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Re-focused freshman cornerback Tracy Howard confident his time to shine will come

When Tracy Howard announced on National Signing Day he wanted to be a Hurricane, the All-American cornerback didn't mention anything about coming in as a freshman and being content with sitting on the bench.

Tracy Howard
UM coach Al Golden shares a hug with freshman cornerback Tracy Howard after the Boston College game.

"I'm not really a guy who is going to talk and say I'm going to start. It's up to me to produce," Howard said moments after the ink dried on his signed national letter of intent back in February. "But do I feel like I'm going to produce and show out, compete and work hard? Yes, I do. And if I do that I'm going to start."

Despite earning a coveted black jersey (worn by starters) on the fifth day of training camp, Howard still hasn't won a starting job at Miami in his first season.

In fact, since getting in for 100 combined snaps in UM's first three games, Howard has seen his playing time dwindle. After not playing at all on defense in UM's fourth game of the season at Georgia Tech (defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said he didn't want his young players to get thrown off by an option offense), Howard has played just roughly 40 combined snaps over his last three games.

Why the reduction in playing time? UM coach Al Golden has never provided specifics, saying simply on Sunday that Howard "hit a wall" and has now started to respond in the past couple weeks.

Truth is, there were a couple layers to that wall.

First, between his disappointment of not being able to earn a starting job and the frustration of seeing his playing time get reduced, Howard admitted Wednesday he lost focus and confidence.

In the end, Howard also ended up exchanging words with his coordinator. "It was nothing disrespectful," Howard told The Miami Herald. "Just a coach and a player talking football."

Whatever that conversation turned out to be in the end, Howard has responded the way D'Onofrio has wanted him to over the last couple weeks. D'Onofrio said Monday Howard has "been dialed in" and has made a commitment to practicing better, particularly the last two weeks.

And that's ultimately why Howard got in for 20 snaps last Saturday against North Carolina (more than he had in his previous two games). Howard responded by making an impressive tackle on Tar Heels running back Gio Bernard near the Canes' sideline -- one of his five tackles on the season.

"I wasn't all the way locked in," Howard said when asked what Golden meant when he said he had 'run into a wall.'

"I was just coming out and playing with talent. Talent isn't really enough. You have to work on the little things - simple things like having your eyes on your luggage, keeping your eyes on keys, just real small things I had to pick up, things preventing me from being the starter off the bat. But I think I've picked it up. I think everything is going to get flowing."

At Miramar High, Howard earned a reputation for being a hard worker, who studied lots of film and prepared himself for every opportunity. He was tabbed by almost every recruiting outlet as the nation's No. 1 high school cornerback because of that -- and because of what he did during his career for the Patriots, finishing with 18 interceptions in three varsity seasons.

Howard said freshman safety Deon Bush, who has made four starts and is tied for eighth on the team with 24 tackles, has helped keep him centered through his struggles this season.

"Me and Deon are the best of friends," Howard said. "He's told me just put your head down, pray and keep chopping away."

Howard (5-11, 185) said although this season hasn't panned out exactly the way he's wanted it to for himself, he's going to continue to work to earn a starting job.

"I know in my heart one day my time is going to come and I'll make the best of my opportunity," Howard said. "Everything will be just like high school all over again."

Asked if he's considered leaving UM at all because he hasn't played as much as maybe he would like or thought he would, Howard responded: "No. No way."

"This is my hometown, my team, my city," Howard said. "I'm not going anywhere."


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Way to go Mr Howard......

Football is a passionate sport this is the second or third time we have heard this same story about having words with the D coordinator. That happens it shouldn't affect the best man on the field in my opinion. Is this about ego, control??? I am a bit confused. Our defense is ranked the worst in the Nation. unacceptable.

Having words with D'Onofrio is something every Canes fan wants to do.

When is D'Onofrio going to learn that using his prevent defense for the corners "prevents you from winning". Howard has the speed and talent to play man to man as do the other corner backs. Let them play.

Tracey howard sounds like he knows what it is to be a Cane. He realizes his shortcomings and is maturing into a really good young player.

Go Canes!

d'onofrio needs to take himself out of a few games

Blah Blah same old hype we always read. Ths defense stinks, and will for years. Except for a few players, none would be second string on an old time canes defense. It seems Golden can't recruit any better than his last 2 predecessors. No doubt the outcome of this game, another reality check for this program. And where it truly is and will be for years. Hire a coach, a proven winner who can coach-up the kids. Goldens recruits , except for maybe 3, are busts. Especially chickillo, worst DE in years

That's a guy I want playing for us.

Always I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna do that. This guy stinks, that's why he doesn't play.I mean 5 tackles for 7 games. This is why our def. ranks(smells) with the worst in college football. Golden is the worst coach since shannon, who was the worst coach since coker, and coker since probably the 60's. That's why miami stinks.

Goldens record is exactly the same as Shannons at this time.....if it wasnt for Shannons recruits, we would be winless....all of miami's offense is shannons. After sat it will be all over....the clothes come off the emperor....the whole coaching staff should be fired at the end of the season.

first 7 years of coaching:


golden...37-43.....the only coach here at the eacat same time coaching that has a losing record....AND will not part with the worst DC of all time....

Antrel Rolle wasn't much as an underclassman but as an upperclassman he was awesome and then a first rounder in the NFL. When Howard gets fully up to speed look out!

@Jim Gallo: You just don't get it. No major program should fire its HC after only 2 years. Golden, like any HC coach, should be given 4 years, a complete class cycle, to produce. Guy, your posts are tedious, your knowledge of college football is third rate, and your arguments are disingenuous and petty at best. Go away.

Defense stinks. I hope we can hold FSU to 42 points
need to do something

I agree this kid should be playing full time. We all know that we won't win anything meaningful this year...maybe not even next year. So give all the hopefuls starts. Finnie and Howard at the corners and Bush and Rodgers at safety.
Donofrio needs to see the light and let them go. Then we have a respectable, experienced D backfield coming back next year. Let them make some mistakes. They will learn from it. Our corners are 10 yards off the receivers and that's just plain dumb.
All of this subbing every play makes it impossible to grasp a 'team' atmosphere on the field. I mean, our guys don't get a chance to work into a groove or a rhythm because they're only in for one play. A solid D needs repetition with the same guys as a unit to be effective I believe.
Give them a chance.

I feel bad for tracy, deon and the young kids who signed on. If youre reading this we support you 100%. It is not lost on us fanz how incompetent donofrio is. But dont lose heart. We know you have talent that isnt being utilized. Just do what you have to in order to stay on the field and hopefully he will be fired at somepoint in your career at the u. Dont transfer...itll get better...maybe.

i said before the season this team is 2-3 years away from being a contender,then look out..the talent is their it's just going to take time..most of you are not patient enough to let this thing play out...don't forget a lot of these kids playing are right out of high school,but are getting valuable playing time..which will pay off in 2 years..so those of you not patient enough to wait and see the transition,take you negative attitudes and go elsewhere...

Jim GAllo- Dude, get over yourself with that garbage.

This is Golden's second year. His team was literally decimated by players leaving early, and a bunch of underclassmen having to step up. No coach can compete nationally like that. Not even the mighty Nick Saban.

While I agree with Donofrio currently being a bad gametime coach, I must say- against UNC it wasnt the defense. They beat us 18-14. Morris and the offense (Fisch and Golden) had 3 attempts or drives to bring Miami back before the game ended. And they came up empty. Morris threw 2 dastardly bad ints druing the game, which, while esentially were punts, they were drive killers. The running game was non existent ( I cant believe there is an article in the MH about Miami rbs sayin gthey can runagainst FSU)

I do get it....your the one that dosent get it. The staff is mediocre at best....I dont need to wait 4 more years to reach an opinion about this staff. Believe in all the excuses you want..in the end I will be right. You will see. Golden is slowly comming apart, i can hear and see it in both his sideline behavior the last 2 games and his interviews. He does not have the stamina for this level or expected level. His inability to seperate friendship from business will contribute to his failings. Stay tuned for the other shoe to drop.....underlying problems with this team...you will all see. FSU game pushes it over the edge.

How in hell are u going to ask a kid is he going to leave bc of sant. U cant be for real, go interview some other teams.

Defense dud play better in 2nd half but adjustments gotta be made earlier like in the 1st quarter. Fire D'Fino.

It was a bad question. Are you going to leave....lol.

Howard has got his stiff together so theres nothing to correct. The guy is a freshman who has come here to work, this is not Sam Shields taking a drug bust.

Gallo you don't get it...I thought you said that you would be now cheering for Florida because they were the only team in the state that was doing anything..
Article on Howard and you never once metioned his name.

Your argument is so redundant.

Now you are a psychologist reading people's minds and making statements on behavior...What does stamina have to do with rebuilding a team?..
Repeating "the other shoe to drop", has been used by you and my comment yes it was don't let it hit you in the head on your way out to cheer for UConn, or whoever because you are not a Cane fan..Count them every post that you have written .....
Fire them, old days records, pay more, formations that make no sense, and on and on...same old drivel.

Just go away please....your Henny Youngman on our team is done...you may be as old as he was, but Jeezz.
You make me tired.

Howard is a natural talent and very up front with his attitude..when this kid get's it down, he is going to be a huge asset..the thing he has to work on is that only time gives the privelege of leadership..As a freshman he could not come in and try to run this show.
He now knows that, and as Bush his roomie has shown, it is put your head down, work hard, and follow the rules.
That's it.....the process. Get the process down and things will happen..He has seen the light.
A good game against FShow and he will be making it happen..talent and speed he has.

We are building one brick at a time..Patience is sometimes hard to acquire, and tough to hold on to.
Try it Gallo.
Go 'Canes Always

Feel bad for this Howard kid, his talent is being wasted by a clueless coaching staff. Same thing that went on under Shannon but actually worse. At least Shannon could field a respectable defense, not this current debacle.
The question about Howard thinking about leaving will be more relevant when the sanctions are announced, maybe he and some of his team mates can transfer to a real football school.

sanctions = transfers = failure to close in the living rooms.....2015 at best but who knows, maybe longer. Go to NFL....gators or fsu...take your pick as a floridian. fsu 35-3 final score.

TO All the Canes Players. Its pretty much you against the world. Coaches can only teach so much, now is your time to shine. Big time players play big in big time games. Do we have any? We shall see Saturday night.

GO Canes!

to all the recruits and future and current Miami players:

The U is still where its at. Miami has gone 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, 9-4, 7-6, 6-6 the last 6 years and guess what? Miami is still NFL-U. Overwhelmingly greater number of players playing on sundays compared to FSU, more than Alabama, UF, Ohio State, LSU, and Oregon. Only USC is either tied or 1 player more than UM.

Why does that matter? Ask a scholie player what his goal is in life.

To play in the NFL

This saturday, you'll see lots of young UM players who are finding their way. NCAA sanctions or not, most of these players will be here next year and the next.

Because regardless of the NCAA, the U is still the U. Those sanctions didnt do squat to USC. It wont do squat to Miami.

the U is not the "U"...let it go, you were not there in the 80's. We have become a joke around the NCAA. All this talk, hype and the like are all BS. Live in your fantasy world.....this team is not exciting or good for that matter.

Players win games when they do not make mistakes and when they play well with good formations.

Coaches LOSE games with poor formations that have players out of position or fail to ensure the players on the field will be "the firstest with the mostest" at the point of attack where the ball is.

The Cane coaching staff does not know any more about defense than talking heads on TV understand about lying politicians.

The U is still where its at.
Because regardless of the NCAA, the U is still the U.
All the Canes Players. Its pretty much you against the world.
Big time players play big in big time games.

What a crock of ibis manure!
FYI Morons the U hasn't done squat in a decade and the way it's going won't do squat for another.
In big time games for the past decade the U has been embarrassed . Bow out losses. Does that mean you don't have big time players?
You have talented players who fail to live up to their talent. Either they coast through college on their way to the NFL or the coaches don't have a clue or both.
Keep rooting for your former players in the NFL. lot of good it has done to the U.

Howard sounds like he's on the right track and has his priorities right. When all of this young talent jells (together hopefully) the Canes defense should improve. Unfortunately, I think that may be in SPITE of D'Onofrio who doesn't impress me (and other Canes fans) with his inability to adjust to what other teams are doing. I would let Howard and the other kids play, a bunch of the upper-classmen (i.e. Brandon McGee for one) have not been impressive AT ALL, especially with tackling form.

To all u jerks.

Miami is young and talented but coaching is keeping them from shining. I have found the solution.

1. Ray Lewis is out for the season so maybe he will consider retiring.
2. Ray LewisIII is coming next season
3. Offer Ray a defensive assistant position
4. Ray seen every scheme and defense out there (17 yrs)
5. Every recruit out thers will come to TheU
6. Mark D'Fino will be gone after next season
7. We have more than half the roster freshmens and sophomore
8. Alex Collins will help the running game next year with Duke.

Leggo Canes

Can we say Gregg Williams for defensive coorinator

Bill, Jim Gallo and CaneFan72 you really can not believe the trash you type on here. You guys are clowns!!!! Cant you guys point out other things then the D is bad. We all know the D is bad. Everyone knows the D is bad. Shut up with the same old comment the D is bad. Go get some fresh material then you can add to the conversation. Or keep on typing the same weak material for us to laugh at your expense. Good day clowns.


These guys are funny, they think everyone is going to get down because they are on here making stupid comments.

I personally think your comments funny because I think you have nothing better to do than come here and hate.

Posted by: Terry King

Right, that's the problem with the defense. The DL gets pushed around by every single opponent. UNC was removing these guys from the LOS so easily. How can our LB's make plays when they have to dodge these fools getting blocked.

Defensive problem: this staff insist on making these DBs sit eight yards off,knowing that they have an inept defensive line.
UM has a couple of big DBs that should be playing in tight man defense,and allow more blitzing with LBs.
U have a freshman REDSHIRT that's 6'1 190 and runs a 4.5 40.(may be the best man corner on the team). Dont just play guys because of their repfrom high school.

Oh, imagine that...guess it's not schemes, huh?

"I was just coming out and playing with talent. Talent isn't really enough. You have to work on the little things - simple things like having your eyes on your luggage, keeping your eyes on keys, just real small things I had to pick up, things preventing me from being the starter off the bat. But I think I've picked it up. I think everything is going to get flowing."

The DC is TERRIBLE the D is AWFUL we have to recruit and I agree that we should be playing Tracy, Deon, Thomas, and another young guy that will be returning maybe not starting but definitely when Rayshawn gets healthy play him too. Highsmith and Rodgers SUCK. Vaughn although hurt or whatever has been miserable at best. The other thing besides experience going forward playing these guys will do is help in recruiting young guys LOVE to see other young guys playing. FIRE your boy Al G!!!! This cannot be about nepotism, cronyism, and flat out HOMIEism! CUT THAT ZERO bring in SOMEBODY ANYBODY EVERYBODY SCREAM!!!!!! That dude D'Onofrio is the WORST coordinator EVER!!! YES we miss tackles YES the guys are young YES guys need to play BETTER but My GOD this joker is a CLOWN!!!!


You will be a great player for the Canes!

I am glad you are with UM.

Stick with it, man! You can be the best...

Why Finnie isn't a starter no more . He's the best corner on the team that McGhee guy is terrible he gets beat every game and he can't tackle

Tracey Howard(who I think is a good kid)is not the best tackler and he may be a little slow,The best DB on the field right now IS McGhee(because of his playing time) There is a stud in the defensive backfield,his name is BUSH. He will be the star of the group,U.M has some good talent on the bench.They have a PRACTICE TEAM DB who continually gives the top recievers hell during scout team. He started in the spring game but has since been redshirted. The U will have a superior set of DBs in the next couple years.

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