They didn't have the type of careers they hoped for at UM. But a collection of 14 recently departed Canes continued to strive for more as pro hopefuls Friday afternoon by participating in NFL Timing Day at The U. Kyle Wright, Kenny Phillips, Calais Campbell, Derrick Morse, Tavares Gooden and Darnell Jenkins met with the media after their workouts for a collection of about 50 NFL scouts Friday.
With two stories due soon, I don't have time to give you an in depth rundown. But here are some quick notes from NFL Timing Day and Friday's afternoon practice.
* Quarterback Kyle Wright said he's optimistic he'll be drafted and said he spoke with two head coaches -- the Vikings Brad Childress and the Chargers' Norv Turner -- during his time in Indianapolis earlier this week for the NFL Combine. "The feedback I’ve been getting is very good in that aspect," Wright said of being drafted. "They said they were impressed with how I was throwing the football. Everybody I talked to knew the situation down here. I didn’t have to go and reiterate that. Whatever happened, happened. I’m just ready to go to the next level and have a new opportunity."
* Defensive end Calais Campbell, who was disappointed with his 40-yard dash time (5.06) in Indianapolis earlier this week, wasn't happy with what he ran on Friday and said it "felt like I was slow or not as fast as I usually am." Campbell said the one area he improved skills Friday was his vertical leap -- he picked up five inches from what he did in Indianapolis. "I think the position drills really helped me out a little bit," Campbell said of his workout Friday and potential draft stock. "I got to show my athletic abilities. I think I just got to continue working hard. That’s what I’m going to do always. I’m all about hard work and getting better, getting better on the field. When the private workouts come, I’ll try my best." Campbell said he spent the past month in California trying to add muscle and strength to his upper body. He said his plan now is to train in Miami with UM strength coach Andrew Swasey in the months leading up to the draft.
* Despite tweaking his hamstring, linebacker Tavares Gooden said he turned in a faster 40 time Friday (4.48-4.52) than he did at the combine (4.6) earlier this week and said his vertical jumped from 34.5 inches to 39 inches on Friday. Gooden said what he thinks NFL teams like about him is his ability to play all three linebacker spots. "I think its going to come down to me going to my different scouting days and going out there and showing them how well I can move," said Gooden on where he could end up being drafted. "I know had a couple injuries, but I think I tested well with those injuries. People can see I can play while I have a couple nicks and bruises."
* Receiver Darnell Jenkins, who was named Team MVP this past season, said he improved his 40- time (4.45) and his speed during agility drills Friday. He said what slowed him in Indianapolis was the fact he was asked to run first and he "was unable to stretch." He said he spoke to 25 teams at the combine this past week and has been told by experts to drop from 187 pounds to 180. "At lot of scouts say regardless if I ran the 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, when they watch my film it’s much faster than that," Jenkins said. "A lot of scouts say that I’m real tough and I’m capable of running past anybody and that’s what they like about me."
* Safety Kenny Phillips said he did not participate in tests Friday because he and agent Drew Rosenhaus were pleased with his 40-yard dash time of 4.48 in Indianapolis. Phillips, however, did particpate in position drills Friday. Expected to the first UM player taken and listed by many experts as the No. 1 safety prospect in the draft, Phillips said he was asked by some NFL scouts earlier this week why he had a drop in production this season. His response: "Some of them [brought up my lack of production]. I just told them it didn’t happen. I told them I matured more as a player. I took on a lot more responsibility as far as communicating and helping the coaches out and they still said I made a lot of plays. I just got to look at it through my point of view and it worked out for me."
SPRING PRACTICE NOTES...
* Friday was the first day this spring UM players lined up in full pads and according to kicker Matt Bosher Miami's offense had a good day. Bosher said receiver Leonard Hankerson hauled in touchdown pass from Robert Marve, running back Javarris Jenkins scored on a run and receiver Kayne Farquharson hauled in another TD pass.
* Coach Randy Shannon (CHECK OUT HIS AUDIO) spent several minutes after practice yelling at his team. Players said Shannon wasn't happy with the way the special teams concluded practice.
* Several offensive lineman including Jason Fox said they've been impressed with the way right guard Joel Figueroa has shown improvement. Right now, Figueroa is the favorite to replace Derrick Morse in the starting lineup this season.