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Notebook: Few freshmen to play in '09

Last season, Randy Shannon entered the season knowing he was going to have to play freshmen all over the field. This year, he’s happy he won’t have to do that.

Randy Shannon When Shannon met with the local media Thursday to discuss Monday night’s season opener at Florida State and the start of his third season at UM, he smiled when he was asked how many freshmen might see the field. “Four or five -- a lot less than last year and hopefully next year it will be a lot less too,” Shannon said.

In case you forgot, the Hurricanes played 18 freshmen in their season opener last year against Charleston Southern. By the end of the season, the Canes were counting on a number of first year players to deliver in key roles. One look at the Canes’ depth chart, released to reporters after Shannon’s press conference, tells us 2009 is going to be a different kind of season.

Only five true freshmen made the two-deep – quarterback AJ Highsmith, left guard Brandon Washington, defensive end Olivier Vernon, running back Mike James (kick returns) and right tackle Jermaine Johnson. And only one former scout team player from a year ago – right guard Harland Gunn -- was in the starting lineup. Shannon told our Susan Miller Degnan, during his private one-on-one interviews with reporters from each local paper, that the depth chart could change before Monday’s kickoff.

DEPTH CHART CHANGES: And apparently, the depth chart changed before UM’s Sports Information office even printed out copies and handed them to reporters before Shannon's press conference. According to the Palm Beach Post’s Jorge Milian, redshirt freshman Vaughn Telemaque – slated behind junior JoJo Nicholas – is actually the starter at safety alongside senior Randy Phillips. And redshirt freshman kicker Jake Wieclaw, who was entrusted to handle kickoffs according to the depth chart and teammates, really won’t be handling them just yet. Also of note according to the Palm Beach Post, Jake Byrne has passed Matt Perrelli in the walk-on battle for the third string quarterback job.

Harland Gunn GUNN WINS STARTING JOB: Gunn may be the best story among players to win a starting job this fall. The 6-2, 315-pounder from Nebraska took over the job in the spring when Joel Figueroa had shoulder surgery and simply held onto the job when Figueroa – a four-game starter – returned for fall camp. Both should still end up rotating at the spot. But the fact Gunn did well enough to earn a starting job is a plus for the Canes.

Teammate Orlando Franklin said Thursday of Gunn: “He’s more mature, more patient. He’s always been a real good run blocker. In pass game in college you have to be patient because guys are fast and they’re just as strong as you. He improved with being patient and knowing what’s going to happen before it occurs.”

FRANKLIN CAN PLAY TACKLE: Miami’s offensive line has strength and depth in the interior. But at tackle consider the Canes thin. Shannon told our SMD neither redshirt freshman Ben Jones nor true freshman Jermaine Johnson are ready to see game action yet. So, it appears that if Jason Fox or Matt Pipho were to go down with an injury, Franklin would be the first player to slide outside.

“I play left guard, left tackle, right tackle. I take snaps everyday at both [tackle spots],” Franklin said. “I’m pretty sure that’s what would happen [if Fox or Pipho were injured]. Bottomline is I’d play any position they need me to.”

> Part of the reason the Canes could feel comfortable with Franklin at tackle is because freshman Brandon Washington can play anywhere inside. “Brandon is a real smart guy. For him to come in learn all three inside positions -- that’s crazy,” Franklin said. “I remember my freshman year. It was real hard for me just to learn left guard. You can put Brandon at left guard, right guard or center and you won’t miss a beat. He’s been doing a real good job.”

HANKERSON STARTING OVER A. JOHNSON: The fact Leonard Hankerson beat out sophomore Aldarius Johnson – last year’s leading pass catcher – for a starting job didn’t surprise safety Randy Phillips.

“He’s the leader at the wide out position. He’s the older guy. He works hard. He’s a different guy,” Phillips said. “He’s been lighting up things in practice. He always stays out there and gets things done. He has totally turned himself around. Hank worked his way into his starting position. A lot of the guys are way more than talented than him. But he got the job done. He’s a hell of a blocker. He runs precise routes, he’s catching the ball, doing the film room, doing all the little things right. He deserves it all.”

Hankerson may be starting, but I wouldn't take it to mean he's going to see more playing time than Johnson. This is the same team that started Khalil Jones in three of its first four games in 2008. I'm not saying Hankerson is like Jones, who caught just five passes last year. Hank is way better than Jones. My point is this football team has started guys in the past who weren't necessarily the best at their position. Shannon does it to send a message to the guys below them. Jones usually sat the bench after first two, three series. Hank will play more than that. But I still think when the game is on the line, Johnson will be in there.

JACORY'S FUNNY TAKE: I thought Jacory Harris’ days of providing comic relief and honest takes were over after his “enlightening interview” on Dan LeBatard’s radio show last month. But he came back strong Thursday when asked about playing on Monday night in front of a national TV audience.

“The only I thing I keep thinking about because its Monday night is if it’s the NFL,” Harris said. “I keep wondering if the man with the cowboy hat is going to come out and start signing on TV for us or something. It's going to be a fun experience for everybody."

> Harris said he wouldn’t necessarily play more cautiously this season after the transfers of Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith. But he isn't dumb either. "I know I won’t let it affect me because if I'm thinking `I can't get hurt,' I'm going to get hurt,” Harris said. “You got out and play timid, you have things you don't want happening happen. I'll take it as a regular game, have fun and let the team take care of me."

"If I see a linebacker running at me I think my first decision is to run him over. But I will be smart and take a slide. I’m not a dumb person. I know to take a slide when I have to. But if it’s to get extra yards, I may sacrifice my body.”

TWO-BACK COMMITTEE AGAIN: Despite saying on various occasions before the season he’d like for one running back to emerge as THE MAN, Shannon told reporters the backfield still belongs to Graig Cooper and Javarris James.

“I'm happy now,” Shannon said. “You can never have too many running backs because injuries always happen. We're happy with how Cooper and Javarris have been doing. They’ve always worked together. This is the best Javarris has ever done in camp since he was a freshman. He hasn’t been nicked. He's looks faster. Coop is Cooper, he's done a great job. And Lee Chambers has taken the next step. You go to the next group, Damien Berry, Mike James and Lamar Miller. A lot of guys are playing special teams, have some role against Florida State. When it comes down to it, Cooper and Javarris will be the two load guys and the other guys will play as needed.”


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I can sleep better tonight knowing JoJo is not starting.


Jo Jo has improved and looks big..I am happy that at least he made it tough for the staff to pick VT as the starter....Hope Jo Jo makes plays when hi's out there..

I have to say i feel a little better knowing Nicolas isnt starting either.Lets hope the other DE's opposite Robinson cangetthe job done. we know that FSU will gameplan around the DE's and also being physical with Harris.

Shannon is a dope. Starting Hankerson over AJ/Byrd and having Cooper returns punts/kickoffs instead of Benjamin is not putting this team in the best position to win.

The DB's will have 2 INTs against FSU regardless of who is back there.


Didn't they have only 4 all of last year

Randy Shannon doesn't communicate anything all summer...now all of a sudden we get the depth chart??? And, on top of that, it doesn't make sense.

All summer we've been hearing about Mike James and Lamar Miller, now Baby J jumps them to take the no. 2 spot. What are we getting out of that? What about Shawnbrey???? Hasn't he earned his chance?

Aldarius is a backup now? Where is Theron Collier?

Good for Hankerson though...hopefully he has learned how to catch the ball.

Come on all you Florida pukes, let's hear it. Let's hear all your trash talk. It really amuses me to see how paranoid you all are to come over here and constantly see what's going on with our beloved Hurricanes. It's understandable though, because we are like the 500lb gorilla in the room that everybody is worried about. So here's to you Florida pukes. Keep the trash flowing, it really is quite flattering.

A depth chart is simply a list of players. It does not mean players not on it won't play or even that the players not on it won't see the most of the snaps. In fact, if you want to disguise something from another team, you probably won't be honest on the depth chart. You are under NO obligation to follow the depth chart. So what is the big deal? Believe me, Travis Benjamin will return some kicks, Jimmy Graham will play some plays, Aldarious Johnson will ne on the field for most third downs, and Vaugh T will play in nickle and dime defenses. Don't stress Canes fans. The awakening begins soon.

What about Shawnbrey???? Posted by: Canesjunkie

You must not be a Canes junkie because if you were you would know that McNeil transferred. I love all of our receivers especially Pimp Collier but we can only play so many. I think Benjamin, AJ, Hank, Byrd, and/or Thompkins/Collier is enough.

I'm glad that was corrected maybe yall will calm down. Harland Gunn winning the starting spot and Washington being so versatile helps us out tremendously. We finally got good depth on the O-line position again. Fox and Franklin have a big job protectin Jacory but I would want anybody else over there. Gunn is suppose to be a road grading beast and JJ was a big time recruit at one point. Maybe this is his year to really breakout and get some twenty plus yard runs. We know Coop is poised to do great things if healthy. The hardest thing about being a db against the canes this year is the different kind of receivers we have. I bet all of them have different cuts and shakes before and after they have the ball. I mean Johnson and Byrd are physical but if Streeter get in there and they play him like Byrd or Johnson he'll burn em. TB,TC, and KT are small but you know they all run different. If Hank has really stepped his game then he will be the forgotten receiver makin the clutch catches. The problem wasn't that he couldn't get open we just dropped the ball all the time. If he lookin it in then the secondary will forget about him cause they chasing the lil guys and gettin beat by the tall guys. He will be a great possesion receiver. Puts me in the mind of Sands or Beard. Never an imoact player but highly reliable. I feel good things this season if we stay healthy. We back in the pro style offense. Attacking style 4-3 defense. 2 deep at all positions. Need a lil luck and strong smart play but we got the team.

hey manny,

canes 12-0

I say we NOT pay that much attention to the depth chart until game time. Reason being that it's pretty obvious Shannon and The Whip are trying to take full advantage of the element of surprise against FSU's coaching staff.

That is, not only does FSU have very little (if any) game film of our new system... they also won't be sure until game time about who's playing since our depth chart keeps changing.

For our receivers, FSU won't know who's getting the ball, regardless of who's #1 on our depth chart. Same thing regarding who returns punts or kicks--FSU will simply have to prepare for a variety of our players, each with distinct kick-returning styles, tendencies and speeds.

Of course FSU's coaching staff is not dumb, so they'll probably prepare around Benjamin, Aldarius, Collier, and Cooper at RB regardless.


LET'S GO CANES!!!!!!!!!


Posted by: imyahuckleberri | September 03, 2009 at 01:55 PM

Now there's a man that knows his football!!! And a man that calls all U none faithfuls out, too!!! Either U are with Us or U are against Us!!! Either way, we're going to the show with or without ya!!!


Posted by: 360Cane | September 03, 2009 at 03:33 PM


3 days U Tards .

Interesting "depth chart".

So Carolina beat NC state 7-3. ESPN announcers, especially Jesse palmer continuously drooled about SEC speed, SEC size, blah blah. Soon thereafter, garcia throws a pick and Regardless, State holds them to 7 pts. Then they get the ball back, and on a return an NC st player literally almost has his head spun off his body on a face mask play. The line judge, an SEC offical, was right there! No call. Ball would have been on the 35 yd line of USC with 4 minutes left!

Miami is the east 500 lb gorilla in the room. Boise State is the western one. Will the BCS wake up and allow a teamlike BSU to ever play in the BCS NC?

What I see .... Is what FSU LACKS

D E P T H across the board !!


Manny...why are you covering the Marlins...noone cares about the @#*$*$(% Marlins. We're playing FSU this week son!!!!

Posted by: Canesjunkie | September 03, 2009 at 11:31 PM

no man can serve two masters
-- jesus


Howdy Pards:
We're getting no respect!
We're unranked!
Nobody's talkin about us!
Only one player named in the top 200 in the Acc!
We're underdogs to FSU!
Va Tech will win ACC!

Sounds like where we like to be! Go Canes!!! da U 34 FSU 14

cant wait

STOP frettin on the depth chart CANES fans...The best players will PLAY. The nice thing is, on offense we have SO MANY PLAY MAKERS they will all get a chance to prove themselves.

FSU will be in for a rude awakening...How will they be able to cover our WRs and healthy TEs? They cant. This will allow the running game to shred through the D line! Too many threats to contain!


Shawnbrey...lol. I meant Lee Chambers. Where is he on the depth chart?

Ohhh I can't wait for Monday night !!! The WAR CHANT HOWL rings thru the office............

OhhhhhhhhhhuuuuuuuhhhhhOOOOOOOOOOOOuuuhhhhh !!!!


I'm also hearing it at my office

OhhhhhhhhhhuuuuuuuhhhhhOOOOOOOOOOOOuuuhhhhh !!!

OhhhhhhhhhhuuuuuuuhhhhhShi_Shi_Shi_Shi_Shi_ !!!

Ala Limp Bizkit, you got knocked the F out!

Da U!

Whipple went from Steelers Qb coach to Eagles offensive assistant. This at the age of 49. Not exactly rising stock. Who cares what he did at pansyass UMASS. He can have the most creative offensive mind in the world but it doesn't natter when the skill guys are standing behind a garbage O-line.
Lovett? SPECIAL TEAMS ASSISTANT at UNC? talk about your bottom of the barrel coaching hire. Everyone is real hush about this guy. Any wonder? UM is at a crucial defensive crossroad and Randy hires a SPECIAL TEAMS ASSISTANT! Damn straight he's going "back to basics." It's all the big doofus KNOWS! Call me a hater all you want but this DC hire could spell diaster for UM's already limping staff. Better keep a REAL CLOSE EYE on this dude.
Great job bringing in two assistants as your top two lieutenants Randy. If the new coaches are anything more than a lateral move with regards to upgrading the staff I'll be shocked.

From last nights game!


I love guys like freddy, who assume everyone is exactly the same as they were last year, that noone can improve more than another and overtake them between the bowl game and the start of spring practice. I love how they know how to put their team in a position to win better than a professional coach without watching any practices or, more importantly, scrimmages.

Hankerson was as highly rated coming in as AJ. Just because he took a long time to mature and turn the corner doesn't mean he's doomed to sit behind AJ until he graduates. I'm proud of this guy, and I hope all the receivers start putting in the kind of work he did.

And CanesJunkie...you always hear about how special the early-enrolee freshman are in the Spring. That doesn't mean they're doing better than the starters, just that they're doing well. Noone cared how well Coop was doing in the Spring, so noone reported it. Also, those guys are usually working on the particulars of their game in the Spring, as opposed to just impressing the coaches. But we all want to know how advanced the freshman are right away. This Spring, we'll probably hear all about Jakahri Gore (if we let him come) and Clements (and the other RB's whose names I don't know), but that won't mean they're better than Miller, James, or Chambers.

From last nights game!


Posted by: MTX-Cane | September 04, 2009 at 10:31 AM

What was Ohomo doing out there for Boise State? Oh, it was #94 Hout. Hout musta been runnin dat pork hole jus like Ohomo wuz. Punkbltch duhzerved it.

I think some of you guys are panicing a little when it comes to the receivers... All those guys are going to play. They're too talented not to.

Yes, during a Pro-Set offense, then it may be only 4 receivers in rotation.

But from the sound of things in practice, there will be times when we go single back, and there may be 4 wides on the feild at a time.

Whipple's the one making the call on offense, so by saying, and he's versitile with his calls, enough to get those guys catches!

With Ojomo and Moncur out, they'll be fine against the run for the most part, with exception of Vernon (i think); Vernon is already great as a pass rusher at this point in his career; but i would throw S. Wesley in front of Vernon 1st and 2nd down.

Linbackers will be much improved...

I like our DB's they just have to show me some takling in run support; which is why i beleive Chavez Grant is starting.

Safety: I hope V. Telemarque is a genious back there, because he isnt very big, nor very fast, the should have put on abt 10lbs of muscle durig the off-season; don't know wha thappened there... I think randy Phillips, finally gets it this year, understands his role and is solid in run support for some big hits...

Lastly Gunn...
Those worried abt Gunn starting, its aight... I know dude has kinda come out of nowhere.. The man is only 6'2 but is solid man, no belly at all, and he's a bulldozing beast that fires off the ball; he's knocking guys back 3 yard off impact alone. We havn't had that ina while!!

Let's go Canes!!!

Do not think Boise is that good,looked like Oregon was just that bad this yr. Ducks disorganized

Posted by: Big Sonny | September 04, 2009 at 10:56 AM

does this mean we will be using the spread sometimes?

If a Miami player did what LeGarrette Blount did last night every media outlet in the nation would be on it. Its amazing how Miami makes front page news with any incidence, but Blount’s blowup does not make a ripple.
Go Canes,

Wow did I mess up my prev. post LOL

Whipple's the one making the call on offense, and he's versitile enough to get all of those some guys some playing time; it'll be up to the QB to hit those guys from there.

I like our DB's they just have to show me some takling in run support; which is why i beleive Chavez Grant isn't starting.

Calvin with a K...

Yes I think we'll run the spread at times. But will run a base set, until whipple finds a weakness on defense to exploit; or a strength on defense that Whillple may want to eliminate for that matter...

Lets go Canes !!

If a Miami player did what LeGarrette Blount did last night every media outlet in the nation would be on it. Its amazing how Miami makes front page news with any incidence, but Blount’s blowup does not make a ripple.
Go Canes,

Posted by: Charlotte cane | September 04, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Kindly shut up with that nonsense. Just let it go man. Nobody in the national media has said any of that for years. We used to have no shortage of troublemakers and we embraced the thugU stuff. That's all gone and ancient history. So what if local haters call us thugs. SO WHAT! they'll never stop regardless of it's validity. You whining about it will just fuel them man. I heard Vilma on the radio the other day. He talked about his finance degree and how he and some of his teammates led by example to rid UM of that moniker. Vilma is a classy guy. He had amople opportunities to take shots at people/franchises and took the high road every time.

Whether you like Randy or not, you can't deny that he has left that stuff in the past.

So why font you move beyond that dated nonsense and stop complaining about something that doesn't even exist anymore.



nobody will know until signing day. I have made my decision and I will keep that with my family. I don't want the hassle of recruiting going into the season.
I have let the school know that I will be coming.
-- Eduardo Clements via InsideTheU.com


Just want to let everyone know that I am going to the game this weekend.

Chicago...Good point about the reporting on the younger guys.

I also think it's good that Hankerson is starting. It appears that the kid has worked hard on his game and has earned his spot. Hopefully he can catch the ball...the tools are there though. It's also a good lesson for Aldarius Johnson. Maybe he has to work a little harder. That's what the depth and competition has brought to the team.

I hope Harland Gunn works out as a starter. It would really be huge for us if we can make improvements on the OL. It's a glaring weakness on this team that, if corrected, would make a significant difference for the entire season.

Finally you folks is starting to see the light. The strongest thing about Miami has always been they had superior talent over other teams. They also had superior talent behind them and you always hear the Canes of the past say if you got hurt their's no telling when you get back if you got your spot. That code of conduct alone would scare me into playing lights out. Receivers are a primadonna position that can be rotated by a group of players. Their is usually one impact receiver on the team and Miami has a chance to have three. Hankerson will not be a 1st rd pick but he could be a reliable possesion guy if he catch the ball. If he is a precise route runner he could turn into a mid rd guy quick. They want the NFL and the scouts are still looking at UM.

Was that oregon guy in the canes locker room a few weeks ago.

I just ran Clements' quote through my decoder and it says...I'm going to FSU unless UF and Miami can offer me more money and a nicer a car.

How about the A11 Boise ran for the 2point converstion.

I can't wait until Mon. night! This is the most excited I've been about a Cane team in a few yrs... I just have this feeling we gonna do some damage. From what I'm hearing Vaughn might be the best option at safety for us. Hopefully he keeps his head and shows up. I can't wait to see this new offense... I know the D is not gonna give up all that rushing love they did last yr. Anybody know how Ray Ray and Jamal Reid have been looking in practice?

We might want to get Jacory's head checked out...Even if he wanted to, as talented as he is, I don't think he could Run over a Seminole linebacker, and it probably won't happen since he's skinny enough to have wind from a fan knock him off balance. That would not be a good start to the season by losing the 4th quarterback in 9 months.

Longboat Key did U forget FIU, how many times was that replayed nationally? Brother the fuel will always be there. I was just pointing out the fact that the Canes get extra attention compared to other programs.
Bleeding orange and green............

Posted by: Charlotte Cane | September 04, 2009 at 01:59 PM

Yeah man. But that was a legitimately nasty brawl. That wasn't the canes being hated on. It was one of the most disturbing scenes ever at a college football game. Swinging helmets. It didn't get any more play than that Lou Holtz Gamecock brawl. Doesn't matter what teams were involved , ESPN will loop that thing big time.

And when was the last time you saw the FIU brawl ?

If you think the airing of that brawl was hating on the canes then you definitely have a complex bro.

Long boat- You must not watch too much TV. You must not have known how to read in 1996, and you surely werent noticing the "media outcry" about the canes-fiu brawl.

ESPN commentators love to hate on the canes. Especially Fowler, Herbstreit and that ex-FSU coach- Corso. Anything happens and they blow it up to huge proportions. Even though the UM-FIU brawl was ugly, it was NOTHING compared to te USC-Clemson brawl. In the latter, there were visibly, Police officers getting hit. That was a full blown riot! And no-not even in the least sense of the word, was it even remotely close to the "false and hypocritical outcry" by the media.

Hey, why do you think there's a Miami-rule??? Because Miami boysz liked to celebrate and taunt? ooooohhh how bad! Bottom line is that CFB until around 1999, was a lilly-white mid-western driven thing. The boyz form the U were too ghetto. Too city. Everyone hated on the canes- why do you think the catholics vs convicts things stuck? yet More ND, Penn State and Nebraska players have been in trouble with the law than UM!

The LSU-UM brawl was all looked at from the UM perspective. No metionabout what really happened- the taunting, the kickiung of heads, etc by LSU. It was all UM's fault.

I strongly believe that if that was a UM player, UM would have been lambasted 1000X worse than Oregon was. I guess that's the reputation the U has. Who cares- that's everyone else's problem. Look at grad rates and arrests (UF anyone?)

I also believe thatif a UM player had been the one punched like that, there would have been a UM-FIU rematch and those boys from Ore-gone would have been taught an east coast lesson. 305 style!

I don't think Herbstreet hates on Miami, actually I think he likes the U. The rest of those morons hate on us bigtime, but think about the individuals...

Lou Holtz - How many ass tannings did he get from the Canes in the 80's?
Trev Alberts - Nebraska couldn't hang with us.
Mark May - Lou Holtz's sidekick doesn't know anything so it doesn't matter.
Lee Corso - FS who??? Enough said.
Fowler - wants to give Urban Meyer a hand job everytime he's on the show. I'd love to drop that dude off in Carol City.

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