« Alonzo Highsmith one-on-one (with good news for A.J): Canes great who believes in his Hurricane son A.J. -- and believes in UM coach Al Golden. | Main | QBs still neck and neck. Who do you think should be named starter? Also: Howard Schnellenberger to make announcement at 4 p.m. »

Freshman Anthony Chickillo, starter in 3-4 scheme, has been what Canes 'hoped for thus far'

CORAL GABLES -- No recruit in Al Golden's first signing class came to the University of Miami with more hype than Under Armour All-American defensive end Anthony Chickillo.

Anthony Chickillo After four practices, it's clear Chickillo, a third generation Hurricane, is living up to it. He's already earning first team reps in 3-4 packages and impressing the heck out of defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio.

"I think Chickillo so far has done a really good job," D'Onofrio said Wednesday morning, before the Canes practiced in full pads for the first time this fall. "He is a freshman and we are throwing a lot at him, but if he makes a mistake, he makes it 100 miles per hour and he has not made a ton of 'em. He has played really hard and been rugged and been what we hoped thus far."

D'Onofrio said Chickillo, listed at 6-4, 248, came into camp weighing between 252 and 254 pounds and has done a good job creating a higher level of competition for the other veteran defensive ends around him.

"He is rugged, tough and plays with a great motor," D'Onofrio said. "It means a lot to him. He loves football and he is passionate and he studies. I have been real happy with him. When you inject a guy like that into your team and into your lineup, then all of a sudden that is a guy that isn't going to go away and that is a message to everybody else on the defensive line."

Right now, D'Onofrio said, Chickillo is at first team defensive end alongside Andrew Smith in 3-4 packages. He added that Marcus Forston and Micanor Regis are "interchangeable" at defensive tackle. D'Onofrio also mentioned Jimmy Gaines, Sean Spence and Ramon Buchanan are the starting linebackers in his front seven, but did not mention a fourth linebacker in his 3-4 package. It's likely senior Jordan Futch or Marcus Robinson would be the fourth linebacker in that package.

As for the installation of the new 3-4 package and the way players are adjusting to it, D'Onofrio said he thinks it's going well. "I think they're getting real comfortable," D'Onofrio said.

"I feel good about the returning players who practiced it in the spring. I feel like those guys have really taken some steps. When I look out there and watch most of the first unit go, I'm pleased with the communication. I think they're playing faster, more physical. I'm happy with the tackling. I'm more happy with the fundamentals. I think we're straining on blocks longer and guys are not jumping off blocks and I think guys are being more physical at the line of scrimmage. I think we're tackling particularly well in the secondary."

MORE NEWS AND NOTES

> D'Onofrio said the reason sophomore Jimmy Gaines is running with the first team at middle linebacker -- ahead of Futch -- is because of his "consistency and work ethic."

"I think he's outworked the guys behind him. At the end of the day, he's learned the defense, he's been consistent. He's gotten consistently better," D'Onofrio said.

"When you know what you're doing, you could play a lot faster. And that's the difference, not so much whether one guy runs faster or one guy is a little stronger or those sorts of things. I mean those things all come into play. But at the end of the day, diagnose it, react and play fast. Sometimes there's maybe there's guys with more hype. Maybe they run a better 40. But at the end of the day it's about production and making plays, not making mental errors, being able to be confident out there and run the show. I think he's continued to improve. He had a good spring and a good summer. He came back here and has continued to improve."

> Just because most teams rely on the middle linebacker to call plays doesn't mean that's the way D'Onofrio plans to run things. In fact, it's more likely senior Sean Spence will.

"Most people assume middle linebacker, that's the guy who has to call the defense, makes the adjustments," D'Onofrio said. "He doesn't really need to do that. I've done it both with the will [weakside] and mike [middle] linebacker. The experienced guy will be the guy who calls the plays."

> Asked which freshman he thinks could end up playing this season, D'Onofrio mentioned Chickillo and linebacker Denzel Perryman (Coral Gables), who is working behind Buchanan at weakside linebacker.

"I think Denzel Perryman is a guy who has flashed quite a bit," D'Onofrio said. "We recruited him and he was a highly rated player, but I've been really happy with his progress so far. Those are the two that's standout. There's other guys that have flashed. But those are the two that standout."

> Al Golden and his staff have created several new motivational tools to build unity (players driving each other to practice, team hotel during camp) and fire players up (soft tape highlights). The latest we learned about Wednesday are "Concentration Cards."' Gaines said players get a new index card with their goals to focus on each day from their position coaches.

"My card said 'Stance/Start, Be A Leader, and Play Like Nobody Can Stop You," Gaines said.

> Golden said he has the team's first scrimmage scheduled for Sunday with the second scheduled for Monday, Aug. 22. Golden said scrimmages will be treated like "game day situations."

"We'd like to get that one in and get a firm grip on our personnel and make changes and then settle in there for the next 12-13 days."

> Golden said the return of sixth-year senior Joel Figueroa has made it tougher in selecting a starting offensive line.

"Fig is really healthy and he's a guy we really didn't see in the spring. He's really bright, mature. He's been an incredible surprise for us and he'll have something to say who the five are," Golden said.

> Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, who had back surgery, was released from the hospital Tuesday according to Golden.

> Golden said there is still no word on the hardship waiver Ryan Williams is seeking from the NCAA to be eligible this season, but he "will continue to get reps."

> Golden said the reason he sprints between drills with players at practice is because he wants to set "a good tempo."

"You do lead by example," Golden said. "It's heartfelt, honestly. We want a team that plays with energy and plays with passion and we have to display that ourselves."

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Who gives a pile of donkey crap what George Bush gave Shalala, or if some Ohio Moron calls the U suntan U? They are probably jealous that they are freezing half the year in Ohio. Take the stix out of your ARSES and get a life. If you want to talk about education then go to an education blog. This is basically a football blog and what we care about are titles and championships. Just how do U nimrods think all these buildings got built for acadamia? The football program did a lot of it by getting the University national exposure. Last time I checked a stadium didn't get loaded and rock like the Orange Bowl did for a debate team full of nerds to yap at each other. Now me personally I didn't have any problems with the way our guys played in the 80's. Heck I loved it and wish we would go back to playing like that. Who wants to see a guy score a TD and hand the ball to the ref? I know I don't. Those guys were champions with heart and played like it. The game for sure was a lot more entertaining back then. If Shalaber will back our football program then I'm cool with her but if not get her out of here.

George, Ohio Cane and whoever else cares about UM football AND also academics and the University as a whole, you are fighting an uphill battle. It is really like the Alamo, it is a courageous battle, but we are out numbered by the "t-shirt fan" mentality. I personally would be considered a "t-shirt fan". I did not graduate from UM, I did not have the money (my sister did graduate from UM law school in '96), but I was a fan as a child from the days of Jim Kelly and Schnelly back in '81. Again, I am a "t-shirt fan", but I do not have the mentality of many of my t-shirt fan brethren. UM is more to me than a football team, it is a great local university that brings me personally lots of civic pride. I take pride in the schools Marine Biology program. In the schools law program and how President Shalala has recruited professors and others from other great institutions of higher learning, such as Duke to come to UM and build the research department up into one of the best in the nation. Does everything that she does make me happy? Of course not, but I realize that the school AS A WHOLE, is in better shape now, than when she took it over. Again, I LOVE UM football and athletics and want championships like everyone else on this board, but I realize that the scholastic portion of and UM being a great school is great for recruiting and keeping the athletic department going as a whole.

Cool Cat. The 3-4 D, first of all does not completely expose linebackers. It can hide them. With a dominant D line which we have, we can rotate in and out of a 4-3, 3-4. This would be a College Offensive nightmare to run against and certainly throw against. It allows your safties, Ray, Ray and Vaughn to come as well from the corners. The Bears and Eagles still run these D's at times in the pros and it still works. You gotta have the speed to do this and we do. For the last 4 years all we were doing is reacting to the offense, not a lot of aggression like the old days. A 3-4 is simply nasty if you have the bullets! And it can provide huge pressure on the quarterbacks. It does not mean that every play you have 3 on the line. It confuses blocking schemes and would be a great fit for Anthony at end.

And by the way, I don't care who says what, by mid-season let's see what is being said about our linebackers. Are you kidding, Speance Cookie, the new kid Gaines and Futch? Propbably the fastest 4 in the nation and do bring the nasty! Go Canes!

As far as Donna.... As Stone Cold says....WHAT????

Hey Cane4Life, this is Cane4life! Been using for years as well. No biggie! Guess we know how we both feel! I always end with Go Canes! Because no matter what.... Go Canes!

C4L,
Absolutely my friend!!! At the end of the day, it's 'Canes all the way

« 1 2

The comments to this entry are closed.