Several University of Miami football players discovered a present from former Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon when they opened their lockers in the past few days.
Inside: a postcard with the "U'' on one side and a handwritten message on the other.
“It was the nicest thing he ever said to me since I’ve been here,” senior left tackle Orlando Franklin said Monday. “He was just telling me to keep my head up and don’t get sidetracked.
“I’m going to actually rewrap it and put it under my Christmas tree so I can open it on Christmas Day. I felt real nice when I [saw] it in my locker."
Senior cornerback Ryan Hill also got a letter, and was equally touched. He said he has talked to "probably 20'' players who got the notes. He suspects many more received them.
Shannon's message to Hill: "Just keep working," Hill said. "Keep going, keep pushing, you're going to have a great career. [He said] it was fun and that he loves me.
"I was surprised. ...For him to take time to sit there [and write], just shows not only his compassion but the character of him. I really appreciate it."
Hill said he believes Shannon "has a sense he kind of let us down. But I'm going to tell him, ‘Hey listen, you didn't let anybody down. If anything, you put us in a better position to better ourselves."
> Interim coach Jeff Stoutland addressed the media Monday to talk about the Notre Dame matchup a bit. He said the Hurricanes "had a little workout this morning and we'll have a meeting this afternoon."
Stoutland called it "a breath of fresh air to get back outside, move around. It was a little chilly. It was nice. I guess it was 37 degrees in El Paso, and 47 here. We're getting closer. It was a good workout, a lot of enthusiasm and really that's just what I was monitoring."
> Stoutland said there was some individual work -- "the skill positions did a seven-on-seven session and the offensive and defensive lines primarily had all individual [work]. It was great to be able to teach and go back to the fundamentals of football."
The Canes will concentrate on final exams this week, while still doing limited work in the morning. They will practice Saturday and Sunday and "will be very similar practices to spring football,'' Stoutland said.
The coach said practices will continue daily after this weekend -- 9 a.m. meetings followed by 10:15 a.m. on the field.
The Canes will leave on a charter for El Paso and the Hyundai Sun Bowl the afternoon of Dec. 26th.
> Tim Harris Sr., the father of cornerback Brandon Harris and an assistant to Shannon when he was here, has been elevated to an assistant coach for the bowl game. Harris is able to recruit, according to Stoutland, and will work with the UM secondary to prepare for Notre Dame. Once practice begins he'll run the scout team defensive backfield.
> Stoutland said freshman right tackle Seantrel Henderson, who wore a boot on his left foot last week for a sprained Achilles' tendon and said he would be OK for the bowl game, "is fine, really fine. He'll be 100 percent."
> Freshman receiver Allen Hurns' right arm is in a sling.
TICKET UPDATE: The UM ticket office sold 2,000 tickets over the lunch hour today and is currently on pace to sell its entire allotment (8,000) before the end of business on Tuesday. Fans that want the best-priced tickets, $40, and also want to sit with fellow Hurricanes fans are encouraged to purchase ASAP. As of Monday afternoon, tickets were already appearing on secondary market sites for as much as $309.
-- SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN