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.''
FUTCH AT IT AGAIN -- AND IT'S ALL GOOD
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.''
SOME NUMBERS FOR YOU FROM TODAY'S SCRIMMAGE
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.
--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN