Hello again everyone! It's Susan Miller Degnan here. I got a chance to hear Randy Shannon on WQAM with host Joe Rose early this morning. It was a great interview.
FYI: The team is off today, so there's no access.
In case any of you didn't get a chance to hear it, here are some tidbits about the scrimmage (closed to fans and media) from that interview that stood out, per Shannon's perspective (in no particular order):
> The guys he listed as missing (there might have been more; don't know) the scrimmage were offensive tackle Joel Figueroa, WR LaRon Byrd, DT Curtis Porter, LB Tyrone Cornelius, CB Brandon McGee, LB Kelvin Cain, CB Ryan Hill. "All of them have nicks. But everybody thinks, 'Well, they put them in a boot and they're done.' You know and I know when you put guys in boots you're just trying to heal them quicker.''
> LaRon Byrd was walking around last night with a brace and Shannon said the injured guys walked around the Traz Powell Stadium track for a couple miles. Traz Powell was the scrimmage site. He said the next scrimmage will be late in the day instead of night.
> The safety position and second-team linebackers are the areas he's still looking at extra closely, trying to solidify the exact lineup
> Olivier Vernon is "so athletic" and "so explosive" that he could play a lot of positions, including linebacker and his current defensive end. Shannon said he sometimes takes chances that likely get coaches nervous, but often work out because he's such a good athlete.
> Freshman WR Allen Hurns, who hurt his right hamstring around Scrimmage No. 1 (that info is from me, not Shannon), is a guy Shannon would like to get back into the mix sometime soon.
> WR Tommy Streeter needs to improve his consistency. One play will be a great one; the next not-so-great.
> His young running backs are fast!! But we knew that already.
> DE Andrew Smith, who, according to UM sports information office, had 10 tackles, three sacks and two quarterback hurries, "is in unbelievable shape." He said, "This guy is making plays for us.''
> Offensive line is still a battle. He didn't say why RT Joel Figueroa sat out last night (Jermaine Johnson played tackle). He didn't say the line looked bad, he just said it's important to have a lot of backups who can play.
> He said Jacory Harris is doing well on the field and being more talkative and assertive.
> Matt Bosher still seems to be the guy who will do the kickoffs, at least for now.
> Kickoff coverage and punt coverage teams -- Shannon said UM has about 15 guys he feels confident about who are "fast guys, physical guys" and can "make plays in open space.'' He said they're better than last year, and about eight of those guys who weren't part of those 15 last season because of injuries or they weren't around.
Sorry this was so long!! Have to get back to some other stories. Enjoy your day.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN