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Spence: "We're ready to stop the run"

Finding the University of Miami's weakness last season was easy for opponents. It was the Hurricanes' run defense. The collective numbers were about as ugly as it gets for a program that has always prided itself in stuffing the run.

Christian Ponder How ugly was the Canes run defense in 2008? UM allowed 1,974 yards on the ground -- a 151.85-yard average that ranked worst in the ACC and 75th in the country. It's an amazing drop off when you consider in 2006 UM's run defense allowed just 882 yards the entire season -- tied for fourth fewest in the NCAA and tops in the ACC. That season just so happened to be the last year Randy Shannon was defensive coordinator.

The Canes have been getting progressively worse at stopping the run with a different guy calling the shots on defense. In 2007, UM ranked 40th against the run (133.75 ypg) and eighth in the ACC under Tim Walton. Bill Young obviously didn't do any better last year.

UM didn't just give up more yards collectively, they were often gashed by long runs and big plays. N.C. State and California each ran for more than 200 yards on UM in the final two games of the season. 

But nobody had more success against the Canes running the football than UM's first two opponents this year -- Florida State and Georgia Tech. The Seminoles, behind scrambling quarterback Christian Ponder and running back Antone Smith, ran for 281 yards and had 14 runs of 10 or more yards against UM. Georgia Tech carved up the Canes for 472 yards and 13 runs of 10 or more yards.

So what makes linebacker Sean Spence feel like the Canes will not get pushed around in 2009?

"We're all bigger, heavier, stronger," Spence told me two weeks ago. "We're not little freshmen anymore."

Size definitely matters when it comes to college football. And if you watched the Hurricanes last season on defense you know it was more than just the size of the depth chart and injuries that held UM back. Sure, Spence earned ACC Defensive Rookie of The Year honors. But he played most of the season right at or under under 200 pounds. For all of the great plays he made as the team's third-leading tackler and leader in tackles for loss, he admits he often got bounced around by bigger linemen and was out of position to make plays.

"Last year, I was more like a ping pong. I'd bounce off a guy, bounce off another and then make a play," said Spence, who came to UM weighing 193 pounds. "Now, I'm taking on blocks, breaking through the blocks, making tackles."

Spence is now 212 pounds. His linebacker mates are bigger too. Ramon Buchanon, who moved over from safety where he was weighing 200, is now 220 and backing up Spence on the strongside. Jordan Futch, considered UM's first linebacker off the bench, came to UM weighing 205 pounds. He's now up to 230.

"We were probably the smallest linebacker group in the nation last year," Futch said. "We had no depth because guys were hurt and we had no size. Now, we're knocking heads off literally. I feel like it's helped me a lot. I know its helped Sean a lot. Sean was always a big hitter. But he's filling holes. Buchanon lights people up. When you see that weight and the speed we have, it's awesome. We're going to be much better stopping the run than we did last year."

The return of Colin McCarthy from a season-ending shoulder injury is another reason Spence is excited. McCarthy, the projected starter on the weakside, has made a huge difference just in practice according to Spence.

"Colin is a great player, vocal leader," Spence said. "He's another playmaker. He'll make interceptions, pick up fumbles. He's a great open field tackler. I watch him a lot and where he fits up on guys. We missed him bad."

While the Canes have sustained a few injuries to its defensive line this fall (Adewale Ojomo, Eric Moncur, Dyron Dye), Spence said he sees improvement in the guys in front of him. Defensive tackle Marcus Forston and Micanor Regis, both freshmen last season, have been praised repeatedly throughout camp by Shannon. A healthy Allen Bailey in the middle has also made a difference according to Jason Fox.

"Our d-line got a lot better," Spence said. "Guys are sitting in the right gap, wrapping up, anticipating and reading assignments. We're not going backward anymore.

"Last year, guys weren't really buying into what we did last year. Guys are all on one page now. We're ready to stop the run."

The first test is Monday.

Comments

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U still put the U in g l y

hammy is ok ... 4-6 weeks

hey U n FSU fans ... seriously, you both are average .

ARE YOU SURE THEY ARE OVER HERE OR OVER THERE!
Pending transfer papers.

I never thought Dedrick Epps would be able to make it back for the FSU game...pretty impressive.

"We were probably the smallest linebacker group in the nation last year," Futch said. "We had no depth because guys were hurt and we had no size.

So your wimpy LB's put on 15 pounds and now they're going to dominate? Please. A more intelligent approach would be to hope that they make the jump from sukkky to average or above average. Set realistic expectations because Jimmy ain't walkin through that door. Typical " cane logic" IGNORES that everyone else has put on size too. A Spence QUOTE does not a good LB group make. Wake up. You guys are ADDICTED to RHETORIC.

GO CANES GET OFF TO A GRAT START , BEAT fsu AND PLAY HARD FOR ALL 4 QUARTERS ! LETS KICK OFF NOW !

There's something special about this group...I can feel it...that old U feeling is coming back

U've won 2 games verses RANKED TEAMS since Ur LSU Peach Bowl Beatdown Cane Fan ... That's 2-11 over the past 4 years !!!

Just be happy if U win 1 outta Ur first 3 (Oklahoma ? yeah right), then U Stooges can go on and on how U should have, if it weren't for this or that, should be 3-1 ...

Yeah, there is a storm a brewing Cane Tards and Ur ship is smack in the middle of it, still taking on water and listing badly ...

5 days til the beginning of Randy's fidy/fidy .500% END is launched . So get Ur mask, snorkle and fins ready and Shove Off U Colossally In Denial Honks.

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Hey Arty, get this, the Canes are " Ready To Stop The Run"...


ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit picks UM to beat FSU in opener ...

So why even play the game now ?
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1-3 Cane Fan and count Ur blessings ...

6-6 here U come ... Again


Lmao Don. I'm actually enjoying a Publix sub while reading your latest comedy offering.


There's something special about this group...I can feel it...that old U feeling is coming back

Posted by: Ted | September 01, 2009 at 12:12 PM

They'll look great cruising up the Palmetto Xpressway to Ur Rent-a-Bunker in all those Short Yellow Buses ...

Yeah, Ur Special Alright .


Lmao Don. I'm actually enjoying a Publix sub while reading your latest comedy offering.

Posted by: The curse of Art Kehoe | September 01, 2009 at 01:26 PM

I went with the Cuban ... She tasted great.

There's something special about this group...

Here's my 2 cents worth.
First: To Ponce my friend the world is not a dark and bleak as you want it to be. This is a different year. We have different players, some older and improved. The other team is older and has less players because of Grad. and now they play with younger and no so experienced players. They also get into a lull feeling becausse they think just becasue we are on our home field we are going to win. They believe that the fans chopping their arms will somehow grant them and instant victory. Their QB is still stron but his OF has changed the front line has holes that were not there last year. He runs yes but this year he is going to run into a DF that has last years film to gain experience from. Not only will Miami rule the day but other teams will also. Someone on here wrote the OF brings people to the game the DF wins games and the NC. this person is correct. the record books will back that up. This is a new year dust off the old negative attitude. Play 2009 from the first to the last game. Don't worry about being 1-4 or 2-2 or 3-1 or 4-0 play every game as it plays out. Then when you get to the end of all eleven then count your wins. It takes 7 to go to a bowl. It takes just 5-6 to win the ACC. win the right ones and you will gain the respect of the media and the polls. If we loose DO NOT BALE FROM THIS TEAM. there are other games to be played. BE A TRUE AND LOYAL FAN. Win or loose have faith that by the end of the season we will have what it takes to be classified as one of the elite in 2009. Believe in your team from the players to the coaches. Most important do not give up your friendship with this team. Wear your colors proudly. I do every chance I get. Sure I turn Heads here in NC sure Ive been called names, but through it all I have remained loyal to my school. The "U" is not finished, we are not loosers. Starting on Mon. we will prove to the NCAA Football audiance and fans that the University of Miami is back and the train will not be derailed until it gets to it's final destination. Thanks for leting me post

It' ALL About Da V Arty... All About Da V .

If we loose DO NOT BALE FROM THIS TEAM. there are other games to be played. BE A TRUE AND LOYAL FAN.

Posted by: Wayne Ritchie | September 01, 2009 at 01:34 PM


"IF" ??? (what if 24-26 after 2010 ?)


Does being a "A TRUE AND LOYAL FAN" mean Ur devoid of critiquing and voicing ANY Constructive Critisism or Accountability of the current and future status of the program ?

That's how Dictorial Regimes begin and Losing Programs Continue ...

U WIN U Stay ... U LOSE U Go ...

"Don't worry about being 1-4" ...

Don't worry huh ?

Oh U better ! Cause it's a DAMN possibility !

I remember watching the qb from nc state running all over us last year.... sure hope I don't see anything like that this year. Go Canes!!

WELL ONE THING WE KNOW FOR SURE. WHOMEVER MADE THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI SCHEDULE, MUST BE IN LOVE WITH THEM??????
BUT I GUESS THAT IF YOU KNOW IN YOUR HEART THEY ARE NUMBER. THEN YOU GIVE THEM A NUMBER ONE SCHEDULE. HUM, HUM, HUM . I WONDER WHAT THAT SAYS ABOUT FLORIDA AND FSU SCHEDULE. I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THIS YEAR BUT THE 2007 NORTHWESTERN TEAM WOULD BE QUIT A MATCH FOR SOME TEAMS SCHEDULED BY FLORIDA AND FSU. JUST MY OPINION. GALATIONS 4:16

If Tebow cant run over spence wat makes u think Ponder can.

Child Please!

Posted by: broward/dade | August 31, 2009 at 08:59 PM

lol

I want to see us laying hits on Ponder...ball or not that dude has to get hit. He's just a couple of nice hits away from being Chris Rix.

Posted by: Canesjunkie | August 31, 2009 at 10:43 PM

God i miss Chris Rix. That guy was the definition of a loser...truly a pleasure to compete against haha

As usual the unflappable Soldy is in top form. Probably give you too much props as this stuff basically writes itself. You just give it that special touch Don.

Warren Sapp and Bill Romanowski have friended me on my Art Kehoe Facebook page. It's gone viral. Lmao. You've got to jump in Don. We just need to figure out how I can determine it's YOU.

What's with this Wayne Ritchie 'tards diction? It's that overpriced "ewe" education.

. If we loose DO NOT BALE FROM THIS TEAM. there are other games to be played. BE A TRUE AND LOYAL FAN. Win or loose have faith that by the end of the season we will have what it takes to be classified as one of the elite in 2009.

Uh .... Wayne?? It's spelled "lose". As accustomed as you are to losing, one would think you'd have a grasp on the proper spelling. Horrible diction aside Wayne, you are the classic clueless canefan.

One of the elite in 2009????????

Best "cane logic" I've seen in weeks.

Your "UF run of the ages" as you put it begin their campaign as the "game of the week" on ESPN 360! Isn't that the network Art used to bust us about last year? What's your spin this year Art, now that UF is playing on 360?

But don't worry Art, I looked ahead to week 2 and UF is playing on...let me see...it's right here...hold on...it's coming into focus...ESPN 360!!!! Wow! Looks like you have that network locked down Art! This is awesome! Now I can watch the Gators on my Playstation!

Posted by: two bits, four bits.....aww screw it... | August 31, 2009 at 12:54 PM

What Ur Thimble sized brain fails to comprehend is that when U were the darlings of upstart ESPN 360 last year, IT WAS UR ONLY OPTION TO VIEW UR .500% CANES ... NO PPV or LOCAL broadcast ANYWHERE !!!

U Idiot, Just about ALL-Big Conference, Non-Network televised Games, including BOTH Florida's vs CSU and TROY ARE Available on ESPN'S360 weekly... Hundred's and hundred's of games over the year... Few are available on ESPN'S GAMEPLAN Pay Per View which BOTH GATOR Games are offered...Add the option of the Local Gator PPV Broadcast... That's 3 options to Ur only 1 computer option U incredible Tard ...

It was a riot last year listening to all U dumb Cane Tards crying and complaining that U couldn't SEE the game on T.V. ANYWHERE !

Top Tier Program huh ?

"Duhhhhh does anyone know the code for this ESPN360 thing? Damn! It doesn't WORK !!! Why Aren't Duhhh U on T.V. !!!???"

it's because it's how far u have fallen ...


That has never, nor will ever happen to a GATOR game... It's ALWAYS on T.V.

Can anyone tell me why Miami is not getting any love on the sports show? Miami has a better squad that the one that led that ACC for a week last year.

Why can't we be 4-0....

I want real answers....

I just ignore that ESPN 360 idiot Don. Those clucks last year all yelling, " anyone know where I can get the game on the internet?" were hilarious. Internet TV is USELESS.

At the end of the day, the canes schedule thursday nights and are the only game on and then celebrate how many people watched. DUUHHHH.

The Champions did play a weeknight game at Florida Gator Championship Field and drew an enormous audience while gathering yet another 'ship. Every single canefan watched. And the dumb clucks hated on UF the whole time. It's what Frued called full seat envy.. Im sure they've already forgotten that the Champions packed the largest crowd EVER into FGCF aka Mudshark Warehouse.

U get beatdown on national tv in six short days. The waiting is over canefan. The ultimate collapse is upon you. Buh Bye Marbles take your doddering unwanted O-coordinator and your melon head unheralded D-coordinator wif U.

Get ready canes fans. Whip reduced sacks by 70% at D-2 UMASS......


...........crickets.............


A few of the Kool-Aid snorters bought that BS canesrule. Good work son.

I love it how manny navarro makes it a point in all his articles to say that he was told by a player, or that he spoke to a player, like in this article "spence told me", like if manny is the cool guy or the important guy that all the athletes wanna talk to

Posted by: just clean house already, the carousel reputation isn't going away anytime soon | September 01, 2009 at 04:45 PM


1-800- RICHROD ?

Can anyone tell me why Miami is not getting any love on the sports show? Miami has a better squad that the one that led that ACC for a week last year.

Why can't we be 4-0....

I want real answers....

Posted by: Ricardo | September 01, 2009 at 04:29 PM


Hmmmmmmm let's see ... 19-19 the past 3 years ... 2-11 record against ranked teams in that same time period (#20 Texas AnM and #18 B.C.) Multiple Injuries and Transfers ...No Depth at KEY Positions... 5 Coordinators in 3 years... Ur ALWAYS TOO YOUNG... Ur KICKER is Ur Returning MVP... Can't Run or stop the run... No Home Stadium... Unbelievably Clueless Fans... And so on and so on and so on ...

Not to mention, WHEN Ur Q.B. so much as goes out with a broken pinkie, high ankle, the flu, Earhole Indexed Fingered, concussed, collerboned, turftoed, dislocated thumb, broken sternum or a flamingo'd knee or elbow............

U WILL THEN STARE 2-10 RIGHT IN UR ORANGE N GREEN with Gator ENVY FACES
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Ohhhh nevermind ... Ur Canes are surely BCS Bound ...

Feel better ? Enjoy it the next 5 days while they last Ricky .

Whoop-Whoop!!!

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