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Aubrey Hill: "We want to hit on more big plays"

ATLANTA -- It used to be the staple of the University of Miami offense. Ken Dorsey, Gino Torretta, Vinny Testaverde would drop back in the pocket scan the field and then fire a laser beam deep down the field. On the other end, Michael Irvin, Andre Johnson and Lamar Thomas would come racing under it, hands stretched and in a flash, they'd be gone, one their way to the end zone for six.

Aldarius Johnson is one of the key young receivers making strides this spring It's felt like an eternity at The U since a Miami offense provided such excitement. Last year with Patrick Nix, fans were treated more often to the wide receiver bubble screen than the good old Hail Mary. But in the first few days coach Randy Shannon has allowed the media to watch his team practice this spring, we've noticed something strange (an unidentified flying object if you will). That would be the football being thrown deep down the field again.

Could it just be an early spring practice aberration? Could be Jacory Harris just practicing the deep ball here and there? Or is Mark Whipple's new offense showing signs it's going to take advantage of the new big, strong, speedy weapons the Canes recruited two Februarys ago and stretch opposing defenses? At Tuesday's practice, I caught up with receivers coach Aubrey Hill to find out what the deal really is.

"You look back to last year, we definitely want to hit on more big plays," said Hill, whose young receiving corps . "That's something you want to do every year... Not necessarily making a comparison [to last year], but I will say this about our [new] playbook: we're attacking all areas of the field and also were trying to move a lot of guys around and put the ball in their hands in all different places. We have an NFL playbook."

Aubrey Hill And, quite possibly, NFL-caliber receivers to make those plays. While Hill said he's been impressed with all of his receivers in some way shape or form, he pointed to Laron Byrd and Aldarius Johnson as the guys look like they're ready to take the next step. Johnson led the team in receiving last season with 30 catches for 321 yards and 3 scores. Byrd finished fifth with 18 catches for 184 yards and 3 scores. Both look more physically imposing this spring even if they aren't weighing a lot more than last season.

"You look at those guys and you can definitely see they have been in the weight room with coach Swasey," Hill said. "You can see the maturity and hunger for those kids. They compete with each other all the time. Both of those guys can be all-conference type players soon."

Hill admits he's been impressed from what he's seen early from two players he didn't have a year ago because of injuries, redshirt freshmen Tommy Streeter and Kendall Thompkins

"He's a big target," Hill said of Streeter. "He's a smart kid. He can run. He has decent hands. He didn't play last year. So we obviously want to make sure he's going fast and getting into the playbook. But the good thing for him and Kendall is we have a new playbook. They're all learning from scratch together. The one thing you see with Tommy is he's better each day. As long as he can continually improve, that's what we want to see."

As for Thompkins: "Without a doubt he brings versatility because he can play slot and the outside receiver. He becomes a valuable player already. He's very elusive. He can make the first guy miss. He can catch the passes. Kendall and Streeter are two great additions for us."

With Sam Shields moving over to defense and several seniors from last season gone, Hill doesn't have many veterans. His oldest player is junior Leonard Hankerson. While Hankerson has struggled with drops throughout his career (including this spring), Hill said the 6-3, 215-pounder is making strides.

"With Hank, it's almost like you want to put a glue on the ball when the quarterback throws it to him because that's the last piece he needs," Hill said. "But in fairness to him, he's been a lot better in other areas. Your talking about the kid that has the right size, the right speed, has the right mentality and is very smart. We're trying to put that last piece together. When that ball is in the air and its a big situation for the team, we want him to do well. That's what this spring is all about."

> I'll be at tonight's UM-Georgia Tech game in an about an hour. Just a couple more quick notes to pass along...

> Shannon told us Tuesday he's going to keep practice open for the media. I obviously wasn't at Wednesday's. But I'll be back out there on Friday and Saturday when the Canes are set to scrimmage for the first time.  

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GO CANES!!!!!!!!!!

Fired up for TS and the rest of the WR's...should be good things from that crew and Jacory in '09.

Streeter is going to be one of the best receiver on the team for sure. I wouldn't take too much from a couple of spring practices, but I do think the pieces are there to present a valid deep threat. This is a very well balanced WR corp, given that they hammer down the fundamentals like catching the ball when it's thrown your way. They've got guys who play the slot well, Thompkins and Collier. They've got great size, Byrd and Streeter. They've got great speed WRs, D. Johnson and Benjamin. They've got the all around threat in A. Johnson and Hankerson. All of these kids can play and they have the type of skill sets that afford an offense a multitude of options from anywhere on the field.

From yesterday's parctice

• WR Kendal Thompkins, wearing number 83, was wearing the white offensive jersey as a full-contact player. Thompkins was wearing the green non-contact jersey last week after recovering from a shoulder injury.

• RB Mike James caught a screen pass and took it the distance for a long touchdown. James is having a very good spring thus far as he reeled off a big 30-yard run last week as well.

• S Jared Campbell recorded two interceptions today. Campbell has been playing second-team safety alongside Joe Wylie.

• WR Davon Johnson scored a long touchdown in his first day back from practice after last week with the track team.

• CB Brandon Harris has added 10 pounds and says he has cut his 60-yard dash time down with participating in track. He says he feels a lot stronger compared to his freshman season. He has raised his bench press 50 pounds and his squat by 100 pounds since he arrived at UM.

• S Vaughn Telemaque nearly had an interception, but could not come up with it. He feels he should be making more plays in practice although the coaches are already high on him.

Are you on drugs? Ken Dorsey couldn't fire a laser beam deep down field using the Pasadena Jet Propulsion Lab's best equipment!

UM BBall needs to get a Win tonite vs. GaTech.
Big game.
Lets go CANES!!!!!!

Thanks AtlCane, any news about today's practice?

Great insight Manny. Big plays is what UM's offense will need in order to get the 500 YPG and 40 pts that Whipple was known for at UMASS.

Per rivals,

True freshman DT Curtis Porter was asked today if spring practice is as hard as other players say it is.

"Only if you think about it," he says.

He adds that "It's totally different from North Carolina football. There's no way you can out-muscle players here. You're going against guys just like you. It's all about technique and who can get off the ball quicker."

Porter says he feels like part of the Cane family.

And that includes some teasing.

"(Other players) crack on me because I'm from North Carolina, my country accent," Porter said. "But I tell them they won't survive where I'm from because they're city boys.

"We just have fun, play around a little bit."

Porter also spoke about his typical spring practice day: "Wake up at 4:30 in the morning, get ready, head out by 5 to the Hecht, have to be here before 5:30. We weight lift, get out around 6:35, take a shower and head out to class."

The afternoon is spent at practice and in team meetings.

Then it's off to sleep and the process starts all over again.

* Freshman OT Jermaine Johnson says of his progress that "I'm getting more confidence, knowing what I need to do for coach (Jeff) Stoutland. It's been a learning process for me right now.

"Practice is fast. It's way different from prep school and high school."

Johnson is playing with the second team at left tackle behind Jason Fox.

"In Hargrave (prep school) I played right tackle, so it's hard for me with the left hand down because I'm not used to that," Johnson said. "I have to get used to that, knowing the technique and everything."

Johnson is hoping to get on the field right away.

"I think I'm improving every day," Johnson said. "I'm just in the learning process right now."

* On the first play of 11-on-11 work in full pads today, Kendal Thompkins took an end around and went 15 yards, diving into the end zone for a touchdown. On the next play Jacory Harris scrambled up the middle for a 15-yard score. In all, there were four touchdowns in the first eight plays - the others were on a Cannon Smith shovel pass to Damien Berry for an 11-yard touchdown and on a Taylor Cook 15-yard scoring pass to Daniel Adderley.

In inside run 11-on-11 drills Javarris James ran in 15 yards virtually untouched for a score, and Mike James scored on a run up the middle. Those were the only two scores in approximately 15 offensive snaps.

Other big offensive plays in the scrimmage situations included a 20-yard diving catch by LaRon Byrd and a short pass that was turned into a long gain up the right side by Richard Gordon. Harris also found a wide open Leonard Hankerson for a 30-yard gain.

The defense had a lot of sacks today, and its lone turnover came on a Chavez Grant interception of Harris returned for a touchdown.

Sacks came from Marcus Robinson, Allen Bailey, Steven Wesley, Jordan Futch, Olivier Vernon, Andrew Smith, Marcus Forston and Darryl Sharpton.

The defense won the final 11-on-11 drill, meaning the offense ran sprints at the end while the defense watched on.

thanks for sharing jr reed, really appreciate these types of reports

btw, manny is the man. sometimes i forget to give him props!

I just hope the offense keeps pressing the defense and plays really, really fast. Then when the games come along, the opposition will seem a little slower to them and the game will come slower and enable them to make more plays. Especially the secondary.

Great job as always Manny. And thanks to jr reed for the info.

One guy who doesn't get talked about as much is Theron Collier. He seems like a complete reciever.

I can't wait until Whipple runs a 5 WR spread. Who can stop our receivers? Aldarius, Streeter, Byrd, Benjamin, & Hank.

U can feel it....
U can feel it....
We ballin boyz!!!

thanks for sharing the info jr reed. please continue i'm always feenin for hurricane football news.

hey stu,
dorsey didn't have a rocket for a arm but he sure as hell got the ball there.

so i dont know what to think about the sacks. is the defense getting better playing against the offense or is the offensive line being exposed as being whack? thats a hard piece of information to gague. Gordon's gonna be a factor next year. Seems like he's giving 110% out there. i do believe the defense is getting better though.

Attention to all CANES Fans There a player by the name of Dejoshua Johnson out of Pahokee high forget about debose. Debose cant touch this kids when it comes to making plays. need to recurit him matter of fact look at his highlight on youtube and tell me what you think about him

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxKCyyX0Z6w

Attention To all CANES Fans There a player by the name of Dejoshua Johnson out of Pahokee high forget about debose. Debose cant touch this kids when it comes to making plays. need to recurit him matter of fact look at his highlight on youtube and tell me what you think about him

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxKCyyX0Z6w

MALCOLM, we're already aware of de'joshua, but thanks for the reminder anyways, as far as miami recruiting him, we're actually one of the first schools to recruit him, and no worries, my money says he'll come our way, his blazing speed will leave debose in the dust!

reason kids are fast as hell up in pahokee!? dunno' if ya'll guys seen a special feature about pahokee kids, but they chase rabbits in the farm to elevate their speed!

btw, that feature was actually shown on outside the lines on espn

LOL, Well I guess I'm late on him but when I seen Dejoshua Johnson Highlight I was like forget chan pennigton running the wildcat offense the dolphins need this kid running the wildcat. Therefore when it comes to Debose he a striaght head running. Dejoshua is a player with that stop and go speed and plus he can play more then one position he like a mixture of rosche and devin hester. and when it comes to that rabbit thing i know all bout that have family from belle glades ate couple of rabbit in my day

The chase rabbits?! What happens if they catch them?

LOL, Well I guess I'm late on him but when I seen Dejoshua Johnson Highlight I was like forget chan pennigton running the wildcat offense the dolphins need this kid running the wildcat. Therefore when it comes to Debose he a striaght head running. Dejoshua is a player with that stop and go speed and plus he can play more then one position he like a mixture of rosche and devin hester. and when it comes to that rabbit thing i know all bout that have family from belle glades ate couple of rabbit in my day

they eat them

Manny, guys,. whats up with Adderly? He said he was transferring, but now seems to be doing well, thats another score for him this spring . he was a reach coming out of HS, way off the radar guy, but with epps injury, is he staying? seems to be doing well. good for him. The last post about him before signing day was that he was transferring to go somewhere so he can play, but he is staying for spring. Tall kid, if he puts it together, can be a good TE.

#2 Lets not forget about Jamal Reid, who is a great WR and DB. Scored on that nice TD in the under armour game. But, with the depth at WR, he might be better suited at CB. CANT WAIT FOR RAY RAY & DYE

jr reid, thanks allot...

There seems to be more reports on the offense than the defense???

But then again, i guess there not much to report other than if someone gets an interception or a sack...

Its reads nicer to report a short pass taken up the sideline for a 30 yard gain, and a 15 yard run up the middle here an there, than it does to write about a nice open field tackle.

Usually the defense is dominationg the offence, seems liek the offensive playbook is really working out nicely!!

Can't wait for the scrimage.

if these offensive weapons can come through when the season starts the expectations are through the roof on offense.if the denfense can play like they did last year,except for the mental breakdowns against the pass we can truly say we will be bound for a BCS bid im so ready to see what this offense will look like come august.our receving core is a beast, we have players that are physcialy imposing plus we have ppl to play the slot and we will punish teams with the run and have crazy schemes to keep the defense guessing CANT WAIT!!!!

and plus the defense has to do a better job stopping the run can't forget about that

Deffensive line, lick ur chops for Oklahoma, I see a weakness

*****

(Per ESPN U)
Stoops calls out young offensive line

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/big12/0-8-18/Stoops-calls-out-young-offensive-line.html

March 3, 2009 6:51 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops left little doubt about the area of his offense that needs the most improvement as the Sooners prepare for the spring practice.

Stoops singled out an inexperienced offensive line that returns only tackle Trent Williams from last season as his biggest concern.

Unlike many coaches in spring news conference settings, Stoops didn't sugarcoat his feelings about the rebuilt offensive line.

"Losing four of our five starters, that's where another major issue will be. And we'll see," Stoops said. "Those guys at this point -- whether their work ethic or attitude -- those are the things that need to improve."

Stoops ripped into the group after they have fallen behind other parts of the team in early conditioning drills.

"They haven't had the winter that everybody else has had," Stoops said. "Right now, they are the weak link of our team. We'll see if they can respond and can have the kind of spring and summer to help us become a team that can contend for a title. They will be a big part whether we will or will not, depending on their attitude and work habits."

The Sooners led the nation in scoring and ranked third in total offense, passing offense and sacks allowed.

But the loss of starters like tackle Phil Loadholt, guards Duke Robinson and Brandon Walker and center Jon Cooper -- a group that combined for 149 career college starts -- makes it an entirely different proposition for the new offensive group this season.

******

Getting excited, we're cocked and loaded, while everyone else is depleted

Its all about Da U!!!!

Oklahoma is in for a rude awakening by the time they reach Da U. There will be no real competition to season thier young guys at all!!!

Check out OK's cup-cake schedule before October 3rd:


2009 Oklahoma Football Schedule

Sept. 5 -- Brigham Young @ Dallas
Sept. 12 – Idaho State
Sept. 19 -- Tulsa
Oct. 3 -- @ Miami


Lick Da Chops D Line !!!!

Its all about Da U!!!!

Every article I've read about practice says the offense is lighting up the scoreboard. I agree with RS's quote about needing to outscore teams sometimes.

anyone know when the first scrimmage at traz powell stadium is?

fortson, bailey, robinson, and ojomo wil run all over that inexperienced Okalahoma offensive line

Saturday is the first scrimmage according to the end of this blog.

We should worry about Florida State first rather than look at Oklahoma right now.

Big Sonny makes a great point. Usually at this time of year, you'd expect to see the Defense dominating the offense as we've seen in the past few years.

Good to see the offense picking it up!

Can't wait to see what happens this season!

GO CANES!!!

Florida state is practically in the same boat Da U is right now, win or lose its just another FSU -vs- Miami game.

The win against OK gets us right back in the mix of the national rankins, and the confidence gained from that win will work wonders for us through out the rest of the season

Thats why OK is so big!

Go Canes!!!

We already know FSU like the back of our hand, same with VT...

GT is an animal, because of the style of offense they run - which is mostly assignment football because of the scheme. However, with allot of points from the offense it's a diffrent game; which will force GT out of that wishbone.

I think if we come out of the first three games 2-1, then win OK, 4-1 has is ranked at least #12 in the nation!

Yes we have to take care of business, but OK is the key to our hopes of getting back to where Da U belongs.

Go Canes!!!!

Canesjunkie, g8rh8r and Big Sonny make good points that for the past several years UM's defenses have ususally dominated the spring practices, so its refreshing to see that this year the offense is lighting it up for a change.

UM's first three opponents are just as important (if not moreso) than OK. FSU, GT, and VT are all talented and ranked ACC opponents. A win at FSU, then GT and VT wins should get UM close to (if not in) the top 10 discussion because they will have everyone's respect and the ACC lead after a stretch of games like that. A 3-0 start will put UM on track toward its first ACC title. Even a 2-1 start will be good enough.

If UM can follow that up that tough stretch with an OK win and a 4-0 start, that will place UM in the BCS title discussion. Its a tough, but possible task.

As our bloggers have said, the 2008 class WILL definitely improve, so if the defense holds steady, stops a few more runs, generates a few more turnovers and plays with RS and Lovett's technique and discipline while Whipple's offense generates the YPG and PPG that UMASS Cane says is possible, UM should expect a great deal of success this year. 10 wins is definitely a possibility.

Big Sonny,

We lost to 2 of the first 3 teams we play this year, and VT played us close, AND we're in their house this season. We HAVE to take things one game at a time. We had control of our own destiny last year with that 5 game win streak and in the drivers seat for the ACC champ game, then GT came along and smacked us around and it was all down hill from there. Oklahoma won't mean anything if we can't win the first 3 games of the year. Especially considering their all ACC games.

What good will it be beating Oklahoma if we can't win the first 3 games? We'll already pretty much be out of the ACC championship game before the middle of the season if we don't get those 3 first.

So you're saying (Big Sonny) that Ole Miss is among the country's best because they're the only ones that beat the Gaytors last year? You can't gage a team on just one win. If you do, than here's your top 5 for the upcoming year.

1. Ole Miss
2. Oregon State (beat USC)
3. Texas Tech (beat Texas)
4. Texas (beat Oklahoma)
5. Iowa (beat Penn State)

Call me spoiled but we're not as accustomed to one loss national championships as some other schools are (UF).

CaliCane,

Im on ur side dude, the point im making is that:

#1 GT was the only game we were smacked around in last year
#2 We beat VT with a bunch of Freshman last year
#3 We lost to FSU because of a crucial penalty caused by Sam Shields, and missed tackles on the long 3rd down inside the 20; near the end of the game (with a bunch of Freshman).

So being that we were in those games with a bunch of Freshman, of whom have now gotten bigger stronger and faster, and have gained valuable game-time experience; i've come up with the conclusion of a possible 2-1 record after the first 3 games.

Again, we have to handle business the first 3 games; which goes about saying.

Sorry for not assuming we had to play 3 games {2-1} one week at a time before getting to OK.

Of the first 3 games, GT worries me because of the style of offense. The Option can exposes the young guys, as the option is all about assignment football; and young guys whom have never played against the option can be tricked against that offense.

We know VT, we Know FSU, we have to figure out GT... 2-1 is very achievable, which sets us up for our big opportunity against OK.

OK is the big chance with out a doubt.

Go Canes!!!

Thanks Manny, Can't wait till next season to see the offense explode. Go Canes!!

I can't take another loss to Georgia Tech. Tech has some talent, but it's not as good as ours. Those guys have been a major thorn in our side since we joined the ACC.

FSU, Virgina Tech, and Oklahoma would be great wins, but I really want to beat the teams we should beat. I respect what Georgia Tech has done against us, but c'mon already. It's like they've owned us. I thought we destroyed option football in the 80's!!! I'd rather lose to a great oppenent than watch us lose to GT.

Big Sonny...

The Sam Shields penalty against FSU hurt, but what killed us was our inability to stop the run (especially from the QB). Remember, we were getting blown out at halftime and got back into that game with smoke and mirrors. The Spence interception should never have been thrown and we had to resort to trick plays a couple of times.

A win is a win, no matter how it comes...

North Carolina sure took the (smoke and mirror) win against Da U, when the ball went off 82's fingertips... We were ahead in that game, right but loss. So whats the difference with FSU. If we're in the game, near the end of a tough game, then your competing.

Every single play, either an offensive player or a defensive player makes a mistake; which is can attributed to the players talent level, and experience, umongst other things... Thats the difference between a busted, run becuase of a missed OL assignment, and a 20 yard gain by the RB.

It's not smoke and mirrors if its within the rules of the game; its fair game.

Point is, with a bunch of freshman at the helm, they did pretty good by having a chance to win against FSU, UNC, and yes even CAL

I think we're going to be bigger stronger and faster, and most importantly -- more experienced; which will eliminate some of the littke mistakes that cause us to lose the game previously mentioned.

I think Da U has upgraded with the 08 crop and 08 RS Freshman now filling in the holes that were vacated; which is proven by the lack of interest by the NFL this year.

We're upgrading at LB, and Saftey, loaded at WR, have enough OL to pick the best of the bunch to get the job done, a capable QB, RB's for every situation, and a DLine that will rotate a zillion talented guys...

We get Moncur, and McCarthy back; leaders on the field!!

Go Canes!!!

We shouldn't need to resort to trick plays this year, it's really a sign of weakness. Don't get me wrong, I liked the comeback against FSU, but I wasn't totally excited about the way we played. Hopefully we will be able to make big plays within our offense.

You're right about needing to get bigger, faster, and stronger. FSU pounded the ball at us, so did UNC in the second half of that game. If we can stop teams from running the ball we can win a lot of games.

I think we are still going to make some mistakes this year. We're still young and will be running a new offense. However, we should be able to overcome these with talent. There's no doubt we will be more talented this year.

great points to all, however we do need to take it one game at a time. all the teams we play in the first four game stretch gets my respect i think VT we can beat because we really dominated them the whole game. the only reason it was close is because of nix, instead of 16 or what ever points we had we should've easliy reached 28- 34 point plateu just look at the tape and see how many chances we had. with FSU we were in the game at the end we just never could stop the run and when we should have went for it on fourth down when we were in the redzone nix wants three and were down by 4 with the field goal. GT and OU gave us a whopping the last time we played them .so far RS has increased is win total from the yr prior to two wins so i can see us with the 9 or 10 win season.5 win 07, 7 win 08, 9 or 10 in 09 possibly?

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