I couldn't make it out to practice today because I'm working on video and other multimedia content for our football preview, but Susan Miller Degnan, our football beat writer, was out there. Nothing earth shattering as far as news is concerned (there usually isn't a week into camp) except that defensive end Eric Moncur was finally participating a bit more. If you want to read Susan's practice notes, here's the link.
> One thing I kept thinking about last night after our Live Q&A was how many of the freshmen in this 2008 class will actually start against Charleston Southern on August 28th. And to be honest, I can't think of one. While coach Randy Shannon and his assistants have praised guys like Laron Byrd and Travis Benjamin at receiver, Arthur Brown and Sean Spence at linebacker, Marcus Robinson and Marcus Forston on the defensive line, and Brandon Harris in the secondary, I don't get the sense Shannon is ready to place the full burden of starting and playing major minutes on any of them.
And that's a good thing if you're a Miami fan. That means Shannon and the staff honestly have the confidence to put the bulk of the pressure on the upper classmen, despite going 5-7 last season with most of the guys who will start. That means they believe guys like Darryl Sharpton, Antonio Dixon, Randy Phillips, Orlando Franklin, Joel Figueroa, Chavez Grant, Sam Shields and Bruce Johnson are better football players than they were last year.
So, if you don't see Forston, Spence, Brown, Harris or Byrd in the starting lineup for the first month or two of the season, don't take it as a failure. Because the bottom line is all of those guys are going to play -- a lot. Guys like Marcus Robinson are going to see like 20 snaps a game at defensive end. Laron Byrd is going to catch a few passes a game. Brandon Harris is going to be in the rotation at corner. And in the long run, UM and those talented freshmen are going to be a better football team because of it.
> Ok, I promised to get to the rest of the questions you guys left me last night. I'll leave you my responses below this blog.
Also, a quick programming reminder, if you are a high school football fan, Larry Blustein, myself and Herald High School Sports Writers Bob Emanuel and Andre Fernandez will have a new podcast up every day at 2 p.m. for the next two weeks breaking down every team and district in Miami-Dade and Broward over at The Countdown.