Here's a quick preview of what could be in store next Wednesday, National Signing Day.
> NOTE: I wore the old Cubs jersey in honor of the late great Ernie Banks.
The University of Miami announced that UM baseball coach Jim Morris, 63, who has pneumonia and has been in the hospital since last Saturday, will miss the NCAA Louisville Regional.
Morris had hoped to leave Duke University Hospital sometime today to join the team in Louisville for the Saturday game, but subsequent tests necessitated that he still needed time to recuperate.
Assistant Gino DiMare, Miami’s recruiting coordinator and hitting coach, will, as planned, take over the head-coaching responsibilities until Morris gets better.
Before last Saturday in the ACC Tournament, UM hitting coach and recruiting coordinator DiMare, 43, had only served as the head guy, he said, when Morris “has gotten thrown out. And he doesn’t get thrown out often.’’
The Canes defeated Clemson 7-0 last Saturday with Morris at the hospital, where he was taken by ambulance before the game.
“I’ve got to be honest. It felt different than my normal routine,’’ DiMare said of his temporary role. “It’s fun. I enjoyed it.
“Your mind is thinking totally. But my mind is thinking like that always anyway. I’ll continue to do the same things. I’m positioning the outfielders [and] I’m going to continue to talk to the hitters like I always do… and make adjustments.’’
DiMare said he's close with Morris, and feels no pressure or awkwardness in temporarily taking over. He said Morris' health is obviously most important.
“I’ve never had pneumonia,’’ DiMare said. “But it is quite serious. They’ve got to clear his lungs first. He’s had some fluid in there that they drained. They want to make sure his chest is clear…’’
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
MIami Hurricanes baseball coach Jim Morris will NOT coach in UM's NCAA Louisville regional opener against Oklahoma State.
That's the latest news out of Louisville, where UM assistant coach Gino DiMare just spoke to reporters at a news conference -- relayed to me from Miami Herald correspondent Tom Whitus.
Morris, who was admitted to the Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C., before last Saturday's ACC tournament game, is expected to remain in the hospital tonight. Like I wrote last night, he still wants to leave the hospital to travel to Louisville for the double-elimination regional, but that would depend on whether his lungs are clear enough, obviously, to be released.
"He's trying to get out of there,'' DiMare just said during the news conference.
Left-handed sophomore Chris Diaz (6-5, 1.75 ERA) will start the first game against Oklahoma State at 2 p.m. Friday. However, DiMare wouldn't reveal the options for Game 2 -- depending on whether UM wins or loses the opener.
DiMare said he plans on talking to Morris by phone today.
The Hurricanes are 36-23 -- 27-10 at home, 8-11 away and 1-2 neutral.
The Cowboys are 39-17 overall, 24-7 at home, 9-6 away and 6-4 neutral.
The other game Friday features No. 1 seed Louisville (46-12) vs. No. 4 seed Bowling Green (24-29) at 6 p.m.
This is a double-elimination tournament.
All the Louisville Regional games can be seen on ESPN3.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Hurricanes left-handed sophomore Chris Diaz, a six-foot, 195-pounder out of Gulliver Prep, is slated to start the first game for UM against Oklahoma State in the Louisville Regional that begins at 2 p.m. Friday (ESPN3).
Diaz is 6-5 this season with a 1.75 ERA. He gave up six runs -- only three of them earned -- on eight hits and four walks in six innings during a 7-1 loss to NC State in the ACC Tournament last week.
The Cowboys (39-17) are expected to start 6-foot-1, 197-pound sophomore Jason Hursh (6-4, 2.65). His last appearance was a no-decision on May 23 against TCU.
The Cowboys have a .285 team batting average and a 2.93 composite ERA. The Hurricanes (36-23) have a .260 batting average and a 3.33 ERA.
UM Coach Jim Morris remains hospitalized with pneumonia at Duke University, but I hear he very badly wants to leave for Louisville by Friday. Have no idea how that will all play out, except that it appears increasingly likely that assistant Gino DiMare will be the skipper for at least the first game.
I hope Jim gets well soon, regardless.
If you haven't seen Barry Jackson's Buzz column, check it out. http://tinyurl.com/pzbxb7o Lots of UM news regarding the NCAA, quarterback/third baseman David Thompson and former UM receivers coach Aubrey Hill getting the head coaching job at Miami Carol City High.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
The Miami Hurricanes are hitting the road for their 41st consecutive trip to the NCAA baseball tournament.
UM (36-23) is a No. 2 seed and will open play Friday in the Louisville regional against No. 3-seeded Oklahoma State (39-17) at 2 p.m. Top-seeded Louisville (46-12) will take on 4th-seeded Bowling Green, the only team to make the tournament with a losing record at 24-29 at 6 p.m. that same day.
The winner of the Louisville regional would advance to face the winner of nationally-seeded Vanderbilt's region. The Commodores (51-9) have Georgia Tech (34-25), Illinois (34-18) and East Tennessee St. (36-22) in their region.
Vanderbilt is ranked No. 1 in the country according to Baseball America. Louisville is ranked 15th.
Jim Morris' Miami Hurricanes finally won a baseball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament -- a 7-0 victory against Clemson.
Unfortunately, Morris wasn't there to see it.
Morris, 63, who has had a lingering cough through much of the season, was taken by ambulance from the team bus to Duke Hospital during batting practice at Duke's field.
"He wasn't feeling well but he was at breakfast with the team,'' UM assistant coach Gino DiMare told Miami Herald correspondent Dave Droschak. "On the bus is when he started taking a turn for the worse. I know they are running some tests.''
DiMare called it "a tough day, tough circumstances with coach Morris not being here. If coach is not here you know he's not doing well. Our thoughts are with him and hopefully he's OK.''
I talked to UM deputy athletic director for business Tony Hernandez on Saturday night, and he told me he visited Morris during the game. Hernandez said Morris' ailment "is not expected to be serious and we're hoping he'll be joining us in Miami Sunday.''
Hernandez told me he kept Morris informed of what was happening during the game through Morris' wife. “He was kept abreast of the score the entire game,’’ Hernandez said.
As for the game, the only ACC tourney win after getting 10-run ruled (10-0) by North Carolina and then falling 7-1 to North Carolina State, UM got another gem by left-handed ace Bryan Radziewski. B-Rad allowed four hits in eight shutout innings.
The Hurricanes should get into the NCAA Tournament, but it's hard to be optimistic about how they'll do.
Hopefully Coach Morris, who has been getting plenty of fan criticism for another sub-par season, gets well soon.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
University of Miami tailgaters might want to get to sleep early on Friday, Sept. 6th. That's because the highly anticipated Florida Gators at Miami Hurricanes football game was announced for a noon kickoff at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 7 on ESPN -- upsetting fans who would rather have a night game.
A night game would certainly be a great draw and the event to party around at Sun Life. UM would get heavy-duty exposure. And let's face it, night games are always more fun (unless you're on deadline or savor getting broiled outside).
Turns out that ABC has NASCAR from Richmond, Va., that night and ESPN is broadcasting the Notre Dame-Michigan football game in prime time. A game has not yet been announced for the prime-time ESPN2 slot.
"We requested and lobbied ESPN for an evening slot for the game vs #BeatUF.'' tweeted UM athletic director Blake James. "Unfortunately, they were unable to accomodate.''
I just got off the phone with ESPN spokesman Mike Humes, whom I asked about the noon start.
"Essentially, we looked at all the options and this was the best available window for the game,'' Humes said. "We average probably around three million viewers for that time slot. So it wasn’t like, 'Let’s put the worst game on at noon.' The noon window does really well with fans.
"We view this as a great matchup. Scheduling games is like putting together differrent puzzles with different time zones and commitments, and this was the best window.''
UM AD James also tweeted this: "espn/abc wanted to take game national 3:30 slot is regional coverage."
Humes said the 3:30 p.m. ABC game is Oregon at Virginia.
In other Canes football news, the Aug. 30 season opener at Sun Life Stadium against FAU will kick off at 8 p.m. Aug. 30 -- a Friday -- and will be aired by ESPNU.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Bryan Radziewski was not his usual self during his last regular-season start, but he was amazing all season -- coming off shoulder surgery nonetheless.
The left-handed junior was among five starting pitchers named to the 2013 All-ACC First Team on Monday.
B-Rad, as he is called by his fans and teammates, ended the season ranked among the conference leaders in nearly every statistical category. He ranked third in ERA (1.64), tied for second in wins (eight), tied for second in complete games (two), third in strikeouts (96) and first in batting average against (.175).
Radziewski is one of three pitchers in the ACC averaging more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings (11.27). The former Baseball America Freshman All-American has recorded 204 Ks over 33 starts and has a 19-4 career record and career ERA of 2.64.
Miami begins its quest for an ACC title at 3 p.m. Thursday, when it meets No. 1 seed North Carolina in a Pool A matchup in Durham, N.C.
UM lost in the title game to Georgia Tech last year.
RICARDO WILLIAMS OFFICIALLY OFF FOOTBALL TEAM
Chris Yandle, director of communications for UM athletics, just confirmed to me that 6-5, 251-pound defensive end Ricardo Williams is no longer on the team. A redshirt sophomore, Williams is out of Homestead Senior High. Williams played in one game last year -- against North Carolina.
Williams' name has already been removed from the football roster.
Wide receiver Robert Lockhart Jr., who also has been granted his release, according to Canesport.com, is still on the roster.
"As far as Robert Lockhart, I have not been informed about anything,'' Yandle said.
Lockhart is a 6-1, 183-pound redshirt sophomore out of Fork Union Military Academy, via West Boca Raton High. Lockhart was a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and ESPN. As a high school senior he had 34 catches for 686 yards and six touchdowns. He chose UM over Virginia Tech. Lockhart played in two games last season -- UNC and FSU -- but sustained a season-ending knee injury.
SHANE McDERMOTT ON RIMINGTON WATCH LIST
UM center Shane McDermott is one of 44 players named to the 2013 Rimington Trophy spring watch list. The award is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate center.
McDermott, a junior, missed spring practice after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.
An All-ACC honorable mention selection in 2012 by league coaches, McDermott started all 12 games at center for UM. UM had the ACC's third-best passing offense (295.4-yards-per-game average) and fifth-best total offense (440.2). As a redshirt freshman in 2011, he played in 10 games, allowing no sacks and not being flagged for any penalties.
McDermott is from Lake Worth. He was awarded the Walter Kichefski Endowed Football Scholarship at the most recent UM Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet. He will earn his bachelor's degree this summer.
McDermott's younger brother (I won't say "little'' brother as he's 6-6 and approaching 300 pounds), Kc McDermott, has already pledged his commitment to UM for the Class of 2014, a huge get for the Canes.
Kc is a four-star lineman, according to Rivals.com, and is listed as the 40th best player overall, regardless of position. He is listed as the fifth best tackle in the Class of 2014.
Notre Dame also wanted Kc, and actually still wants him, but Kc said he's not budging from his commitment to the Hurricanes.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
They did it again.
For the fifth consecutive season, the University of Miami women's tennis team has advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
The sixth-ranked Hurricanes, playing at the tournament site in Urbana, Ill., beat Northwestern 4-3. They didn't complete play until close to 1 a.m. Eastern time Saturday (match began Friday night).
The Canes get to rest on Saturday, before meeting No. 3 Texas A&M at 5 p.m. EST on Sunday.
If UM beats Texas A&M in the Elite Eight round, it would play in the national semifinals on Monday. If UM, in turn, won that match, it would advance to the national title round on Tuesday.
The Hurricanes finished as the national runner-up in 2006, but have never won a national title.
On Friday, it was junior Melissa Bolivar who clinched the victory at the No. 6 spot by winning her final two games. She beat Nida Hamilton 7-6 (6), 1-6, 6-4.
Also winning for UM were Stephanie Wagner at the No. 1 spot and Kelsey Laurente at the No. 2 spot, as well as the crucial doubles victories by Albuquerque/Riobueno and Wagner/Brittany Dubins.
"I didn't feel comfortable throughout the match,'' Bolivar said after the match, as reported by UM sports information. "I just fought through it. You have to win, even though you're not playing your best. That's a quality we have.''
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
The UM women's tennis team, ranked sixth in the nation, will meet No. 11 Northwestern at 6 p.m. Friday in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA National Championships in Urbana, Ill.
It's the eighth consecutive season that the Canes have advanced to the Round of 16.
On Tuesday, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced its regional award winners, and UM coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews -- already inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame -- earned Coach of the Year for the Southeast Region.
Hurricanes assistant Alex Santos earned Assistant Coach of the Year for the Southeast Region.
And freshman Stephanie Wagner, UM's No. 1 player, earned Rookie of the Year.
All three will be eligible for the same awards on the national level.
Yaroshuk-Tews' teams are always top-notch, and this one is no different. What's especially gratifying is that all eight players will return next season.
"If we don't get to the final 16 I'm not happy,'' Yaroshuk-Tews said Tuesday. "I make that known with my staff. ...To get to the Sweet 16 is tough and it's grueling, but with this talent, this is where they should be.''
The coach said her players' goal at the beginning of the season was to get at least to the semifinal of this year's nationals. Last year they lost to Florida in the quarters.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Hialeah High quarterback Alin Edouard committed to the Hurricanes in February for 2014. Miami has been his lifelong dream school, and Edouard was ecstatic to get the offer.
The offer is still there, according to Edouard and his high school coach, Marc Berman, who said he spoke to a UM assistant coach at least twice Monday. But Edouard, a three-star quarterback rated the 16th best dual-threat QB prospect in the nation, is starting to have his doubts. He said he was offered by former assistant Mario Cristobal, who quickly left UM to join the staff at Alabama. He said new offensive coordinator James Coley had not communicated with him directly even once until Edouard received a private Facebook message from Coley on Monday.
"I'm guessing either they don't really want me or it's just something that happened,'' he said of the lack of communication since February. "It's not the same as it was before.''
Edouard said he is still committed to UM, but is also considering Louisville, where his friend Teddy Bridgewater stars as the starting QB going into his junior year.
The other schools Edouard said he is considering: USF, Syracuse and Tennessee.
Berman told me that Edouard "as of this point is committed and they are committed to him. Alin can do things with his legs that other kids can't. They'll probaby sign two quarterbacks from what I've been told, and that's the way it is around the rest of the country. It's all about competition.''
The Canes are loaded with quarterbacks, and have also offered two-star Malik Rosier of Mobile, Ala., for 2014. For now, besides senior Stephen Morris, there's junior Ryan Williams, redshirt freshmen Gray Crow, Preston Dewey and David Thompson, walk-on freshman Garrison Lassiter and incoming freshman Kevin Olsen.
Edouard said he is not intimidated at all by competing for the QB job. He is just worried that coaches might try to switch his position to, say, receiver and he is adamant that he stay at quarterback.
Meanwhile, Brad Kaaya of West Hills (Calif) Chaminade High, proclaimed his commitment to Miami on Monday. Chaminade is in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles. Kaaya is a three-star, pro-style prospect. He is 6-4 and 213 pounds, and rated by Rivals.com as the 19th-best pro-style quarterback prospect.
Kaaya completed 126 of 186 passes for 1,875 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012 as a junior for 12-2 Chaminade, which lost the state title game to Serra Gardena. He threw his only two interceptions of the season during that game.
Edouard completed 64 of 132 passes for 926 yards and nine touchdowns, with nine picks last season. He ran for 559 yards and seven touchdowns.
"Brad is excited,'' Chaminade coach Ed Croson told me today by phone. "Miami had a different feel, a different flavor, and Brad liked that.''
Croson said Kaaya also likes the way Coley wants to throw the ball around and the way the offense works. UM kicker Matt Goudis played for Croson, too, and made Kaaya feel comfortable.
Croson said Kaaya is a great student who "never gets in trouble, works his butt off and has talent. That's the guy you're looking for.''
One thing is for sure: recruiting can be a brutal process. And it's a long process. You can only imagine how much things might change -- and probably will change -- before signing day 2014.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Heisman trophy winning Hurricanes quarterback Vinny Testaverde will be one of 14 former players and coaches who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as part of the 2013 class.
The National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame made the joint announcement Monday during the telecast of College Football Live on ESPN. The remainder of the 14-member FBS class will be announced Tuesday at noon press conference from the NASDAQ OMX Market Site in New York City.
Testaverde was Miami’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 1986 and led the Hurricanes to three bowl berths. He went 23-3 as a starter playing for legendary coaches Howard Schnellenberger and Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson.
The Bucs picked Testaverde as the No. 1 overall selection in the 1987 NFL Draft, and his pro career spanned 21 seasons with seven different teams. The 1998 All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection finished his NFL career seventh all-time in passing yards (46,233) and eighth in touchdowns (275).
He remains among only four Hurricanes to have their jerseys retired at Miami.
Testaverde will become sixth Miami Hurricane player and 10th overall to be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame. He joins: Bennie Blades (2006), Don Bosseler (1990), Andy Gustafson (1985), Jack Harding (1980), Ted Hendricks (1987), Jimmy Johnson (2012), Russell Maryland (2011), Gino Torretta (2009) and Arnold Tucker (2008).
The 2013 College Football Hall of Fame FBS Class will be inducted Dec. 10, 2013, at the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. They will be honored guests Jan. 2, 2014, at the National Hall of Fame Salute in New Orleans at the Allstate Sugar Bowl.