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41 posts from October 2010

October 30, 2010

Virginia thoughts, Shannon video

NEW YORK -- Devastating loss for the Hurricanes Saturday at Virginia. How devastating? We'll find out in the coming days.

Not only is quarterback Jacory Harris' status uncertain, but so is the direction of this program. One week they look like they're ready to get on a roll after an impressive home win against North Carolina. The next, they're down 24-0 to Virginia and scrambling in the fourth quarter just to stay in it. Are they ACC contenders? Or, just another mediocre football team?

Honestly, I'm done trying to make sense of this team. The only thing we know for sure is they're inconsistent, unreliable and maddening to watch for fans. At this point, the Canes are going to need a lot of help to achieve their goal of winning the ACC title. Even if they get that help somehow, which team is going to show up week to week? We have no clue.

If there was one positive to come out of this game, it was the play of freshman quarterback Stephen Morris in the fourth quarter. Yes, he threw two interceptions. Yes, this was only Virginia. But Morris rallied the Hurricanes in the fourth quarter and in my opinion is probably the best quarterback for Mark Whipple's offense (that includes if Jacory Harris is healthy or not). Morris was handpicked by Whipple out of Monsignor Pace, where he ran a pro style offense. Harris ran the spread from the shotgun at Northwestern.

I'm not saying Morris is going to be the best quarterback for this team right now or the rest of this season. He's still very green. But in the long run -- assuming Whipple is still here -- Morris is a much better fit than any of the other QBs on the current roster for Whipple's play-calling. 

Anyway, here is what UM coach Randy Shannon and center Tyler Horn talked about after the game. Video is courtesy of UM's Sports Info office.

GAMEDAY BLOG: UM AT VIRGINIA

Hi everyone.

It's SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN at Scott Stadium on an absolutely gorgeous day in Charlottesville.

Manny isn't here today (he's covering Heat game tonight), but I'll have this blog set up so you guys can comment during the game.

I'll try to write some stuff during the game, but please free to chat.

Here come the Cavaliers -- orange jerseys and blue pants. The Canes are running out now with white jerseys and green pants.

I'm wondering if the Canes will come out flat, or come out with fire. I'm expecting fire, but you never know.

Cavs just won toss and deferred to second half.

Nice pass and catch by Harris and LaRon.

UM doesn't make its fourth-down attempt. UVA does because of pass interference on JoJo.

Wow. Beautiful pooch punt by UVA. Hurricanes take over at UM 6.

No on the Cover it Live. Sorry.

 Somebody must have taught the Cavs how to tackle and play rush defense this week. They came into the game ranked 114th nationally in rushing defense.

whoa. Jacory was nailed. Lying on his back. Not good.

SECOND HALF

We still haven't gotten a report on Jacory Harris, other than he's out for the game. Poor guy. He can't catch a break.

Stephen Morris? Wow. What the heck? There goes that redshirt.

UM

UM has not given us any updates on Jacory. "We don't talk about injuries," said Chris Freet, associate athletic director for the University of Miami. And that's after I asked if Jacory was taken to the hospital.
 
However, UVA sports information director Jim Daves said as of halftime, Harris was not taken to the hospital and remained at the stadium.
 

 

 

October 29, 2010

Secondary to none: UM DBs have answered bell

Outside of what Brandon Harris accomplished during an All-ACC sophomore season in 2009, there were still plenty of questions surrounding the University of Miami's secondary entering the season. For instance: 

Ryan Hill > When would redshirt sophomore Vaughn Telemaque finally start delivering the big plays and turnovers he was known for in high school?

> What would the Canes be able to get out of fifth-year senior Ryan Hill, a player coming back from injury and who hadn't played cornerback since high school?

> Would senior DeMarcus Van Dyke and sophomores Ray Ray Armstrong and Brandon McGee take the next step? Would the Hurricanes have to count on former walk-on Corey Nelms to fill some big shoes?

Safe to say, the Hurricanes have answered the bell. After ranking 46th in pass efficiency defense last season, UM enters Saturday's game at Virginia (3-4, 0-3 ACC) with arguably the best pass defense in the country. The numbers are eye-opening: 

> Not only does UM rank No. 1 in pass efficiency defense, they've given up the fewest passing touchdowns in the country (3) and opposing quarterbacks are completing less than half of their pass attempts (49.5 percent). Only three other teams have accomplished the latter feat: Nebraska, UCF and Buffalo.

> The Hurricanes 14 interceptions are tied with Ohio State for second most in the country and only one behind national-leader Alabama (15).

> A year ago, UM gave up 14 touchdown passes and had only nine interceptions in 13 games. They gave up 2,695 yards passing -- the most in school history. In their first seven games, the Canes have only given up 1,044 yards (149.1 per game).

> To date, the Canes have only given up two passing plays of 35 yards or longer -- both against Ohio State.

"Holding an opponent to 150 yards a game is our goal every week," said Hill, who emerged as the team's other starting cornerback with Harris and is as big a reason as any why the Hurricanes' secondary is much improved.

"We try not to let any ball get over our heads, that's something we take in the secondary very seriously. Coach [Wesley] McGriff does a good job of reminding us we don't want any balls over our heads. For a couple years now, this is probably the best year of guys coming together, corralling and saying we're not going to give up any deep passes, we're not going to let receivers catch passes or let quarterbacks pick us apart. If we can do that, we feel we can help our defense out and our team. We feel like we're one of the strongest units on the team."

UM coach Randy Shannon what has made the secondary really special is how much it helps in the run game, too. "You watch them play, they play with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of excitement," Shannon said.

"Ryan Hill has been put in a lot of one on one situations, come up with big plays. [Demarcus] Van Dyke has come up with big plays compared with what he did in the past. And also they're getting physical in the run game. You really don't get too many corners that want to play the run and pass. They really get on each other in practice about being physical. When you have that as a coach it makes things a lot easier. If you have a shutdown corner, then when they start motioning in, now the corner has to go in and be the tackler. They're not afraid of doing that. They really have a lot of confidence in the way they're playing. I think they see that by the defensive line doing what they do, they have to respond."

A FEW MORE TIDBITS...

> The reason I brought up UM's pass defense today is because they figure to face a pretty good challenge from Virginia. The Cavaliers own the second-best pass offense in the ACC (255.1 yards per game) and have the second-best defense in the ACC as well. The Cavaliers have thrown for 11 TD passes this year -- three more than all of last year. Leading receiver Kris Burd (5-11, 195) has made 32 catches for 472 yards and 4 touchdowns -- including a pair of 50-yard grabs. Matt Snyder (6-4, 205) has 14 catches over his last 3 games.

> If there is an unsung hero in UM's secondary, its junior JoJo Nicolas, who has started the last three games at safety alongside Telemaque. Shannon has used Nicolas in the rotation with Armstrong for a reason: it allows the sophomore time to pick up what he's doing wrong on the sidelines and then go in and do it the right way.

"Whoever practices the best is who we're playing," Shannon said of the safety spot. "When you have that competition, you keep that thumb on them a little bit more, it keeps the competition going. It's been good to watch them practice and compete."

> The Hurricanes have played 18 redshirt freshmen and true freshmen this season and several outside of OL Seantrel Henderson, RB Lamar Miller and OL Brandon Linder have contributed in big ways.

The reason freshmen receiver Allen Hurns has earned playing time over other veteran players is his blocking and effort on special teams. "Allen Hurns has done a great job on kickoff return, the flier part of it," Shannon said.

"It isn't what he does as far as catching, routes. Allen Hurns, his job last week was run some routes, and when we need you, block those safeties. Those 200 yards rushing last week, a lot had to do with Allen Hurns getting downfield. He's contributing that way."

Linebacker Kelvin Cain had his big day at Duke, starting in place of Colin McCarthy. Cain, like tight end Asante Cleveland, was an under-the-radar star from California Shannon was able to recruit to Miami through a tip from Ronnie Sims, a friend Shannon grew up with who coaches Junior College football.

"Kelvin Cain and Asante Cleveland were probably guys you never heard of," Shannon said. "We made the decision on taking those guys, because those guys are what's best for the University of Miami and this football team and not what everybody may think [star rating wise]. Kelvin came in against Duke, started, did a great job. He's on kickoff team and our score team now.

"Asante comes in an emergency, catches balls against Duke. He made two big catches [last] week against North Carolina on third down and fourth down. You have to have guys like that come in and really contribute. If mentally and physically you can handle it, you can play at the University of Miami. It's not always athletic ability. Physically and mentally, if you can handle it you can be successful."

> If there's a reason we're seeing more production from Allen Bailey lately its probably because he's not bouncing around all over UM's defensive line. "I've only been playing one or two spots since the Pittsburgh game I believe," Bailey said Tuesday. "I have the rhythm of it now and know what to expect."

Back home on Sapelo Island, Ga., Bailey does a lot of hunting. But here in South Florida, he says, he just doesn't have the time. "When I go home I do," Bailey said of hutning. "I hunt small game, raccons or possum. We might go hunting for hogs every now and then, but that's early in the morning. We use a gun, not bow and arrows."

October 28, 2010

Canes video: Behind the scenes of UNC win

Here is a fun behind the scenes look at UM's 33-10 win over North Carolina courtesy of Hurricanes Gameday including a peek at UM coach Randy Shannon being presented the game ball after the game.

Tune into CSS on Thursday at 5:30 pm and Saturdays at 10:30 am for the full episode including an interview with Shannon each week.

Holmes headlines UM injury report

The University of Miami released its injury/extremity report as usual Thursday.

The biggest news? The ‘Canes will probably be without defensive tackle Josh Holmes, who is listed as doubtful. Holmes missed the Florida State and Duke game, before returning to action in UM’s 33-10 win over North Carolina. Holmes has started all five games he has played in this season.

The surprising news? Left tackle Orlando Franklin isn't on the list. But that doesn't mean he'll play a lot. Franklin was seen limping around during practice after getting hurt near the North Carolina game. Freshman Seantrel Henderson took a lot of snaps this week at left tackle.

Here is the complete extremity list...

Probable
CB Brandon McGee (Lower extremity)
- McGee didn't play against North Carolina, but did play in the previous six games. He is primarily a nickel and dime corner.

Questionable
QB A.J. Highsmith (Upper extremity)
- The plan is to try and redshirt Highsmith before probably moving him to the secondary next season. He's been wearing a protective thing on his wrist. 

Doubtful
DL Josh Holmes (Lower extremity)
- The Hurricanes are deep enough where this isn't really a big deal. Marcus Forston, Micanor Regis will just have to play more.

Out
OL Joel Figueroa – Lower extremity
DT Curtis Porter – Lower extremity
- Figueroa hasn't played since the Clemson game. He was having a really tough season anyway. Porter only played against Ohio State and is on a path toward a redshirt.  

News, notes from basketball media day at UM

The University of Miami men's and women's basketball teams accomplished something last year that had never been done before: they each finished with at 20 wins in the same season. With the bulk of those teams back, expectations are high as both believe they should make it to the NCAA Tournament.

Will they get there? We'll find out in March. But here are some news and notes from Wednesday's media day in Coral Gables:

> Men's coach Frank Haith, whose team opens the exhibition season next Wednesday at home against Barry, finished 20-12 and reached the semifinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament before losing to eventual national champion Duke.

Durand Scott "We had our media day in North Carolina last week and somebody asked me if you can have momentum carry over last year. And my answer was yeah -- if you have the bulk of your team back from last season, which we do,'' Haith said.

"I think we got a team good enough to finish in the middle of the pack. Does that mean we'll finish fifth or sixth? I don't know, we could probably second or third. I think we have a team that can finish in the upper half of this league."

> The two things Haith said he challenged talented sophomore Durand Scott to improve after last season was his role as a vocal leader and his three-point shooting (he was only 16 of 58, .276 as a freshman). It appears Scott, who attended Chris Paul's prestigious camp for guards over the summer, has done both. 

"I've seen a drastic change in Durand," junior swingman Dequan Jones said. "He's one of those kids where he was naturally born to lead. He has an ambience about him that makes you want to follow him. I think now he's really tapped into who he is and how he's going to lead the team vocally and by example. Guys are ready to rally behind him and win some games. In practice everyday he gets guys going. He's always vocal whether we're running dummy offense or playing five-on-five live. He's always talking, saying screen left or screen right. He gives you that confidence on the court that he's always there."

Haith said Scott has also already shown an improved shooting touch. He just doesn't want him to make the mistake of feeling like he has to prove it during the games, rather flash it. "Durand has to be a well-rounded, all-around player," Haith said. "The strength of his game is getting in the paint. I think it will be even more effective if he can make shots. I don’t want him to have to prove to people he’s a three-point shooter. That’s the worst thing a young player can do when they think they lack in our area and the first opportunity they get they have to prove they’re a three-point shooter. You have to do you. We had a practice the other day and Durand made three or three threes in a row. He’s definitely worked at it. It’s all about working game speed with Durand.

> There were plenty of highlights for the Canes during the summer -- trips to different parts of the world and what not. But the big highlight? When LeBron James and several NBA players (Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade) came in and spent three days playing pick-up games with the team over the summer.

"They came in here and played ball with us -- it wasn't just breaking a sweat or anything like that," forward Julian Gamble said. "They talked to us, kidded around. It was a great opportunity, once in a lifetime. These are superstar guys that get paid hundreds of millions of dollars do what they do. For them to come in there and act like one of us, showed us how they’re people too. The way they came in here how humble they were, it was really great."

Scott said he was able to steal the ball once from LeBron. Any dunks? "No," Scott said laughing. "I wish."

> Since practice started Oct. 15, Haith said guard Malcolm Grant, a 6-1, 180-pound junior who is expected to join standout sophomore Durand Scott in the starting back court, has stood out the most. "He's playing with such confidence, playing quicker,'' Haith said. "I told him to study a former player I had at Texas, D.J. Augustin. [Grant] reminds me a lot of D.J."

Haith said Grant, who lost about 10 pounds in the offseason, made his biggest strides "in terms of pace, how he can accelerate and his ability to shoot the ball."

"He's playing at a high level right now," Haith said.

> Forward Julian Gamble (6-9, 258) returned to practice Monday after sitting out a month following surgery to repair or a torn meniscus in his left knee. "It's just a process of getting back into shape, just jelling with the guys,'' said Gamble, who says he doesn't feel any discomfort in the knee. "I'm really happy to be back out there when I'm not sucking wind on the sidelines, trying to survive.''

Haith expects Gamble, who started 11 games in a row to close out the 2009 season and averaged 6.3 rebounds over his last seven starts, to be ready by the time the Hurricanes play their first road game at Memphis Nov. 15. The Tigers debuted at No. 19 in the preseason AP poll.

> Junior swingman Dequan Jones has been rather unspectacular most of his career despite coming to UM as one of the most highly touted recruits Haith has brought in. Last year, he averaged 5.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and had just 15 steals and 16 blocks in 20 starts. But his strong showing at the ACC tournament, when he averaged 11.7 points, has Haith optimistic about Jones' future.

Jones said he's continued to work hard in the offseason on his jump shot, putting up 500 to 600 shots a day after practice when he's already tired. Jones said he wouldn't leave the court until he's done making at least 300. "Jump shooting has been a big thing for me in the offseason," Jones said. "Most people come in at different times to shoot. When you shoot after practice, when your body is tired, that's more like a game situation."

> Freshman forward Raphael Akpejiori (6-8, 229), who sustained a stress reaction in his foot when practice first began on Oct. 15, is being closely monitored said Haith. As for his play, Haith said: "He is relentless on the court. I love that about him. Compared to say Dwayne Collins at the same stage, he’s got more skill set than Dwayne does. Dwayne was very raw as a freshman. [Akpejiori] has good low post moves. He has really tremendous instincts around the basket in terms of keeping balls alive. He’s not afraid of contact. He even gave the old [Dikembe] Mutombo move the other day at practice. He has all the things I love in terms of energy and enthusiasm."

> Haith said redshirt freshman forward Donnavan Kirk (6-9, 227) will definitely be in the rotation this season and play quite a bit. "He gives us athleticism in the post,'' Haith said. "He's a pretty good skill [player] too. He can make a shot 17-feet in. I think he'll be a three-point shooter before his career is over. He's a guy that's not allergic to working."

Reggie Johnson > At 6-10 and athletic 303-pounds, sophomore center Reggie Johnson can be a pretty intimidating presence on the basketball court. But could you picture him wearing shoulder pads, a helmet and standing side by side with 6-8, 355-pound freshman tackle Seantrel Henderson?

Apparently, Hurricanes football coach Randy Shannon already has. Johnson, who held court for about 20 minutes with reporters (telling funny stories about his offseason trip to China and how he tripped and fell during his tour of the Great Wall), said Shannon has joked with him in the past about coming out for football.

"Coach always says, `Hey, big fella, come on out to the football field. You saw Jimmy Graham, right? Look where he is now: Making millions,'" Johnson said. "I'm like, `Yes, sir.'"

Johnson, who impressed at last year's ACC Tournament averaging 13.7 points, eight rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in earning Second Team all-tournament honors, probably won't ever have to do it. His basketball talents are already drawing the attention of NBA scouts. But would he try football if hoops didn't work out? "Hopefully I don't have to; I want to stick with basketball," Johnson said. "[But] If it comes about I think I would. It could be [an option]."

Johnson of course would have to get over one big issue: his fear of Shannon. "I'm afraid of coach Shannon for no reason, I don't know why," Johnson said. "He walks up, comes to my class - and even though he's not checking on me - I straighten up, raise my hand, pay attention. I can't explain it."

> Haith said Dwayne Collins, drafted 60th overall by the Suns last June, is back home in Miami. Collins was playing in the Italian basketball league top level for Pallacanestro Varese. Former Canes Jack McClinton, Rob Hite and Brian Asbury are all playing in Israel. Haith said last he heard Guillermo Diaz was playing in Puerto Rico and Anthony King was in Germany. 

> Women's coach Katie Meier, whose team is bringing back its top two scorers in Shenise "Moe Moe" Johnson and Riquna "Bay Bay" Williams from a 22-14 season which ended with a runner-up in the NIT, said the biggest improvement her team has made is in the backcourt.

"The difference between this year and last year will be that when the game is on the line and there is four minutes left in the game, [Johnson and Williams] won't have played 34 minutes already and try to win the game when they're completely exhausted,'' Meier said. "There is a lot on those two kids and in end of the game situations they were pretty much spent. It's my job as a coach to give them the eight minute media rest, plus a couple more minutes in the second half so when its time to bring their A-game in the last two minutes of the game, they can do that."

> Freshman guard Krystal Saunders, a 5-8 standout from South Broward High, is one of the new additions Meier is most excited about. She said Saunders' scoring ability … particularly from three-point range -- should help spread the floor even more for Johnson and Williams to penetrate.

"Her style and our style is a great marriage," Meier said. "She's really showing up in practice."

Canes basketball media day videos

The Hurricanes hosted basketball media day on Wednesday. For a complete list of audio interviews, check out our audio page. I'll have news and notes soon.

October 27, 2010

Shannon: Horn "the key" to o-line's success

When they met as part of coach Randy Shannon's first recruiting class four years ago, Tyler Horn and Allen Bailey discovered they shared a common bond:

They both were in love with Popeye's fried chicken.

Tyler Horn "We used to do these runs down to Popeye's -- it was about 30 minutes down south from campus," Bailey said. "We'd go there, Tyler would have an eight piece, biscuits, all that. I'd have a two piece.

"Since he moved off campus, we really don't it too much anymore. He's got a girlfriend now. No time for us anymore."

Bailey, a 6-4, 285-pound senior from Sapelo Island, Ga., and Horn, a 6-4, 295-pound junior from Memphis were both selected as the Atlantic Coast Conference's linemen of the week Monday. While Bailey -- a three-year starter who had a career-high 3.5 sacks last Saturday against North Carolina -- has long been drawing attention, Horn is really only beginning to get noticed now.

Saturday, the first-year starting center had the best game of his career, grading out at 97 percent with six pancake blocks against the Tar Heels. But it's been his work helping glue together a young, inexperienced offensive line that UM coach Randy Shannon says deserves praise.

“I had a pretty good game, but the thing about the offensive line is that if one guy wins it, then all the guys should win it,” said Horn, who is the eldest of six children and has five younger sisters.

“No one offensive lineman is going to make that big of a difference. It is when they all work together, that is when we are good. It is when I get my combo blocks with Brandon and Harland. It is a product of everybody working together.”

At the start of the season, the Hurricanes had only two returning veterans with double-digit starts -- seniors Orlando Franklin (who had 27, but only two at right tackle) and Joel Figueroa (13 all at guard). The plan was to start Franklin and Figueroa at tackle with junior Harland Gunn (five starts at right guard), sophomore Brandon Washington (two starts at left guard) and Horn in the middle. But Figueroa, hampered by shoulder injuries, struggled and was switched back to guard last month before sustaining an undisclosed injury. He hasn't returned and likely won't.

Over the last four games, freshman Seantrel Henderson and redshirt freshman Jermaine Johnson have taken the bulk of the snaps at right tackle while freshman Brandon Linder, a standout from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, has worked his way into the rotation, particularly in jumbo packages.

But now, with Franklin's status uncertain for Saturday's game at Virginia (3-4, 0-3 ACC), more changes could be looming. If Franklin (knee, ankle) can't go Saturday, Henderson will slide in at left tackle. If that move ends up working out the same way the last big shakeup did, the 22nd-ranked Hurricanes (5-2, 3-1) shouldn't worry.

Not only are the Canes averaging 4.5 yards a carry (up from 3.8 last season), but they've averaged 202 yards rushing over their last four games. The pass protection has also improved. After giving up 35 sacks last season, UM has surrendered only nine sacks this season -- including only three in their last four games.

Shannon credits a lot of the improvement to the time his young players have spent breaking down film. But he also said Horn has been "the key."

"He's the guy that has to call out the run blocking," Shannon said. "He's the guy that has to call out the protections and notice when the free safety is coming, the linebacker is coming and how to set the front. He's done a phenomenal job."

Horn, who came in as a little known Rivals two-star recruit, prefers to defer the praise and focuses instead on the improvements that could be made.

“We feel like we should have more than 450 yards over the last two week or whatever it is," said Horn, who said he speaks to former UM centers A.J. Trump and Xavier Shannon frequently.

“We've left a lot of yards out there after penalties. The biggest thing we can't do is get complacent. We have to keep fighting, keep improving."

October 26, 2010

Canes: Rolle's visit "put the dog back in us"

When UM lost to Florida State by 28 points back on Oct. 9, several former Hurricanes came out and criticized the lack of effort and passion they saw from their former team. Coach Randy Shannon said he didn't see enough internal leadership and policing from his players. 

Antrel Rolle Last Saturday's 33-10 rout of North Carolina was almost the antithesis of the FSU loss. Players weren't just bouncing around, arguing with each other on the sidelines and creating big plays, they were drawing 15-yard penalties for excessive celebration. It was almost as if some old Hurricane spirits had taken over the bodies of the current Canes and made them enthusiastic and fun to watch again (Hey, it's almost Halloween, give me a pass). 

Turns out, what really happened was that a visit from former Hurricane Antrel Rolle helped a rather large awakening take place in Coral Gables. Rolle met with the entire team and then privately with the defensive backs to deliver a strong message.

What was it? "Just to play for each other, have each other's back, have coach Shannon's back and our coaching staff's back most of all," cornerback Brandon Harris said Tuesday. "The main thing we talked about was how we've been taking a back seat and letting our coaches take the heat when as a team we have to get some things together and get some things going. You sort of hear a lot about what old guys used to do. But just to hear it come out of his mouth, it was impressive...

"He spoke his honest opinion on some issues. It was true, it was undeniable. As a team, finally hearing that from an outside influence, but also somebody still close to the family, it kind of hit close to home. Usually when you hear things you're able to wash it off. But hearing it from a guy of his caliber, who has been here, who has been a part of the program, it really stuck with us. In the back of our minds we were kind of like 'Man, we can't let these guys down.' They've established this program to where it is and we have to keep it going. He said a lot of good things to us. A lot of guys took it and ran with it the rest of the week."

Rolle has worked out in Coral Gables over the last few summers since he left for for the NFL in 2005 (8th pick overall by Arizona) and is widely admired by players in UM's secondary. Senior Ryan Hill said chose to come to UM because he thought he could develop into a player like Rolle, who was a vocal leader during his time at UM.

"I've been talking to Antrel for awhile," Hill said. "I know his mindset. He has that killer instinct, that dog, typical Miami player. For him to come back and talk to us, I felt like guys bought into it. One of the things he mentioned was that he didn't think we were having fun... he put the dog back in us."

That dog showed up right around the second quarter when the Hurricanes started bopping their heads and dancing during a North Carolina injury timeout. According to Hill, it even spread into a new team chant led by Spence.

"Sean does a good job getting the defense ready," Hill said. "We have his little chant now: 'Up and down, round and round.' "If it takes us having fun the rest of our games, I'm sure you guys will see a sequel to that."

Although the fun went a little too far for officials last Saturday (when Harris drew a 15-yard penalty for playing the role of a horse getting whipped by teammate Sean Spence after his interception), it doesn't appear as if Shannon is going to curtail the emotion or enthusiasm. After the game, Harris said he expected to be punished by Shannon for his antics. But it turns out, he wasn't. Shannon gave him a pass.

"Coach said he just wants me to remember next time not get penalized," Harris said. "But the fun, the dancing? He's all for that as long as we keep winning."

> I'll have more notes and blogs for you in the coming days. But here are the video interviews from this morning and afternoon. For more interviews including Randy Shannon's press conference, check out our audio section.

LT Franklin hurt; Seantrel at LT

Good morning.

It appears that the biggest concern, quite literally, for UM this week will be the left tackle position.

Senior Orlando Franklin was hurt in the fourth quarter of the North Carolina game, and he was limping pretty badly at practice this morning. He has a hard black brace over his left knee, with his left ankle and outside back end of his shoe wrapped heavily.

Franklin couldn't practice, and we're not sure what, exactly, is injured. Ankle? Knee? Orlando has worn the brace before. He also has worn one before on  his right knee.

For fans who love watching young Seantrel Henderson do his thing at right tackle, today he took the place of Franklin at left tackle. Jermaine Johnson was playing first-team right tackle.

"He’s getting some reps. You’ve got to prepare for everything,'' said center Tyler Horn of the 6-8, 355-pound Henderson. Horn earned Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week for his performance against North Carolina. "Crazy things happen in games. Anything can happen. You always have to be prepared. It’s one of those quality-control type deals."

Guard Joel Figueroa was not at practice in the beginning but was seen in street clothes at the end of it. He has missed three games in a row.

--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

October 24, 2010

Canes talk after North Carolina win

Big win for the Hurricanes on Saturday night against the Tar Heels -- one I certainly didn't see coming especially by the final score of 33-10.

Couple of thoughts before we get to the video:

> I can't stress enough how much emotion had to do with this win. The Hurricanes looked like an entirely different team, playing with heart, playing with passion, celebrating big plays and not caring about drawing penalties. In the third quarter, I felt like someone switched the DVD and put in highlights from The U movie. The question now becomes will the Canes keep it up?

That's hard to say. But it if felt like after talking to Brandon Harris -- you'll see the video below -- that this team did exactly what Randy Shannon wanted them to do. They became accountable for themselves, started policing themselves. Harris said the team had a players only meeting last Tuesday, prompted by himself, Sean Spence and Vaughn Telemaque. He said during the private meeting, different players stood up and expressed themselves. It took them a little while, but the Canes started playing with that emotion Saturday. Like Telemaque told me last week, you can't be a vocal leader until you actually do something on the field. Now that some of these Hurricanes have -- especially on defense -- maybe we'll start seeing this team on Saturdays instead of the lazy, walk-through version we've seen far too often. Cross your fingers, anyway.

> Heard this after the game: Former Cane Antrel Rolle, who visited UM on Tuesday, was a big part of that players only meeting and encouraging Shannon to come out of his shell a little more. Not sure if Shannon actually danced. But he definitely chest-bumped Orlando Franklin.

> Quarterback Jacory Harris looked like he was getting off to a terrible game Saturday. He threw a wounded duck on a deep route to Travis Benjamin on UM's opening drive, then threw and interception on an absolutely terrible pass back across his body. But give Jacory credit. He rebounded nicely, finishing 21 of 32 for 217 yards and three touchdowns. What I liked most about Harris was that he didn't get down. According to Shannon, after his pick, he came to the sideline and said I should have run the ball. I'm not saying Harris is completely over his woes. He still couldn't hit the deep ball and was almost intercepted two more times. But this was his best game in quite a while. And that's a start.

> If Allen Bailey can figure a way to send just one tape to the NFL combine, he should make sure it's this one. Tremendous game -- 3.5 sacks and six tackles. It was nice to finally see the big dominate like Mel Kiper thought he would when he tabbed him the 11th best player in the upcoming draft.

> It's not even a question anymore -- Asante Cleveland is UM's best tight end. He should be starting and seeing a lot more balls going his way.

>

October 23, 2010

Gameday blog: North Carolina at Miami

MIAMI GARDENS -- The 25th-ranked Canes will try to end a three-game losing streak to North Carolina and avoid taking a huge step back in the Coastal Division race. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Sun Life Stadium where a crowd of at least 40,000 is expected. Watch it on ESPN2 or listen to it on WQAM. Feel free to participate in our discussion below as you tune in.

REWIND: As mentioned earlier, the Hurricanes haven't beaten North Carolina since 2006 and the Tar Heels own an 8-5 edge all-time in the series. The Hurricanes lost 33-24 last year in Chapel Hill and dropped a 28-24 decision the last time the teams met in South Florida. 

TJ Yates ABOUT CAROLINA: The Tar Heels opened the season with a pair tough six-point losses to LSU and Georgia Tech before picking up wins against Rutgers 17-13, East Carolina 42-17, Clemson 21-16 and Virginia 44-10 in the past month. While the team was obviously rocked by the suspensions and dismissals of several key defensive players, quarterback T.J. Yates has kept Carolina in the hunt. He owns the lowest interception percentage in the country (1 INT) and has completed nearly 67 percent of his passes for 1,495 yards and 11 touchdowns. His favorite receiver, senior tight end Zack Pianalto, was knocked out for the season last week at Virginia. But receivers Dwight Jones (19 rec., 302 yards, 3 TDs), Erik Highsmith (14-205-2) and Jheranie Boyd (12-297-3) are all capable targets and big play threats. Carolina's running game, led by Johnny White (86 att., 464 yards, 4 TDs) and Shaun Draughn (63 att., 287 yards, 4 TDs), has averaged 164.7 yards a game over their last three. Defensively, the Tar Heels live off turnovers. They've forced 16 this season (11 interceptions, 5 fumbles). Where the Tar Heels are vulnerable is against the run, where they currently rank 9th in the ACC.

THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE FOR THE U...

 > As usual, turnovers... We keep trying to figure out the identity of this team. Not sure why. It's obviously turnovers. When UM's defense is forcing them and quarterback Jacory Harris is avoiding them, the Canes have a real good chance to win. Last season, Harris threw four picks against North Carolina and lost. I think the magic number for Harris and the Hurricanes to have a chance to win this week is plus-2 (as in turnover margin).

> How much action the true freshmen see... Last week at game, Kelvin Cain started at middle linebacker and had a stellar game. Tight end Asante Cleveland came in late for Chase Ford and got open for two catches. Seantrel Henderson started his third straight game at right tackle and played the entire game. Receiver Allen Hurns had one pass thrown his way last week. It will be interesting to see if all four get more or fewer opportunities this week. Personally, I'd like to see more of them. We've already seen what the other guys can do. 

> Red Zone and third down efficiency... As documented in my story earlier this week, the Canes offense has been dreadful in both categories this season. Carolina ranks sixth nationally in red zone offense and fourth in red zone defense. The Tar Heels are average on third down, though, ranking 70th on defense (40.0%) and 72nd on offense (38.8%).

> MY PICK: UNC 30, MIAMI 21. You want to believe this game would be the turning point for Miami -- especially against a UNC team hurt by the loss of so many key returning players. But there is nothing I've seen from the Canes -- outside of the defense's ability to create turnovers -- that has really impressed me this season. And North Carolina doesn't turn the ball over. It's like all of the Tar Heels' strengths are the Canes' weaknesses. I think UM will come to play tonight (unlike FSU and Duke). The sad thing is I just don't believe it will be enough. 

Reminder for Gameday blog participants: Participation in the Cover It Live program is intended for the exchange of meaningful questions and observations during the game between fans and reporters. Not all comments or questions will be posted. iPhone users are asked to be patient as it takes several minutes for Cover It Live to load.

October 21, 2010

UM injury report for North Carolina

Time for this week's extremity report from UM before the Canes take on North Carolina Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium:

PROBABLE
RB Storm Johnson - Lower Extremity
WR Tommy Streeter - Upper Extremity

QUESTIONABLE
QB Alonzo Highsmith - Upper Extremity

OUT
OL Joel Figueroa - Lower Extremity
CB Brandon McGee - Lower Extremity
DT Curtis Porter - Lower Extremity

Here is what UM coach Randy Shannon talked about after Thursday's walkthrough courtesy of the fine reporters on UM's Sports Information Staff.

Linder, young line a fresh dose of hope for UM

The first time they met as teammates they didn't say much to each other at all.

Brandon Linder "We were all kind of hesitant, you know," said Brandon Linder, describing the moment he, Seantrel Henderson, Malcolm Bunche and three other University of Miami freshmen offensive linemen crossed paths inside their dormitory at UM. "I think we were all trying to size each other up. Be tough guys, you know.

"I think about an hour later, when all that toughness broke down, we started giggling and stuff. Now, we're all each other's best friends. We love each other. When we're watching film, were always critiquing each other. I think it's going to be a lot of fun the next four years."

Fun sounds like a welcome change for Canes fans. Since the 28-point loss to rival Florida State two weeks ago, it feels like everything related to this team has been accompanied with a sense of a negativity because of a failure to meet expectations. Fire Randy! Bench Jacory! We only beat Duke by 15?

If you are searching for some fresh hope, the Canes are starting to provide some of that too. Freshman linebacker Kelvin Cain and tight end Asante Cleveland provided two large doses of it Saturday at Duke. But the biggest reason for hope in my opinion is what's happening with Linder, Henderson and the rest of the Hurricanes' young offensive line.

In case you missed it, sophomore right guard Brandon Washington earned ACC Lineman of the Week honors after grading out at 97 percent against Duke. With redshirt freshman Jermaine Johnson back home (supposedly because he was sick), Henderson made his third straight start at right tackle and played the entire game for the first time in his career. Linder, meanwhile, made his first college start in a jumbo package and played the most he had all season.

And although UM's offensive line appeared to have some major issues at the start of the season with Joel Figueroa injured and struggling to handle a switch to right tackle, pass protection hasn't been as a big of an issue lately as some feared it might be. In fact, the Canes have only surrendered eight sacks this season -- that puts them on pace to finish with half as many as they did a year ago (35) at season's end.

Outside of left tackle and senior Orlando Franklin (and possibly Figueroa if he is not granted a medical redshirt), the Hurricanes will bring back all of their offensive linemen next season. Starting left guard Harland Gunn and center Tyler Horn will be seniors. The rest of the group will be made up of talented underclassmen.

The group of true freshmen -- led by Henderson, Linder, Bunche and accompanied by Johnathan Feliciano, Shane McDermott and Jermiane Barton -- "is going to be real special" according to Horn.

"All of those guys are really, really good and they're going to be really, really good players," Horn said. "They get reps and go against a really good team on scout team and it's starting to show up. They're pushing guys around like its nothing."

Said UM coach Randy Shannon: "I'm very excited. They're big and competitive. Malcolm Bunche is doing a great job of competing down there, Jermaine Barton we just got back this past week - it's a slow process because he's been out for a long time [with injury]. And Feliciano has been doing a good job. They give our defensive line a lot of fits because they're big, they're physical and knock guys around. Anytime you have guys competitive like that on scout team they give you a great look and take pride in doing it, it's always good for your team."

Linder, who is currently backing up Horn at center, has taken reps in games at guard and as a third tackle on overload packages. Horn calls Linder "extremely smart" and said his attention to detail in the film room has helped him get on the field early.

"He's one of those guys whose always in the film room, hounding [offensive line] coach [Jeff] Stoutland to teach him, teach him, teach him," Horn said. "He also plays hard, runs downfield, never gives up on a block, never stops blocking. It's a mixture of effort and the desire to learn."

Henderson, tabbed as the top high school recruit in the country, was supposed to play at some point this season. But the fact he cracked the starting lineup in just UM's fourth game, Horn said, came as a result of his work ethic.

"He didn't come out here and say 'Hey I'm the No. 1 recruit.' He said I want to earn it the right way. And he's done that," Horn said. "I respect a Seantrel a whole lot because of it. I'm really proud of the way he came in and instead of being all high and mighty, he came in all humble with a chip on his shoulder to really prove he's the best."

Washington said he thinks the Canes will potentially be just as good, if not better than the impressive offensive line Florida State has groomed over the past few seasons. Just like the Seminoles did two weeks ago, Washington believes its only a matter of time before the Canes start dominating up front the way they did.

"If we can get everybody clicking on all cylinders, by my senior year, it's going to be crazy," Washington said. "You'll have Malcolm Bunche, Seantrel on the same side -- that's 600, 700 pounds alone of meat and muscle working together to blow open some big holes. It's going to be a beautiful thing."

QUICK HITTERS

Damien Berry > The more you hear players talk about Damien Berry, the more you realize how much he's not only a huge leader but how much the offense feeds off him and his big runs.

"It's like blocking for your brother -- your blood brother," Horn said. "When you see him run over one of the safeties down the field, it fires you up, you want to open a bigger hole for him so you can see him run it again. As the game goes on, he doesn't get tired. It's like he gets more amped up, excited about running over people. It's a lot of fun to block for that guy.

"He's fierce," Brandon Washington said. "He's a powerhouse, a one-man wrecking crew. It feels good blocking for someone like that knowing if I just stay on my block this could spring for a 20, 30-yard run. If I can make my play, this could be a great run."

> With Berry getting the bulk of the carries these days, you wonder how the guys behind him are feeling about their limited opportunities. Berry said he talks to a lot of the guys behind him on the depth chart about having patience and points out how he had to wait to the middle of his junior year to run the ball.

"I talk to Storm [Johnson] and Eduardo [Clements] a lot," Berry said. "But they know there are four great guys in front of them that have playing experience and when it is their time, they just have to show out. Everybody will get their opportunity.

"You can't get down. Me and [Graig] Cooper are like best friends. Sometimes he does have his days. But it's never down in the tank. It's more like I have to do more to help this team."

For fun I asked Berry if he missed playing safety. His response: "That's like asking me if I like riding the bench."

> For those of you who believe some of these players don't demand enough perfection from themselves, when I asked Brandon Washington if he was proud of the Canes' improvement in allowing fewer sacks he just shook his head at me. "Eight sacks? We're not proud of that at all," Washington said. "We want zero sacks. The first half of the season is behind us. We want to end the last six with zero sacks and more pancakes."

> If you are wondering where those six big freshmen offensive linemen dine together, it's not off campus. According to Linder, they can't go anywhere because "none of us have cars."

"Freshmen aren't allowed to have cars," Linder said. "So we go to the Rat and stuff, tear it up."

> Another great quote from Tuesday's press conference came from the lips of Tyler Horn. When asked about the recruiting stars system, Horn said: "You can have all the stars in the world, it doesn't mean your going to be a good football player. It just means you have the potential to be a good football player. I've always been told potential is a nine-letter word for bad."

October 20, 2010

Canes schedule Michigan State for 2020, 2021

The University of Miami and Michigan State announced the signing of a two-game football series in 2020 and 2021 according to a press release on the school's website.

The `Canes will travel to East Lansing and the Michigan State campus on Sept. 26, 2020. MSU will visit Miami on Sept. 18, 2021.

"We are committed to continuing our tradition of playing a strong non-conference schedule," said Miami Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt. "The University of Miami is excited to announce this series against a very strong Big Ten Conference program. These types of match ups are great for our program and the game of college football."

UM has won all four previous meeting with Michigan State, but the two programs have not met since 1989. Three of the four all-time meetings have been decided by less than a touchdown.

In coming seasons UM has non-conference games scheduled with BCS opponents Notre Dame, Nebraska, Cincinnati, Florida, USF, Ohio State and Kansas State.

This season, Michigan State has gone from unranked in the preseason polls to No. 7 in the initial BCS rankings released last weekend.

October 19, 2010

Lineman's message to Jacory: "Lead the troops"

With the Hurricanes playing a huge game this week against North Carolina, it would have been nice to hear what Jacory Harris had to say about facing a team that has been in UM's way the last three seasons and intercepted him four times last November in Chapel Hill.

Brandon Washington It would have been nice to ask him how he's feeling and why we've seen him standing off to the side on his own during games and not firing up his teammates on the sideline like he usually does.

Hey, at least I know I'm not the only one wondering what Jacory is feeling. Turns out, sophomore offensive lineman Brandon Washington, tabbed as the ACC's Lineman of the Week Monday, is worried about his quarterback too. While most of his teammates answer the 'How's Jacory doing?' questions with what sounds like prepared speeches, Washington provided something a little fresher Tuesday: his heart-felt concerns and some inspiration for J-12.

"Jacory is a very talkative guy," said Washington, who played with Harris at Miami Northwestern and has started at right guard for UM in all six games this season.

"I just want him not to feel discouraged or feel like he's not wanted. When he doesn't make the plays he expects to make, you can see it in his face. He goes into a shell, breaks off and sits by himself on the sideline. That's not how he usually is. Usually, he'll be like 'Line, don't worry about it we got another drive. The defense is going to get the ball back. We're going to score.' He's just kind of discouraged right now."

Harris has been on a steady decline since he threw four interceptions in the loss at Ohio State. His completion percentage is 52 percent -- third lowest among starting quarterbacks in the ACC.  "He just hasn't been having the season he thought he would,' Washington said. "That Ohio State game hurt him." 

After that game, Harris received a racially-charged message on his Twitter account. After telling reporters about it a few days later as the Hurricanes prepared to face Pittsburgh, UM coach Randy Shannon decided Harris "needed a break" from the media. He's been unavailable for interviews since.

I'm not in any way trying to say Harris' struggles are related to him not talking to the media. I'M NOT. But while he's been behind the scenes, it is clear Harris has quietly been having a hard time dealing with his struggles. 

"Sometimes when he gets in that shell, [we] just to talk to him and say 'Man, we still love you. Come sit by the offensive line, we still love you, nobody hates you here," Washington said. "Once you start talking, he'll usually come out of it real fast, smile, be Jacory again.

"It's not that we need him to be the leader. But he's our quarterback, he's the head man. Lead the troops, lead us to the promised land."

QUICK HITTERS FROM TUESDAY...

> After getting a first hand look at UM during its 45-17 loss to Florida State, ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit said last week that the atmosphere at Sun Life Stadium had too much of a "corporate feel" than it did a big-time college football game. There's no doubt FSU-UM games had a different feel in the Orange Bowl.

Damien Berry said while the student section has done a good job filling in for what used to be the old West End Zone crew -- being rowdy and obnoxious to the opposing teams, he admitted having fans sit farther away than they did at the OB has brought down the electricity level a bit.

Cornerback Brandon Harris made a great point about what it really takes to make a stadium rock. "I think what made the Orange Bowl special was the team that was playing in the Orange Bowl," Harris said. "That really amped up the crowd. I think the more we progress and the more put together wins, Sun Life will become just as crazy as the Orange Bowl was. It's just a matter of time."

> For those of you rooting to see more of freshman Kelvin Cain at middle linebacker after his stellar debut at Duke, here some news: You will. Just not in the starting lineup. Yet. Colin McCarthy was back practicing with the first team Tuesday at middle linebacker. Word is Cain will rotate in, allowing McCarthy to shift back outside every now and then.

> According to our Barry Jackson, freshman safety Latwan Anderson, rivals.com's 15th-best prospect in the 2010 recruiting class, has left the football team but remains on the track team. A UM source told Barry that Anderson is frustrated but should have known he likely would redshirt this season. UM is uncertain if he will return to the football program. I heard Anderson went off on Facebook over his frustrations of not playing.

> Saturday's win 28-13 win at Duke might have been a good win for some, but count Brandon Harris as someone who expected more. "As you team you want to dominate opposing teams," Harris said. "That was a game we felt like we played well in spurts, but we didn't feel like we dominated that game to the magnitude we were supposed to."

> After the FSU loss, Shannon said he was looking for more vocal leaders. Sounds like safety Vaughn Telemaque is answering the bell. The fact Telemaque has had three interceptions in his last two games has built a little more swagger under his belt, something he admitted he was sorely missing after going his first 15 starts at UM without a pick.

"They've definitely helped me tremendously," Telemaque said. "It's easier to be a leader, be vocal when you've done something. I just feel like I'm back in my groove. I hadn't had a pick in so long, I forgot the feeling of it, seeing the ball in, everything like that."

Several teammates said Telemaque has been a lot more vocal, talking trash to opposing receivers much more than he used to. "I told one of the Duke receivers tell your quarterback to stop throwing it this way," Telemaque said. "I wanted him to get mad and do it again."

> The quote of the day definitely belonged to Damien Berry. When asked what it might take to make UM fans happy, the running back provided some comedy. "I really don't know -- maybe give them some bean burritos after the game," Berry said with a chuckle, knowing full well national titles are all that keeps fans in a good mood. "I love our fans even though they put us up and down. They're with us when were up and sometimes they leave us down. But, it's not about the fans. Its about this family right here."

> Last but not least here is what Shannon had to say about North Carolina:

"The last couple of years have not been good for me or the University of Miami playing North Carolina. We're 0-3. We've had some games come down to the wire. We talked about it as a staff, football team - they have our number right now. We have a chance to do something about it. It's a home game. Watching North Carolina, you see their offense is doing a great job of scoring points and not having turnovers. T.J. Yates is doing a great job. The one thing he's done is stay focused, you can tell by his completion percentage. What he's doing with the offense, it's going to be tough. They run the ball to create passing opportunities for him. They have players that are skill guys. They'll miss the tight end [out with injury], but knowing coach [Butch] Davis they won't change what they do. Someone will have to step up at tight end for them.

"Defensively they have some great players. Their linebacker [Bruce] Carter is one of the best linebackers in the country, probably could have left last year and been a first rounder. You watch those guys on defense, they really fly around and make plays. They do a great job of creating turnovers like we've been doing. Their defense isn't going to do anything deep, will play backed off coverages, will see if we have patience enough to throw the ball underneath. We'll rely on receivers catching the ball underneath, make someone miss and get positive yards, and run the football. When we get opportunities to go deep we will. They're a bend but don't break defense. So it's going to be one of those games. We have to compete in our ACC conference. Coming down the stretch we'll have to play each other. All of us are geared up, ready to go."

Canes talk Tar Heels

Before I come back with some news and notes, here are today's video interviews from Coral Gables as the Hurricanes prepare to take on North Carolina Saturday at Sun Life Stadium:

Colin McCarthy, Jermaine Johnson practicing

Good morning.

Randy Shannon said linebacker Colin McCarthy and offensive tackle Jermaine Johnson did not make the trip to Duke because they were sick.

This morning, both McCarthy and Johnson were in their position groups practicing.

Offensive lineman Joel Figueroa, who didn't travel to Duke, was not at practice.

Tailback Lamar Miller was out there practicing as well. All the quarterbacks practiced, including backup A.J. Highsmith, who still has a support on his left wrist.

Defensive tackle Josh Holmes, who also didn't play at Duke, was out there practicing with an elasticized brace over his left knee.

DT Marcus Forston has a shin bandaged, but he seems fine.

--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

October 18, 2010

Regis' play becoming as good as his bark

The musical beats provided by Duke's marching band are usually the loudest sounds heard at Wallace Wade Stadium on football Saturdays in Durham, N.C. But for a brief moment last weekend -- while the Blue Devils band was taking a short break -- Hurricanes defensive tackle Micanor Regis found an opening to sound off. And in the process, he created a little bedlam of his own.

Micanor Regis "Rick does this bark," Canes defensive lineman Allen Bailey said. "It sounds like a real dog, like an angry rotweiler. We were on the sidelines and he just let one of those out. He barked at the band and half of them jumped like two feet in the air. I laughed so hard."

Regis did more than put a scare into Duke's band Saturday. Like a dog chasing after a frisbee in flight, he snatched a Sean Renfree pass out of the air in the third quarter and rumbled 22 yards for a touchdown in what UM coach Randy Shannon called the play of the game in a 28-13 win over the Blue Devils. 

The play made Regis the focal point of teammates' jokes after the game for the way his 6-3, 305-pound body looked chugging toward the Canes' second defensive touchdown of the season. But all of that teasing, Bailey said, was of out of love for the Regis, who has always tried to pass himself off in practice as a sleek skill player and not a lumbering lineman.

"When I was growing up, I didn't think I was going to play football. I thought I was going to be the next Michael Jordan," Regis said.

"I was five feet tall when I was in the fourth grade. By the time I got to sixth [grade], I was 6-feet, 300-pounds. I always looked two grades ahead of my class. People were scared of me until they got to know me. I was just a regular guy. I wasn't a bully or nothing. I was just bigger than everybody else."

The fourth of seven children raised by a single mom in the football hotbed of Pahokee in Palm Beach County, Regis didn't begin playing football competitively until he was 13. Once he put on the pads, It didn't take him long to begin making an impact. A three-year starter at left tackle and at defensive tackle, he helped lead Pahokee to three state championships. By the time he was a senior, he was tabbed the 29th-best defensive tackle prospect in the country by Rivals.com.

"He couldn't be blocked," Pahokee coach Blaze Thompson said Monday. "Whoever we were playing, their big hoss on the line, Micanor just wanted to dominate him. I don't remember him being beat once. I just always worried before the game what might happen if he got a hold of the quarterback. 

"He was a great offensive lineman too. In the Muck Bowl [against rival Glades Central] we ran leads right behind him the entire game and he led us right down the field, opening holes every play getting five, 10 yards a pop. They knew exactly where we were going to go and they still couldn't stop it. He was just a beast."

Former recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt (now at Louisville) discovered Regis midway through his sophomore season. Regis, the second cousin of Ravens Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin (a former Florida State star), said he was told by Hurtt to expect an offer from UM on the first day he could receive one as a junior. Once he did, Regis said he fell in love with the Hurricanes and never once thought about going anywhere else.

"He's a Cane true and through," Thompson said. "I had coaches from Ohio State, Oklahoma, Florida State in my office trying to talk to him. He would just tell them 'Coach, I don't want to waste your time. I'm going to Miami.' "

"Now that he's playing, starting, you can see he's excited. I didn't see the interception return for the touchdown Saturday, but I heard about it. I think he's doing great. I get the sense he's just about ready to really start coming on."

After two seasons as a reliable backup, Saturday's game might have been that turning point for Regis. In only the third start of his career at Miami, he finished with a career-high nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. The interception was the third of his career (he had two as a sophomore) and the touchdown he scored was his first at any level.

The play, while funny, didn't surprise teammates at all according to Bailey, who have seen Regis transform himself from a sloppy 330 pounds freshman to a well built 305 third-year tackle who is more than capable of making athletic plays.

"He's like an interception magnet," Bailey said. "For some reason, every time the ball gets batted up in the air, he gets it. Micanor is just a great player. He's worked hard to get where he is.

"And he's got a great personality. He's a fun guy to be around. He kind of bullies the small guys, tries to give [defensive backs] tips how to catch balls like if he played corner or something. He makes us laugh."

Regis doesn't just provide comic relief. A self-described video game junky and fan of old action movies starring James Bond and Bruce Lee, he also entertains his teammates when he listens to his favorite musician, rapper Slick Rick. His passion for the old school rapper earned Regis the nickname 'Rick' from his teammates.

"I've never heard him rhyme," Bailey said laughing. "But I like his bark and the way he plays football. He should stick to that."

Washington, Telemaque named ACC players of week

The Canes' 28-13 win over Duke may not have been a fine work of art, but two of their players are being recognized for their performances. Sophomore offensive guard Brandon Washington and safety Vaughn Telemaque earned ACC Player of the Week honors Monday.

Washington anchored a Miami offense that recorded a season-best 448 yards and did not allow a sack. As the Hurricanes’ starting right guard, Washington graded out at 97 percent while recording seven pancake blocks against the Blue Devils.

Telemaque had two interceptions to lead a Miami defense that forced five interceptions and two fumbles. Telemaque also had six tackles for the UM defense, which is tied for second nationally in turnovers gained among BCS schools. It is the ninth time this season that an ACC player has claimed multiple interceptions in a single game.

North Carolina receiver Dwight Jones earned Offensive Back of the Week honors. Jones had seven receptions for 198 yards and two touchdowns (all career highs) in Carolina’s 44-10 victory at Virginia. It was the Tar Heels’ first win at UVA since 1981. Jones, who had 119 receiving yards in the first quarter, had touchdown catches of 81 and 20 yards. He also had a 54-yard reception to the 1-yard line, which led to another TD. Carolina scored on its first play from scrimmage when Yates connected with Jones on an 81-yard touchdown strike. Jones’ 198 yards receiving rank as the fifth-highest single-game total in school history.