The Hurricanes start practicing for the 2012 season at 9 a.m. Saturday, and, given the fact that they were prevented the opportunity to play in a bowl game (thereby missing several more practices), they must be incredibly hyped to get onto that field.
Though they'll be in shorts Saturday, and will be easing into practice the first couple of days, their spring leader -- quarterback Ryan Williams -- will have plenty of eyes on him.
The Memphis transfer who sat out last season while trying to learn the offense, finally gets his chance to play with the big boys, while experienced quarterback Stephen Morris recuperates from back surgery.
Following is what Ryan, who will be a redshirt sophomore this season, told reporters Thursday afternoon at UM:
I’m real excited to get out there on the field. We practiced on just routes and stuff but I’m ready to bring it all together with the O-line and everything and get things started.
Can you get this team in a groove? Yeah. last year I had to sit back and watch, just learn by watching and learn from Jacory [Harris] what he knows, what Stephen knows and Coach Fisch. Now I’m able to get on the field and do it for real.
It’s a great opportunity to get reps and learn the offense and get a chance to run it and see it and not just see it on paper and actually do it with live contact.
What about Gray Crow and Preston Dewey?They're really hard workers. They’re smart. They’re picking up a lot but we've got to see how it goes on the field. Anyone can learn it in the playbook but I expect high of them. I hope they expect high of me on the field. I think they’re going to do real good.
Last year? I learned a lot, especially from jacory. He was my mentor when I came here. He just sat down with me in camp and we went over the playbook. Just sitting back and watching him during the season handling the media and the adversity through the season and him on the field how calm he is. I learned a lot from both of them.
On the UTough offseason strength and conditioning program: At first I didn’t know what to expect, what the coaches really wanted from us because I had never done it before. I was just going to go out there and work as hard as I could, and I got a green jersey my first day which was the second level. Then I realized what they were looking for, what type of effort, what type of work you needed to put in to get to that top level black jersey and I found it at the end and figured out what I needed to do to get to that point.
During the season I was around 230 pounds and I didn’t feel like I was able to give my best effort. I didn’t feel comfortable and I lost five to six pounds and I feel a lot better running around and moving.
The biggest difference between end of last year and now? We’re really focused. We saw the opportunities we had last year that we missed and that we needed to capitalize. we have a lot of open spots from all the departing srs and former starters and a lot of opportunities to get some playing time and get on the field.
The goal should definitely be to win, no matter what team you’re playing. You’re here to play; you’re here to win.
Any extra work you’ve done? I watched a lot of film, seeing last year's reps, watching Jacory run them against the teams we’re playing this year. Seeing what he saw and if I saw the same thing and if he didn’t see something then I could see it on film and not make the same mistake.
You've got three healthy wide receivers on scholarship this spring. How tough will that be? it’s going to be tuf but you’ve got to expect the nonscholarship receivers to step up and make plays. I expect the same from schlarship and non scholarship [players].
What did you envision when you transferred? I envisioned the team from the old [past], how excited they were to be on the field with each other and the passion they had for the game and to be able to go out and win every game and expect to win every game.
How excited are you for this opportunity? This is a chance to show my abilities, to show I came here for a reason, that I wasn’t just nobody who was given a scholarship, that I can prove myself on the field to my teammates. They haven’t really seen me play yet so I ‘ve got to to prove myself that I’m worthy to be on the field with them.
How was it that you ended up here? Coming out of high school I wasn’t very highly recruited because I played at a smaller school for my first three years and I transferred to Miramar High School for my senior year and ended up winning the state champ and I got a few offers off that. I ended up going to Memphis for a year and started as a true freshman and after the season they decided they wanted to go a different path with the offense, that I didn’t feel best suited me and I told the coach I’d rather leave than try to fit into something that I didn’t feel I would fit into.
And my high school coach got in contact with some schools after I told him I wanted to transfer and ultimately it came down to between here and Arkansas and I chose to come back home to the school I wanted to go to. They wanted to go to more of a spread oriented with a duel type quarterback, and I’m more of pocket passer and I’m not going to run zone reads and stuff like that.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
P.S. Just got back from the UM-Gators baseball game. UM lost 7-5.
Going to sleep, then waking up at 6:15 to get to Greentree Field bright and early for practice (then, back to Mark Light Field for the baseball game at night). Talk to you all tomorrow