As usual, the University of Miami practiced Wednesday with speakers blaring simulated crowd noise. The only difference with Wednesday's practice was that it actually got louder at Greentree when it ended.
For the third week in a row, players ended their Wednesday practice with what defensive lineman Marcus Forston said coaches refer to as a 'Money Down.' The drill? One play when the offense and defense square off in a simulated situation -- 3rd and short, 3rd and long, 3rd and goal -- whatever coach Randy Shannon chooses. The payoff: the winning side gets carried off the field by the losing side.
Wednesday, UM's scout team decided the Money Down and the defense won. "Baby [Devont'a] Davis made the play on a slant pattern," Forston said. "Jordan Futch some pressure on the quarterback. It was fun."
Forston said he enjoyed his ride off the field on the shoulders of scout team offensive lineman Jared Wheeler. The question everybody wanted an answer to, though, was who carried 6-8, 355-pound freshman Seantrel Henderson off the field last Wednesday when the offense.
"It took three guys -- [walk-on] Sean Goldstein and two other defensive linemen," Forston said. "The key is uou have to hurry up and grab somebody small. I always grab Travis Benjamin. He's the smallest guy on the field."
All good natured fun aside, there is a point to Money Down. Shannon said it's about putting guys in tough situations and seeing who comes out on top.
He said that's especially important this week against Virginia Tech. The Hokies convert 43 percent of the time on third down offensively (41st nationally) and are good in both red-zone offense (they've scored on 43 of 48 drives inside the 20, 90 percent clip) and red-zone defense (they rank 14th, 72%).
"That's going to be the key to the game, third down situations," Shannon said. "Virginia Tech also does a great job in the red zone and also with [quarterback] Tyrod [Taylor] scrambling a lot. Offensively, we have to get points in the red zone."
WILL JACORY PLAY SATURDAY... There are a few message board conspiracy theorists out there who believe quarterback Jacory Harris might be healthy enough to play Saturday -- possibly in a backup role or even as the starter. I'm starting to buy into it a little.
From the little the media was actually able to watch of practice Wednesday, it looked like Harris was very much more involved in the offense -- despite wearing a green non-contact jersey. I saw him throwing a few passes with the first team at the end of practice.
Shannon has been adamant Harris will not play until he's cleared by doctors. Here's what he said about Harris' practice Wednesday: "He's just practicing, getting back into the rhythm. That's all you can expect from him. Before he was just sitting up there tossing the ball, playing catch. Now, he's actually moving around a little bit. [But] we don't let anybody get close to him in practice. That's why he has the green jersey on."
Running back Damien Berry said, "it's great to see him back healthy with us, it's great to see another addition to this family. He's back, better than he was before and he's ready to get back at it."
Forston said Harris looks ready to him: "Jacory looked good today. He looks back. The only team we see him is 9-on-9, the other time we're down with the scout team. He's itching to get back in. Anytime you go out, you miss the sport you love. You get hungry."