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This and That: Canes holiday updates

Hello and welcome back to the Holiday edition of Eye On The U. As you can see, I'm not in San Francisco with the football team this week as it prepares for the Emerald Bowl. And, I won't be going to New York either for Saturday's showdown at Madison Square Garden with St. John's. But The Herald still has you covered.

Emerald_bowlSusan Miller Degnan has the football team covered this week and Jeff Darlington will be watching Frank Haith's team try to rebound from a bad loss last Sunday against Clemson. Me? I'll be enjoying the holidays and trying to provide you with what I learn this week aside from covering the Orange Bowl. I hope your holidays thus far have been good to you. They have been to me. I got a chance to check out Cirque De Soleil's Corteo Tuesday night with my wife and loved the show. I recommend it.

As for the Canes...

> Recruiting is certainly starting to heat up. Earlier this week, Canesport reported Miami received an official commitment from the nation's No. 2 prep school player, offensive tackle Jermaine Johnson. The 6-6, 310-pound former St. Thomas Aquinas basketball-turned football player is a big get for Miami considering UM's need on the offensive line. Look for Plantation American Heritage's Jared Wheeler to possibly be the next o-o-lineman to jump on the Miami bandwagon. His dad told me late last week distance would likely play a factor in his son's decision between UM and Vanderbilt. Also good news: highly-touted guard Peter White, a 4-star guard from the Washington, D.C. area, told Canesport UM will get a visit from him along with Tennessee and Maryland.

> Defensive end Olivier Vernon, an early UM commitment, called me Tuesday while I was doing my weekly Q&A and talked to me for about 10 minutes about his current status. The 6-3, 240-pounder from Miami American High told me he's likely going to call me the day after Christmas to let me know where he's ultimately headed.

Olivier_vernonThere's no question the kid is confused. He told me he wished had never committed to UM in the first place and just let the recruiting process play out. He definitely liked his visits to Alabama and Florida State and it now seems his decision is coming down to whether or not he really wants to leave South Florida. Miami is definitely pushing hard. Vernon said he got an in-home visit from Randy Shannon last week. He said while he loves UM's tradition, he wants to pick the school he thinks has the best shot at winning a national title. Alabama obviously came close this year and is enticing Vernon with the thought of playing a outside linebacker/defensive end role. I'm favoring the Canes right now on a hunch, but not by much. If he doesn't come to UM, I think he goes to Bama. Vernon, by the way, is still not 100 percent healthy after his left ankle sprain early this season. He said he's still rehabbing.

> Out in the Bay area, Susan tells me the Canes are having a great time visiting some historic San Fran landmarks. The team visited Alcatraz Monday and then went on a cruise with Cal players later that afternoon. UM coach Randy Shannon told reporters Wednesday he expects receiver Travis Benjamin to play in the bowl game. I'm hoping to have a Q&A with California Bears' beat writer Demar Richardson from Scout.com for you later this week.

> As for the basketball Canes, UM coach Frank Haith said after Sunday's loss his team's recent free throw woes come down to mental toughness. The Canes were among the best in the ACC last year as a team, shooting a shade below 75 percent as a team. Jack McClinton, James Dews, Lance Hurdle and Brian Asbury all shot over 85 percent individually. This year, UM is shooting 65 percent as a team. And McClinton leads the team with at 84 percent. Dews, Asbury and Hurdle are all shooting under 75 percent.

> They aren't going to be nearly as good as last year's team, but the baseball Canes are at least earning some respect. Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll debuted earlier this week and has the Canes at No. 18. Miami returns three Preseason All-Americans in sophomore left-hander Chris Hernandez, junior shortstop Ryan Jackson and junior right-hander Kyle Bellamy.


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Merry Christmas to you and your family Manny

Great Job Manny!I was really starving for some recruiting info. Merry Christmas to all of the Canes Fans everywhere. Lil Waller and Bandit Feinroth I miss you brothers!
Go Canes take out the bears on my b-day! What a great present that will be for me...

Must be that Manny is blowing the Herald's lavish $25 per day per diem spending limit on food as to why he's not covering the team, and Susan Miller Denegan (remind me, who is she) is covering the team, kinda like the Texas A&M situation. Maybe the same results as A&M? Is she the writer who recommended DA U drop its "Hurricanes" name after Andrew? Brilliant. Maybe if we don't call "hurricanes" "hurricanes" they will cease to exist. Way to go Herald.
Maybe Manny can do the same as the Gainesville Sun beat writers who have to hitchhike to SEC games and pack their meals in a cooler for the weekend. I hear they will be pitching tents at T-Y Park for the game against Oklahoma.

Feliz Navidad

Why do kids always feel the need to go to a school that already has a good record? If the team is already good, chances are they don't need you. Alabama is very talented, but they have a senior QB and aren't guaranteed anything.

We need to close on Vernon.

I hope Vernon realizes it's recruits like himself and others being commited to this program that will bring us (and himself) another National Championship.

Four years ago, Alabama was not even in the top 25. Teams like Auburn, Utah and Louisville were there.

Things change. This young man can be part of the change.

UM is equally likely or perhaps MORE likely than Alabama to win a national championship over the next 5 years.

Thankfully we don't have to play in the SEC. And our recruiting classes are just as good as theirs, if not better.

A player would be foolish to presume that the team he sees being fielded today will be the same level of talent and attain the same success consistently over the next 4-5 years.
The trajectory of program is far more important than how it's expected to do next season.

And besides, who would want to live in Alabama? Come on, dude. The chicks are MUCH HOTTER in Miami, the weather can be freezing cold in Alabama, and it's a place for hicks...

Well looking at it from the standpoint of an 18 yr old, going to a Football rich school in a SEC type locale makes for the chance to be an instant celebrity. Tebow is a living god in Gainesville and I'm sure when FSU was the dominant team in the country guys like Brooks, Ward and Dunn were as well. As you point out what is there in Tuscaloosa other than football crazed lunatics? Only person I can think of that had celebrity like following while at a school in a big city is Matt Leinart.

Lastly $20 will go a lot further in Po ville then in South Beach where you're lucky for that to get you in da club.

Just my 2 cents.

If there's any serious doubts in dudes mind-


Chances are he'd jet if things didn't go his way early anyways. Shannon Boys need only apply!!!

Merry Christmas Manny and all Cane fandom! Thanks for the updates Manny and for all your hard work on all things Canes. The Herald needs to wake up and realize that Manny is the respected name when it comes to reporting on the Canes. Susan Miller Digna...Dagna...Dang, why is she the beat reporter for the Canes again? Just saying what needs to be said.

It looks like we'll be getting a good haul of OL and corners just like the doctor ordered. Hope Vernon chooses the U. Go with your first instinct, its usually right. Florida State should DEFINTITELY no be a consideration as they will be under NCAA restrictions after the Cheating-gate fiasco. 'Bama I can see, but I think the U will be vying for a title as soon as the Baby Canes fully mature and start taking opponents out to the back of the woodshed. Anyway, GO CANES in the EMERALD BOWL!

The Herald needs to wake up and realize that Manny is the respected name when it comes to reporting on the Canes. Susan Miller Digna...Dagna...Dang, why is she the beat reporter for the Canes again?

Posted by: LAcanefan | December 25, 2008 at 01:46 PM

susan miller degnan writes better ...


(Olivier Vernon) wants to pick the school he thinks has the best shot at winning a national title.
-- manny navarro

past performance: an unreliable predictor of future performance ...


There's no question the kid is confused. He told me he wished had never committed to UM in the first place and just let the recruiting process play out.
-- manny navarro

don’t waste our time then …
go elsewhere …


distrusted during recruiting …
begs the question …
how can U trust the ballyhooed schoolboy on a lonely island in crunch time?


Merry Christmas to all of out there in Caneville. I hope Santa has hooked you up nicely. Myself, I got a bunch of Canes gear,,,which is surprising because most of my wife's (including my wife) people are Gators! See, some Gator fans are decent people (which goes against most of my life experience with them, but....)

Personally, I don't understand all of this hype with recruiting and putting so much stock in the decision of an 18-year-old kid. I remember back in the day Jimmy Johnson used to say he did not care about a kids ranking in the recruiting world. He went out to find kids that fit in his system and who he could work with. Of course, he was one of the best evaluators of talent the game has ever seen so that approach might not work with every coach. However, my point is, I think we put too much stock in these recruiting services and it is hard to evaluate a kid who is not fully grown either mentally or physically and it is hard to judge the level of talent that that a kid plays against. Don't get me wrong, good recruiting is important but it is a waist of time if you too much stock in these recruiting services and do not know how to differentiate between hype and real talent.

Manny...Merry Christmas!


South Florida talent is entitled to be confused, they just have to choose South Florida. I'm glad we finally got a good o-line recruit, and I'm really glad it's a prep school kid. We need people big and smart enough to play right away while the "tight ends" we have recruited now grow into their roles.

Merry Christmas to all. Beat Cal!

I have two Xmas wishes for the Canes:

1. A season ending victory in the Emerald Bowl

2. A 9 win season in 2009

I am thankful for many things, and hope for many more, but this year is where we truly begin to see what type of Head Coach Randy Shannon will be. I love the man, his attitude, and his ability to recruit. However, I need to see if he will be a 9 win type of coach, or an 11 to 12 win type of coach.

Either way, I am grateful we have him...

Amen HBCaneFan, Amen.

If there ARE any Canes fans who are also Marlins fans &/or miss former Marlins announcer Roxy Bernstein & who have made the trip to San Francisco can catch him doing play-by-play of Cal basketball on KYOU 1550AM (www.kyouradio.com) this weekend. (He's a Cal alum & their basketball play-by-play announcer, the reason he left the Marlins' booth.) The Bears will play at 1pm on Saturday local time to give their fans enough time to cross the Bay Bridge to San Francisco afterwards, & either 2:30pm or 5pm local time Sunday at their on-campus gym. See: http://calbears.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/120908aac.html Pregame Saturday on 1550AM is at 12:40pm local time.

Another one bites the dust.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami punt snapper Chris Ivory will not play in Saturday's Emerald Bowl because he violated an unspecified team rule.

He is the fifth Hurricanes player to be suspended for the final game of the season.

Ivory did not accompany the Hurricanes to San Francisco, where Miami (7-5) will face California (8-4) on Saturday.

He also was suspended for the season-opener against Charleston Southern for another rules violation, but won the Albert Bentley Award as the team's most valuable walk-on player.

Jake Byrne, who handles snaps on field goals, will take over Ivory's punt-team duties. Byrne also will be the backup quarterback behind Jacory Harris, who will start after Robert Marve was suspended for missing classes.

Tight ends Richard Gordon and Tervaris Johnson, along with linebacker Jordan Futch, also were suspended last week for the bowl game because of team rules violations.
Associated Press

I know Vernon is a kid and just wants to play for a winner but if he wants to go to Bama, then let him go. Let him go and see the Jerk scum that Nick Saban really is when he leaves this kid @ bama in the next 2 years. I cant believe this jerk is winning coach of the year awards but I guess people have such a short memory. I never thought u could be rewarded for bailing out on programs just because the competition was too tough for them.

I remember back in the day Jimmy Johnson used to say he did not care about a kids ranking in the recruiting world.

Posted by: HBCaneFan | December 25, 2008 at 02:13 PM

HB, I think recruiting has become much more competitive since then, esp. in S. Fla. Every coach knows that it is the richest talent bed in the world, esp. for "skill" positions, and they all try to recruit here. Plus, So. Fla. and UCF are in the mix now when they weren't back in the JJ's day. I generally agree with you, though, that recruiting is overhyped compared to the importance of installing intelligent schemes, recruiting to match the needs of those schemes, and developing the talent one has. Boise St. is the perfect example of how to do just that. I have a lot of respect for them.

I think we put too much stock in these recruiting services and it is hard to evaluate a kid who is not fully grown either mentally or physically and it is hard to judge the level of talent that that a kid plays against.

Posted by: HBCaneFan | December 25, 2008 at 02:13 PM

This is true with regards to individual athletes, however when looking at recruiting classes collectively, the success of programs DOES follow rather closely their level of success at recruiting as defined by "the services". Look back at the last 5-6 years at how different schools fared and you will see that the top 5 have been the ones that have one the NCs. USC, Texas, UF, LSU, and Ohio St. have done the best and have won 8 of the last 10 NCs between them (Somebody might want to check me on that, but I think thats pretty close). On a CUMULATIVE basis, the scouting reports and evaluation of talent these guys do is pretty accurate. That's why fans follow the recruiting process closely. It does matter. Big time.

However, I agree with you that each school has to do their own independent evaluations and find some diamonds in the rough and develop the max talent of the guys they have.

Another player suspended for the bowl game??? How did we not have anyone suspended during the season (except Marve) and now we have a bunch of players missing for the bowl game.

WTF...loosen up on these kids!!! They sacrifice a lot already, why can't they just enjoy going to the bowl. Make them run some sprints or something.

It doesn't translate to the field, you'll see when we get crushed on Saturday.

Marve was not the only one suspended during the season. There were like five players suspended for the first game. And Aldarius was suspended for the last game of the regular season.

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