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Canes have a "toy" collection at receiver

I caught up with UM assistant Aubrey Hill earlier this week and asked him if he feels like the luckiest receivers coach in college football. Hill didn't need to really answer the question. It's beyond obvious he has one of the deepest and finest collections of talent at the position around.

Aubrey Hill

Through two games, a dozen players (five receivers, two tight ends and five running backs) have caught passes for UM. Of those 12, seven have made catches of 20 or more yards. Hill smiles at those stats and said part of what has made Miami's offense have so much success early on this season has been that diversity of pass catchers.

"Defenses always want to make you one dimensional whether you run the ball or pass the ball. They want to take one particular back out, one particular tight end out, one receiver out," Hill said. "I think it makes it more of a task when you are more diverse with the people you put on the field and the many positions you put them in. In my opinion it's pretty simple: Would you rather have one toy on Christmas or several toys on Christmas? I'd rather have as many gifts as possible."

The gifts come in many shapes and sizes. But none may be more valuable to the receivers according to Hill than junior Leonard Hankerson, who was on the verge of being passed up by the younger talented guys behind him before making a huge turnaround this off-season. Hill said Hankerson did exactly what was asked of him -- work on the drops, his conditioning and become a leader.

"It's amazing the return you get when you put something in it," Hill said. "I think leadership is so important in our group because there are so many teams with so much talent, but who have never really gelled. I think that comes from not having that leadership or direction. We're fortunate we have that direction with Hank. He says 'Guys we need to do this, we need to do that,' reinforcing what the coaches are saying; making sure guys are on time just keeping guys on point. That's the type of influence he has."

LaRon Byrd

Another player setting the right example according to Hill is sophomore LaRon Byrd, who rebounded from a catch-less night at Florida State (when he suffered a few bruised ribs) by leading UM with five catches for 83 yards and a touchdown against Georgia Tech. Hill said Byrd brings his "hard hat and lunch pail" to UM each day and is the first one to come in for film study and the last to leave. He's also the first to turn in assignments. And Hill said Byrd (6-4, 215) has only begun to bloom under offensive coordinator Mark Whipple's guidance.

"LaRon is getting better day-to-day from practice to practice," Hill said. "He's running crossing routes, double moves, comebacks, curls. He's running all the routes the receivers do in the NFL. I don't think he did all those things in high school. He's probably one of those guys you could say is a really good size and speed guy and is a natural catcher, but still has some rawness in route-running but has really improved."

One primary focus for all the receivers this offseason -- aside from better route running -- was improving their blocking, a mandate from Whipple across the board. Hill said Travis Benjamin, who leads the team with seven catches and 157 yards receiving, is someone who has improved the most in those areas.

"We're a lot more team oriented as a group and as an offense and we're really excited about going downfield and having a presence in the run game," Hill said. "You have receivers downfield cutting. Those guys aren't worried about how many touchdown or catches they have, but how many times they can knock down defensive backs. You can see those guys really excited coming to the sideline saying 'Coach did you see me knock those guys down?'"

Two receivers nobody has been able to see yet on the field are redshirt freshmen Kendall Thompkins and Tommy Streeter. I asked Hill when they might see the field.

"We're really excited about them as far as where they're going, direction they're headed," Hill said. "The biggest thing with them is consistency. But you see they have a lot of skill, athleticism, a lot of big play ability. The biggest thing with them isn't a matter of if, but when. I'm sure their opportunity will come this year and hopefully the near future where they can come in and help us in the passing game and run game."

One thing Hill said has definitely developed after UM's first two games is a genuine level of excitement about the offense from recruits. Hill said he's been receiving more phone calls from players Miami is after who have been more than impressed with Whipple's play calling.

"Many recruits prior to the season started were kind of waiting to see how the offense was going to do," Hill said. "It kind of speaks for itself when you do well on the field and you get the recruits calling saying good game, great win, we like what we saw. If it was the other way around still, where we were the ones calling all the time then you know how we're doing."

Since NFL rules do not allow scouts to ask talk to assistants about underclassmen, Hill said the only player he's been approached about has been senior Sam Shields (who even though has made the move to defense is still apparently being thought of by some scouts as a receiver).

"They all keep telling me they really like the young guys," Hill said. "And that they'll be coming back to see me again real soon."


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Thompkins and Streeter were actually in for a play or two against GT.

Another day, another SportsCenter segment about Jacory and the Canes. Kiper, Jr. says that if we beat VT & OK, there is "no question" Harris should be #1 on the Heisman list and the Canes should be #1 in the polls.

Time to make it happen.

I just watched the SportsCenter segment also. They also think we should be ranked #1 if we beat VT and OK, what a jump that would be. I would rather take it game to game and be ranked no higher than 2.

They also mentioned that Tebow would be a 2nd to 4th round pick and that the type of O they run at Florida doesn't prepare players for the NFL.

Calling all recruits, if you want to go pro go to the U!!!!

Whipple ball vs. Beamer ball, can't wait.

another great article manny

Hill = former Gator. Learn from the best.

Coach Shannon's hard work is starting to bear fruit. Hopefully, it continues this weekend.

Go Canes!

Whipple Ball > Beamer Ball

Props to Hanks for improving his play and stepping up as a leader.

Just one thing..protect that ball after the catch! The way he was running with the ball after his first catch against GT was making me nervous.

Hill = former Gator. Learn from the best.

Posted by: Channing Crowder | September 24, 2009 at 01:47 PM


He may have attended uf but his hometown is Miami, and hes quoted saying he is a true 'Cane at heart

Now to the task at hand. I hope the boys are ready to play in bad weather b/c the forecast is predicting high 50's with heavy rain, which kinda scares me a bit...

Hill = former Gator. Learn from the best.

He may have "been" a Croc, but he's all 'Cane now! And it's tough to be called the best when you don't have FIVE!!!

I'm so happy to see the U go back to a pro style attack. Although so much is made of the Spread and Wildcat, the fact of the matter is
well executed plays + good situational play calling = Touchdowns

(See almost any passing play the Colts had on Monday night)

The Gators have been very successful with the type of offense they run, but even when Spurrier was there there wasn't a great contribution of offensive talent to the NFL (even less in terms of great NFL Players). Whip gets the passing game and how to put the ball in the endzone. This is evidenced from his prior coaching experience, going back to UMASS.

You could see Whipple's contribution from the first snap of the FSU game (aside from the penalty to start the game). If they take what the D is willing to give and don't turn the ball over this weekend we emerge victorious.

Oh and we kickoff in bounds, oh and tackle someone on kick returns, oh and.....

UM - 24 VT - 17


Consistency Coach Hill???? Streeter has been one of the most consistant receivers since he has been on campus, with the exception of his injury. You gotta come better then that Coach... get the youngster in the mix more coach

Hill = former Gator. Learn from the best.

Those who can do...those who can't teach. The U produces great NFL players, UF produces great wide receivers coaches. That's fine with me.

Cuzzo, why do you say that Streeter has been one of the most consistent receivers since he's been on campus? Practices have been closed, and he hasn't played receiver in a game yet. You may be right, but I'm not sure what would make you say it.

I think he and Thompkins just fell behind due to injuries and the rest of the group hasn't slowed down. We need to get them experience though because the first stringers aren't going to be here 4 years. Jacory will be though (too think to leave early) and if he's throwing to the Streeter and Thompkins now we won't miss a beat when we go for 3 NC's in a row his senior year (Dorsey never found the same consistency with his receivers after Johnson and Shockey left, though it was good enough to get to the title game). By the end of the year they should get plenty of game time.

Go Canes!

3 NC's in a row? Can we please just try to beat VaTech first?! C'mon guys stay focused!

If the "U" does a good job on special teams and if the defensive backs show vast improvement in the next two games then we can begin serious talk about heisman trophies and national championships. Until then we fans need to chill a little bit and not get to ahead of ourselfs. GO CANES! STAY FOCUSED AND KEEP IMPROVING!

3 NC's in a row? Can we please just try to beat VaTech first?! C'mon guys stay focused!

Posted by: SHHHH....It's pretty quite in Tally right now.... | September 24, 2009 at 02:55 PM

Amen to that, 1 game at a time. Im thinking ACC championship first if we beat VT then if we can beat OU national championship talk can begin but y'all are thinking waaaay to far ahead right now

first and foremost beat VT


mel kiper just said on ESPN>..he is not buying Mia and their sucsess...Sodont buy into HIs talk...

You can't blame everyone for being excited... It's been a long, long time sitting on the bench waiting to brag about our Canes...

LOL...But Shhhhh has the right outlook...

3 NC's in a row?... Can we please just try to beat VaTech first?! C'mon guys stay focused!

It's all good!!!

Aright... SING IT...
an U, an U, an U, an U...

Aright... SING IT...
an U, an U, an U, an U...


Too soon for three NCs in a row?
You won't think so by Oct. 4.
I'm just trying to figure out - since I only have pinkies left without rings reserved on them - cn I really wear NC pinky rings?
This is the only kind of thing I'm worried about right now.
But if you want to think short term, try this:
UM 67, VT 6.

Manny expect a big game from spence and telam. this week and if tech tries to stop jacory from passing i look for james to have a bag game running north and south through the tackles

cat 5 you going to the game?

Manny--- have any of the Miami NW kids ever played in cold & rainy conditions???

this weather forecast for saturday has me concerned but I think our boys have the mental focus to overcome it but a wet sloppy field takes away are biggest weapon, which is speed.

check out Herbie's Weekend Preview--nearly the entire thing is him talking Canes.

He even throws up the U


Yo. Who really has a better run game? The U or VT? How about in the rain? Will they be better at stoping us than we are at stopping them?....

(Hoping for a category_5)

Manny--- have any of the Miami NW kids ever played in cold & rainy conditions???

this weather forecast for saturday has me concerned but I think our boys have the mental focus to overcome it but a wet sloppy field takes away are biggest weapon, which is speed.

Posted by: WHAT! | September 24, 2009 at 03:52 PM

I couldn't agree with you more, as I have been saying this for the last few days... I live 3 hours away from Blacksburg in Alexandria and the weather has actually been unseasonably mild for this time of year...but... they are calling for a rainy, cool weekend, with heavy showers potentially, so.... Hopefully the big uglies are ready to pound the ball, because I don't see Harris to Byrd for 65 yards in pouring rain...

Tackling is going to be important against Tyrod and their talented running backs...

Javarris and Coop are going to be key and don't be surprised to see them combine for 175/200 yards with 3 TD's


Lets take it one game at a time.. no more NC talk yet...

I hate to say . . . No, on second thought I'm glad to say - I told you so!

My fellow Canes, when "The Whip" was hired I tried to tell you guy's and gal's to prepare yourselves for a very explosive offensive attack.

But of course, you needed to wait and see for yourselves. That's smart.

So, so far so good?

But, guess what . . . We ain't seen nothing yet!

Now - with the defense coming around and the offensive line (remember I said "Whipple will work wonders for the O-Line") getting their collective feet under them - The Whip will start turning up the pressure on the remaining Defensive Coordinators by opening up the playbook little by little. He (Whipple) has only used a fraction of his playbook.

Oh, and get this - every individual play has 5 to 10 "twists" that opposing defenses will never see twice. Get the picture!

Just so you all understand I've seen this and I've experienced this before. But, this is better than I thought. I knew with the talent level and speed that this offense had a chance to be very volatile. And it's proven to be.


The combination of Jacory Harris + All his Weapons + "The Whip" is a formula for re-writing all of The U's offensive record books.


Lovette's aggressive style combined with our team speed will only get better with time and depth.

The combination of these two elements will bring us - The U - back to a solid and consistent dominance of big time college football.

Are we their yet? I did say we would "shock the world", but I was thinking of next year. But shoot, things are beginning to look really interesting already. Who knows?

But I do know this (barring injury) this will be a very memorable season.


UMASS speaks the truth! You sure did my friend!

Whipple's "base" package contains over 250 plays, with multiple variations for each play! I've heard estimates that there are over 1500 different variations of his "base" package!

Now I also read that the kids are only going to learn about 300 this season! Suffice to say we have a lil' something for anyone on our schedule this season!

Go 'canes!

We all know Whipple is a genious & will be lured back to the NFL$$$ but maybe Aubrey Hill is the understudy for future offensive coordinator?

This week vs VT we need to play much better specail teams & win the line of scrimmage offensively & defensively.

It all comes down to fundamentals & coaching.
Watch how awesome our offense performs after a timeout, Whipple is no fluke!
We had the talent a year ago, now its being coached & prepared for gameday.

Any & all S. Florida recruits should be checking out the U!

Mc Ginnis... Where you been you old dog!...lol

OKLA?.. Ohhh Yeahhhh.

Started looking for some tickets Tuesday. Have my feelers out and looking for some good seats but I'll take bad ones if I have to.

Damn I'm jacked-up for the okee game and can't wait to get to the Shark for some serious partying...

If you have time, contact me... over at the place or email me at cat5cane@gmail.com, where we can hook up!

UMASS Cane, you did call it. All I can say is WOW! If this is just a preview of what's in store, OMG! These future NFL players have bought into this game plan and its working. That seems to be all I can say at this time other than GO CANES!!!!!! Beat VA Tech. Since JH said he likes to silence the crowd, he will have a whole lot of crowd to silence on Saturday. As UMASS Cane says, it's time to shock the world!

I was just playing about the 3 NC's in a row people. Can't we have a bit of fun? I understand being superstitious though, so I'll muzzle that talk for now.

does anyone know when ojomo will play, or if he will play this season?

it would be just great to see sam shields make a pro team next yr. he seems to be a team first guy. go canes.watch for jh to run crazy on vt today!!

I See Some Canes Over Here....

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