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36 posts from September 2011

September 28, 2011

Tommy Streeter has grown from after thought to most targeted Canes receiver

CORAL GABLES -- Tommy Streeter was asked Wednesday about what might have hampered his ability to be more involved in the Hurricanes passing game in each of his first three seasons.

Tommy Streeter Streeter paused and then smiled almost as if he was weighing whether or not to answer the question honestly. Finally, he came out with it. "I'd say, not taking anything away from the old staff, but I felt those guys had their guys that they felt confident in," Streeter said.

Well, it's safe to say Al Golden, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and receivers coach George McDonald aren't lacking much confidence in Streeter. The former Miami Northwestern standout, who caught 16 passes for 286 yards and TDs combined in his first three years at UM, has seen his role shift dramatically this season.

He's grown from afterthought into one of UM's most reliable targets. The 6-5, 215-pound Streeter is second on the team behind Allen Hurns with 10 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. Hurns has caught 12 passes for 159 yards and two TDs. But he hasn't been UM's most targeted receiver. Streeter owns that distinction having been thrown to a team-leading 19 times.

"It feels good," Streeter said of being in the mix at receiver. "Since I've been at UM my main objective was to help this team in anyway possible."

The Hurricanes aren't exactly lighting teams up in the passing game. With tailback Lamar Miller carrying most of the load on offense, UM ranks 87th in passing. But McDonald's receivers have done a pretty good shining brightly -- especially in light that the unit lost record-setting receiver Leonard Hankerson (Redskins) and hasn't gotten much out of senior LaRon Byrd or the team's tight ends.

McDonald said Wednesday his receivers have dropped just three passes in UM's first three games. Drops were clearly a much bigger problem a year ago under Aubrey Hill.

"They're doing pretty good," McDonald said Wednesday. "But we still have a lot of work to do.

"We've caught some tough balls, but I don't want to single anybody out. But we haven't caught every ball. We're catching a high clip. Jacory and Stephen have done a good job giving us catchable balls. We've done a good job coming down with them."

McDonald said he's a big stickler for what guys do in practice and believes it has a carryover to game days. That's why he and Golden love Hurns, who plays with as much enthusiasm and energy in practice according to teammates as he does on game day.

"He comes out here in practice, dives, blocks and does the same things on Saturdays," McDonald said. "It's been real good to show him as an example to the group -- especially the young guys -- if you do the right things everyday you can be successful too."

McDonald said freshman Phillip Dorsett "has really followed Allen's lead." Golden said Wednesday Dorsett is getting about 20 snaps per game.

"Same thing with Reshawn [Scott]," McDonald said. "He had a great week of practice, so we gave him a couple plays. Like coach Fisch talks about, we want everybody to have an opportunity to go out and make plays. But in order to do that you need to come to practice and earn it. That's why you're seeing some of these new, young guys on the field."

As for Byrd, who has four receptions for 41 yards (he had 12 for 118 after 3 games a year ago), McDonald said he's "in a little bit of a slump -- just like a home run hitter."

"We've tried to have him go back to the basics," McDonald said. "As a senior, you put a lot of pressure on yourself because it's your last go-around, your last games. We just want LaRon to back to having fun. We're going to need him. He's going to come up big. It might be this week. But he's going to be in our rotation. Right now he's just playing a little too tense."

Asked if Byrd was responsible for Jacory Harris' lone interception Saturday against Kansas State, McDonald said: "He needed to come back to the ball a little harder. He pulled up a little bit and the DB was able to undercut him. So, it's just the matter of him trusting his training and coming back to the ball a little bit harder."

McDonald said senior Travis Benjamin, suspended for the opener, "is buying into what we're doing." Benjamin is third on the team with nine catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. "We're excited to have him back," McDonald said.

McDonald cited Benjamin, Hurns, Streeter and Byrd as players who have taken over Hankerson's role as vocal leaders. "I think a lot of guys are taking ownership," McDonald said. " I think everybody feels like they have a voice. It's not just one dominant guy. Everybody has made plays and earned the right to speak up. That's what we want as a team."

Junior Kendall Thompkins, who has shined on special teams, has yet to catch a pass. "He's been on the field," McDonald said. "Sometimes the ball just doesn't go your way."


>  UM coach Al Golden thanked reporters Wednesday for continuing to bring up the lack of production from the team's tight ends.

Asked why Chase Ford, Clive Walford and Asante Cleveland have combined for just 6 catches for 48 yards, Golden said: "Some of it is just what [the defense] is giving us. Clive had a touchdown called back against Ohio State. We had a couple of other opportunities we had to give it to him and we didn't. It's as simple as that. It's a function of them running the right route, the right depth, Jacory [Harris] being precise, getting the protection on that specific play and then everybody executing."

> UM quarterback Jacory Harris said Tuesday he called for audibles "a couple times" in last Saturday's loss to Kansas State. One of them was on Lamar Miller's 59-yard touchdown run.

Asked why the passing offense was much more aggressive in the second half (Harris was 11 of 13 for 191 yards, 2 TDs) versus Kansas State, Harris said: "Coach called good plays."

> Palm Beach Post reporter Jorge Milian spotted Harris wearing a harness around his left shoulder Wednesday at practice. Harris was hit hard by a Kansas State defender on his fourth quarter touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin Saturday.

I spotted Lamar Miller no longer wearing a yellow non-contact jersey Wednesday. Golden reiterated banged up players like Miller would play Saturday. "I keep telling you guys they're playing, they're all playing," Golden said. "If the doctor tells me otherwise we'll report it. But they're all playing."

September 27, 2011

Hurricanes depth chart released for Bethune-Cookman

Here's the depth chart for Bethune-Cookman, released this morning:




Some things to point out: Freshman Anthony Chickillo is now starting at right defensive end, with Adewale Ojomo his backup.

Also, Seantrel Henderson, who is expected to play this weekend, is listed as the backup right tackle to Jon Feliciano. Brandon Washington is still the starter at left tackle.

Also, Tommy Streeter is listed behind starting wide receiver Allen Hurns, with an OR between Streeter and LaRon Byrd.

Also, there's an OR between co-starting defensive ends Andrew Smith and Marcus Robinson

NOTE: Please keep in mind that DT Micanor Regis again was wearing a yellow, noncontact jersey, today at practice. His backup is Darius "The Plug" Smith.

TB Lamar Miller also was wearing a yellow jersey at practice, as well as tight end Chase Ford.

Miller's backups on the depth chart, in order, are Mike James, Eduardo Clements and Maurice Hagens.







September 26, 2011

Lamar in a yellow (noncontact) jersey, but Golden said he's probable

Hurricanes running back Lamar Miller, who hurt his left shoulder in the fourth quarter of the Kansas State game, was at practice Monday wearing a yellow (noncontact) jersey worn by injured players. Also wearing the yellow jersey: defensive tackle Micanor Regis and tight end Chase Ford.

UM will not discuss individual injuries.

Coach Al Golden was asked after practice, "What was he [Miller] able to do today?'' Replied Golden: "Again, the fact that he is in a yellow is confidential. But he is obviously working hard and hopefully he'll be able to work through it.''

To Golden: "Would you say Lamar's status is day-to-day?  Golden: "I wouldn't.''

To Golden: "What would his status be?"

Golden: "In terms of what?''

Reporter: "In terms of will he play. Doubtful? probable?"

Golden: "He better be playing. So what does that mean?''

Reporter: "Is it probable now?''

Golden: "I guess you would say it's probable. But he should be able to play. I don't think there's any question he should be able to play.''

Golden reiterated that 6-8, 345-pound sophomore Seantrel Henderson, who had back surgery Aug. 8, will play Saturday against Bethune-Cookman. Golden said he is practicing at tackle, though he didn't specify a side.

The coach also said Shayon Green, coming off knee surgery, will play Saturday at defensive end.

"They're doing good,'' Golden said of Henderson and Green. "They're excited. There are a lot of guys on that sideline on the game that you've got to talk to about paying attention and focus and sideline energy. Seantrel and Shayon aren't two of them. If you just watch the game, Seantrel, he's basically on the edge of his seat every play that's going on. He loves football. Shayon loves football. It's good to have those two guys back.''

Golden again clarified the Henderson practice situation. Last week he told us that he had not fully practiced and that this week would be his first full practice sessions. Monday, Golden said, "Last week was the first week he practiced fully. Prior to that he did eight or nine, if you will, individual sessions to get him ready for that. He didn't miss too much of a beat today."






September 25, 2011

Al Golden talks about his team late Sunday afternoon

Here's a transcript I did from Al Golden's call with us today:

Would you like to see a more aggressive Jacory Harris, like yesterday in the second half, throwing downfield more and taking chances?

"I just want Jacory to play within the system and I know Jed wants the same thing and I thought he did a good job doing that. He threw the ball out of bounds a couple times, scrambled a couple other times and then took shots when they were there.

Again, I thought he stepped into his throws really nicely – two posts to Travis, one to Hurnsey, and he scrambled one time and hit Dorsett. He did some good things. We just have to make sure he stays within the system and take what the defense gives us."

He came alive in the second half. Why is that?

"He’s been playing pretty good football. Again quarterbacks are going to throw interceptions. We just don’t want a great number of them. Right now he’s doing what we’re asking him to do. He’s almost 70-percent [completion rate]. He’s four touchdowns and I think three interceptions. He’s executing the offense. We should have been a little better on third down, but I think some of that was due to the two penalties. But clearly he’s doing what we want him to do. He stood in there and took some hits and made some throws. I’m excited with Jacory and the direction he’s going with us."

Lamar Miller's injury status?

"It’s a shoulder injury. There’s no status and there’s really no story right now. We don’t think it’s going to be anything too bad but we’ll find out when we get out tomorrow."

On the drive where K-State got its final touchdown, Sean wasn’t on the field first four plays. Why?

"Very early in the fourth, right after the pass to travis that got you lead? It was just a situation where we were going to rest him three or four plays and then get him back out there. We try to rest the guys for a couple plays here and there and then make sure we’re not doing it in bunches. In other words we don’t want to do it at D-line in two or three spots while we’re doing it at linebacker and the secondary. We just want to give him a couple plays so we could finish the game strong."

 Brandon Washington, any reason for concern there?

"No. I think he’s going to be ok. They both got banged up in the game. We knew it was going to be a big physical team we were playing. We could see that on tape. But clearly they were that. we have some guys that are banged up, but we anticipate both those guys being back."

How is the confidence of Mike James, with his turnovers and yesterday's two unsuccessful runs? How is he emotionally?

"I think he’s doing OK. The biggest thing down there was we didn’t execute. We gave it to Mike. Mike is the same guy who finished that drive down there last week. He’s a 220 pound back. He’s a good back down in there.  Lamar was banged up a little bit. It’s good to give it to mike down there. He’s a big physical back, but we didn’t execute. Again, give credit to ks. But we actually lost a yard which left us with a fourth and 2 and clearly you don’t have as many choices as if you were left with a fourth and half a yard. We didn’t execute as a team and mike was only part of that.’’

Penalties have gone from 10 to 5 to 4. Yesterday, a couple illegal procedures killed things.

“Bad ones, yeah. Not only were those two bad but then we took possession of the ball after K-state scored and got an illegal block in the back and we started off on our own 10 which hampered that drive. The penalties overall have been better but the two on offense, our first two drives I believe, came at critical times. First time we were left with a third-and-one, then we were third-and-6, and we ended up settling for a field goal there. Then the next one was fourth-and-3, 39 or 40-yard-line. I thought it would be just as good to go for it there as it would be to punt. So we did that and we went offside. We ended up completing that ball, but we jumped just a hair too quickly. So those are significant plays, especially in a [game] that comes down to the final play of the game. Those two plays ended up being really big, costly plays for us."

 Run defense, any rhyme or reason why they were so successful against you yesterday?

"No. 1 we didn’t tackle very well. We didn’t tackle the quarterback very well. He’s a big strong runner and we knew that going in. We just had too many missed tackles on him and we weren’t as precise as we needed to be, quite honestly, on defense. We need to make sure we’re all on the same page and one guy is not playing one technique and the other guy is freelancing and the next thing you know you’ve got a big play. We had too much of that. We have to stay focused and play collectively on defense. Hopefully we’ll get that fixed here."

Chase had a huge catch but no other receptions from tight ends. Why aren’t the tight ends catching more balls?

"You guys keep asking me and I keep telling you, we’re going to keep trying to make sure we have enough plays in there to get them the ball and to make sure we’re doing what we need to do to get them the football. I thought obviously Chase made a big play there but we‘ve got to get the ball to Chase and Clive a little bit more. We’re just going to stay with it until we do it. I thought we game planned to get the ball better in Travis’ hands and certainly Alan and Street are doing much better. Dorsett showed up which I knew he would ultimately. So now we need the same out of Chase and Clive. We’ll keep working on it. It’s something important to me that we get them involved and hopefully we’ll improve that this week."

 Bethune Cookman has like 27 kids from South Florida on that team, probably many of whom dreamed at one time of playing at Miami. This is a huge deal for them, their first BCS opponent. How dangerous a week is this, when you combine their level of excitement with the potential for morale issues after loss to Kansas State. How leery are you of where things stand?

"This is an excellent opponent coming in, so very leery, No. 1. No. 2, not really worried too much about our morale as much as I am worried about just the process and moving forward. There are very few teams that have opened up playing three bowl teams to start off the season, so hopefully our kids are learning. We’re improving. We certainly have to do better in many areas. I’m not saying that. We’re playing good competition. We’re getting better. This is the next test for us. We know they’re going to come in here and fly around. They’ve had nine days to prepare for us, so I know that has got our guys’ attention. We’ve just got to stay focused on the process and get ready for Bethune. They’re going to provide us an incredible challenge on offense – multiple formations, segments of the spread option that we’ve just seen, so that will get our guys’ attention, and very aggressive on defense. Clearly this will be a great challenge for us this week."

Because they are so diverse offensively, do you have any real time in the schedule this week to certainly not look past them, but obviously then you have ACC road games the next two weeks. Can you do any planning that can carry over this week?

 "No. We’re not there right now. We’re playing too many young guys and we’re trying to settle into being a good team ourselves. We’re just trying to improve right now and we’re just trying to fix the things that we’re not doing well. For all the things we didn’t do well we had a chance to win that game. That’s ultimately on my shoulders and that’s something that I’ve got to get fixed. And that’s something that we’ve got to get fixed as an organization. Our kids are fighting back. They’re competing. They’re giving themselves an opportunity to win and we’ve got to make sure we do that. But we don’t have time to move forward right now on anything else but Bethune."

They had four fumbles yesterday and you couldn't get one turnover. How important is it that the defense starts forcing turnovers?

“It’s critical. It’s absolutely critical because I don’t know what our average starting field position is. I think it was around the 30-yard line or 29-yard line so that left us a long field the whole time. They put the ball on the ground four times and we didn’t get it. Their offense is a high degree of difficulty offense, which means it’s not only a high degree of difficulty for us to defend, but also to execute. When you’ve got a got in your face and you stop and throw the ball out to the perimeter there’s a greater chance that something can go wrong. That ball was on the ground four times and we didn’t get a turnover. We didn’t pick one off or catch one of the deflected ones and of course the one that looked like a lateral we weren’t able to get that one either. From that standpoint we need to create more turnovers."

 Will there be any changes in the depth chart defensively. Will anyone lose their job or gain a job?

"I don’t know if anybody gained or lost. We’ll sort through that here today. Obviously on the offense we expect seantrel to be back in some capacity. He’ll start off as a backup and work from there. Shayon Green on defense, we’ll try to work into the mix at defensive end. Other than that, just off the top of my head I don’t know if there are any other changes.

 We’re counting on those guys playing. They already practiced the last eight or nine days, so we’re counting on those guys getting ready to play."

 Can you clarify when Seantrel returned to practice?

"He practiced basically all last week. He has been doing conditioning. Obviously he was suited up for the game and did all the warmups. He’s feeling good and as long as he doesn’t have any setbacks we’re going to continue to move forward with him. But he’s in good shape and he hasn’t had any adverse reactions so we are expecting him to be ready to go in the game and we’ll see how he develops this week. Shayon is in the same boat, too."

With Lamar, might this game be, if he’s not hurt badly, an opportunity for him to rest up?

“All respect, we’re trying to win the game. That’s all we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get better and win the game. Bethune has got an excellent team coming back. They’re off to a good start this year. They’re going to come down here with great energy, with nine days preparation. They’re well coached and we better bring our A game, and that’s it. There is no looking ahead. There is no resting anybody. We’re getting ready for a football game. Hopefully there will be a point in our program where we’re settled in and we have depth everywhere and we’re not playing freshmen sometime in the future where that will be the case. But right now this is about us getting better and becoming a better football team."


K-State loss evidence Canes still mediocre

There are so many ways to look at Saturday's loss to Kansas State and narrow the scope of disappointment and frustration.

Al Golden > The Canes, down double digits twice, fell one yard shy of a thrilling come-from-behind win.

> It's just one loss -- out of conference and UM can still turnaround and win the ACC.

> It's Al Golden's third game as coach. Give him time. He's on the right path.

> Jacory Harris played an amazing second half -- his finish half of football since his win at Florida State his sophomore year. Maybe he's put the struggles behind him? Maybe Jacory is on the verge of a rebirth?

Me? I can't just look at it from that perspective. The losing has gone on for too long now. The same mistakes happen over and over and over and over again. Poor tackling. Penalties. Turnovers. Inconsistent quarterback play. Lack of a pass rush. Nothing special about the special teams. Stop me when I get to something you haven't seen over the last five years.

At this point, who hasn't grown tired of the day after search for a silver lining following a loss? There have been plenty of them. 36 wins. 31 losses. That's UM's record since Larry Coker took them to the Peach Bowl in 2005. Temple? The school UM used to laugh at in the Big East? After they rolled Maryland 38-7 Saturday, they improved to 30-35 over the same span. Not such a large gap, huh? Well, that view works two ways: 1. Hope for the future since Golden built Temple into a winner. 2. Man, UM has really fallen that far?

Spin it the way you like, but I see this all one way: the results on the field right now haven't changed a whole lot under new leadership. I'm not pointing the finger at Al Golden. Mediocrity became the University of Miami's middle name under Larry Coker long ago. Randy Shannon did little to erase it. All I'm saying three games into the Golden era, it's clear Golden Al has a lot of cleaning up to do to wipe the stench off the Canes.

Again, don't blame Al. I know it seemed like when he took over a wave of positive momentum was building. He did a nice job on National Signing Day. Spring football showed promising developments. Along the way, he said all the right things. Man, this guy is going to be different than Randy Shannon. With a lot of seniors and some good coaching the Canes might be pretty good. That was the hope.

Well, not yet folks. Al Golden is different and will be different than Randy Shannon. But right now, this football team still plays like it did for Shannon. One week up. Next week down. The win over Ohio State we now know was fool's gold. The Buckeyes, with worse problems at quarterback than Miami, were almost the perfect opponent for UM to play up for. They were ranked, beat UM a year ago and secretly much worse than we really knew. The Canes exposed them.

Saturday, Kansas State returned the favor. Even with Jacory Harris putting up his best half in years, UM's effort still wasn't good enough. What does that say?

Kansas State ran for 265 yards on Miami (UM is ranked 99th out of 120 teams in run defense). Quarterback Collin Klein carved the Canes up. 2nd and 29 from the K-State 3? Klein was off and running for 26. That great red zone defense for UM? Kansas State was 4 for 4 Saturday with four touchdowns. The spectacular Lamar Miller? Except for that career long 59-yard touchdown run, the Wildcats bottled him up. His 17 other carries produced 47 yards. Expect everyone else UM plays to key on Lamar until Harris proves his second half wasn't a fluke. Oh yeah, and then there was that whole 0 for 4 performance from 2 yards out to win the game. What else needs to be said? For all the talent on the Canes offensive line, UM couldn't muster two yards? Sorry. Not good enough.

The post-game explanations? All nothing we haven't heard before.

"We needed to get 2 yards and didn't do it. Its our fault," center Tyler Horn said.

"I should have put the ball in his chest," Harris said of his pass to Clive Walford on first and goal. "But I didn't. That was probably our best shot."

"Too many missed tackles," Spence said of UM's defensive woes. "We didn't get leverage. We just have to go back, keep pushing, keep grinding."

We know. We've heard it for years. But the grind has been going on a long time now and frankly it is getting old -- even with a new guy in charge.

How old? When the oldest guy in the press box -- 83-year old veteran Herald columnist Ed Pope -- says its getting old, you know it's getting old. "They got rid of Shannon for this?" Pope wondered aloud at halftime in the press box named after him at Sun Life Stadium.

It is only 3 games into this season. UM has only lost 2 games. And the Canes only finished 1 yard shy of winning Saturday. But don't confuse it. The distance between mediocrity and glory in Coral Gables is far apart.

Whatever momentum Al Golden was building -- regardless of the Nevin Shapiro saga -- isn't strong enough to make a quick and immediate impact. I'm not saying we should have expected a quick turnaround. But again, that was the hope. It's clear now it takes more than better coaching. Losing has become embedded in the Canes' DNA. That doesn't disappear overnight. Or over two or three nights.

Canes fans need to strap themselves in. The up and down ride is going to continue. As for this season, just know on days when the other team shows up with a decent quarterback it could end up being a frustrating afternoon. That's what we've learned about the 2011 Canes. The rest? All repeat history.

September 24, 2011

First option on final play in Canes' loss to K-State was shovel pass for Lamar Miller

SUN LIFE STADIUM -- Had things gone the way the Hurricanes wanted to on their final offensive play from scrimmage Saturday, Lamar Miller would have been on the receiving end of Jacory Harris' game-winning shovel pass.

Instead, Miller never got the pass because Kansas State defensive end Adam Davis blocked the lane, leaving Harris to choose between two other options: running it in himself or trying to connect with tight end Clive Walford on a pass in the flat.

"When the d-end decided he was going to be late off the ball, he kind of ruined the whole play," Harris said. "He wasn't paying attention and as soon as I said hike he got caught up in his assignment and it actually helped him. My only option was run it or throw it in the flat and I couldn't do that because they were playing man.

"They covered it pretty well. The d-end, him being late on the ball he actually played the shovel pass without knowing it. Next time we just have to run it up in there, never put ourselves in that situation again."

The Hurricanes (1-2) tried to punch it in twice with Mike James. It didn't work. So why didn't Miller -- the team's leading rusher -- get a crack? "He was too banged up," UM coach Al Golden said.

Miller injured his left shoulder with 7:55 to play in the game when he was tackled for no gain at the UM 28-yard line by Kansas State's Vai Lutui. Miller, who has suffered shoulder injuries throughout his career including last season, ran over immediately to the bench the Canes ended up punting on their next-to-last series. He returned for the final series, but had two carries for one yard before exiting and returning on the final play.

Should Canes fans be worried about Miller missing time? Well, Harris is. "Of course I'm worried about a guy that's injured," Harris said. "I don't know the extent of what his injury is, but he's a tough guy and I know he's going to be in the training room trying to get right, trying to get healthy so he can be ready next week full throttle."

The Hurricanes certainly need him. Miller scored on a career-long 59 yard touchdown run and broke the 100-yard mark for the third game in a row, finishing with 106 yards on 18 carries. He's now run for 1,055 yards 14 games into his career.

> Another injury to monitor: left tackle Brandon Washington went down with a right knee injury in the first half, but returned and played the second half.


The Hurricanes were only flagged four times for 30 yards Saturday, but two on the offensive line in the first quarter were "drive killers, energy vampires," according to Harris.

The first -- a false start on redshirt freshman right tackle Jonathan Felicano -- turned a 3rd-and-1 at the Kansas State 17 into a 3rd and 6. UM ended up settling for a field goal. Sixth-year senior Joel Figueroa came in for the injured Washington and was called for a false start on 4th-and-4 at the Kansas State 37. UM decided to punt.


Sean Spence tied a career high with 14 tackles. He also had a sack, two and half tackles for loss and a forced fumble.

He was one of the few on UM's defense to have a good day as Kansas State scorched the Canes for 265 yards rushing and scored touchdowns on all four of its trips into the red zone. UM had only given up one touchdown defensively in nine trips into the red zone in their first two games.

"Goes back to leverage, we had a couple of run misfits, a couple of missed tackles -- nothing we can't correct," Spence said. "You have to give credit to their quarterback. He did a great job. We knew going into the game he was their best runner. Watching him on film he did everything today he did before."

The play that stung Spence the most? The 26-yard run K-State quarterback Collin Klein had on 2nd and 29 from the Wildcats 3. "It took a lot of air out of us," he said. "We had the crowd in it. They were backed up on the goalline and popped one on us right up the middle. It deflated us."


Former Hurricanes linebacker Arthur Brown, who transferred to Kansas State after the 2009 season, finished with six tackles for the Wildcats -- fourth best on the team in his return to Miami.

“One of the last things I heard when I left Miami is I’ll always be family," said Brown, who shook hands with Spence before the game. "There was a lot of excitement more than anything."

UM center Tyler Horn said: "Arthur is a stud. I knew that from when he was here."

Bryce Brown, Arthur's younger brother, played and had a pass thrown his way that fell incomplete. He did not, however, have any carries.

Gameday blog: UM vs. Kansas State

Herald Sports Writer Manny Navarro will be here to anchor the blog, answer questions and share his thoughts on both Twitter and our blog. Remember, inappropriate or obscene comments will not be tolerated and will be deleted.

SUN LIFE STADIUM -- Your Miami Hurricanes (1-1) will try to make it two wins in a row for the first time since knocking off Maryland and Georgia Tech last November when they host Kansas State (2-0) at Sun Life Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

> ABOUT K-STATE: It's hard to tell exactly how good the Wildcats really are. They struggled to beat Eastern Kentucky 10-7 in the season-opener. The Football Championship Subdivision Colonels (1-2) lost to Chattanooga last week and were less than two minutes away from an upset against K-State before quarterback Collin Klein connected with Chris Harper on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 1:39 to play to really the Wildcats. Last week, K-State rolled 37-0 over Kent State (5-7 last year).

Former Canes linebacker Arthur Brown leads the team with 19 tackles and a defense that ranks first nationally in three categories -- scoring defense, pass efficiency defense and total defense while also ranking second in pass defense and eighth in rushing defense. Offensively, K-State really is a one-horse team led by Klein,a 6-5, 226-pound junior who leads the team with 217 yards rushing and is 22 of 39 for 202 yards passing and 2 TDs, 1 INT in two games. 

> ABOUT THE CANES: Miami, coming off its 24-6 win over Ohio State, didn't suffer any major injuries against the Buckeyes and figure to use the winning formula this week as last week -- a lot of Lamar Miller, Mike James and a defense that gives up yardage, but not points.

> MY PICK: UM 33, K-State 9. Unless Canes quarterback Jacory Harris starts being careless again with the football there is no reason UM shouldn't win this game and fairly comfortably. Scrambling quarterbacks always give UM trouble. But if Klein can't connect with his receivers, you don't have to respect his arm much. The story here will be UM's defense and how they hold an opponent out of the end zone for the second week in a row.

September 21, 2011

Seantrel worked out today and Jacory was asked about public criticism

There was big news today at Canes practice -- big as in 6-8 and 345 pounds.

Offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson walked off the practice field into the areas where reporters gather to wait for interviews. He dropped his yellow jersey (designated for injured players) and shoulder pads onto the ground and put that large body into an even larger tub of ice water.

Henderson had back surgery Aug. 8 and back then, the prognosis was not great. Some, including insiders among the UM staff, believed he might miss the entire season. But Wednesday he worked out on a limited basis, and Canes fans should be rejoicing. The UM O-line has already gotten better after some switches for Ohio State, and if Henderson should actually get back into the lineup this season, just think how much more dominant it could be.

"He worked out today with full gear on,'' UM coach Al Golden said of Henderson Wednesday. "I know he was excited. "He's in the ice. Takes the whole tub. We'll see how he reacts tomorrow and go from there.''

When asked the difference between "working out" and practicing, Golden said, "Practicing is a different animal. The fact that he lost so much weight is really going to help him with his conditioning.

 "He'll be able to do even more and more and more Friday and more Saturday and we'll just keep going. We expect him back next week.''
Henderson was slated to play left tackle before this season, but Golden said Tuesday that where Henderson ends up on the line depends on the progression of the other linemen. Brandon Washington moved from right to left tackle for Ohio State.
As for quarterback Jacory Harris, the man this O-line aims to protect, he spoke to the media Wednesday. And, as usual, the "i" word came up. Harris threw two interceptions against Ohio State on Saturday, and explained he is blocking out public criticism.
"I really don't care about what's thought about outside as long as within this program they still believe in me, still trust in me. I know that decisions could have been made different. I'm not really worried about it. People say whatever they want to say."
Is it tougher to block out mistakes because they're talked about so much?
"Not at all. [I'm] still the same person. I know that those are things that can be corrected. If I just do what I'm told then they won't be there.''
Harris was pleased with how he managed the game and that the team obviously came out with a victory. "That's all that matters at the end of the day.''


September 18, 2011

Al Golden transcript from Sunday recapping the Ohio State win

Transcript of Hurricanes coach Al Golden's teleconference with reporters Sunday recapping the Ohio State win.

Do anything to celebrate your first win at UM?
"Besides sit in a traffic jam? [Laughter]. No. My kids were at the game. My six and four year old were at the game. I got to see them right after the game, so that was nice. Other than that, we just kind of were a little bit wired when we got home. Then I just went to bed, got up and started all over today."

Your thoughts on the addition of Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC?
"I think it's tremendous for the ACC to bring those types of media markets to the ACC. Incredible move. I think Commissioner Swofford and the presidents of the ACC. [New York] No. 1 media market in the country. Pittsburgh. To bring those TV sets, kind of exposure to our conference is a win win and a tremendous move."

How you plan to counter teams keying on Lamar Miller after his great start to the season?
"I don't think anybody game plans to stop the run better than Ohio State has the last seven years. I think clearly we still have some things we have to iron out in the passing game. But with Hurns, Benjamin, [Streeter], those guys providing a passing threat and a deep vertical threat, we'll be able to remain balanced. We'd like to be a balanced team. We got in a situation where we got ahead last night and ran the ball the last nine minutes of the game. I think our staff would like to stay as balanced as we can."

What do you have to iron out in the passing game?
"We protected the passer a lot better in this game which was a concern. We made some really good throws on third down. Our third down conversions were good. We've been excellent in the red zone. Both quarterbacks have been really be good in the red zone. We have to eliminate the interceptions and we just have to make sure we can be as precise as we can be in our offense. I think we will be. We want to be a balanced attack. We got ahead and ran the ball a little more than we w wanted to do and we wanted to keep doing it."

Your team had a big day on pass defense, allowing just four completions for 35 yards. What are your thoughts on their effort?
"I thought we put good pressure on the quarterback, which was good. I think having JoJo Nicolas at safety for a second game -- he had two weeks to prepare -- that helped tremendously. Sean Spence was in there getting us in the right formations, the right adjustments, right defense, helped tremendously as well. I think it was a combination of a lot of different things. We were getting more pressure than we had been from our four man rush. Sean made a big difference for us."

Red zone defense has been exceptional thus far (1 TD in 9 drives). Reason?
"I think it's a mentality. We're trying to finish halves and we're trying to finish games. I think we're in good condition. I don't think there are any lapses in focus or any diminish in our effort down there. I think the defense has been letting all the previous plays go that have allowed a team to arrive in the red zone. Their mentality right now is just to play the next play or the next series. We haven't conceded anything on defense. When a team gets down in the red zone and gets moment, it becomes psychological and it overwhelms the physical aspects of it. Our guys are mentally tough and in good condition and finishing those drives better. I think on offense we're making better decisions down there for the most part. We just have to continue to protect the ball better. It was big."

Did you ever imagine finishing Saturday's game with a nine minute drive right down the field on Ohio State?
"We wanted to finish the game on offense. We wanted to be able to pound it at the end. Again, it was a great test for us. It's just a team that has not let up a lot of yards rushing. It doesn't matter if its Penn State, Wisconsin, Iowa, they've only given up 10, 100-yard rushers in the last seven years. That's unheard of in college football. I was proud of our effort, clearly having two running backs who had carry the load helped there. I thought the offensive line played well. I thought there were some really good second level blocks and a lot of good second effort play by our running backs -- especially Lamar."

What did you think of Jonathan Feliciano's first career start?
"I think he did good. He's a guy that really prepares hard, very bright young man. Powerful. He's 320 pounds. So he gave us size and strength in there. At the same time, he wasn't overwhelmed by the moment against a really good team. That was positive."

What did you see on film from Jacory Harris' two interceptions last night?
The first one he came because he came off his initial read too quickly and he went to his secondary read and didn't put enough loft under the ball. The second one, we said last night after the game he had to go to his checkdown. But his checkdown wen the wrong way. Again, we can't heed the quarterback so it's no excuse. We can't compound a bad situation in that the checkdown is not where he needed to be in that situation. He should have thrown it out of bounds. He tried to make a play and ended up costing us."

Were you satisfied with Jacory's play?
I'm satisfied. But look, I'm like everybody else. We don't want to be a team that has lots of turnovers. We got to get that fixed. It's a situation where he did manage the game very well. He did make some really good throws on third down to help us have a good conversion rate on third down. He really managed the game well. He got us in the right plays in that nine minute drive at the end of the game. He made two really big-time throws in the red zone. Did a lot of good things. I wish it was his second start with us, but it was his first. I expect him to be much improved against Kansas State."

Dalton Botts appears to being a really good job punting. Your thoughts?
"He's a very mature young man, very process driven. He just takes care of business. Hopefully he'll stay focused. He's been very good. We expected him to bee this good once we saw him in training camp. He's carried over into the games. That was a pretty big stage there Saturday night and he wasn't phased. So we're excited about that. We have to continue to cover kicks really well for him, but so far, so good."

Kendal Thompkins tackle on punt return defense was really big. Can you talk about that?
"It was a big-time effort. He did a really good job keeping the ball in front. We kind of got on different levels there which was unfortunate. But again, you have to give credit to their returner. I thought he did a nice job. I think it was Hall on that one. That was a big play. I think our kickoff unit was good, which he was on. Kendal's starting on three special teams units for us."

Do you have to calm guys down after this 1st win?
"We told them last week, we're going to be consistent. We're going to be the same coaches everyday. We're going to be the same team and the same players everyday. I hope they understand. I hope they enjoyed it, slept well last night. But we had a good day so far today in terms of guys making their commitments to study hall, training room and all that, which shows me they're taking a mature approach. We'll be back out there tomorrow, get ourselves ready for a really good Kansas State team. It's going to be a great challenge for us on Saturday."

Can you decipher anything from Kansas State's two wins over Eastern Kentucky and Kent State?
"To me, I just look at them as a team. When you evaluate their team, we look at their personnel and then we look at their schemes. Other than that, it's really important for us to focus on improving ourselves. Again, we because we had the staggers in terms of guys being suspended, I really expect our guys who played in their first game to make improvement. I expect Ojomo, Forston, Harris and Benjamin to make a lot of improvement from last week to this week. I would prefer to have continuity. But getting that win and getting stronger and having two weeks of the same lineup will be really important for our team."

Did you make it out of the game Injury free?
"So far it's look like we're injury. We'll learn more about some guys in the next 24 hours. But it looks like we're injury free."

Can you talk about Brandon Washington's first start at left tackle?
"We want to settle in. We want to make sure we're playing the best five. Brandon is a guy that can play all the spots up front. We'll see how it evolves. The standard is higher for Brandon because he's talented. We need him to perform better, play better and practice better on a daily basis. Again, it was a good test against a very good defensive line. That 52 and 54 were as good as anybody we'll see. We had our hands full with those guys. Hopefully, we'll continue to make progress. Brandon has to continue to play at a high tempo and carry it over into the game."

Can Lamar Miller maintain this pace? Thoughts on Ohio State win and more

Now with the Pitt-Syracuse-ACC news out of the way, here are some thoughts on last night's 24-6 win over the Buckeyes. The Canes (1-1) will host Kansas State next week at 3:30 p.m. on ESPNU.


Lamar Miller > What else can you say about redshirt sophomore Lamar Miller's performance Saturday other than it was special? Since 2005, Ohio State had only allowed 10 players to run for more than 100 yards against them. Miller became the 11th after the first quarter with 115 on nine carries. He finished with a career high 184 on 26 carries. Heisman talk? Maybe not yet. But after three weeks of college football, Miller ranks fourth in the nation with a 151.5 yard average on the ground. Only South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore (178), San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman (165.67) and Michigan's Denard Robinson (153.0) are averaging more. The question is can he keep up the pace? Miller said he wasn't gassed after Saturday's game. But 26 carries a week for 184 yards will wear on anybody. By the way, can we now refer to Miller and Mike James as Batman and Robin? It's pretty clear after James fumbled again Saturday (UM caught a lucky break when it went out of bounds) who the hero and who the sidekick is.

> UM coach Al Golden told us Jacory Harris "would show us all Saturday night." He sure did. Harris showed us all he's still the same interception prone, soft tossing, queasy-stomach producing quarterback we've seen since the Heisman talk died down two games into the 2009 season. Harris finished 16 of 23 for 123 yards and it was clear from the get-go Jedd Fisch didn't want him throwing deep as his four passes flew in distance less than five yards. But once Ohio State started stacking the box, UM needed Harris to throw the ball downfield and he simply couldn't do it consistently. Outside of a pinpoint 29-yard pass to Tommy Streeter right before the half, Harris only completed three other passes for more than 10 yards. Sorry, but unless UM can steamroll every team it faces on the ground, that's not going to be good enough to help the Canes offense the rest of the season. By the way, it looks like until Harris totally implodes, he'll remain the starter. Golden made it clear he remains committed to J-12 in his post-game assesment: "I thought he made some big time throws, had command of the offense. There are some things we have to fix. But I believe in the kid. He's going to have a really good year for us."

> Sophomore Allen Hurns had another nice game (six catches, 54 yards, 2 TDs) and has clearly become the go-to receiver. But outside of Hurns and a couple Streeter catches, UM got very little from its other receivers. Did anybody see LaRon Byrd after he was underthrown on Harris' first INT? The tight ends were also nearly invisible again, finishing with two receptions for five yards. Although it must be noted Clive Walford would have scored on a pretty 15-yard catch and run before the half had it not been for an illegal formation penalty.

> Lastly, UM's revamped offensive line looked very good. The Canes didn't allow a sack and helped produce 240 rushing yards. To steal a line from Golden, the moment didn't look too big for new left tackle Brandon Washington or freshman right tackle Jonathan Feliciano. Outside of two false starts and that one illegal formation penalty, UM cleaned up its penalty problems on the line.


> Ohio State’s quarterbacks looked really bad, but the Hurricanes played a big part in making them look that bad. Darius Smith and Anthony Chickillo each had sacks and there was enough pressure throughout that it didn't allow Braxton Miller or Joe Bauserman time to find open receivers. The Buckeyes offensive line hadn’t allowed any sacks in its last 90 pass attempts, the third-longest active FBS streak entering the game. The Canes also produced two turnovers -- an interception by JoJo Nicolas and a Marcus Robinson forced fumble in the 4th quarter that was recovered by Mike Williams. FYI, UM gave credit to Micanor Regis for the forced fumble in the final game starts. Replays showed otherwise.

> As for the pass defense, the Hurricanes allowed only 35 yards passing and four completionss -- 22 of those yards came on the Buckeyes’ final two plays of the game. That's a huge improvement over the way UM looked at Maryland when Danny O'Brien had four completions and 35 yards before the opening drive was over. How much credit the defensive backs deserve is iffy. But there were only a couple times when Ohio State receivers were open and the pass simply didn't get there.

> Golden was right -- linebacker Sean Spence was a huge difference maker back in the lineup. He deflected a pass that was intercepted, made a key third down stop on the third possession of the game and led the team in tackles along with Jimmy Gaines. Spence had six tackles in all. You want to talk about a guy UM can't afford to lose. Sean Spence is that guy. How did the other returnees from suspension do? Marcus Forston had two tackles. Adewale Ojomo had three tackles and a quarterback hurry.

> UM's red zone defense -- albeit with a few breaks -- has been a pretty big story so far this season. Between Maryland and Ohio State, opponents have been the Canes' red zone nine times. But they've only scored one touchdown -- the opening drive at Maryland. UM allowed 19 touchdowns in 50 drives into the red zone all of last year, the 7th best red zone defense in the country.


> Dalton Botts averaged 47.8 yards on four punts, but got a mega assist from receiver Kendal Thompkins in coverage. Thompkins fought off a blocker and made the speedy Jordan Hall go airborne before tumbling to the ground on a huge play in the third quarter. If Thompkins doesn't make the tackle, maybe last night's game goes a different way.

> Travis Benjamin’s 27-yard punt return in the first quarter was nice to see. It was his longest return since last year's touchdown at Ohio State. But Benjamin never got a chance again, calling for fair catches on five other punts.

> Jake Wieclaw is beginning to look like a pretty good replacement for Matt Bosher. He had four kickoffs Saturday for an average of 58.2 yards. Ohio State started only one drive beyond the 30-yard line -- it's last when the game was already decided.


> The only head scratcher came when Golden opted to choose to kick a field goal late in the first half instead of calling a time out earlier and taking at least one shot at the end zone. Golden later said because Harris had already thrown two interceptions he simply wanted to avoid a pick in the end zone. It makes sense when you consider the Canes got the opening kickoff of the second half anyway.

> Other than that, credit defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch for coming up with better game plans this week. Fisch called for a lot of toss sweeps on offense -- avoiding the middle of that solid Ohio State defensive line. And he didn't ask Harris to throw deep very often.

> D'Onofrio got burned a little by Jordan Hall, but quickly figured a way to slow OSU's running game down after a big first half. The Buckeyes had 134 yards at halftime. They had 13 carries for just 40 yards in the second half.

ACC accepts Pitt, Syracuse as new members

Well, it's official. The ACC will be adding two former Canes' Big East rivals to the conference: Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

Pittsburgh-Syracuse Sunday morning the ACC announced that its council of presidents unanimously voted to accept the Panthers and Orange, a move that increases its membership to 14 and sends the Big East scrambling to replace two of its cornerstone programs.

The big questions now: When exactly will Syracuse and Pitt make the move? And is the ACC done expanding?

"We are constantly evaluating the competitive landscape to ensure the conference's viability for years to come, and this, I believe, has staying power," ACC commissioner John Swofford said on a conference call this morning.

"First of all, we are very comfortable with this 14. The only thing I would add to that is that we are not philosophically opposed to 16. But for now we are very pleased with this 14. We think it is just an excellent group."

Sunday's announcement is just another sign college athletics is likely headed toward building 12, 14, and 16-team super conferences -- with the Big 12 Conference and Big East being the two that get picked apart.

Last year, Colorado left the Big 12 for the Pac-12, Nebraska left for the Big Ten and now recently Texas A&M made its intentions known it will be joining the SEC. The board of regents at Oklahoma and Texas are supposed to be meeting Monday to discuss the possibility of the universities leaving the conference too.

It's been speculated Texas, a super power with its own TV network, could end up joining the ACC, the Pac-12 or just going independent. If Texas comes to the ACC, it could bring Texas Tech with it. There are also reports two more Big East teams -- Connecticut and Rutgers -- are also under consideration by the ACC.

While there have been reports the SEC is potentially interested in taking Florida State and Clemson from the ACC, Swofford confirmed Sunday 11 of 12 conference presidents unanimously approved raising the ACC's exit fee to $20 million (up from $12 to $14 million) for any member leaving the conference last Tuesday -- a strong move to keep ACC schools from leaving.

With Pittsburgh and Syracuse's additions Sunday, the ACC has now taken five teams from The Big East. In 2004, UM and Virginia Tech left the Big East for the ACC. A year later, Boston College followed. As for how long it will take for Pitt and Syracuse to actually start playing in the ACC, no one is really sure yet. The Big East's exit fee is $5 million and schools wanting to leave must provide a 27-month notice.

Swofford said adding Pitt and Syracuse schools allows the league to renegotiate its 12-year, $1.86 billion television contract that began this season, "and we're confident that will have a positive impact." Translation: More big TV bucks for the ACC and its schools. Also a new possibility: the ACC Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York. 

So what do you think of the additions? How does this help or hurt the Canes? And what should the ACC do next? Are you pumped about returning to the Carrier Dome or Heinz Field every few years?

Personally, I'm not. I feel this is huge for basketball and not as big a deal in football. Pittsburgh has nine national championships in football, but the last came in 1976. The Panthers have won just two Big East titles (2004, 2010) and have played in a BCS bowl game just once (2004). Since it's last trip to the Orange Bowl in 1998, Syracuse has had six losing seasons and been to just four bowl games.

Now, if the ACC can add Texas to the fold, it makes this an entirely different story -- and potentially makes the ACC the most powerful conference in college sports. But I don't see that happening. 

Canes-Ohio State post game video

Here are the post-game video interviews taped by Hurricanesports.com

September 17, 2011

VIDEO: First-ever Hurricanes Walk at Sun Life

SUN LIFE STADIUM -- Before butting helmets with the Buckeyes Saturday, the Hurricanes began a new gameday tradition with the first Hurricane Walk in school history at Sun Life Stadium.

The Band of the Hour, team mascot Sebastian the Ibis, team cheerleaders and hundreds of fans lined up outside of Gate H and formed a "human tunnel" to welcome players and coaches as they walked into the stadium.

Of course, the first Hurricane Walk didn't go as smoothly as planned. Ohio State's buses pulled in first, driving right through the tunnel to drop of their players and coaches before UM arrived about five minutes later on foot. UM fans rocked the buses carrying their players and coaches before coach Al Golden got out first and walked through the crowd.

Sophomore running back Eduardo Clements carried a pair of boxing gloves around his neck as he walked through the crowd. Quarterback Jacory Harris walked alone, jamming on his headphones.

"It's about time," said Canes fan Will Boehmer, who drove down from Margate outfitted in green and orange for the game and inaugural Hurricanes Walk. "We need to get closer to the players. We feel so far away at times. It gets the players pumped up before the game."

Gameday blog: Canes vs. Ohio State

SUN LIFE STADIUM -- The Miami Hurricanes will attempt to give Coach Al Golden his first win at UM -- and avoid their first 0-2 start since Lou Saban was coaching the team back in 1978 -- when they take on the 17th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0) tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Plenty of storylines, which we've pretty much covered all week in the paper. But a few more interesting stats before we get into a quick look at the game.

UM has lost four games in a row and is in danger of losing five in a row for the first time since that aforementioned 0-2 start in 1978. The Canes actually lost six straight to end the 1977 season and then those first two, falling to Florida State 31-21 at home, before winning at Kansas 38-6 the following week to end the losing streak.

Of course the big story in this one is who is back for UM and Ohio State after serving suspensions.

Back for UM: quarterback Jacory Harris, linebacker Sean Spence, defensive tackle Marcus Forston, receiver/punt returner Travis Benjamin and defensive end Adewale Ojomo.

Back for Ohio State: starting running back Jordan Hall, top junior cornerback Travis Howard, a Miamian out of Krop High, and backup safety Corey Brown.

> UM lost 36-24 in Columbus last season thanks to four Jacory Harris interceptions. Harris is making his first start since he threw three interceptions in seven pass attempts before being pulled for Stephen Morris in the Sun Bowl loss to Notre Dame. But he's supposed to be a different guy in Jedd Fisch's offense. We'll see.

> With Terrelle Pryor now with the Oakland Raiders, the Buckeyes have two new quarterbacks themselves. Fifth-year senior Joe Bauserman, an efficient pocket passer who has yet to throw a pick in two games, and freshman phenom Braxton Miller, who reminds many of Pryor and will be the wildcard on offense for Ohio State in this game.

> Defensively, there are some doubts about the Buckeyes' young defensive line, especially in light of the injury to veteran defensive end Nathan Williams and the close call last week in a 27-22 win over Toledo. But Ohio State's track record on D is still one of the best in college football.

> OSU is 10th nationally in overall defense (allowing 214 yards a game) and 16th in scoring defense (allowing 11 points). The Buckeyes rank seventh in both sacks and tackles for loss. Their No. 4 ranking in rushing defense (an average of 40.5 rushing yards allowed) will be challenged by UM tailback Lamar Miller, who gained 119 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and had 222 all-purpose yards in UM’s opener at Maryland.

> MY PICK: UM 27, Ohio State 23. Oddsmakers somehow have the Canes as a two-point favorite in this one. Common sense tells you otherwise. Ohio State is 2-0, ranked 17th in the country and UM is 0-1 and still has the questionable Harris under center. But Vegas always makes a lot of money for a reason. And I'm agreeing with them here. UM will find a way to win even with a few Jacory INTs.

FYI, there will be no CoverItLive broadcast today. Follow me on Twitter at Manny_Navarro. Feel free to comment below as you follow the game on ESPN.

September 16, 2011

UM cornerback recruit Larry Hope released from hospital with stitches following big scare

Luckily for 2012 UM cornerback commitment Larry Hope the six-inch gash in his head he sustained Thursday night turned out to be "nothing more than a really, really big scare."

Larry Hope Hope, a 5-11, 174-pound senior at American High in Miami, sustained a nasty gash running from below his left eye to the back of his head after he was sliced by an opposing player's facemask while making a tackle in a game against Braddock at Tropical Park. Hope was injured because his helmet was jarred loose, leaving his head exposed to a pile of oncoming players coming to help make the tackle.

Hope, who was bleeding profusely according to witnesses, was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital and accompanied by his father. That's where he said he was treated and given "about 10 to 12 stitches and released shortly before 6 a.m. this morning."

"It was definitely a scary experience -- first time I'd ever been in a helicopter and not for the reason I wanted," Hope said. "My helmet was buckled up right. It was just one of those freak things. Now, I have to wait for the stitches to come out in five days before I can get cleared and back on the field. But believe me, I'm trying to put my helmet and shoulder pads on quickly as I can again."

Hope is one of many local recruits invited by coach Al Golden and his staff to attend Saturday night's game at Sun Life Stadium against Ohio State. "I'm still going to try and make it if I can," Hope said. "I'll probably just wear a skully or a cap to protect my head."

Hope, considered a 3-star recruit by Rivals, said he remains committed to the Hurricanes "despite the whole Nevin Shapiro, booster thing."

"I'm still a Hurricane," Hope sai.d. "They know I'm committed. Just like other commits, I'm speaking to the coaches on a daily basis, observing what's going on. Teams are still coming at me, offering me. Texas Tech and Duke are the two coming at me hard. But right now, unless things change a lot, I'm going to be a Cane."

September 15, 2011

Canes CB recruit Larry Hope suffers 'six-inch gash' in head Thursday after being cut by another player's facemask

American High cornerback and University of Miami commitment Larry Hope was injured and airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital Thursday night after suffering a gash on his head in a game against Miami Braddock at Tropical Park.

Larry Hope American High athletic director Marcus Gabriel said Hope (5-11, 174) was injured near the start of the second quarter when his helmet came off and he was sliced by another player's facemask on the left side of his face and head. The gash ran to the back of Hope's head according to Gabriel and other witnesses. Gabriel said Hope bled a lot, but was alert and calling for his father, who rode along with him to the hospital.

"The cut looked like a Nike Swoosh," Gabriel said. "It was pretty deep, about six inches wide. They said it was a head trauma and taking precautionary measures, which is why he was airlifted. But they didn't think he was in any real danger."

Hope's teammate Roderick Carter, also a defensive back, was airlifted to Jackson after suffering a head injury later in the game. Gabriel said Carter was hurt with 8:08 left to play in the fourth quarter. After making a tackle, Gabriel said Carter fell back down to the ground and was complaining of neck pain. But according to Gabriel, Carter was moving both his arms and his legs.

"Roderick was able to push off with both hands and his legs," Gabriel said. "He was complaining about chest and neck pains. But they wanted to take him for precautionary reasons."

Gabriel said officials decided to call the game after that injury with Braddock leading 40-21.

Canes tight end Blake Ayles (concussion) out for the year

CORAL GABLES -- Blake Ayles' career at the University of Miami won't get started anytime soon. The senior tight end and transfer from USC was ruled out for the season Thursday after suffering a concussion early in training camp.

Blake Ayles Ayles (6-5, 265) was expected to provide leadership and experience to the tight end unit. After being tabbed as the second-best tight end in the country coming out of high school, Ayles played sparingly at USC and caught just 14 passes for 182 yards and 1 touchdown in 27 games with the Trojans.

Ayles, who has a history of concussions, has never redshirted and could seek a medical redshirt to return next season. Ayles joins tight end Cory White and walk-on linebacker Eric Lichter as Hurricanes ruled out for the season.

Also ruled out for Saturday's game vs. Ohio State: offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (back surgery); defensive tackle Luther Robinson (leg); defensive tackle Curtis Porter (finger) and defensive end Shayon Green (leg).

> UM coach Al Golden told reporters Thursday Marcus Forston and Micanor Regis will start at defensive tackle and Mike Williams will get the start over Lee Chambers opposite Brandon McGee at cornerback Saturday.

Golden said that no starter has been determined in the battle between Anthony Chickillo and Adewale Ojomo at defensive end and it will be a game-time decision. Golden said Travis Benjamin and Allen Hurns will be UM's starting receivers.

September 14, 2011

Brandon Washington could start at left tackle vs. Ohio State; Feliciano moving up, could start at RT

CORAL GABLES -- Brandon Washington spent his senior season at Miami Northwestern protecting Jacory Harris' blindside. The 6-4, 330-pound junior, selected to the All-ACC First Team as a guard last season, may get a shot to do that again Saturday against Ohio State according to coach Al Golden.

Brandon Washington Washington, who started at right tackle against Maryland, practiced with the first team Wednesday at left tackle. Redshirt freshman Jonathan Feliciano (6-5, 320), meanwhile, was running with the first team at right tackle. Sixth-year senior Joel Figueroa, who surprised many when he beat out redshirt freshman Malcolm Bunche in training camp to win the starting left tackle job versus Maryland, was practicing as the backup at right tackle Wednesday. 

While Golden said the team makes sure to work different combinations, the final decision won't be made on who starts where until coaches sit down and talk about it Thursday.

"As we always do, we always work all different kinds of combinations during the week," Golden said on Wednesday's ACC Coaches Teleconference. "We've had Brandon at left [tackle] just like we did before the last game. We've had Brandon at right. We've had Fig at left and Fig at right. We've had Feliciano at right guard and right tackle and we've had [Malcolm] Bunche] at left tackle and right tackle. We're going to continue to do that. As the coaches choose the starting lineups here [Thursday], we'll go from there. But Brandon has and will continue to work at both left and right."

The bigger news could be that Feliciano, a former standout at Davie Western High, could crack the starting lineup. He didn't play a down last season and was on the scout team.

"Feliciano is playing good football right now," Golden said. "If he's not in the top five right now, he's probably No. 6 or No. 7. Clearly, he's put himself in the top five or six offensive linemen on the team. We just want to make sure we get the best five on the field. He's made a lot of progress in the off week. I know I said that during training camp too. He's garnered more time. We'll decide who is going to start where and how much they're going to play as we get into tomorrow as a staff. The biggest thing is we continue to build depth there."

Golden said after Wednesday's practice Ohio State will be "as physical a team as we'll see."

"They're extraordinarily physical, rugged, high motor guys and excellent at hand-to-hand combat," Golden said. "We have to play a physical brand of football. That's their strength in addition to the speed they have on the perimeter."

Golden said Tuesday sophomore All-American Seantrel Henderson, who was expected to be the team's starting left tackle before having back surgery in August, is a making a lot of progress in his rehab and could return sooner than later.

“I’m pleased with him," Golden said. "I know he’s excited. He can sense that it’s closer than he thought... I don’t know what that means because I’m not the doctor and I’m not going to sign off on it. They’ll tell us when he’s ready to go, but you can sense it -- he’s out there Sunday running around. I think he gets the sense that it’s going to be sooner rather than later.”


> Golden said redshirt freshman David Perry is back at tight end after playing defensive end against Maryland. Perry (6-7, 260) has been moving back and fourth between the two positions.

> Golden said "cornerback play will determine if [senior JoJo Nicolas] goes back to cornerback" once Ray-Ray Armstrong is done serving his four-game suspension. "If those guys continue to improve then we'll keep JoJo at safety," Golden said.

> Golden said three players are competing for the two starting defensive tackle jobs -- junior Marcus Forston, senior Micanor Regis and junior college transfer Darius Smith. "The other competition is [Olsen] Pierre and [Jalen] Grimble to see who will be the fourth," Golden said. "That won't be determined until game time."

> Golden had high praise for sophomore Jimmy Gaines, who made his first career start at middle linebacker against Maryland. Gaines had 7 tackles (1 solo) in the game.

"Jimmy Gaines has played like a Miami Hurricane," Golden said. "Jimmy's first play and last play looked the same. He was relentless to the football. He's one of the models for us in what it should look like on defense. He's a cerebral player, a smart player. We're excited about his future."

> Golden said freshman cornerback Thomas Finnie is progressing. "Finnie is almost 180-pounds now; he was 160 when he came in," Golden said. "He's made a commitment. He's a tough kid, he loves football and his reps are just going to continue to increase as the season moves on."

> Despite getting burned on a big pass play versus Maryland in the fourth quarter that led to the Terrapins go-ahead field goal, Golden said junior Brandon McGee has pretty much won one of the starting cornerback jobs moving forward. On the other side, it appears fifth-year senior Mike Williams and senior Lee Chambers will split the bulk of the playing time.

"McGee made a lot of progress. He got beat off the press late in the game and [Danny O'Brien] made a perfect throw. McGee is working harder, a little more mature, is fighting through discomfort a little bit," Golden said. "And on the other side it's a good battle. Both guys are hungry, haven't played a lot of football certainly here at the University of Miami. Both are scratching and clawing to play and it looks like they'll share time going into the game."

> Golden said he would like to get his tight ends more touches this week versus Ohio State. Asante Cleveland, Clive Walford and Chase Ford combined for three catches for 10 yards against Maryland.

"Hopefully they've kind of settled in now, get a chance to move forward," Golden said. "[Walford is] athletic, can get down the field, knows how to get open in space. He's got good hands. Anybody at our scrimmages in the spring would say that's a guy we have to get the ball to, and they're right. We have to do a better job as a staff and as players of doing that. Hopefully he'll be more involved this week."

Golden counting on Jacory Harris, others to provide leadership that was lacking at Maryland

CORAL GABLES -- UM coach Al Golden hasn't been shy throwing the L-word around lately. 

Al Golden Golden said there just wasn't enough of it against Maryland in part because of the suspensions to seven starters. But with five guys back this week against Ohio State, Golden isn't expecting there to be a lack in leadership. In fact, he's expecting to see more of it from others.

"Well, now with Jacory [Harris] back and [Sean] Spence back and [Marcus] Forston back, yeah," Golden said Wednesday when asked if he is satisfied wit the amount of leadership on the team. "But clearly there was a void. I think JoJo [Nicolas] has stepped up. But we need other guys to step up. We need Tyler Horn and Harland Gunn to step up. We need LaRon Byrd to step up, some other guys on our team quite frankly to step up and lead. We need leaders at every position and not just seniors."

The truth is Golden is putting a lot of his eggs in Jacory Harris' basket. He's been asked countless times about his decision to make Harris UM's starting quarterback and why he's confident the turnover-prone Harris will be different in Jedd Fisch's new offense.

Wednesday, Golden was asked again how much confidence he has in Jacory.

"I'm very confident," Golden said. "Jacory has established that he's the starter right now. He's mature. He's worked really hard for this opportunity, and I'm excited about the opportunity he has and the opportunity we have as a team with him leading us Saturday."

Tuesday, during his weekly press conference with reporters, Golden was asked where he's seen Harris' improvement from the Sun Bowl, where he threw three interceptions in seven pass attempts before interim coach Jeff Stoutland pulled him for Stephen Morris. Golden said critics need to realize "this is a different time, different place."

"He's a different player," Golden said. "Jacory is the guy this Saturday. He's established that, has had a great camp, great demeanor. Sometimes we don't let people grow, develop, want to look at things they've done wrong. Let's look at what he's done right. I really believe Jacory will show us all Saturday night.

"He's done a great job. I just want him to go out and relax, play his game, don't make it bigger than it is and do what he's been doing since we've been here. So I'm excited about Jacory and I know in my heart he deserves this opportunity Saturday night."

It's clear a big reason Golden has put Harris into the starting role is because he believes UM's offense will run better in and out of the huddle, a problem at Maryland when the team drew back-to-back delay of game penalties and times seemed out of sync. Golden has said it is the quarterback's responsibility to avoid substitution mishaps and illegal procedure penalties.

"Again, we feel Jacory gives us the best opportunity there getting us in the right formation, the right call, get the snap off on time," Golden said Tuesday. "There's no excuse for anyone who plays quarterback for the University of Miami not to get this squared away."


-- Golden said Wednesday that Ohio State will be "as physical a team as we'll see."

"They're extraordinarily physical, rugged, high motor guys and excellent at hand-to-hand combat," Golden said. "We have to play a physical brand of football. That's their strength in addition to the speed they have on the perimeter."

Golden said he's preparing the team to see two quarterbacks Saturday. Ohio State has listed fifth-year senior Joe Bauserman (6-1, 230) and freshman Braxton Miller (6-3, 210) as co-starters. "When Braxton is in there it looks a little more like last year," Golden said. "Joe is more efficient, over 70 percent completions for his career, no interceptions thus far, so he knows what to do with the football. They'll take shots when Joe is the quarterback, not that they won't with the other kid. We'll get ready for both of them. We'll see what Saturday night brings, but we expect both of them to be in the game."

Golden said doing a good job covering 6-5, 245-pound tight end Jake Stoneburner will be a big key for UM's defense on Saturday. Stoneburner leads the Buckeyes with eight catches, including four for touchdowns in two games. "Excellent football player, can make catches across the middle, can open his hips and catch back shoulder pad, also catch the corner routes," Golden said. "He's an excellent tight end, a complete player. For us we're going to have to make sure we have the right matchups on him, don't give them a lot of time to throw the ball. He's one of the keys for us this week."

-- Asked if he expects his team to play a more physical style of grind-it-out, football Saturday on offense, Golden said: ""We want to be balanced. We weren't as balanced as we could have been [at Maryland], most particularly in tight situations because of the way it ended up going. We didn't get as many possessions, weren't getting as many stops on defense, barely made them punt. We made them punt one time in the game. Collectively between not stopping them and our mistakes on offense it kind of came unraveled for us a little bit."

-- Saturday's game will be the first game for Golden at Sun Life Stadium. Asked how he expects to feel running out of the smoke for the first time, Golden was pretty funny on Tuesday. "I don't even know where the tunnel is," he said. "I don't get too caught up in that stuff. When they point me to the tunnel I'll start running."

September 13, 2011

Mike James: Wet and hopefully not wild!

Few will forget University of Miami running back Mike James' fumble at Maryland. James can't get it out of his mind.

As he was sprinting down the sideline, the ball was knocked loose by a Maryland defender and landed in the arms of lineman Joe Vellano, who rumbled for a 30-yard touchdown with 47 seconds left in the first half.

Fellow running back and James' apartment mate Lamar Miller said James obsesses on his mistakes and won't let them go. James, who calls himself a perfectionist, agrees. The only thing he vows not to let go in UM's home opener Saturday against Ohio State: the football.

What has James done to prevent fumbling against the Buckeyes? Wet his whole body at practice using a water bottle  -- and run!

"Oh man, I'm more than motivated. I've been mad for 12 days,'' James said Tuesday after practice. "Every night I got to sleep thinking about it. I wake up thinking about it. I go to class thinking about it. Everything else is irrelevant. I'm just ready to play the ball game.''

 James said he has been wetting his arms, his body and the ball. "Usually in the middle of practice I just wet my whole body. Just in case it rains or I'm too sweaty I'm preparing for that. I get my whole body wet. I get a water bottle and just spray my whole body down. I used to do it my freshman year, but I just got back doing it.

"I should have never stopped."

James finished with 12 carries for 34 yards and a touchdown at Maryland. He also caught two passes for 21 yards.

Miller carried 18 times for 119 yards and a touchdown. He caught two passes for three yards, and returned four kickoffs for 100 yards.