« Why U should fear Clemson | Main | McClinton headed to Turkey »

T. Johnson has found role on offense

When Tervaris Johnson was switched from the secondary to tight end in the spring of 2008, Joe Pannunzio took it as if the 6-3, 240-pound senior was being given his last chance to make something of himself as a Hurricane.

Tervaris Johnson “When they gave him to me, I was like ‘All right I guess they’re giving him to me to run him the hell out of here,’” Pannunzio joked Wednesday morning. “Next thing I know he’s playing. Thank god we got him.”

According to Pannunzio Johnson is UM’s “most unsung hero on offense.” With fullback Patrick Hill injured and tight end Richard Gordon out for the season, Johnson has stepped up and filled a big void for the Hurricanes as a blocking back and tight end. He’s caught two passes for 24 yards and made a few big blocks according to his position coach.

“He does all the things nobody else sees and all the little things that really make us function,” Pannunzio said. “He’s probably the most improved guy – he is the most improved guy I have. He blocks when we need him to block. He’s made a couple catches when we’ve needed him to catch. He’s been a huge, huge factor for us. The other day [at UCF] we’re on the goal line with a quick play, sweep play and he just buries the edge. He’s a guy if you were lucky enough to come back and watch the films you’d say that 23 has something to him. I’m really proud of how he’s developed.”

Of course, this wasn’t how Johnson’s career was supposed to pan out. Considered the fourth best safety in the country by Rivals during his senior year at Monsignor Pace, Johnson wowed UM coaches when he earned Defensive MVP honors at their 2005 summer camp. But much like Damien Berry, who came to UM as a safety, Johnson has found new life in the Canes backfield.

“Whether I’m blocking or running routes, I know my role and I’m all for the team,” Johnson said. “Blocking was the biggest thing people thought was going to be a problem for me. But coming from the defensive side of the ball, I’m aggressive. It wasn’t a problem with me.”

Johnson said what he enjoys most about where he’s playing now are the mismatches he can create because of his speed and ability. Johnson was a force on offense in high school. I was there the day he caught a long pass in the 2003 Class 3A state championship to set up the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter as a sophomore. But he has no regrets the way his career has gone.

“To me, I’ve finally found a place,” Johnson said. “The coaches feel I’m versatile. I’ll help the team wherever I can.”

PANNUNZIO TALKS SPECIAL TEAMS/TIGHT ENDS: While most fans feel Pannunzio hasn’t done a very good job as the special teams coordinator, UM’s stats tell somewhat of a different story.

Joe Pannunzio > While UM’s kickoff coverage against Florida State and Georgia Tech was atrocious, the Canes have gotten a lot better over their last four games as walk-on Alex Uribe has settled into his new job. While the Yellow Jackets and Seminoles enjoyed an average field position of the 40-yard line and nearly a 22-yard average on returns, UM has been much better since. Opponents have averaged just 19 yards a return and have had an average field position following kickoffs of their own 26-yard line over the last four games. Opponents have returned it beyond their own 40 just once (FAMU’s LeRoy Vann returned it to the 45), and eight times beyond their own 30. The other 12 kickoffs have been returned for less than that.

> Matt Bosher has punted 22 times this season. He’s had one blocked and another snap sail over his head. But of the 22 he’s put his foot on, only three have really been returned. Oklahoma’s Dominique Franks brought one back 51 yards to the UM 48. That return alone accounted for most of the 14.3 yard average opponents have had. Of the other 19 punts Bosher has delivered: seven have resulted in fair catches, six were downed, two went out bounds, two were touchbacks and two were fumbles recovered by the receiving team.

> Continuing to do a good job on kickoff and punt coverage will be important this week against C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford, two spectacular athletes with track speed and tremendous ability in the open field. They’ve combined to return nine kicks or punts back in their careers for scores. Clemson ranks seventh in punt returns and eighth in kickoff returns nationally.

“They’re talented guys,” Pannunzio said. “[Ford] is every bit as good as Eddie [Royal] was for Virginia Tech. That guy could run me out of this job if we don’t hem him up.”

> Pannunzio agreed with UM coach Randy Shannon, who said what has made Uribe effective on kickoffs has been “hangtime.”

“It seems like since they changed the rule and move the ball back to the 30, your not getting the touch backs you used to have,” Pannunzio said. “The ball would go out the back of the end zone. Now, these balls are getting returned. The same thing is happening in the NFL. So, you need to really make sure your guys get down there to cover. [Spiller and Ford] aren’t guys you are going to bring down with one guy. You need to get two or three guys around them.”

> Pannunzio stressed what a huge loss Jordan Futch (torn ACL) was to UM’s special teams two weeks ago. “On kickoff returns he made our kickoff return go because he would take on double teams,” Pannunzio said. “On kickoff coverage he was a wild man, go and take out the wedge and everybody else would clean up. We have to find a guy. We probably don’t have that guy just yet. The guys who have to step up and do that are Ray Buchanon, Ray Ray Armstrong, Arthur Brown, Kylan Robinson and CJ Holton. Those guys have to develop and take over that role Jordan had for us.”

> While Corey Nelms has provided a jolt to the special teams as a walk-on, UM’s most productive tackler on special teams is actually sophomore Arthur Brown. I went through all six games and tallied up who had solo and assisted tackles on punts and kickoffs. AB is the man. Here are the totals: Arthur Brown 4 1/2, Alex Uribe 4, Damien Berry 3 1/2, CJ Holton 3, Matt Bosher 3, Ray Buchanon 2 1/2, Corey Nelms 2 1/2, Ray Ray Armstrong 2, DeMarcus Van Dyke 2, Sam Shields 2, Jordan Futch 1 1/2, Lee Chambers 1/2, Brandon McGee 1/2, Ryan Hill 1/2, Kylan Robinson 1/2, Kendall Thompkins 1/2, John Calhoun 1/2, Tommy Streeter 1/2.

> Pannunzio said redshirt freshman Jake Wieclaw is continuing to work on strengthening his leg. “His thing is he’s a real accurate field goal guy and you have to play to your kids strengths,” Pannunzio said. “That’s what he really does good. He’s a guy whose leg strength isn’t exactly what you’d want. A year ago nobody – including myself – put Alex Uribe in this mix. But kids develop and things change. He’s got to work on his leg strength.”

> As for the tight end position, freshman Billy Sanders is currently the only player expected back at the position next year. Pannunzio said Sanders is benefiting from being the only tight end on the scout team. “When you factor in my bad coaching,” Pannunzio said. “We got to make sure we get a lot of good players [in recruiting].”

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Outkast, you make a very good point about the TE's! My main beef is about the Spcl Teams! Y'all memba the confusion during the FSU game last year? How many times has UM had to call time outs on field goals and punts the last couple of years because they couldn't get the right people on the field? At least 3 or 4! UNCONSCIONABLE!!!

Look up the stats for USC's tight end? He's not doing pretty bad for himself against some pretty tough competition - outperforming ALL of UM's TE's!!!

What does that have to do with anything?

Look up the stats for many time's TX Tech QB passed the ball??? It means nothing!

Tebow is the best QB in college fb, but I would rather have Harris. Tebow runs for more hards than any other QB?? Who cares!

Yes, the special teams might be just OK but what do you want them to do.

Actually, if you were the coach what would you do to fix the problem?

A stat for ya.....

Kick off return yardage Miami 25 USC 108

Didn't you compare Miami TE to USC TE?

Are YOU willing to say that Pannunzio is a GOOD coach?!!!

YES, I THINK P. IS A GREAT COACH!

StricktlyRoots
Berry starting

Its inside info. Its very possible though, but not definite. His dad is Kenny Berry who was a DB at UM under Jimmy JOhnson.

JUST OKAY???!!! This is MIAMI we're talking about! There's no such thing as JUST OKAY! And the special teams aren't okay, they're pretty bad! Shannon would not have taken them over last year if they were okay!

You missed the point of my reference of the TE stats. I was responding to someone else who was asserting that the TE's were tearing things up!

If I were coach PANZ couldn't be on my staff! The one thing about special teams is they HAVE to be the MOST organized unit on your entire team - without question!

How often have you seem marginal teams with great special teams excel??!!! Quite often! Special teams, if they were better could've won at least 4 or 5 games for UM over the past couple years!

Two things have hurt UM over the past few years - poor special teams and the clock change in college football! The clock change is why these bad teams have been coming through with upsets... It has had a HUGE effect on the game!

Being critical is fine. No problems being critical. As long as you are consistent & thorough with your message. Like I said, the disagreement is about the credibility of your message. Instead, you would rather continue to make it about you wanting to disagree & press without that credibility. Saying one thing then rebute what you initialy said loses your message.

Go look up your own stats to prove your point. Can you tell me who specifically RS recruited during Coker's years during those bad strategies? Do you know if they were the players that were busts or were they the one's that actually played well? You want to look things up & prove your points, look that up.

You lost me when you said you would rather have Nix.

The coach who is no longer coaching, couldn't find a job.

Great for Berry if he starts!

I think they should put Shields on KO returns to use his speed. Brandon Harris puts in a half-hearted return on KO's!

RAW, I am not comparing the U with USC. USC is a an overhyped bag of wind! Somebody put up the TE stat's like they worldbreaking and I was just showing that they aren't that impressive taken by themselves when compared to what some individuals are doing. But, more importantly, do you think TWENTY-FIFTH is GOOD???!!!! It's not GOOD when you have 5 or 6 (maybe more) guys on you roster who run sub 4.4's.

Seriously, is 25th GOOD?!!! What have we come to?! 25th!!!!

RAW, you think someone else will hire PANZ??!!! Honestly, with a straight face?!!! I SAID and I continue that Nix was a BETTER coach than him - I mean it!

Dyrty, I appreciate you reiterating that I am going in circles, flip-flopping, snowboarding down and a hill and chasing rainbows, but I am still waiting for you to mention ONE stat! You keep attacking ME, but why don't you defend PANZ?! Cause ya' can't! He's a BAD coach! The man was stripped of his duties last year! I'm not the ONLY person that says he is BAD - Randy Shannon says he's a BAD coach! Go argue with him!!!

I'm done!

Again, you look foolish when your saying Nix (Who can't find a Job) is a better coach the P.

Pannunzio's Coaching Career:

2006-present: University of Miami (Tight Ends/Special Teams Coordinator)
2000-05: Murray State (Head Coach)
1999: Auburn (Tight Ends/Special Teams)
1995-98: Mississippi (Tight Ends/Special Teams)
1992-94: Minnesota (Tight Ends/Special Teams)
1991: TCU (Tight Ends/Special Teams)
1987-1990: Mesa College (Offensive Coordinator)
1985-86: Kansas (Tight Ends)
1982-84: Mesa College (Quarterbacks, Receivers)
1981: Southern Colorado (Receivers)

Coaching Accomplishments:

• Guided punt/kick returner Travis Benjamin to Freshman All-America honors in 2008
• One of four coaches to win Ohio Valley Conference championships at Murray State, joining Mike Gottfried, Frank Beamer and Houston Nutt
• Considered one of the top special teams coaches in college football
• Instrumental in the development of Kelly Blackwell, who set the tight end receiving record at TCU
• Coached in two NAIA national championship games at Mesa College

Nix can't find a job and P could be a head coach!

Maybe we should hire Beamer?

I didn't go into this year's stats but UM is 68th in PR, and 87th in Net Punting!!!

Now, are you willing to say PANZ is a BAD coach?!

RAW, Ron Zook has a resume too but I wouldn't want him coaching my team!!! I read Panz's resume on the website and WHAT exactly is your point?! That you can cut and paste?!

That's why I don't comment. You're cutting and pasting a resume while our special teams looks like the business end of a baboon!!!!

GIVE ME SOME STATS MAN!!! OR AT LEAST TELL ME WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME OUR SPCL TEAMS CHANGED A GAME FOR THE BETTER?!!!!

YOU ALL ARE WAY TOO EMOTIONAL!!!

Yes, and Alabama ranked #2 and TCU #8 are below us.

Maybe they should be fired? Their only two of the most respected coaches in CFB.

Punt return average:

Miami 68
Florida 100

Fire Urban!

Kickoff return average:

Miami 25
LSU 91
Bama 45

Fire them both1

Kickoff return D:

Miami 47
Bama 102
USC 73

Fire them toooooooooo

RAW, where do Bama (whom I hate!) and TCU rank defensively again?! They don't need special teams as badly as we do!!!

On a side note, when was the last time we saw a wall set up on a punt return? Not saying that that's the best blocking scheme on returns but I'd like to see them use it! I haven't seen anyone use the wall in a while.

Stat's, there's your stats!

RAW, where do Bama (whom I hate!) and TCU rank defensively again?! They don't need special teams as badly as we do!!!

Stupid comment!

On a side note, when was the last time we saw a wall set up on a punt return? Not saying that that's the best blocking scheme on returns but I'd like to see them use it! I haven't seen anyone use the wall in a while.

I'm sure coaching is pretty easy and pay's well, why don't you apply?

RAW, where do all of those teams rank defensively? Also, what you're gonna find is that those teams get fewer return opportunities and they'll probably have lower net punt yards against them. Those teams are consistently winning field position battles. If you haven't noticed UM hasn't had a lot of short fields.

Didn't Bama have a PR TD against Va Tech? I don't recall...

Miami is ranked 25 in total D! Right there with them.

RAW, if I must respond to your juvenile argument, then those teams don't have Good special team coaches either! Does that make you happy?! They should fire their ST coaches too!

NOW, does any of THAT which you have shared make PANZ a better coach?! He's not as bad as LSU, Bama, UF coaches - But HE STILL SUCKS! I can bet you dollars to doughnuts that none of those teams have gotten a penalty for 12 men on the field during a punt return in the last 3 years!

But I guess 25 in total D isn't good enough for a program who continues to build and get better.

12 men on the field during a punt return

That wasn't coaching, that was Sam Shields running onto the field mistaking the call. It happens.

The 25th ranking for the D is an improvement on last year which is a sign of building. The Spcl Teams are regressing!

Apply for the job, see ya!

Let's make it simple: what about the special teams do you like? What facet of special teams impresses you? What exactly are they doing that gives you confidence? How are they changing games?

You can say that O is light years ahead of last year and can score at anytime from anywhere. They have multiple weapons. They understand what they're doing. They're maturing and should be great real soon.

The D is gaining confidence. They're game planning better. They can be stout. They make critical stops.

What can you say about the Spcl Teams?

Not the penalty from last year - the one from 2006 against FSU! It sticks in my craw! You NEVER see that penalty because Spcl Teams are usually highly organized, but not at UM!

Have you stopped to ask yourself why is a former HEAD COACH been demoted to just special teams and not a Coordinator position? There's a reason for that!

hey dipshits, we have head coaches at major spots, do your homework.

PS who's going to pay for bigger name coaches

So CALI, you're saying UM has PANZ cause he's cheap and the school doesn't want to pay?! And there's another former college head coach at UM that is not a coordinator?! Who is he?!

I don't know if Panz is good or not. But one thing I know is that special teams is about depth. You have 2nd, 3rd and 4th stringers on these teams usually. In case you havent noticed but Coker's recruiting wasnt very good, which means our 1st stringers weren't as good as they should be and our depth at each position gets exponentially worse down the chart. I think you'll start to see a major improvement next year as the depth continues to build. After the first couple of games when everyone was saying the U is back, I told my friends that when the start taking punts and kickoffs back is when they will be all the way back. I wanna see the reverses on punnt returns and guys setting up the wall and destroying guys( ala jordan futch's hit on gt this season) As long as they continue to improve each game, I will have no complaints. Go Canes. Ain't nothin like the []_[]

Special teams does not look good. Bosher looks like he's going to get blocked every kick, he's to slow, but more importantly, what hurts us the most Istheregression of private Benjamin as a returner. Rememer when he came out firs and blew people
Away? Now he doesn't even return kicks we have guys returning punts and kicks that should be nowhere near the Field on special teams...and don't give me they are trying to make him into a receiver, because we are stacked at receiver I would rather see him return kicks and change the game. And even if he wants receiver, Devon Hester returned kicks and played on offense and defense.

I agree with Phuk.

Pimple and stickly- enough already.

Who cares at this point. Who was it against that qwe agve them the ball at the 40 yd line every time- GT? We still won. As long as we dont let anyone take it to the house or into our territory on a run back. I mean it sucks that we cant kick into theend zone regularly and pin teams back, but, Oh well. Let the D take over.

BAWAHAHAHAHAHA Sarasota'cane using my name. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Thank you Sarasota.

Love that the Gators are #100 in punt returns. You Canes fans are so dumb. Wasting your boring life looking for something the Gators are bad in and the best you can come up with is punt returns? BAWHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAH That is why we are #1 and the Canes are in the middle of the pack of a boring, mediocre ACC basketball conference. Maybe the Gators are so low because no one kicks to Brandon James at all? Ever think of that? You guys should know because you watch the Gators every week on National Television.

I am sure if the Gator program was so bad that their games were only on ESPNU or the internet, you guys would watch since you are pros at that from watching all the Canes games on these obscure outlets.

The only thing that matters is #1 in the BCS and winning our conference (which we lead our division) in the toughest conference in football.

Since the Canes joined a conference with a conference championship game, they havent even made it to the game. WEAK! Long way away from those walk in the park schedules, no conference championships and home national title games. Isnt so easy now? Imagine if you were in a good conference too? One where you had to bring your game every single week. Instead you will play those weak teams in that mediocre conference in addition to that ridiculous non conference of FAMU, FIU and whatever other weak beaten down school you could find in Florida. Surprised you didnt add some South Florida school of the arts or school of the blind.


Cant spell bUs without da U.

Honestly, there has to be a problem when Randy Shannon keeps saying "we have to do a better job on special teams" every week. On offense and defense he says, we need to improved on a few things because they know what they're working with. On special teams we have to keep changing things every week. I don't look too much into stats when it comes to special teams, except i know Brown leads the team in tackles, but the best player on Special Teams is Nelms and that is because he is a former walk-on and has something to prove.
Let's just hope we come out to play this weekend and show that we're not that bad against one of the best return teams in the nation.
GO CANES, GO CANES, GO CANES

BAWAHAHAHAHAHA Sarasota'cane using my name. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Thank you Sarasota.

The NEW Pimple is in town, for GOOD!

Go U!

Wow, i just read through the dialog gentlemen. Strictly..wtf you talkin about?? 1st you talk about the coach Panz not being able to coach and then when u compare the te stats you clearly mention byu's STAR F***in te like their offense (including the other te u mentioned from fau) isn't run thru them as the main reciever. We don't run the plays their coaches run and we don't play THE SORRY ASS TEAMS they play. Coaching has a slight grasp on a player's potential. It's the players mental make-up not the coaches ability to get him to play well. lmao...you just want someone to argue with. When you look up facts tell me who they play then i'll actually listen to you. P.S. I really do believe u're a canes fan so people really do need to stop riding you. You're just stuck on Paz cause you believe SOMEONE HAS TO GO! lol..i feel you though..it does feel like maybe one more (don't know though)coaching change may POSSIbly bring a oz. more of production.

I am a "U" fan and love me some green and orange. Was wondering as well why we don't have anyone running back punt returns. We have always had a very good ST and now they look like crap. There is some validity to SticklyRoots point, there is no denying. Is it the ST Coach? If so, hopefully RS will see their is a need for change and do it at the end of the year. I didn't like the fact that Pannunzio even said "when you factor in my bad coaching". What kind of crap is that for a coach to say in print. Nough said. GO CANES!!!

Yeah, I was wondering who #23 was as well. Now I know!! Great job young brother. It's players like you who will be greatly rewarded the end. Stay Ballin!!!!!

WOW, I haven't posted in a long time but it's nice to see someone posting under my old screenname. I quit posting as much as I used to back under OKelly's blog. The Canespace blog turned into a political venting blog and turned me off. Haven't been there since. I still see some of the old posters like Sarasota and Green hangin in there and takin care of the Gayturd trolls. Nice!

On Coach Panz, the play overall needs to improve. Seems like Benjamin gets little time to make a first move before the coverage team is on him. They are hitting real hard at times. Maybe they should show the special teams hits from last years NC game to get them jacked up!

On another note. The freaking SEC decided to suspend the officiating crew from that laugher against Arkansas. Coincidentally, it is the same crew to assist LSU against Georgia when they were ranked high. I guess it was becoming too obvious and they needed to silence the critics. (Good Old boys gettin er done!) Too late for Richt and Petrino though.

BTW, you gayturds can lick my orange and green sac!!

Hey coach shannon and pannunzio there's a kid in orange county, california at orange lutheran high school that can kick a 55 yard field goal.

« 1 2

The comments to this entry are closed.