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Shannon's Spring Goal: "Get tougher"

Remember what the University of Miami football team looked like the last time they were out on the field? On the sidelines, players were huddled next to heaters. On the field, the Wisconsin Badgers were pounding the Hurricanes on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Flatly, the Canes looked like a wimpy team in their 20-14 loss in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Randy ShannonHurricanes coach Randy Shannon doesn't want any more of that. He wants the Hurricanes who took joy in slapping around ACC champion Georgia Tech and out-muscled big, bad Oklahoma. So the goal this spring, according to Shannon, is simple: "Get tougher."

"It's going to be physical football this spring," Shannon said during his half hour meeting with the media Monday to preview the start of spring football. 

"I want to see us take our next step on improving in a lot of different areas. We need to cause a lot more turnovers on defense, cut down on turnovers [offensively]. Our running backs did not fumble the football last year, I don't think a receiver fumbled the football last year. So we do a great job running the football; we have to cut down on other aspects of it. And finishing is the biggest thing. Some games we finished strong; some games we didn't have that extra oomph that last two minutes of the game to get us where we needed to be. At the end of practice we'll put them in situations that `offense we need this done, defense we need this done.' And whoever doesn't get it done we'll know and we can evaluate on who we can really rely on at those critical times."

In essence, Shannon said, the kid gloves are coming off for most of the players who were brought in as part of the nation's No. 1 recruiting class two years ago. 

"It's time for them to take that jump," Shannon said. "The big-time players, their third and fourth year, they really respond. Like [Leonard] Hankerson, his first two years everybody was down on him. But it's just the process of it. Now, last year, his third year, he had a breakout year. Now it's time for Sean Spence to step up, Andrew Smith, Marcus Robinson. All of those guys who have been here two years, now it's their third year. You can see the improvement from their first and second year. Now, we got to see the jump."

> Shannon said he plans to be harder on his offensive line and defensive lines than he's ever been, especially because of the amount of depth both positions have entering the spring. 

"By the end of the spring, those guys are going to hate me," Shannon said. "But it's what we have to do. When we've been at our best, when we beat Oklahoma, when we beat Virginia, those guys were knocking heads on both sides of the line. When we lost to Virginia and Oklahoma, we got our butts kicked. I'm going to get after those guys this spring. I'm going to tell you if they aren't doing well and if they're struggling. We have to be a physical football team all the time." 

Orlando Franklin  > Ultimately, Shannon says, the best five offensive linemen -- regardless of position -- will be who starts and who plays come September. Other than left tackle, where senior Orlando Franklin is anchored, spots will be won and lost over the next seven months for the other four positions. 

Shannon said Ben Jones will enter the spring as the starting right tackle. Redshirt freshmen Jermaine Johnson, Stephen Plein and Cory White will rotate as backups at both tackle positions. On the inside, junior Tyler Horn will run with the first team at center with sophomore Brandon Washington and junior Harland Gunn at the guard positions. Backups in the interior will be redshirt freshman Jared Wheeler and true freshmen Malcolm Bunche and Shane McDermott

"It's a starting point on what [we] want to get done," Shannon said. "Whoever develops will play... If we happen to get three offensive tackles that are the best guys on the offensive line, one of them will go in and play guard. I'm going to tell you that now. If the guards are playing best, someone will go to tackle. We have the numbers to say whoever are the best five, those are the best five we're going to play no matter what position they are."

Corey Nelms > Shannon said walk-on and 2009 special teams standout Corey Nelms will have every opportunity this spring to impress at cornerback and expects him to push sophomore Brandon McGee for the team's fourth cornerback slot. Nelms, a 6-1, 195-pound senior, hasn't played cornerback since arriving at UM on a partial track scholarship. "Look at it this way: the best guys off special teams usually become your real good players," Shannon said. "When you see a guy who really does well on special teams, he will eventually be able to help your program out."

Junior Brandon Harris and seniors Demarcus Van Dyke and Ryan Hill will begin the spring in the top three slots at corner. Despite losing three seniors from the secondary, Shannon said he's pleased with the experience in his defensive backfield and expects UM to create more turnovers in 2010. Sophomores Ray Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque, senior Jared Campbell, junior Jojo Nicolas and redshirt freshman Jamal Reid are the safeties. Shannon said baseball coach Jim Morris inquired about having Reid, a standout baseball player in high school, play baseball after spring football is over.

> Shannon insists senior Colin McCarthy will only see time at middle linebacker in nickel situations. Redshirt freshman Shayon Green, coming off a season-ending knee injury, will start in the middle and will be backed up by senior Kylan Robinson. Sophomore CJ Holton, true freshman Tyrone Cornelius and two walk-ons will backup Sean Spence and McCarthy at outside linebacker. 

"We're giving Shayon his opportunity to play that position," Shannon said. "After 15 days of spring football we'll assess it and reevaluate what we need to get done... He's a hard worker, a big, big guy that has athletic ability, can run. You miss a year of football, now you have to re-teach the part about tackling, the coverages. Those are the intricate parts he missed that he has to catch up on. Will it come by in the first week? No. But he should get it by the second or third week because he'll get a lot of reps at it."

Damien Berry  > Senior Damien Berry has assumed the team's leadership spot at running back and Shannon said his next step is improving his pass protection, calling Berry's pass blocking skills "okay."  Shannon said Berry, a special teams standout, will continue to participate in special teams drills even if his workload increases at running back.

"He's improved every year he's been at running back, but now he has to take that next step of being 'The guy,'" Shannon said. "He's been a great team leader this off-season. He knows Mike James is back, you have Storm [Johnson] and Lamar Miller, guys just as good as he is. That's what makes a great football player, that he accepts those challenges but also doesn't make it a personal vendetta."

> Junior Chris Ivory, last year's long-snapper on field goals, will handle both punting and field goal duties. He will be backed up by redshirt freshman tight end Billy Sanders

> Shannon said he never gave pushing spring football back any thought even after quarterback Jacory Harris had thumb surgery.  "You can't let one person dictate what you have to get done. You get your six weeks of lifting in, then get spring ball in, finish up," Shannon said. "We look at it as a standpoint of get spring football in, find out who took that next step, but also if someone gets nicked or injured you can get them back in August. August is the key."

Shannon said sophomore A.J. Highsmith will debut as the first team quarterback Tuesday, but could get passed up by true freshman Stephen Morris if he doesn't show improvement. "You can't stay the same. He knows that, is excited about it," Shannon said. "The other two quarterbacks are excited about it. Spencer [Whipple] is excited about it and Stephen is excited about it. The NCAA gives us two hours a week to meet with the guys and we've been meeting with them. They're kind of biting at the bit. You want to a guy to manage the game, score points, and do what we ask offensively to get it done."

As for Morris, Shannon said he wants the freshman to "just go out there and be himself." "The one thing you don't want is have guys try to be above and beyond what they're call of duty is supposed to be," Shannon said. "You go out and do your job and you'll be successful. You try to do above and beyond the call of duty, you tend to make mistakes that way. Any great player at any position, they do their job.

> Shannon said he's excited about the return of defensive end Adewale Ojomo. Shannon said the 6-4, 253-pound junior, who missed all of last season with a broken jaw, has matured. "He sees a lot of different things from a coaches standpoint that as a player he did not see before," Shannon said. "His weight is up to 255, 260, he's been running, lifting, looks strong like before. I'm excited to see where he's at. Ojomo plays with a lot of enthusiasm, excitement."

- For those of you that missed it, I had a write up and video from Sunday's Under Armour Combine at the Dolphins practice facility.

- Here is the link to the complete audio interview from Coach Shannon's press conference on Monday.


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Let's Go Canes!!
I can't wait till Spring ball!!

"By the end of the spring, those guys are going to hate me,"

End of Spring? Don't look now, but according to Cote's poll of what local coach should get the axe, it seems you may be ahead of schedule.

Lets get it Canes

6 Rows up at the 30. See ya'll there. 1-800-GO CANES. Get your season tic's with your tax return people , it's almost like they are free!!! See ya'll at CANEFEST!!!


Good update Manny!

Will you guys have any real access to any spring practices? Or is this another year of Shannon telling everyone after practice "guys were flying around"? lol

Hopefully they get tougher,bigger,stronger, and smarter

Hey, I like Shannon's attitude this year. In your face, "get the next person to do it if you can't" attitude. He seems reved this year. Go Shayon. That dude is a freaking beast. 6'2. Bout time we got a linebacker over 4ft tall. I've said this before, it all starts with the lines. Great offensive line and great defensive line, we GET to a national championship. Great defensive line, we WIN a championship. Offense sells tickets, and wins games, but DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS!! Everybody, circle Sep. 11, 2010. Ohio St. must go down. I dont care if we go 1-11 and our only win is against Ohio St.

GO CANES!! See you all in March.

I like Shannon goals for this spring. This team does need to get stronger and tougher. I also think starting spring early in the year is good idea, so any injured players have more time to recover for fall camp.


Let there be no doubt....Randy's THE MAN!!!

He knew the level of talent (or lack thereof) he was starting with...

He methodically took every logical step necessary to put the U into contention

and he is poised to succeed now and into the very bright future......

!!!GO CANES!!!

(Hey Pres Shalala........PAY THE MAN - HE DESERVES IT!!!)

I'm not waiting til the end of the spring...I hate him now.

A warm weathered team playing in less than ideal conditions=whimps?

Shannon is a hard ass homie. he is like rene enriquez. if u dont know who he is, look him up. i mean, his demeanor on the sideline is deadly silent. and that is why he has my highest level of respect.

I like his get tough attitude I just hope half the team doesn't end up injured in the process. I remember last Spring's practice had a bunch of injuries by the end of that season.

Thanks Manny!

Kudos to Coach Shannon. Players were soft, which were part of the reasons for the injuries. Competion/depth are the cure for injuries. As a result, you will see a better team on both side of the ball. It's time for the team to get back to playing HURRICANE football; tough, fast, and physical!!!

Shannon is a Cane-4-Life. Regardless of what you haters say, the man knows what he is doing!! All you haters want another coach to get the credit for Shannon's recruits, fire him and win, it ain't gonna happen!!!!

Posted by: ah, excuse me, but do you think we might be able to get a real coach? | February 22, 2010 at 03:42 PM

RS has exactly the right attitude. An extra measure of toughness is what's needed.

Trolls go back to your Gata boards and 31 arrests.

I have been saying this for 2 years - the Canes have to get tougher, because the teams that beat them were not more talented - they were tougher than the Canes.

Last year VaTech, North Carolina, and Wisconsin dominated the O-Line.

The Canes' D-Line was not consistent. They played great against GaTech and Oklahoma, but they need to learn how to dominate for one (1) series of downs, then 2-3 series, then a quarter, a half, a game, 2-3 games, a season.

Sometimes I don't think these guys know how good those Miami teams of the 80's and 90's were.

Those Canes teams didn't dominant for a few downs or a series - they dominated for seasons. Look at the stat line.. The defenses would give up 10-11pts a game for multiple seasons. I believe they had one team that gave up 9pts a game one year.

These Canes have a steep climb to the top!!

"By the end of the spring, those guys are going to hate me,"
End of Spring? Don't look now, but according to Cote's poll of what local coach should get the axe, it seems you may be ahead of schedule.

Posted by: ah, excuse me, but do you think we might be able to get a real coach.



I'm liking what i'm reading.
It all starts with the D. If the D is consistently very good, we have a chance to win every game.

It's all good, but why were they not tough last year? Those things really bother me, excuses are for losers... you never hear a winning team saying that they have to get tougher...

Sounds like Randy is "FINALLY" become the "HEAD COACH". I never like the "IDEA" of a Larry JOKER, player coach. I like the more "INTIMADATING style of Jimmey Johnson, Howard, and "TWO FACED" BUTCH DAVIS !!

NICE GUYS make friends, but don't win football
games !! I like RANDYS new ATTITUDE !!

Good LUCK, last years team look like "cream
PUFFS" against VA. TECH, Wisconsin, etc. !!


Thats what I'm talking about coach. Time to take the gloves off. No more soft shyte.

manny- You said it man. Geezus. I mean huddled behind heaters. I remember. That aint right. Those Cheese boys came in here and said, I want me a cane and wooped up on these soft south florida panzies. I'm sory butthey did. iand I was embarassed.

We need that s-w-a-g back. We havent seen it in About 6 years.

I think the "JURY" is still out on RANDY.

Too Too many blown out games !! I hope the UNIVERSITY waits until NOV. 1, 2010
(after F. S. U. and U.N.C. game)before
RE-NEWING is CONTRACT. HE hasn't proven
anything yet !!NO Bowl victories etc.!!!

Good stuff Manny. After the last game against Wisconsin. We need to get bigger, tougher and STRONGER. I see guys from the SEC and Big 10 and they are alot stronger than our guys. Check the biceps and calf of those guys then look at ours. This team and the ACC need to get stronger to compete with the SEC,Big 10 and BCS.

This is where championships are won

The Canes need to develop a "refuse to lose" attitude, instead of "we were in the game at the end and had a chance to win." They should have enough upper classmen to get that done.

randys starting to realize he needs to get his a** in gear and take control of this football team. we'll see if its all talk or not soon enough. mental toughness was a HUGE problem last year. i like what im hearin from him so far though.

Are all of you wait till Nov.1 people for a contract extension retarded? By psotponing this you bring coaching uncertainty, which means less prospects commit, you know what propects are right? you know those things you fawn over in the off season.
Point is even if you're against shannon, you want him extended atleast for two years with a reaosnable buyout

"It's going to be physical football this spring," Shannon said during his half hour meeting with the media Monday to preview the start of spring football.

That's all fine and well Coach, but with that Philosophy will come more injuries forcing the lesser backup talent that U recruited to assume starting roles... Hence, average play come 2010 once again.

It's a cycle that is going on 5 years now.

Physically Tougher huh Coach? Well Coach, if they're not mentally tough to begin with, they never will be Physically tough.

The truth is we have ONLY been recruiting SPEED but I don't care if we need 2 recruit OUT OF STATE we need sum Corn Fed BIG UGLIES n da trenches on the OL/DL our skill positions are good 2 go but we CAN'T have Jacory getting sacked 35x and we CAN'T let the opposing QBs have ALL DAY to throw...come on TIGHTEN UP!!!

Why don't you Shannon haters do something different this season, SHUT UP !! All you do is cry and moan oh we need a new coach we need a new coach and everytime I ask any of you to tell me who should be coaching this team nobody responds and furthermore you must like mediocrity because that's what it would be because your choice of a coach who you don't even know who you want would have to implement their program anyway. If Shannon knows where he has to correct his mistakes don't you think he has had enough time between the Wisconsin game and now to do that ? No because you all cry about all the recruits who didn't want to come to miami anyway on signing day. Look spring ball is here Shannon bashers and haters so take a vacation and just go away. Go jump on FSU's bandwagon.

I like to see Marcus Robinson on the OLB position, We need to mix up from 4-3 to 3-4 sometimes.. Alabama kept offenses off balance like this all of last year. We have the players. Once Futch, Buchanon comes back & Travis Williams enrolls.. We can rotate bodies all day long

Go Canes & Have a Healthy Spring Season!

Yes, we need to get tougher.I was at the Wisconsin game,our guys are out there
jumping up & down,hands in warmers like they
were in green bay in January! Linebackers
couldn'd cover tight ends,no pass rush.
come on knock somebodys ass off.make them pay
for catching the ball over the middle!
Then we will be the real Canes!

Blue out

That all sounds great, and it makes perfect sense that the lack of depth caused some changes in Shannon's coaching style the first year. We've all been talking about how they play hard for one game and lolligag the next, and Shannon knows it too. But when you're leaning on freshman and sophmores and you have no depth behind them, there's only so much you can do. I remember the old canes talking about how easy games were because practices were so hard...and it seems like that hasn't been the case so far under Shannon. Apparently, he was handcuffed by lack of depth, and now some of that can start again.

It's frustrating to watch, but Shannon has definitely had his eye on the big prize and on a long, sustained run of championships, as opposed to selling his team down the road for an ACC championship last year. That's why he's not playing unprepared O-lineman and cornerbacks. Shannon wants another run like we had in the 80's, not half-a-decade like we had this decade. I hope his plan works, and it will have been worth the wait if it does.

That said, Shannon has definitely put all his eggs in one basket. If he doesn't produce some sort of ring this year (ACC or larger), then the long-term development plan goes right out the window. Still, I've defended him to this point, and he's gotten nothing but better. If that trend improves, then we should be dominant for a long time.

Go Canes!

This is your season of truth Randy Shannon; no more excuses ... if we don't play in a BCS Bowl your tenure shall be over!

Manny Its time for another piece with Andrew Swassey on how these guys have improved in the weight room over the 6 weeks in spring. I know you only get limited access to spring practice but dont keep us in the dark on how the team is improving even mentally.


as long as we're in a new years bowl game this upcoming year i'll be satisfied. we have a pretty brutal schedule this year. i donk think this is the year for an NC and the ACC championship will be a challenge. if we get to at least the chick-fil-a bowl or gator bowl and dont have games where the entire team (including the coaches) look pathetic, shannon deserves the extension. i can handle the temporary uncertainty with recruits as long as our long term stability gets taken care of. we need to make sure he's the right guy for the job before we throw out more money. 2010 is shannons proving year.

lets get it done randy.

oh and we need AT LEAST 10 wins.

thats a good explanation Chicago cane

Guys you can only push the team hard when you have DEPTH! This isn't madden football on ps3!Players get hurt and if you have nobody to replace them then you're screwed

Guys you can only push the team hard when you have DEPTH! This isn't madden football on ps3!Players get hurt and if you have nobody to replace them then you're screwed

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