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Brandon McGee finally appears to be getting the message, plus news and notes from UM on Tuesday

CORAL GABLES -- Brandon McGee is no longer sitting on the bottom of the Hurricanes depth chart. The cornerback was wearing a black jersey Tuesday -- a sign that he's doing what coaches want and expect of a senior who is supposed to be starting and anchoring his unit.

Brandon McGee“He’s working,” UM coach Al Golden said of McGee, who started 12 games for UM last season, but emerged fifth on the team's depth chart after the completion of the off-season U Tough program.

“I see Brandon a little bit differently than maybe most do. I see a kid that’s very talented, that’s willing, that's working hard and we just have to get enough confidence where he then goes out and makes plays. Not freelance, but go out and finish plays because he has all of the skill set that you want, and now he’s 190 [pounds]."

McGee has always had the physical gifts to be a star at UM in the eyes of coaches. He's 6-feet tall, was 180 pounds last year, and was timed at 4.29 seconds in the 40-yard dash last summer. "But I don't think he uses all those gifts the way he should," defensive coordinator Mark D'Onoforio said Tuesday.

D'Onofrio and Golden tried to get that message across heading into spring football -- not only by placing McGee fifth on the depth chart, but with frequent text messages throughout the off-season.

"They'd send me texts asking, 'How great do you want to be?'," McGee said. "Even though I went up in my squat from 380 [pounds] to 415, I guess there was a point where in their eyes I had to push the threshold even more. Even though I beat the man next to me [in U Tough], they didn't want me to beat him just by a yard, I should have beaten him by five yards. It's pushing yourself further and further. It's definitely bringing out good qualities in myself now."

In Saturday's scrimmage in Hialeah, the first of the spring, McGee started showing coaches what they've wanted from him all along -- more physicality.

"The one thing about Brandon in Saturday's scrimmage was that he was physical probably for the first time since I’ve been here," Golden said. "He’s in those short-yardage [situations] mixing it up. I think he feels more confident with his body and the physical nature he can play at 190. Now, we have to get him staying in the system, converting and making plays, getting more interceptions, being more of a ball disruptor for us.”

"I don't want him to press to make a play. I want him to trust D'Onofrio and [defensive backs coach Paul] Williams and let that take him to the play."

D'Onofrio echoed those sentiments.

"If you date it back to this time last year, it's night and day the way he's playing physically now," D'Onofrio said.

"I think he saw himself as an athlete who was a cover corner and there is no such cover corner position on our defense. You have to be physical, you have to be tough and I think he's trusted what we're asking him to do. I think he's delivering on it. Now, we're looking for consistency, not 70 percent, 75 percent of the time, all the time. He has to demand it from himself and give his body up for the team."

McGee had 38 tackles last season (eighth most on the team) including 2.5 for loss with a sack and his first career interception. 

But as a unit, UM's secondary had an awful season in 2011, ranking 95th in pass efficiency defense (they were fifth in 2010). UM's defense produced just six interceptions -- 10 fewer than the year before -- and opposing quarterbacks completed 66.35 percent of their passes (sixth worst among 120 FBS schools).

"Last year was really difficult," D'Onofrio said of the team's cornerback play. "I really didn't have anybody experienced to work with. Brandon was the fourth corner [in 2010], but didn't play a lot of snaps because he was behind the three guys who are all in the NFL now. [Transfer] Mike Williams didn't play for a year and them came over here and started 12 games. Thomas Finnie was a freshman. JoJo Nicolas was a safety and then he had to go back and forth because of the issues we had at safety. Lee Chambers was a running back.

"The hard part for us now is I lost most of those guys. The only guys we got back were McGee and Finnie. McGee got a lot of reps. Finnie didn't get a lot of reps in games, but he did get the second team reps during the week, which were a lot. But, it's better than the year before. We've got seven new guys coming in this class. Last year, we had one [Finnie]. At least we have a place to start."

And that place starts with McGee, who is taking charge not only of himself, but his unit as well.

"My phone is always open for those guys," McGee said. "[Early enrollee] Larry Hope, sometimes he'll hit me up and ask me to go watch film. When they make mistakes in practice, I'll pull them off to the side and try to clean up their technique, just telling them what to look for on the field. And I emphasize don't make the same mistake twice. If they hear coaches getting on me for a mistake, I tell them to listen so they don't do the same thing. That's the one thing that makes coaches hot."

McGee said he's been in constant contact with incoming freshmen Deon Bush and Tracy Howard, the nation's No. 1 high school corner. Whenever Howard or Bush visits UM, McGee gets right to work talking scheme and football.

"I've seen him work out. He has good hips, quick feet," McGee said of Howard. "He's a competitor, talks some trash. I like that about him. I'm just excited for him to get here. To see a guy like that work and be able to help him through the process is going to be good.

"It's never easy. No matter how talented you are and what kind of expectations are placed on you, it's never easy to make that transition from high school to college. I'm going to be there to help him along the way and that's something I promised his parents I would do. Him and Deon."

MORE NEWS AND NOTES FROM TUESDAY

> Both McGee and Finnie said D'Onofrio isn't changing much in the way of coverages or schemes in the playbook. "There's nothing really new added, just perfecting what we did before," McGee said.

Last year, many Canes fans griped that cornerbacks were playing too far off receivers, allowing them to eat up the defense underneath. I've felt all along scheme hasn't been the problem -- it's been personnel. Maybe some continuity in scheme and getting more physical play -- as well as talent -- is the answer.

> As for Finnie, D'Onofrio says toughness isn't his issue. "Finnie's not afraid to throw his face in there at all. He's one of the tougher guys we've got right now. When those guys come around the corner or those tight ends lower the shoulder, he's doing exactly what we want him to do. He's not ducking out of the way," D'Onofrio said.

"What we need out of him is consistency and knowing that on the back end [coverage] you don't get any mulligans like you do in golf. Somebody gets behind you, it's 7-0. You don't get to push the reset button like you do in Madden. That's where we're trying to discipline him. When you're deep, you're deep."

> With Keion Payne now off the team, UM has five cornerbacks in camp. McGee is listed on the first team at field corner with Johnson backing him up. Finnie is the starter at boundary corner with junior college transfer Ladarius Gunter and Hope behind him.

> Of course, there is another part to UM's secondary -- safety. I didn't get D'Onofrio or Golden's thoughts on how seniors Ray-Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque have been performing, but the overriding sentiment this spring has been that both are putting forth the effort required.

"Ray, every play he's out there talking. VT is brining energy," McGee said. "I've been around them for a long time and can see the change in the them. If we come out flat, they get everybody amped up."

> With left guard Jonathan Feliciano going down for the rest of the spring, Jermaine Johnson has stepped in with the starting unit at that spot. The other starters: Malcolm Bunche at left tackle, Shane McDermott at center, Brandon Linder at right guard and Seantrel Henderson at right tackle.

“Jermaine looked really good inside,” Golden said. “Right now he’s one of the best five. We’ll see how it shakes out.”

> Golden said he's pleased with former defensive tackle Jeremy Lewis, who is taking first team reps at times at right and left guard. "He just needs to get in better condition and play at a high level," Golden said.

> Golden said the only way receiver Kendal Thompkins becomes a real contributor is by "eliminating drops." Thompkins had a few in Saturday's scrimmage.

> Golden continued his praise of freshmen Ereck Flowers and Raphael Kirby this spring calling them "difference makers" on Tuesday.

Comments

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better late than never with Telemaque, McGee, and Armstrong

Go Canes

Interesting comments about last years defense and this years in the backfeold

How about those Canes?!!

If you're looking for physical play from the secondary, they need to recruit Marcell Harris from Orlando, considering Ray-Ray and VT will be seniors in the fall.

Right scheme with wrong personnel?
Sounds like a coaching issue!

You are wrong. They WERE playing off the receivers way too far. 10-12 yds sometimes. I cant believe you adn or donofrio didnt see that. The Maryland game was an example. THEIR coach (Edsall) and their OC did see that. Why do you think they kept throwing the same play at us for 3 quarters? Why does it take a MIami coach (from the last 5 yrs) 3 quarters to realize this and adjust?

Maybe theyshould give coach new hires IQ tests. Same with MH writers.

cane68, sounds more like the players weren't good enough. Coaching can just do so much. If you have a 4.6 corner like Mike Williams, coaching can't make a him 4.4 corner. Understand.

5>3>2, remember that the Maryland game had alot of non-starters in there, he had to play the defense soft.

They didn't play off that much the rest of the year.

He knew his backup guys could get burned easily if they played tight.

We lost the game, but he did what he could to keep them from the big play. His scheme in that game, his first as our DC BTW, was ruined by the NCAA before it could even get started.

Without the suspensions, Miami wins that game big, and his defense does not play that soft in zone coverage.

Last year Miami Defense was really soft. There is no other way to rephrase the obvious. That's why we were getting killed in games. the Offense kept us in all of our games. We would be up and the Defense give up the lead. Hopefully this year we will have some guys who will put their hats on somebody and be physical.

We lost the game, but he did what he could to keep them from the big play. His scheme in that game, his first as our DC BTW, was ruined by the NCAA before it could even get started.

Without the suspensions, Miami wins that game big, and his defense does not play that soft in zone coverage.

Posted by: Five Titles | March 28, 2012 at 08:18 AM

rUined by the NCAA hUh ? Not the kids that took the benefits knowing that it was illegal to do so subjecting themselves to said pUnishment. Yes, they knew it was a violation. Every year each team is given a siminar about what is legal and not... bUt it was the big bad NCAA that screwed U right?

MinUs the sUspensions and U would have won BIG @ Maryland hUh ? U mean like the Virginia and B.C. games that U were heavily favored and with no sUspensions ?

U ever listen to Urselves ?

#1 GATOR Baseball ... 23-2 ... 2-0 over FSU.

Way to go on leadership, Brandon. Make this a great year. You have the gifts.

Love the emphasis on toughness with these coaches. They will not settle for anything less. We are witnessing a strong beginning to the end of softness and mediocrity at Miami. It's gonne be good. Championships will follow in time.

Excuse me. This was a discussion on the factor that coaching had in the reason Maryland recievers were given such a large off-the-line cushion. Are you saying the suspensions were not a factor? Good luck with that. Objective observers disagree.


Yes Gators fans please stay up to date with all of the developments from our spring practices! LMAO!

University of Miami Football Team Advertising For "Any Student That Is At Least 6'1 And 230+ Pounds

http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2012/03/the_university_of_miami_footba.php

We played off receivers all year. They threw to the TEs and the RBs and our defense could not stop Maryland, Virginia and BC, and probably others. It would appear that the coaches had no confidence in the DBs, and yes, suspensions were an issue in the Maryland game.

Conversely, our vaunted threat to throw underneath was virtully nonexistent and the other teams covered us well. Miller and James would often go down with the first hit on a short pass. Opponents did not fear our long game because of a weak-armed QB, in spite of our fine receivers.

Why couldn't we cover opponents' short game? Why did this drive us all nuts, knowing that the CBs should be playing on the TEs and covering RBs at the line?

I thought poor coaching was a factor in terms of not making adjustments. But if you pull up your CBs, the burden falls on the safeties to prevent longer balls. And the safeties were undisciplined and out of position too often. So, the choice is: give up 9 yards or 7 points on a play. If you drop your LBs into short pass coverage, and have a weak DL on the pass rush, their QB has all day to throw.

The main issue was personnel. Hopefully, that will change, and be accompanied by disciplined aggressiveness this year. I couldn't bear another year of watching the Canes make Heisman candidates out of mediocre QBs!

Posted by: Recruiting Flyers...hilarious!!!!

This is definitely not common!! I used to work in the Wellness Center back in 96 through 2000. Not once were there posting for the football team. And that's when we were damn good!!

dbc- Agreed. But I wouldhave rather we played aggressive football. personnle or no personnel, get in the face of the wrs, and jam them, and make the qb throw deep on one on ones. The 7 points that you say came anyway, after a 5 minute drive of dinking and dunking us for 7 yds a pop bc the cbs were 10 yds back. Seriously. I can't understand what people say here. If the safeties cant chase down a tight end then we are in worse trouble than I thought..

We made very average QBs look like RGIII or Andrew Luck: The Notre Dame kid, for example, a true freshman in 2010, destroyed us in the bowl. Granted he had Micahel Floyd, but he looked like a Heisman contender for 2011. That said, he lost his staring job. translation: Miami's defense s-ked. Also in 2010, when Um was leading USF, we allowed a walk-on freshman QB that had never started, drive the ball down our throats for he victory. The problem is our D-line and dbacks have been so weak. So soft, so pathetic, that opposing QBs have had no pressure, and all of the burden hasbeen placed on the dbacks. Allan bailey for example, Mr huge arms and beat-like physique in actuality was often manhandled by O-linemen with excellent technique.

What UM has had since 2008 is a series of undisciplined kids that have refused to be coached, have refused to be teamplayers. Like that pop warner or high school team that is full of athletes but doesnt make it to the playoffs because the players just cant play together consitently. Proof is all of the NFLers that UM has sent (even if not 1st rounders) over the last 5 years. Those players are now being coached because if they refuse to be coached they have to go back to the hood and starve. One example, and I am sad to report this, a certain Eric Moncur wa spotted at Liv... as a bouncer. Granted he was injured but not all of his career.

The More You Change..I have a questions for you...If the 'U' had played and converted on plays late in the games last year we would now be sitting with a 8-4 or even a 9-3 record...that is a given..

Considering that a large number of players were suspended from multiple games, if Miami was full teamed and working on continuity the record would be different. I give you Virginia, and Boston College we were flat but look at the total season and my conclusion is that you are a HOMER GATOR who would find fault with anything the 'U' did.

As for your argument about kids taking benefits.. look at the pecadillos of the Gayturds who have the most arrests, and infractions of any team in Florida and many teams are doing similar in their booster programs.
You never know but the Gayturds might have a Shapiro lurking somehere so be careful how you espouse your
Gayturd slant.
Miami will be back and I can't wait to see what Moosechump does this year...His radiator is on full steam so watch out and stop worrying about our Canes.
We will do just fine, and we have a program, tradition, and guess what how many Gayturds are playing on Sunday?.
I am waiting.
Go 'Canes

corpus,

Many good points. Thanks. I am with you on agressive football. It is emerging at UM...

why is there an old crooked sinister looking man parading around the streets of Havana, Cuba in a clown suit?

Hmmmmmm.

Finally happy to see Brandon McGee bring it all together. It took 4 yrs but he seems to be doing it. AT the scrimmage he honestly looked really good and was physical. Coach is right, it's night and day from last season to this for him and the rest of the defense. I saw a much faster defense. Just had my first child so I'm not sure I can make it to the Fort Myers scrimmage but I'll definitely be at the spring game april 14th. Cover Fort Myers in ORANGE AND GREEN!!!!!

IN GOLDEN WE TRUST!

Very good points indeed.

Finally happy to see Brandon McGee bring it all together. It took 4 yrs but he seems to be doing it. AT the scrimmage he honestly looked really good and was physical. Coach is right, it's night and day from last season to this for him and the rest of the defense. I saw a much faster defense. Just had my first child so I'm not sure I can make it to the Fort Myers scrimmage but I'll definitely be at the spring game april 14th. Cover Fort Myers in ORANGE AND GREEN!!!!!

IN GOLDEN WE TRUST!

sorry for the double post, thought it didn't go thru.

Excuse me. This was a discussion on the factor that coaching had in the reason Maryland receivers were given such a large off-the-line cushion. Are you saying the suspensions were not a factor? Good luck with that. Objective observers disagree.


Posted by: Five Titles
----------------------------

I couldn't agree with you more. The one and only reason they won was the suspensions. Look how the rest of their season panned out for them. Had we played them with all of our starters all I have to say is game over man. They wouldn't have a chance. We were missing our fastest receiver and 5 defensive starters. There's the game in a nutshell for you right there.

All good points about the Defense last year. I am hoping Porter can stay healthy this year. He seemed to be able to control the middle of the line when he came back. We need a middle lineman who can stuff the run up the middle, and get some push up the middle on pass plays.
It has been a long time since our defense has not had to blitz to get pressure on the QB.

Can anyone tell me why we are posting flyers for offensive lineman?

Practice squad O-linemen.

between Ed n Ray ... how many bBoUnties were paid ?

over/under fiddy ?

Did you see the sinister old man parading around Havana ranting about a make-believe god? What a clown. Well, he was dressed in a clown suit.

idiots- the alleged Luke Campbell payments in the 90s were not bounties. They were not for taking players out of a game. They were supposedly for ints, TDs, sacks, etc. This whole new thing is 100% different.

idiots? That's a lot of anger from the blubbering god-lover.

Practice squad O-linemen.
Posted by: Eudocimus01 | March 28, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Not just that, but giving a walk-on a chance at a Rudy type moment. Or that Jackie Sherril moment, where a walk-on might tackle the other team's Heisman winner, and get them kicked out of the game. Walk-ons add depth without adding to the 85 man roster.

Some schools have a tradition of letting their students become student athletes. Georgia Tech, for example, has 120 players on their "roster", 35 walkons providing a challenge to the scholarship players, depth when injuries occur, and a change for a student to wear the uniform of their college team. It is not armageddon, it is Golden getting the gym rat students to take on a challenge that they can't get elsewhere.

I have no problem letting students know they can help the Canes win by toughening them up during practice.

Using other college students is also a good recruiting tool. You can show perspective players the flyers and say we are so short handed right now you could start right away!

I remember when Texas State University brought in Paul Blake and they had some success. I think Featherstone was good WR too. So you never know!

FEAR THE TIE!!!

GO CANES!!!

Using other college students is also a good recruiting tool. You can show perspective players the flyers and say we are so short handed right now you could start right away!

I remember when Texas State University brought in Paul Blake and they had some success. I think Featherstone was good WR too. So you never know!

FEAR THE TIE!!!

GO CANES!!!

Posted by: CANETILIDIE....DH

-------------------------------------

What a sorry movie that was. At least Kathy Ireland was in it. Learn to spell kid.

I disagree...
The wannabe's and gym rats who want to hang around the football team will use this as bait to take up space.

Let's face it Miami is not a Car dealership pumping for more customers. We do not need tire kickers around what we need are high performance athletes working their A** off to keep our tradition of excellent athletes alive.

Probably old school but to improve we need a caliber of athlete that would push way beyond a walkon's capacity to test him.

This also opens up our 'U' to a lot of ridcule like what will they do next, they are desperate to find athletes..As one Sports Reporter said "Miami is in a desperation mode to find athletes so they are turning to Facebook".
We do not want to go there.
In my opinion not a good move.
Go 'Canes

well said.

Cool, my dorm mate is going to try out.

The U should try craigslist for olineman too

And yes I plagirized that joke

It's only taken Brandon McGee 4 years but I have to agree with this sports writer that there is a light at the end of the tunnle.

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