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Observations from CanesFest

Even if you don't bleed green and orange, Saturday's CanesFest event at Land Shark Stadium had to be one of the most fan friendly events I have ever covered.

Canesfest Not once in the 14 years I've been working for The Miami Herald have I ever seen fans not only have two hours worth of access to players and coaches, but to be able to interact (take pictures, dunk players, even get some smooches) with them like family and friends. Hats off to athletic director Kirby Hocutt and coach Randy Shannon for taking a giant leap forward from the way these events used to be run.

UM has certainly surprised me in the past month with their new approach of reaching out to the community. From having quarterback Jacory Harris and other players call season ticket holders to the local football camps players have been attending throughout South Florida, the Hurricanes have done more over the last 30 days to say thanks to their community than I've ever seen. All I have to say is: It's about time.

Shannon said Saturday's event and many others recently have been in his vision since he took over. "As a coach you want to change certain things," Shannon said. "The fans have to be able to touch them. You can't just hie them behind a table and have them sign autographs. Mingle with them, get to know the players and have fun with them. That's what it's about."

If only it was the same way for reporters during the season...

Here are some more observations and interesting notes from CanesFest

RAY RAY READY TO SHINE? He may have the body (6-4, 218 pounds) and the highlight reel to suggest he's going to play a lot like the late great Sean Taylor, but fans ought to give Ray Ray Armstrong a chance to adjust to college before expecting him to play like a first round draft pick. After all, shouldn't U have all learned something from the struggles of guys like Allen Bailey and Arthur Brown?

After speaking with senior cornerback Chavez Grant, I got the notion Armstrong has already been told what what he has to work on this fall. "He's definitely big and strong," Grant said. "But everyday in practice we're working with him, trying to get his feet right and work with his hips. He's not bad. But at this level you have to be a lot quicker, a lot faster at what you do... at this level you get beat by a step and it's over."

WHO ARE THE FILM JUNKIES? One of the biggest questions I get regularly from you is about how much time players spend in the off season studying film and trying to get better. Last week, cornerback Sam Shields estimated he did it about twice a week. Receiver LaRon Byrd said he and fellow receiver Aldarius Johnson are in there almost every day. The more and more I pop the question, I keep getting the sense it's the younger guys who are more passionate.

Saturday, cornerback Demarcus Van Dyke said he and sophomore Brandon Harris wake up early everyday before class to watch film. Why early? Because that's when the NFL guys are usually around to break it down with them. "I've been watching it lately with Phillip Buchanon and Antrel Rolle. Those guys were All-Americans," Van Dyke said. "They tell me little things about how guys break and move across the line. I try to pick their brains a little and things like that."

Consider safety Vaughn Telemaque another film junky. "I usually catch LaRon when I'm leaving the room," Telemaque said. "I'm in there five out of the seven days. If the weekends weren't closed, I'd be in there seven out of seven."

For what it's worth, Armstrong told me he's been breaking down a ton of film with defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff. Tight end Jimmy Graham said he's been studying tape daily of former Canes greats Kellen Winslow, Bubba Franks and Greg Olsen. Freshman defensive end Olivier Vernon said he goes in three to four days a week and studies up on older players like Eric Moncur.

IS JACORY'S SHOULDER OK? As if the worry about his brittle 6-4, 190-pound body breaking down after one vicious ACC hit isn't enough to drive him crazy, Jacory Harris has had the question of his injured shoulder thrown at him about 1,000 times since the spring. I made it 1,001 Saturday. "The pain in the shoulder went away mid spring," Harris promises. "My arm used to die on me. But it's ok now. My arm is way stronger. If you are down the field, I'm going to throw it and it's going to get there."

I asked Jascory -- by the way that's a terrible nickname -- what the biggest request from fans has been throughout his interactions with them in the past month. His response: "A national championship," Harris said. "The fans want us to win and that's what we have to do and need to do. I'm willing to take the throne and be the leader."

"IN RANDY THEY TRUST" No. I'm not talking about Randy Shannon. I'm talking about Randy Phillips. The fifth year senior is THE GUY nearly every player on defense says they go to when they have a problem. Sam Shields said last week Phillips is showing him what to do at corner. Ray Ray Armstrong said Phillips is helping him adjust. Here's a question: What happens when Randy leaves Miami after this season?

IS ARTHUR BROWN GROWING UP? One of the more interesting comments to come out of Colin McCarthy's mouth Saturday was about the guy who will learning behind him at middle linebacker. McCarthy said AB, once a tentative young man, is no longer keeping quiet. "Now, he isn't afraid to ask questions, not afraid to get advice. Coming in as a freshman, he didn't want to say much, he was low key. But now, he's talking a lot more, being more of a leader."

BRYCE BROWN SIGHTING: I didn't notice it until near the end of the day, but AB's little brother -- yeah the guy who committed to UM before going to Tennessee -- was one of the fans in attendance Saturday. He showed up with his girlfriend wearing his Tennessee shorts and a smile to support his big brother. Our Barry Jackson interviewed him, but I passed (no reason to talk to a Vol). My question is this: How does a guy who dissed the Canes not draw the wrath of Canes faithful? Yet, 2010 recruit Tavadis Glenn get kicked out of Friday Night Lights in Gainesville for throwing up a U during Gators camp? I guess I'll just chalk up to the strange world of College Football.

SOUND CHECK... Again, a reminder. If you would like to listen in to the interviews I recorded today, check out our UM audio page. There are tons of stuff there to listen to.


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first. go canes!

Manny, great job today. So appreciated by those that live too far away but are always there in spirit. You are the best out of everyone that covers the canes. And the audio was icing on the cake. You definately get the feeling listening to these younger guys that things are changing for the better. I think the right people are on the bus in 2009. Everyone should be getting very excited about this group for the next few years.

Go Canes!

Great work again Manny. I was tempted to say something to Bryce Brown but thought it best just to leave him alone. He actually looked a bit jealous watching brother Arthur surrounded by Cane fans. I doubt Tennessee (much less any place) can provide the unique family atmosphere you get at The U.

This was definitely the best Canesfest they've ever thrown. I've always thought it would work out better to have the players mingle around instead of having them sit at tables like an assembly line. The turnout was great today, too...much more than I expected.

I definitely sense more enthusiasm and confidence in the players and fans voices this season. Let's hope it translates on the field.

My question is this: How does a guy who dissed the Canes not draw the wrath of Canes faithful?

we got class manny thats why...

I heard a few guys were getting on him, and damian berry said something to him about it being disrespectful and stuff. But the thing with Randy Phillips is that the more he passes on, the more the leadership knowledge and mentality goes on to the next group of guys. By the time randy goes, the guys that were asking the questions will be giving the answers. I think randy's gonna do pretty good this year.

what did we learn

Randy Shannon will be a winner
Bryce brown will always be a wanna be

Thanks for the great work Manny! Like mentioned early those of us too far away appreciate all the updates.

I love to hear that about Randy Phillips..I think him and Grant are gonna be so important in providing leadership to some of the younger, and perhaps more skilled players. Also good to hear AB is asking questions..can't wait to see him tear it up out on the field. September 7th can't get here soon enough.

Lamar miller= future stud

Jacory's nickname should be Jacocoa.


Further proof as to just how far U have fallen Cane Fan...

Something tells me this year is going to be special.Those fools out there that perject us to be 0-4 at the start ae way off base. I think this team will be a least 2-2 at the worse. 3-1 is realistic... 4-0 is a possibility if we catch teams that underestimate this teams potential.PLAYERS REMEMBER: Play every down completly, run your route's. sell yourself and sell the program. Play hard till the final second and maybe just maybe 4-0 could be a realistic goal.... Shoot for the moon... anything else would just be waisting your time.

Posted by: Wayne Ritchie | July 25, 2009 at 12:14 PM

CANE FAN is ALL CHARGED UP over a Suckfest meet n greet !!!

4-0 ? 4-0 ??? FOUR n OHHHHHHHHHH U have been blinded by the weakest of piss poor PR false bravado Marketing ploy stunts in the book U Tards ... Never mind 19-19 over the last 3 years, Duh U be back, now give Us some Caaaash we so desperately need ...

Hook-Line-Sinker...Ur Sunk Canefan ... Just a matter of 6 weeks ...

We're Back Baby ... Wooof Wooof !!! ... Wooot Wooot !!!

Whhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaa Whhhhaaaaaaaa ... Just a matter of time ...

Tick ... Tick ... Tick ...

Shoot for the moon... anything else would just be waisting your time.

Posted by: Wayne Ritchie | July 25, 2009 at 12:14 PM

Why don't U blast into an atmosphere where realists orbit and just take Ur 7 wins and 6 beatdowns and call it an above .500 season U delusional space cadets ???
then scuttle Ur bumbling H.C. and build U a new ship cane fools...

Observe This Cane Fan ... Read n Learn... Read n Lean ...

The SEC rules.

The full impact of the deal the league signed with ESPN was finally felt during this week with a dynamic presentation from the Worldwide Leader and coverage that made the event look like a Super Bowl. ESPN is not only in bed with the SEC, it’s letting the league have the covers. The muscle from this deal and the added exposure for Mike Slive’s new SEC are going to allow it to become even more dominant. The other BCS conferences should be jealous. The day the SEC named Slive as its commissioner will go down as one of the best moments in the history of the conference.

Put that in Ur paper thin wallet Cane Tards ...

Posted by: Ahhhhhhh, It's Good To Be The King ... | July 26, 2009 at 07:14 AM

Yo, Tavadis Glenn, Ur OUTTA HERE !!!
We found Seminole High School WR Andre Debose standing next to NFL Hall of Fame nominee Cris Carter and LSU comitt Russell Sheppard. Sheppard decided to throw up the inverted U after several Canes fans in the stands called his attention and threw up The U. He will pay for dissing the Cane Nation!


click on dat cane slunk meat ...

Posted by: NO RINGS FOR U Clitavadis !!! | July 26, 2009 at 07:31 AM

Popular Prospect Powell: 'I Love It Here

By Kevin Brockway
Staff writer

Ronald Powell was clearly the most popular player at Friday Night Lights.

Florida coach Urban Meyer chatted with Powell during a break while watching highlights on the JumboTron at Florida Field. While eating dinner after the event, Powell was surrounded by three female coeds from Florida's welcoming staff. Defensive line coach Dan McCarney then stopped by to give Powell a fist-bump.

Powell has yet to commit to Florida, but the 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end from Moreno Valley, Calif (Rancho Verde) made his second cross-country visit to the UF campus in the span of the month.

"I love it here," Powell said.

It's clear why the interest is mutual. On Friday night, Powell ran pass patterns at tight end and wide receiver like a gazelle, showcasing his 4.52, 40-yard dash speed. Powell has the look of a Carlos Dunlap, though it could be as easy to see him catching passes in a Gator uniform.

Powell has received scholarship offers from nearly every school in the Pac-10, plus Tennessee, Florida and Notre Dame. He said Friday night he had no immediate visits planned.

Asked about the perception California kids have about Florida, Powell replied: "They love Florida. What's not to like? They're national champs."

Posted by: Mo Money, Mo Money ... Cha Chings To The RINGS !!! | July 26, 2009 at 07:38 AM


U Wanna See What U Used To Be Cane Honks ???

just click n reminisce ...

Posted by: I Hear Lockhart Stadium Has Plenty Of Open Dates Now | July 26, 2009 at 07:47 AM


Just gettn Richer ... How 'bout U ?

Posted by: Remember When U Used To Reload ??? | July 26, 2009 at 07:51 AM

Gators Are In The Money ...

This probably won't come as a shock to anyone. Florida's overall athletic program in 2008-09 ranked in the top three nationally in terms of generating revenue.

According to figures reported by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal earlier this week, UF's overall athletic program generated $106 million, third most in the nation behind only Texas ($120 million) and Ohio State ($117 million).

Five other SEC schools ranked in the top 13 nationally -- Auburn (7th, $89.31 million), Alabama (8th, $88.87 million), Tennessee (9th, $88.72 million), LSU (12th, $84.18 million) and Georgia (13th, $84.02 million).

Football, of course, is the big money-maker at Florida and the other SEC schools. The national championship Gators generated $66.1 million, third most in the nation. Although UF beat Georgia in football (again), the Bulldogs managed to generate more revenue -- $67.05 million. Texas' football program led the nation with $72.95 million.
Hey Art, What ever happened to that Fool that kept spouting off months ago how Florida was going to suffer MAJOR $ Cutbacks ?...

... crickets ...

*** Dah Ching To Dah RING BABY !!! ***

Posted by: Maybe Obama Can Help U Out ... | July 26, 2009 at 08:00 AM

How is it that the Herald allows this nastiness by that loser, and dioes not allow responses?

I think you post the most comments on this blog.

I love that we have recruits that go to the UF camp and throw up the U every time they beat someone down. That reminds me a lot of some former players, and these kids haven't even signed yet.

Figures a Gators coach would kick the kid out of their camp for doing that. Just like they dropped us from their schedule while we were kicking them inside out and then picked us back up during the sanctioned years (good foresight, by the way, we were back in championship form by the time those games occurred). Now we have recruits dominating and rather than find someone to beat them they just kick them out. Sounds about right.

Manny: "Hats off to athletic director Kirby Hocutt and coach Randy Shannon for taking a giant leap forward from the way these events used to be run."

@ Manny's follow-up comment:

"If only it was the same way for reporters during the season..."


Who cares about the reporters being limited. Maybe if the reporters had a track record of showing some restraint, rather than publicizing the game plan to our opponents, then you all would have more of an opportunity to have access to the players and practices...

Its about the game, and the fans... As a reporter, report the game, provide highlights, and be smart about what your reporting...

Everyone's better off that way!

Go Canes !!

Cane commit Tavadis Glenn was getting bored just sitting around after pledging to Miami back in April.

At the urging of his best friend and new teammate Louis Nix, Glenn (6-5, 270) decided to make the trip to Gainesville to participate in Florida’s Friday Night Lights Camp.

At the last minute, Glenn joined Nix, Sean Tapley, and a few other Jacksonville Raines players for the ninety minute car ride.

“It was a last minute thing really because Louis called me to see if I wanted to go to Friday Night Lights,” Glenn said. “I wanted to go so we drove down there but we got there a little late.”

Glenn and the rest of the Vikings crew received a little bit of bad news when they arrived at the Swamp.

“Here’s how they tricked us,” Glenn laughed. “They told my coaches that we didn’t have to pay but they made us pay 35 dollars. We told them that Coach Loeffler (Florida quarterbacks coach) said we didn’t have to pay so they went and got him.”

After the brief hold up at the gate, Glenn and the group made their way inside to start participating in all of the different drills.

“We went inside and we ran a forty and then we broke up for position drills,” Glenn said. “I didn’t do board drills because I’m still recovering from my injury but Louis was killing them. I was helping Louis out and he was beating everybody so I said ‘Come on Louis, lets go, Miami boys.’ He was killing them on the board and he beat the tackle from Tampa Catholic (Chaz Green), actually he whooped him.”

Glenn then made his way to a different drill, where he lined up at offensive tackle and the moment of truth was soon to happen.

“I forgot what this boy’s name was but he’s a big pass rusher this year and he was beating everybody,” Glenn said. “I whooped him so then I threw up the ‘U’ and Louis started laughing. I went up against everybody else and I just kept winning and throwing up the ‘U’ all the time. This man came over and grabbed me and said I needed to leave to go down to Miami with that stuff.”

Although the fun on the field was over for Glenn, it wasn’t quite the end of the action.

“I walked off the field because I was a little confused and Louis left right after I got kicked out,” Glenn said. “He saw me going off and he came off and we walked out together. Then they fed us, we left the stadium, and we talked to a reporter outside the stadium.”

Glenn is hoping to make his first visit to Miami along with Nix sometime during the month of August so the duo can get a first hand look at the team preparing for the season.

that is to funny Gator coaches tryin to check this kid keep it up Glenn

To those fans who say it's to far-YOU DONT BLEED ORANGE AND GREEN . Sorry but it's true.But thanks for whatever support you can manage. I drive over 300 miles just to see MY CANES and hold season tickets. If I can't make it I have CANE FRIENDS who will fill my seats.NO EXCUSES ANY MORE - JUST DO IT! And most away games are not that far either. I have tickets to FSU,3.5 hr.drive.UCF,1 hr.drive.WF 7hr.drive.NC 7 hr.drive.USF 3.5 hr. drive. If I was'nt going to be in Yellowstone N.P. I would be in Blacksburg.All on a salary of $483.26 a week.

In responce to :Duh its good to be king..don't let the wagon wheel get you next season.T-bag and the D Will be gone.THE SEC deal with ESPN will Go Down hill with them.GET UP,GET A JOB,GET OFF FOOD STAMPS,BUY YOUR KIDS SOME NEW SHOES WITH THAT NEW JOB, PUT THE BEER DOWN .Next season you will be here either recruiting new gaytor fans or, you will have a new screen name.CANES DONT HAVE A BANDWAGON.

Just like a gator coach- sore loser, chicken ss--t, jealous, petty. petty petty, petty.

let the kid have some fun.

Say something to him if you don't like it but kick him out?

Figures. Typical petty gator

Act like you been there.

By the way, I'm tired of all cane fans on this blog wiching for 2-2, 3-1. No. we're looking at 4-0. why not? 4-0 beeeotc-ches and if you don;t like it, go up to raylor ville where they play a gimmicky schedule with that gimmicky offense of theirs.

4-0 baby. beat FSU at Doak, Ok at home, va Tech in Blacksburg and Gt at home. By the end of that run, Um will be back in the top 5. The stars will be realigned. UM vs the traylor beeoct-ches in Pasadena. Last spread-option offense we played there was the heisman trophy winner-excellent athlete (faster than teblow) eric Crouch. And ouch.he felt it. Felt it real good. Number 6 baby. here we come.

More on Canes Fest:



Message to the Herald Reporters, be careful how you attempt to malign the folks/teams you're covering:

"Navy Commander files formal complaint of sexual harassment against Miami Herald reporter"


I don't know why some people are making such a big deal about the Bryce Brown thing. Who cares, the kid was here supporting his brother, no big deal. I'm glad noone asked him to leave.

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