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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."


> 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."


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Thanks for the article Manny. The pressure the DL is putting on QBs is the key to all these INTs this year. It helps the DBs out knowing that the ball hs to come out quick


I listened to Joe Rose's show on my a.m. drive. 90% of da u fan callers don't want to join the SEC. If you can't make it the conference championship game in the ACC, how are U going to fare in the SEC?

Posted by: Erik Rullman | June 10, 2010 at 09:17 AM


Erik Babe:

You come on a Canes blog posing as a Canes fan, but post your love for the Gators on Gator Clause. But wait, you then post your name and website address for the Miami based real estate company you work for. We know that Gator fans are infamous for not moving the needle on the intelligence meter, but I think you've set a new record.

Has it occured to you that when you openly lie on a blog it doesn't exactly become an endorsement as to how people can trust you when dealing on real estate.

Pal, you are a flat out classic!!!

Posted by: Bull Gator

Not me but you would't get approved anyway. Plus your mom would be lonely with no one to make the meatloaf for.

PS Bryan Pata was to buy one of my condos - how many college students can afford brickell avenue 3/3's?

You were just called out Sean Wilson
So which team is it?

Just like seanwilson523@hotmail.com to mention Bryan Pata for no reason at all
No wonder you are having to close down all your accounts
Just make sure you keep up a facebook account to follow your buddy Justin though

Man what is wrong with you bringing up Bryan Pata's name. The man was shot down is cold blood and now U want to use it as some sort of a joke. Dude you are pathetic.

He really is pathetic. He comes on here and rips randy just because randy is black. He uses like 20 diffrent names when he posts also. That said this secondary has been lights out all year. Its sad a blog gets taken over by this gator troll and a good post about the canes turns into this. U know what i like most about cain and cleveland is alot of canes fans ripped randy for signing these 2 because they weren't your 5 star recruit only to watch them be some of the best true freshman on this team.

sean wilson also has a twitter account called racisttom where he tweets his racists ideas

I said downtown area not Sobe but got them there too. What do you do for a living? Let me guess - camp out here all day reminiscing of the glory UM days until it's time to start your shift at Sears? Shannon is not going to bring us back.

Go f your self loser


Posted by: Erik Rullman | October 29, 2010 at 01:40 PM


The above is a post of yours from earlier today in which you clearly included a website address for a Erik Rullman leading one to believe that is you and your company, Paz Global Realty, Richard Paz CEO (305-466-2990 Ext. 101), located in Miami. So, if this is not you are you saying you purposely stole the identity of another person and posted it on this site?

Their are laws against this type of criminal activity if this is in fact what you did.

So, what's the story, did you steal someone elses identity or is this the Rullman of Paz Global Realty (305-466-2990) as you claimed earlier?

Manny, Always a nice job. We in the Northwest thank you for keeping us up to date! Interesting about some of the negative comments (FSU/Gator fans?). When you have been BIG, expectations are very high. Although we have had disappointments for several years, this team is looking like it has the talent to go higher. The key is passionate leaderaship from Coach Shannon, and 60 minute fervor by the players. Let's take it to UVA! Go Canes!


you can see his pic also

OK, we got UVA: I want to see big games from Forston, Telemaque, J12, and the whole OL.

BTW: Anybody seen Chase?

this is defininately one of 2 places the canes have really done well. RB is the other. the def. line has alot of their sacks due to great coverage, they dont seem to get the push we expected. the secondary should be commended, good luck canes, still ALOT to prove. payback to virg would br nice, then the terps who are 5-2.

Good stuff Manny. Question for you - what are you hearing in regards to Minnesota being interested in Shannon? I believe ESPN had something about it yesterday and I've seen it on a couple other blogs as well. Just curious if you have any insight. Keep up the good work and Go Canes!!

Manny, can you or Olive Oil sweep out some of these email conversations between this brianwilson / Bacon / whomever going back and forth? Thanks

This "excuse for a person" brings up Bryan Pata's name for absolutely no reason. RIP.

This waste of his daddy's DNA insults a young man's memory. A young man who can no longer defend himself. A young man gunned down in cold blood, and someone's son, brother.

You are the lowest link of the animal kingdom. Dung beetles don't even do that.

This guy is the kind that cuts in front of little ol ladies at Publix

The guy who cuts infront of you for no rreason in the slow lane on the Palmetto

The guy who picks his nose and wipes it on the wall...at his mommas house

The guy who cheats on his taxes. Or pays none

The guy who looks at little kids at playgrounds

Please delete this subhuman/

Manny, can you or Olive Oil sweep out some of these email conversations between this brianwilson / Bacon / whomever going back and forth? Thanks

Posted by: DanMorganIntensity | October 29, 2010 at 10:56 PM

Going with another name huh Sean
Now youre going to attack a writer for this site
Isnt it about time for you and Justin Bieber to go have your facebook snuggle hug

Pretty pathetic mentioning Pata.

I saw bryan pata last night...

oh no it was just a homeless bum...

2020 we are going to give MSU a fight!@!!!!

Oh yeah...I am going to lose business to "cane" fans who camp out on the herald website who don't go to cane games. I deal with clients that spend money at LIV at Sunlife and floor seats at the AAA.....so I am phased butyou peons...

Nooooooo don't buy my condo you cant afford!!!!

ps usually UM grads support each other

RANDY ain't it.......................

You and I both know it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rullman Douche, clowns who talk about how much money they have are usually credit card millionaires spending on margin buoy are an insecure little loser. Probably 5' 8" with a big mouth who gets now women despite spending every dime he has and getting lit every weekend.

You are a sad sack, douchebag.

bobby harts taking officials. shannon needs to jump on that opportunity.

Erik/Sean tried to steal someone elses id and it back fired bigtime on him
This is going to come as a real shocker to evertone here but he is not the man that he is claiming to be
Sean just cant seem to stay out of trouble or know when enough is enough

Erik/Sean you obviously don't have a life and is not as BIG TIME as you say if you have to keep posting and defending yourself to us PEONS!

p.s. douchebag i am a paramedic and i save lives for a living have fun being not satisfied and living alone because nobody gives a sh## about you.

can you two losers just exchange phone numbers or facebook IDs and just pesters the hell out of each other on some other format. This should be for Canes fans, not a few sh*theads calling eachother names.

Posted by: DanMorganIntensity | October 30, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Another one of your IDs Sean
Go stalk Justin Beiber and leave us Miami fans alone
Youre really becoming scary now

This is pathetic. But Morris showed the most leadership ever I've seen. J12 is toast. What the heck happened to DL?

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