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44 posts from September 2012

September 30, 2012

Polls: Canes still aren't Top 25 worthy yet

Both the Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches Top 25 rankings were released just a little while ago and as expected the Hurricanes remained in the "others receiving votes" category.

UM, coming off a wild 44-37 win over N.C.State Saturday, picked up more votes in both polls -- a total of four votes in the AP and 17 votes in the Coaches poll.

The Hurricanes (4-1, 3-0) take on ninth-ranked Notre Dame (4-0) next Saturday night in Chicago. If UM beats the Irish there is little doubt the Canes will crack the Top 25 in both polls.

September 29, 2012

Gameday blog: N.C. State at Miami

MIAMI GARDENS -- The ACC Coastal Division-leading Miami Hurricanes (3-1, 2-0) are taking on the N.C. State Wolfppack (3-1, 0-0 ACC) today at noon at Sun Life Stadium on ESPNU.

Feel free to participate in our CoverItLive.com chat below. All you need to do is sign in with your email address.

STORYLINES
> The Canes are coming off a thrilling 42-36 overtime win at Georgia Tech.
> N.C. State has won three in a row since opening the season with a 35-21 loss to Tennessee. The Wolfpack beat UConn 10-7, South Alabama 31-7 and The Citadel 52-14.
> This is the first meeting between UM and N.C. State since 2008.

INJURIES/SUSPENSIONS: The Hurricanes come into the game without starting middle linebacker Denzel Perryman (ankle). Linebacker Raphael Kirby (knee) is back this week. N.C. State will be without OT Rob Crisp (lower back), OT Andrew Wallace (foot), HB James Washington (ankle).

September 27, 2012

Official UM Canes injury report for NC State: There's a probable! And where's Dalton Botts?

 

The official ACC UM Hurricanes injury report for North Carolina State has been released.

OF NOTE:

*Punter Dalton Botts is not on this report, which is curious. Keep in mind that last week, Vaughn Telemaque (knee) was not listed on the report and did not play. Vaughn really wasn't totally ready to go, per some UM people in the program. I don't expect Dalton to play, but as I've said before, we'll see.

*Defensive back Andrew Swasey is also not listed on this report. But coach Al Golden said Tuesday that Andrew "is back.'' (Golden also said linebacker Gabe Terry is back)

*We have a probable this week, and that's good news for Miami. Linebacker Raphael Kirby, who has yet to get in a game, worked more than coaches thought he would this week in practice. If he plays, it probably will be on a limited basis.

*Middle linebacker Denzel Perryman is out, as expected.

Probable:

Raphael Kirby-Lower extremity

 

Out:

Denzel Perryman-Lower Extremity

 

Surgery/Out for the season:

Ramon Buchanan-Lower Extremity

Malcolm Lewis-Lower Extremity

Sean McNally-Lower Extremity

 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

September 26, 2012

UM live Q&A with Manny Navarro

Chat with Herald Sports writer Manny Navarro from 4:30 until 5:30 p.m. today. Leave your questions below in the comments section and he will answer them there and during the live chat.

UM's Wednesday practice report: Kirby continues to improve; no leaders emerging at offensive tackle

Hurricanes coach Al Golden told reporters after Wednesday's practice his team’s energy “wasn’t good enough.”

Asked if it might be a byproduct of the team relaxing coming off a big win at Georgia Tech, Golden said: “I don’t really care because all I’m worried about is today, so it’s really important that our guys just get better today, everybody check the boxes today, attention to detail, and the rest of it will take care of itself.”

After spending all last week preparing for the Yellow Jackets’ spread option attack, UM is now focused facing a more conventional offense in NC State.

“The transition’s hard,” he said. “We tried to wash that out, flush that out on Monday, and here we are on Wednesday and we got most of the game plan, if not all of it, in.”

Freshman linebacker Raphael Kirby practiced more than expected on Tuesday and Golden said Wednesday that Kirby’s health continues to improve. Asked if he would play in Saturday's game Golden said: “We’ll look at it on tape, but he’s making progress and he’s moving in the right direction for sure.” 

Golden would not indicate any leaders in the position battles at either offensive tackle spots. Ereck Flowers and Ben Jones are currently listed as co-starters at right tackle, and Malcolm Bunche and Seantrel Henderson are fighting for reps at left tackle.

“They’ve got to keep fighting and be consistent,” Golden said. “All of them should play.”

Golden did not specify either if a receiver would receive an increase in reps with Malcolm Lewis sidelined for the season after the gruesome ankle injury he suffered late in the first quarter in Atlanta this past Saturday. But he did mentioned freshman Herb Waters and fifth-year senior Kendal Thompkins as candidates for the job.

Golden has a track record with Tom O’Brien, head coach at NC State, that dates back to the 90’s. He was linebackers coach at Boston College from 1997-1999 under O’Brien and a graduate assistant at Virginia for three years prior while O’Brien was offensive coordinator there.

Golden says, however, familiarity with the opposing coach will not help him this week. What he’s seen from O’Brien thus far this year deviates from what he would expect.

“On offense, it looks different,” Golden said. “Each team is different for him. He does things with [quarterback Mike] Glennon that he wouldn’t do with [Russell] Wilson… So, again, there’s not too much familiarity in terms of what they’re going to do.”

-- DAVID FURONES

September 25, 2012

Quick UM Canes recap from today's press conference with Golden: Not so good on Denzel, iffy on Dalton, good on some others.

University of Miami coach Al Golden addressed the media today at his weekly news conference.

Here are the points you need to know:

*Middle linebacker Denzel Perryman, who suffered a high-ankle sprain against Bethune Cookman, is still in a boot and is not expected to play against North Carolina State. Golden said if he had to say now whether Denzel will play Saturday, the answer would be "No.''

*Golden still has hopes that punter Dalton Botts, who also has an ankle sprain -- but not a high-ankle sprain -- will play Saturday. Golden expects Botts to try punting later this week. If I had to take an educated guess, I'd say he doesn't play, but maybe he's a fast healer. Either way, the coach said he is having usual kicker Jake Wieclaw and redshirt freshman Matt Goudis (I wrote about him today in The Miami Herald) compete with each other as if Botts is not playing Saturday. Keep in mind that Wieclaw has not punted since high school. Wieclaw is a fifth-year senior.

   When asked what his reaction was to Wieclaw missing the 22-yard field goal at Georgia Tech the other day, Golden said "shocked.'' He didn't want to elaborate on what, if anything, went wrong mechanically. It might have had to do with the complete operation. Backup quarterback Ryan Williams became the holder when Dalton Botts got hurt. Botts is the usual holder. Also, Paul Kelly is the new snapper since Sean McNally's season ended with an injury against Bethune-Cookman.

* Golden said safety Vaughn Telemaque, linebacker Gabe Terry and defensive back Andrew Swasey will be back this week. But at safety, A.J. Highsmith is still expected to start opposite Deon Bush.

* Golden said freshman linebacker Raphael Kirby, who has been injured and has yet to play, practiced a lot more Tuesday than Golden had expected he would.

* Golden and Art Kehoe heaped praise on senior right tackle Ben Jones, who participated in more than 50 plays at Georgia Tech and graded out very high.

Of note: Offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson nicked himself in the ribs area, or side, during the Georgia Tech game. Offensive line coach Art Kehoe said he's fine now.

Also: Right tackle Ereck Flowers also was nicked up in that game. He's supposed to be OK, too.

Don't forget about tickets to NC State selling for $9 if you purchase them at the BankUnited Center ticket office BEFORE 9 a.m. There is a limit of those tickets available for that price, but as of right now, there are still tickets left.

Step right up!

SUSAN MILLER GAME

 

 

 

September 24, 2012

New UM Canes Depth Chart with your Monday morning coffee: Seantrel Henderson now a co-first-team starter

Good morning.

Miami just released its newest depth chart on the heels of that impressive win over Georgia Tech and heading into North Carolina State week.

* Seantrel Henderson is now listed as the co-first-team left tackle with Malcolm Bunche.

* Ben Jones, who coach Al Golden said had a really good game and graded a 90 percent at right tackle against the Yellow Jackets, is now co-first-team right tackle with Ereck Flowers.

* Rashawn Scott takes the place of starting wide receiver Malcolm Lewis, who is out for the season with the ankle injury he sustained Saturday.

* Jake Wieclaw is still listed as a backup to injured punter Dalton Botts (sprained ankle, but not high-ankle sprain, according to Golden), though I doubt Botts plays Saturday. Again, we'll see. Also, Golden told us last evening that young kicker Matt Goudis has punted better than Jake in practice. He didn't do that well in his only punt Saturday, but it was his first shot.

Here's the full depth chart, per UM:

 OFFENSE
WR 80 Rashawn Scott 6-2 190 So.
  86 Herb Waters
6-2 185 Fr.
LT 79 Malcolm Bunche -OR-
6-7 325 RSo.
  77 Seantrel Henderson
6-8 340 Jr.
LG
70 Jon Feliciano
6-5 314 RSo.

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 Danny Isidora 6-4 320 Fr.
RT 74 Ereck Flowers -OR-
6-6 314 Fr.
  55 Ben Jones
6-5 310
Sr.
TE 49 Dyron Dye
6-5 255 RJr.
  46 Clive Walford 6-4 250 RSo.
  82 Asante Cleveland
6-5 263 Jr.
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.
  8 Duke Johnson 5-9 188 Fr.
  23 Eduardo Clements
5-9 195 Jr.
WR 4 Phillip Dorsett
5-10
185
So.

83 Kendal Thompkins
5-10 182 RSr.
WR 1 Allen Hurns
6-3
192 Jr.
  24 Davon Johnson
6-0 188 Sr.

 

  

 DEFENSE
DE
71 Anthony Chickillo
6-4 262 So.
  99 Jelani Hamilton 6-5 271 Fr.
DT 98 Darius Smith
6-2 315 Sr.
  72 Earl Moore -OR- 6-1 300 Fr.
  92 Jalen Grimble
6-2 295 So.
DT 91 Olsen Pierre
6-4 300 So.
  67 Corey King -OR- 6-1 295 RFr.
  93 Luther Robinson 6-3 288 RJr.
DE
51 Shayon Green
6-3 260 RJr.
  94 Kelvin Cain -OR-  6-3 245 So.

17 Tyriq McCord
6-3 236 Fr.
OLB
44 Eddie Johnson 6-1 238 RFr.

34 Thurston Armbrister
6-3 222 So.
  58 Gabriel Terry 6-3 215 Fr.
MLB
59 Jimmy Gaines
6-3 230 Jr.
  36 Gionni Paul 6-1 230 So.
OLB 31 Tyrone Cornileus 6-2 210 Jr.
  59 Jimmy Gaines
6-3 230 Jr.
  57 Nantambu Fentress 5-9 205 So.
CB 20 Thomas Finnie
5-10 183 So.
  3 Tracy Howard
5-11 185 Fr.
S 2 Deon Bush 6-1 190 Fr.
  22 Kacy Rodgers II
6-2 210 Jr.
S 30 A.J. Highsmith
6-0 202 RJr.
  7 Vaughn Telemaque 6-2 204 RSr.
  29 Rayshawn Jenkins 6-1 203 Fr.
CB 21 Brandon McGee
6-0 194 Sr.
  39 Antonio Crawford -OR-
5-11
188 Fr.
  37 Ladarius Gunter 6-2 198 Jr.

 

  

 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
61 Paul Kelly 6-1 262 RSr.
SS
61 Paul Kelly
6-1 262 RSr.

65 Brandon Linder 6-6 308 Jr.
PR
4 Phillip Dorsett 5-10 185 So.
  8 Duke Johnson 5-9 192 Fr.
KR 4 Phillip Dorsett
5-10 185 So.
  8 Duke Johnson
5-9 188 Fr.

 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

September 23, 2012

UM Canes WR Malcolm Lewis "done'' for season; Punter Dalton Botts has sprained ankle

Just got off the phone from teleconference with UM coach Al Golden:

*Wide receiver Malcolm Lewis is "done'' for the season, but Golden said he believes Lewis will qualify for a medical hardship waiver. That would be great and it would mean this year would count as a redshirt year. Golden said he's leaving it up to compliance to make the final decision on whether Lewis qualifies. Miami would have to apply for the medical hardship waiver.

Golden told us that in addition to the dislocation of Malcolm's ankle, "there's probably a fracture involved'' and that Malcolm will certainly have "some type of procedure done.'' I'm thinking he means surgery, so I asked the coach if that's what he meant. He said he feels uncomfortable discussing players' injuries, so he didn't expound.

*Punter Dalton Botts sprained his right ankle, Golden said, but the coach said it's not a high-ankle sprain, which is good. He said he's hoping Botts can maybe start kicking Thursday. I have a strong feeling Dalton will not be kicking this week. But let's see.

*Golden said he hopes fans will show up for this Saturday's noon game at Sun Life Stadium. The opponent: North Carolina State (3-1). This will be NC State's first ACC game. The Wolfpack's only loss came in the opener to Tennessee by a score of 35-21.

*Freshman running back Duke Johnson is ranked No. 1 in the nation in all-purpose yards. He is averaging 209.5 per game. DUUUUKE!

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

Come-from-behind win at Georgia Tech proves these Canes have heart

It was one thing for the Hurricanes to rally back from a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter at Boston College in the season opener. What UM did against Georgia Tech Saturday was much different. It was on another level.

How many teams blow a 19-zip lead, give up 36 unanswered points, and come back from 17 points down late in the third quarter to win in overtime on the road at a conference opponent? Not many.

That's why UM coach Al Golden was running around Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday night like the late Jim Valvano -- just looking for someone to embrace. How excited was Golden that his team pulled off a 42-36 come-from-behind victory? Canes mascot Sebastian the Ibis may end up on this week's injury report with an upper extremity because of the chest bump Golden gave him. "I hope that's not on YouTube," Golden quipped afterward, trying to dry himself from the ice bath he took.

This Miami team still has a long way to go. Great teams don't blow 19-point leads and give up 36 straight points to anybody. But teams with real heart don't ever give up either. That's what Golden has established with this group -- a team with a real heartbeat. A team with no quit.

Couldn't say that last year. It took Golden 16 games to weed out the bad apples, for guys to completely buy in. But that's what's finally happened. The result of that long process is what we saw Saturday.

Are the Canes back? No. Until they start playing defense for four quarters they won't be a real BCS bowl contender. But is UM ready to contend for a Coastal Division title? Maybe. They're in first place.

But we'll find out a lot more about them this coming Saturday when they host N.C. State at Sun Life Stadium. First place teams don't lose at home to conference foes that aren't ranked. Instead, they go on winning streaks. That's the next step. Three wins in a row? Never happened under Golden here. But opportunity knocks. When the Canes answer that bell then you can really start to feel good about this team.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Hard to go with one guy because so many had career days, but Anthony Chickillo gets it in my eyes. The sophomore defensive end finished with a career high seven tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack and pretty much helped UM's defense regain its footing in the fourth quarter. Without Chickillo's big stops, Georgia Tech doesn't end up in 2nd and 3rd and longs and UM's defense probably doesn't get off the field. Chick was huge.

PLAY OF THE GAME: So many great ones to choose from. Rashawn Scott's leaping 25-yard catch on 3rd and 8 at the Georgia Tech 40 before UM scored to make it 36-29 stands out and deserves honorable mention. So does Phillip Dorsett's 65-yard touchdown catch. That set the tone for the day. But no play was bigger than Eddie Johnson's fourth and inches stop at the 1-yard line. Tech quarterback Tevin Washington was in perfect position to slip past the Canes' defense for a third touchdown. But Johnson, who finished with a team-high nine tackles, was right there to shut the door because he stuck with his assignment. As Golden pointed out, Georgia Tech probably converts that play 95 percent of the time.

OFFENSE: The Canes churned out 609 yards of total offense -- the team's most since they crushed McNeese State back in 2000. This wasn't McNeese State. This was a pretty good Al Groh defense. Quarterback Stephen Morris wasn't perfect. He continued missing a few open receivers and got picked when he under threw Scott on a go route. But he still had a career day with 436 yards and two touchdowns (the last UM QB to throw for 400 was Ken Dorsey back in 2002). Morris engineered a gutsy 8 play, 91 yard scoring drive at the end of regulation and helped UM's offense finish 11 of 16 on third down conversions -- most of those of the 3rd and long variety. Mike James? Career day with 89 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Dorsett (9 catches, 184 yards, 1 TD and Davon Johnson (7-107) each had career days while Allen Hurns tried to battle back in his first game back from injury. The offense line? Didn't give up a sack. Ben Jones saw the most action he ever has in a Canes uniform and Seantrel Henderson once again manned both sides of the tackle spot. Except for two turnovers, you couldn't have asked for a better day. GRADE: A-

DEFENSE: It was another up-and-down afternoon for Mark D'Onofrio's group. The first quarter and fourth quarter were spectacular. The second and third quarters were miserable. The bottomline: D'Onofrio's D got just enough stops not to be the reason why UM lost this game. The Canes didn't force any turnovers. But they got pressure on Washington the few times he dropped back to throw (he was 3 of 8 for 132 yards) and held Georgia Tech almost 90 yards below their season average in rushing with 287 yards. UM produced eight tackles for loss. Chickillo and Johnson had huge days. So did Jimmy Gaines, who did a stellar job filling in for Denzel Perryman at middle linebacker. Gaines had seven tackles and nearly came up with a huge interception. Brandon McGee and Kacy Rodgers each had six tackles and constantly came up from the secondary to make big stops. Saturday's effort wasn't a masterpiece. Georgia Tech had four plays go for more than 30 yards and two passes go for 50 yards plus. But it was good enough when it counted and much better than I thought it would be. GRADE: B.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Except for a 46-yard kickoff return by Duke Johnson, this was definitely the one area the Canes struggled. Jake Wieclaw missed a chip shot field goal and booted a kickoff out of bounds. The coverage teams were dreadful. The Yellow Jackets' Jamal Golden twice returned punts much further than he should have and Orwin Smith made up for his bonehead safety with a couple nice returns. Now, the Canes have another problem on their hands. All-ACC punter Dalton Botts could be out awhile. He hurt his ankle and was on crutches Saturday. Matt Goudis got off an ugly 37-yard line drive punt filling in for Botts that led to a long a return. The Canes have work to do this week here. GRADE: D.

STOCK RISING
> WR Davon Johnson:
 With Malcolm Lewis going down, Johnson's opportunities figure to expand. So far, he's proven he's reliable, making big catches left and right. Johnson's development is another feather in the cap of Golden and his staff. Basically, he's another guy that did nothing under Randy Shannon's staff and suddenly has proven he can help.
> OT Ben Jones: Another guy who can fall into that category if he starts contributing more. Jones played lot in the second half. Golden said it was due to guys being banged up. At least Jones didn't make any major mistakes Saturday.

STOCK SLIPPING
> CB Tracy Howard: He didn't make a tackle and I'm not sure I ever really saw him get into the game. Word has it Howard may have had some words with D'Onofrio a week ago. Golden said last week Howard had to freelance a little less. Needless to say it's a situation to keep an eye on.

September 22, 2012

VIDEO: Mike James, Duke Johnson, Davon Johnson, Stephen Morris reaction to the Georgia Tech win

ATLANTA -- Here is a little post-game video from a happy Canes team after their 42-36 come-from-behind win at Georgia Tech.

Gameday blog: Miami at Georgia Tech

ATLANTA -- The Miami Hurricanes (2-1, 1-0) are taking on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-1, 1-1 ACC) today at 3 p.m. The game can be seen on a variety of networks. Locally, it's on SunSports.

Feel free to participate in our CoverItLive.com chat below. All you need to do is sign in with your email address.

STORYLINES
> The Canes are coming off a 38-10 win at home over Bethune-Cookman and have won three in a row in the series against Georgia Tech by at least 16 points in each game. But UM heads into this game 14-point underdogs because a lot of the guys who have shutdown the Yellow Jackets on defense are no longer around. UM has just 5 starters back on defense from last year's team that beat Georgia Tech 24-7 at Sun Life Stadium.
> The Yellow Jackets are coming off back to back wins over Presbyterian and Virginia in which they've scored more than 50 points. The Ramblin' Wreck are averaging 374 yards per game on the ground and have a much bigger and aggressive offensive line than in year's past. They also rank in the Top 25 in all major defensive categories and run a unique 3-4 defense UM doesn't face often. Georgia Tech's only loss was a 20-17 defeat in overtime at Virginia Tech.

INJURIES/SUSPENSIONS: The Hurricanes come into the game without starting middle linebacker Denzel Perryman (ankle). Safety Vaughn Telemaque (knee) and receiver Allen Hurns (concussion) are back for UM this week.

CANES TO WATCH
> Seantrel Henderson may get his first start of the season today at tackle. Junior Jimmy Gaines and sophomore Gionni Paul will try to fill in for Perryman at middle linebacker.

QUICK NOTES
> Georgia Tech has not allowed a point in the second or third quarters this season. The Yellow Jackets are outscoring opponents 52-0 in those two quarters.
> Tech opponents have scored a combined 43 points this season, with 15 of those points coming on the game’s last play from scrimmage or in overtime.
> Three of the ACC’s top 10 rushers are Yellow Jackets: Tevin Washington (t-2nd), Zach Laskey (6th) and Orwin Smith (10th).
> Tech will be facing one of the ACC’s top offensive threats Saturday in Miami’s Duke Johnson, who leads the ACC in scoring, touchdowns and all-purpose yards, and is tied for second in rushing.

September 20, 2012

Official #UM #Canes Injury Report for Georgia Tech Game is in...

Here's the official injury report, per University of Miami, for Saturday's 3 p.m. Georgia Tech game:

Out:

LB Denzel Perryman-Lower Extremity

DB Andrew Swasey-Lower Extremity

LB Raphael Kirby-Lower Extremity

DT Curtis Porter-Upper Extremity

 

Surgery/Out for the season:

LB Ramon Buchanan-Lower Extremity

Snapper Sean McNally-Lower Extremity

 

Next injury report will be Monday after the Georgia Tech game.

 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 


September 19, 2012

VERY QUICK HITS FROM PRACTICE: INJURY NEWS

Just got my 15 minutes in at University of Miami practice.

Here's what I saw:

*Defensive end Shayon Green (right knee) came out in a yellow (limited) jersey and did seem to be practicing. Green, who leads the Hurricanes in tackles with 23, was examined on a sideline table during the Bethune-Cookman game. He previously tore the ACL of that right knee twice while at Miami.

   When we asked him why trainers wrapped that knee in thick bandages during the Bethune game, he said that his regular brace wasn't fitting right. ...?

    However, even if Shayon bruised the knee and it's not really a bad injury, keep in mind that coaches, to be prudent, could be taking precautionary measures by limiting his contact. Makes sense.

* Safety Vaughn Telemaque (left knee) was sidelined for the first part of practice, with the bad knee in what appeared to be an elasticized brace. He did join the others afterward. He was in the usual green jersey for the defensive players.

*Wide receiver Allen Hurns (concussion or previous concussion?) was practicing in a yellow (noncontact) jersey, as was fellow wideout Kendal Thompkins. If you recall, Thompkins was examined on the sideline during the Bethune-Cookman game.

*Defensive back Andrew Swasey and linebacker Raphael Kirby were in red (no contact) jerseys today. Swasey was also injured in the Bethune game.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

Eye On The U live Q&A: With Susan Miller Degnan

Come talk with Miami Herald Hurricanes beat writer Susan Miller Degnan this afternoon at 2 p.m. in our first live chat of the year.

Susan will be fielding Canes questions from to 2-3 p.m. in the comments section below.

Feel free to leave them now before lunch and she will get them as soon as the chat begins.

This will become a regular feature on the blog moving forward every Wednesday at 2 p.m.

September 18, 2012

Hurns, Telemaque expected back for Georgia Tech

Good news from today's press conference with Al Golden.

It looks like receiver Allen Hurns and safety Vaughn Telemaque will both be back for Saturday's game at Goergia Tech.

The bad news: middle linebacker Denzel Perryman is definitely out this week, Golden said.

But the return of Hurns, UM's leading receiver before he sustained another concussion at Kansas State two weeks ago, and Telemaque, a three-year starter at safety has to help UM heading into a tough, tough game.

"Hurns is back," Golden said when recapping the changes to the team's depth chart. "There's a good chance you can write in Vaughn depending on how it goes tomorrow. Gionni Paul has been playing inside with Jimmy Gaines [with Perryman out]. They're competing right now.

"[Telemaque] did a lot today. He did more than I thought he would do. So, there's a good chance, hopefully we'll see how he responds and hopefully there is a good chance we'll have him."

Golden spoke for a little more than 20 minutes about the Yellow Jackets in all and Saturday's game 'a big test."

"After studying them the last 48 hours, this is a complete team," Golden said. "Very experienced, very mature team. Obviously 50 points back-to-back on offense, averaging 365 yards rushing. Veteran leader in [Tevin] Washington at quarterback. Explosive players on the perimeter.Right now, I think the biggest difference with Georgia Tech is how physical they are and how rugged they are on both sides of the line and how mature they are. On defense, [they] haven't allowed a rushing touchdown. Personnel, they look like [defensive coordinator Al] Groh would want them. They're long, they're physical. They're linebackers are 235 pounds plus. They're 6-6 at the ends and the nose is about 345 pounds. So big and physical group. They give you multiple fronts. Very aggressive linebacker core. They give your playmakers trouble. The biggest change is how aggressive they are in the back end and how they're challenging receivers on the perimeter. Again, it's going to be a great test. We're excited about the opportunity."

MORE NOTES

> Golden said fourth-string running back Dallas Crawford has a done a good job this week as the scout team quarterback to prepare the Hurricanes for what they'll see. Defensively -- as usual with the spread option -- the key is assignment football.

"We just have to worry about everybody doing their job," Golden said. "You're going to have to really execute and find a way to take the ball away. They're excellent at the time of possession game. I think the biggest change right now is how explosive they are. They're scoring quickly and they're making teams play from behind. But clearly for us on defense, it has to be assignment football. We have to be able to keep our poise. There's some nuances that will show up in our game that will not show up in the previous three and we have to be able to adjust to it.

"With Denzel [Perryman] down, we're going to need guys some guys to step up. Jimmy Gaines and Gionni Paul are going to have to step up. And some of those guys that have been on that field versus this look in the past -- Tyrone Cornelius, [Kelvin] Cain, Darius Smith, Shayon [Green], [Anthony] Chickillo, [Brandon] McGee -- those guys are going to have to step up for us and do really well."

> Golden said quarterback Stephen Morris has to do a better job completing passes downfield in games like he does in practice. "There's nothing in practice that says it shouldn't translate to the game," Golden said. "We just have not connected on as many as I would like. Certainly, Saturday we didn't connect on some we should have hit."

Golden said Morris is going to have to do a good job recognizing Georgia Tech's fronts this week. "We're going to have to do a better job of protecting Stephen. They really got to the young man from man from Virginia a lot and got him rattled in the pocket," Golden said. "It's going to be important we protect him and get in the right play for Stephen."

> Golden said the number of times Duke Johnson has been touching the ball has been fine. He wants more out of his other playmakers.

"There's a number of guys I'd like to see us get the ball too more. Phillip Dorsett more. Hurns. Malcolm Lewis. Rashawn [Scott]. Mike James. Again, I keep challenging Clive to take that next step. Clive didn't factor into that game as much I wanted even though he played hard. We got to start making him available," Golden said. "I don't want us to be a one dimensional team on offense. We had a lot of guys touch the ball the other day. We need more explosive plays when guys touch the ball."

> Golden said using Duke Johnson in punt return situations isn't something he foresees right now.

"I like Phillip [Dorsett]," Golden said. "I think Phillip does a good job. Again, you got a glimpse of Malcolm [Lewis] the other day. If he would have trusted it, he probably would have had another one. I don't want to use Randy as a punt returner right now. He can do it, [though]. He practices."

> Golden said left guard Jonathan Feliciano continues to play like UM's best offensive lineman. Golden also said the battle for the starting jobs at offensive tackle could go into Thursday or Friday.

"I think the biggest difference with Feliciano is his weight's down. His energy is up and he's finishing better than anybody in the offensive line," Golden said. "Again, that's a challenge right now. He's playing with a lot of energy down the field, pushing piles, finishing blocks. To be honest with you the guy right now on his heels is Seantrel [Henderson]. Seantrel when he's been in the game has played with a lot of energy. We need everybody on the offensive line to play with that type of energy. I think Jon's playing really well right now."

> Golden said freshman safety Deon Bush played well against Bethune-Cookman.

"The mistakes he made in the game weren't really mental errors, presnap protocol. It was more when he was [blitzing]," Golden said. "One time he came when he wasn't supposed to. Another time he came and he didn't leverage the quarterback. Things like that. But I think Deon has a good look. He's poised. His approach so far this week has been good."

> Golden said freshman cornerback Tracy Howard has to "play within the system" more.

"Just execute the defense. Don't freelance so to speak. Don't do more than you have to do. Just do your job and stay within defense," Golden said. "He's played a lot of football for us already. He's over 100 plays for us in three games -- not including special teams. So, he's played a lot of football."

> With Sean McNally out for the year, safety A.J. Highsmith is now the team's backup long-snapper.

September 17, 2012

Perryman expected to be out for Georgia Tech; Duke named ACC Rookie of Week again; Seantrel could win a starting job this week

Barring a huge surprise, the Miami Hurricanes will be without starting middle linebacker Denzel Perryman when they play at Georgia Tech Saturday.

Perryman has a deeply bruised high ankle sprain -- according to someone close to him -- that will keep him out at least a week if not longer. He has a protective boot on his ankle and will be reevaluated later this week when the swelling goes down.

All coach Al Golden told the media Monday morning was that Perryman didn't practice and that he didn't know his condition.

UM will likely turn to junior Jimmy Gaines in the middle this week. He and sophomore Gionni Paul took the majority of the snaps at middle linebacker Monday.

Georgia Tech has scored more than 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 1936. Against on Saturday, the Yellow Jackets ran for 461 yards and passed for another 133.

> Freshman running back Duke Johnson was named ACC Rookie of the Week for the second time this season on Monday. Johnson scored four touchdowns in Saturday's 38-10 win over Bethune-Cookman and ranks second nationally in all-purpose yards.

Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post and I spoke to offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch at length today about how he plans to balance his desire to use Duke often in his offense versus protecting him and making sure he's around for the duration of the season. So far, Fisch said he hasn't had to overuse Johnson because Mike James (5.2 yards per carry) and Eduardo Clements are doing a good job. He estimated Johnson got in for about 35 snaps Saturday. I'll have more on Fisch later.

> Golden said offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson is in the mix for a starting job this week -- at left or right tackle -- after having his best game for UM since Golden has been around. Fisch said Henderson continues taking most of his reps at right tackle in practice, but he could start at left tackle. Coaches don't see it as a big deal that Henderson isn't taking reps on the left side. Henderson got in on 52 snaps and graded "very high" according to Fisch.

> While safety Vaughn Telemaque remained out of practice in a big, bulky knee brace Monday, there was some positive news. Freshman linebacker Raphael Kirby and receiver Allen Hurns were out there participating in practice. The real test, though, will be Tuesday.

UM didn't do any hitting Monday. Players wore shorts, jerseys and hats during Monday's practice. Golden said he wanted their bodies to take a break.

September 16, 2012

Noon Kickoff reflects a sad state of affairs for UM attendance, but coaches like that it gives them extra time to prepare for Georgia Tech

   Except for the true-blue diehards, and there are some great ones out there, noon kickoffs don't bring University of Miami fans.

   Yesterday's crowd was announced at 39,435, seemingly at least twice the amount of people who were actually there, and we all kind of looked at each other in bewilderment. Sun Life Stadium seats 75,540 for football, according to the Miami Dolphins media guide. I understand the "announced'' crowd reflects paid tickets (and probably includes the band, etc., but not sure about the people working in the stadium), but this crowd was so small on a nice day.

   I've been in South Florida many, many years, so I know the situation (super hot, humid, people have conflicts if their kids are in youth sports, too much other stuff going on in this area, too early, etc.). But I'm just wondering your take on it. Kudos to the people who show up, especially on a day in which the game wasn't televised (it was shown only on ESPN3). And it was the home opener, if that means anything. I know it was against Bethune-Cookman, but still...

   Last year's "announced" average attendance, according to UM, was 56,207. What the...?

  Coach Al Golden was asked after the game if he would have liked to see “a bigger crowd out there.’’ I believe that coaches wanted this game at noon to give them more time to prepare for Georgia Tech.

      “I don’t worry about the crowd,’’ Golden said. “I understand. I understand the market we’re in, and there’s going to be a day when we’re delivering. There’s going to be a day when we’re delivering and they’re going to come out and see guys like Duke Johnson and Malcolm Lewis, and those guys. And we’re going to grow up together. I promise you this team is going to grow up together.

   “They’re working hard and they’re staying humble and staying together. I understand that.’’

    That said, Golden was then asked if the noon kickoff helped the team better prepare for its next opponent, Georgia Tech, because of the padding it gives in terms of extra time.

    “It does, tremendously,’’ Golden answered. “You know we were on the road the first two weeks and got back at 10 p.m. last week and 1 a.m. the week before. That’s tough on a team.

    “This is huge for our team in general, and really for us to regroup, because we have to go back on the road again. I don’t know how many teams are doing that, but we are. And so this was important for our guys to regroup, get some rest and allow the coaches to get in and get going on Georgia Tech.’’

    Anyway, just wondering your thoughts on the situation, or if you think it really matters one way or the other, regarding attendance. Or do you think the importance of the team having more time to prepare for the next game supersedes the inconvenience of a noon game?

    SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

Grading the Canes: Bethune-Cookman

Since Bethune-Cookman is a Football Championship Subdivision team, I'm treating this week's report card more like a quarterly progress report. No grades. Just notes/observations.

> Quarterback: Stephen Morris had an unusually inaccurate day, overthrowing open receivers and looking generally uncomfortable and indecisive with where to go with the ball. So far, through 3 games, Morris has completed 63.2 percent of his passes for just over 600 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Those are hardly impressive numbers. Now, we all can see Morris has a strong arm. But does offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch know something about Morris we don't? He hasn't asked Morris to go deep often. And when he did Saturday, Morris was way off with his touch. I'm not putting this all on Stephen. His receivers haven't always created a lot of separation or held onto the balls he's put right in their hands. But I think it's fair to question if Morris might have limitations. UM's offense simply hasn't been able to spread the field through three games. And I thought coming into the season, the strong-armed Morris would do that for sure. The passing game has to improve.

> Running back: I said before the season it would only be a matter of time before Duke Johnson became the featured ball carrier in UM's offense. I honestly didn't think it would be this quickly. Saturday, though, we saw Johnson take on a much bigger role -- even though his touches (18) were not that much more than in previous games. Still, whenever UM needed a big play Fisch went to Duke. His 253 rushing yards on 27 attempts give him a 9.4 average. Yes, 9.4. He's also third on the team in receiving with eight catches. As special as Duke is, coach Al Golden realizes he can't over work him. It will be interesting to see just how Fisch balances it. With two long kickoff returns already, UM really can't afford to take Johnson off special teams. Fewer carries and more catches might work better because that allows Johnson to work in open space rather than take jarring hits at the line. But in order to cut back on Duke's carries, UM needs Mike James to be as productive as he was Saturday. He's averaging 5.2 yards a carry. Eduardo Clements, who we did not see until the second half Saturday, is averaging just 3.5 yards a carry.

> Receivers/tight ends: Phillip Dorsett and Rashawn Scott (who made a brilliant, leaping 1-handed catch Saturday) have shown flashes, but it's clear Allen Hurns (who did not play vs. Bethune) is UM's best receiver because of his physicality and toughness. He also appears to have the best chemistry with Morris. The fact Dorsett (UM's fastest receiver) is averaging just 7.4 yards a catch is troubling. Something has to be done to fix that. After 3 games, it's also pretty clear Malcolm Lewis is the only freshman receiver Fisch has any faith in. I thought for sure we might have seen Robert Lockhart by now. We haven't. As for tight ends Clive Walford and Asante Cleveland, they've combined for 9 catches, 91 yards and a touchdown so far. That means they're on pace to finish with 36 catches for 364 yards and four touchdowns this season -- that's quite a bit less than the 50 catches Fisch projected. Rather ordinary, too.

> Offensive line: Raise your hand if you wanted Seantrel Henderson off the team just a few weeks ago. Liars! Henderson felt the wrath of a quite a few fans for missing training camp. But he's made a nice recovery in three weeks time. I'm not a betting man (prefer fantasy football), but my guess is it won't be long before Seantrel is back in the starting lineup. The question is which side. I haven't broken down film like Art Kehoe, but seems to me Malcolm Bunche has been beaten more often on the left side than Ereck Flowers on the right. Either way, all will and should continue to share time. So far, UM's line looks like a six-man rotation. Jeremy Lewis (flagged for holding Saturday) has not emerged. On a side note, UM was flagged four times for false starts Saturday. They need to fix it. UM didn't give up any sacks Saturday, but have given up six total. That means they're on pace for 24. UM gave up 19 total last year.

> Defensive line: Shayon Green continues to lead the team in tackles. He's got 23 now. Imagine how many more he would have if he actually was able to wrap up on sacks? Miami by the way has four of those now, three came against Bethune-Cookman. The Hurricanes certainly created more pressure Saturday than they had all season. But you have to put an asterisk next to that because of the level of competition. The good news is we saw more blitzes -- including a few from safety Deon Bush. Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio wasn't calling for that in Week 1 and Week 2. As for the run defense, Bethune averaged 4.4 yards a carry Saturday. Opponents are now averaging 205 yards a game on the ground against UM. Yes, that's appalling.

> Linebackers: Miami fans will be holding their breath to see just how banged up Denzel Perryman's right ankle is after he is reevaluated Sunday morning. With Georgia Tech on deck, UM could I'll-afford to be without Perryman. Jimmy Gaines said he's ready to fill in if need be, but it's a daunting task either way next Saturday. If there is a positive for Miami after Saturday is that UM looked better playing assignment football against the option than they did last week. Except for a handful of explosive runs, it seems like there were fewer blown assignments and missed gaps. Georgia Tech will be the third straight option team UM faces. Unfortunately, they're the best in the country at it. Eddie Johnson continues to be the team's most pleasant surprise at linebacker.

> Secondary: The Canes still got beat a couple times downfield Saturday, but it felt like players did a better job batting balls and being around in coverage. Granted, it's Bethune. But it was still progress. Deon Bush only had 3 tackles Saturday, but it felt like he was around the ball a lot. It's pretty clear he's UM's fastest and most athletic safety. A.J. Highsmith had just one tackle in his first start. Cornerback Brandon McGee had his first two pass deflections of the season versus Bethune, a week after collecting an INT. That's continued improvement.

> Special teams: Outside of Phillip Dorsett's fumble on a punt return Saturday and some shoddy kick coverage at K-State, UM's special teams has been pretty good. Jake Wieclaw hasn't missed a kick and Dalton Botts is averaging 41 yards a punt including five inside the 20.

Grading the Canes: Bethune-Cookman

September 15, 2012

Perryman has high ankle sprain; UM should know more Sunday morning

After getting steamrolled on defense for two straight weeks to open the season, Hurricanes coaches and players insisted there was no way they could afford to look past Bethune-Cookman and start game-planning for Georgia Tech's spread-option offense last week.

Denzel PerrymanNow, it appears UM (2-1) could have to get ready for the Yellow Jackets -- who ran for 461 yards in a 56-20 win over Virginia Saturday -- without starting middle linebacker Denzel Perryman.

The sophomore from Coral Gables sustained a high right ankle sprain in the second quarter Saturday, according to a source. Although the degree of the sprain remains unknown, Perryman told family and friends he could put weight on the injured ankle after the game.

Perryman was wearing a black boot to protect the ankle while standing on crutches on the UM sideline in the second half. He had x-rays performed at halftime. Results were negative, the source said. But he will be reevaluated Sunday morning.

Losing Perryman would obviously be a huge blow for UM, which already came in ranked 89th in run defense and gave up 233 yards on 53 attempts (4.4 per carry) to the FCS-level Wildcats in a 38-10 win Saturday.

Junior Jimmy Gaines, who is returning from an ankle injury himself, replaced Perryman at middle linebacker for most of the second half. Perryman had four tackles Saturday including one for loss.

UM had a handful of other players go down with injuries. Backup safety Andrew Swasey, who was also seen on crutches, and long-snapper Sean McNally were injured in the first quarter and never returned. Backup linebacker Thurston Ambrister injured his right shoulder late in the game.

Despite the injuries and the yardage the Wildcats put up, UM coach Al Golden thought progress was made on defense.

"Is it perfect yet? No. It's not perfect. But kids were fighting, flying around," Golden said. "We didn't get the takeaways we wanted to get. Again, that's hard to do. We had a veteran team a year ago and didn't keep [Bethune-Cookman] out of the end zone like we did [Saturday]. We improved. Clearly, we have to go back to work [Sunday]."

UM produced three sacks -- two by freshman defensive end Tyriq McCord. But Golden was disappointed with how many other sacks the Canes let slip through their fingers Saturday.

"I just didn't wrap up," said defensive end Shayon Green, who had eight tackles to lead UM again. "They just slipped through my hands, I don't even know. It happens. I'll look at the film. That's easy to fix."

Gameday blog: Bethune-Cookman vs. UM

MIAMI GARDENS -- The Miami Hurricanes (1-1) are hosting Bethune-Cookman (2-0) today at noon. The game can be seen on ESPN3.

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STORYLINES

> The Canes are coming off a 52-13 loss at Kansas State and looking for serious answers on defense.

> Bethune-Cookman has won eight games in a row. The Wildcats don't just have 11 players on their rosters who were at FBS schools (3 from Rutgers, 2 from Mississippi, 1 from Marshall, Iowa State, UCF, Minnesota and Louisiana Tech) they also maul people up front. Their offensive line from left to right: 6-6, 310; 6-5, 380; 6-4, 270; 6-7, 325; 6-5, 305. Four of those five are upperclassmen.

That same offensive line paved the way for Bethune-Cookman to become the first FCS school since Georgia Southern in the 1999 national championship game to produce three ball carriers with over 100 yards.

The Wildcats have also shown they won't just go away when they fall behind. In its opener versus Alabama State, Bethune-Cookman rallied from 21-0 down to win 38-28. Last week at South Carolina State, they scored 27 unanswered points after being down 14-0 after the first quarter.

INJURIES/SUSPENSIONS: The Hurricanes come into the game without starting safety Vaughn Telemaque (knee) and linebacker Ramon Buchanan (knee). DT Curtis Porter (appendectomy) is still out along with LB Raphael Kirby (knee).