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54 posts from September 2013

September 30, 2013

D'Onofrio likes fact many Hurricanes having a hand in defense's success

Of all the things Mark D'Onofrio seems to be proud of the most when it comes to UM's vast improvements on defense it's the fact so many different players are having a hand in it.

"That's what's going on with our defense. Not one guy is standing out," said D'Onofrio, whose unit came into Monday ranked seventh in scoring defense, 10th in total defense, fourth in turnover margin and 10th in passing efficiency defense.

"You see 16 sacks, but you see [12] guys in on a sack. You see six interceptions and five guys have interceptions. Seven caused fumbles and seven guys caused the fumble. Seven guys recovered it. There's a lot going on. You spread it around. That's a sign guys are unselfish, trying to do their job in the defense."

During UM's struggles in his first two seasons, D'Onofrio often said players were freelancing too often. That led to players blowing gap assignments and running lanes opening up.

That of course is what the Hurricanes can ill-afford to do this week against Georgia Tech, whose flexbone option offense requires sound assignment football to stop.

Sure, UM's defense is much improved. But Georgia Tech's attack (ranked 51st in total offense, 37th in scoring offense) is superior to any offense the Hurricanes have faced this season. Savannah State is an abysmal Football Championship Subdivision program, and FAU ranks 109th in total offense, 104th in scoring; Florida ranks 70th in total offense; 91st in scoring and South Florida ranks 120th in total offense; 118th in scoring.

The good news for UM is that D'Onofrio and the Hurricanes have a strong track record in stopping Paul Johnson's offense. Although UM gave up 287 yards and five TDs a year ago on the ground to the Yellow Jackets, the Hurricanes have done the second-best job in the ACC's Coastal Division slowing Georgia Tech's running game down since Golden's arrival. Only Virginia Tech (188 yard average) has done better than UM (210.5 yards allowed average). The Hokies are 3-0 against Georgia Tech over the last three seasons including last week's 17-10 win.

The magic number it seems is keeping Georgia Tech under 300 yards on the ground. The Yellow Jackets are 4-11 when they finish under 300 yards rushing since the start of the 2011 season, and 14-2 when they eclipse the 300-yard mark.

"You always run scared. You never sit there and stop [working on it]," said D'Onofrio, who first faced the flexbone option when he was a graduate assistant at Georgia in 2000 when he had to breakdown 20 game films of Johnson's offense at Georgia Southern.

"Obviously you continue to work on it. They do such a good job, find new wrinkles. They do an amazing job. You just run scared and do the best you can.

"I've been part of a lot of staffs that have played it. We played it every year since 2006 when I was at Temple. We played Army, Navy two times a year. Same thing at Rutgers. We played Navy and Army when they were running it. It seems like every year we've had to play it."

D'Onofrio said the returning experience Miami has from last year's win will help.

"Last year the way we were banged up and where we were at -- at that point -- we really had an inexperienced group out there," D'Onofrio said. "[Georgia Tech] had periods where they really did well and we were susceptible to the big play. You definitely hope that the guys coming back, having played that and understanding the scheme and the type of things we want to get done [we are better against it]. We've continued to enhance what we want to do against these guys and have developed a package [for it] because we've got a group of older guys."


> Of UM's 16 sacks this season, D'Onofrio said most have come because of added pressure: "I don't know the number, but there's quite a few of them off the pressure, trying to bring a fifth rusher, a sixth rusher, trying to find an opportunity where you think you can take advantage."

D'Onofrio has said in the past he would prefer to only rush three or four linemen and get to the quarterback.

> Who stood out on game film the most against USF? Backup middle linebacker Raphael Kirby, D'Onofrio said.

"You go back and look at it. He showed up around the ball And he was really physical," D'Onofrio said. "He played with knee bend, base and you saw his explosion. You saw him really play fast."

> A week after looking "rusty" in his first game back from sports hernia surgery, safety Deon Bush had a sack and forced fumble against USF. Is Bush turning the corner?

"I think he is," D'Onofrio said. "Again, he missed so much. He missed a lot of the summer. He missed a lot of training camp. I talked about it last year -- it's the hardest position to play on the defense. It's so demanding. You have to run the show back there. You have to get us in the right call. You have to be able to blitz. You have to be able to cover, play in zone, play man, play in the post. It's a demanding position and you have to see it all. People are hurrying up and they're playing fast and doing different things. You didn't get all those reps everybody else got during the summer or during training camp. It takes time to process it. But he's moving in the right direction."

> Sophomore Tyriq McCord, a pass rusher who has seen an average of 20-25 snaps a game over the last three weeks, has created turnovers in three straight games. But will he have a role Saturday against run-prone Georgia Tech?

"We're still working through everything, but he'll have an opportunity to have a chance to play," D'Onofrio said. "Again, certain guys roles might be different from week-to-week. We have enough depth where you can use different guys in different situations. We'll see how it all plays out.

"He's got a role right now and it's really a third down role. We're looking for him to increase his role and fight for reps on first and second down. Right now he's a third string guy, a flip guy for us. He can play linebacker, can play rush end. So he's doing all those things. He was a recipient of the ball coming to him two times the last two weeks and he caught it, which is good. Obviously he made a great play against Florida, a sack caused fumble late in the game. He's tipped a pass I think. He's been around the ball on the reps that he's gotten. He's limited reps, but good production."

Canes receiver Stacy Coley named co-ACC Rookie of the Week

Hurricanes freshman receiver Stacy Coley was named the ACC Co-Rookie of the Week, sharing the honor with Virginia Tech cornerback Brandon Facyson.

Coley is the fourth Hurricane to earn ACC Player of the Week honors in 2013. Senior Brandon Linder was named Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week on Sept. 3, junior Denzel Perryman was named Linebacker of the Week and junior Anthony Chickillo was named Co-Defensive Lineman of the Week on Sept. 9.

Coley hauled in career highs for receptions (4), receiving yards (96) and receiving touchdowns (2) in Miami’s 49-21 road win at USF.

In the video below, Coley says veterans like Phillip Dorsett have been helping him grasp the Hurricanes offense. He talks about what he's learned in his first month on the job and what coaches are harping on with him.

VIDEO: Golden talks Morris, Clements, Georgia Tech

Newsy notes from UM Hurricanes football practice on Monday as they prepare for Georgia Tech

Spoke with Hurricanes coach Al Golden after Monday's practice. Some notes, per Golden, as UM prepares for Georgia Tech and its spread option offense at 3:30 p.m. Saturday:

On the injury situation, Golden said that there is "no comparison" from where QB Stephen Morris (bruised right ankle) was last week to where he is today. "We didn't throw him last week and he's out here throwing and running. So, he'll be fine. We've got to keep treating him and stay on top of it.''

*** The coach said he was "a little bit worried about Eduardo [Clements]. I don't know where he's at with his hamstring.

*** "I think Grace (oblique) will be OK. He's got to keep getting treatment.'' LB Jermaine Grace was part of a controlled, light practice Monday, and didn't do much.

*** He said cornerback Nate Dortch "has a little bit of a foot deal that we're being protective of. I think he'll be alright in the long run. We don't want it to get any worse.'' Note that Dortch was seen in a red no-contact jersey this morning and wore a boot on his right foot.

*** Left guard Jon Feliciano is fine.

*** C Shane McDermott (foot) was back at practice.

*** On ACC play: "We're in the ACC tournament. We're 0-0 and they're 2-1. We have our hands full.''

*** Golden said there "was a lot of installation and a lot to absorb most particularly on the defensive side getting used to the tempo, the cutting and the misdirection.''  

*** Corn Elder and Josh Johnson are the scout team quarterbacks running the Georgia Tech offense.

  "Corn is running with the 1s and Josh is taking the second unit. Those guys are doing a tremendous job. They're studying it. Corn is... that's what he is, man. He's a point guard. I mean, he gets it." 

*** Dallas Crawford's growth is "amazing,'' the coach said. "He's tough as nails. He's getting better every week.''

*** Walter Tucker is now the fourth tailback on the depth chart and second fullback behind Maurice Hagens, Golden said, because of RB Eduardo Clements' injury. Golden said previously this season that Tucker was expected to redshirt, but he said Monday that if need be, Tucker will have to play. He seemed very high on Tucker. 


September 29, 2013

Former Canes quarterback great Bernie Kosar arrested. Reached by Miami Herald text, he says he's "fine.''

 Former Cleveland Browns and Miami Hurricanes quarterback Bernie Kosar was "arrested and accused of driving under the influence of alcohol in Solon, Ohio, early Sunday," the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

The Miami Herald reached Kosar by text at 1 p.m. Sunday and he wrote back, "I am fine.''  He said he was at the Cleveland Browns game, but released no other information.

"Kosar was pulled over for speeding on SOM Center Road at 2:42 a.m., and police officers smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle, according to a press release from the Solon Police Department,'' Cleveland.com reported. "He took sobriety tests,and was then taken to the Solon Police Department without incident, the press release said.''

The press release, obtained by the Plain Dealer, described Kosar as the driver of a black Cadillac. It said Kosar posted a $500 bond and that his Bedford Municipal Court date is at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"The Solon Police Department will not release any video of the stop involving Mr. Kosar until the disposition of the case has been finalized,'' the press release stated.

Kosar was the freshman quarterback who led UM to its first national championship under Howard Schnellenberger in 1983. He is a member of UM's Board of Trustees, is in the UM Sports Hall of Fame and a member of UM's Ring of Honor.

Among his many achievements at UM, Kosar is the single-season passing yards leader with 3,642 yards in 1984. 


September 28, 2013

Canes QB Stephen Morris calls USF a dirty team, says Bulls were going after his ankle

TAMPA -- UM quarterback Stephen Morris was not a happy camper after UM's 49-21 win over South Florida and didn't hold back.

I asked him about signaling to the sideline to leave the game midway through the second quarter and he responded: "South Florida is a dirty team to say the least.

"I don't know man. When your down under [the pile] and everybody is on top they're going to try and go for your ankles and everything. We were already up three, four touchdowns so I was like there ain't no point for me to try to mess with these guys. They're dirty. It is what is. I wanted to score 70 points on them. They disrespected us. I had no respect for them at all. At that point I felt like we should just keep pushing it, keep killing them."

What were they doing? "Little stuff in the pile. Just dumb stuff," he said.

Who was it? "I don't know who that is. Whoever was on the defensive line," he said.

Were they twisting your ankle? "It's the game of football. The obviously got the injury report thanks to a certain group of people. It is what it is."

How is your ankle? "It feels great. Compliments out to Vinny and the [training] staff. I'm going to be in the [training] room all day [Sunday]."

Al Golden's post-game thoughts on USF; says Morris didn't go backwards with ankle injury

TAMPA -- Here is everything UM coach Al Golden said after Saturday's 49-21 win over the South Florida Bulls.

The offense came out firing... "We played well. We were efficient on offense. I don't think we had a punt if I'm not mistaken until the third, maybe later. Stephen [Morris] did an unbelievable job for the lack of practice that he had. He was efficient. I thought we ran the ball really well. I thought we called a good game early on and I think the defense settled down after that first 15, which is what I was concerned about coming off the bye week. They did what we thought they would do. They executed it better than we did, that's why they scored there. Good tough game on the road. Proud of our guys. Now it's time to go back and get ready for the ACC."

The offense went to the air a lot... "The ball wasn't hitting the ground. We were protecting really well. Stephen was making good decisions. Even on the one chunk he wanted then he came back to his back when they were on top of it. When your quarterback makes those kinds of decisions its easier to call pass plays for sure. [Maurice Hagens] picked up 15 on that play. We protected him well. They started to hit him a little bit there and it was time to take him out and move onto Ryan [Williams]."

How is Stephen Morris' health... "He kept saying he was good. But we had enough lead that I thought we could move on. You guys see what I see with Ryan. It's a lot different than last year. He's in a groove right now. He's playing with a lot of confidence. The team has a lot of confidence in him. So when he comes in its good and efficient. He did a nice job.

Stacy Coley had a big game... "He's coming along guys. He's making a lot of progress. He's more confident and more comfortable and relaxing. Again, he's a competitor, comes everyday, works hard and having success."

On bringing the heat against USF's offense... "It was a situation where we saw a couple things that we wanted to go after. Part of the pressure was the realization they really wanted to be a running team. They want to run the ball. You can get some TFLs there and can end up in an eight-man front in a lot of those pressures. It worked out well. They came out sharp, ready to go, stuck that early drive in on us. But again, we were ready to go. Now we got to get healed up and get ready for next week."

Shayon Green forced the fumble that led to a TD... "We're starting to get more active around the football. We had more guys around the football. The one the whole team is going to crazy on is the one we couldn't scoop and score. We couldn't pick it up. We're seeing the ball better. Again, I'm not talking derogatory about any one person but last year a lot of those were just sacks and you hit them in the back. Now guys are sacking and knocking the ball out and guys are going to scoop it up. And guys are there to pick it up, which is a big contrast from a year ago."

First career sack for Shayon... "I'm happy for him. He's a warrior. He is so unselfish. So much of what we're doing against the run right now is that he's unselfish and he gets the ball when he has to and does all the things he has to even though he's undersized against some of the tackles. But he does a great job."

Duke rarely fumbles and did twice today... "Terrible -- and in the situation [near the goalline]. He knows it. I can sit here and act like a tough guy coach and say -- he knows it. That's it, end of story. That's unacceptable. You don't reach the ball over the goalline. You don't do that unless it's the last play of the half or the last play of the game. So, that's cardinal sin No. 1 there. He knows that. We train the heck out of it. He freelanced the heck out of it. So, we've got to calm him down. The second one was bad from the get-go. The receiver in motion basically ran into Ryan. The mesh was bad. I don't even know if he got it or it was on his hip. You guys have more angles than me. But you've got to cover it up when it's not where it needs to be."

Ryan Williams again played well... "Again, we feel very good about Ryan. When I tell you I was like many of you watching pregame to see what kind of shape Stephen was in. I went to bed last night thinking it was going to be Ryan. That's how much confidence I have in him. If he plays, we're good. If Stephen gets dinged somewhere along the way, Ryan comes in we're good and we'll just move on."

Did you say anything to Duke after the fumble... "Yes."

Last time up here you beat USF 6-3... "I want to be fair to Coach Taggart. It's a transition year and he's taking over a new team. Again, I can't assess where they are at. I'm just know what we're trying to build. We have a lot of guys on our team that have been growing and building. We went through that year last year. We were fortunate to scratch and claw and get to seven wins. But that's was what we were facing last year with all those young guys. It was tough to look at a lot of times, but clearly a lot of those guys have grown up now."

Two very costly special teams penalties wiped out a kick return for a TD and a long punt return... "Again, I got to see them [on film]. But difficult. Too many penalties right now overall. I keep challenging the team with that. We got to get that cleaned up. Those two penalties that's got to be 160 yards in penalties. That's horrific. If a guy is being aggressive and using a technique we use, sometimes it just happens. But if we walk in there tomorrow and I'm being selfish and doing my own thing, we have no tolerance for that. Those two penalties really kept the game closer than it needed to be."

Are you ready for the ACC schedule to get going... "Yeah we're ready. We need to get a break. We need to get healed up. Of course they're ahead of us already on their rest. So we're conscious of that. We'll have guys get back early tonight and get a good day's rest and take it a little bit easier on them on Monday and get ready to go. We're excited. We've done what we've needed to do on the first third of the regular season. We've played a lot of guys, we've grown up. Now it's time to get into the ACC."

Gus Edwards ran well but couldn't score... "We just got to keep working. That's just part of having a little bit more poise down there in going where he needs to go. We certainly have to do a better job blocking for him."

Are you going to handle Morris' ankle injury the same way... "He'll be far better off tomorrow than he was last Sunday. We didn't go backwards today. That's the one thing doctors told me right away. He didn't go backwards. We're just being cautious with him. I said OK, it was 28-7. I felt good. Ryan was moving the ball. Defense was playing good. But he'll be markedly better. To answer your question we didn't go backwards and he should be good to go on Monday."

Gameday blog: Miami Hurricanes at USF Bulls

TAMPA -- You know the drill.

Your Miami Hurricanes (3-0) are playing at Raymond James Stadium against the winless USF Bulls (0-3). Kickoff is at noon. Today's game can be seen on ESPNU. Hope you have it. 

Al Golden has played up USF's defense. Bulls coach Willie Taggart is a good coach and eventually should right the ship. But it shouldn't be much of a contest today.

Vegas lists Miami as an 18.5 point favorite. I've got the Canes winning 44-7.

Q & A with John Congemi: Hurricanes No. 1 nationally in turnover margin. USF No. 114. Uh oh.

Good morning!

Nothing like game day.

I chatted on Thursday with ESPNU college football analyst John Congemi.

John, a former star quarterback who finished second all-time in passing yards at Pittsburgh behind Dan Marino, played at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale. He will be part of the broadcast team today that calls the UM at USF game.

Q: Miami is No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin and USF is 114th. How does that translate?

Congemi: “Problems for South Florida, that’s what those numbers tells you. If the Miami Hurricanes can continue to generate turnovers and protect the football and South Florida doesn’t get better play from their quarterbacks, because you don’t know who’s going to play in that position, it lends to the Hurricanes getting easy points or field position that leads to easy points.”

Q: USF announced that Steven Bench will start at QB vs. UM. What have you seen from the USF quarterbacks?

 Congemi: “I did the South Florida game when they played against Michigan State (Note: Michigan State won 21-6.) Bobby Eveld (now 17 of 47 for 205 yards and two TDs, with one interception) didn’t get a whole lot of help in that game -- but he struggled. Steven Bench (now 8 of 24 for 128 yards and a TD, with one interception) came in and played pretty well. But it’s their pass percentage (37.4 percent combined) that has to come up. Whatever quarterback combination has to complete a better percentage of passes than they have. That position needs to improve to give the other guys around them a chance to make plays.”

Q: What do you think is most important, besides winning, for UM to accomplish in this game --  knowing that Georgia Tech is next?

Congemi: “I think it’s another game that they can continue to build their craft. They’re starting their ACC schedule soon and that’s the most important thing. I know in the bye week (after Florida) and week of practice, Al Golden has been harping on these guys to drill down, resist experimentation and get better at what they do best. That has been his motto the last couple weeks, just to get better at what they do because they’re on the verge of getting to the meat of their schedule and their goal is to win the ACC and get to a BCS game. They have talent, but they have to get better at what they do best, focus in and execute and minimize penalties and mistakes. That should be enough to win this football game.

Q: Stephen Morris has a bruised ankle. Should Al Golden let him sit more than he plays?

Congemi: “In my opinion, if Stephen Morris is healthy enough to play, he should probably play until the game is in hand just to continue to get him some reps. But what is that marker? Is it a three-touchdown lead? Is it the third quarter when you feel like the game is in hand? The best thing about football is you never know what’s going to happen. South Florida, on the defensive side of ball, has athletes. I’ve seen them in person. If you took their colors off and put them in another uniform they run as well as Miami. They’re just not as deep and maybe not quite as talented but the defensive coordinator does an excellent job with that side of the football. They do a good job of getting to the quarterback, have  two quality ends and a heck of a linebacker in DeDe Lattimore.  If you were going to attack them, you’d attack them with balance. If Stephen feels 100 percent or close to it, you let him play.”

Q: Your prediction?

 Congemi: “I won’t give you a score, but I can tell you that the huge matchup will be Miami’s offense against South Florida’s defense. If they can continue to score points and move the football it’s going to be tough for South Florida to keep that pace. A low scoring game will favor South Florida, but if you get it into the high 20s I’m not so sure South Florida can keep pace.’’





September 25, 2013

Canes great Edgerrin James named "ACC Legend'' & Tulsa Shock G & former Cane All-American Riquna Williams named '13 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year

Congratulations to two former UM standouts. Below are the releases sent by UM:

Edgerrin James Named to 2013 ACC Football Legends Class

Class will be honored at 2013 Dr Pepper ACC Championship in Charlotte

 CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Former Miami Hurricanes running back Edgerrin James is one of 15 standouts named to the 2013 ACC Football Legends Class, the conference announced Wednesday. James will be recognized at Miami’s Nov. 23 home finale vs. Virginia.

 The Legends Class will be honored during this year’s Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game weekend. They will be honored Dec. 6 at the ACC Night of Legends sponsored by the Belk Bowl and during ceremonies at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium for the 9th Annual ACC Football Championship, with will be nationally televised Dec. 7 at either 7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN) or 8 p.m. ET (ABC). Tickets for the Night of Legends are $85 each and are available here.

 James joins a prominent list that includes four members of the College Football Hall of Fame and two members of the ACC 50th Anniversary Team. The 2013 class includes: Boston College RB Mike Cloud, Clemson S Terry Kinard, Duke HB/E Wes Chesson, Florida State G Jamie Dukes, Georgia Tech TB Robert Lavette, Maryland QB Boomer Esiason, North Carolina FB Ken Willard, NC State twins Dave (QB) and Don (WR) Buckley, Pittsburgh head coach Johnny Majors, Syracuse HB Floyd Little, Virginia DE Tom Scott, Virginia Tech WR Andre Davis and Wake Forest QB Jay Venuto.

 The group of 15 former gridiron standouts from current ACC schools includes a former ACC Football Player of the Year; 10 former All-Americas, including six first-team All-America honorees; and 12 players who combined for 97 years in the NFL. Twelve of the Legends were drafted into the NFL, including six first- or second-round draft choices.

 In all, the collection of players combined for two national championships, five ACC Championships and one Super Bowl title.

 An explosive runner who averaged 6.2 yards per carry throughout his career, James is one of the most successful running backs in Miami history. Though he played just three seasons in college, James totaled 2,960 yards and still has the top two single-game rushing days in school history. He ran for a school-record 299 yards against UCLA in 1998 and for 271 yards against Boston College in 1997.  He is the only running back in school history to post multiple 1,000-yard seasons and helped the Canes compiled a 23-12 mark, while earning two bowl berths.

 The fourth overall selection in the 1999 NFL Draft by Indianapolis, he played 11 seasons in the NFL, including his first seven with the Colts. He was named to the NFL Pro Bowl four teams. He was named the 1999 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the AP and claimed the NFL rushing title in each of his first two seasons in the league. After leaving Indianapolis, he played three seasons with Arizona, leading the Cardinals to Super Bowl XLIII. He completed his professional career with Seattle in 2009, accumulating 12,246 career rushing yards and 80 touchdowns. He was named to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2000s. Originally from Immokalee, Fla., James now resides in Miami.


NAME, POS                                       INDUCTION YEAR 

George Mira, QB                              2005

Gino Torretta, QB                             2006

Jim Kelly, QB                                     2007

Russell Maryland, DT                       2008

Vinny Testaverde, QB                      2009

Cortez Kennedy, DT                         2010

Jim Otto, C                                         2011

Ted Hendricks, DE                            2012

Edgerrin James, RB                          2013


Riquna Williams Named WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year
Tulsa Shock guard and former Hurricanes All-American Riquna Williams was named the 2013 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year

NEW YORK -- Tulsa Shock guard and former Miami Hurricanes All-American Riquna Williams was named the 2013 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, the WNBA announced Tuesday. Williams received 17 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters to earn the award.

“We are once again so proud of Riquna and her accomplishments this season,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “She has always been a ‘game-changer’ at every level, and it is a testament to her work ethic that she continues to be one in the WNBA.”

The second-year guard averaged 15.6 points in 27 games for Tulsa in 2013, including 21 games off the bench. Williams also averaged 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals, and burst onto the scene with a record-setting 51-point performance against San Antonio in early September.

The Pahokee, Fla., native shot 17-for-28 from the field in a 98-65 win over the Silver Stars, including eight 3-point baskets, to set a single-game WNBA scoring record.  The 51-point effort surpassed the previous mark of 47 set by Phoenix's Diana Taurasi in 2006 and Seattle's Lauren Jackson in 2007, earning her a career-first Western Conference Player of the Week Award.

Williams was selected in the second round (17th overall) of the 2012 WNBA Draft, becoming the fourth player in Miami Hurricanes history to be drafted. She finished her inaugural WNBA campaign ranked third among rookies in both assists (2.1) and steals (1.55), and fourth in scoring (10.5) en route to 2012 All-Rookie honors.

In recognition of her selection as Sixth Woman of the Year, Williams will receive $5,000 and a specially-designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.

Kirk Herbstreit just now on radio about NCAA: "Good or bad, just get Miami some answers.''

ESPN College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit, speaking to Joe Rose on 560 WQAM, was adamant about the frustration those connected to the University of Miami must feel regarding the NCAA situation that still has not been resolved after two-and-a-half years.

Herbstreit said the first thing he thought of was Miami when he heard the news yesterday about the NCAA gradually returning football scholarships to Penn State in relation to the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

"Miami was the first thing I thought about yesterday when I heard that news,'' Herbstreit said. "They have not only penalized Penn State, but circled back and reduced that penalty before we get anything on Miami. The only thing I can think of is because the NCAA fumbled the ball on the entire investigation with Miami and publicly admitted that, I've got to believe they've got to go all the way back and start basically from scratch in certain aspects of the investigation.

"I don't have anything to do with the NCAA; I never talk to anybody from the NCAA, so I don't have any idea. I wish I had some answers of, 'Hey, by November we're going to find out, but I don't know anything. I'm as frustrated by it. All I can do is just applaud the effort from the university, what they're doing, the direction that they're heading with Al Golden.

I don't know if people outside of the Miami Hurricane community really appreciate the challenges that Al Golden and his staff face week in and week out -- not just during the season but more importantly in the offseason when you're recruiting, when you're trying to recruit to unknown. The direction of your program, the penalties you may have to deal with and you're sitting here trying to talk a 17- or 18-year-old to come and play for you while Florida State and Florida and others, they don't have to worry about that.

"It's a shame, it really is. I just hope there are some answers. Good or bad, just get Miami some answers so they can move past this and move into another chapter of their program.''





September 24, 2013

Isidora, Scott on the comeback trail from injury; Bush eager to shake off rust

The Hurricanes are preparing for their first road trip of the season at USF and the good news to come out Tuesday is that the team is getting healthier. 

> Quarterback Stephen Morris, recovering from a right ankle sprain, threw about 40 passes in team drills, his first real work since being sidelined in the first quarter Saturday. Coach Al Golden said he was transferring his weight well and remains on target to play against the Bulls.

> Center Shane McDermott, who missed the Savannah State game with a foot injury, will begin being integrated into practice Wednesday. 

> Offensive guard Danny Isidora, a redshirt freshman who has been out since fall camp began with a broken foot, was back at practice for the first time Tuesday. Receiver Rashawn Scott (shoulder) is no longer in a sling and will start running pretty soon according to Golden. 

"It was good to see Danny out there," Golden said. "He's out there moving around without a boot. I think there's an integration protocol with him, walk for a couple of days and then jog. Danny is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel I'd be speculating to tell you when he can come back and play. He's a 310, 312-pound man. We need to be careful with that in terms of his long term future. We need him, need that depth on the offensive line.

"It would be great to get some of those guys back. Obviously Isidora and Scott are going to be a little bit longer projects, but Shane and Stephen we expect quickly."


Sophomore safety Deon Bush, who saw his first action of the season against Savannah State and made one tackle in a little over 20 snaps, agreed with defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio's assessment that he was "a bit rusty" Saturday.

"That's probably understating it, but it's something to build on," Bush said. "I finally got my feet wet, got out there and was able to be out there with the team. I really enjoyed being with the team. I expected it to be a lot better. The only thing I can do right now is work harder and build on what I put on film and get better out there."

Bush admitted he was a bit tentative Saturday and was even a little fatigued at times.

"It was a major wake-up call," Bush said. "It taught me stuff I got to get better at, things I need to work on, weaknesses."


The Bulls (0-3) have losses to McNeese State 53-21 and FAU 28-10, but Golden said not to put too much stalk into that and points to turnovers as the reason USF isn't better.

"You keep looking at their defense, they're veterans on defense, deep on defense, they play a lot of different guys," Golden said. "A lot of those same guys play on special teams. On offense we're entering a game not knowing who is going to be the quarterback or how much of their read game is going to be utilized based on that decision. Our kids know exactly what kind of game we're getting ready for. These rivalry games are just that, spirited, heated.

"They're 33 percent on third down defense. That's been one of the things we have to overcome. They present a number of problems. They'll play man to man on you, are very good in the zone because they have the push to get there. They play a lot of different guys. You look at their defensive line -- whether its [Elkino] Watson, [Tevin] Mims, [Ryne] Giddens, [Luke] Sagar in there, now [Aaron] Lynch. There are so many guys they play that they play fresh and they keep the pressure on you, quite often with four rushers on third down. We have to convert, run the ball (and) generate good carries, good rushes, be patient with it and move the sticks."

> Golden said the Hurricanes, who currently rank 102nd in time of possession, need to convert more on third downs to help their cause there.

"If you take our third down percentage and if you're up around 45 percent you're going to get more opportunities," Golden said. "I think our turnovers have been good which has been helping our time of possession. But if you don't get turnovers now we're in trouble. The things we can control more readily are third down percentage in terms of converting and just holding onto the ball a little bit.

"Is it the end all? No. But it's an important factor. If you're hitting big plays there really is no bad. If you're hitting the big play and scoring, there is no bad. The guy with the most points wins. We don't want to put the defense out there. You guys saw the Florida game. We're out there and hanging on a little bit. We don't want to be in that situation against the defense."

September 23, 2013

VIDEO: Coach Golden, D'Onofrio provide progress reports on Canes before USF

Al Golden: QBs Stephen Morris (ankle) and Ryan Williams doing well, but future QB Kevin Olsen "hasn't owned the process"

We talked to Hurricanes coach Al Golden after practice, and Golden seemed positive about the condition of quarterback Stephen Morris, who injured his right ankle (bone bruise, Golden said Sunday) against Savannah State.

"We're going to take it easy with him today, get it loose, keep treating him all day and then we'll get back at it again tomorrow,'' Golden said.

Any reason for less optimism today than yesterday?

"No, I think he looks good,'' Golden said. "He even told me he looked good. Clearly, what he had last year after North Carolina and before Florida State was dramatically worse than this.''

Golden also was very complimentary of Ryan Williams, saying he's a better leader and "really coachable'' and how he "has changed some mechanics that are really working in his favor -- he's getting his shoulder closed a lot and moving his feet better" and has gotten leaner and "quicker on his feet" and how he is "starting to understand who he is in terms of distributing the football and letting those guys make plays.''

  Added Golden about Williams: "Look, he doesn't have the arm of Stephen. That doesn't preclude him from being a very good and very accurate quarterback."

Golden did not seem nearly as pleased with freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen, who is obviously being redshirted.

Golden was asked how Kevin Olsen was doing. The answer sure sounded like he needs to work harder all-around on his game.

"He's got to learn the game,'' Golden said. "He's got to be obedient to a regimen to be a quarterback and it's got to be the same everyday. He's got to be disciplined in terms of that. He's not there yet. He hasn't owned the process yet. He's got to really improve the mental aspects of his game so that he can play the game fast and he can't waste his time, can't waste this year.

"He's got to get better. He's out here right now throwing. He's got to. He's got to be out here throwing everyday. And when we're not throwing he's got to be throwing anyway.

"He's got to be watching the way Stephen and Ryan conduct themselves and how they run the offense. He's got to know every signal, every call. He's got to make the right Mike calls on runs, get us in the right protection. He's got to get going on that side of it so he can play fast.''



Quick update on QB Morris from Monday morning Hurricanes football practice at Greentree Field

Happy work week.

Just walked in from our viewing period at the start of Hurricanes football practice. Quarterback Stephen Morris was in shorts and the usual red jersey worn by quarterbacks. He donned a baseball cap instead of a helmet. His injured right ankle, which Golden classified as a bone bruise, was not visibly wrapped.

Morris gently tossed the ball back and forth to receiver Rashawn Scott, who is still in a red (non-contact) jersey for injured players.

Also,  we didn't see center Shane McDermott, who has a foot injury, according to Golden on our teleconference yesterday.


September 22, 2013

Canes new depth chart for USF game

Here is the latest depth chart following the 77-7 win over Savannah State.

UM FB Depth_Chart 092213

Hurricanes coach Al Golden: QB Stephen Morris' injury "classified as a bruise now'' & he'll play at USF

  Miami Hurricanes football coach Al Golden delivered some good news Sunday afternoon about starting quarterback Stephen Morris, who sustained what was believed to be a right-ankle sprain during UM's 77-7 blowout over Savannah State on Saturday night.

"It's been classified as a bruise now,'' Golden said. "It's really not even a sprain. It's a bone bruise.

"There's some soreness certainly some stiffness -- otherwide Stephen would have been back last night. Everything is positive. He got through treatments and everything. Like I said, we're going to be real careful with him in the first 48 hours, but it did not swell overnight; It didn't go backwards overnight or anything like that.

"The young man did a great job getting on top of it right away last night and early this morning.

"This was a kid a year ago going into Florida State where we didn't even know he was going to play until he walked on the field. So, he's a fast healer and he's very tough minded. Expect him to be back very soon.''

  Golden said "very soon''  means at noon Saturday at USF in Tampa, UM's first road game. He was asked if he feels like Morris will be "full go'' for USF.

  "Oh yeah, absolutely. I feel good about it,'' Golden said without hesitation. "I really do. We  might be careful with him tomorrow but our goal is to get him going for our Tuesday practice, which is obviously our most demanding practice."

  Morris has had ankle problems before. He sprained his left ankle last year against North Carolina,  before the Florida State game. Ryan Williams, who replaced Morris with 8:51 left in the first quarter last night (and did a great job of running the offense and completing 11 of 13 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns), was supposed to start against FSU last season, but Morris ended up starting instead.

   Morris also sprained his left ankle a few days before the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas at the end of the 2010 season. Jacory Harris started that game, but Morris came in with 11:13 left in the first half and played with the sore ankle.

  *** Golden was thoroughly impressed with senior Jared Wheeler, who replaced injured center Shane McDermott on Saturday. He said Wheeler did "a great job'' and was very smart and executed well. Golden said McDermott injured his foot during the Florida game, and coaches want it to be healed enough before he gets out there again. He is going to the doctor again tomorrow, Golden said. McDermott was seen on the sideline with a boot on his left ankle Saturday.

*** Golden said he "got a number of texts late last night from [walk-ons] thanking'' him and "being grateful for that opportunity'' to get game action. "They work really hard...It doesn't come along often in college football where you get that kind of win and can get everybody in. I think we did a good job of clearing the bench and giving everybody an opportunity. I hope we didn't miss anybody. I kept asking all three units.''

    He added that true freshman walk-on wideout Greg Golden, his nephew, did not play as was reported in the gamebook, because wideout Chad Barnes, who DID get in the game, had his number changed to 84 for the game -- the same number as Greg's.

  "The freshmen,'' Golden said, "even though they're walk-ons, we don't put them in there because we want them to retain their ability to be redshirted if that's what they want.''

 *** The noon game at USF will be broadcast by ESPNU.



September 21, 2013

What UM coach Al Golden said after the Savannah State game

Here is what Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden had to say after Saturday's 77-7 romp over Savannah State.

> On what he learned from the game...

“I think we learned about a lot of individuals. Ryan Williams stepped up. I thought Gus Edwards stepped up. Beau Sandland stepped up. We learned a little bit about Stacy [Coley] and his game. There were a lot of defensive guys that played hard. I think we’re coming out of it healthy, which was my primary concern once it got a little bit lopsided.”

> On any concerns about quarterback Stephen Morris’ health...

“No, I just saw him. He looks good. I think it was 21-0 or around there [when he got hurt]. It was either 14-0, then Ryan [Williams] comes in and we score and it’s 21-0. There’s no need for him to go back in, so we just held him out. The x-rays were negative. We’ll be cautious with it, we’ll get him off his feet in the next 48 hours, but it looks like he’ll be fine.”

> On what he saw from wide receiver Stacy Coley...

“He did a great job on the kick return, made some nice moves on the punt return, he caught a nice little screen out there. We’re trying to get him going. He has had good week, so I’m pleased he carried it into the game. Obviously the jitters are behind him now.”

> On a strong performance from running back Gus Edwards...

“Gus is getting better every week. He’s a big back. I thought he ran hard. I did. I thought he ran hard. It’s going to be a learning opportunity for Gus."

> On the fear of injured players...

“That was my greatest fear from the time it got to 35-0, to be honest with you. We went quickly to second and then quickly to third teams. I had a long talk with coach [Earnest Wilson] before and a long talk with him after. I’ve been there. I was on the other side of those at Temple. I wanted to make sure he knew we were doing everything in our power not to [run up the score], and I know on his end he was trying to teach his team how to keep fighting. I’ve been in his shoes. I just wanted him to know from our standpoint, we were trying to be gracious in victory and not do anything dumb.”

> On the difficulty of playing respectfully late with lopsided score...

“There are going to be guys that see the score and say whatever they want to say. But you that were there, I think you know what we were trying to do, and long before the fourth quarter. Coach [Wilson] was trying to teach his team to fight and compete, they’re throwing an interception here when they’re coming out and those types of things. It is what it is. We’re going to learn a lot about a lot of individual performances, and we needed to. We needed to see what the second- and third-team guys could do.”

> On the conversation with Coach Wilson to shorten fourth quarter to 12 minutes...

“We talked at halftime. He’s trying to teach his team how to fight, so I appreciate that, and I understand that.”

> On his initial reaction to Stephen Morris’ injury...

“Same thought as all you guys. I’m being honest. It’s so difficult because I always get the questions going into a game. ‘Are you going to sit so-and-so?’ The reality is these guys work so hard. Try and go tell Stephen he’s not playing after a bye week. It was an unfortunate circumstance, we’re blessed and grateful that he’s healthy and that he’s going to be okay. And at the same time, we learned a lot about Ryan [Williams]. I thought Gray Crow came in and did a good job too. He has had a good [past] seven to 10 days here, which is good.”

> On what he saw from linebacker Jermaine Grace...

“He’s playing hard. He has got to study the game more, he has to prepare more, he has to learn that process. He doesn’t know it yet. The older guys are trying to mentor him in that realm. He has to be a bigger factor on special teams.”

> On high completion percentages for quarterbacks Ryan Williams and Gray Crow...

“It’s good for our competition. I was proud of Ryan, because it wasn’t like we had the time to say ‘hey, you’re going in next series’ when the defense was out there. He got thrust into it, and he had good poise, good command of everything. I thought he spun the ball well, I thought he had good vision, his reads were good, and he made all the throws. I was happy with Ryan.”

> On his plans to remove first-teamers upon lopsided score...

“I was hoping that it would go well and we would be able to get them out in the first quarter. We started that substitution pattern - obviously we got a lot of the offensive guys out in the first quarter, and then a lot of the guys on defense in the middle of the second and at halftime.”

> On what he specifically learned about backup quarterback Ryan Williams...

“Ryan has been doing great in practice. He doesn’t get that many opportunities, so it was a great opportunity for him. It came at a point in the game when we weren’t pulling the reins back at that point. He had to run the whole offense and he did. I thought he made really good decisions. He has to do what Ryan Williams did – he made the catchand-run throws. He put the ball where it needed to be so that guys could run with the ball. They weren’t turning around, or they weren’t waiting for it. That’s the kind of accuracy Ryan needed to have, so I’m really pleased with the way he conducted the game.”

Morris leaves early with sprained right ankle injury WQAM reports

Quarterback Stephen Morris left tonight's game with 8:51 to play in the first quarter and was escorted into the locker room by staffers. The injury: a sprained right ankle.

After x-rays were performed, WQAM sideline reporter Josh Darrow said on the radio broadcast UM was "treating it like a sprain."

From watching him on the sideline through my binoculars Morris didn't appear to be in a great amount of pain, but he was favoring his ankle as he walked off the field. We'll have to find out after the game if it is a high-ankle sprain or a just a regular sprain.

High-ankle sprains are considered more severe and require longer rehab.

UM coach Al Golden didn't sound too worried, though, telling TV reporters as he walked off the field at halftime: "Stephen's fine. X-rays were negative."

Morris injured his ankle on a pass intended for Clive Walford that he threw out of bounds on UM's third offensive series of the game. He was tackled from behind by defensive end Alex Wierzbicki on the play.

Live blog: Canes vs. Savannah State

The Hurricanes (2-0) host 60-point underdog Savannah State (1-2) tonight at 7.

The game can be seen on ESPN3 and heard on WQAM (560 AM).

As usual, join our live chat or follow me on Twitter for updates.