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UM should be nastier up front (on defense at least)

UM coach Randy Shannon told reporters he wanted his team to "get tougher" this spring. So, now that the Canes are done with the spring, is UM a nastier football team in the trenches? 

QB AJ Highsmith gets tackled by safety Vaughn Teleamaque (No. 7) and defensive end Adewale Ojomo  There won't be any real way to tell until the season gets going. But strength and conditioning coach Andrew Swasey believes on size, strength and athleticism alone "we have to be." I caught up with Swasey Friday after UM's final practice of the spring and he had nothing but praise for the growth he's seen from the Canes' big boys in the weight room and on the field. He even went as far as to say the defensive line has as much talent -- if not more -- than the 2002 team that lost to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl and boasted three first round picks, a third, a fourth and a fifth.

"I look at this crew and compare it to when Jerome McDougle, Andrew Williams, Vince Wilfork, [Matt] Walters, Jamaal [Green] and that crew was here," Swasey said. "That team was two-deep solid. This one might be three or four deep at end. Honestly, we've never had this many numbers."

Swasey said he is encouraged by the size and physicality of two players in particular at defensive tackle: junior Micanor Regis (6-3, 300) and sophomore Curtis Porter (6-1, 315). Both, he said, have elevated their play and development to a level the program hasn't had in some time. Swasey said he expects Marcus Forston, a 2008 five-star recruit coming back from a shoulder injury, to eventually blossom to that point as well. "When you go with Porter, Regis, Forston, you're sitting really stacked. I mean, it's a wrap guy," Swasey said. "What they are is tough. They're hard working kids. You can see the development, the maturity kicking in. You've created great depth."

UM produced only 24 sacks last season -- 19 from the defensive line. Former UM assistant Don Soldiger, who was at last week's final spring practice, said there is no way the program can't increase that number significantly with veteran Rick Petri now coaching a much more experienced defensive line. "He's going to take it to an entirely different level," Soldinger said. "He's a tremendous hire for Randy."

Said Swasey: "You look at end now, who hasn't played there? They aren't babies anymore. Olivier [Vernon] is coming back with a year in. [Allen] Bailey, [Adewale] Ojomo, [Steven] Wesley all have old head experience. Andrew Smith has a had a great spring. Marcus Robinson too. When you have a guy like [Dyron] Dye backing up, I mean come on man."

The Canes' offensive line, however, still has a lot more to prove before receiving high praise. Still, after surrendering seven sacks in the first spring scrimmage, progress was obviously made Saturday when the defense was only able to produce three sacks. With Orlando Franklin, Joel Figueroa, Harland Gunn and Brandon Washington the only returning players with real game experience, it was imperative for young guys on the offensive line to grow up or take at least a few paces forward this spring. Some clearly did; others are still working on it.

Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland said the player he was most happy with this spring was center Tyler Horn, who probably solidified his spot entering the fall as the team's starting center. Swasey said it was good for redshirt sophomore Ben Jones and redshirt freshmen Jermaine Johnson to get a lot of snaps at tackle with Franklin out this spring. But of the many young players UM could end up having to depend on should injuries occur, Swasey was only confident telling me Johnson, Jones and true freshman Malcolm Bunche are probably physically ready enough to win battles in the trenches. But even Bunche, Swasey said, probably needs another year of development.

A FEW MORE TIDBITS...

Brandon McGee > Sophomore cornerback Brandon McGee had a few mental lapses in coverage Saturday and got beat for big plays a couple times by the Canes' talented receivers. McGee's physical gifts certainly aren't to blame. Not only is he one of the fastest players on the team (he ran a 4.31 as a freshman), but at 5-11, 185-pounds he's strong enough in the eyes of Swasey to win most physical battles. 

"He's probably one of the most prettiest looking dudes out there," Swasey said. "There's just nothing like game experience."

McGee probably could have benefitted from a redshirt season as a true freshman. But considering UM was so thin at corner, he was asked to play. McGee is a talented player and it's just a matter of time before he takes the next step.

> Fifth-year senior Kylan Robinson made big strides to earn the top spot at middle linebacker coming out of the spring. But whether or not he keeps a starting job when juniors Jordan Futch and Ramon Buchanon return in the fall remains to be seen. "I think he has a good chance," said junior Sean Spence. "He's made big improvements in terms of mentally, physically. He's taking charge on the defense." 

Asked to compare Robinson to a few of UM's previous middle linebackers, Swasey said Robinson (6-1, 235) is "stronger than former middle linebacker Glenn Cook," but "not as fast as Darryl Sharpton." 

"He's very instinctive, athletic and knows where he has to be," Swasey said. "I'm excited for him. He can play."

Comments

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o-line will definitely improve especially when going against d-line that is much improved. Remember, just cuz you won the job for the spring doesn't mean it'll be there in the fall.

almost forget. Great job manny

The Corner position is very thin, and linebacker is also a problem area. So in all, this team has questions at corner, o-line, tight end and quarter back (Jacory was too inconsistent last year and has not practiced yet this year, so the jury is still out on him). We are loaded at WR, RB, DL and Safety. Still much work to do before the season in order to be optimistic about this team. Oh, yeah, and special teams were horrible last year, still need to put that area of the game in the question mark category. Coaching also must show improvement, too early to tell, but I venture to say I'm cautiously optimistic. Anything short of an ACC title and a BCS bowl and this season will be Randy's last.

In Randy we trust! This is going to be a great year, I can't wait!! All these UM haters are going to crawl back where they belong.

Ok guys. Time to stop the talking. Yeah that goes for you too Coach swa(gger)yze. Put up or shut up. I mean after the team wasmanhandled in a humiliating fashion by the cheese heads, There IS NO TALKING RIGHT NAH! THE TALKING HAS TO COME ON THE FIELD AT THAT HOLE IN COLUMBUS!

That game, will be THE biggest game since UM played highly ranked Virginia Tech with Marcus Vick and we whooped their butts and it propelled UM to a Number 3 ranking (??2005). Or that game when Umwas ranked but lost big time against Georgia tech at home when KW was sacked 9 times!

That OSu game will be huuuuge! It will in no small way, signal the return of the canes. No it wasnt last year against Oklahoma, thatwas merely a stepping stone. But you all haters, who talk about how few people we put in the satands, got a taste of how crazy 65,000 people from the 305 can get. They made more noise than the 100,000 fans at Michigan!

Terrell Pryor, and that goof ball in the sweater vest: Consider yourselves warned. sweater vest man- This is your 2nd chance at theU, after you were gifted the 2002 NC. If you were a man, you would have admitted that Mo Clarett was inelgible and terry Porter made a bad call.

Go canes. cant wait.

Now--- Manny- Bruce Feldman twiitted that There is talk of a new contract for Shannon? Did he scoop you?

IT'S ALL ABOUT DA "U".

Not as fast as Sharpton? Dear God.. Thank God Colin McCarthy and Sean Spence can get out of their own way..Darryl Sharpton almost got ran down by a O-Lineman from DUKE on his pick-6..

Definitely need to see Sean Goldstein (he's an aggressive guy, see spring game for examples, need more of that on the defense) and Shayon Green get time..Kylan was a waste of time and one of Coker's PRIZED recruits.. God knows how all of them turned out.

Good stuff Manny, keep bringing it brother. After watchin the spring game i noticed the team as a whole has gotten bigger and stronger. The biceps and calfs are noticeable on Db's and Receivers. The back end of the defense must get better.

Really? Miami already had their spring game??

YEAH!!! IT'S ALL ABOUT THE "U"!!!

Let me be the first to say this before gayturd haters corrupt the site, True logical can fans know this is the year we bust down the back door of title contenders. NO not last year it was a welcomed suprise how we performed but no one thought more than 8 wins before the season. And to gayturds, remeber Ufelons went 9-4 with Tesack starting and won the title the next year. Yes the gayturds are N elite team but they as fans refuse to recognize that they earned that satus only a handfull of years ago; while The U maintained it for over twenty years and have since fell of that pedestal since 2005 orange bowl game was last BCS bowl and 2004 was beatdown of the gayturds lol. I say again the gators 1-4 THIS DECADE against Miami and 1-17 in last TWENTY YEARS
lmao GO C-A-N-E-S

Great stuff as usual Manny. Thanks as always for the great information.

Great Swasay interview!!!

Man, that had allot of good stuff in it!
After reading it, I fell like I just pushed away from a Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner.

What's for dessert?

LOL

"He's probably one of the most prettiest looking dudes out there," Swasey said. "There's just nothing like game experience."

Well atleast they look good ...

Great update Manny. Still waiting for an update on Lamar Miller's shoulder status.

I said last year we would get 10 wins.
Looking to 1 up that this year! 11 wins
Big bowl,ACC champs.We gonna run over somebodys ass.

SEPT 11, 2010 is the test against OSU. Has this team improved enough to be a top 10 program. Randy has had 3 years to get us to be a top 10 team. We will find out if he has got us there or not. Personally I believe he has not and OSU will prove me right when we get blown out 35-7. If we can't beat Wisconsin how can we beat OSU. GOOD BYE RANDY!!!

I think they need re-evaluate the linbacker posistion and do some shuffling around. Move Spence to weakside, the spot he played his freshman year when he was most productive. Move McCarthy to the middle where he can play downhill and wont have as much responsibility in pass coverage. Wisconsin tight ends had there way with him, he's also our biggest linebacker so it makes sense. Let Futch, Buchanan, Robinson, and others compete for the strongside linebacker spot.

Sensationally optimistic piece. Thanks, Manny.
Wow, had no idea we were already this stacked on the line.
Gonna shock the nation again. Team of the Tens!

PS It appears that we've reached that rewarding plateau where the skills of each side of the ball makes the opposite side better. this is an echo of the famous days in the 80s and 90s where players would constantly say "Saturday games were a walk in the park - I wasn't lining up against Sapp." SOunds like we've reached that level of skill again where the players are getting better by being constantly challenge by each other.

By facing the best team in the country every day in practice.

Let's go canes!!!!!

Great read as usual..We all know the Oline is going to struggle and Jacory needs to start reading defenses better for us to get to the next level..his head has to be in the game 150%..even in 2 and short,,move the chains..this year the offense should where shirts saying that "" MOVE THE CHAINS" we need longer drives later in the games to let the D rest...I really feel our d is going to be as good as advertised. They have to be for us to have a chance at any BCS run..with a strong d ( kind of what Dorsey had) this will allow offensive mistakes now and then and still allow us to win...and dominate the game..we also know we will have Bosher this year..this is huge...I really feel this is the best year for this team to gel and win a title..next year we lose Bosher/ and a slew of juniors and seniors..GO CANES

Ah, springtime--flowers blooming, sun shining, birds going tweet tweet, and the propaganda machine rolling at full steam. I'm going to go home and watch the Wisconsin game. Yea, the game where the announcer said our players looked, gulp, "cold." Ouch. I'm going to eat a cookie every time a WI TE catches the ball.

I know we have talent on defense but one thing bothers me, with the dee only getting 3 sacks in the spring game, does this mean our back-up o-linemen are that good or is our pass rush still that poor. Our dee-tackles really need to step up this coming season, if they do their job, we will be destructive.

let`s go canes this is the year

Alot of chatter for the OSU and Pitt games. But I'd rather have an ACC title than beating both those teams. Sure, they are big games, but we need to beat N.C. Va Tech and Ga. Tech, a tall order in itself.

Cane Schedule and Prediction:

Florida A&M WIN
OSU LOSS
Pitt LOSS
Clemson WIN
FSU LOSS
Duke WIN
NC WIN
Virginia WIN
Maryland WIN
Georgia Tech LOSS
Virginia Tech WIN
USF WIN

Donna Shananana na na na na, hey Shannon...goodbye!!!

wishful thinking. with the exception of forston we have no top DT's. we do have some great edge rushers though in ojomo, bailey, robinson and dye.

The Ohio State game is huge. A great wrong must be righted.

There is a few things about the U's players that I have always admired as far back as the late 60's. First is the conditioning. I have had first hand experience of what the weight room looked like in the 60' thru the early 80's Wining the first NC helped get it in better shape. Getting a coach like Mr. Swasey has really been a plus. Second is the amount of time some players spend in the film room. Dedicated to their craft they learn about how to play the game by watching their own play. Some go back in the file and watch the play of players from the past. An excellent way to make yourself better. "Films will show it all, the good and the not so good." Third and last is the amount of players that come back year after year to lend their expertise, their judgement, their vote of confidence, and their loyalty to the school that helped make them the men they are today. When I'm asked by friends and foe's here in North Carolina why I support the University of Miami I tell them that this team has brought me both the tears of joy in winning the NC's and also the tears of pain when we loose games that we should have won. I tell people that it was the coaches and most of all the players that make me the proudest. Of all the things I miss the most about having to leave So. Fla. by far the CANES are #1. Thanks to the school joining the ACC I do get the pleasure of seeing them live a few games a year, and not just Football but baseball also. I will always LOVE my team. Thanks Manny and some others for keeping me up to date. It's hard living here knee deep in NC, NCSU, DUKE, @ ECU territory but I wear my orange and green very proudly every chance I get. Thanks for letting me have my 2 cents worth just thought you;d like my point of view also.

ACC Championship and a BCS bowl game!
Anything short of that is FAILURE period!

Its time to produce no more EXCUSES!

Jacory must have less than double digit interceptions for this offense to be truly successful!

we where nasty up front untill we lost 3 starters last year, look at first 4 games we dominated up front, even VT, we held there O to 17 points up there, the other where on our offense and special teams gave up 2 tds. Healthy this D is a good as any

A Hurricane is brewing this off season....the boys will bring it STARTING WITH some OSU payback.....

GO CANES!

We need these guys to get nasty and play with some anger. The great defenses always do. Every CANES D that has won a title was nasty and in your face. Randy Shanon should know about good defenses he's played on them and coached them.

THIS IS OUR YEAR!!!

GO CANES!!!!

As much as i hate to say it, I would like to win on a last second bad call, justice!!
And also by the end of the year it costs OSU a shot at the title game, Sweeet!!

Great stuff Wayne. I'm from Columbus Ohio, and I can't tell u what these two years mean to me. These fans are the worst, and we owe them more than ever. I want Dorsey, mgahee, and company to come to this team and tell them, let them know. It's payback time. Is terrelle pryor better than jacory Harris? I don't think so. Our wr core is better, our d line is better, our rb are better. We need this.

boring. same stuff we read last year. and the year before. new players, new coaches, new hope. NOT as long as we have shannon, there is NO hope

While I excited about the upcoming year I still believe that our year will be 2011 that's when the game experience and the talent will gel and become one. And about Mr. Harris what we saw last year was the wear and tear that happens when a quarterback has a suspect o-line in-front of him not to say he didn't make bad decisions but as far as arm strength and accuracy goes that was just the sack taking their toll on him. That said I hope #1 he hit's the gym and put's on 10 to 15lbs. and #2 he gets with a quarterback coach and the drill him on the nuances of the game.

http://www.facebook.com/Shockey?ref=ts

Shockey

I have been a U.M. fan for 60 yrs and I am disappointed with the U not signing Coach Shannons extention.What the hell are they waiting for.

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