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UM Canes open spring football practice with news of three suspensions; Al Golden "disappointed.''

Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, linebacker Kelvin Cain and cornerback Keion Payne have been suspended for the first weekend of spring practice, UM coach Al Golden said Saturday afternoon.

The three violated team policy, though Golden didn't elaborate.

They will be back for the next practice on Tuesday, the coach said, and rejoin the team for Monday meetings.

Golden used the word "disappointing'' more than once to describe the situation.

Kelvin Cain had been slated to practice at first-team outside linebacker because of the absence of injured Ramon Buchanan (knee), and was still listed as the starter ahead of Eddie Johnson and Josh Witt on the depth chart released to reporters Saturday. Cain will be a junior.

Henderson, a 6-8 and 350-pound rising junior, is listed as the second-team right tackle behind Jermaine Johnson.

Payne, who will be a redshirt sophomore and graduated from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, is listed as a second-team corner behind Thomas Finnie.

Golden was asked how disappointing it was to deal with repeat offenders such as Cain and Henderson, who have been disciplined before.

He compared the problem players to, well, weeds in a garden.

"It think it's disappointing for the team, to be honest with you,'' he said. "You can't just weed all the time. If you weed all the time, if you're just constantly weeding, that's the problem. When you're trying to improve the program and move the program forward, you can't just weed your garden, you've got to water your garden, too.

"And so we're sitting here saying to the guys, 'That is an incredible offseason,' and 'Great job,' and then the next day you've got to weed the garden again. It's like after a while, you know, you stop using the weed whacker and you get a shovel and get the whole root. That's kind of where we're at.

"There are a lot of kids on that team that have given up a lot and that will continue to give up a lot, that love the University of Miami, that are trying to do things the right way. As a group and as a team, we're all disappointed because it's really not that hard. What we're asking them to do is not that hard. Just do what we're asking you to do, what everybody else on the team is doing. And that's it. I'm not going to get into it. It's a team. It's a team rule. That's it. Period.''

 Golden seemed very pleased with the initial practice as a whole, saying the players were in much better shape than they were a year ago at this point, and that he doesn't expect them to be in excellent condition yet. That will come in time.

Some of the players he praised: center Shane McDermott, junior-college transfer cornerback Ladarius Gunter, quarterback Ryan Williams, safety Vaughn Telemaque, freshman cornerback Larry Hope. But he especially lauded the talent of Dallas Crawford, who will have a versatile role as a running back, special teams return man and as a slot receiver.

"Dallas Crawford looks like he's really in shape and got his quickness back,'' Golden said, describing his "lateral quickness'' and saying he was a "strong competitor'' and "good with the ball in his hands.. Very versatile. ...Good start for him.''

Quarterback Stephen Morris spoke to reporters but didn't want to talk too much about the reported back injury or give details about his surgery. "I feel fine,'' he said. "Today I was tossing the ball, throwing the ball around.'' Golden said Morris acted as a coach in practice.

Safety Armstrong said he expects to be a leader this season. On his decision to return for his senior season, he said: "I come from a family when you start something you finish it. I started my freshman year so I have to go through the four years and get my degree. If I left last year I couldn't do that... I'm not a finished product yet.''

Armstrong said he tried to get the five underclassmen who left early for the draft "to come back, but they felt that was the best decision...''

The strongest Hurricane pound-for-pound, according to strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey? Tailback (and backup fullback) Mike James, who is 5-11, weighs 222 and bench presses 225 pounds for 28 reps with a 400-pound max, back squats 525 pounds and power cleans 308.

Quarterback Williams, who has taken over the first-team responsibilities with Stephen Morris out, said he had a good day. "First practice was good,'' Williams said. "Get out there, get in the flow of things, finally get everything moving with the O-line, the receivers and everything. Just nice to get out on the field and do it for real.''

Don't forget that tomorrow morning's practice on what UM is calling Fan Appreciation Day is open to the public -- as long as you are either a football season-ticket holder or show your ticket for Sunday's UM vs. Gators baseball game at 1 p.m.

The football practice starts at 11 a.m. on Greentree Field and will conclude in time for first pitch at 1 p.m.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

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