Notes from Day One of UM spring practice at Greentree Field, where it was a brisk morning in the mid 50s and there was lots of loud music, including the Harlem Shake (players started doing the Shake during stretching) that blared from the loudspeakers:
*How the changes in the offensive coaching staff (new OC James Coley, new tight ends coach Larry Scott and new RB coach Hurlie Brown) have changed things: "Very little. Coach Coley and the offensive staff have done a great job of keeping the nomenclature, keeping the terminology, so that it's not a radical change for [the players]. That's very unselfish on their part, putting the players' first.
*Coley: "He brings a lot of energy, a lot of knowledge and passion. He's really done a great job taking over. He's put his ego aside because we really didn't want to mess with the quarterbacks and offense too much in terms of the terminology. He has adapted and learned some new terminology. He's putting his spin on things, which is great. He needs to do that. He needs to own it. We're very pleased with the way things are going.''
*Scott: "Larry is the consummate professional, just really brings a depth of experience to that position. I'm really pleased that we got off as well as we did today on offense, despite all the transition.''
*2013 schedule (which appears to be much easier than last year's): "I don't worry about that. We're going to play them one way or the other.''
*Who impressed him during the UTough off-season strength and conditioning program: WR Herb Waters, "RB Dallas Crawford, FB Maurice Hagens, TEs Clive Walford and Asante Cleveland, OL Sunny Odogwu, OT Seantrel Henderson, G Jon Feliciano, DT Curtis Porter, DT Olsen Pierre, LB Alex Figueroa, LB Raphael Kirby, CB Tracy Howard, CB Ladarius Gunter ("He might have had the best offseason of anybody'') and "Highsmith and Kacy were steady as always.''
*Here's who we saw on crutches: linebacker Gabe Terry (right foot in boot), defensive end David Perry (he was recently switched from tight end and had his left foot in a boot).
* We knew those two would be missing spring football, but we didn't know Kacy Rodgers II would come into spring football injured. Rodgers, not listed on the two-deep spring depth chart at safety, is recuperating from minor knee surgery, according to Golden. Rodgers was on the sideline and could not bend his left leg, keeping it very stiff when he walked. "That could be a little while longer, but we expect him to return.''
* Safety A.J. Highsmith, atop the depth chart, wore a red jersey Saturday for no contact. Golden said he has a "little hamstring" injury, but had a "tremendous offseason" and should be back when he's healed.
* Golden confirmed that linebacker Eddie Johnson is still suspended, and that he did not take part in the offseason UTough strength and conditioning program. Golden said he is "hopeful'' that Johnson will return, but unfortunately, the talented redshirt sophomore doesn't have a great track record.
"I'm hopeful. I pray for him everyday that we'll get through this and we'll make it back but it's on him to be honest with you. He has been suspended. He's on campus but he's suspended.'
* Position changes: former DE Tyriq McCord to outside linebacker -- "That's pretty much what he was before. He worked at open-side end or strongside-linebacker for us, and then obviously rushed the passer on third down.'' TE Dyron Dye to DE, where he started his career at UM -- "He had a really good offseason and he's really serious and focused right now.'' TE to DE David Perry -- "Perry is out right now, but he's a welcomed addition to defensive line. We couldn't do that a year ago because we couldn't do that a year ago because we didn't have [former DE and now TE) Jake O'Donnell over there and Beau Sandland and Stan Dobard over at tight end.
*RB Eduardo Clements: "We're hopeful [he returns]. Everything we understand is that he is healing and he should be able to return to the action, but that's out of my hands.''
*Rashawn Scott (previously suspended): "He did a good job and earned an orange shirt.''
*Stephen Morris: "Tremendous first day. He really must be studying the playbook like crazy. There's a self-assuredness, there's a confidence and there's a poise about him that he probably didn't have at this time last year.''
James Coley, the new offensive coordinator:
* On whether he is resorting back to the playbook they used last year or is incorporating his own plays: "It’s a little dabble of both. Football is football. We brought some new things in on Day One and kept some terminology to make it easier for the transition. But obviously we’ll be doing things the way it’s best for this team. So, as far as scheme, we’re going to use our personnel."
*On QB Stephen Morris: "Phenomenal. Sharp kid, a real good qb, a great leader. Things get taught and then he reteaches them."
*On RB Duke Johnson: "If you don’t use him you’re crazy. He’s a dynamic player. He’s explosive. He’s what you want in a guy with the ball in his hands. He changes the scoreboard."
* On any good natured ribbing from friends because he made the switch from FSU: "You can just imagine. It’s been crazy. But it’s all fun. I don’t take it personal. This is my team now and these guys are my players, our players. This is my family now."
*On being back where he grew up in Miami: "Great. I wish the Orange Bowl was still around. That’s a sentimental deal for me. It’s crazy driving by 95 and not seeing the Orange Bowl, you know what I mean? But it’s been good being back home. My dad came to practice today and that’s something I haven’t experienced in about seven years."
*On what his offensive philosophy might be with the Hurricanes: "I think it’s important, especially here, to create a vertical passing game because you have a big offensive line and you can create a vertical running game so I think they go hand in hand rather than dinking and dunking. I think there’s places for a dink and dunk offense but I think this offense needs to be an explosive offense.’’
Tight Ends coach Larry Scott:
*On his lineup of TEs: "They're talented. They do a good job of retaining information. [New junior-college transfer Beau Sandland] "catches the ball well, runs around well and he's focused.'' [Freshman Standish Dobard], as far as raw talent, it's all there. Once he gets it all and continues to learn and develop and mature he's going to be really good.''
Running backs coach Hurlie Brown:
*On Dallas Crawford: "Dallas is one of the hardest working guys I've been around. He works his butt off, he's extremely smart, he's up for it. He's very competitive and loves the game.''
*On transitioning from being a former DB coach: "Attention to detail. Coaching is coaching. As long as you're organized, and that's the biggest key, understanding what your role is and allowing those guys to perform. And teach -- I've got to study a lot more because it's new to me, but that's what you do as a coach.''
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN (and thanks to correspondent Steph Rogers for plenty of help today!)
We just witnessed our first 15 minutes of University of Miami's spring practice.
With a considerable chill in the air (temps in the mid 50s), the Hurricanes were outside far before the 9 a.m. time that was given as the starting time (if you're on time, you're late).
Everyone seemed excited to be starting, including defensive end Anthony Chickillo and company, who began dancing to the Harlem Shake during stretching. It didn't last very long, and it was the most entertaining part of our 15 minutes. Chickillo looks like he has the moves.
Here's who we saw on crutches: linebacker Gabe Terry (right foot in boot), defensive end David Perry (he was recently switched from tight end and had his left foot in a boot).
We knew those two would be missing spring football, but we didn't know Kacy Rodgers II would come into spring football injured -- or it sure seemed that way. Rodgers, not listed on the two-deep spring depth chart at safety -- was on the sideline in gray sweats and a red (injured) jersey, and walked with his left leg completely stiff and seemingly unable to bend.
The coveted black jerseys were back, and the ones I noticed (there might have been more) were worn by Chickillo, incoming freshman linebacker Alex Figueroa, cornerback Ladarius Gunter, cornerback Tracy Howard, defensive end Shayon Green, linebacker Jimmy Gaines, defensive tackle Curtis Porter, linebacker Denzel Perryman and Rayshawn Jenkins, who wore No. 29 but is listed on the roster as No. 26.
Be back after we talk to Al Golden and assistant coaches and some players after practice.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN