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27 posts from April 2011

April 30, 2011

GAME 2: #10 FSU (32-10, 15-7 ACC) @ #14 MIAMI (28-14, 15-6)

Going to providing updates on the game through my Twitter account (@OnFrozenPond) and Facebook page (On Frozen Pond) if you want to follow along. 

Games is also on Comcast and WQAM 560-AM.

Here are the lineups:

FSU: 2B Travis; 3B Johnson; CF McGee; RF Ramsey; 1B Boyd; C Lopez; SS Gonzalez; DH Brunelle; LF Miller. RHP Hunter Scantling (3-0, 2.25 ERA, 29 Ks; 36 IP)

UM: LF DeVoss; SS Perez; CF Melendres; 1B Martinez; DH Rodriguez; 3B Fieger; 2B Broad; RF Carey; C Rowland. RHP Eric Whaley (6-2, 3.00 ERA, 60 Ks, 60 IP)

Day Two in the books... Five Canes get drafted (more to come Saturday!)


The tension must have been excruciating for all those Hurricanes waiting... and waiting... and waiting Thursday, and then for more than an hour Friday, to be chosen in the NFL Draft.

I know it was tense for me, sitting there watching pick after pick, and wondering, "WHEN is a UM player going to get some love?''

I felt bad for cornerback Brandon Harris and receiver Leonard Hankerson, but I knew that the pain of waiting (and in Hankerson's case, in my opinion, being bypassed way too long) would eventually turn into the jubilation of being wanted. I've seen it happen before -- many times (except, of course, when tailback Clinton Portis -- one of my favorite characters -- left his own draft party early in disgust before he was chosen 51st overall by Denver in the 2002 draft.)

After all that, UM ended up with five players drafted -- the most so far, along with LSU, in this year's draft.


"He was frustrated seeing so many picks go by,'' said Brandon Harris' older brother and former UM All-American runner Tim Harris. "We told him the past two days that wherever he landed it would be the best spot for him to be successful. We knew today was going to be the day, it was just about where he'd go. To be on a team with five former Hurricanes (Chris Myers, Andre Johnson, Rashad Butler, Eric Winston and Darryl Sharpton), you feel like it's the perfect spot.

"Guys like Andre Johnson and Darryl Sharpton, who grew up in Miami just like Brandon. And my dad [former UM football assistant Tim Harris Sr.] coached Andre Johnson when he played at Miami High during his early years there. We've been friends with the Sharptons since we all ran on the same track team since Brandon was about 6 years old.''

Harris was in a hotel with about 25 friends and family members, including his closest teammates: Sean Spence, Travis Benjamin, Marcus Forston and Davon Johnson.

Once he got picked, Harris was a new man. He's ecstatic to be a Texan.


    Some thought Hankerson would go Thursday. Most thought he'd go Friday -- but not in the third round. Hankerson was wiped out emotionally by the time he got picked by the Redskins.

    He told me he was very nervous and upset before he finally got the call from the Redskins.

    "It was very tough seeing seven other receivers get drafted before me,'' Hank said. "Now I can't wait to get on the field and prove those teams [that bypassed me] wrong. Once they called my name after all those long hours, after feeling like I was never going to get picked, the tears just came.''

  Hank promised to work as hard as he could to make the Redskins proud. He hopes former Canes receiver Santana Moss stays with the team so that they could play together.

  Hank has never been to Washington, D.C.


    I spoke to cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, his mom (briefly) and his grandfather. Ecstatic might be an understatment. 

    "Oh my goodness, we're having a good time!" said Jerome Lovett, his grandfather. "God has blessed this family and have teards of joy. Everybody was jumping up and down, hugging each other and just praising God.''

    "They called him on the phone. They talked. Then he jumped up and raised his outstretched arm and shouted, 'I'm ready to be a Raider! I'm ready to be a Raider!' Everybody stood up and started hugging and crying. Once he saw it on TV, tears started flowing. We cried on each other's shoulders. This was a long time coming.''

Van Dyke told me that just before he got the call from a Raiders official (he couldn't even remember who because he said he was too excited), he got a text from "someboody I don't know saying 'congrats.' I'm like, 'Who is this from?' Five minutes later, I was so happy."

Van Dyke said he is booked for a flight to Oakland Saturday morning to meet the media.

 > ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.  was especially hard on Brandon Harris. He called him a disappointment and underachiever in 2010 and said he was an inconsistent player. He said he regressed, that he didn't show "run supportability,'' that he missed tackles in the open field, that he "freezes some in coverage.'' Kiper called him a "roll-of-the-dice pick. He needs to step it up.''

Fellow analyst Jon Gruden jumped right back at Kiper. "You sounded grouchy right there, Me,'' Gruden said. "Brandon Harris can play nickel and he can play corner. I realize he needs to play more physical. The whole Hurricanes [team] didn't play up to their standards. But this guy has talent.''

I didn't speak to defensive end Allen Bailey (22nd pick in third round ), but I'm a big fan of his and wish him the best in Kansas City. Also didn't speak to offensive tackle Orlando Franklin (14th pick in second round -- 46th overall). Kiper said of Franklin: "He maybe could have been a top 15, top 20 pick if he had played up to the level of his talent.''

Stay tuned for tomorrow's draft coverage on Day Three. More should be drafted from UM, including linebacker Colin McCarthy and Damien Berry and/or Graig Cooper. Maybe others will be picked, as well.


P.S. By the way, how about Al Golden having two of his former Temple Owls drafted so far -- one in the first round? I say that bodes well for the Canes. He obviously gets the most out of his guys, or so it seems.




April 29, 2011

GAME 1: Florida State 6 @ Miami 5 FINAL

Marklights George Richards here from a dark and rainy looking Mark Light Stadium. 

Both teams have completed warmups (Noles in road gray, Miami in home whites).

UPDATE: Game was supposed to start at 7 p.m., but the lightning detectors started going off. Once the teams take the field after the 'all clear' we'll start in 30 minutes.

The all-clear has sounded and game time is now slated for 8:10 p.m.

Game is on CSS (which means you have to have Comcast to watch) and on WFTL 1400-AM in the Miami area (well, Broward area).

Here are the starting lineups. Going to have updates on this page throughout the game, but you can get instant updates by following me on Twitter @OnFrozenPond or like my Facebook page -- also, On Frozen Pond.

Play ball!

FSU: Travis 2B; Johnson 3B; McGee CF; Ramsey RF; Boyd 1B; Lopez C; Gonzalez SS; O'Brien DH; Easterling LF. LHP Sean Gilmartin (7-1, 1.38; 81 Ks, 72 IP)

UM: DeVoss LF; Melendres CF; Rodriguez DH; Martinez 1B; Fieger 3B; Broad 2B; Carey RF; Villasuso C; Perez SS. LHP Bryan Radziewski (6-2, 3.23; 58 Ks, 55 2/3 IP)


TOP 1: McGee reaches on E6, inning ends on FC 6UN from Ramsey; Travis K to lead off. FSU 0, MIAMI 0

BOT 1: DeVoss walks, moves to second on Melendres infield single; Rodriguez strikes out; Martinez flies out to left; Fieger grounds out to short. MIAMI: 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 LOB...FSU 0, UM 0

TOP 2: Boyd leads off with single (picked off 1-4); Lopez singles; Gonzalez reaches FC E1; O'Brien grounds out 6-3 (runners advance); Easterling strikes out. FSU: 0 runs, 2 hits, 1 E, 2 LOB. FSU 0, UM 0.

BOT 2: Broad walks to lead off; Carey reaches on bunt, moves runner; Villasuso sacrifice; Perez FC to third, catcher Lopez can't handle throw, Broad scores ... DeVoss sac fly to LF scores Carey from 3rd; Melendres singles; Rodriguez flies out to center. UM: 2 runs; 2 hits; 2 lob ... MIAMI 2, FSU 0

TOP 3: Travis reaches on E-3; Johnson F8; McGee walks; Ramsey single, RBI; Boyd FC drives in Johnson; Boyd to 2nd on E-1; Lopez 4-3. FSU: 2 runs; 1 hit, 1 LOB ... FSU 2, MIAMI 2

BOT 3: Martinez reaches on infield single; Fieger sac 1-3; Broad flies out to right; Carey strikes out looking.

TOP 4: Gonzalez HBP; O'Brien grounds into 6-4 FC; Easterling strikes out; Travis singles as O'Brien goes to third; O'Brien scores as UM catcher Villasuso throw to second ends up in center field after Travis caught in no-mans land; Travis then steals third; Johnson walks; McGee doubles in 2 runs; Ramsey 6-3. FSU gets 3 runs off 2 hits and an E.

BOT 4: Villasuso 4-3; Perez 5-3; DeVoss DBL to left; Melendres 6-3.


PITCHING LINE ON RADZIEWSKI: 4 ip; 5 h, 5 r, 3 er, 2 bb, 2 k, wp, hbp, 2 e, PO

TOP 5: Boyd reaches E5 (goes to second on errant throw; UM's 6th E of night); Lopez F7; Gonzalez 5-3; PH Parker Brunelle F8.

BOT 5: Rodriguez K; Martinez 6-3; Fieger K 2-3

TOP 6: Seth Miller F9; Travis HBP; Johnson K; Travis steals second, thrown out at third.

BOT 6: Broad K; Carey single; Villacuso walks; Perez singles, Carey scores (5-3); DeVoss batting with a 3-2 count


And, we're back....

After an 18-minute delay, DeVoss walks to load the bases; fourth walk by Gilmartin ties a career high.

Melendres grounds out to pitcher, Villasuso scores from third; Melendres K to end it. Canes get 2 runs on 2 hits, pull within 1.

TOP 7: McGee walks (later caught stealing 2nd); Ramsey P4; Boyd P2

BOT 7: Martinez F8; Fieger 5-3; Broad F8

TOP 8: Lopez singled; Gonzalez warning track F8; Brunelle 1-3; Miller K

BOT 8: Gilmartin leaves the game for FSU;

Carey leads off with single, then goes to second on 5-3 sac from Chantz Mack; Stephen Perez singles in Carey as Miami ties score 5-5. DeVoss K; Melendres stuck atr plate as Perez caught stealing on a pitch-out.

TOP 9: Travis 3-1; Johnson HBP; McGee K; Ramsey singles, moves Johnson to third; Boyd at bat; Travis Miller's wild pitch allows Johnson to come home and give FSU the lead; Boyd then reaches on 7th Miami error putting runners on the corners; 7 Es is a season high for the Canes. Lopez F8.






April 28, 2011

Canes looking to shut door on FSU this time

You don't have to remind Danny Miranda how much losing last year's series at Florida State hurt the Hurricanes. 

Danny Miranda He was on the mound for the first of two ninth-inning rallies the Seminoles pulled off on back-to-back days to beat UM. Trailing by one in the bottom of the ninth, FSU loaded the bases with no outs on a single, a walk and an error before Stuart Tapley hit a double to straight-away center off Miranda to bring in the game-tying and game-winning runs. The Canes led 7-3 before FSU scored five runs over the final two innings.

The next day, Mike McGee hit a two-out, two-run home run off Taylor Wulf in the ninth to rally the Seminoles to a 7-6 win.

"It felt like we were ahead 25 of the 27 innings we played," Miranda lamented earlier this week. "It was tough. All I know is we can't wait to play them again, here, in our place."

UM, which has won 14 of 16 to climb to 28-13 and as high as No. 14 in some polls, gets it shot at revenge starting Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Park. FSU junior lefty Sean Gilmartin (7-1, 1.38 ERA), who is coming off a 13-strikeout complete-game performance against Duke, will face freshman left-hander Brad Radziewski (6-2, 3.23 ERA) in the series opener.

The ninth-ranked Seminoles (31-10) are one of the top run-scoring teams in the nation, scoring an average of 7.8 times per game (ninth in the nation). FSU also leads D-I teams in doubles (106) and base on balls (272). The Hurricanes’ strength is their pitching – they entered the week ranked eighth nationally in strikeouts per nine innings (8.9) and ninth in hits allowed per nine innings (7.34).

This time, if Miranda (3-1, 3.33 ERA) gets a lead handed to him he feels more confident he'll be able to maintain it. The junior left-hander, who had just five saves last season, has 11 in 12 chances already (second most in the ACC). The reason for improvement? He's developed enough confidence in a slider to throw it against lefties, something he couldn't really do a year ago.

"I had it last year, but it was inconsistent," Miranda said. "It’s gotten a lot better, helped gotten me out of a lot of situations against lefties. Before whenever I faced lefties I would just go fastball. I couldn’t throw a changeup to a lefty, it would go in on them. [UM coach Jim Morris] always pushed me to develop a third pitch to make me more effective. I was fastball-changeup all through last year. It helps me with righties. But against lefties, it was all fastball. Once I developed that slider, it throws them off. It’s helped me out a lot."


Jim Morris > For all of those who wanted Jim Morris out after his team's 4-7 start, chew on this: Since the 61-year old skipper's return from gall bladder surgery and its complications (officially March 8), UM's struggling bats have gone from hitting .229 to .277. 

Lead-off hitter Zeke DeVoss said Morris calmed he and his teammates down and got them to focus on what they needed to do after being frustrated by the little success they were having with their new wood-like bats.

"We had a team meeting a couple days after I got out of the hospital and I told them they needed to relax and start swinging, getting their hacks in, don’t get cheated," Morris said.

"I felt like we were too defensive as a team in the way we were swinging the bat. We were trying to execute, feeling for it, not relaxing, particularly in 2-1, 3-1 counts we weren’t getting our hacks in. If you're out in front, that’s fine. I don’t care. If there was a fastball, step into it and drive it. I think once that started happening, we were fine. I think that helped with the pitching too. Now they were going out and not thinking about I got to shut them out every time. It was just kind of a team thing. We played better after that. We still got a huge month left in the season before the ACC Tournament."

DeVoss, who started the season 11 for 48 (.229) with only six runs scored, has hit .350 (35 for 100) and scored 37 runs since Morris' return. Clean-up hitter Harold Martinez, who got off to a 6 for 40 start (.150) with only five RBI, has hit .356 (37 for 104) and driven in 27 RBI over the same span.

> Speaking of Martinez, it's amazing how he's gone from hitting an ACC-leading 21 homers a year ago to hitting just three entering this weekend's series against the Noles. But before anybody jumps on him, realize UM has hit just 23 homers to date. Last year, they slugged 106 as a team.

Give Martinez credit for finding other ways to help his team. He leads the Canes with nine sacrifice hits and has nine multi-RBI games. He's also currently on a 10-game hitting streak.

> Morris isn't complaining about the lack of home run production. He likes low-scoring baseball and games that have to be won with steals and sacrifice bunts (UM leads the ACC in both). He just wishes the new bats being made "were equal."

"If every bat was the exactly the same, then it would come to players and execution," Morris said. "But it's not."

> Morris believes his team is in a strong position to host a regional if it wins this series against the Seminoles.

As it stands, Baseball America projects UM as the first "bubble team out" when it comes to hosting a regional because UM is still fifth in the pecking order among ACC hosting candidates. According to Baseball America, though UM has the head-to-head edge over UNC, it is still just 7-8 against the top 50, compared with UNC's 10-6 mark. Should UM win its series against Florida State this weekend, it will pass the idle Tar Heels, however.

Still, Baseball America says, Stetson (No. 25) could have a better chance to earn the Sunshine State's third regional site, because the committee has shown a preference for putting regionals in new places when mid-majors have put together strong seasons. The RPI might wind up causing Stetson to be a No. 2 seed (though its 8-3 mark against the top 50 and 15-4 record against the top 100 both trump Miami's 7-8 and 16-11 marks), but it could still host as a No. 2, potentially with UM as the No. 1.

April 22, 2011

VIDEO: Reaction to Larranaga hiring as UM coach

CORAL GABLES -- The Hurricanes introduced Jim Larranaga as its new basketball coach Friday night.

AUDIO: Larranaga introduced as UM's new basketball coach 

Here are a few video interviews following this evening's press conference:

Larranaga brings Final Four experience to UM

It's not often you get the chance to hire a coach who has been to the Final Four and did it recently. But that's exactly what the University of Miami and new athletic director Shawn Eichorst pulled off in getting George Mason's Jim Larranaga to come to Coral Gables.

Jim Larranaga Larranaga, 61, flew to South Florida Friday morning to meet with UM officials and is expected to have a press conference later this afternoon. Larranaga, who spent the past 14 seasons at George Mason, left in part for more money.

George Mason athletic director Tom O'Connor said as much when he spoke to the AP this morning. "In all honesty, the university can only go so far with finances," O'Connor said. "We think we put together a very, very attractive financial compensation package. We couldn't compete with an ACC school, a big football school with its budget."

You don't hear those words very often when it comes to Miami. But it's nice to see UM was willing to put up big cash for a quality coach -- even if his name wasn't Frank Martin.

Larranaga is no pushover. He led the Patriots to five NCAA tournament appearances in 14 seasons, including a suprising run to the Final Four in 2006.

Last season, he led George Mason to the CAA regular-season title and an at-large berth in the Big Dance. After beating Villanova, the Patriots lost to overall No. 1 seed Ohio State.

Before coaching at George Mason, Larranaga spent 11 seasons as the coach at Bowling Green.

At 61, he may not be at UM for a very, very long time. But he can lay a solid foundation and give this UM basketball team an identity moving forward -- the man loves pressure defense. In the end, this hire is going to turn out to be a lot better than what else UM could have ended up with. Tommy Amaker? Rob Jeter? None of those guys have Larranaga's resume.

What are your thoughts on the hiring?


ESPN's Dick Vitale on Twitter: "Miami hit a grand slam in getting Jim Larranaga from George Mason- He is a fierce competitor & has loads of contacts. Great hire!"

CBS and Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis: "Larranaga to Miami is a win win. He gets a better job for more money. UM gets a great coach. Let's not overthink this. Jim is nearing end of his career. Why not take a shot? What does he have to lose? He'll need top assts to get players but he can win there."

April 21, 2011

Report: UM targeting George Mason's Larranaga

New UM athletic director Shawn Eichorst said Tuesday he was just beginning his search for a new men's basketball coach. But according to CBSSports.com Senior Writer Gary Parrish, that search may not take very long.

Citing multiple sources, Parrish reported George Mason's Jim Larranaga has had serious discussions with UM officials about its coaching vacancy and said the 61-year old has become UM's top coaching target. He also added he's not sure whether Larranaga is seriously interested or simply leveraging for more money from George Mason, which he took to the Final Four in 2006.

According to USA Today, Larranaga made a little more than $700,000 last season and signed a contract extension last year that would keep him at George Mason through 2015-2016.

We know UM has already contacted University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter about the job as well. Jeter, 41, has been at Wisconsin-Milwaukee for five years and has a 101-89 record. His team went 19-14 this season and won the Horizon League regular season title.

Golden expects Canes' QB competition to reach mid August

Sooner or later, Jacory Harris or Stephen Morris is going to do something to separate themselves and win the starting quarterback job at the University of Miami. But as far as coach Al Golden is concerned, he said Thursday he doesn't expect that to happen until mid August.

Golden talked about his quarterback situation and a few other things during the ACC Spring Football Teleconference Thursday.

Al Golden But we'll start with what he said about his QBs: "I'm really not leaning," Golden said when asked if someone was leading for the job. "I thought both of them did a good job. We had over 300 scrimmage reps and I think we only totaled five or six interceptions. The emphasis has been on finding the check throws, making better decisions with the ball. I think both of those guys did that. They both showed better command of the huddle, better leadership. They both made plays down the field in terms of explosive plays. This will go right up until the middle of August in terms of who we are going to select at that time and then build our offense around them. Clearly the competition has a long way to go."

As he talked about most of the spring, Golden said the team's primary goals for this coming season are to eliminate the things that beat them in 2010. Those would be turnovers and penalties.

"We have to get back to being a really good football team and that starts with eliminating the things that cause you to lose," Golden said. "I think we were 117th in penalties and 119th in turnovers. Those two things we have to correct so we can win. I think we have to continue to make good decisions in the community, not having any distractions academicaly. Those are four areas you can control that cause distractions and cause you to lose. If we can do that, move forward, I think we'll be in good shape."

Golden said he thought the team improved it's conditioning during the spring and was much more physical, "but the conditioning, tempo and mental toughness is not where it needs to be."

"I thought we made a lot of progress," Golden said. "I know that journey is going to be a long one. But I was very pleased with the effort we made. We didn't get much resistance in the part of the players. They bought into it and really improved... I think we're a more physical team. We changed the way we practiced, a lot more phyiscal, a lot more thudding. We had three good physical scrimmages in the heat. Overall, I thought our penalties were down. Our turnovers were better."

Still, there are plenty of things left to work on over the summer. Once fall camp begins, Golden said two things UM has to do is build depth on defense and get more from the wide receiver position.

"We have a long way to go at wideout just because of the injuries we had," Golden said. "We didn't quite get to evaluate or improve our wideouts as much as I would have hoped."

> Senior-to-be Lee Chambers ended the spring at the top of the depth chart at cornerback. Golden said he likes the physical presence Chambers, a former running back, brings the position.

""I'm really pleased with him," Golden said. "He's a big, strong, physical kid for a corner. He came on strong. He plays physical. I thought he really came on the last two weeks doing all the things we thought he could do from a physical standpoint, movement standpoint, lateral mobility. He really picked up the defense well. What we didn't know was how physical he was going to be. He really gave us a boost in terms of being a physical corner not only with his jams but with his tackling. We're excited about Lee. He has a little poise about him. He's been around the block. We're excited about how that position is beginning to take shape there."

Here is the entire interview with Golden from Thursday's teleconference.


April 20, 2011

Hurricanes beat Bethune-Cookman 5-3 at Mark Light; Heavy Hitters up Next

Morris Hurricanes 5, Bethune-Cookman 3



The University of Miami baseball team got in a warm-up Wednesday night as it enters a critical stretch of the season. As soon as the Hurricanes finished off visiting Bethune-Cookman 5-3, Miami's focus turned to the coming weeks. 

Miami, winners of 11 of 12 since being swept at home by Georgia Tech last month, visits 14th ranked North Carolina for a three game series starting Friday. After another mid-week match against South Florida, longtime rival Florida State visits next weekend.

“We have a very tough schedule to finish here, there's no doubt about that,'' said coach Jim Morris, who won his 800th game at UM last Sunday against Maryland. Miami also has to visit top-ranked Virginia as the regular season winds down.

“I think we're playing better, but we have a big test the next few weeks. The question will be answered whether we can play at that top level that we want to.''

Bethune-Cookman (22-19) gave Miami all it could handle on Wednesday although the Hurricanes took control in the second inning and never trailed again after getting three in that inning. The Wildcats did threaten, however, and had bases loaded with two outs in the ninth before reliever Daniel Miranda got Alejandro Sanchez to fly out to right field. 

“Bethune always has a good team, they're in the NCAA tournament just about every year,'' Morris said. “A lot of times we end up playing them. So this may have been a little preview of the NCAA tournament.''

The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the first when Sanchez scored on a fielder's choice but Miami (25-12) bounced right back and jumped all over starter Julio Morales (1-1) as Harold Martinez and Brad Fieger hitting solo home runs to lead off the second. 

With one out in the inning, Zeke DeVoss laced a shot between first and second to score Stephen Perez to give Miami a 3-1 lead. Morales didn't finish the inning, with Bryan Rivera closing it out. Rony Rodriguez was one of the few Canes to have success against Rivera as he led off the third with a home run. 

Rivera never came out, pitching through the eighth as he matched Canes starter Steven Ewing (6-1) for much of the night. Aside from the solo homer from Rodriguez, Miami's only run off Rivera came when Nathan Melendres scored from third on a passed ball in the seventh to make it 5-2. 

Ewing went seven innings, giving up two runs off the fielder's choice and a solo shot from Emmanuel Castro to lead off the fourth. Ewing surrendered five hits and struck out 10. 

The Wildcats added a run in the eighth off reliever Adam Sargent when David Lee – who made some terrific defensive plays in center – scored on a grounder from Castro. Sargent was pulled with runners on first and third and two outs, with Sam Robinson getting Ryan Durrence to ground out, ending the threat. 

“We're coming up against UNC and from now on, we're playing the best teams in the ACC,'' said DeVoss, UM's leadoff man who extended his hitting streak to nine games by going 2-for-3. “We're going to have to be on our game to get some victories.'' 


April 18, 2011

Canes release post-spring depth chart (updated)

CORAL GABLES – UM released it's post-spring depth chart Monday evening. Starters are listed first.

QB: Jacory Harris OR Stephen Morris, Spencer Whipple
HB: Lamar Miller, Mike James, Storm Johnson
WR: LaRon Byrd, Tommy Streeter
WR: Travis Benjamin, Allen Hurns OR Kendall Thompkins
LT: Malcolm Bunche, Seantrel Henderson
LG: Harland Gunn, Brandon Linder
C: Tyler Horn, Shane McDermott
RG: Brandon Washington, Jared Wheeler
RT: Jermaine Johnson OR Ben Jones
TE: Blake Ayles OR John Calhoun OR Chase Ford OR Clive Walford OR Cory White

DE: Adewale Ojomo, Marcus Robinson
DT: Micanor Regis, Curtis Porter
DT: Marcus Forston, Luther Robinson
DE: Olivier Vernon, Andrew Smith
OLB: Ramon Buchanan, Travis Williams
MLB: Jimmy Gaines OR Jordan Futch
OLB: Sean Spence, Jordan Futch
CB: Lee Chambers, Brandon McGee
CB: JoJo Nicolas, Thomas Finnie
FS: Vaughn Telemaque, Andrew Swasey OR Kacy Rodgers
SS: Ray Ray Armstrong, Eduardo Clements, A.J. Highsmith

KR: Travis Benjamin, Davon Johnson
PR: Travis Benjamin
K: Jake Wieclaw, Alex Irastorza
P: Jake Wieclaw, Cameron Dean
FG: Jake Wieclaw, Ben Hopfinger
LS: Chris Ivory
SS: Chris Ivory, Tyler Horn
H: Spencer Whipple, Jacory Harris

Buchanan enters pre-trial diversion program

Hurricanes linebacker Ramon Buchanan has entered a pre-trial diversion program to clear him of the felony charges he was facing following an incident with police last month at a Coconut Grove nightclub.

Ramon Buchanan Joseph Rosenbaum, Buchanan's attorney, said the 21-year old University of Miami junior must complete 100 hours of community service, write letters of apology to two officers and donate $300 to charities under an agreement reached with the state attorney's office. Once he completes the program, his record will be cleared.

"He's a good kid who had a bad day. Officers agreed," Rosenbaum said. "He's already apologized to the officers involved. He personally sought them out and apologized, wrote them letters and was very remorseful. He's thankful he was able to resolve the case in this matter. Many cases are resolved this way as well. This was not unusual. This is how these cases are resolved if you have no priors."

Buchanan, who was reinstated by coach Al Golden two weeks after the incident, did not appear in court Monday. Rosenbaum said Buchanan has already started serving his community service hours at the City of Miami Police Department.

Buchanan was arrested at 1:33 a.m. March 18 at Fat Tuesday’s, a bar at Cocowalk in Coconut Grove. He was charged with three misdemeanors of trespassing after a warning, disorderly conduct, resisting an officer without violence and the felony charges of resisting an officer with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer. He also allegedly spat on and attempted to head butt an officer.

Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat warned Buchanan through his attorney on Monday that "instances like this could blow your career."

Buchanan, from Palm Bay, Fla., played in all 13 games last season, starting 10, and was fifth on the team with 54 tackles, including eight for losses. He also had an interception. He's expected to start for the Hurricanes at outside linebacker next season.

"It's a growing thing, it's life," Rosenbaum said. "I see it everyday. I see good people who have miscommunication with police. And it escalates and you're not going to win."

April 17, 2011

Spring Game Observations

After getting to spend a few wonderful weeks at home with my wife and our first child, I got the chance to escape the house -- and diaper duty -- for a few hours Saturday to catch the Canes Spring Game at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

Here are a few thoughts and observations (FYI, Saturday's game will be broadcast on CSS at 5 p.m. Sunday in case you weren't there):

Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris > No Canes assistant has a tougher job ahead of them this summer than offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. I hate to start with the stinky stuff, but it was painfully obvious Saturday that Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris still have a long way to go. Now it's true that the Canes were short on receivers (LaRon Byrd, Aldarius Johnson, Asante Cleveland, Travis Benjamin weren't out there). But with a vanilla offense (Al Golden said there were just seven pass plays used) and an inexperienced secondary, Harris and Morris shouldn't have looked that bad. Both threw two interceptions each (Morris' pick to Sean Spence, which was returned for a TD, was horrendous). But I was more troubled by the poor choices they made with the football, holding onto it for too long at times and just not finding open receivers. Fisch not only has to find a way to get Morris and Harris to protect the football better, but also see the entire field and check down to their running backs and tight ends more often (he kept screaming for that throughout the game). Unless Harris and Morris get it right, 2011 could still end up looking and feeling a lot like last year -- regardless of how much UM improves in other spots.

> Lamar Miller appears ready to hit another gear. Remember when the Canes had Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee and Frank Gore? Lamar Miller, Mike James and Storm Johnson could end up being just as potent a trifecta. All three continued to impress Saturday even though it was Miller who was Saturday's star with three touchdowns and 166 yards on just 10 carries. The question moving forward becomes how Fisch utilizes all three and splits carries and touches. Last season, Miller carried the ball more than 11 times only twice (he had 22 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown versus Maryland and 15 carries for 163 yards and one touchdown versus Virginia Tech). James hit double digits in carries three times (no more than 11). And Storm carried it only nine times all season (for 119 yards, most on a 71-yard TD run versus USF). Personally, I'd make Storm and Miller the primary ball carriers (both are more explosive than James) and use James (13 catches in '10) as the primary pass catcher out of the backfield and the specialist in short yardage situations. And, I would make sure to get the ball into the trios hands one way or the other 75 to 80 percent of the time on offense.

Jojo Nicolas > Moving JoJo Nicolas to cornerback was smart. At first I kind of balked at the idea of seeing Nicolas, a rather average safety, move to cornerback. But Al Golden and his staff obviously saw something most of us hadn't yet in the 6-1, 200-pound senior from Homestead. Nicolas made a couple nice plays in coverage Saturday including batting away a perfectly thrown pass by Harris to Tommy Streeter. Now, I'm not saying Nicolas is going to be able to come in and provide what Brandon Harris did last season. But he could prove to be just as effective as say Ryan Hill was. And that's something this young, inexperienced secondary could use. Brandon McGee, Thomas Finnie and walk-on Andrew Swasey (who appears headed for big things with this team one way or the other) all had picks Saturday. The talent is there, but it feels like the secondary still has a long way to go in terms of development.

> It's time for Tommy Streeter and Kendal Thompkins to really contribute. We heard all about the talents of the former Miami Northwestern receivers before they got to UM. Then, we heard about how great they looked in practice. We've seen glimpses here and there in a handful of games. But after three years, isn't time we stopped hearing and started seeing real results from these guys? Despite reportedly making strides all spring, Streeter had a rough afternoon Saturday. He didn't show enough of a fight for the football on a couple balls he could have had including one in the end zone Swasey (who is seven inches shorter than him) took away from him. Thompkins had a team-high seven catches for 81 yards and made a nice grab near the sideline on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Morris. But we've seen Thompkins do this before in games that don't count. It's time he does it when it matters, especially in the slot where the Canes need help.

> Clive Walford looks like he will be able to help out at tight end. UM's best tight end, Asante Cleveland, missed this spring due to injury. But that gave others a chance to shine. Sounds and feels like Walford was the only one who really took advantage. He had four catches for 48 yards Saturday and looked comfortable blocking. USC transfer Blake Ayles and senior Chase Ford were invisible. Walford said afterward he's got about 90 percent of the playbook down and definitely feels like he will contribute this coming season because "I feel comfortable with blocking." That's great news for the Canes who could use two solid options at tight end.


> Loved the big hits delivered by safety Ray Ray Armstrong Saturday including one in which he knocked the helmet clean off running back Darion Hall. Armstrong appears as though he's ready to turn the corner.

> I'm not as worried about the middle linebacker spot as I thought I was going to be with Colin McCarthy moving on. Kelvin Cain, Jordan Futch and Jimmy Gaines all appear as though they are headed in the right direction. My guess is Futch will probably earn the starting job in the fall with Cain pushing him hard for playing time. 

> Just wanted to give some kudos to Susan Miller Degnan for doing a great job with the blog while I was out. SMD is old school, but she's coming around to enjoying this blogging deal. I think we make a great team. By the way, she needs more Twitter followers. Jump on board @smillerdegnan


April 16, 2011

spring game report (interceptions -- surprise!) with stats and Golden quotes

Long day.

The spring game is over, and there was much of the same. Namely, interceptions.

Two by Jacory and two by Stephen.

It was very basic, very simple, "vanilla,'' Golden said.

Let's face it, the UM running backs are mighty good, and fans better hope the offensive line can open big holes for Lamar Miller, Mike James and Storm Johnson. Lamar scored three TDs and gained 166 yards on 10 carries (one TD was for 70 yards and another was for 64).

I say (until proven otherwise) lots of shorter, safe passes, and occasional long ones. And utilize the tight ends, something that's been missing the past couple years.

The guys who made the picks: Andrew Swasey, Sean Spence, Brandon McGee and Thomas Finnie.

The receivers have been unproven, because so many of them are hurt. Kendal Thompkins had a very good day, and Travis Benjamin hurt his leg, though it doesn't seem bad. LaRon didn't play, Aldarius didn't play, and three of them wore yellow "non-contact" jerseys. Tommy Streeter looked as tentative and not-so-dominant as he looked good last weekend.

Defensively, safety  Swasey is impressive and will find his way onto the field for sure. Golden said he's a great special-teamer as well. Finnie (pick) has had a very good spring. Brandon McGee is getting better.

Sean Spence (pick-six for 25-yard TD) should be a force this season. And safety Ray-Ray Armstrong just demolishes his victims, as well.

I forgot to put in my story for paper and online that walk-on Sean Goldstein led the defense with 14 tackles!!

Several players missed the scrimmage, including Kevin Nelson (I asked his status and if he was injured and Golden answered, "Kevin Nelson did not participate today, as many guys didn't participate. We're holding a bunch of them out.'' Seantrel Henderson (back injury) didn't play, but you already knew he wasn't going to play.

I know that, as Jacory said, an interception or touchdown takes all 11 players to create, but hopefully Jedd Fisch's intelligence (he's smart) and play-calling will result in game plans that play to the strengths of each quarterback -- or at least not to their weaknesses. This scrimmage was kind of weird, too, because the players were all scrambled up and not always playing near the persons they'll be playing with  for games.

Remember, the game is being televised tomorrow at 5 p.m. on CSS.

Also, I talked to DT Marcus Forston (brace on right knee). He seems to be in good spirits. He had surgery April 6 to repair a torn MCL.


"It was the first time we played a game. I had been putting them in situations so I thought it would be a little bit tougher on them conditioning wise than it was. A lot of guys responded. Clearly the running backs have a chance to be special for us and make some ex[ceptional] plays. I’m disappointed about the interceptions, but we have to do a better job with that.

 One of the plays was exceptional, the other play was really, we were throwing it to a yellow shirt and we really couldn’t finish the play. So I’m not even sure if that was really fair that we allowed that one. But overall good tempo. I think we learned a lot about our team today."

 Pleased with any picks for the defense? "Oh yeah. I thought Swasey’s interception was exceptional. Again, I know from experience that eventually as long as the defense keeps applying pressure they’re going to take the ball away so this was a lot of reps today for us, I think about 120.

 Good effort I thought today."


QB position today? "We’ll see how they evolve in the summer and then in preseason camp. It’s too close to call right now. I thought both did some really good things today and there are a couple things we need to correct but we really only had about six or seven pass plays in, so after a while it gets old. It gets vanilla. We had no motions in. We had no shifts. But we’ll be able to help them in terms of disguising some things in August, obviously."

 What did you think of atmosphere? "It was good. I thought it was special. Yesterday, at our facility, we had over 200 players and someone said close to 300 today. Obviously that’s a special group, that’s a family and we were glad to be a part of it. We thank all the UM fans and alumni that came out and supported us today."

 Lamar's big-play capability? "Most people that just watch football, just in general as fans, think of explosive plays as passes. But he clearly indicates that an explosive play can be a run, and he can do it. He’s got elite short-area quickness, he’s got a great lateral cut and he’s got long speed on top. And all that wrapped into a 210-pound body. He’s very talented."

 Did it hurt not having as many healthy receivers and then Travis going down?  "Well, that hurt. It hurt right away because Travis got hurt, I don’t know if it was the first series, but maybe the second one, because the first ones I think were three-and-out on both sides. That hurt. LaRon Byrd was supposed  to be on Jacory’s team and that was a scratch in pregame, so now all of a sudden we’re down our two most experienced receivers. Then I made the decision on Thursday to play the yellow jerseys, which is something we hadn’t done. I think that probably didn’t help our timing and rhythm at all."

 Now that spring ball is done, what did you learn most from your team? "That they have a will to win. They want to win. And they have some seniors right now that are leading the way and have some urgency and I think we are a better conditioned team right now than we were in January. But I don’t think we’re anywhere near where we need to be in terms of our conditioning and our mental toughness."

Did you enjoy running through the smoke for the first time? "I did. I did. It has been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to even enjoy any of it. And I think for about 3.5 seconds I enjoyed that first second. It’s a special place, the traditions are special and clearly this was a great day for Miami."

 Once you pick a quarterback do you envision that guy being the starter throughout or do you see a scenario where both will play? "I don’t know. That’s too far in advance. Right now I just want to see them compete. We’ll see who the starter is. Then, obviously, based on their talents, we’ll try to cater to the offense in our play calls to support whoever the quarterback is. But certainly we want them to compete day in and day out. But I’m not going to make a decision on any of that right now. I just think it’s too close to call and we’ll let them compete for the next 140 days and figure it out."

Transition of Nicolas to corner and your secondary as a whole? "You know what? Obviously he’s a big, physical presence for us at corner but the ball that Jacory threw to Streeter was right on the money. I thought it was a great pass and JoJo just made a tremendous play on it. That gets me excited when he’s making plays like that down the field."

 Position battles that stand out? "At running back clearly there’s a great competition there. There’s an excellent competition between Calhoun and Hagens. I though Hagens came on really strong this spring at fullback. At tight end you could flip a coin. I don’t know who the starter is right now. I know Walford has had a good spring. Blake, Chase, Cory White, clearly we’re going to get Asante back going into the summer because of his injury. There’s a lot of competition on the offensive line. At defensive end there’s competition. Mike linebacker between Gaines and Futch there’s a lot of competition. We sat Gaines today. And I think there’s going to be a lot of competition at corner. Corner is wide open right now other than JoJo’s got a little bit of a lead there."

 Andrew Swasey? "Number one he’s getting more reps and warranting more reps because he’s an excellent special teams player. That’s really a lesson for a lot of the guys, that if you get on the field on special teams, you’re on the bus, and if you’re on the bus, the coaches are always saying, ok, who are the 60 guys that are there and where else should we play them? He got an opportunity to play safety. He’s a physical player. He’s bright. He plays with energy and I think the interception he made today was exceptional. He has made the most of his opportunity and he’s really had a good spring for us."

 On Kendal Thompkins: "With all the receivers that were down that was tough on those guys. To be honest with you we’ve been running them into the ground all spring at wideout because we just haven’t had the guys, with Aldarius and Davon and Ben hurt and Hurnsey being down and LaRon Byrd and Travis on top of it, that was a tough day for those guys. But I thought Kendal had a good spring. I think Kendal is a tough player. And I think Kendal will help us on special teams, too, so he’s carving out a role for himself."

 Kevin Nelson, status? Is he nicked up? Is he on the team? "Kevin Nelson did not participate today, as many guys didn’t participate. We’re holding a bunch of them out."

--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN (I'll have more quotes for you tomorrow)

Att Comp Yds Int TD
J. Harris 30 18 149 2 0
S. Whipple 1 1 10 0 0
TOTALS 31 19 159 2 0
Att Yds TD
S. Johnson 7 34 0
M. James 9 25 1
J. Harris 2 15 0
A. Hurns 1 4 0
S. Whipple 1 ‐5 0
TOTALS 20 73 1
No. Yds TD
A. Hurns 6 64 0
M. James 4 29 0
D. Johnson 4 15 0
S. Johnson 3 33 0
T. Streeter 1 17 0
J. Calhoun 1 1 0
TOTALS 19 159 0
ut at total tfl‐yds Int‐yds PBU Sacks FF RR TD
S. Goldstein 5 9 14
S. Spence 3 6 9 1‐2 1‐22 1‐2 1
R. Armstrong 3 6 9 1
M. Robinson 3 0 3 1‐7 1‐7
T. Finnie 1 1 2 1‐1
T. Williams 2 4 6


Att Comp Yds Int TD
S. Morris 22 14 140 2 1
S. Whipple 3 2 6 0 0
TOTALS 25 16 146 2 1
Att Yds TD
L. Miller 10 166 3
D. Hall 9 48 0
M. Hagens 9 28 0
T. Benjamin 1 11 0
S. Morris 5 8 0
S. Whipple 1 8 0
K. Thompson 1 4 0
TOTALS 36 273 3
No. Yds TD
K. Thompkins 7 81 1
C. Walford 4 48 0
L. Miller 2 2 0
M. Hagens 1 9 0
B. Bruneau 1 5 0
S. O’Dare 1 1 0
TOTALS 16 146 1
ut at total tfl‐yds Int‐yds PBU Sacks FF RR TD
K. Cain 1 5 6
M. Regis 0 5 5 1
O. Vernon 2 2 4 2‐10.5 1.5‐10.5
B. McGee 3 1 4 1‐36
A. Swasey 2 1 3 1‐0
A. Ojomo 2 2 4 1‐4.5 0.5‐2.5

April 14, 2011

A bunch of Bunche (Seantrel is backup); spring game (and former greats) almost here

Malcolm Bunche redshirted last year at right guard, where he practiced during fall camp next to the nation's top recruit, tackle Seantrel Henderson.

Now, Bunche, listed as 6-7 and 328 pounds, is the starting left tackle -- with 6-8, 345-pound Henderson behind him.

UM coach Al Golden said Thursday that Bunche has had "a fantastic spring,'' and will stay at left tackle. Henderson has been sidelined this week with an undisclosed injury, and won't play in the spring game at noon Saturday at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

"You don't mess around with that position,'' Golden said. "If they're over there, it's because they have the tools to do that. That's the one position on the offensive line, other than center, that you want to make sure you have the right guy there.''

Golden was asked how Bunche's status will affect Henderson and if that could result in Henderson moving back to the right side, where Jermaine Johnson plays. "It affects all those guys,'' he said. "We're just trying to find the right combination. ...The best five start and the best 10 travel.''


Guard Brandon Washington is a very endearing fellow. He's candid and down to earth and pretty much always pleasant. He also is a returning first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference offensive lineman. Among his thoughts today:

* On his coach: "Al Golden is a wonderful guy. He knows a lot of football. ...He has gained everyone's trust on the team.''

* On the spring game: "I'm very excited.You know why, because I feel like I ain't got no teammates after today. I wanna take somebody's head off. I'm jacked up. I'm excited. I want to play with the passion Al Golden is looking for. I just want to go out there and rip somebody's head off and participate. I want to put on a show for everybody.''

* On his team, Team Green, for the spring game: "We're going to kick butt. We got the starting three from last year, with me, Tyler Horn and Harland Gunn -- probably the most explosive offensive linemen. We got tackles who are good enough -- I mean they're here at the University of Miami so that's good enough. Our backfield, we got Lamar Miller. We got two of the fastes guys at wideout in Travis Benjamin and Kendal Thompkins. We got Stephen Morris. We protect Stephen -- we block -- and we're good. Nobody can touch the quarterback.''

* On Malcolm Bunche being ahead of Seantrel Henderson at left tackle: "He shocked me. I thought for sure Seantrel would be in there. When [Bunche] told me he made the move from right guard to left tackle I was like, 'Well, he just left from being behind me to being behind Seantrel. It's going to be a few more years.' But I mean he fought hard and did what he had to do to get the position.''

* On how his grandmother's death recently has affected him: "I lost my grandma... and I felt down. I felt like, 'This is tough.' My grandma meant a lot to me.

"A couple days before she passed I went to her and I said I want to cut my hair. She said, 'Don't, that's the only way I can spot you.' And now she's gone. I don't know what to do -- keep it, cut it, get it done? I don't know what to do.''

*On whether he thinks he is underrated by the fans: "No, not at all. Fans are going to be fans. I mean, they’re here to cheer on the whole team. ...I’m just here to make a play. I mean, I just hope [fans] know that when Lamar Miller breaks down the sideline or Mike James breaks down the sideline it was because of the offensive line. And when Jacory completes a pass it was because he had the time, so I don’t get too discouraged about the fans [or] about, Do I get enough attention? Attention is nothing to me.''


Al Golden said he expects about 300 former UM football players to attend the spring game.

"I hope for [the current players'] sake that they understand there’s over 300 players back, from what I understand, clearly a who’s who. So I hope our guys are excited about that and they don’t feel pressure but they feel grateful to be a part of that lineage.

 "I’ve never seen that. I’ve been in college football for 21 years as a player and coach and I’ve never seen 300 football alumni anywhere that would come back. And obviously I have many colleagues in the business but I’ve never heard of that for a spring game. That is not a reflection on me at all. That is a reflection of the bond that those guys created and the family that is University of Miami football."


Jake Wieclaw kicked a 40-plus yard field goal during the last scrimmage, so Golden was asked if he is more comfortable about the kicking game now. "I'm slightly more comfortable,'' the coach replied. "I don't know what that means. I'm somewhere between worried and comfortable, which I think is called uncomfortable.''


Golden said he had "no problem'' with the way the teams were decided for the spring game -- through a draft by two UM fans (along with UM coordinators) who were allowed to pick the teams as the result of  an online auction.

"We had fun with it,'' Golden said. "If we have an excited fan base and an energetic fan base, as we do a student population, why wouldn’t we include them? We’ve included the faculty and employees this spring. We’ve included the students and that’s a way to include the fans in addition to the scrimmages and the spring game.''

Golden was told that some of the fans were concerned about who the players would line up with because of the draft, as opposed to if he had chosen the teams.

"Well, he said with a smile, "tell them to bitch at the guys who picked the teams, then.''


Linebackers Kevin Nelson and Jimmy Gaines were among the injured players sidelined Thursday and wearing red jerseys. Also injured: defensive tackle Olsen Pierre, who walked with crutches and had his right leg in what appeared to be a soft cast.








April 13, 2011

Spring Game Rosters decided (Who do you think will win?)

Two UM alums who won an online auction sponsored by the university selected the teams (with help from UM's coordinators) for Saturday's spring game.

Jimmy Farrell, from Orlando, conferred with offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.

Tony Alhadeff, from Weston, conferred with defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio.

Farrell picked first and chose quarterback Jacory Harris.

Alhadeff then chose running back Lamar Miller.

Farrell's next pick: linebacker Sean Spence.

Alhadeff's next pick: receiver Travis Benjamin.

HERE ARE THE ROSTERS (drumbeat.....)

ORANGE TEAM (Farrell/Fisch)

DB Ray-Ray Armstrong
WR Chad Barnes
OL Malcolm Bunche
WR LaRon Byrd
TE John Calhoun
DB Lee Chambers
DB Eduardo Clements
P/K Cameron Dean
DE Chris Dunckel
OL Jonathan Feliciano
DB Thomas Finnie
TE Chase Ford
LB James Gaines
DB Nathan Gholston
QB Jacory Harris
LB C.J. Holton
DB Kenneth Jackson
RB Mike James
OL Jermaine Johnson
RB Storm Johnson
LB Erik Lichter
OL Brandon Linder
OL Shane McDermott
DE David Perry
DE Olsen Pierre
DL Curtis Porter
DL Luther Robinson
DE Marcus Robinson
DB Kacy Rodgers
TE Billy Sanders
LB Sean Spence
WR Tommy Streeter
DE Matthew Sweet
TE Andrew Tallman
DB Jordan Tolson
OL Jared Wheeler
TE Cory White
P/K Jake Wieclaw
LB Travis Williams

GREEN TEAM (Alhadeff/D'Onofrio)

TE Blake Ayles
OL Jermaine Barton
WR Travis Benjamin
DL Jeffrey Brown
LB Ramon Buchanan
LB Kelvin Cain
DB Tyrone Cornelius
LB Akil Craig
DB Devont'a Davis
LB Jordan Futch
LB Sean Goldstein
OL Harland Gunn
RB Maurice Hagens
RB Darion Hall
DB Alonzo Highsmith
P/K Ben Hopfinger
OL Tyler Horn
P/K Alex Irastorza
LS Chris Ivory
DB Curt Johnsen
OL Ben Jones
DL Jeremy Lewis
OL Eduardo Lopez
DB Brandon McGee
RB Lamar Miller
QB Stephen Morris
DB JoJo Nicolas
WR Shawn O'Dare
DL Adewale Ojomo
DB Keion Payne
DL Micanor Regis
DB Jamal Reid
DB Andrew Swasey
WR Kendal Thompkins
RB David Thompson
DE Olivier Vernon
TE Clive Walford
OL Brandon Washington
QB Spencer Whipple

Any thoughts?

The spring game is at noon Saturday at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. Parking opens at 8:30 a.m. at the south side. Tailgating is allowed. Gates A and B open at 9:30 a.m. Golden Cane and Football Club reception is at 9:30 a.m.

An autograph session begins at 10 a.m.

560 WQAM radio will broadcast the game.

CSS will televise the game the next day at 5 p.m.

As you probably know by now, the Heat will open their playoffs at 3:30 p.m. Saturday (ABC). So I guess it will be a fun sports marathon Saturday for UM fans.







New Miami AD Shawn Eichorst Speaks to South Florida Media -- Part II

Eichorst Here is the second half of the interview Shawn Eichorst did with the South Florida media on Wednesday morning.


I don't take it as a culture shock. I think you have cheese and milk there too. I'm looking forward to the opportunity, it's a tremendous world class institution, a world class city. Talent rich. I think people have a great passion for the University of Miami. I embrace the opportunity. I have been to a lot of different  places. I think the key is to being positive to your approach and being committed to your organization. I am committed to the University of Miami.


I have not talked to Kirby. I will reflect on that later once I get a more thorough assessment of what is going on within the department.


I have great passion for this business and working with young people. The people I have been mentored by and trust and respect for, in my preparation for this process, guided me. It quickly became apparent that working with president Shalala and the wonderful stuff she assembled within the trajectory of that great institution academically over the past 10 years – being the No. 1 ranked school in Florida, top 50 by any measurement for research institutions in the U.S. -- it just fit the profile of an institution and spirit and things I'm all about.

The other thing that really hit home for me was, the more I learned more about Al Golden, some of the other coaches within the department but particularly Al, I couldn't wait to get there. He is by far one of the most impressive coaches in this business. That really had a big bearing on taking the opportunity at Miami.

When Barry Alvarez says a coach is special, that says something.


As we get to know each other, you'll find out I'm pretty prepared in everything I do. I had done a lot of due diligence on a lot of key people that I met with. We quickly developed a chemistry and the pace of the situation moved quickly. Our values and our core beliefs and our philosophy starts to mesh.

I'm just so darned excited to get there. These are quality people at the University of Miami who have the young people at the heart of everything they do. Again, president Shalala is as good as there is in the business. And the opportunity to spend time with her and the people she has assembled once is a once in a lifetime opportunity.


What it means to me is the great philosophy in life, the people you associate yourself with. I've just had the tremendous opportunity to be with great people in my life. I've taken that in and learned more from that than I've been able to provide. I've always bought into the team philosophy of unselfishness and caring for others and having respect, integrity and passion. When you align yourself with those kind of values, and you associate yourself with those kind of people, you have some magical relationships.


Win basketball games. Put a product on the court people are proud of. Folks who respect the game play it the right way, play great defense, take care of the ball. When you are fundamentally sound, people will quickly become excited about what your doing. I think that's the same in all walks of life. I'm really excited about the University of Miami and what's next for its men's basketball program. The sky is the limit.

What we can do is bring in an ambassador of the game, who will not only to help us build the program by winning games and championships, but be extremely passionate about 'The U.' We have to hold everyone accountable, not just the student-athletes and the coach. We're all going to be held accountable for supporting this program. We're going to get it done.


I'm still working through that. My plan is to get down Saturday or Sunday, to talk to some key folks. I really haven't really had a chance to meet all of the staff, all the good people I'm going to be working with. I'm going to do some quick due diligence in that regard, but my main focus is finding us a new basketball coach. Some of it's fluid, but it's an exciting time.


The process is under evaluation at this point too. I'm not really sure, we'll figure things out in next 24 hours. But, again, everyone who has an interest in being our basketball coach at the University of Miami will get consideration. So, at this time, I really can't give you any more information than that.


I have a notion of what it takes to win and to be successful for a sustained period of time, not only in basketball but in all of our programs. I'm going of kind of contemplate those theories and see if faces in the coaching world fit that mold. Again, we're going to do everything to find the right fit at the University of Miami. We're excited about doing that and we're going to do that in a time frame that works best for us.

New Miami AD Shawn Eichorst Speaks to South Florida Media -- Part I

Theu Good morning, George Richards here.

Just got off the phone with new Miami AD Shawn Eichorst and he seems pretty pumped about the new gig. Going through the tape now, but here's the first half of what he had to say.

Interesting stuff on the basketball search. Without naming names, he made it clear NO ONE has been ruled out as a candidate and also said no one has been offered the job. Looks like we may be starting at square one.

Anyway, more later.


First and foremost, I would like to thank president Donna Shalala for providing me with the tremendous opportunity and I will forever embrace and cherish her trust and faith in me. She is without question the reason why I am at the University of Miami. She is the most dynamic, talented and respected leader in all of higher education. If all of those who support 'The U' can match president Shalala, coach Golden and coach Meier's intensity, passion and dedication for excellence, then we will have a chance to truly be great.

In that regard, I'm truly humbled and honored have the opportunity to lead and build upon 'The U's' rich tradition of academic and athletic excellence. The success of our student-athletes – academically, athletically and socially – will always be our foremost objective. Everything we do will be focused on on preparing our young adults for the ultimate game of life.

I can't wait to get started. My family and I are extremely excited to meet and get to know all the great people associated with 'The U' and the greater Miami community.


I embrace the opportunity. I want to be here at Miami and I want to help them get to where they want to go.


I have been fully briefed on the search activities to this point and appreciate the efforts put forth by those involved.

Yesterday I had a great opportunity to speak to a number of the men's basketball student-athletes and reassured them that we would do everything in our power to get an excellent basketball coach.

I was quickly impressed with how these young men are handling their business under difficult circumstances. They are truly an incredible group of young people.

Please take note: To this point, no individual has been excluded from consideration. And, no individual has been offered the position to coach at the University of Miami. Any account or report otherwise is inaccurate and pure speculation. From this point forward, I will take complete control of the search. I will exhaust all means to find coach who stands for the great values of this institution, is a fundamentally sound teacher of the game and will positively lead our players with a tremendous amount of passion, integrity and dedication.

Make no mistake, we are committed to doing what it takes to build a program capable of winning basketball championships. We're going to do it the old fashioned way: Hard work and a strong foundation. There are no shortcuts to building a program. In that regard, we will take as much time as necessary to find the right person for the job. It would not be appropriate to me, the University of Miami or any of the folks under consideration for the position to have any further comment regarding the search until we are ready to announce the person who will lead our program.

I ask for your patience and understanding so we can help our great young people in our basketball program and future people who will join the program find a great coach.

April 12, 2011

Shawn Eichorst (who?) is new UM AD; (Vaughn Telemaque update & a couple practice notes)

I admit, I knew nothing about Shawn Eichorst (IKE-horst) before I found out that he was close to being hired as the new UM athletic director.

Eichorst was announced today as UM's new athletic director to replace Kirby Hocutt.

In 2006 he joined the athletics program at Wisconsin, where UM president Donna Shalala was the former chancellor. Since 2009, Eichorst has been the deputy athletic director/chief operating officer. President Shalala is close with former Wisconsin football coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez, so if he thinks Eichorst is great, she would value that opinion a great deal.

He's an attorney (law degree from Marquette in 1995), is a native of Lone Rock., Wis., and came to Wisconsin from South Carolina, where he served as senior associate athletics director for administration.

He played football (DB) for Wisconsin-Whitewater (1990 team captain) and graduated magna cum laude in business from UW-Whitewater in 1990.

"I am truly humbled and honored to have the tremendous opportunity to lead and build upon the University of Miami's rich tradition of excellence in athletics. Under President Donna Shalala's great vision, passion and leadership, the University of Miami has quickly developed into not only the best institution in the state of Florida, but one of the top research universities in the United States, said Eichorst in a UM release. "The success of our student-athletes - academically, athletically and socially - will always be our foremost objective and I am looking forward to working collaboratively with our coaches, staff, student-athletes, campus administration, faculty, board of trustees, donors, alumni, fans and community members to realize our full potential."

Quote from Shalala: "Shawn Eichorst has the skills, experience, and philosophy to elevate UM athletics and exceed our highest expectations.''

By the way, one of the things Eichorst is responsible for at Wisconsin is men's basketball.. Hmmmm. Maybe he'll try to persuade Wisconsin-MIlwaukee coach Rob Jeter -- a former Wisconsin assistant -- to interview for the UM job. Jeter is said to be interested in the UM job.

I'm wondering how much UM's own Tony Hernandez was considered. He's a very intelligent man, is a UM guy all the way, and a lawyer as well. Hernandez earned a Law Degree and a Bachelor's of Business Administration in Finance, both from the University of Miami. Tony was named the Deputy Director of Athletics for UM in August. He is an expert on compliance issues, and oversees that department. Tony has been groomed for years at UM, and everyone I know who knows him well thinks he is very good at what he does. He's a very nice man, to boot.

As far as Eichorst goes, I'm obviously withholding judgement because I've never met him and don't know anything about him other than what I've read.

Addendum: UM football coach Al Golden was one of the people who interviewed Eichorst, and said he approved of the hire. "I'm real excited about Shawn joining UM,'' Golden said. "He's energetic, he's exactly what we're looking for and he has been at South Carolina and Wisconsin and has great experience in athletic departments and certainly in terms of football. He wants to be here and obviously came really highly recommended from both [Wisconsin football coach] Brett Bielema and [Wisconsin athletic director] Barry Alvarez.


UM safety Vaughn Telemaque injured himself during Thursday's practice, and was transported by ambulance to the hospital. h

Telemaque, as you know, showed up to the scrimmage and was walking the sideline with a red jersey (for injured players) and a neck brace.

I heard from someone who was at Thursday's practice that coach Al Golden stopped the practice after Vaughn was hurt, and had his players make a circle around Vaughn and begin praying. Vaughn was strapped to a board and taken by ambulance.

Vaughn talked to reporters before today's practice, saying he hopes to be out of the brace by the end of the week.

 "I was pretty scared,'' he said. "It felt like a flashback of my freshman year. I'm just really excited it wasn't as serious, and I'll be back.''

  Pinched nerve? he was asked. "Something like that,'' he answered, explaining that as a freshman he had a "dead nerve'' in his shouler.

  Golden said Telemaque will “be fine. We always want to err on the side of caution when we’re dealing with the back or neck… so we are going to continue to sit him down this week.’’


  Golden was asked about TB Storm Johnson, who led the last scrimmage with 75 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Golden said (and made sure to tell us he had told Johnson this already), "if he doesn't improve his ball security and pass protection he's not going to be the starter. We need to really make progress on that here the next three practices.''

   Again, Golden lauded Jacory Harris as much improved, saying he's "impressed with the direction he's taking us right now. He's finding his checkdowns and hit some explosive strikes down the field'' during Saturday's scrimmage.

   But Golden also said Jacory still needs to improve in his "preparation, film study and being a student of the game.''

    He said he likes Stephen Morris' arm strength and the way he moves with the ball.

    He maintains Harris and Morris are in "a dead heat right now.''

    LT Seantrel Henderson was on the sideline with the injured players Tuesday.








April 11, 2011

Reggie Johnson out of here! (But he can still come back)


    University of Miami basketball center Reggie Johnson, a 6-10, 300-pound sophomore, has submitted his name for the NBA Draft.

   But he will not hire an agent, according to UM, and thus can still opt to return to the Hurricanes as long as he removes his name by May 8 and maintains his college eligibility. The NBA Draft is June 23.

  “The chance to play in the NBA is something that has been in my mind for a long time – since I was really young,” Johnson said in a UM report. “Now the chance has presented itself so I can see where I stand. If it doesn’t feel right, I know I still have the opportunity to return to play college basketball.”

     Johnson was the team’s leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, averaging 11.9 points and 9.6 rebounds a game. He converted 59.1 percent of his field goals, while adding a team-high 1.3 blocks per game as a redshirt sophomore in 2010-11, and finished the season ranked second in the ACC in offensive rebounds (3.5), fourth in defensive rebounds (6.1) and overall rebounds and 20th in scoring.

     Johnson was an All-ACC honorable mention this season. He posted 13 double-doubles – including a 14-point, 20-rebound performance in the NIT first-round win over FAU. His 347 rebounds this season are the most for a Hurricane since Rick Barry posted a school-record 475 in 1964-65, while he scored in double figures 23 times, including four 20-point outings.

    Do you think Reggie will come back to UM, and decide not to enter the draft?

    Or do you think Reggie will be drafted by the NBA? There are 2 rounds, and 30 teams.

    What do you think of his decision (Or do you even care)?


April 09, 2011

Scrimmage #2: Street steppin' out and looking good; Futch is "old school" Cane


  I have a feeling that this will be the year for UM receiver Tommy Streeter -- nicknamed "Street" -- to step out on that new, better route. Streeter, indeed, seems to finally be finding his way.

  Streeter finished Saturday's scrimmage at Traz Powell Stadium with six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns -- including a 45-yarder. He made some real nice catches. After one of them, near the end of the scrimmage, he ran out of bounds right past me and was laughing and hollering and whooping it up as he sprinted with the ball.

  Street told us this story after the scrimmage (with a big smile):

  "The other day the coaches played a video in the meeting room. They had pranked us on April Fool’s [Day]. They showed me on video. They asked me, ‘What should we expect out of you this week?’

   And on film I said, ‘Go deep! Every game. Every game. Every game.’’

   Then, as soon as that was concluded, they showed a film of me not catching the deep ball. So I wanted to come out here and shut their mouths.''

   Streeter said he and his teammates wanted to enjoy themselves without feeling too much pressure. Apparently, according to more than one player, coaches have been stressing the simple idea of playing like you love the game.

   "We’re trying to get back to the passion aspect of the game and not thinking so much, but reacting and having fun out here and just playing with that real passion,'' Streeter said.

   He was asked what it felt like to have such a great scrimmage. "It feels good,'' replied the 6-5, 215-pound junior out of Miami Northwestern High. "It just shows what I’m capable of, but I’ve got a long way to go. There are a lot of plays I wasn’t happy with today that I left on the field. I don’t want to be one of those guys who show glimpses of greatness. I just want to try to work hard and be consistent and show it all the time.''


   Jordan Futch seems to have secured a place in the middle at linebacker with some more outstanding play in this scrimmage. That's not to say he's going to end up starting, because Jimmy Gaines (interception, three tackles and a great attitude) is also impressing coaches in the middle, and Kelvin Cain had seven tackles (one for a loss) Saturday.

   Futch, however, plays with such passion and intensity and joy that it's hard not to notice him. He finished with six tackles (two for losses) and two sacks Saturday. Futch slammed tailback Storm Johnson so hard on one play that Johnson went down on his back as if he had been hit by a freight train. It was kind of scary, and exciting at the same time.

    After the hit, Futch did an Old Canes type of swagger-dance. The crowd went nuts. 

    "I call it the 'Old School,' Futch said. Coach Golden has really been wanting us to come out and have fun and  [former Cane] Alonzo [Highsmith] is out here. He spoke to us yesterday. He really put the pressure on us to have some fun. I know Coach [Micheal] Barrow used to do the dance, sort of like this here, so I said, ‘I’m going to give me a little bit.’

    Golden, like everyone else, has noticed.

     "Yeah, that’s what we’re looking for,'' Golden said of Futch. "He keeps doing what he’s doing and we’re going to find a spot for him. He plays with energy, he’s tough, he’s rugged, he’s smart. I don’t know how it’s going to shake out here in the next three practices and then going into training camp, but Jordan looks like when the lights come, on he’s producing right now.''




S. Johnson, 13 for 75, 2 TD

L. Miller, 14 for 63

M. James, 5 for 33

D. Hall, 5 for 30, 2 TD

M. Hagens, 5 for 26


J. Harris, 18 of 26 (.692) for 237 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

S. Morris, 9 of 14 (.643( for 146 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

S. Whipple, 4 of 6 (.667) for 56 yards


C. Ford, 3 for 112 yards (long of 56)

T. Streeter, 6 for 98 yards and 2 TD (long of 45)

T. Benjamin, 2 for 61 yards and one touchdown (long of 50)

S. O'Dare, 4 for 56 yards

L. Byrd (he hurt his left knee and after a long time, limped off the field; Golden thinks it's going to be OK but we don't know for sure. Good thing is he wasn't carted off and didn't use crutches. He will be examined further by doctors, obviously) 3 for 31 yards (long of 20)

C. Walford, 3 for 31 yards (long of 19)

S. Johnson, 3 for 10 yards (long of 9)

M. James, 1 for 9 yards

J. Calhoun, 1 for 7 yards

D. Hall, 1 for 3 yards


S. Spence, 7 tackles

K. Cain, 7 tackles

A. Craig, 7 tackles and forced fumble

R. Armstrong, 6 tackles

J. Futch, 6 tackles, 2 sacks

K. Payne, 6 tackles

O. Vernon, 5 tackles, 2 sacks

A. Swasey, 5 tackles

L. Chambers, 5 tackles

Players with one sack apiece: Luther Robinson, Travis Williams, Olsen Pierre, Ramon Buchanan (yes, he played, but wasn't allowed to talk to us; he had three tackles); Adewale Ojomo, and Marcus Robinson.

One more injury, though it happened last week at practice and not at the scrimmage: safety Vaughn Telemaque showed up Saturday with a neck brace. He likely won't be playing again for a while.