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46 posts from August 2012

August 30, 2012

Injury report looks good for the Miami Hurricanes as they prepare to travel to Boston College for opener

 

The University of Miami injury report is out, and as Al Golden has been saying the past few days, the Hurricanes have made it out of fall camp relatively healthy.

In the first MIami ACC Injury Report just handed out to the media, there are no surprises.

Linebacker Raphael Kirby ("lower extremity'' -- that would be leg) and defensive tackle Curtis Porter ("upper extremity'' -- that would be appendectomy) are the only Canes listed as out for the game.

Actually, they're the only Hurricanes listed on the report. No one is listed as doubtful and no one is listed as probable, and no one is listed under the "Surgeries/Out for the Season'' category. Golden said he is hopeful Kirby returns by midseason.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

August 28, 2012

The many faces of Lieutenant Al Golden

Here are a couple of fun pictures from fans of UM coach Al Golden aboard Forrest Gump's boat -- The Jenny.

Golden spoke to reporters Tuesday in anticipation of the Boston College opener Saturday and talked about feeling like he's been involved in a storm for the past 19 months (amid an NCAA investigation and coaching the program) and made a reference to the infamous Oscar-winning movie.

"Somebody asked me about the storm the other day," Golden said. "I said it's been storming for 19 months now. I mean that's the truth. I feel like Lieutenant Dan in the Gulf on a shrimp boat. You call this a storm? That's where we're at."

From @GrozDozer

From @TheU1991
From @Twenty21one
From@BCurryHP

 

 

Golden talks BC, opener and says of weathering the NCAA storm "I feel like Lieutenant Dan in the Gulf on a shrimp boat."

We're only five days away from the season opener at Boston College.

UM coach Al Golden spoke for 25 minutes during a press conference Tuesday to preview the game and as usual provided a few memorable lines. Nothing was better, though, then when Golden was talking about the season in general and external expectations.

"If we're worried about the external we're in for a long year," Golden said. "Somebody asked me about the storm the other day. I said it's been storming for 19 months now. I mean that's the truth. I feel like Lieutenant Dan in the Gulf on a shrimp boat. You call this a storm? That's where we're at."

Golden was obviously making a reference to the ongoing NCAA investigation and impending sanctions heading UM's way.

Here are a couple of other quick hitters from Tuesday's press conference at UM with Golden:

> As expected, Golden said offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, who missed all of fall camp dealing with a concussion and the death of two relatives, and defensive tackle Curtis Porter (appendectomy) will not be making the trip to Boston College.

> Golden said the final position battles for starting jobs at receiver (Allen Hurns or Phillip Dorsett and Kendall Thompkins or Rashawn Scott), strongside linebacker (Thurston Armbrister or Eddie Johnson) and safety (Kacy Rodgers or Deon Bush) will decided by Wednesday night, which means we probably won't know who won the jobs until Saturday.

> Golden expects 14-15 true freshmen to play in the opener and more possibly down the road. Preston Dewey won the third string job over Gray Crow and will travel to BC.

> Golden said freshman running back Duke Johnson "will not carry the work load" Mike James or Eduardo Clements will in the opener, but will get his touches. He said to expect all four running backs and all four tight ends to play Saturday.

> Told his players have used the term shocking the world when talking to reporters about this coming season, Golden quipped: "I'd like to sit them down right where you are sitting and shock them... let's not talk about it. Let's be about it."

> Golden said the cast on the right leg of freshman linebacker Raphael Kirby was removed on Tuesday. He said he expects to know more about Kirby in the next two to three weeks. Golden has been hopeful since Kirby was injured in camp that he might be able to return this season.

August 26, 2012

Boston College coach Frank Spaziani talks about the 9/1 opening game against the Miami Hurricanes

Just got off a teleconference with Frank Spaziani, the coach of Miami's first opponent, Boston College.  

Spaziani knows Al Golden quite well. Golden was the linebackers coach at BC from 1997 to '99. Spaziani has been at BC since 1997. Spaziani was the running backs coach in 97 and 98, and the defensive coordinator from 1999 through 2008. He became the Eagles' head coach in 2009.

Here are some of his comments. He made sure not to talk about anyone specifically from Miami, except for a few comments on quarterback Stephen Morris.

On Stephen Morris:

"Stephen is a very big league quarterback with skills. All you do is have to go back and look at the Maryland game he started last year. He didn’t skip a beat as far as their offense. They moved the ball and scored very well. I know the situation that they had last year was obviously a new situation in handling everybody, but he has all the skills and I’m sure with a whole season with the system under his belt and now an offseason and a preseason, we’re expecting an accomplished quarterback in there, and somebody that albeit hasn’t played a lot of plays, but has been in games and been around and I’m sure he’s going to be well schooled."

 Is it better to have the whole offseason to prepare for a team without having seen a lot of the opponents’ new faces, or having seen them on film in game action without as much time to prepare?

 "The positive is some of our guys have had experience and been on the field with them; they’ve got that to carry over. In openers for everybody throughout the country the motto is expect the unexpected. We know they’re well coached, everybody is going to be enthusiastic on both sides of the field and they have got great athletes, so expect the unexpected and take care of our own business and see what we have."

 How possible is it to put together any semblance of a real game plan for week 1. Is it more about you week 1 than opponent as opposed to other weeks where you can game plan more specifically?

 "Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It’s just natural the more you’ve seen people going into the season, it’s a better beat you can get on them. But those guys on offense and defense over there do a good job of keeping you off balance. You have to draw from something that they’ve done in the past. Everybody has something they hang their hat on and they’re going to put some new wrinkles in." 

  "That’s where experience comes in and helps you get through those things.  As I said, earlier, the best motto to go by is expect the unexpected. There is going to be things in that game that we haven’t seen on both sides of the ball and in special teams and certainly there is going to be stuff that they haven’t seen and it’s just a matter of who can adjust and who can handle it. That’s the excitement of a first game, really. It’s tremendous for everybody."

 Playing Miami the last game of last season and first this season, does that present an interesting dynamic? Does that change things?

 “You know, not really. I don’t think so. It looks like there should be some interesting  dynamics in that they’re back to back games but they’re back to back nine months apart or 10 months apart or whatever it is. They’re two different teams. A lot of things have changed from that game. The atmosphere, the psychology, the teamwork. they’re just two different teams. I could speak for our team and I’m sure Al would say the same thing.’’

 Is opening with a conference game a good thing?

 “I don’t mind it, because it’s the same for both of us. Miami is the same as us. There is no game earlier or they didn’t have any extra practice time. So, you have to play the game so why not get them going? That’s the way I look at it. It’s one week. Every week is an individual season. Conference game or no conference let’s find out who we are.’’

 Anybody in particular from Miami that stands out?

 “I cannot identify them they’re so fast. They have some very good players on both sides of the ball. Obviously their skill people and their size and their quickness. That’s an athletic football team with some good players and they’re well coached.”

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

August 25, 2012

Weather forces Miami Hurricanes to practice in the Dolphins' indoor bubble

CANES IN THE BUBBLE

The Hurricanes moved their Saturday practice to the Miami Dolphins’ indoor practice facility in Davie.

Practice – closed to the public and media – was originally scheduled for 1:30 p.m., but was moved up to 1 p.m. “because of the weather conditions,’’ said UM director of communications Chris Yandle. “It rained in Miami all morning.’’

The university announced Saturday afternoon that it would be closing at 7 p.m. and would remain closed through Monday.

“We will resume operations Tuesday as of now,’’ Yandle said Saturday evening.

The Canes, who will open the season Sept. 1 at Boston College, are also scheduled for a Sunday practice session. Yandle said that session is obviously dependent on the weather as well.

SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST

Four Miami Hurricanes are among 312 seniors named to the 2013 Senior Bowl Watch List, game officials announced.

Senior running back Mike James, cornerback Brandon McGee, defensive tackle Darius Smith and safety Vaughn Telemaque are the UM representatives on the Senior Bowl’s inaugural watch list. The top 100 seniors in the nation will be invited to participate in the 2013 Senior Bowl, which is set for Jan. 26 at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

August 24, 2012

Friday's first 15 for Miami Hurricanes: Quick notes (including Eddie Johnson practicing)

Good morning everyone.

The Hurricanes returned to practice today and are getting into their normal routine for the season, which means they start practice just after 9 a.m. and quit after 11 a.m.

Offensive right tackle Seantrel Henderson wore a white jersey with the No. 74 on it, as opposed to his usual No. 77. But he was practicing.

The other No. 74: Left tackle Ereck Flowers, the true freshman (with the first-team orange jersey) slated to make his first college start in his first college game Sept. 1 at Boston College.

Also, linebacker Gionni Paul, who hurt his knee in fall camp, was in a red jersey today, which means no contact. I saw him run off the field near the end of our viewing period.

The good news regarding the linebacker position is that redshirt freshmen Eddie Johnson, around whom plenty of talk was swirling regarding his status, was practicing.

Wide receiver Allen Hurns, recovering from a head injury, slipped into a yellow (limited) jersey today.

We'll be back at UM in a few minutes to do some interviewing.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

August 23, 2012

Who would you take in a Canes' fantasy draft?

In the spirit of fantasy football draft season, I've decided to come up with a list of the top players at UM in terms of who I believe will provide the most quality production and leadership during the 2012 season.

Again, we haven't seen any of these guys beyond 15 to 30 minute sessions at practice. I'm formulating these rankings based on those brief glimpses and interviews I've done with players and coaches. Basically, if you were to ask me who I would take off this team to try and win, these are the guys I would take in order right now:

Denzel Perryman1. Denzel Perryman, So., LB: I think we took for granted last season the immediate impact this kid provided. He finished second on the team behind Sean Spence with 69 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, a sack and two forced fumbles in 12 games, five starts. Because of the struggles at defensive tackle, Perryman (6-0, 230) could end up getting swallowed at middle linebacker on some plays. But he's UM's best defensive player and in the end whom Mark D'Onofrio will count on heavily to make up for the mistakes of others in his front seven.

2. Anthony Chickillo, So., DE: Again, another guy who made an immediate impact as a true freshman, tying for the team lead in sacks with five and starting nine games. He's head and shoulders above anybody on the defensive line right now and will be the second guy on defense opposing teams focus on taking out of plays. Like Perryman, Chickillo made huge gains in conditioning and strength in the off-season so he won't be pushed around in the least. But at times -- like Perryman -- he could get swallowed up because of double-teams, etc. Still, Chickillo is the best pass rusher on the team and should lead the team in sacks again.

3. Brandon Linder, Jr., RG: He's the glue on UM's best starting unit. If you talk about a guy on the offensive line who is probably irreplaceable, the 6-6, 312-pound former St. Thomas Aquinas standout is that guy. Linder has the most experience of any returning lineman (17 starts) and graded out at 90 percent last season, tied for the best mark on the team. He allowed 1.5 sacks, made only seven mental errors and was flagged five times in 2011. UM can't run the football effectively without him.

4. Stephen Morris, Jr., QB: He shot up my rankings by winning the starting job easily over Ryan Williams and looking as though the back surgery he had was no big deal. We'll see what happens when Morris starts taking hits. But his arm strength and athleticism has never been questioned. It's been the interceptions he's thrown early in his career. Seeing the job Jedd Fisch did with Jacory Harris last season (he finished 19th nationally in passer rating), though, gives me Morris has a bright future ahead of him.

5. Vaughn Telemaque, Sr., S: He never turned out to be the Ed Reed, turnover magnet Randy Shannon said he would be (4 career INTs, 5 career fumble recoveries). But Telemaque has been reliable in terms of tackling (he's been top five on the team three straight seasons) and is the most experienced player on the roster (36 career starts). He's currently ranked 20th at free safety among potential prospects who could get drafted by CBSsports.com. With a Reed-type senior season, Telemaque would drastically improve that and I think with a better supporting cast around him in the secondary, we'll finally see that.

6. Tracy Howard, Fr., CB: I'm sure Brandon McGee and Ladarius Gunter have done all they're supposed to do to put their names above others on the depth chart at cornerback, but this is the guy who makes you hopeful for the future. Howard wore a black jersey a lot during camp and will eventually be on the field as a full-time starter. He was an All-American and the No. 1 player at his position in high school. I've seen him play and believe the hype. He's going to make an impact.

Duke Johnson7. Duke Johnson, Fr., RB: Even if he doesn't get the bulk of the handoffs early, Johnson figures to play a lot on special teams and get his touches because he's explosive. I'm thinking the ball will be in his hands 10 to 15 times a game between handoffs, catches and returns. Like Howard, Johnson is the future of this program and a huge building block moving forward. He's going to be who you want with the ball in their hands as the season goes on.

8. Phillip Dorsett, So., WR: He's the fastest receiver Miami has and my pick to lead the team in receiving this season. At 5-9, 187 pounds, he's the guy who will replace Tommy Streeter as the deep threat. I expect Dorsett to also do a pretty good job with Johnson on kickoff and punt returns.

9. Malcolm Bunche, R-So., LT: The strongest guy on the team with 36 reps of 225 pounds, Bunche is finally healthy enough to where it appears he can be dependable. He's always been fit, trim and athletic. All you worry about with him is experience. Bunche played in eight games last year and started just once against Virginia (at right tackle). Coach Al Golden said he just needs to show consistency. I'm banking on it.

10. Brandon McGee, Sr., CB: Like Telemaque, I'm expecting McGee to take the next step in 2012 and become more of a playmaker. He has one career interception. But being in the dog house with Al Golden and defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio -- as well as the push from the freshmen -- should make him better this season. McGee's tackling abilities are also a bit underrated. He had 38 last season and also had a sack. He's always been lightning fast.

11. Seantrel Henderson, Jr., OT: He's been through a lot this off-season and missed all of camp, but he did look physically good coming into the fall. He was lighter, healthier and appeared to be headed toward a breakout season. Now that he's back at practice and on campus, Henderson should put his troubles aside and start making the trek back. He knows there is a lot of money to be made if he gets his act together. He's still the highest listed player among potential 2013 NFL draft picks (CBSSports.com has him 152nd overall, 13th at OT, 4-5th round pick). In the end, UM is a better team with a good Seantrel Henderson on the field.

12. Rest of UM's starting offensive line: I'm going to cheat and list center Shane McDermott, left guard Jonathan Feliciano and freshman right tackle Ereck Flowers here because to me they're all about the same. Feliciano has more experience having started some last year. But talent-wise and ability he's on par with the other two guys in the starting lineup. As I said earlier, I think the offensive line is the best overall unit on the field for Miami.

> Ranking the rest of the Top 30: 13. RB Mike James (Sr.), 14. WR Allen Hurns (Jr.), 15. CB Ladarius Gunter (Jr.), 16. RB Eduardo Clements (Jr.), 17. LB Ramon Buchanan (Sr.), 18. P Dalton Botts (Sr.), 19. K Jake Wieclaw (Sr.), 20. WR Rashawn Scott (So.), 21. DE Shayon Green (Jr.), 22. TE Asante Cleveland (Jr.), 23. LB Jimmy Gaines (Jr.), 24. S Kacy Rodgers (Jr.), 25. DT Olsen Pierre (So.), 26. S Deon Bush (Fr.), 27. CB Antonio Crawford (Fr.), 28. LB Gionni Paul (So.), 29. DE Jelani Hamilton (Fr.), 30. TE Clive Walford (R-So.).

Grading UM at end of camp: Defense, coaching

Here is the second part of my report card from the end of fall camp focusing on defense and coaching.

Anthony Chickillo
Anthony Chickillo is looking for three quality players to run with him on the defensive line
> Defensive line: Coaches were looking for players to emerge, but it wasn't a stellar fall camp for this group -- particularly at tackle. Redshirt junior Curtis Porter (6-1, 308), whose career has been riddled with injuries, has an off-the-field health issue he's dealing with and its uncertain when he will be back. Senior Darius Smith (6-2, 315), who started seven games last season, lost his starting spot. That's left junior Luther Robinson (6-3, 290) and sophomore Olsen Pierre (6-4, 300) -- with seven career tackles between them -- sitting at the top of the depth chart. Freshmen DeQuan Ivery (6-1, 303) and Earl Moore (6-1, 300) are their backups. The situation at end is a little less dire, even though sophomore Anthony Chickillo (6-4, 262) is the only pass rusher with a college sack under his belt. He had five last year. Juniors Shayon Green (6-3, 260) and Kelvin Cain (6-3, 245), a pair of converted linebackers, have been praised during camp. But beyond those three, only true freshmen Jelani Hamilton (6-5, 271) and Tyriq McCord (6-3, 236) have excited coaches enough to be listed on the depth chart.

Grade: D. Chickillo might feel like a one-man show at times this season unless some other guys step up here. UM ranked 68th in run defense last season, giving up 161.92 yards a game. The Canes also produced just 23 sacks, 59th in the nation. By the way, what happened to sophomore Ricardo Williams? Suddenly he's invisible on the depth chart again.

> Linebackers: The return of second-leading tackler and sophomore Denzel Perryman, who has moved over to the middle, should ease the loss of Steelers' third round pick Sean Spence. But there are plenty of questions at linebacker beyond that. Junior Jimmy Gaines (6-3, 232) has been battling an ankle injury from the spring throughout camp and hasn't locked down a starting spot despite being one of the most experienced players on the field. He's currently Perryman's backup. Fifth-year senior Ramon Buchanan (6-1, 228) is back and the starter at weakside linebacker, but it's unclear how effective he'll really be coming back from knee surgery. Meanwhile, a number of other young, inexperienced players are in the mix for playing time. At strongside linebacker, sophomore Thurston Armbrister (6-3, 222), a converted safety, and redshirt freshman Eddie Johnson (6-1, 238) are listed as co-starters. Johnson, however, may have bowed out of the race recently as it appears he could face disciplinary action. Another player in the mix for playing time, sophomore Gionni Paul (6-1, 230) still doesn't appear to be 100 percent healthy after sustaining a knee injury early in camp. It also hurts that true freshman Raphael Kirby, who had been impressing since the spring, went down with what appeared to be a season-ending knee injury. Freshman Gabe Terry (6-3, 215) could see some third down work as a pass rusher.

Grade: C. Without all the injuries, this group might have had a chance to be real good and deep. But there are a lot of questions now heading into the start of the season. If a converted safety all of a sudden is your starting strongside linebacker you have to be concerned.

Brandon McGee> Defensive backs: UM signed eight defensive backs in their 2012 class and one -- freshman Vernon Davis -- has already left because of how tough the competition is. While senior Brandon McGee (6-0, 194) was in-and-out of Al Golden's doghouse at times in camp, it appears he's solidified a starting spot at field corner. The other guys who will be at corner with him are all new arrivals with the exception of sophomore Thomas Finnie (5-10, 183), who is battling for the backup job at boundary corner. Junior transfer Ladarius Gunter (6-2, 198) has impressed coaches with his ability to break up passes in camp and is the starter there. Former Miramar High All-American Tracy Howard (5-11, 185) wore a black jersey for most of camp and appears as though he's worked himself into the top three at the position. Freshman Antonio Crawford (5-11, 188) has also flashed and is McGee's backup. At safety, fifth-year senior Vaughn Telemaque (33 career starts) will provide more leadership and experience than anyone at any other position. Junior Kacy Rodgers (6-2, 210) has run with the first team throughout camp alongside Telemaque, but has recently gotten a push from 6-1, 195-pound true freshman Deon Bush, an All-American out of Miami Columbus.

Grade: B. No position has improved more dramatically than the secondary. The results may not be immediate in terms of wins and losses because the talent is so young. But in the long run, Miami should be much improved in the coming years. UM ranked 95th in pass efficiency defense last season and produced just 6 INTs while giving up 16 TDs. My guess is the INTs and defensive pass efficiency rating goes up.

> Coaching: For the first time in a long time there wasn't a single coaching change on the staff at Miami from one season to the next. There hasn't been that kind of stability since the last national championship season of 2001. Having the same offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator two years in a row should help a lot. The question on defense is how much assistant Mark D'Onofrio will use a 3-4 scheme instead of a 4-3 scheme. Considering UM's problems at both linebacker and on the defensive line, it will be interesting to see what combinations D'Onofrio uses. Offensively, the Hurricanes should be able to try and stretch the field more with Morris under center and not Jacory Harris.

Grade: A. With all the Hurricanes have had to deal with in terms of the NCAA investigation, for Golden and his staff to still produce a Top 10 recruiting class and get so many freshmen ready to play in a short amount of time Canes fans have to be ecstatic. Golden and his staff have definitely opened the door up to real competition and position battles. The guys who don't like it have moved on. If Golden can improve on last year's 6-6 record with this young, injured team that still is missing quality players at defensive tackle, he will have done a fine job this season. 

Grading UM at end of camp: Offense, special teams

With school starting Wednesday, the Canes getting a day off Thursday, and preparation for Boston College beginning in earnest Friday, here's a closer look at where the team stands position-by-position at the end of camp based on observations and interviews with players and coaches.

Stephen Morris> Quarterbacks: It didn't really take junior Stephen Morris long to wrestle the starting job from sophomore Memphis transfer Ryan Williams. Even before he went out and performed well in the team's first fall scrimmage, Morris (6-2, 214) pretty much had it in the bag by showing his leadership and displaying his physical strength and ability coming off back surgery in the spring. Scouts will tell you Morris has a stronger arm and is a more elusive quarterback than 6-5, 221-pound Williams, who should make for a decent backup because of his accuracy, but at times lumbers in the pocket too long. The key for Morris in keeping the job will be avoiding turnovers. He's thrown seven touchdowns compared to 11 picks in his career. Coach Al Golden said he would like for a third-string quarterback to emerge between freshmen Preston Dewey and Gray Crow. So far, nobody really has, which means both could end up red-shirting if Morris and Williams stay healthy the whole season.

Grade: B. Believe it or not, Jacory Harris finished 19th in the nation last season in passing efficiency (150.61). Now let's see what offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch can do with a quarterback who has a stronger arm. I'm expecting good things from Morris if receivers emerge.

> Running backs: Replacing the team's first 1,000-yard back in a decade in the explosive Lamar Miller won't be easy. But so far senior Mike James (5-11, 220) has received a lot praise in camp. While James will get the bulk of the work early, don't be surprised if true freshman Duke Johnson (5-9, 188) runs past everybody and into the leading role quickly. The former Miami Norland All-American has already worked himself into a backup role alongside junior third-down and short-yardage specialist Eduardo Clements (5-9, 195). Junior Maurice Hagens (5-11, 240) will probably hardly see the field since Miami will rarely be in two-back sets. But when he's in there, he will be the guy opening up holes at fullback.

Grade: B. Miller finished 18th in the country last season in rushing and the Canes finished 71st as a unit. Johnson could eventually provide the same explosion as Miller. But there's no doubt losing Miller hurts. It's like losing your cleanup hitter in baseball. Everyone in the lineup is affected.

> Receivers: The Hurricanes need some youngsters to step up here -- and fast. With last year's top two targets in Tommy Streeter and Travis Benjamin gone, the hope was junior Allen Hurns (6-3, 192) and sophomores Phillip Dorsett (5-10, 185) and Rashawn Scott (6-2, 198) would elevate themselves. But injuries have slowed Hurns and Scott, opening the door for fifth-year seniors Kendal Thompkins (5-10, 182) and Davon Johnson (6-0, 188) to work themselves into the mix. Johnson hasn't caught a pass since 2008. Thompkins has six catches for 66 yards in his career. The only freshman who appears to know the playbook well enough to play is former Miramar High standout Malcolm Lewis (6-0, 192). At tight end, Fisch believes junior Asante Cleveland (6-5, 260) and redshirt sophomore Clive Walford (6-4, 248) can combine for 50 catches. Together, they have 27 catches for 292 yards in their careers. I'm betting on the under.

Grade: C. I've got no doubt Hurns, Dorsett and Scott are talented, but you have to wonder how Thompkins and Johnson -- not good enough to sniff the field in their first four seasons -- are suddenly in the mix for real playing time. This unit worries me the most on offense.

Seantrel Henderson> Offensive line: Junior Seantrel Henderson (6-8, 340) finally made it out for a fall practice on the first day of school Wednesday, but only after missing 21 practices and all of training camp. Henderson, penciled in to be the starting right tackle and the second-most experienced starter on the line (11 starts), has since lost his job to true freshman Ereck Flowers (6-6, 314). What may be more troubling than Henderson's absence (he lost a friend and a relative and was involved in a car accident) and having a true freshman at right tackle, is that Flowers was able to surge past older players such as fourth-year junior Jermaine Johnson (6-6, 318) and fifth-year senior Ben Jones (6-5, 315) with ease. Those two at the moment are the primary backups at tackle and guard on the right and left sides respectively. Outside of that, the starting lineup looks solid with junior right guard Brandon Linder (6-6, 312) and sophomore left guard Jonathan Feliciano (6-5, 314) providing 25 games combined of starting experience. New sophomore starters Shane McDermott (6-4, 295) at center and Malcolm Bunche (6-7, 323) have received solid reviews throughout camp. But staying healthy will be a huge key as it appears quality depth is light. Freshman Danny Isidora (6-4, 320) could be an option later in the year.

Grade: B. Linder, Flowers, McDermott, Feliciano and Bunche should provide a solid starting five and something for opponents to respect. But when Johnson, who was almost switched to defense, and Jones, who hasn't played his entire career, are your sixth and seventh options, it's time to worry a little about depth. Canes fans eager to wave good-bye to Henderson should think twice. Miami, by the way, gave up 19 sacks last year (43rd fewest in the country).

> Special Teams: Punter Dalton Botts, the only Hurricane to make the All-ACC Preseason Team, has been the only player to wear a black jersey from the start of fall camp until the end. He finished season second-best in the ACC in punt average at 42.7 yards per punt last season and should be a strong asset. Senior kicker Jake Wieclaw was 11 of 14 on field goal attempts last year and limited opponents to a 18.6 kick return average, which ranked 13th nationally. With Benjamin gone, UM will turn to Dorsett and Duke Johnson to handle punts and kickoffs. Johnson excelled at it in high school. Dorsett handled four kickoffs and averaged 20.5 yards a return last season as a freshman

Grade: B. Johnson and Dorsett will end up being just as explosive as Miller and Benjamin were in their careers, if not better. Botts and Wieclaw should both have very good senior years. It will be interesting to see how the NCAA kickoff rules change the game. Now, kickoffs are at the 35 and balls that end up in the zone go out to the 25.

August 22, 2012

Wednesday practice report: OT Seantrel Henderson is back, but LB Eddie Johnson...

Very quick notes before I run to meeting.

Just finished with Al Golden and the first 15 minutes of Miami Hurricanes football practice.

Rumors are rampant that there is some type of situation going on with redshirt freshman linebacker Eddie Johnson, who just happens to be a co-first-team outside linebacker with Thurston Armbrister. I'm hearing there is something to those rumors, but I don't want to report anything until it's confirmed -- if it's confirmed.

Golden said Johnson was inside the Hecht Athletic Center and would be coming out shortly. He was not out there during our viewing. We asked about his status and Golden said his status was the same. "Nothing has changed,'' Golden said.

If Johnson's status is in jeopardy, then it appears Armbrister would be the starter, with true freshman Gabe Terry as the backup -- at least that's what the depth chart says. Johnson is listed as 6-1 and 230 pounds. He is from Atlanta, Ga.

* Golden confirmed that cornerback Vernon Davis left the team. "There was no problem,'' Golden said. "He asked for a release and we released him. That's it.''

Davis' high school coach told our Manny Navarro yesterday that Davis was heading to West Virginia to play for the Mountaineers.

* Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson was back at practice today. He has been cleared to play, Golden told us.

*Also cleared to practice for the first time in a long time (maybe all camp) is defensive lineman Cory King.

*We didn't see any players in yellow (limited) jerseys or red (no-contact) jerseys today. That's good news as far as injuries.

* Golden said between 60-65 players will be on the travel roster for Boston College. He will finalize that probably by "Sunday or Monday."

* Golden said cornerback Brandon McGee had his best day of practice during fall camp on yesterday.

* School starts today for the Hurricanes.

"The grind is over,'' Golden said, noting that the players are happy they have off from practice tomorrow. "The grind is over but the process endures. Stay to it. Don't worry about the outside.''

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

August 21, 2012

Davis' high school coach said freshman CB left Canes in search of more playing time

Vernon Davis grew up dreaming of playing for the Miami Hurricanes. But that dream apparently died after a few weeks of training camp.

Vernon DavisThe freshman cornerback from Miami Coral Reef received his release from scholarship Tuesday and according to his former high school coach will be headed to West Virginia on Wednesday morning.

"He just felt like he couldn't trust their coaches anymore," Coral Reef coach Chevas Clements said. "He wasn't happy. He saw how he had slid down the depth chart and how UM was going out and getting all these commitments from guys like [Miami Northwestern's] Artie Burns and [Southridge's] Jamal Carter. When was he going to play?"

Davis, a three-star recruit and former All-Dade First Team selection by The Miami Herald, asked for his release on Friday. Clements said UM coaches tried to convince him to stay. But in the end, Davis' heart was set on leaving.

"At West Virginia they got two walk-ons who are backups," Clements said. "He knows he's got a much better chance to get on the field there."

Clements said Davis was on his way to Coral Reef to fax his information to West Virginia. Per NCAA rules, Davis will sit out the 2012 season.

"He was going to redshirt anyway," Clements said. "Honestly, I would have preferred if he stayed at Miami. I like the coaches there. But he was dead-set against it."

Four of the remaining seven new arrivals in the secondary are expected to make it onto the travel roster: LaDarius Gunter, Tracy Howard, Antonio Crawford and Deon Bush.

Canes freshman CB Vernon Davis has sought release; expected to transfer

Hurricanes freshman cornerback Vernon Davis has requested to be released from his scholarship, The Miami Herald has learned, and is expected to transfer to another school as early as Tuesday afternoon.

A source said Davis, a former standout at Miami Coral Reef, let UM know of his intentions on Friday.

Reached by phone, Davis' mother confirmed her son was considering transferring from the program, but didn't want to elaborate on where he might be considering going.

"Nothing is official yet," Theodofia Davis said. "I'd prefer you talk to him about it."

Davis wasn't listed on the Canes' most recently released depth chart Monday, but remains on the team roster. He was one of eight incoming defensive backs the program signed between January and February.

A UM spokesman said that as of 10:30 a.m. Davis was still on the team. But obviously, things can change quickly.

A three-star recruit according to Rivals, ESPN and Scout.com, Davis was an All-Dade First Team selection by The Miami Herald as a senior.

Stay tuned.

Golden: Final travel roster spots to be decided over next 48 hours; Porter has non-football related health issue

In case you were wondering, the 60-man travel roster for the Hurricanes' season-opener at Boston College Sept. 1 hasn't been set yet. But it pretty much should be in the next 48 hours. 

UM coach Al Golden said Monday was the first round of cuts and hinted that anybody listed on the depth chart with an "OR" next to their name could be battling for one of the last spots. Those who don't make it will go from a contributing role to a supporting role when the team begins to install it's game plan for the Eagles on Friday.

"We have eliminated some guys from the equation and there's another group here who really have to compete here today, this afternoon and tomorrow," Golden said before his team

took the field Tuesday morning for the team's final two-a-day of the fall.

“There’s a lot of guys that are down — they’re not getting as many reps as they were. That’s typical of that. Hopefully guys will respond today. But it’s been a very fun camp. What they lack in age and experience, they’re making up for in want-to and and maturity.”

> Defensive tackle Curtis Porter missed his second consecutive practice Tuesday. Porter was spotted in a yellow, non-contact jersey last week. Asked if this might be a long-term issue, Golden said: "I don't know to be honest with you. It's day-to-day right now in terms of the information I'm getting. He's got a health issue -- it's not football related."

> Receiver Allen Hurns returned to a full-contact jersey Tuesday after being limited or in a non-contact jersey for the past week with a “head injury.” Hurns was catching passes from JUGS machine along with tight end Clive Walford during the 15 minutes the media got to watch of practice. Check out the video below.

> Still no sign of Seantrel Henderson, who has yet to practice fully at camp. Golden wasn't even asked about him on Tuesday.

> As for the freshmen quarterbacks, Golden said he would like for someone to emerge as possibly the team's third quarterback. Golden said Gray Crow started out in front of Preston Dewey, but Dewey has "responded." When asked if the loser will get redshirted, Golden said: "maybe."

"We're looking for those two guys to develop," Golden said. "We don't know at what point we'll need them this year. We definitely need some separation there. We'll see how it shakes out."

August 20, 2012

New Depth Chart Released by Hurricanes; and Quick Hits from Monday Practice

 Good morning.

Monday update after day off for team on Sunday. Scroll to end of this blog for complete depth chart.

Al Golden released his newest depth chart following the abbreviated scrimmage (lightning) on Saturday afternoon.

*The first-team defensive tackles are now sophomore Olsen Pierre and redshirt junior Luther Robinson. Curtis Porter, who started camp with a black jersey, is nowhere to be found. Golden said he has "a health issue'' that UM is being careful with right now, but gave no specifics otherwise. Darius Smith was demoted to second-team behind Luther.

*At outside linebacker, it's Thurston Armbrister OR Eddie Johnson.

*At safety it's Kacy Rodgers on one side OR true freshman Deon Bush on first team.

* Receiver Allen Hurns, who was upgraded from a red (no contact) jersey to yellow (limited) Monday for what he said was a head injury (also didn't elaborate), has an OR between his name and Phillip Dorsett's. Below those guys are senior Davon Johnson OR freshman Malcolm Lewis.

*Another interesting move on the other side. Receiver Kendal Thompkins, a fifth-year senior, is now listed on top with an OR between his name and sophomore Rashawn Scott's.

*At running back, after starter Mike James, there's an OR between Eduardo Clements and Duke Johnson. Johnson, a true freshman, moved up a spot from the last depth chart, with Dallas Crawford moving down to No. 4.

* At cornerback, Brandon McGee remains No. 1 on one side, with Ladarius Gunter on the other. Freshman Tracy Howard is now listed as No. 2 behind Gunter, with an OR between his name and Thomas Finnie's.

OTHER NOTES:

Seantrel Henderson is still not at camp. Golden said he's still on the team, but "has to get his personal house in order.'' Seantrel, of course, isn't on the depth chart.

Yellow (limited) jerseys Monday: WR Hurns, TE Dyron Dye, CB Larry Hope.

Red (no contact) jerseys: DL Cory King.


SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

MIAMI HURRICANES POST-SCRIMMAGE DEPTH CHART
Updated Aug. 20, 2012

  

 OFFENSE
WR 1 ALLEN HURNS -OR- 6-3 192 Jr.
  4 PHILLIP DORSETT
5-10 185 So.
  24 Davon Johnson -OR- 6-0 188 Sr.
  9 Malcolm Lewis 6-0 192 Fr.
LT 79 MALCOLM BUNCHE
6-7 325 RSo.
  55 Ben Jones
6-5 310 Sr.
LG
70 JONATHAN FELICIANO
6-5 314 RSo.
  55 Ben Jones -OR- 6-5 310 Sr.

68 Jeremy Lewis
6-4 316 RSr.
C
62 SHANE MCDERMOTT
6-4 295 RSo.

75 Jared Wheeler
6-5 314 RJr.
RG
65 BRANDON LINDER
6-6 308 JR.
  78 Jermaine Johnson -OR- 6-6 316 RJr.
  63 Daniel Isidora   6-4 320 Fr.
RT 74 ERECK FLOWERS
6-6 314 Fr.
  78 Jermaine Johnson
6-6 316 RJr.
TE 82 ASANTE CLEVELAND 6-5 263 Jr.
  46 Clive Walford 6-4 250 RSo.
  49 Dyron Dye 6-5 255 RJr.
  85 David Perry 6-7 260 RSo.
FB 33 MAURICE HAGENS 5-11 240 Jr.
  43 Sean Harvey 6-4 262 RSo.
QB 17 STEPHEN MORRIS 6-2 214 Jr.
  11 Ryan Williams
6-5 221 RSo.
RB 5 MIKE JAMES 5-11 220 Sr.
  23 Eduardo Clements -OR- 5-9 195 Jr.
  8 Duke Johnson
5-9 188 Fr.
  25 Dallas Crawford
5-10 190 RFr.
WR 83 KENDAL THOMPKINS -OR- 5-10 182
RSr.

80 RASHAWN SCOTT
6-2 198 So.
  86 Herb Waters 6-2 185 Fr.

 

  

 DEFENSE
DE
71 ANTHONY CHICKILLO
6-4 262 So.
  99 Jelani Hamilton 6-5 271 Fr.
DT 93 LUTHER ROBINSON
6-3 288 RJr.
  98 Darius Smith
6-2 315 Sr.

66 DeQuan Ivery
6-1 303 Fr.
DT 91 OLSEN PIERRE
6-4 300 So.
  72 Earl Moore
6-1 300 Fr.
DE
51 SHAYON GREEN
6-3 260 RJr.
  94 Kelvin Cain -OR-  6-3 245 So.

17 Tyriq McCord
6-3 236 Fr.
OLB
34 THURSTON ARMBRISTER -OR- 6-3 222 So.

44 Eddie Johnson
6-1 238 RFr.
  58 Gabe Terry 6-3 215 Fr.
MLB
52 DENZEL PERRYMAN
6-0 229 So.
  59 Jimmy Gaines -OR- 6-3 230 Jr.
  36 Gionni Paul 6-1 230 So.
OLB 45 RAMON BUCHANAN
6-1 226 RSr.
  31 Tyrone Cornileus
6-2 210 Jr.
  57 Nantambu-Akil Fentress 5-9 205 So.
CB 21 BRANDON MCGEE 6-0 194 Sr.
  39 Antonio Crawford
5-11 188 Fr.
S 22 KACY RODGERS II -OR- 6-2 210 Jr.
  2 DEON BUSH 6-1 190 Fr.
  29 Rayshawn Jenkins
6-1 203 Fr.
S 7 VAUGHN TELEMAQUE  6-2 204 RSr.
  30 A.J. Highsmith -OR- 6-0 202 RJr.
  29 Rayshawn Jenins 6-1 203 Fr.
CB 37 LADARIUS GUNTER
6-2 198 Jr.
  3 Tracy Howard -OR- 5-11 185 Fr.
  20 Thomas Finnie 5-10 183 So.

 

  

 SPECIALISTS
P
13 DALTON BOTTS
6-3 205 Sr.
  40 Jake Wieclaw
6-2 193 RSr.
FG 40 JAKE WIECLAW
6-2 193 RSr.
  18 Matt Goudis 6-0 170 RFr.
KO 40 JAKE WIECLAW 6-2 193 RSr.
  18 Matt Goudis 
6-0 170 RFr.
H 13 DALTON BOTTS
6-3 205 Sr.
 
11 Ryan Williams
6-5 221 RSo.
LS
60 SEAN MCNALLY
5-10 214 RJr.

61 Paul Kelly
6-1 262 RSr.
SS
60 SEAN MCNALLY
5-10 214 RJr.

61 Paul Kelly 6-1 262 RSr.
PR
4 PHILLIP DORSETT
5-10 185 So.
  9 Malcolm Lewis
6-0 192 Fr.
KR 4 PHILLIP DORSETT
5-10 185 So.
  8 Duke Johnson
5-9 188 Fr.

 

August 18, 2012

Second and final fall scrimmage cut short because of lightning -- stats not provided by UM

   Had fun at CanesFest. Here's UM's release about Saturday's scrimmage. Practice resumes Monday morning, when we'll talk to Coach Al Golden about what he saw in the short time his players scrimmaged.

Please note that UM did not release any statistics from the scrimmage.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

Lightning Cuts Second #CanesCamp Scrimmage Short

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The second scrimmage of #CanesCamp was expected to be a barometer for the Hurricanes, now only two weeks away from their 2012 season opener at Boston College. Unfortunately for head coach Al Golden and his staff, the team’s intrasquad scrimmage was cut short in the middle of the second quarter due to lightning in the area.

Less than a week after their first scrimmage, Saturday’s orange versus white match-up was less situational and more action-packed. Artificial crowd noise was pumped through speakers during every drive, signature third down music was played to rattle the offense, and referees enforced penalties on both sides to ensure the scrimmage on the Greentree Practice Fields replicated the intensity of a real game.

 Though offensive playmakers impressed in the first scrimmage, standout defensive performances from both the first and second team were the story during Saturday’s abbreviated action. Touchdown runs from Mike James and Duke Johnson, along with a sack in the endzone by Kelvin Cain for a safety, gave the white team a 16-0 lead before the lightning alarm sounded.

 After clearing the field and waiting nearly an hour for the lightning detector signal, the scrimmage was cut short by the coaching staff. The Hurricanes return to the field Mon., Aug. 20, for Day 16 of #CanesCamp.


August 17, 2012

BankUnited CanesFest on tap following closed scrimmage: from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Canes fans can meet and greet their favorite Hurricanes athletes and coaches from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the BankUnited Center on campus in Coral Gables.

The football players will sign autographs, and fans can purchase single-game and season tickets for the upcoming season. UM also will bring out trophies from the UM Sports Hall of Fame, including the National Championship trophy and Heisman Trophy, and allow fans to take photos with them.

As usual, there will be interactive games and inflatables for the kids, and according to a UM release, "fans young and old alike will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run through the smoke.''

 USA Olympics coach Amy Deem, who heads the UM track program and earned some serious gold, will be in attendance.

Of note: The Miami Athletics Ticket Office is moving to the BankUnited Center and will offer fans one free ticket for the Sept. 15 home opener vs. Bethune-Cookman if they buy one. There is no limit on the number of tickets that can be purchased.

Tomorrow's scrimmage is before CanesFest, but again, it is closed to family, friends, media and the public.

And unfortunately, don't expect any substantial statistics to come out of that scrimmage. I think Al Golden is going to withhold the stats this time -- except for maybe a few. We'll see.

Of note from Friday's practice: WR Allen Hurns (head) is still in a no-contact red jersey; DE Anthony Chickillo (sinus infection) was out of his limited yellow jersey and in a regular green one.

Have a safe weekend.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

August 16, 2012

Check out these duds! From Maryland to Notre Dame (Beneficiary: The Miami Hurricanes)

 So, look what Miami is getting in the Notre Dame game. Not just The Irish, but the Irish with attitude -- compliments of adidas.

The Hurricanes got a dose of uniform wackiness at Maryland last season. I think I was the only person on the planet who liked those bizarre Maryland duds.

Here's the statement Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly made about the unis:

“The Shamrock Series is a great opportunity for our football program to play in an exciting venue located in an area with so many Notre Dame fans,” Kelly said. “This year’s game at Soldier Field will be part of an incredible weekend for the University in Chicago and will be a great experience for our team. The players absolutely love the uniforms designed by adidas for this game and they will help make it a memorable night.”

By the way, note that Kelly said "in an area with so many Notre Dame fans.''

Soldier Field is definitely NOT a neutral site for this game. (I changed that line for those of you who thought I even considered that Soldier Field is neutral.)

Maybe the uniforms will help give the Hurricanes an edge.

UM will be wearing its traditional unis, I'm sure to Al Golden's delight.

Addendum: Did you like when MIami wore its Pro Combat unis? Or do you prefer traditional?

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

Ndsham3
Ndsham1

Thursday camp notes: Golden not pleased, Chick in yellow, Hurns in red, few in black

The question was fitting, especially if UM Hurricanes Coach Al Golden needed to light a fire under his weary troops.

"How do you think you guys have done up to this point? Are you guys hitting a wall?"

"They've got to fight through it -- the proverbial wall. There's no light at the end of the tunnel right now. We've got a long way to go. We've got two today, one tomorrow, and then the scrimmage, so we've got a long way to go. We have four next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then we'll break camp.

 "We're not where we need to be right now..."

Golden was asked if this is the hardest part of camp. Fall camp opened Aug. 3, two weeks ago Friday.

"This is it right here,'' Golden answered. "This is the hardest part, this is where teams can get divided with that self-preservation mode set in. Two today, one tomorrow, and then a scrimmage, so we're trying to fight that. We don't want to just survive this portion of camp; we want to thrive, unite and rise above it."

Golden said that "everybody's going through it and we've got to get that selfishness out of our locker room. There's no place for it. It's hard on everybody. It's hard on the coaches, who don't see their families for these two weeks. It's hard on the players, it's hard on everybody that supports them. Having a bad attitude or being negative -- the negativity -- we have to get that out of our building.

"We're not where we need to be yet in terms of that, but we're a lot further than we were last year.''

Golden even pointed out that middle linebacker Denzel Perryman, no longer in a first-team black jersey (only two players had them on Thursday), needs to be pushed through the end of camp so he can "be the playmaker we know he can be.'' The coach said Perryman was "in that little camp rut right now.''

*The only players wearing the  black jerseys Thursday were punter Dalton Botts and defensive end Shayon Green.

* There were several players on offense wearing the first-team orange jerseys.

INJURY REPORT

* DE Anthony Chickillo, an integral part of this defense, was in a yellow jersey for the second consecutive day. Chick told reporters he had a stomach flu yesterday, Golden told us he had a sinus infection. Today, Golden said of Chickillo: "I don't know how much he'll do. If he can handle that then he'll progress back to a jersey.''

* WR Allen Hurns, who Golden raved about this camp, is wearing a no-contact red jersey. "Allen's being held out right now,'' Golden said. "I don't know for how long, but we're just being careful with his head. I don't really discuss the injuries. I'm just telling you it's a head injury ad we're holding him out.''

* LB Gionni Paul (knee) "is doing better,'' Golden said. "I was pleased that he fought through the [special teams] scrimmage.''

GONE AGAIN

Junior OT Seantrel Henderson was not at camp again (yesterday, too). Coach told us Henderson left Wednesday for another funeral in Minnesota, but I think at this point he is strictly focusing on who is at camp, not who is missing.

"He's definitely not back today. He's not cleared yet. He's home right now. I'll let you guys know when he's cleared and when he's back. Obviously this is practice 15 or 16. He hasn't taken any of them yet.''

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

August 15, 2012

D'Onofrio: Biggest concern at linebacker is continuity; compares finding right combination to solving 'Rubik's cube'

Got a chance to speak to defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio Wednesday for a quick one-on-one conversation about the state of his linebackers, who have been hobbled by injuries throughout camp.

With the season set to begin on Sept. 1 is D'Onofrio worried he might not have enough talent or depth?

"The only thing I'm concerned about is getting the continuity we want by having three starters and three backups and guys who may be involved as role players, special teams. Just getting that thing set," D'Onforio said. "We've had a lot of mix and match lineups throughout camp. Unfortunately, I went through it last year at all positions. So, there's always a silver lining. When this happens you create depth at multiple positions. Guys have to play. Anytime you go through this you're creating more layers of depth that are solving problems. Now, if you get a situation during the season, it's quicker to solve the problem. You're not not scrambling on a Monday to figure out who you can plug where. That said, we're still a ways away from the game. We got some guys coming back. Hopefully we'll get some continuity over the five or six practices here and have it look the way we want it to look."

When UM released it's most recent depth chart, sophomore Thurston Armbrister (6-3, 222) was listed at first team at strongside linebacker along with sophomore Denzel Perryman (middle linebacker) and senior Ramon Buchanan (weakside). While D'Onofrio is certainly happy with the growth Armbrister has displayed over the first 14 prctices of camp, the more likely scenario is junior Jimmy Gaines, who is currently listed as the backup to Perryman in the middle and who has experience playing all three positions will end up starting for the Canes Sept. 1.

But Armbrister, a former safety, has worked himself into a role at the very least.

"He's a guy who I think is going to help us, provide depth for us. I think he can be a factor in different packages in third down and obviously he has to do a great job on special teams," D'Onofrio said.

"The thing that surprised me about Thurston is he's a long guy who plays with great leverage. He's got long legs, limbs. I think he's going to be really big. He can play up on the tight end and do a good job in space and he's tough and he's physical. But he's learning. It was one of those moves where you go ahead and take a look at it and feel like you hit it on pretty good. "

Beyond his veterans and Armbrister, D'Onforio said he thinks redshirt freshman Eddie Johnson "is extremely talented. He has all the skills you would look for and he understands the defense. So I think he'll help us.

"Gionni [Paul] is a guy who has a year under his belt. Again, these are just guys who have been banged up, so they haven't gotten as much [reps] as we've wanted at this point and were held out of the scrimmage. We're just trying to put it all together.

"It's like a big rubic's cube right now. But we do have enough guys right now that can play for us and help us win. It's just a matter of getting them all healthy at the same time and getting them in the right spots. That's what we're working on in the next six days."

MORE TIDBITS

> UM coach Al Golden said while Kirby's injury will not require surgery, "he will be out awhile." Kirby was spotted on crutches and wearing a hard cast on his right leg from the knee down on Wednesday.

"Crushed," Golden said of his own reaction to the injury. "Great kid. Worked really hard. I think knowing his work ethic and character I wouldn't rule out him from coming back this season. Maybe he'll have a chance to come back midseason."

Still, Golden said MRIs have to be performed, so he isn't 100 percent if that will be possible.

> Defensive end Anthony Chickillo was practicing in a yellow jersey for limited contact Wednesday. Chickillo told me he had a stomach flu. But Golden said he heard something about a sinus infection. Either way, Chickillo expects to be out a couple days. He said he's taking medicine.

> UM had a special teams scrimmage Tuesday afternoon and Golden said freshmen Malcolm Lewis and Duke Johnson each had punt returns for touchdowns. Punter Dalton Botts also looked strong, Golden said. Safeties Kacy Rodgers and Deon Bush had great days in special teams coverage, Golden said.

> Turns out Armbrister got his first name Thurston from his grandmother, who happened to be a big fan of Gilligan's Island and Thurston Howell III. Armbrister, by the way, said he has an older brother who was a walk-on at Florida State.

As for his own recruitment to Miami, Armbrister was a late summer addition in 2011. His other offer: Northern Colorado.

"I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder, something to prove because people didn't think I could do it," Armbrister said. "A lot of schools didn't give me a chance."

> While coaches have been hoping for someone to break out at defensive tackle, D'Onforio told me: "I think it's going to be a group by committee as opposed to saying we have an elite guy or an elite star. We need some young guys who came in to keep improving."

D'Onofrio said freshman Dequan Ivery, listed by mistake as the starter, "flashed in Sunday's scrimmage" and has stood out among the freshmen defensive tackles.

"At defensive end, Chickillo, Shayon Green, Kelvin Cain have played a lot. I think we're looking to get something else, too," D'Onofrio said. "It's going to be a common theme -- guys who have been around and guys who haven't -- mixing and matching. I think that's good. We're not going to lose many guys from this defense and they'll keep growing."

Freshman LB Kirby has hard cast on right leg; Golden hopeful he will return midseason

Freshman linebacker Raphael Kirby, injured in Sunday's scrimmage, was seen walking onto campus on crutches Wednesday morning. Kirby had a hard cast from his knee down on his right leg.

UM coach Al Golden said before practice that the injury will not require surgery and that he hopes Kirby will be back mid-season. 

Before getting injured, Kirby had been running on the second team at middle linebacker behind Denzel Perryman.

We'll have more from Wednesday's practice shortly.