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Lot of scoring in UM Spring Game

TRAZ POWELL STADIUM -- If you took your eyes off the field Saturday at Traz Powell Stadium for even a second, you might have missed a lot. This year's Spring Football Game turned out to be about as action-packed as any played before it -- chock full of scoring from start to finish.

A.J. Highsmith threw 3 TDs as the passing game had a good day Saturday In the end, the team featuring UM's First Team Defense/Second Team Offense was able to rally for 58-53 victory over the First Team Offense/Second Team Defense. First, the stats and scoring and then few  thoughts/highlights...

RUSHING: Mike James 10 carries, 64 yards; Damien Berry 15-42, 1 TD; Stephen Morris 4-24; A.J. Highsmith 3-16; Storm Johnson 4-15; Lamar Miller 8-10, 1 TD; Spencer Whipple 2-(-10).

PASSING: Stephen Morris 12-for-21 209 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; A.J. Highsmith 11-for-20 131 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs; Spencer Whipple 7-for-16, 112 yards, 1 TD.

RECEIVING: Kendall Thompkins 8 catches for 84 yards, 1 TD; Travis Benjamin 6-171, 1 TD; Leonard Hankerson 3-61, 2 TDs; Davon Johnson 3-31, 1 TD; LaRon Byrd 3-26; Richard Gordon 2-22; Aldarius Johnson 2-20, 1 TD; Ben Bruneau 1-17; Allen Hurns 1-11; Billy Sanders 1-9.

- Highsmith 16-yard TD pass to Hankerson (Jake Wieclaw kick)
- Highsmith 3-yard TD pass to D. Johnson (Wieclaw kick)
- Morris 75-yard TD pass to Benjamin (Wieclaw kick)
- Miller 2-yard run (Wieclaw kick)
- Highsmith 39-yard TD pass to Hankerson (Wieclaw kick)
- Whipple 9-yard TD pass to Johnson (Wieclaw kick)
- Morris 5-yard TD pass to Thompkins (Wieclaw kick)
- Berry 26-yard TD (Wieclaw kick)
- Wieclaw 33 FG

DEFENSE: Sean Spence 8 tackles; Brandon McGee 7 tackles, 2 pass break ups; Vaughn Telemaque 6 tackles; Tyrone Cornelius 4 tackles, 2 PBU; Steven Wesley 1 sack, forced fumble; Marcus Robinson 1 sack; Allen Bailey 1 sack; Ray Ray Armstrong 2 INTs; Colin McCarthy 1 INT; Adewale Ojomo fumble recovery. 

Ray Ray Armstrong > THE GOOD: Better quarterback play and pass protection. Three weeks ago in a scrimmage at Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium, A.J. Highsmith, Stephen Morris and Spence Whipple had trouble just staying off their backs (they were sacked a combined seven times). Saturday, UM's offensive line played much better (only giving up three sacks). The extra time allowed for them to have a lot more success passing. After completing just 14 of their 23 attempts for 169 yards and one touchdown three weeks ago, the trio combined to go 30 for 57 for 452 yards, 6 TDs and 3 INTS... Ray Ray Armstrong stood out with two interceptions. 

> THE NOT SO GOOD: Secondary got torched at times. Sophomore cornerback Brandon McGee is going to want to delete Saturday's Spring Game from his memory banks. He was beaten several times in coverage and got an earful from defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff, who told him "you are better than that." For what it's worth, with All-American junior-to-be Brandon Harris out of the game, Canes quarterbacks spent a lot of time picking on walk-on Nate Gholston (listed at 5-7, 170). 

> INJURIES: Looks freshman running back Lamar Miller was the only one to suffer an injury. He went down with what I was told was a separated shoulder.

> FIRST TEAM OFFENSE: QB A.J. Highsmith, RB Mike James, FB Pat Hill, TE Richard Gordon, WR LaRon Byrd, WR Leonard Hankerson, LT Jermaine Johnson, LG Harland Gunn, C Tyler Horn, RG Brandon Washington, RT Ben Jones.

> FIRST TEAM DEFENSE: RE Adewale Ojomo, DT Micanor Regis, DT Curtis Porter, LE Allen Bailey, WLB Colin McCarthy, MLB Kylan Robinson, SLB Sean Spence, CB Brandon McGee, CB Demarcus Van Dyke, FS Jamal Reid/Ray Ray Armstrong, SS Vaughn Telemaque.

> SECOND TEAM OFFENSE: QB Spencer Whipple, RB Lamar Miller and Damien Berry, WR Aldarius Johnson, WR Travis Benjamin, WR Kendall Thompkins, LT Cory White, LG Jared Wheeler, C Shane McDermott, RG Malcolm Bunche, RT Stephen Plein.

I'll have more for you later including audio interviews and photos.


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Great Spring Game its good to see the true die hard fans representing the U along with the alumni that were in the house. QB's looked good compared to the scrimmage at Lockhart i just hope it translates to better play when fall practice begins but then again J12 will be back but we'll see.

Maybe 1st lol

it was good to see

Stupid CSS tape delayed the game until Sunday noon for what ever reason. I guess the Florida Atlantic Baseball game they bumped us for will pull better ratings???

How serious was the injury to Miller?


How long for Lamar to recover?

Lots of improvement since Lockhart 2 weeks ago. Some passes were dropped, but a lot were not. Ray Ray what can I say. He should be special for UM. Great crowd, great weather, The Miami Central band did a great job. The U family was well represented, so many former players not to mention about 20 that are in the NFL currently.I am guessing a few thousand there. Great way to end Spring practice.Now let's get our coach signed. Wake me up in September.

I thought this was going to be on TV... But I'm glad to hear the offense had a great day today.

Thanks for the stats Manny. It sounds like things are moving along.


Hey Manny,

what happened to Streeter & Collier?

I never know what to think about the spring games. Does one unit's success mean the other unit stinks? Would it be better if no one succeeded? Sad to see Lamar get hurt.

hopefully the offense is that good and the defense will be that good this year.



how did jermaine johnson look at starting LT...

What about me coach?

Did I always have heart?

When are we going to learn that Damien berry os the best rb we got? It took Shannon all year to get that last year, and apparently he still doesn't.

This game may make u happy bit it makes me sick. Non of it is good. Our defenses gave up over a hundred points against qbs who wouldn't even be usc thrd string, are we supposed to be happy about that. They brought Shannon on or defense. This is pathetic. I want scoring as much as the next guy, probably more, but if Stephen Morris and aj highsmith xan put up a hundred how much could Ohio state or Florida state put up?

Saw allot of good play from yesterday's scrimmage.

Vaughn (was everywhere and should be credited with at least 4 in-completes), RayRay (made some), Benji (Made some circus catches look easy), Tyrone Cornelius (Wow, this kid is big and on fire, watch him climb the ladder), Ojee (Man, I'm glad you're back!)..

The list goes on but the most important thing that I saw, was the meshing of the defense, as a unit... Those interceptions, did not come by accident.. there was allot of push from the front line, forcing the pass and the back field responded with incompletes, BUps, interceptions... Nice to see!

and this was us against us. I don't think, they'll be so nice, playing against real opponents... Look Out for lions, tigers and bears!! Cause this team is loaded with them.

Gotta go!

Thanks, Manny

On another note... To Family and friends of players who went to the game yesterday. The stadium was packed with U fans. Everyone around me was related in some fashion to the players... Would like to see some of you respond to comments.

Manny's blog can be a great place to communicate your thoughts... and it is time to take back the Herald... Tell us how you feel and what you saw, but be prepared for some jerks and don't take it personally. As there are always some people who just wants to stir the pot and get everyone pizzed at each other.

We are family and U know who you are...
Time to get this party started!!!

... Canes Fan!!!


OOOoooooooooooooooooo, it's gonna be a good year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, basically, Mark Whipple's offense dominated Randy Shannon's defense. Shannon continues to be a disgrace. Boot him NOW NOW NOW and promote Whipple to HC before he disappears! Got that, Kirby Hocutt, you dolt?

We still need secondary help in a bad kinda way. I'm fine with everything but CB play we got one All-American and a bunch of guys. We're going to need that secondary play if we're BCS bound.

I was at the game and was very impressed overall. McGee actually looked pretty good to me. Got beat a couple times but was with his man most of the time, had a few pass breakups, almost had a great pick and was tackling very well ( stopping the run ), so i dont really know what your talking about when u say he would want to delete the Spring Game. The guy that was getting torched on a consistent basis was the walk-on #39.

Lady Canes win 73 to 65 over Providence

I thought it was ridiculous how much they were picking on Gholston. What is gained by that?

Did the offensive line do that much better or were the QBs rolling out of the pocket an awful lot? I saw a whole lot of roll outs.

Manny, Do you have any clarity as to the extent of Lamar Miller's shoulder injury?

Geez, that OL is young. Particularly second unit. Big, lots of potential, but young. Depth will be an issue in 2010.

Slow in here this morning

nobody should shut down our offense. Defensively we don't have to much experience at Corner, aside from Van Dyke and Harris. McGee will be fine with more playing time.

Way too much scoring. The U's D has to come around before the team will be a serious championship contender.

more of the same. different names, but the results will be the same. lousy bowl? and a loss no contract- get a coach

McGee > DVD

'The U' shall rise again
Bruce Feldman espn

The vibe around the Miami football program is much different than it was a couple of years ago. The Canes look -- and seem -- like a legit powerhouse program again.

I was out at practice Friday and everywhere you looked they had freakish athletes. At receiver, there is 6-foot-4, 225-pound LaRon Byrd, 6-3, 215-pound Leonard Hankerson and 6-5, 210-pound Tommy Streeter. Each casts an imposing shadow, and all three move like cornerbacks. Travis Benjamin, the fastest of a UM receiving crew that goes seven deep, showed how dynamic he was in UM's spring game, catching six passes for 171 yards, producing one huge play after another.

There is also a deep stable of explosive tailbacks, evoking visions of the Clinton Portis/Willis McGahee days. The D-line, rocked by injury in 2009, is loaded again, led by uber freak Allen Bailey, a chiseled 285-pound defensive end with 4.6 speed. The secondary also can match up athletically with any receiver corps.

Even the area that has been the Canes' Achilles' heel the past few years -- the O-line -- looks good. Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Jermaine Johnson, a nimble 6-6, 322-pound former prep basketball star, is just one of a batch of lean up-and-comers who had insiders raving.

Mort importantly, this 2010 UM group passed the eyeball test of perhaps its toughest critics, the former Canes players who came out to observe Friday's practice. There were more than 100 old Canes lining the field, ranging from Jimmy Johnson to Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks to Cortez Kennedy. There was also former UM standout Tony Chickillo, who watched with son Anthony, one of the country's top D-line recruits in the Class of 2011.

"This looks like what Miami is supposed to look like," said one UM player from the '90s, pointing at a group of the Canes' towering wideouts. "It hasn't been like this for a while, but we're ready now. Just look at them."

Andreu Swasey, the team's longtime strength coach and the guy who is more qualified to say when a team is ripe than maybe anyone at UM, beamed as he spoke about not only the athleticism, but also the work ethic and maturity of this team.

I'm not ready to anoint Miami as a national title front-runner just yet, although after seeing this team up close, it made me think a little harder about the Canes.

The Canes made big strides last season, but it was still too much of "three steps forward, one step back," punctuated by a dismal bowl performance against Wisconsin. The Canes burst onto the field with two big plays that night -- then acted like the Badgers would be so in awe of the Miami speed, they'd fold. Didn't happen. And that kind of resolve and focus that UM lacked comes back to locker room leadership.

Optimists could shrug it off and say Miami was still young last year. Eh. Regardless, Miami's definitely not young any more. Jacory Harris, the unquestioned leader of this team, sat out this spring after having offseason thumb surgery on his right throwing hand. He was great at times last season, but too often was reckless and made bad decisions. He should be a Heisman contender this fall. The spindly Harris will be much better with a second year in offensive coordinator Mark Whipple's system and the development of that group of receivers. Harris' body also has matured physically. UM was perilously thin behind him last season, but in A.J. Highsmith, walk-on transfer Spencer Whipple (son of Mark) and early enrollee Stephen Morris, the Canes are improved here as well.

Here's a problem: Once again, the season begins with a treacherous first month. After opening with Florida A&M, the Canes visit Ohio State, then visit Pitt and then visit Clemson. Expect to hear some talk about how this start will impact Randy Shannon's future at UM. It shouldn't. The UM brass should address that issue by then. Shannon's contract status has been a hot topic down in South Florida for a while now. (He is in the final year of his contract and is currently the second-lowest paid coach in the ACC.) He has not won as many games as some would've expected, but in fairness, he inherited a tricky situation. He's provided stability and done outstanding work instilling more discipline into the program. Off the field, the results have been outstanding. On the field, critics can knock some decisions, such as hiring Patrick Nix as his offensive coordinator a few years back. Some former UM players had questioned that he held his team with too firm of a hand.

"They just aren't having fun out there," was a common critique from some past players a few years ago.

Shannon, though, has grown into the head-coaching job. The team has more life now, as was evident Friday afternoon. Harris, the boisterous quarterback, has helped provide some juice as well. Bailey, now a senior, says he's seen a change in Shannon, too. "He has lightened up," he said. "He's giving us a little more leeway."

Shannon knows he can have more trust in his players. Now, I think UM needs to show the same trust in its coach and extend his deal.


Randy finally has the puzzle solved he should have nice legacy. But he must prepare for the departure of coaches after the season. Face it there going to get there own programs Mr.Wipple for sure. Hey maybe Mark Rich he"s going to be available after the season sorry mark but your a cane for life lets be real. Recrutement coaching this will help former player relationships with current front office staff. Hey Randy Rodney,Bellinger"s Availible the secondary needs a technition he is one the games best he"s a great teacher smart move.

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