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Byrd loaded with talent -- and swagger

All the great Canes had it. It was part of their DNA. People have tried to use other words for it in the past. But when it comes to green and orange and that U, it should only be called what it is: Swagger.

Laron ByrdSophomore receiver LaRon Byrd is one of those new Canes who are covered in it. Before you judge or jump to conclusions, understand what swagger means. It isn't being cocky. It isn't being boastful. It isn't running underneath the stadium and firing imaginary guns like Randal Hill at the Cotton Bowl. It's confidence. The kind you are not afraid to show because you can back it up. Byrd -- a chiseled 6-4, 218 pounds -- is all of that. He's not scared. He believes what he says and -- thankfully for us in the media -- isn't afraid to say what he believes.

But it's not Kayne Farquharson swagger. It's Michael Irvin swagger. The kind that if you listen to him talk, you believe he can back it up.

Say what you want about the lack of talent, the terrible coaching and recruiting that has led to Canes mediocrity of late. Swagger is a big part of what you cheered for at the Orange Bowl when times weren't just good, but great. And it's what guys like Devin Hester and Antrel Rolle (who spend their summers working out at the U and mentoring young Canes) have said has been missing from Miami's mental makeup. But you hear it in Byrd. You hear it in Jacory Harris and Sean Spence. It's like a flicker of Canes hope, a spark maybe (think Transformers), that something special might really be brewing instead of the traditional pot of preseason coffee talk that is followed by the same old losing and frustration.

Think I'm full of it? Just listen to their voices and compare them to the guys who haven't gotten the job done. Today, as we inch closer to the start of fall practice Aug. 8, we were once again given access to three Canes players (we've got one week left). Byrd, kicker Matt Bosher and cornerback Sam Shields. You tell me who sounds like the guy you believe will get the job done? Who is the player oozing swagger?


As usual, its pretty hard to get much in the way of news when you attend these preseason interviews. But if you like player observations and thoughts here are a few nuggets from today...

> Byrd said he's picked up a full 10th of a second of speed in the 40 -- going from a 4.52 as a freshman to a 4.42 in recent testing. "I think I've got a little more `X' button," Byrd said, making a video game reference. "There's a big difference."

> Former Canes Ed Reed and Reggie Wayne have apparently been spending a lot of time in Byrd's ear this offseason. "Reggie coaches me up a lot when he works with us," Byrd said. "And I get a lot of the leadership role from Ed Reed. He inspires me a lot, the way he talks to me, the way Reggie talks to me. `Don't embarrass Louisiana,' that's the first thing he'll say. And the second thing he'll say is `When you play for Miami you represent the right and take every play like it's your last because you never know when it's your last.' He said always approach the game serious. Reggie, he says represent the receiver spot right, that every time you run a route run it full speed, always expect that the ball is coming to you, never take off a play because you never know what will happen."

> Byrd said it's not just a rumor that the Canes will be shortening their receiver rotation this year. "They've told us the bus is going to be shorter," Byrd said. "I love it. It's going to bring out the best of both worlds. You're going to see who really wants it, who is going to back away from the competition and if it gets the drive out of you. You cut the list, say only three are going to travel, pand eople are going to work harder. I love it, love the challenges."

> While Miami hasn't had any recent 7-on-7s, I asked Byrd what some of them were like in the spring and who on the defensive side of the ball has impressed him: "To me, Brandon Harris is our best cornerback. He's very physical, he's smart, he knows the game. Brandon is my roommate, so every day I go out there and try to embarrass him, and he tries to embarrass me. Demarcus [Van Dyke] is more versatile - he can pick you off, undercut your route. He's very quick, moves off instinct. Chavez [Grant] knows the game."

Sam Shields > Shields, who switched over from receiver to cornerback this spring, said he expects to be a target of opposing offenses. When I spoke to a few UM staffers after today's press conference, they told me they believe Shields will probably get most of his snaps in dime situations and on the outside. "When we go to that, Brandon will move inside," I was told.

> Shields said he's been getting most of his help adjusting to defense from fifth-year senior Randy Phillips. But he's also been working with Reggie Wayne. "I ask him questions like who was the toughest corner he went against and how they play, who was the weakest and how do they play. What do I have to look at when looking at a receiver, how far they are out or in, what they're going to run - he helps me with things like that," Shields said.

> I asked both Shields and Byrd how much time they spend breaking down film during the summer time. While Shields said he goes about twice a week, Byrd said he's at UM nearly every day. "Usually when I'm walking out, I'm handing the keys to Aldarius [Johnson]," Byrd said. "We're just excited about this offense and learning it more and more."

> Bosher, who won last year's Team MVP award, said roommate and former Cane Francisco Zampogna had to sneak the trophy out of his room and into the living room. Bosher, who has always shied away from praise, said it is now on the table next to the TV in the living room. When asked if being MVP of the Hurricanes has helped him with the ladies, Bosher said: "I'm still with my girlfriend. So, no."

> I asked Bosher for a progress report on Jake Wieclaw and where he thinks the redshirt freshman might be closest to helping the team. "Field goals," Bosher said. "He's really starting to become a lot more consistent with those."


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"When asked if being MVP of the Hurricanes has helped him with the ladies, Bosher said: "I'm still with my girlfriend. So, no.""

Hahahaha you are a heat up Manny!!!

Love you work, Manny. Nice to see a couple of posts a day from you again.

Wish you could figure out a way to keep the loudmouth opposition fans from infecting 'our site' with noise and nonsense. Hopefully, our record will keep them from posting...


Randal Hill had swag Manny, why you dissing Thrill Hill?

I mean, were you even born during the Cotton Bowl?

I remember thatgame like it was yesterday,and remember the lilly white television announcers whine about how bad UM was. Lets see, the U had 200 yds in penalties, probably 100 of those deserved. then the stripes got flag happy, you know, 'cause it was the U, against the traditional horns, yet the U brought that same 305 swag that The Northwestern Bulls took to Southlake Carroll.

The rest is history.

Good stuff, Manny.

Refreshing to see positive reporting in a dead period... Thanks Manny!

Byrd's got 1st round written all over him and as he grows in his position, he'll bring that much more out of the other WR's. but even without Byrd, I see 5 receivers drafted in 11

Sam at 4.2 should be the equalizer on the corner and I think in his new position he'll explode this year... He had better, it's put-up or shut-up time as a Cane... So, put me down for 7 Int's and a super year in 09!

Randy P... It's time, Just do it

Is this what you mean by swagger?


Great video CaliCanesFan, thats that old swagger we need back at the U. When the Hurricanes stepped out on to the field that day you could see be their demeanor they were only there for one reason to beat the crap out of Texas. The opening kick off really set the tone for the whole game when the safety #23. (can't recall his name) knocked out Texas's return man, on the return. And Randall "The Thrill" Hill running out of the stadium after he scored a touchdown was just the icing on the cake. I see some that swagger coming back with these past two recruiting classes. Its going to be fun to watch these next few years.

go canes

lyron byrd is the real deal ,ist rounder all the to the bank.

I like this kid! GOOD MANNERS and smart young man! Good luck this season Laron Byrd!!!

Unfortunatly in the ACC this is now called taunting and comes with penalty yards.Tell the ref's it's football for gods sake!!

Season tickets $2000
Criminole/U tickets $280
New U tatoo $200
4-0 to start.....PRICLESS

That's one Ray Ray Armstrong shot away from being money well spent.

Canes r surfin for dat swag

So who are the 5 wideouts???

- Aldarius Johnson
- Tommy Streeter
- Theron Collier
- Laron Byrd

I would take out Streeter and put in travis benjamin or Hankerson and the 5th would be Davon Johnson.

I don't think Streeter and Thompkins will see the field as much, being they didn't get much playing time last year. Unless someone either gets hurt or just isn't cutting it.

Leonard Hankerson is the 5th WR

Hankerson will be virtually invisible in the first three games, but will play a major role against Oklahoma.


Hankerson will get his shot because he has experience but don't be surprized if Kendall T and Streeter Bump Benjiman and hankerson if they start slippin. I believe Benjiman has to inject lil Rosco Parrish life in him and pray cause brotha is thin. As for Byrd this kid seems like he is taking no prisoners. To hear somebody say they love comp is one thing but he sounds like he lives and dies for the game. This offense will be deadly with screens, draws, and trap plays then watch how the play-action will open up. Our line is key.......we need this O-line to be stout.

Manny, I listened to the audio bits and you're right - of the 3 Laron beams. He's a smart kid, and he's confident and clearly has a great personality. True Grade A Cane.

But I think you're misreading Bosher - I think he has plenty of swagger. You can tell also he's really bright - but his swagger is subtle - underplayed - he has a great quiet confidence that shines. Grade A. Love them both.

These super kids we have will bring out the best in their teammates. You can see their great individual performances psyching up the rest of the team, and the whole thing building on itself.

It feels good to be an underdog with a secret.

Hankerson will be virtually invisible in the first three games, but will play a major role against Oklahoma.

Posted by: sidcane | July 22, 2009 at 11:24 PM

What, on the Kick Return team when Oklahoma is Kicking off for the 8th. time ?

Lenard Hankerson sucks! It might be T.Streeter who takes one of those guys spots!

... I said 5 receivers (Slots and wideouts) drafted in 11, aside from Byrd...

T.Benjamin... If he can stay healthy...Wow

T.Collier... The burner. can find a hole in a spider web and he's gone.

A.Johnson... battles Byrd for top spot to the end.

Davon Johnson... Talk about hands and speed... don't blink!

T.Streeter... R/Fr Struts in 09 and 10 explodes in 11, if Byrd or AJ leaves after 2010.

K.Thompkins... R/Fr Has too much to offer and will showcase in 09 and 10 if given the chance.

All of these guys will be drafted, the question is not if, the question is when.

I'm betting that Tommy Streeter makes it in the top 5 and Benjamin is only used as a kick returner.

There are only 3 things that prevent these guys from having a great season.

1. Offensive Line
2. Mark Whipple (an unknown right now)
3. Randy Shannon (we are not a ball control team....throw the ball downfield!!!)

Don't underestimate Leonard Hankerson. I have a feeling he's going to catch most balls thrown his way. He'll have a break out year this year.

Hankerson has all the physical tools...if he can catch the ball he will be great.

1. A. Johnson
5 a. Thompkins
5 b. Hankerson

The a.or b. all depends on how consistant Hankerson is. he has the experience but not the dependability.

If Byrd is running a 4.42 WATCH OUT! he's special but with that speed and his size that's a mismatch for any DB in the country, AJ needs to improve his speed as well but both are beasts

I dont know who the 5 WR's will be but Byrd & Johnson are a given and I believe Benjamin is too explosive to keep off the field(be it at WR or kick returns ala Hester) and im sure Streeter & Thompkins will have say in who makes the rotation....

but the WR position is definitely locked & loaded and that's never a bad thing

sidcane, I totally agree. I want the players to show emotion. I don't want to see a bunch of robots play football. Take out the emotion of the game and the game is no fun to watch. I love the color and excitement and the expression/showmanship the Black man brings to the show. But the white man in charge of NCAA football don't like it when the Negro athlete shows them up and celebrates in the field. So they come up with "no celebrating rules". I would love to have harsh words with any referee who has thrown a flag for "excessive celebration".

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