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Scrimmages done, and -- thankfully -- the real thing is almost here

Hi all, it's Susan Miller Degnan.

As most of you know by now, UM closes its scrimmages to most of the media -- but opens it to ESPN broadcasters and any UM-affiliated media it wants to allow in (e.g. WQAM). So the people who cover the Canes every day haven't seen any live game-type situations. All we can do is go by what UM sends us, which is obviously only half the story.

You're not going to see any negative statistics, or hear about any specific problems (except for interceptions), so until the curtain rises and we see the real thing, all we can do is make educated guesses -- and talk to the players.

I'm not saying that UM should tell us every negative thing happening. I'm just saying it's hard to decipher exactly where the team stands, which is why we're all very much looking forward to the first game -- though FAMU is not Ohio State.

 Some thoughts on the scrimmages:

 * Where is Adewale Ojomo on the final statistics of all three scrimmages? I don't see him listed at all. If I'm wrong and someone knows something, please chime in. I think he can be a great player, so I'm wondering how much he has played and what he has done and if he's totally fine.

* What exactly is happening with right tackle (and former guard) Joel Figueroa? He missed the last two scrimmages with an undisclosed injury. We're thinking it must be shoulder-related, though I don't know for sure. He sat out the spring recuperating from shoulder surgery. Randy Shannon said not to worry, that he's fine and will be back. But when? Maybe he'll sit out FAMU, maybe not. But it might not be great for him to get his first start at tackle at Ohio State.

* How is Figueroa's current replacement, redshirt freshman Jermaine Johnson? He hasn't taken a snap in college yet, and everybody has to have a first game, but we're all kind of wondering how he's really doing. Shannon told WQAM's Joe Rose this morning that Johnson blew a couple assignments here and there, but that he generally did a very good job.

* Jacory Harris didn't throw any interceptions Monday -- that's excellent. But he only completed 4 of 12 passes. Maybe he couldn't find any open receivers or maybe he was about to be sacked and threw the ball away. But 4 of 12 is not encouraging. I think all of us are wondering what shape his thumb is in. The guy has tons of talent, but he needs that thumb to be healed to be as great as he can be.

* Alonzo (A.J.) Highsmith seems to really be coming along well.

* Desmond Howard of ESPN was on a media conference call Tuesday and commented how thin the team was at experienced linebackers. Colin McCarthy is a talent (if he can stay healthy), he said, as is Sean Spence, but after that it's anyone's guess. He sees this part of UM's team as a definite weakness.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

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