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Head-butting Hill key to UM's run success

Pat Hill Jr. is only 2 1/2 years old. But he's already following in his daddy's footsteps.

When Hill Jr. is around his father and his University of Miami teammates, he'll get down in a football stance and charge at the adults around him head first.

"It's hilarious," Hill Sr. said of his son Tuesday. "He gives a head butt to everybody."


Patrick Hill Like father, like son. Hill, a fifth-year senior from Torrance, Calif. and starting fullback, has made head-butting and opening holes his specialty at UM. Last week, he took that a step further when he cracked his helmet during a head-on collision with a defensive player from Georgia Tech.

"All I know it was a run play -- I don't remember the exact play," Hill said. "I tend to hit with my head first and then bring the rest of my body and hands. I'm pretty sure it was helmet to helmet. The equipment guy came to me and I showed it to him. I said `I need to get a helmet Tuesday.' He said `No, you have to get one now.' He said I could keep it as a souvenir, which is pretty neat."

Saturday was the first time Hill shattered a helmet, but not the first time he's kept UM's equipment manager busy. Hill said he's shattered his face-mask a few times in the past to try and blow open a hole for the guys behind him.

"I take a lot of pride in it," Hill said of blocking. "You see guys getting the glory, kind of want the glory sometimes. But I'm a team guy. I know what my role is.."

If all you did were look at his statistics, Hill's career at the UM might be misjudged as a failure. In three seasons, he's carried the ball once for 5 yards -- that was last week at Georgia Tech. He also has seven career catches for 41 yards.

But ask UM coach Randy Shannon how much his starting fullback means to his team and he offers this: "Go look up the stats from last year -- go look at the first couple games when Pat Hill was in and the next couple games when he was out, you'll see a big drop off in rushing. If you look at where we are in rushing, it's because of Pat Hill."

At 5-9, 255 pounds, Hill might not be considered an imposing threat to bigger opposing linebackers. But ask the guys who run behind him about the job he does and they rave. "Pat does a great job. He gets on backers, gets them out the way," said sophomore running back Mike James, who played some fullback when Hill was out last season. "Me experiencing it last year, I can't tell you how great his job is. It's an unglorious job but it's very much needed."

The Hurricanes have become one of the best rushing teams in the country over the past five weeks. Since their blowout loss to the Seminoles on Oct. 9, UM has run at a clip of 224 yards per game.

"In this game, if you establish the run nine times out of 10 you're going to win the game," Hill said. "In the three losses we had, we didn't run the ball well. With running the ball well comes winning."

A year ago with Hill out of the lineup, the Hurricanes finished 70th in the country in rushing with 138 yards a game. This season with a healthy Hill the Canes are averaging 185.8 yards a game -- good for 32nd best nationally.

Hill was only healthy for three of UM's games last season before he slipped an sustained a high ankle sprain on a kickoff return in the 31-7 loss to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Had he remained healthy, however, he wouldn't be with the Canes this season.

"I always look at that as a blessing in disguise," Hill said. "I'm a very religious person. I think God does everything for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. That was just a sign for me to come back and perfect aspects of my game I want to perfect."

Nothing would make him happier this week than to cap his return to UM with a win over the Hokies.

"I expect them to play hard," Hill said. "Despite whatever situations happen, I expect them to keep coming, play hard, play fast and physical. It's going to be a 60 minute fight. They've been down and come back. They're a hot team right now, the hottest team in the ACC, have won eight straight."

A FEW MORE NOTES...

> Quarterback Jacory Harris participated in Tuesday’s practice wearing full pads, a helmet and a green, non-contact jersey. He threw passes in individual drills and also took snaps with the second team during team drills. But odds are he won't play this week. Shannon has remained adamant about Harris getting healthy.

“I know you guys want to keep worrying about who’s going to be the starter? And I know fans want to know who’s going to be the guy," Shannon said. "But let the guy get healthy right. Let him go through the process of it instead of trying to force him back into something that can hurt him. He’s a kid.”

> Tight end Asante Cleveland, who sustained a concussion against Maryland and sat out against Georgia Tech, also practiced in a non-contact jersey Tuesday. Shannon described Cleveland’s recovery as “the same situation” as Harris. “It’s going to be no different.”

> Shannon said Hokies quarterback Tyrod Taylor is playing the best out of anybody in the ACC on offense. He might not be wrong. Taylor has completed 61.2 percent of his passes this season for 1,988 yards, 18 TDs and only 4 INTs. He's also run He's run for 581 yards and 3 TDs.

"He's still a runner," Shannon said. "But he's a thrower/runner. He gets out of the pocket to throw, gets you to come up, then he throws the ball. Last year he got out of the pocket, dumped to the fullback 10 yards down the field and it's a 20 yard completion. We have to make sure we do our job in pass rush lanes, keeping guys in front of him. That'll be key."

Comments

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Im hearing that the students want everyone to show up in Orange and Fatigues!!!!!! Im there!!! ROLL CALL

Pat Hill is a Brahma Bull. I don't understand on 3 and 1 they don't give it to this dude. Jaboney stay parked at least one more game or until your arm gets stronger.

Always good to see the fullback get some well deserved publicity

LETS RUN SHANNON OUT OF TOWN... shannon is running us down to the ground.. if he lets JNOODLE start another game it will show how he plays favorite...MORRIS IS THE BEST QB right now... and he will win against VT

ummmmmm when did pat hill grow cornrows? either super old photo or it aint him.

Randy please run the ball 50 times this week. I have been saying that all year. If we keep our penalties to a minimum we will be fine. We need to demoralize them this weekend. It would be nice to see us with revenge colored red eyes. Are u still on here gayturd with 5 losses. Haha

Virginia Tech is overrated.

I hope we're recruiting a pretty good fullback to take his place next year..

Anybody know who the officials crew is going to be? If its the crew who did the N.C.-VA.Tech game,it'll be flags galore. The crew who did the Canes -Tech game let the kids play, wish we would get them.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/08/01/1755497/fiu-sports-coverage-is-at-the.html

is sneaky pete whispering $weet nothing$ in the sports editor's tin ear?
splashing f-i-u-don't-matter on the front page day after day ...
if you didn't know better ...
you would erroneously conclude this good-for-nothing commuter school was on par with the well-established, well-esteemed, well-followed University of Miami ...
you know, the school you love to hate since 1926 ...
swim with the fishies ...
how low do you go to accommodate other small frys like barry, st thomas, florida memorial ... miami-dade
a notch below, the county community college enrolls 170,000 students & graduated 1.5M alumni ...
where's their beat? blog? propagandist?
lest you forget ...
minor-league college athletics with a make-believe fan base subsidized by the strong-arm of an unsuspecting student body warrants scant attention from a major-league metropolitan newspaper ...
something's rotten at 1 herald plaza ...

BIGGER FISH TO FRY

Gents - good morning big game this weekend! 60 minutes, we do that, we win...VT will not stop playing until the whistle blows...we need to RUN, RUN, RUN...Give them something for last yrs beating we took...we quit that game...we are not going to quit this one! FSU was an exception...we will be ready and give them our best...Miller, Berry, James, Cooper, Storm, Hank, TB, Byrd & AJ --- we NEED YOU BOYS to show up as well! Mr Morris - keep doing your thing young man, play the game in front of you...use your feet and arm with your decision making you have shown us! DEF -- Watch that QB...he's going to scramble and look downfield...RayRay, McGee - it's your turn to take one to the house...GOD BLESS!

Since we never do anything easy against Va. Tech and we always give them at least 10 pts. when we play them, lets go ahead and squeak this one out 23-17.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v446/Xeroc/UM/emptyOrangeBowl2.jpg

here's the rub ...
because of threat, guilt or inducement ...
the f_ _king faint-hearted herald could lead with f-i-u-don't-matter all day ...
everyday ...
but it won't matter ...
the sophisticated readership skips over their articles ...
never amongst the most read or commented ...
all the while alienating the paper's core cUstoMer ...
so, you can lead a horse to water ...
but you can't make it drink ...

EXERCISE IN F(I)UTILITY

http://www.miamiherald.com/forums/

There is, in other words, much more readership demand for coverage of the Hurricanes than of the Golden Panthers.
– miami herald ombudsman (8/1)

dlandsberg@miamiherald.com (top banana)
amarques@miamiherald.com (second banana)
dshalala@miami.edu (queen bee)
khocutt@miami.edu (prince charming)

the enormous University of Miami community should fight fire with fire by boycotting the f_ _ king faint-hearted herald for acceding to the outrageous demands of the 8th street extortionists ...

HIT 'EM IN THE POCKETBOOK

Hill is my favorite. I watch the game live and look at the runningbacks, and then I watch it again on my DVR to check out Hill. 9 times out of 10, Hill hits somebody, and he hits hard. 5'9, 255 lbs? That dude is HUGE.

I hope we're recruiting a pretty good fullback to take his place next year..

Posted by: canesallltheway | November 17, 2010 at 08:45 AM

Got one in last years class....Maurice Hagens. I think he will be used more as a RB/FB and actually catch some balls out of the backfield as well.

Virginia Tech is overrated.

Posted by: Canesjunkie

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Attaboy Canesjunkie...getting out ahead of the story should our Canes beat VT allows you to say the win was no big deal and of course...fire Randy Shannon.

You said the same thing about UNC, then they went to Tallahassee and beat the Seminoles.

FIRE SHANNON... he sucks and so does JNOODLE.. recruits dont come to miami until shannon is fired....

J smooth - nobody on this blog cares about FIU or UF or whatever team you're a fan of. Give it up.

Go Canes or go the F* home!!!

Posted by: J smooth | November 17, 2010 at 01:19 PM

Do us a favor and do the gator chomp on your self.

I want all the team to know that the experts have us as underdogs, pass that disrespect on to the players. LETS GO CANES!!!!!!!!!

FIRE SHANNON!!!!!all of u will be saying the same thing next season when shannon has more excuses for the U FANS... so open ur eyes now... dont be in denial that we have a sorry head coach who plays favorites... recruits we will run shannon out of town..until then.. DO NOT COME TO THE U... GO CANES!!!!!!!

Virginia Tech is overrated.

Posted by: Canesjunkie | November 17, 2010 at 07:33 AM

Can you explain?

They are ranked 16th, with an 8-2 record and an 8 game winning streak, average margin of victory of three touchdowns during that streak. They are the ONLY ACC team without a conference loss, 6-0 so far.

Who should be rated above them?

16 Virginia Tech 8-2
17 South Carolina 7-3
18 Nevada 9-1
19 Texas A&M 7-3
20 Iowa 7-3
21 Mississippi State 7-3
22 Arizona 7-3
23 Utah 8-2
24 Miami (FL) 7-3
25 Florida State 7-3

MAYBE Nevada, but otherwise, they are NOT overrated. I really want to hear why you consider them overrated.

dont be in denial that we have a sorry head coach who plays favorites...

Don't be so hard on urban. The guys one more quarter away from a nervous breakdown.

FIRE SHANNON!!!!!all of u will be saying the same thing next season when shannon has more excuses for the U FANS... so open ur eyes now... dont be in denial that we have a sorry head coach who plays favorites... recruits we will run shannon out of town..until then.. DO NOT COME TO THE U... GO CANES!!!!!!!

Posted by: J smooth | November 17, 2010 at 02:36 PM

You are not making ANY sense. Shannon's strength so far has been recruiting. Zook at Florida (you know Florida, right? (wink wink)) didn't tell their recruits to stop coming, and with the change to another coach, became a title contender.

Even if you WANT Shannon gone, no Canes fan would suggest that recruits avoid our school. See, THAT is why some folks figure you are Sean Wilson.

J smooth - stop saying "we" - you are in no way shape or form a Miami fan.

Posted by: Feral Cat | November 17, 2010 at 02:49 PM

Punk is a turd fan without a doubt.

That goes for you too caneflunkie.....

No, other than the last comment (that he hasn't responded to yet), canesjunkie CAN discuss his points.

JSmooth on the other hand, has yet to show he can have a civil conversation despite being given multiple opportunites.

Cmon, canesjunkie, show them I am right....
Cmon, JSmooth, show them I am wrong....

Feral,
Va. Tech is overated. Aside from Boise, They've pretty much played a cup cake schedule and they didn't have to play Fla. St or Clemson. If you can limit your TO's against them, which they are one of the best teams in the nation at feasting off someone elses mistakes, we should give them a lesson in humility.

VT will show the pro-SHANNON Cane fans just how bad a coach SHANNON is and how SHANNON has set the CANE program back! MAN UP RANDY AND RESIGN!!!

Virginia Tech is undefeated in the ACC because the ACC is a weak conference.

They lost to Boise St...no problem.

James Madison?!?!?!? They lost to James Madison at home!

Watching some of the pre-game locker room motivational speechs by Randy and the inspirational prayers being offered as well, I am beginning to feel better about the team's mental state before the game(s). I hope all of the drubbing of Randy and other coaches to step up the intensity in the locker room and on the side-lines has been part of the turn-around. THIS TEAM HAS THE TALENT TO BE UNDEFEATED! When we beat V.T., and I hope it's just like the G.T. game, hopefully the energy and much needed balance of the team rolls forward into next year with Stephen 'Precious' Morris at the helm. It's time Jacory started taking notes from his freshman contemporary versus Jacory giving him advice. If 'Precious' is instrumental in beating V.T., I will have SO MUCH THE BETTER of an off-season knowing he'll be back next year! PLEASE O-LINE, help keep our new-found prodigy safe. I can't think of a better nickname for Stephen at this time than 'Precious' as that is what type of commodity he has been for this team the past 3 weeks. I would love to hear some other POSITIVE nicknames for Stephen so let the good-natured fun begin! 'PRECIOUS' is going to be hard to beat!

Canesjunkie, we lost to UVA, so there are VT fans saying beating us will be no problem. But again, how are they overrated? They are not ranked ahead of any 1 loss teams other than Nevada.

We SHOULD beat them, we are at home, playing better, and the freshmen are settled in. But that doesn't make VT overrated. Both their losses (by 3 and by 5) came down to the last minute, and they are essentially a fumble away from being a Top 10 team. We lost big to OSU, FSU, and only had a big comeback and onside kick from losing big to UVA. They belong ranked ahead of us, and ahead of the other 7-3 teams.


FIRE URBAN MEYER!!!!!all of u will be saying the same thing next season when meyer has more excuses for the UF FANS... so open ur eyes now... dont be in denial that we have a sorry head coach who plays favorites... recruits we will run meyer out of town..until then.. DO NOT COME TO THE UF... GO GATORS!!!!!!!


FIRE URBAN MEYER... he sucks and so does RAG ARM BRANTLEY.. recruits dont come to the gators until meyer is fired....

James Madison is a solid team. Could the U beat them? Can U beat VT?

Goddamn your black soul J smooth.

Feral:

I agree, we should beat VT.

IMO teams that lose to James MAdison don't belong in the top 20.

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