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Day One: Mike, Marcus, Olivier and more...

     Tailback Mike James, known for his ever present smile, is still flashing that positive spirit in the aftermath of his mom's death, according to one teammate -- though he declined interview requests Saturday on the first day of spring football practice at the University of Miami.

Understandable. James' mother died in a car accident in December before the Sun Bowl, an accident in which his sister and nephew were also involved. He arrived in El Paso just before the game, and got the first carry for seven yards. He ended up with four carries for 10 yards that day, and was undoubtedly emotionally spent after UM's 33-17 loss to Notre Dame on the same day his mother was buried.

But James, a sturdy 5-11, 222-pound junior, has persevered, and found himself on the top of the UM depth chart when it was revealed Friday.

"The biggest thing Mike did was really compete in the offseason from the weight room to on-the-field drills,'' running backs coach Terry Richardson said Saturday. "He's an excellent leader. He won it from a physical standpoint and also he won it from a leadership standpoint. He deserved to line up at No. 1.''

Richardson said James is a versatile player who, because of his "size and strength,'' is "a slasher. Sometimes you can hit him at four yards and he ends up with eight. He has good balance and good vision. And the one thing that impressed me is his versatility and how they used him in a lot of ways.''

LaRon Byrd said the team has rallied around James in the aftermath of his tragedy.

"Losing your mom, that's one of the worst things that could happen in this world,'' Byrd, a receiver, said. "Seeing him come to the bowl game, you've got to tip your hat off to him. He loves the game of football and we're like his family so we've got to be there for him.

"I've never really seen him cry. I don't know what he does in his off time before us. But when he's around us he's always happy and always keeps a smile on his face. Always [smiling], that's Mike James."

> Richardson said the coaches have "developed the work ethic'' of tailback Storm Johnson, a sophomore listed behind James on the depth chart, and ahead of Lamar Miller. "He's very talented and I think he's bought into what we're teaching him.''

A LEANER, MEANER MARCUS

Defensive tackle Marcus Forston is taking care of himself, and it shows. He says his new lifestyle "is carrying over to the offseason workouts.''

Forston lost 21 pounds, and does he ever look it. He said he's down to 295, and feeling great. Forston was one of the defensive players who ran out onto Greentree Field on Saturday wearing a black jersey -- awarded by coach Al Golden for earning first-team status on defense.

"Just eating right man, just leaving all that fast food alone,'' is how Forston said he lost the weight. "For the past six to seven weeks, the only thing I was eating was chicken and turkey and stuff like that -- spinach. Just putting all the right things in your body, it's amazing if you eat right what can happen and how much better you'll feel.''

Forston said he spoke to his teammates at halftime and after the Sun Bowl and learned then that he could be a leader and have an impact on the team. "There are a lot of guys that earn respect, you look up to them and you know that [I want] to lead by example. Everday I come into that weight room I'm going to go hard. No matter who I'm going up against -- If I'm in there working out with a linebacker or defensive back I'm going to try to beat them working out and finish first. That's something you've got to do. A positive mind always equals a positive outcome.

"If you come out here on this field every day with a positive mind, man, you're going to get positive results.'' 

Forston, a junior, said he told his teammates after the Sun Bowl, "That will never happen again. As long as I'm on this team and leading this team, that will never happen.''

> Wide receiver  Byrd, minus the boot he wore last month, was at practice with that same upbeat attitude as always. Byrd, who wore former UM Canes great Michael Irvin's jersey number of 47, switched his jersey number to 2, Graig Cooper's old number.

Some fans were wondering if Byrd was told by coaches to switch his number because he wasn't living up to Irvin's. Not at all. Turns out Byrd had wanted that number for a while. "It was for a personal reason. My cousin had died in the summer of '09 and his favorite number was 2. I said whenever I had the opportunity to change it, I was going to change it.''

 

>Defensive end Olivier Vernon, who started 11 of 13 games last season, was not even listed as a first- or second-teamer on the depth chart for the beginning of spring practice. "You can't be comfortable,'' Vernon said Saturday just minutes before practice. "It was just a wakeup call for the people who were starting. As long as I'm able to play and I'm not hurt, that's all that matters to me.''

Vernon was asked about the new coaching staff and how things feel different. "All these coaches are hyped, man. It's like everyday they're hyped. They've got so much gratitude. They're just happy to be out here.''

       Golden said Vernon and linebacker Kelvin Cain were not listed on the two-deep depth chart simply because “they got edged out in the offseason program. They’ll have an opportunity out here to earn their stripes.’’

 

> Golden on freshman cornerback Thomas Finnie, listed as first-team cornerback ahead of Brandon McGee: “His work ethic is ahead of his years right now. He came in with excellent maturity, work ethic and a no-nonsense approach. He’s had a great off-season program.’’

 

> About to get started on my feature on the UM quarterbacks for Sunday's paper. Interesting situation, with senior Spencer Whipple, the usual third-stringer and son of former offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, starting spring at first-team ahead of Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris. I respect Al Golden for doing what he said he was going to do from the start, organize the depth chart according to how they performed in the conditioning pre-spring phase. Any parent can tell you that when you are consistent with setting the rules and following through with repercussions should they be broken, there tends to be far less confusion and turmoil in the long run. That said, be assured that their on-field performance in the long run, given that they don't break any rules we may or may not know about, will be the deciding factor.

--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

Comments

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4 0

Please do something we haven't already then gloat. But until then STFU!

Our backfield is the strengh of this team, run the rock Fisch!

i attend the best school in florida as determined by US news and world report

peace

Who cares who's better at baseball, basketball or football?

Your existence proves that UF some fans are obsessed with UM football, there's a reason there's no one as pathetic as you on the UF blog.

I am the True Cane!

Who cares who's better at baseball, basketball or football?

Posted by: Eudocimus | March 05, 2011 at 09:04 PM

It's nice to see that after years of beatdowns, you are finally adopting Donna's credo.

Now run alOng to Sunday study hall U choir boy

NativeCane, your beisbol team got mowed down by Gator arms yesterday. Randall one hit those sorry baby canes. I guess they'll show their fangs " next year."

Storm Johnson better get a lot of carries this year. The guy did something everytime he touched the ball last season. Give Storm the ball!

You guys are all a bunch of losers, trash talking other teams on the internet.

Friends,
These recent posts are a truly remarkable
eruption of pap and drivel. Give it a rest!
The only thing that matters is who wins and loses on the field. POSITIVE things are coming for the Canes. Pay attention to what matters!

WestCoastCane,
Not a bad theory!

West coast. Ditto bro'.

Now onto some cane commentary:

There has been no comments regarding Morris' lack of progress with the cane bb team in the last 5 yrs. I say 5 yrs, because you have togive it about another 5 for the NC team of 2002 to be replenished via solid recruiting and player development. Some in this and other blogs have chastised me and said that Morris is a legend. Why? To me, "reaching" the cws is not enough. He has to win it. Coker won a NC and then played in another and then finished 5th in the country the following yr, and got fired 2 yrs later. Why has Morris been given such an huge pass? The 2011 bb team is horrible. there is no offense and no spirit in them. I dont care if JM is ill. He trained and prepard these kids (supposedly) and this is how they play for him?

Morris needs to be put on a hot seat asap. This is not acceptable. UM baseball is just a notch below UM football, and I cannot stand this.
As far as basketball is concerned, I have also called for Haith's job. It seems that the kids may have jelled a bit in the last 3 weeks. Maybe too little too late. But if they beat GT (they are leading by 7 at half time), and go on and win 2 in the ACC tourn. (highly unlikely), they have an outside shot at making the NCAA tourn.
Otherwise Haith should also go. The new AD must clean house. Otherwise, UM sports will be irrelevant. Just like the turds. And pretend and pretend and go another century without a NC. Oh, I'm sorry. Theyre good in women's gymnastics, soccer, and swimming. Sorry, My bad.

Hey NativeCane, when u troll as canesrule do u keep Jergan's handy?

how can someone watch this game (baskt) and not think that Haith is the worst hc in div I it is so grotesquly obvious

There you go. The Haith mystique continues. This coach cannot for the life of him get this team to play two halves. MAybe its conditioning. Who knows but the hand of the coach is written all over this joke of a team.

Fire Haith now. The season is over. Why embarass yourselves to play post season.

Get this clown out of Coral Gables.

And there goes Morris' team. 0-3 against the -turds. Good job. Way to motivate this team. Way to progress.

I am officially off the wagon with UM's men's basketball and baseball until something is done about these 2 buffoons of coaches.

Enough.

Coach Haith needs to do a better job in keeping the local recruits,instead of concentrating in North Carolina and New York.I understand down here is not traditionaly hotbed for basketball,but Billy Donavan,Kansas St,and Kentucky gets their share of recruits down here

Haith needs to go to Barnes & Noble and buy "Breaking the press for dumbies" and "half-court offense for dumbies." He's had 7 years to buy that book, but he hasn't found it yet. The announcers are so merciful on him. They talk about how bad Miami handles each possesion and time out, but they spare naming Haith in each instance.

I can already tell this assistant AD is going to be a drip. The first thing he does is reassure Haith's job. I don't get it? How can you look at his record and then watch one single game and not think this guy is a horrific coach? If he's not canned I am not watching. I don't care how good they are next year. Even if they are a 2 seed like in '99, I don't need to see them dribble the ball of their foot in a full court press by a 15 seed Ivy Leage school to ruin a succesful season. He just cannot show them the fundamentals.

James Jaxon21, I'm with U 100%. If they are ever going to be successful in basketball Haith's gotta go.

hey gator fan .we have OWN you for the past what 30 years .just because you beat us the past 3 years and in super regional.What does that mean?you still have NO BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP.Have a long way to go to even get a sniff of what we have done on the baseball field

UF is the ugly bridesmaid in baseball. Pretends pretends, puts a lot of make up on, smoke and mirrors, and never gets to the promised land.

Remember UM 9
UF 5

womens field hockey or water polo don't count.

Thats all you need to know

GOLDEN IS UP TO SOMETHING HERE. MAKE THE PLAYERS WANT IT ,EARN IT, WORK DARN HARD TO KEEP IT. I LIKE THAT. THE ONLY THING THAT SCARES ME IS WHIPPLE AT THE HELM. BUT MAYBE GOLDEN SEES WHAT I DON'T OR CAN'T. GO CANES !

Manny, you wanted folks to report this guy, message by message.

However, as you can see, it would take about 20 emails to get this guy's comments cleaned up.

Please just IP ban the guy each time he shows, until all his haunts are on the banned list. Then he will move on to the Palm Beach post or some other site further north.

His obsession with Canes fans on here, attempting to figure out where they live, etc. is not going to end with just a couple of removed posts. His comments about wives, female basketball players, and other women shows that he is a danger to those around him, but you should not give him a forum for his hatespeech.

As for the Canes fans suggesting ignoring him, I will point out that this has been going on for a while. If you ignore him, he will just move to pretending to be dbc, Endo, championships, Golden Age, and the others trying to discuss sports here. His identity thefts have led to fights in the past, and it will happen again until he is removed.

It is good that you are a better person than he is, and are willing to turn the other cheek, but sometimes, a Hitler like him, attacking without treaty, must be met with removal.

Morris and Haith's performances have been in steady decline. Time for more fresh faces at the top.

Feral cat- Dont associate me with the gator low life. What Ive said about Haith and Morris are honest opinions. If you, like an ostrich live with your head buried on the ground then i can see why you would want those two clowns to remain as coaches.

Someone tell me please, why are Morris and Haith getting a pass?

Since 2002 9 years have passed and Morris has not brought the U baseball team to the promised land. Forgive me for once thinking baseball,particularly UM baseball was a big deal to south floridians.

What about Haith?

Remember, Coker went #1, #2 (robbed), #5, #13, 319, then fired. Both Haith and Morris wish they had Coker's record. The only thing comparable to haith and Morris' records are Shannon's.

Jesus Christ and the Lord, assuming they even exist, can't help you Pig.

Maybe a shower would.

Golden Age, I think you misunderstood my message.

I was not equating you to Curse Piggy.

I was pointing out that he will steal your ID just because you write with good sense on here.

He's done it before, he will do it again.

As for Haith and Morris:

Haith definitely should go. The loss to GT was just another example that this team CAN get a big lead, but that they will lose it in the end when they run his lack of inside game plays with no PG.

Morris is a good man. These past two years of decline in fundamental baseball has been very disappointing. But even with that, his reaction to that is what disturbs me. No changes to coaches that have allowed errors and strikeouts to outnumber double plays and runs scored.

But Haith has earned the boot FAR MORE than Morris.

Believing in spring practice is like thinking your baseball team is going to win the world series because they had a few spring training wins. Jacory Harris will never be more than a 3rd string quarterback and should begin thinking about getting an advanced degree....because he has NO future in the NFL.

Eudocimus, nobody here would miss Haith.

We miss Hamilton a little bit.

Clark? Not at all.

But losing Haith would not cost us any games, and might get us a coach that has heard about this new position called the point guard, or maybe even heard about the center.

To me it is worth the risk.

Giving the troll a nickname helps since he changes IDs on a daily basis. It helps folks know who we are talking about. It doesn't make him come here more often or anything like that....

He is The Pig. He knows it. It reflects his personality as well as his physique.

The dude is a flat out piece of garbage. That is why he is so bitter.

Who would want Haith Back? Thats like somebody saying we want Shannon Back. Nevvvvaaaaaaaaa

There are so many Football-only fans that come on to these blogs and belittle the dialogue about basketball. It is pretensious and petty. UM Basketball is what UM Football was in 1980. There is little difference. No one cared about UM football before Snelly came, and they started winning. And guess what, when they don't win now one cares about them then either(look at the stands of Land Shark stadium during the SFla game). If UM Basketball hired a 2011 version of Snelly, someone to really turn around the attitude and atmosphere of UM hoops, and they started winning tournament games, ACC crowns, and even NC's, there would be people at the games, and UM would be a basketball school. Guarenteed. But they have to win. Because in Miami, if you don't win -- even if you're football, no one is caring. None of this is possible with this CAN'T attitude towards basketball. And none of this is possible with someone like Haith who's encouraged about the chance to play in the NIT every year.

Posted by: Johnny Hemsley1 | March 08, 2011 at 04:36 PM

And if your mom had nutz she'd be your dad. What's your point doofus?

Haith is only part of the problem. The rest of the problem is a University that doesn't give a s h i t about winning basketball games.

If you only had a brain.

My point is obvious, Hubie. And you just reiterated it.

I should have dumbed it down for you...By the way, have some respect. You wouldn't talk to your boyfriend like that? I definitely don't talk to your mom like that.

You could hire and overpay a coach for 4 mill a year, win some games, get bounced every year in the tournament, then drop like a stone in academic rankings.

But then we would be UFelony. Who wants to sinknto the level of illiterate trailertrash?

If UM Basketball hired a 2011 version of Snelly, someone to really turn around the attitude and atmosphere of UM hoops, and they started winning tournament games, ACC crowns, and even NC's, there would be people at the games, and UM would be a basketball school. Guarenteed.

Learn to spell doofus. Miami fans hardly come even when they are winning. Hoops at the BUC will be an afterthought until the end of time Socrates. Guaranteed!

Spend your free time with your nose in a dictionary instead of posting useless drivel on a sports blog.

Take a look at the blog when basketball or baseball is the topic and see how much activity there is on it dummy. Football is king.

Hemsley1 - dude that's kind of my point.

No sh*t if they found a once in a lifetime iconic coach who wanted to build the program they could become an unprecedented dynasty.

No sh*t if they won ACC crowns and national championships they would be the toast of Miami.

It's like saying you shouldn't belittle UM basketball because if they hired Phil Jackson as head coach and coach K and Roy Williams as his assistants and built a 40,000 capacity state of the art arena and started recruiting elite one and done players they would be in pretty good shape.

Well you start holding your breath now for that transcendent coach who wants a job with a bottom dwelling team in the hardest conference in basketball and maybe when you regain consciousness you'll realize how ridiculous it is for you to demand that everyone else be as delusional as yourself.

No offense to reasonable UM BB fans.

Hats off to the Gators for the sweep, but really don't start counting your tickets to Omaha yet. And by the way, you haven't won crap in baseball, and we have 5 so shut up until you put up.

Check out the Sun Sentinel Canes blog. Gorten has let that Pig have free reign and now the only one who posts there is the Curse Pig. He even answers his own posts.

Classic loser, Pig. And Gorten is a coward for allowing it. Must be the Gatard filth running through his veins.

No , no , no ... I thought I'm the pig ...


hola Arty


they have no reserve, rhymes nor reason to last them through the long Summer Months but more of the same false hope of the last 8 years... Do U ?

See you in the Swamp come Avril when Driskal n Jacoby show out .

Ah, yes, bitter Pig in all his permutations. It has to suck to be dumb as a rock.

Didn't this dope also tell Soldy he couldn't wait till some guy named....ummmm, Brantely, "showed out" at the spring game?

We saw how that turned out. You cannot escape your ignorant 'neck past, Porky.

Wow! One would think with the "additional" access afforded to the press by new coaching staff, more information would be published? I guess that is not the case here...maybe we should fire these folks too?

Yes! OhioState cheater may have to vacate their wins from last year. Add another to the win column!!

A win is a win in my book. We get Tressel his first game back - another victory no matter what.

Go 'canes!

Wow, tough to disguise the stench if Gatard trash. It didn't work in the above posts.

Gatard trash is like BO mixed with swamp and cesspool stink.

Posted by: The Curse of Art Kehoe

I agree. I can't wait till the NCAA catches all the violators in the secLEAZy.

Go 'canes!

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