UM coach Randy Shannon told reporters Wednesday that senior defensive tackle Antonio Dixon was taken to the hospital after suffering from dehydration. Thursday morning, he said Dixon didn't suffer from dehydration, but from hyperventilation.
"It was one of those deals we found out that Dixon was hyperventilating," Shannon explained. "He was excited during the practice and the drill he did. He got going, short of wind, short of breath and it was fine. His body temperature wasn’t above and beyond the normal. It was just a little high, but nothing great. But he was fine.
"Dixon is a guy to get excited. And when Dixon hyperventilates, he hyperventilates. He does it all the time."
There has been no official statement on Dixon's condition from doctors or UM's training staff. Dixon (No. 96) was taken to Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables Wednesday morning by ambulance and a UM press release Wednesday afternoon updated his status by saying the 6-3, 322-pounder was "in good condition."
One Canes website reported early this morning that Dixon had already been released, but UM football SID Kerwin Lonzo told reporters Dixon was still in the hospital as of 11 a.m. Lonzo said UM is expecting Dixon to be released later this afternoon. Shannon told reporters "he could be back out practicing here by this afternoon."
"I went over to see him [last night], everybody did," Shannon said. "He was joking around, talking about eating fried chicken and stuff like that. He was good. We just have to be careful with big guys like that. You always have those situations happen. He’ll bounce back, keep rolling."
Dixon (who has suffered from condition problems in the past and even earned the nickname Two Play Dix from defensive line coach Clint Hurtt) told reporters at media day last week he feels like he's in the best shape of his life after losing more than 15 pounds and dropping down to 322. Despite what Randy said, I doubt he'll be practicing this afternoon.
Miami once again practiced for more than two hours Thursday morning, but about 10 minutes earlier than usual this fall. Shannon said earlier this week he's trying to get his young players extra reps.
"With us knowing the situation down here with the heat at the University of Miami, we got to have precautions about the things we do," Shannon said. "We always got to think about the kid first and everything else second."
AUDIO REMINDER: Be sure to check out the latest audio interviews I've posted from practice -- including Shannon's entire Thursday morning post-practice press conference, freshman receiver LaRon Byrd, safety Randy Phillips, freshman defensive tackle Micanor Regis, special teams coach Joe Pannunzio (from Wednesday), running back Shawnbrey McNeal (from Wednesday) and Shannon's interview from Wednesday. All of it available daily on our UM audio page.
> Linebacker Arthur Brown did not practice in the morning session Thursday and Shannon told reporters he could be back by Saturday's first scrimmage of the fall.
> Defensive tackle Marcus Forston, safety Anthony Reddick and defensive ends Eric Moncur and Allen Bailey did not practice either. Of Reddick, who I believe has now missed four days of practice, Shannon said: "It was his day to rest."
Shannon said Forston was a weight related issue. "Some guys we just rest here and there," Shannon said. "Like I said, we’re going to be very careful in monitoring the weight that they do. Players after every practice weigh in and weigh out, we keep their weight at a certain amount of pounds. So, sometimes we’ll sit some guys out because they lost just too much weight. It’s certain amount of weight loss. You just can’t go out and say you lost 10 pounds in practice and they only got two pounds back. You got to be careful about that. So, we make sure we monitor that, especially those big guys."
> Shannon told reporters not to ask him about the quarterbacks until after the second scrimmage.
> Shannon told reporters freshman defensive end Gavin Hardin was flying in this morning and said the school is still "waiting on two maybe three more guys" to be cleared by the Clearinghouse. Defensive back CJ Holton arrived at UM Tuesday, which means he likely won't practice until next week. Linebacker Brandon Marti, safety Joe Wylie and defensive tackle Jeremy Lewis still have not been cleared to show up at UM. Some of those players have told The Herald they have not received phone calls back from UM. "When the paperwork goes in, they’ll just roll in,” Shannon said. "[Gavin] has to go through a five day acclimation period. He can only wear shorts, go through meetings. He can wear shorts, but he can’t practice."
> With so many guys out on the defensive line, freshman Micanor Regis of Pahokee High says he's been getting so many reps at right defensive tackle he's lost count. Shannon said Regis is "showing flashes of of being the defensive tackle of what we [once] had. He’s young, got a motor. Sometimes he’ll come off the ball looking like a typical freshman, but then he’ll come off and cause havoc in the backfield. We’re pleased with his progress and the way he’s going right now."
Shannon said if the season were to start today, Regis would get upwards of 25 plays a game. Regis, who was already cut up in high school, said he's trimmed down from 320 to 317 and added more muscle. Shannon said his biggest obstacle is getting used to playing against guys his size. "In high school I was the strongest guy on the field, but now it’s like there are 10 other guys just as strong as me," Regis said. "Now, instead of my strength I got to use my technique."
> Even though in the first week of practice several key players from a year ago haven't been practicing with the first team, I wouldn't read too much into it. Safety Randy Phillips is a perfect example. He's been practicing on the second and third team, providing leadership and instruction for the younger guys.
"I’m still not going with the first team. Just kind of practicing hard, working with younger guys and trying to get the younger safeties going," Phillips said. "If you got all the experienced guys going with each other then, you know, when I run with the younger guys I can tell them what to do, be the leader of whatever group I’m in. I’m just rotating every different day. Might go with the ones, the twos or the threes. I’m just floating around."
> I'm now convinced Laron Byrd is separating himself from the rest of the freshmen receivers as the most likely to make an immediate impact this season. Byrd said he caught two touchdown passes Thursday and has lost count of how many he's caught this fall. Thursday, Byrd caught a long pass down the middle of the field on a pass from Jacory Harris during a two-minute drill, then hauled in another on a fade route in the corner of the end zone during short-yardage drills.
I asked Byrd point blank what he's doing to make Shannon, who has now mentioned him twice after practice, blush about him. "I’m just putting in the hard work and effort. That’s all I’m doing. Every day I’m coming out to play. I’m just focusing on doing my job. We got to think hard, knowing your role and I know my role. I know what it takes to come in and play hard. If he’s impressed, that’s good. But I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team."
Although I'm going to save my interview with receivers coach Aubrey Hill for tomorrow, Hill had nothing but great things to say about Byrd. ""He's a very smart player. He's a big kid who can run. In our meeting room he's smart too. He always has his playbook open. It's not like it's all new to him, a new language. He knows what he's doing."