It's not going to happen often from now until the start of fall ball in August, so when it does, it leads. Football coach Randy Shannon spoke for 10 minutes with reporters during Tuesday's ACC Teleconference.
* Shannon said he still isn't sure if Luqman Abdallah (who moved from defensive line to offensive line) will play tackle or guard. He said the team moved Ryan Hill to defensive back "to get more out of him" and because he gives the team more depth at safety. He said moving Damien Berry to running back was about "depth."
* Aside from praising the play of the quarterbacks and receivers, Shannon also praised the play of sophomore defensive end Allen Bailey. Shannon said he wouldn't be surprised if Bailey, who switched from linebacker to end before the spring, weighs 310 or 315 pounds by the fall. Bailey told me he weighed 292 at the end of the spring.
"We were really, really excited about the way Allen Bailey picked up," Shannon said. "He still has a couple of things to go, but as far as his first time playing defensive end, we're really excited by him. He has a lot of pass rush natural ability. He really controlled the tight end, the offensive tackle, had a good get-off chasing the football and mentality on the defensive line. He's an explosive, big kid. I don't know if he'll ever stop [gaining] weight, getting bigger."
BASEBALL TALK: There is confidence and then there is cockiness. When the University of Miami has been at its greatest -- whether its on the diamond or on the football field -- the Hurricanes have usually been perceived as the latter by outsiders around the country (I call it envy).
I know there will be some people out there who will assume that little tiff between Florida State and Miami Sunday was a result of "those hot dog Canes feeling cocky again because they're No. 1." I haven't been around the baseball team as much as the basketball and football teams this year. But I was out at the Light again Tuesday and I can tell you my cocky-o-meter didn't really register much of a hit again with this team.
"We just go out there everyday knowing we're going to win," said first baseman Yonder Alonso, who earned his second ACC Player of the Week award after hitting .556 with 10 runs scored, nine RBI and homering twice over the weekend."The confidence right now is sky high. We just feel everytime we go out there we're going to come out on top. Right now we feel invincible. But we just got to stay even keel and every team we play we know they're going to come at us with their A-game every time. They're going to come out ready to go. We just have to come out better."
To me, Jim Morris' baseball team is just really confident and happy they're having a great season. And what happened at the end of Sunday's thrilling 11-10 victory should be construed as nothing more than a happy team celebrating an emotional victory.
"It was an emotional end," said Morris, who talked to reporters at length Tuesday about Sunday's tiff, which started with some colorful conversation between the teams at home plate and escalated when fans at Dick Howser Stadium began spitting, tossing drinks and obscenities at UM players as they left the field.
"Florida State did a great job fighting their way back into the game and then there was that [situation when they had runners on] first and third and there was a called strike to end the game. Our guys celebrated like they normally, do like Florida State does or North Carolina or anybody does after a win. It kind of went south from that point..."
Morris talked about a lot of things Tuesday among them feeling a bit surprised Florida State didn't leave its dugout to shake hands. He said he hasn't spoken to FSU coach Mike Martin or anyone from the ACC about the skirmish, but he hopes both teams will "turn the page" if and when they meet again this season.
Miami (31-4) has no choice but to move on. The Hurricanes host crosstown rival FIU (13-29) Wednesday night at 7 p.m. before welcoming Virginia (31-11 and ranked 20th in the USA Today/ESPN Coach's poll) on Friday for a three-game weekend series.
NALEPA TO START WEDNESDAY: Morris said he will send 6-2, 225-pound right-handed sophomore Anthony Nalepa (2-0, 5.00 ERA, 9 IP) to the mound Wednesday in his first career start.
"Nalepa has good stuff. He's a tough guy. He gets himself in trouble by walking a few guys here and there. But that's because he's trying to be too fine with his pitches," Morris said. "It's not because he's too wild or anything. Because he's not. He's close. He just needs to get ahead of the hitters. He's got good movement, he's got good stuff and he's just got to get ahead of the hitters."
ERICKSON IMPROVING: The bigger news regarding Miami's rotation revolves around its ace, left-handed sophomore Eric Erickson, who pitched four innings in Sunday's win. Morris said he is going to move Erickson up in the rotation a day to Saturday, switching him with Enrique Garcia.
"I thought he pitched really well considering he hadn't pitched in a month," Morris said. "He had trouble early locating his changeup and curveball but toward the end he pitched better the last two innings than the first two innings... He was a little sore [afterward]. But you always are."
Erickson (6-0, 3.28 ERA) pitched four innings Sunday and his pitch count was limited to 60 pitches. But Morris said he'll probably move the pitch count up to 75 in an effort to gradually move it back up. Erickson said the soreness he's suffered from in is in his forearm.
"My fastball was fine. I was hitting my spots. But I almost forgot how to throw a changeup since I hadn't done it for awhile," Erickson said Tuesday. "My curveball was OK too. I was able to get those two pitches and I did the best job I could. I absolutely knew I wasn't going to have my best stuff and that team can absolutely hit and there is a short right porch. I knew with all their left-handed hitters it might creep up on me. The three solo home runs I gave up were only three runs and I thought that was a good enough outing to keep us in the game."
BANGED UP: Morris said while his team is healthy overall, it is still battling a lot of little nagging injuries. "We got a lot of guys banged up. We got an injury report this morning when I met with our trainer and we had 16 of 31 guys listed on the injury report. So we're kind of banged up. We're trying to get through that. We're going to have a short practice today and get ready for tomorrow."
NOT SATISFIED: Being No. 1 is great and all. But Alonso and his teammates have their eyes on a bigger prize. "To be honest its fun thinking about it. Yeah, we're No. 1 in every poll. But we haven't done anything. We don't get a trophy for that. We don't get a ring for that. We got to go out there everyday knowing we got to prove something to everyone, to the United States that we are the No. 1 team and no matter what we're going to be No. 1. Throughout the year, we got to stay there."
FYI... To hear the audio interviews from today click on this link.