CORAL GABLES -- There's more to the Spring Game at the University of Miami than just a scrimmage. This year, It's become more like a party/reunion for former Hurricanes. Friday afternoon, the festivities kicked off unofficially as dozens of former Canes took from different generations stood and watched the final practice of the spring from the sidelines at Greentree Practice Field.
It was almost like the Who's Who of Canes nation. Former coach Jimmy Johnson, assistants Don Soldinger and Art Kehoe were there. Andre Johnson, Jon Beason, Darrin Smith and a boatland of other former current and NFL players were there too. There's a private dinner Friday night where most of these guys will sit down and chow down together. Most are expected back Saturday at Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium for the spring game, which begins at 10:30 a.m. and is preceded by an autograph session with current players at 9 a.m.
If you want to continue to rub elbows with a long list of former Canes greats, you can head on over to Miami Prime Grill, a sportsbar located at 16395 Biscayne Blvd in North Miami Beach once the scrimmage is over. Kehoe, who has had a part in all five national championships won by the Hurricanes, will be honored by his peers and presented with the Canes 4 Life Lifetime Dedication Award, which is being sponsored by CaneSport.com. I'm planning to be there too.
> Not a ton to report from Friday's practice except more big plays by the offense. The first one belonged to running back Damien Berry, who scooted past the first team defense for a 54-yard run before being pushed out of bounds (strength coach Andreu Swasey tried selling it as a touchdown). Leonard Hankerson hauled in a 60-yard touchdown pass from Jacory Harris, beating Brandon Harris on a deep post route. Graig Cooper scored on a 60-yard run, proving to us once and for all he's not going to get chased down every time. Receiver Thearon Collier had a nice run on a reverse handoff that netted about 30 yards once he was done running through the defense.
> There were several 2009 signees in attendance including quarterback A.J. Highsmith and Sanford Seminole standouts Ray Ray Armstrong and Dyron Dye, who made their first apperances at UM since signing with the Canes in February. Tight end Stephen Plein, who has been to nearly every spring practice, was also in attendance.
> I'll have more for you later including an interview with redshirt freshman receiver Kendal Thompkins.