know what Stevens is doing now ? Would Miami consider him or would he consider coming back? Or do you know of any GOOD QB coaches ( not just a guy that is holding a position) that really know the position that is out there Miami are thinking about bringing aboard? Thanks Manny for all of your hard work.

Awesome Manny! You dat dude!

Manny... Unreal article.
One of us must be telepathic, in reading minds. Don't know, but it is scary stuff! Just yesterday was requesting we do interviews/Blogging live with players and or coaching staff and walla, here you go... Puff! Like a Gennie.

It's not live Blogging, but it is the next best thing! Thanks Brotha!
Cat5

Yeah manny

Manny what u think of canechick nc in that green dress

Per Hurtt... Moving positions?
"That's just all rumor. We haven't talked about moving anybody. When we sign recruits, we don't get in the business of moving them to other positions like other teams we know"...
But what if the kid wants to switch? Maybe Futch wants the chance at CB. If He has the size and apparent skills, why not? Hmmmm

Manny,... can you ask this Question again with a twist for clarification. As in the past, we have switched some Position Players before.

Thanks


Manny

How come the you haven't covered the last 2 BB games. No Blog's or articles after the games from staff. Only AP stories that we can get anywhere. Have you given up on the Canes BB Team? Is it poor time/assignments management by the editors? It can't be just budget since the FSU disaster was at home.

we got some canes ova here! C-A-N-E-S

Clint Hurtt: "It's not that much different from what we did before. The thing is there are some concepts that are a little bit different. To some people it may look different. But it's not the case. There's a lot of stuff in terms of zone blitzes and man-free stuff we already did. But we'll have new things, new wrinkles in, but it's not so much different in terms of what we've been doing."

READ: Hurtt downplaying the real changes on D for the Canes in 2008.

PLAN: We show NOTIHNG new against Charleston in game 1 only to come out and unleash a totally NEW beast on the Swamp Lizards in Game 2.

TAKE: We like VERY much!

"Hurtt said UM will likely use up between 19-21 scholarships in its next class and zero-in most on offensive lineman, tight ends and cornerbacks."

READ: The problem is that most of the top rakned TEs and OLs are NOT from Florida in 2009 and some have already committed to other schools (USC leads in that category).

PLAN: The Canes will have to recruit nationally to get the top players here which makes the 2008 season muy importante. Epps, Gordon and Zellner will have to produce this year if Nix decides to get them the ball.

TAKE: It is VERY likely that some players will have to switch positions. If you saw the recruiting day pics on Canespace of Futch signing his LOI you would have noticed, like Canes caoches have, the SIZE of his hands. He has TE written all over him.

Fellow Canenites, just looking at all the above posts, and Miami Maniac Manny's great info, just puts a big smile on my face. It's good to FINALLY talk about POSITIVE things in regard to the U. Having said that, I'm a bit concerned about our situation at TE, and Manny, how bout some info on the OTHER 2 QB's we recruited, Smith, and Cook.

Great stuff Manny

Thankx Manny! Can't wait till spring. I'm still wondering who is going to play MLB? Did any of the recruits play MLB in HS? FYI - We now have a DC from the mid-west and a OL coach from the Wis, we will get some OL from out there. It hit -40 in Min, I'm sure some of those OL prospects would love to come to sunny U!!!

I'm sure Manny won't mind if I invade on his blog one more time, right Manny?
This is Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald..In addition to writing for the Herald, I teach a sportswriting class at UM. My students launched a class blog about UM sports, and it would be great if they get some traffic -- and comments!
Feel free to be critical, but no vulgarities..they're just students.
Thanks. You can find it at www.cnj523.wordpress.com
Thanks Manny for your hospitality!

Manny, good work.

I hope the safeties and linebackers can cover, because with 5 corners on the roster, UM is not going to make it. Injuries are always a factor, and the corners were not the greatest last year anyway.

If I am UF, I am going 5 wide to put the pressure on the DB's to cover.

This is a great opportunity for the players though - the more Miami can defend with its base defense(4-3), the better they will be. Meaning the more versatile the players are in terms of skills and ability, the more they will play, because you don't have to substitute or match-up with personnel.

Anyway, I just hope Miami can find 11 guys that: a. can get off blocks; b. run; c. tackle; and d.have a nose for the ball.

Good work Manny,

I am still high from last Wednesday & NSD. I think BH was the icing on a cake that is filled with a south beach honey ready for some national exposure.

Spring can't come fast enough so we can see what all these guys look like. I really wanna see Allen Bailey, I know RS did'nt get on that boat to the island so this guy can ride the pine.

Manny, who will play MLB? Do you think Hardin will see much action at the position.

Michele...if your students want to write a blog feature post for Canespace we would be glad to post it on our site to get them some FREE publicity.

Email me at host@canespace.com.

I'm a bit worried with the '09 class. Miami did a great job of getting the awesome S.Florida talent, particularly the Northwestern and Booker T. kids, but next years S.Florida talent looks uncharacteristically thin. None of the early '09 top national recruits come from south florida. Only Lamar Miller pops up and thats towards the bottom of the Top 100 list. Shannon will be tested next year; he must prove that he can leave S. Florida and still get the 5-star recruits. Also, he must fight off the Ohio State, W.Virginia, etc. from coming down here and stealing the local talent.

Hi Manny,
Can you please confirm whether Allen Bailey is a RS Freshman, or a true Sophmore? It's being debated seeing as he played on ST last season.

Thanks!!

Manny good read as always U are right as a Canes Fan I cant wait till spring practice it will be interesting to see the changes that need to be made to make this a better team. Im super excited to see the young QBs come in may the best Man win. I gotta cheer for My Boy Harris but Im not going to hate on Marve or anyone else who wins. We got some CANES up in here :)

No offense Coach Hurtt, but I hope the defensive scheme and play calling is Totally different than '07.

I think the new D will be attack , attack, attack not wait around & respond to what the other team is doing. Seems Young and the D staff are hard at work turning the D around. Great job Manny.

great stuff manny, please keep it coming, cant wait until the season kicks off

They need to give you a raise bro

nice work Manny - good to see the positive vibes & enthusiasm that came from NDS continued with this article and the anticipation of spring ball.

BTW - anyone seen "Hurricane Flashbacks" hosted by Frank Forte? I received and watched it last night - while it was great to see some of the all time great Canes games, the fact that coker was so prominent in the video was frustrating. Anyway - watching it got me stoked for this coming season and our Return to Greatness!!!

Go Canes

He isn't saying that the D is the same, he's saying its the same scheme (4-3), but will provide different packages in the 4-3. I can see them runing a 4 down linemen, but with one being a LB (Gavin) being the 4th lineman....Basically, Young has a lot of talent and toys to play with, the more creative he is using those talents the better the Defense will BE!

I have mentioned it before but Coach Young will be the perfect mentor for our young coaches in the D (including our head coach). I say he stays the DC as long as he wants. Barrow can take over after he has absorbed all the training from the Jedi Master... :-D

Manny,

Bruce Feldman of ESPN and Cane Mutiny giving you the props today.

Great work Manny. You're definitely First in Class.

we got some canes over here!

cj

gary stevens lives in broward county. he is playing golf. most likely his everyday coaching days are over. he would be a good consultant but thats against ncaa rules. um can not hire a qb coach because they're at the ncaa max for assistant coaches. its not the nfl.

Manny, great work.

So, do we hope to see cover zero utilized to the max? Hope our guys learn fast and execute.

um can not hire a qb coach because they're at the ncaa max for assistant coaches. its not the nfl.
Posted by: cassidaycane | February 12, 2008 at 04:25 PM

Perhaps, they can ask Gary Stevens to attend a course at the University and make him a grad asst!

It would be great if there was someway they could get someone in there and Stevens or maybe Walsh would be a great hire if the canes could swing it. What I am curious about is what position did they hire a coach at instead of a QB coach because I seem to remember todd berry being our QB coach while Rich olsen served as offensive coordinator. Which position is it we need more help at than QB.

Lamar Thomas is going to be a grad asst this year helping out the receivers with Hill. No reason why Walsh couldn't volunteer 1-2 times a week to help out though.

Manny: way to bring it. Besides CaneGirlNC in her green dress, your blog was highlite of the week (even if its only Tuesday...)

cj

olsen was coordinator and also the running backs coach.
now robinson is running backs coach and nix coordinator and qb coach.

walsh has a family and a good job. stop making up jobs for guys in the past. give this staff a chance.

First of all this offensive staff or staff for that matter hasn't showed me squat. Patrick Nix did not do anything while at GA Tech and Kirby Freeman though bad last year looked worse this year. They made no adjustments all year in games and please though not as talented as they once were had talent to win more than they did. I am not making up jobs for guys what I am saying is when we were QB U Walsh was a part of that and he even said the QB play had diminished since Gary Stevens left. Its not looking to the past its knowing what you have and what you need.

Manny, thanks for all you do, keeping those of us away from Miami updated on the U. People, people, people, stop worrying. There will be some improvements seen immediately. A lot of these kids have "raw" talent with heart. They have dreamed playing for the U all of their lives. They will be not be denied. Now, they have to learn the scheme of things, but just wait and see. This rebuilding had to be done and it was done in a BIG way! Kudos to the U Pres, Coach Shannon, Michael Barrow, Hurt and all of the recruiting staff. You brought 'em in, so now let's teach 'em well. Atlanta Cane 4 Life.

more hype- it goes on and on in s. fla.- the dawlfuls and now just a calm breeze called a hurricane. its all crap until its proved on the field. the fish still bragging about 1972, thats 36 years ago. shut up and win something-or just shut up. then theres um, another class of good rercruits, but they havent showed anything yet. prove it. otherwise its more preseason crap from a university that dumped tradition and screwed the endzone crowd, the most loyal game in and game out, with the great place in the upper deck. way to show appreciation miami. then after a losing season, raise the prices. and the show for all the memories at the ob cost about 100 bucks. the university said, too bad. have fun, this end zone crew member will be in a nice recliner, watching from afar. about like the seats in that stadium.i will always love the canes, but the support will drop

FIRE SHANNON NOW! do it now, or do it later after more lousy seasons like the one from last year. that loss to virginia, proved shannon is a quitter. FIRE SHANNON NOW FIRE SHANNON NOW-

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