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Lovett defends Spence, takes blame for struggles

The numbers aren't pretty. Through three games, the University of Miami defense has looked bad more often than it has looked good against three nationally ranked opponents. Canes fans want to know where the pass rush has been hiding, when the turnovers are going to start happening and when reigning ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year Sean Spence is going to start playing like he did a year ago.

Sean Spence has 14 tackles through three games and ranks sixth on the team.

Wednesday, defensive coordinator John Lovett faced all those questions and concerns and defended his sophomore strongside linebacker rather passionately.

"You ever have a bad day? Unless everybody here in this circle is perfect, we're talking about the wrong thing," Lovett said referring to Spence. "I didn't do a good job coaching and we didn't good job last week. I got to do a better job getting them ready to play and the kids got to respond and play. 

"You can talk about turnovers, you can talk about missed tackles, you can talk about Sean Spence. As a unit we have to play well. Sean is not just going to make plays by himself. What happens is he takes advantage of other people around him playing well. If he's doing his job, somebody else might make a play. And if they're doing their job, he'll have an opportunity to make plays. It's a team game. There are 10 other guys out there with him, that's how we coach."

Spence, who has fewer tackles on the team this season than Sam Shields, talked some Tuesday about what's been going wrong for him this year (I'll have a feature on him in Friday's paper). But one thing that's become obvious about the undersized 6-0, 212-pounder from Miami Northwestern is that he's become a bigger focus of opposing teams.

"I don't know if its a sophomore slump," Lovett said. "A lot of people know about him, so they're accounting for him. I think everybody's expecting him to put an 'S' on his chest and be the man on every single play. I think last year he showed up a lot because you didn't know who he was. He's not as productive as you all think he needs to be and I think he needs to be. But he's playing well and playing within the scheme and doing OK."

What's not OK in Lovett's eyes -- besides UM's poor tackling -- has been the lack of a pass rush (UM has four sacks in three games) and the inability to create turnovers (the defense has one fumble recovery and one interception). Creating turnovers and creating pressure are two things Lovett said will be huge for Miami against the eighth-ranked Sooners.

"We're a four man front. If they're not playing well, we're not going to play well as a defense. That's the bottomline," Lovett said. "Last week, nobody played well. It was very obvious. But before that I thought they did pretty well. We played pretty decent in the Florida State game, up front against the run until the fourth quarter when we let two out of the game. Last week, obviously was a disaster. Bad game planning by me and we didn't play very hard."

Our Susan Miller Degnan will be all over those last two topics -- with some special insight from defensive line coach Clint Hurtt who gave us an exclusive interview. Look for her story Thursday.

> For the complete audio interview with Lovett visit our UM audio page.

Randy Phillips

> R. PHILLIPS COULD PLAY SATURDAY: It's looking more and more like UM won't be without safety Randy Phillips against Oklahoma after all. UM's second leading tackler, who injured his forearm against Virginia Tech and left the game for good late in the first half, practiced full-go Wednesday according to coach Randy Shannon. Usually, if players don't practice by Wednesday, they don't play on Saturday.

Phillips is obviously motivated to play in this game because he was lit up by the Sooners and Sam Bradford two years ago. He actually was switched from corner to safety after being beat on two scores. Shannon said Phillips return means a lot to the team too. Shannon said he just doesn't want to see the team's emotional leader play out of control.

"[This game] means more to him because of situations he was put in a couple of years ago [when] they got a couple of passes on him," Shannon said. "He felt like he let the team down. But, like I told him, `Don't make it a revenge factor. Make it something you learn from, learn how you got beat and what you have to get done.' I told him you have to come out and play the game and be smart about it. But if you go out there with a little revenge factor - mad, angry, upset - most of the time people make mistakes, say something wrong, do something wrong when they're angry. Me and him talked about it - now he understands the whole big picture."

> PUNT RETURN CHANGES IN STORE?: One of the biggest problems for the Hurricanes this season has been generating big changes in field position on punt returns.

UM actually ranks among the nation's worst with only a 2-yard punt return average. "Everyone's kicking to the left hash and it's going out of bounds - they're not giving us a chance to do what we need to do," Shannon said. "So we have some things we worked on in practice to (negate) those things they're trying to do, where we can field it. The biggest thing is trying to field the football."

Don't be surprised if you see the Canes line up with two return men on Saturday.

> LIVE CHAT: I couldn't make it in time for our live chat Tuesday at 2 since I've been pulling double duty this week by helping cover the big St. Thomas Aquinas-Byrnes showdown. I also know a few of you had trouble placing your questions into the chat. If you want, try again. I'm going to spend some time this afternoon answering whatever questions are there or posted here. 

> MEDIA MAYHEM: Almost forgot. I don't think I'll be asking Orlando Franklin for any interviews any time soon. We requested Franklin this morning and he blew reporters off with some colorful language when approached by UM's sports information staff. "[Forget] those guys," Franklin said. 

It wasn't the first time a UM player was upset with the media. After Saturday's game, quarterback Jacory Harris lost his cool with a Virginia Tech reporter, who asked him four times if the rain was a factor. On the last try, Harris finally said "You must be a reporter from Virginia Tech aren't you?"

Comments

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face it pedro, you're a complete loser.

Stop picking on Pedro. From all outward appearances it looks like his mental labotomy went very well.

I'VE GOT IT!!!! Why doesn't Jacory start crying like a 7 year old girl and vow to not let his team lose another game. It worked in Florida! LOL

Then we can build a shrine for him during his junior season. LMFAO

GO CANES!!

Please(sniffle), don't lose(whine)another(wah)game(tear).

texas won their division last yeasr and oklahoma went to the championship game
so why not the canes with a tougher schedule if we win out????????????

Pedro brings a strong opinion and all these idiots start name calling.

TYPICAL

UM has more red flags than Russia.

still going to the champ,

Texas did not win their division last year. It was Oklahoma vs. Missouri in the Big 12 Championship game last year. Texas beat Oklahoma in the "Red River Game", but lost to Texas Tech and was out of the running to the Big 12 CG.

the true life of pedro:

1) divorced with 3 inbred kids
2) business went bankrupt
3) forclosure on the home
4) beggin for coins on street corner
5) dropped out of middle school
6) lives with grandma in the trailer
7) wastes entire life typing his idiotic opinions on this blog

=complete loser

texas won their division last yeasr and oklahoma went to the championship game
so why not the canes with a tougher schedule if we win out????????????

Posted by: still going to the champ | September 30, 2009 at 04:46 PM

because OU had a very good team. The canes are dreadful U idiot. You might understand come Sunday. Probably not!

still going to the champ,

Texas did not win their division last year. It was Oklahoma vs. Missouri in the Big 12 Championship game last year. Texas beat Oklahoma in the "Red River Game", but lost to Texas Tech and was out of the running to the Big 12 CG.


its a sledgehammer.

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

I'll tell you what will keep the Canes out of it with only one loss. SEC and Big 12. The polls love those 2 conferences so they rank as many of them as possible. While Miami plays 4 ranked teams in the begining (3 now...thanks FSU you whimps), they may not see another ranked team until the bowl game. Meanwhile, Big 12 has Texas, Oklahoma, Okla. State, Kansas, and Nebraska all are ranked right now. SEC has Florida, LSU, Alabama, Georgia,and Ole Miss all are ranked right now. ACC has only Miami, VT, and GT(25) with North Carolina and FSU falling out of the polls.

CANES...4....LIFE...CANES...4...LIFE
We will be fine come Saturday! I think these gUys are pissed off and will come to play ball like THE "U" knows how to play ball! Not in our backyard not this year! We owe them sUckas 10 fold and its time to cash that check, playa! Hopefully everybody will be back and healthy and we can go oUt here and get this win! I'm still ridin' wit yoU coach and so are the real fans! Until U are gone U are still oUr coach, so in "Randy We Trust". I would like to see RS stick his head in the defense if things aren't going well early which i expect he will, caUse he knows we really need this win to settle sUm dUst aroUnd here and beating a top 10 team can do that for Us!
CANES...4...LIFE...CANES...4...LIFE

VT WAS A STUMBLE!! JUST LIKE WASHINGTON TRIPPED UP USC, JUST LIKE BYU DID IT TO OU, AND SO ON .

LAZ

Posted by: LAZ | September 30, 2009 at 02:52 PM

.

how Ur able to reason and equate Duh Canes to the likes of RECENT POWERHOUSES like USC and OU is simply stunning ...

NOW HEAR THIS ! U ARE JUST AN AVERAGE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PROGRAM !

Now U go look up who's ranked 26-40 and there U will find Ur comparative programs U Insane Cane.

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For real though, if our Canes can focus like they did against GT, we have a real shot at winning this game by a couple of scores. I think the loss to VT will do this team good ???

Posted by: CaliCanesFan | September 30, 2009 at 03:33 PM

.

Will this unreal nonsense ever end for U ?

.

Good Luck on Ur Coaching search Pedro ... U will need it...

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.
.

Oooouuuuuuccccccchhhhhhh , Chris Fowler just said on WQAM that DUH U SHYTE UR COLLECTIVE PANTS IN BLACKSBURG !

Wait til Saturday ... Duh U have BLACK pants ?

Like I said before,

Why doesn't Jacory start crying like a 7 year old girl and vow to not let his team lose another game. It worked in Florida! LOL

Then we can build a shrine for him during his junior season. LMFAO

FYI, there is a one-on-one video interview between Jacory Harris and our Judy Erwin I just edited and posted on our homepage. Check it out when you get the chance.

Then we can build a shrine for him during his junior season. LMFAO

GO CANES!!

Please(sniffle), don't lose(whine)another(wah)game(tear).

Posted by: CaliCanesFan | September 30, 2009 at 04:40 PM


Problem is, U have NO HOME STADIUM to Disply it ...

People need to realize that these losses are growing pains for any team. Now I hate the Gators, but after that loss against Ol' Miss, they bounced back and won the national championship. Now I'm not saying we are going to win the national title this year, but that VT loss, just like that Washington loss we had in 2000, made our team hungry. We need to be patient. You cannot succeed in anything long term unless you have fallen on your face. The []_[] will bounce back from it.

Gators bounce back by playing cupcakes and almost losing at home to a Tennessee team that got waxed at home to UCLA (No wonder Urban Meyer doesn't want a series against us). LSU will OWN Florida next Saturday. Can't wait for the crying to start all over again.

We need to be patient. You cannot succeed in anything long term unless you have fallen on your face. The []_[] will bounce back from it.

Posted by: Efinlay | September 30, 2009 at 06:08 PM

And []_[] have sure put the []_[] in []_[].G.L.Y. the last 4 years ... But by all means, re-up Shannon another 5 years and U stay patient as U will stay forever yoUng ...

But while Ur at it, get Urselves some upright Walkers and then get a new FACE ...

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Can you still believe Cane Fan is STILL throwing out the , "We're Young" excUse Arty ?

Hopefully it doesnt rain on Saturday. Canes cant play in the rain. They need 70 degree weather with no humidity.

excUse U

I think Julian H hit the nail right on the head. Coker really did leave us with NOTHING!
... no senior talent

Posted by: ChicagoCane | September 30, 2009 at 09:58 AM

Epps
Fox
Baby J
Phillips
McCarthy
Bosher
Franklin*
Coop*

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING

Posted by: green | September 30, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Thanks for making my point for me green. Coop's a junior. None of those other guys would have started for the 200-2004 teams. Maybe Fox, but he's not Winston, McKinney, Vernon, etc.

Posted by: ChicagoCane | September 30, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Spot on again. Its funny that Shannon has had 3 recruiting classes yet he has still not recruited one impact player on the Oline or Dline. Why is it that while Shannon the great recruiter, he could not build a championship team like Meyer did in 3 years? Where is our Dunlap, Major Wright, Haden, Harvin, Tebow, Spikes and so on? I thought Shannon was the greatest. Keep blaming Coker even though 5 of the best lineman are Coker recruits. 2 of the 3 top TE's are Coker recruits. The top 2 TB's Coker recruits. Keep Blaming Coker but the 3 best players on defense are Coker recruits (Phillips, McCarthy and Moncur.) Outside of WR and Harris where exactly are all the studs Randy recruited.

Kehoe- your mother called. She said, what happened to Mackenzie phillips happened to you, only she didnt like it.

Adam-
What is it with Palm Beach? Is there nothing else to do but run around to Miami sites and use a bunch of different names and talk to yourself?

Has life become that rough on you?

Not even the constant eating to fight the boredom did anything to help you?

Try some meds or something to deal with your issues

By the way the statement you just made about u putting the u in ugly was classic, one of the funniest things I have ever heard

Where do you come up with all these fresh new takes?

Eating is not a sport by the way

Well ooster let see.

If you and only you define a loser as:

1)happily married with three kids
2)own my own business
3)own my own home and not the bank
4)have money up the ying not the yang because the markets are not fully back
5) have a college degree
6)do not live at home like you on calle ocho
7) have respect for everyone and thier opinion

then you right I am a loser and proud of it!!!

Posted by: pedro | September 30, 2009 at 04:42 PM


Well Pedro if u have so much goin for u why u on here hatin on shannon?? Shish it's only football!!

Orlando Franklin needs to save it for the game. You want to be ranked high, deal with the media and pressure that comes with it.

Sean Spence has talent and heart...he'll get the size eventually. Futch and Brown need to play regardless of the competition. The 'warm-up game' mentality is what will get us into trouble later in the season. It may also cost Randy Shannon his job.

#74 plays like that during the games. Hes the only one from Game 1 until now that has played with that attitude. Just look at him and hes scary

#74 is a huge man,if he says something they will listen

#57 is scary by just looks but O.F. has the whole damn package

RS might have to put the breaks on him with the media. He is an intense dude

Did you guys see that pic of Mariah Carey w/o makeup? She looks like a worn out catcher's mitt.

http://movies.yahoo.com/news/movies.ap.org/mariah-carey-finds-freedom-being-39imperfect39-ap

anyone know what the story on rivals about another whipple helpding with the qb shortage is all about?

Manny-will the dirt infield be gone by Saturday night? I sure hope so, it would look awful on primetime ABC GO CANES!!

SEAN SPENCE IS A SPECIAL ATHLETE WHOM I FEEL WILL EVENTUALLY BE A GREAT PLAYER, MY QUESTION IS THAT HE SEEMS DIFFERENT THAN THE SEAN SPENCE HIS SENIOR YEAR AT NW AND HIS FRESHMAN YEAR AT THE UM SO I'M WONDERING IS IT HIS ADDED WEIGHT OR THE NEW DEFENSIVE COACH LOVETT???(NO DISRESPECT INTENDED) PSALMS 4

anyone know what the story on rivals about another whipple helpding with the qb shortage is all about?

Posted by: Caneiac | September 30, 2009 at 10:39 PM


I know he has a son Spencer that transfered from Pitt to UMASS (sophmore QB) and another son who is a sophmore QB at ST.Thomas High.

Maybe he is helping us recruit????

I like Spence as a player but it is clear he is undersized. He is 215 going against 250 pound tight ends. He belongs on the weakside. McCarthy belongs on the strong side. No one disputes Spence's desire or his intellect. But you have to have the body to play the position. Will he be a beast at strong side as a senior? No doubt. But he is not there at this time of life. Let him play where he can, not where we want him to be.

let ray ray play!

If you people thought we were going undefeated your have to be crazy. Just becuase we lost in the hardest place to play in the rain. when we are a quick shtike passing team. They did an excellent job . The game plan for them was great . but we ajusted and came out and scored in less than two minutes. then 3 and out. Then were about to score again to make it a one posseesion game and our b-ball player drops two big time balls . If we score there the momention ingoing our way but who knows. THese kids (babys) we have starting are super compared to the rest of the country's freshmen and sophmores. Reality says 9-3 but very well couldm be better. If our nineteen year olds are playing this good now give it a littletime. ONe thought??? washington huskies 2000. What happen after that.... 36-1

Thanks Manny. That makes sense. Hope we have a few blow-out games in the future where some of those players will get an opportunity to play. I leave STL for Mia in a few hours for my annual U and Dolphins weekend w/ my son. I can't wait. See U all at the game.

“Last week obviously was just a disaster. Bad game-planning by me and we didn’t play very hard, I think.”

He was an assistant last year. He's a nobody. When he makes comments like that you should be highly worried. If you aren't it's because you have your head in the sand. He was outcoached by a mile. As was the entire three stooges staff.

Whipple is a washed up nobody too. Watch OU's d line expose what a fraud this guy is. Dude was unemployed a year ago. Manny could have outschemed FSU. GT's defense is nothing to be excited about. VT crushed his attack EASILY. OU has a much better D-line than any of those teams.

The friendly confines of Mudshark Stadium (saying Landshark just makes me laugh) will not help in this one. 40,000 show up if your lucky. The place was nowhere near half full for GT. There were enough UM magnets for everyone. Underprviledged kids LOVE them some UM swag.

2-2
.500 is what u are

" Hope we have a few blow-out games in the future..."

Oh U will have a few blowout games alright. It's Shannon's history to have an historic blowout loss every year. (free tip: VT was NOT this years version)

with the band of court jester coaches U have presently, it's safe money that another one awaits. Rest easy battered canefan. You'll head right out the back door of the rankings in two short days and all the hype and false bravado will evaporate with it. That's a no brainer.

The OU D-line knows the absolute quickest way to completely hush the Mudshark army. "TWIGGY GOES DOWN... TWIGGY GOES DOWN!" He'll be "numb" alright.

U will be so outclassed Saturday that it will blow you ignorant minds. Seriously. There is no comparison in talent or coaching. NONE.

truth- put a lid on the same old comments. you are boring me. yawwwwn.

everyone knows you are ke-puke so enough already. Not only do you not make sense, but you are full of unexplained hate. I feel sorry for you.

No Excuses..It's time for a big win at home!

WHEN I VIEW A LOT OF THE COMMENTS IN REGARDS TO THE UM. IT'S OBVIOUS SOME HAVE ALREADY DEFECTED. I AM REMINDED OF WHAT A MINISTER ONCE SAID. HE SAID "IF YOU GET CAUGHT UP ON PEOPLE COMPLIMENTS, YOU'LL GO CRAZY ON THEIR CRITICISM". I'M GLAD IT'S THE PLAYERS AND COACHES WHOSE INVOLVED IN THE GAME. I THANK GOD WHEN I SAY I'M FOR YOU, I'M FOR YOU EVEN WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER ADVERSITY. TRUE FRIENDSHIP IS DEFINED AS STANDING WITH SOMEONE WHEN EVERYONE ELSE DOUBT THEM. REMEMBER THE MIRROR ONLY REFLECTS WHAT'S PROJECTED IN IT. PROVERBS 15:1

anyone know what the story on rivals about another whipple helpding with the qb shortage is all about?

Posted by: Caneiac | September 30, 2009 at 10:39 PM

His son Spencer tranferred from UMass to Miami to be closer to his family and is now the scout team QB for us

We are just a couple days removed from getting our jocks handed to us and some of you are STILL talking NC. Stop the nonsense. With the swiss cheese of a defense and lousy special teams, it ain't going to happen. When these problems are fixed, and this team learns to play 4 quarters of football in all kinds of weather, than we can start talking about ring 6. Until then, be happy that Jacory, Whip, the O-line and a stable of talented receivers might get us to 9-3 this year.

anyone know what the story on rivals about another whipple helpding with the qb shortage is all about?

Posted by: Caneiac | September 30, 2009 at 10:39 PM

His son Spencer tranferred from UMass to Miami to be closer to his family and is now the scout team QB for us

Posted by: U Of Miami | October 01, 2009 at 08:24 AM

Great, hopefully that will help keep Whipple ball at UM for even longer!

Before Whipple gets crowned the savoir of maimi football, can we please see how the offense does against ou.

He laid an egg agains vt.

ou defense is better.

Posted by: pedro | October 01, 2009 at 10:29 AM

(((((crickets)))))

Sorry Pedro, everyone is too busy gulping Kool-Aid

it's amazing.

First of all, Jacory did not lose his cool, the reporter was being a jerk.

As far as the D, we lost 2 premier D linemen to injury to start the season. We lost 2 more before the VT game and lost Vernon early at Blacksburg against a physical team in a monsoon. Someone want to tell me what D coordinator can lose 5 of his 8 2-deep D lineman on an already inexperienced team and dominate the the line of scrimmage under those conditions?

Wise up people. They are young and need experience. They've also had a ton of injuries in the secondary. Give them a chance.

2010 is the return of the U, not 2009. Just enjoy the process.

PEDRO,,

ERES UN MAMA_GUEVO!

oh yeah, PEDRO!. You OWN your own business. So how many people do you SCAM daily. Your wife is probably out with my ex-wife sipping Margheritas while your home taking care of the kids and talking garbage on this post.

TRUE FRIENDSHIP IS DEFINED AS STANDING WITH SOMEONE WHEN EVERYONE ELSE DOUBT THEM. REMEMBER THE MIRROR ONLY REFLECTS WHAT'S PROJECTED IN IT. PROVERBS 15:1

posted by RICK THE TRUTH SPEAKER

Why is it that the bible thumpers always sound like complete morons or wackos or both?

JESUS SAVES..... Jesus invests... Jesus retires early

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