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Scrimmage highlights from Thursday

ATLANTA - There were fumbles and mishaps and a few bright spots in between during Thursday night's scrimmage at Traz Powell Stadium for the University of Miami. For the most part, the Hurricanes' second scrimmage of the spring was not nearly as fluid as the first according to Herald Sports Writer Susan Miller Degnan.

I caught up with SMD, our veteran Canes beat reporter, while she was on her ride home from the stadium to get all the details on how it all went down. Here's what she shared...

> WHO WON: The defense. The offense was all out of sorts other than the running game. The quarterbacks were pressured. One of the differences between this week and last week was the offense's rhythm. There were some nice defensive hits and plays in the secondary, but there were turnovers Thursday -- something we didn't see much of on Saturday. Guys were recovering fumbles and causing them. The defense was very aggressive. In doing so, they upset the rhythm of the offense.

Javarrisjames > WHO SCORED: Only three touchdowns in a little over 20 series. Running back Javarris James scored on a 7-yard run, receiver Leonard Hankerson scored a 25-yard pass from Jacory Harris (on a short series that began at the defense's 25) and freshman running back Mike James scored on an impressive 33-yard run near the end of the scrimmage. James looked good again. Kicker Jake Wieclaw also rebounded from his tough day on Saturday when he had field goals blocked. He made two short ones and also converted an extra point. Coach Randy Shannon was very encouraged by Wieclaw's day.

> WHO HAD A TOUGH DAY: Backup center Tyler Horne had a rough day snapping the ball to Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith and they need to get the center-quarterback exchange fixed. They just looked clumsy. Taylor Cook got stepped on once and fumbled at least twice. Cook looked worse than Cannon Smith at that. If Jacory Harris were to ever go down, you would need one player to come and know they can at least handoff and handle the snap. Cook has a better arm, but its more than just passing.

> OFFENSIVE MVP: Running back Graig Cooper. The running backs had a great day overall. But Cooper had over 100 yards rushing on about a dozen carries including a huge 38-yard run. He was impressive and just looked really fast. He would go into traffic and bounce out.

> TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYS: Among the best was a 43-yard pass from Taylor Cook to Leonard Hankerson down the right side of the field. While Shannon said Hankerson has been inconsistent, he had two nice long catches and it was good to see. Mike James had some really nice runs overall and is real strong, between the tackles. Javarris James had a 15-yard and 20-yard run back-to-back and he ran the ball at least six times on his scoring drive. Damien Berry had a few nice runs including a 17-yarder. 

Steven Wesley > DEFENSIVE MVP: Defensive end Steven Wesley. He had two fumble recoveries and a sack to lead a strong day for the defensive line. Linebacker Daryl Sharpton was good too. He had the most tackles (about 10) and deflected a pass that led to an interception.

> TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYS: Adewale Ojomo had three sacks and continued to do a good job rushing the quarterback. Linebacker Sean Spence had the interception on the pass deflected by Sharpton, Arthur Brown had another big hit in the backfield. Cornerback Brandon Harris tipped a ball away from Aldarius Johnson. And Sam Shields had a nice defensive play on Kendal Thompkins.

> BIGGEST SURPRISE: Walk on linebacker Sean Goldstein played on the second team and had a few tackles. There were several players out of the scrimmage because of class. That allowed Goldstein to shine.

Comments

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When will the herald stop BSing and make U the number 1 UM football writer.. you deserve it.. Thanks for the belated up-date anyways...

I'm excited for the defense. Glad they pulled it together like this. Offensively we obviously struggled a bit but we're bound to see a lot of these ups and downs (probably on defense too) until summer training camp when things start to really sink in. Overall though I'm still optimistic for a better season this year.

A few kinks to work out yet, sure, but a D-line that pressures the QB, and a strong running game? That is how you win games, my friend.

Randy Shannon has this program on the right track. Nobody ever said it was going to be easy, or that it would be fixed overnight. But it is clearly now back on the right track.

The 'Canes and the U.S. Economy are coming back with a vengeance in 2010!!!

I can't wait to see Randy and the team presenting President Obama with a ceremonial canes jersey in the oval office after winning the nat'l championship!!!

God Bless the University of Miami, and God Bless these United States of America!

Thank you to Susan MD and Manny for the info.

One thing about Coach Shannon is this program never brings shame to the University. He instills in his players a level of respect for their coaches and the institution they represent.

Just look at the rampant corruption in Tallahassee. Or the questionable characters Urban Meyer has been bringing into Gainesville:

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college_uf/2008/05/hornsby-turns-h.html

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college_uf/2009/02/gators-ol-carl-johnson-accused-of-date-rape.html

Though we may never live down the reputation built in the 80s and 90s, we'll never know if we don't try.

It is nice to hear that the defense stepped it up this time. It sounds like the backup QB's played a lot more in this scrimmage though, and that there was a lot more emphasis on the running game, so maybe the plays were a bit more predictable than the last scrimmage where Harris did the bulk of the work including 18 straight passes before a backup came in.

Fumbled snaps sound aweful, but those all came from the backups and can be fixed. It sounds like nobody can cover Hankerson but himself. Two huge catches and a third bomb hit him in the hands after he beat Van Dyke and he dropped it. If this kid starts catching everything that hits him in the hands watch out, because it seems like he is always open.

I was at the spring practice last night and I can say that the defense is getting much better. One player that truly was impressive was VAUGHN TELEMAQUE. He is the real deal at safety. His run support is excellent. He would come up and lay a hit on a RB before the Lb's could. The kid has a lot of swag (Confidence). I also think that Demarcus Vandyke will become a great cover corner. He showed this when he was beat on a 20 yard perfect pass from Harris to a WR and he closed at the last minute to bat it down.

With Eric Moncur, Ojomo, Steven Wesley, Gavin Hardin, Oliver Vernon, Andrew Smith and Deron Dye all playing DE; I think the defense is using MARCUS ROBINSON at the wrong position. He should be playing Strong side LB. He has the size and the speed and he is one of the hardest hitters and bet tacklers on the team.

We will need those talents (more so his size) against Ga. Tech and OU to stop there power run attack. We need some size at LB when we play these two teams. Arthur Brown is going to be real good behind Sharpton, but he is only 220 lbs. as a MLB. ROBINSON needs to be at LB for those two games (We need his size).

The entire running game, especially Mike James, and Cooper impressed. Harris's throws were crisp and gave a lot for optimism. Hankerson iumpressed also. Defensively Telemaque, and Randy Phillips stood put, as well as a few good plays by the Dline and linebackers. Team seems to be much more focused and a lot older, especially Harris.
Mike James is a special talent, way beyond his age. shows no sign of a high school kid or incoming freshmen.

Unfortunately Susan Miller Degan is among the worst sports writers in America, and her opinion is rather meaningless. Manny, do you have anyone else's perspective on the events that took place at yesterdays scrimmage? And more importantly, when are you going to exculsively handle UM football? This Degan/Robinson thing is aweful, for the love of god someone rip away their PC's and notepads

MRMACS:

Good point about Robinson being used in the wrong postion; he would be great at MLB. I thought Arthur Brown looked very light last night. He is physical, but he needs to put on 10-15 lbs.

SMD told you what happened fool. Don't shoot the messenger. The O WAS way out of sync. But she's a terrible writer.

you define HOMER

Unfortunately Susan Miller Degan is among the worst sports writers in America, and her opinion is rather meaningless. Manny, do you have anyone else's perspective on the events that took place at yesterdays scrimmage? And more importantly, when are you going to exculsively handle UM football? This Degan/Robinson thing is aweful, for the love of god someone rip away their PC's and notepads

Posted by: CFB Genius | March 13, 2009 at 09:01 AM

MALE CHAUVANIST PIG

Manny- strong work. Excellent update. Thank you.

I do believe we desperately need to get the back up qb settled in. JH can go down any minute. Then we will be screwed. How many times did Dorsey come out? I can count maybe 2 times, one of them in the Fiesta Bowl and Crudup did ok.

One last thing about Bryce Brown-- he was supposed to "announce" on March 12. What's the deal? Just curious. Not that it matters anymore.

One last thing about Bryce Brown-- he was supposed to "announce" on March 12. What's the deal?

Posted by: Jaime | March 13, 2009 at 10:47 AM

day of reckoning: march 16

MIXED-UP

Not really a mix up Green. He was supposed to annouce the 12th but then changed it to the 16th because the high school state basketball championships (which are a very big deal in Kansas) were going on the 12th and 13th and he didn't want to have to share the spotlight with anyone else for his announcement.

Not really a mix up Green.

Posted by: ChrisCane | March 13, 2009 at 11:12 AM

oh, yes ; )

CERTIFIABLE

you most certainly are green.

To summarize what i've read, in regards to the scrimmage...

I went ahead and looked at Alonzo Highsmith in a little more detail...

I have to admit, I was taking Alonzo for granted a little bit, because he's a kid of a UM legend. But looking at his highligh tape, he makes all of the throws, and has a decent arm. And of corse he's athletic. Took his team to a State title in the state of TX; not to shaby.

He honestly looks like a more versitile/polished Robert Marve. Has more varierty of throws than Marve has. Manages the game very well, and its apparent that his footbal IQ is off the chart which is you can't teach!

Don't count Alonzo out of the QB race...

I think if they can put together a package for him that he'll be able to grasp over the summer, in case of an emergency, in order to use him similar to the Freshman QB at NC state, he he can contribute if needed.

Alonzo Jr. has a chance to really stick at QB, and maybe at least lock down a 3rd string spot.

Maybe go in behind Jacory, based on the game time situation; if Jacory goes down...

Bryce Brown WHO!!!!!! Our running back situation looked good last night (I was there) and will be great (plus Miller) come the Fall.

Big sonny I agree AJ looks good but he did have some of the best WRs on his HSF team to throw too. Cook and Smith will definitely have more competition come fall.

Lets not also forget there are eleven guys that will be coming in during fall practice. I just hope Wheeler (a guy who has been up against south florida speed) and the other OL commits can bring something to the table early and make a huge impact on the O line. I also think that Luther Robertson could be used on the O line he played both on the O line and D line in high school. Personally I think he did a better job at blocking than getting after the QB.

And to the guy that was bashing SDM, inside the U said pretty much the same thing.

Regarding Bryce Brown - Not only is the Running Back situation looking good this year, but with 5 of the top Running Backs coming out of South Florida this year (and Miami will pick up at least 2 of them) - UM will be in a great position (in the RB department) for at least 2 or 3 years out.

I was at the scrimmage and I think SMD was pretty accurate as a reporter of what transpired. I also like what Canesjunkie wrote about the scrimmage, but some of his take on things was opinion and not what a reporter is supposed to report.

As for projecting the team's success from the scrimmage, that is an inexact science. That being said, in my opinion, I thought the mistakes regarding simple execution of the snap, a couple of the fumbles and one interception seemed to be a wrong route that was run by a reciever can be (and must be) corrected later on.

I still have my concerns about the TE position, but hopefully someone will step up and prove me wrong.

I agree with MRMACS and Canesjunkie comments about Robinson being a better fit at LB from a talent perspective, but I don't know if he can do the other things LBs are expected to do.

Unlike the prior few years, this team is loaded with talented players and a few talented freshmen are coming in the fall.

When comparing last year's spring perfomance with this year's spring, I was thoroughly impressed with the development of the team on both sides of the ball. The offense will see greater PPG and YPG, and the defense will shut people down and make some plays. With the more talented and experienced players, Whipple's offense and Lovett's defense, its reasonable for RS to expect a much improved performance on the field AND more wins this year.

I also was at the scrimmage last night with about 5,000 other Cane Fans. From what I observed, this team is going to be super next year. The only thing I see stopping them from reaching a BCS game this year is O-Line play. In last nights scrimmage the D-Line was getting alot of penetration, besides that this is really good team and thats without all the recruits still coming in, in the fall, which will increase competition. A few other notes, Sharpton finally truly looked like a MLB last night making some big hits, so did Arthur Brown ( was roaming around the field like Jessie Armstead), Vaughn Telemaque is an absolute ball hawk ( might just as well be a more athletic version of Ed Reed, if thats possible, lol), Mike James if he stays healthy is going to be one of the best if not the best running backs to come out of the U, some of the moves he was making, the punishment he was laying out, and the breakaway speed he has is just ridiculous to all be in one running back, dude is going to be a beast for years to come. So dont worry cane fans, the future is looking bright.

I'm reading all these comments and I'm encouraged and discouraged about the team, but it's early. If Jacory can get the other QB's and some of the O-line in on some informal practices just to work on timing and technique, the offense will be way ahead come the begining of fall practices and leading up to the FSU game.

I heard that Ed Reed was there. Hopefully he spoke with Vaughn T. and told him to dedicate more time to film study in order to make him unstoppable starting this year.

Mike James for Heisman??? OK, that's cool. I actually think Jacory has a shot at it in the next 3 years. He is really elevating his game.

I agree with the mention of the Physicality of our playes at the LB spot...

I've been pushing that point for a while, as it seems like all of the athletes that come in with the potential for good prototypical LB size are being converted to defensive line?

We need so snot-nose creating bangers at Linebacker.

I know Miami has been know for fast LB's in the past, but I think Oliver Vernon, Marcus Robinson are definate LB material, with the size we need at the position to go along with the ahletic ability.

Spence is a player all day long, with unquestioned heart, but he still can be manhandled by pulling guards...


Gotta have a guy who can stick thier nose in their, and stuff that guard to the side, so that the rest of the LB crew can get there to clean someones clock...

As far as size at LB, this is what we have done in recent years:

Sean Spence OLB 6-0 190
Brandon Marti OLB 6-0 196 (off da team)
Arthur Brown OLB 6-1 210 decent
Jordan Futch OLB 6-3 202

Marcus Robinson OLB 6-2 222 Now at DE
Gavin Hardin OLB 6-5 225 Now at DE
Adewale Ojomo OLB 6-3 218 Now at DE
Olivier Vernon DE 6-3 239 (great LB Size)

With the talent at Deffensive line curently in place, we can stand to let Marcus Robinson and Oliver Vernon play LB to solidify that group

As I pointed out last time, look at the size of our receivers & DB's we've brought in, compared to the size of our linebackers????? :

Aldarius Johnson WR 6-2 220
Laron Byrd WR 6-3 200
Leonard Hankerson WR 6-3 210
Daniel Adderley WR 6-6 215
Jared Campbell S 6-0 195
C.J. Holton S 6-2 195
C.J. Odom S 6-0 198

Our WR's and DB's should be so close and bigger in comparison to our Linebackers...

I know during recruiting when looking at whose rated what, you go after guys, things can get a bit hectic etc... But we have to take a step back and chart what we're doing.

I hope we can fix the LB size issue in 2010's class.
Let go Canes!!!!

You guys need to not worry about LB Size ...

This bunch can flat out TACKLE ...

Its up to the DLINE to penetrate, disrupt, contain, and keep LINEMAN OFF OUR BACKERS ..

I think we have some HUGE depth finally to do that .... Watch this years DLINE get it done in the 4th Quarter and our Backers making tackles .... something we have not had in past few years.

The Defense will be better this year and you could see it by the agressiveness and the better tackling at the spring scrimmage last night. I think this defensive cord. will even produce a better defense then Bill Young would have produced this year (if he would have stayed).

The LB Question:
SEAN SPENCE - Spence has gained almost 20 lbs. since North Western (up to 210 from around 190)and if he could get up to 220 by season start he will be able to handle things better (He is good).

COLIN McCARTHY - Was good at strong side LB before he was injured. He has good size on him (about 235), but we never here his status (Is he going to be ready to play?)

DARYL SHARPTON - Is 235 lbs. at middle LB, and he is playing well. He is the starter (Backed up by Arthur Brown).

MARCUS ROBINSON - He played outside LB at Homestead High and was dominant. He has gained about 25 pounds and is up to 242 @ 6'1" and I really believe if he is placed at strong side LB he would set the tone at LB andbe one of the best that the U ever had (He's a monster tackler). We do not know what's going on with McCarthy at this position.

I hope Coaches Shannon, Barrow and Lovett will consider making this change. We will need it against some of the ACC teams (Ga. Tech, UNC). Butch Davis likes big WR & RB's. This change will pay off quickly.

This article by Bruce Feldman about the recent slide of FSU (The U's first opponent) is good.

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3971150&name=feldman_bruce&action=login&appRedirect=http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3971150&name=feldman_bruce

The theme about what it takes to build (and tear down) a successful college football program is instructive. RS has been preaching that he is trying to bring those high-character recruits who may or may not always have all the hype (recruiting Mike James, Ray Ray and VT, staying away from the Bryce types).


After hearing about all the yards gained on the ground...I worry that our running game hasn't improved.Almost 200 yds in a scrimmage. Not promising.

Chester copper pot said it right:

Envision this, people: 2010, or 2011, Randy Shannon and the U players presenting Obama with a cane shirt.

MAAAAAAN~!BRRRRRRRRR! I already have goose bumps!

It's possible. People. It is possible. Remember 1983. Never forget.

I seems our running game always looks good in the SPRING . . . Our QB too!

Cane Fans, keep in mind this was a spring scrimmage, Miami will not show their hand on offense at this stage. Please let's not read into what is going on!!!!! The first 4 games will be tough and the coaches don't want to reveal to much for their opponents to see. The CANEs will have a great year, but it's too soon to get concern or over joy.

nemo: Not in the spring of 2007. That year the spring game was dull, low scoring and the offense looked terible and unimaginative. This year seems to be a completely diammetrically different O.

I don't think the coaches are holding back on O. They have so many different looks that they could give FSU a tape of the spring game and it still wouldn't help them. Great potential on offense.

The offense will be much improved this year. J. Harris is up to 190 lbs. (From 169 when he first got to UM). If he can put on another 10 lbs. of muscle mass by the season start and get up to 200 lbs, he will be able to better take a few hits. All he need is a curling bar and ENSURE PROTEIN MILKS before he goes to bed every night. This will give him greater arm strength and he will be potent. I have followed him through his Northwestern days and his arm strength is stronger right now (but with 10 more upperbody lbs. he would even be better.)

There is only 2 things that will stop this offense from wreaking havoc this year: 1. If our OL does not become dominant. They are improved, but in the next 4 months they must become great. 2. If Jacory goes down and our # 2 guy is not ready to produce (Whether it is Taylor Cook or AJ Highsmith). Nothing against Cannon Smith but he is only about 5'10'' on his best day. A taller QB gives you greater range, they can see the entire field. Highsmith is 6'1" and Cook is 6'6''. We will have a great offense by the next 4 months if these these two things don't pose a negative for us. Also with a 3 or 4 WR set and a pass protection, J. Harris will pick the other team a part (You can take that to the Bank).

The D. will be much improved (Competition is a monster). That first team defense was hard to run or pass against.

I read that another 5-star DT recruit from UF's 2007 class is transferring, and this time its Torrey Davis, the guy that made two goal line tackles behind the line of scrimmage that gave UF their 3rd national championship.

Compare this to UM's top DL recruits under Shannon, like Fortson, who are slowing developing into potential first round NFL prospects.

Message to top DL recruits and UM fans - UM recruits and develops better DL players for the NFL while UF will give you late round or undrafted free agent DLs for the NFL.

Our D will be pretty solid, if Ray Ray Armstrong is as good as he is on film.

IS BRYCE BROWN IN OR OUT?

"I’ll take Miami in a close race over Tennessee,"
http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2009/mar/14/bryce-brown-or-out/

For anyone interested watching Bryce Brown's announcement live:

http://www.kake.com/

UT FOR BRYCE BROWN

Jeez...that kid flip flopped more times than John Kerry '04!

It was the U, then Oregon was the flavor of the month while still being committed to the U, LSU then got a little love and at the last minute visited Tennessee, and as the most recent flavor of the month chose them over the rest. I think had he visited FIU last weekend he would've committed there. Enjoy playing for Lane Kiffin aka Urban Cryer 2.0.

BTW, thanks for the link CanesFanStuckInNYC. I didn't notice Arthur Jr's reaction...altho he must've known BB's decision

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