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49 posts from October 2013

October 31, 2013

Counting stars: A breakdown of UM-FSU on defense by talent, recruiting hype

And now for the second half of the breakdown between the Hurricanes and Seminoles.


> Miami: DE Anthony Chickillo (6-4, 277, Jr., 4-star, No. 3 DE in 2011 by Rivals); Shayon Green (6-3, 264, Sr., 3-star, No. 65 DE in 2009 by Rivals); David Gilbert (6-4, 256, Sr., 4-star, No. 12 DE in 2009 by Rivals); Ufomba Kamalu (6-6, 285, Jr., 2-star, unranked JUCO in 2013 by Rivals); Al-Quadin Muhammad (6-3, 240, Fr., 4-star, No. 3 WDE in 2013 by Rivals); Tyriq McCord (6-3, 235, So., 4-star, No. 7 WDE in 2012 by Rivals); DT Justin Renfrow (6-6, 320, Sr., 3-star, No. 43 DE in 2009 by Rivals); Olsen Pierre (6-4, 305, Jr. 3-star, unranked in 2011 by Rivals); Curtis Porter (6-1, 325, Sr. 3-star, No. 54 DT in 2009 by Rivals); Luther Robinson (6-3, 296, r-Sr., 4-star, No. 18 DT in 2009 by Rivals).

> FSU: DE Eddie Goldman (6-4, 303, So., 5-star, No. 2 DT in 2012 by Rivals); Mario Edwards (Jr., 6-3, 277, So., 5-star, No. 1 DT in 2012 by Rivals); Chris Casher (6-4, 260, R-Fr., 4-star, No. 4 WDE in 2012 by Rivals); Demonte McAllister (6-2, 290, r-Sr., 4-star, No. 4 SDE in 2009 by Rivals). DT Nile Lawrence-Stample (6-1, 305, r-So., 4-star, No. 29 DT in 2011 by Rivals); NG Timmy Jernigan (6-2, 296, Jr., 4-star, No. 2 DT in 2011 by Rivals); Jacobbi McDaniel (6-0, 295, R-Sr., 5-star, No. 2 DT in 2009 by Rivals); Desmond Hollin (6-3, 270, Jr., 3-star, unranked JUCO in 2013 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. If not for the transfers of Justin Renfrow and David Gilbert for Miami, the talent gap here would be much wider than it already is. FSU has three 5-star recruits in its defensive line rotation and three highly-touted 4-stars that were top five at their respective positions. UM doesn't have any 5-star recruits on the d-line and only two who were top five at their respect positions in Chickillo and McCord.

> What's happened: That all being said, UM's front is vastly improved from a year ago. UM ranks 39th in run defense (141.7 yards per game) has tallied 22 sacks (the Canes had 13 all of last season). FSU's run defense ranks 29th (135.7 yards per game) and the Seminoles have produced 17 sacks with only five coming from their linemen. All that being said, Jernigan is the highest-rated NFL prospect of all the current draft-eligible defensive linemen in this game. ESPN ranks him second among DTs. CBS Sports rates him sixth best among and a potential second rounder. McAllister is next at 11th among DTs according to ESPN.

> Real edge: FSU, but not as widely as people think. For all the hype FSU's linemen got out of high school, only Jernigan has been a consistent force up front. Miami does its work collectively, but still gets the majority of its pass rush from third-down specialists like McCord and not enough from its starters. FSU has produced 19 quarterback hurries this season and only allowed five. UM has produced 13 QB hurries and allowed 17.


> Miami: MLB Jimmy Gaines (6-3, 240, Sr., 2-star, unranked in 2010 by Rivals); Raphael Kirby (6-0, 235, So., 4-star, No. 5 OLB in 2012 by Rivals); OLB Tyrone Cornelius (6-2, 225, Sr., 3-star, No. 38 OLB in 2010 by Rivals); Denzel Perryman (6-0, 240, Jr., 3-star, No. 25 ILB in 2011 by Rivals); Alex Figueroa (6-3, 235, Fr., No stars, no ranking in 2012 by Rivals; Thurston Armbrister (6-3, 233, Jr., No stars, no ranking in 2011 by Rivals)

> FSU: MLB Terrance Smith (6-4, 215, R-So., 3-star, No. 18 OLB in 2011 by Rivals); OLB Christian Jones (6-4, 235, Sr., 5-star, No. 2 OLB in 2010 by Rivals); Telvin Smith (6-3, 218, Sr., 4-star, No. 18 OLB in 2010 by Rivals); Reggie Northrup (6-1, 220, So., 4-star, No. 30 OLB in 2012 by Rivals); Dan Hicks (6-4, 260, R-Sr., 2-star, unranked in 2009 by Rivals); Ukeme Eligwe (6-2, 240, R-Fr., 4-star, No. 2 OLB in 2012 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. It's almost puzzling how Miami has managed to survive at linebacker considering the of lack of talent recruited for the position. Gaines, recruited by former assistant John Lovett, had only a couple other offers (Buffalo, UConn and Syracuse). Figueroa didn't have any offers and Armbrister, a converted safety, was a late addition by Golden.

> What's happened: Gaines has developed into a lot more than anyone really expected, tallying 158 tackles in 21 career starts. Perryman, the only Butkus semifinalist in the ACC, has blossomed into UM's best defensive player despite being thrown into the fire right away as an undersized freshman. CBSSports rates him as the eighth-best draft-eligible outside linebacker and a potential second or third round pick in April. FSU's Jones, meanwhile, sits atop the board as the top projected inside linebacker by CBSSports and a second round pick. Teammate Telvin Smith ranks 12th among outside linebackers and a potential fourth rounder.

> Real edge: FSU. Jones (33 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks) and Smith (49 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 sack) are elite players. UM has one in Perryman and a couple overachievers. It should be noted by the way Jones plays a lot of defensive end, too and told reporters in Tallahassee this week he sees himself as a defensive end now.


> Miami: CB Tracy Howard (5-11, 184, So., 5-star, No. 1 CB in 2012 by Rivals); Ladarius Gunter (6-2, 196, Jr., 3-star, unranked JUCO in 2012); Antonio Crawford (5-11, 187, So., 3-star, unranked CB by Rivals); Artie Burns (6-0, 190, Fr., 4-star, No. 15 CB in 2013 by Rivals); S Kacy Rodgers (6-2, 212, Sr., 3-star, No. 37 CB in 2010 by Rivals); Rayshawn Jenkins (6-1, 208, So., 3-star, No. 32 S in 2012 by Rivals); Deon Bush (6-1, 203, So., 4-star, No. 6 S in 2012 by Rivals); AJ Highsmith (6-0, 208, Sr., 3-star, unranked ATH in 2009 by Rivals).

> FSU: CB Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 190, Sr. 5-star, No. 1 CB in 2010 by Rivals); P.J. Williams (6-0, 190, So., 4-star, No. 9 S in 2012 by Rivals); Ronald Darby (5-11, 190, So., 4-star, No. 2 CB in 2012 by Rivals); Nick Waisome (5-10, 176, Jr., 4-star, No. 8 CB in 2011 by Rivals); S Jalen Ramsey (6-1, 195, Fr., 5-star, No. 3 CB in 2013 by Rivals); Terrence Brooks (5-11, 200, Sr., 3-star, No. 45 CB by Rivals in 2010); Keelin Smith (6-3, 185, R-So., 3-star, No. 34 CB in 2011 by Rivals); Nate Andrews (5-11, 208, Fr., 3-star, unranked ATH in 2013 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. Outside of Howard, Burns and Bush, Miami's secondary is made up of mid-level talent according to recruiting gurus. While FSU has two five star recruits starting (one at corner and one at safety) and the rest of its corners are all four-star prospects.

> What's happened: FSU has allowed the fewest passing yards in the country (153.7), ranks fifth in passing efficiency defense (97.34), has 29 pass breakups and 10 interceptions (two returned for touchdowns). Joyner, a player FSU took out of UM's backyard at St. Thomas Aquinas, has been dominant. He's posted 27 tackles, 1 INT, 3 sacks, 3 pass breakups and 3 forced fumbles in his senior season and is projected to be the second free safety taken in April's draft according to CBS Sports. Brooks, his teammate, has 22 tackles, 4 PBUs, 2 FF and 2 INTs. He's projected to be a third or fourth rounder. UM ranks 17th in pass defense (200.6 yards per game) 10th in passing efficiency defense) and has 22 passes broken up and 12 interceptions. Howard leads the way with three.

> Real edge: FSU. Miami, obviously a lot younger than FSU in the secondary, didn't look good against the one good pass offense it faced in North Carolina, which completed 74.4 percent of its passes for 395 yards. Tight end Eric Ebron abused Miami. FSU hasn't had a bad game yet in pass defense and held Tahj Boyd and Clemson to only 203 yards passing. Opponents are only completing passes at a 52.2 percent clip against FSU, which is also allowing only 5.2 yards per attempt.


> Miami: K Matt Goudis (6-0, 172, So., 2-star, No. 13 kicker in 2011 by Rivals); P Pat O'Donnell (6-5, 220, Gr., 2-star, unranked in 2009 by Rivals); KR/PR Stacy Coley (6-1, 180, Fr., 4-star, No. 13 WR in 2013 by Rivals); KR Duke Johnson (5-9, 196, So., 5-star, No. 1 all-purpose running back by Rivals in 2012).

> FSU: K Roberto Aguayo (6-1, 203, R-Fr., 3-star, No. 3 kicker in 2012 by Rivals); P Cason Beatty (6-3, 229, So. 2-star, unranked kicker in 2012 by Rivals); KR Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 180, Sr., 5-star, No. 1 CB in 2010 by Rivals); KR Karlos Williams (6-1, 223, Jr., 5-star, No. 2 safety in 2011 by Rivals.com); PR Kenny Shaw (6-0, 170, Sr., 4-star, No. 14 WR in 2010 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: None really. But it is noteworthy Aguayo got a three-star rating. Kickers rarely do.

> What's happened: The Hurricanes lead the nation in kickoff return average thanks to Johnson (29.23 average) and Coley (1 kick return for a TD). FSU does a better job on punt returns (29th, 11.79 yard average) compared to UM (62nd, 8.09 yard average). When it comes to punting, O'Donnell (45.67 average) has saved the Hurricanes a couple times with big kicks. Beatty is averaging 40.3 yards a punt. Aguayo has converted all 58 kicks in his career (10 field goals, 48 PATs) and has a career-long of 45 yards. Goudis also hit a 45-yard field goal against Wake Forest, but has missed his last two kicks from 40 yards or more (43 and 40).

> Real edge: Even. Both teams have explosive return men and Miami has an edge with O'Donnell. But if it comes down to making a big kick Aguayo has the stronger track record.



Counting stars: A breakdown of UM-FSU on offense by talent, recruiting hype

Florida State and Miami has always been a huge game not only because of the rivalry, but because of the recruiting stakes involved in the game.

Nowadays, recruits pick schools for a lot of different reasons (playing time, relationship with the coach recruiting him, etc.). Still, to the winner usually go the spoils because perception is whoever wins this game and looks better playing in it is closer to the ultimate prize: a national championship. And that always has ripple effects in recruiting -- usually with high school underclassmen and not seniors (many of which have already made their minds up by now).

That being said, this isn't a breakdown of which recruits are on the fence for UM and FSU heading into February's National Signing Day. That on the fence deal doesn't really exist anymore since players commit so early and classes are usually filled by now.

Rather, this is a breakdown of the perceived talent versus talent in Saturday's game. Who has more stud recruits and where are they on the field? Making recruiting evaluations is hardly a perfect science. But when you watch the game Saturday night take note of some of the items in this blog so you can keep count of who was supposed to be the better recruit in head-to-head battles.


> Miami: Stephen Morris (6-2, 218, Sr., 3-star, No. 26 Dual-Threat QB in 2010 by Rivals)

> FSU: Jameis Winston (6-4, 228, R-Fr., 5-star, No. 1 Dual-Threat QB in 2012 by Rivals)

> What's happened: Winston (69.9 comp. pct, 2,177 yards, 23 TDs, 4 iNTs) has obviously lived up to all the hype with a stellar first season as the starter after being recruited to FSU by former recruiting coordinator Dameyune Craig (now at Auburn). Winston is already among the favorites in the Heisman race and projected to be a first rounder in the NFL.

Although an ankle injury has slowed the preseason hype down around Morris (he won MVP honors at the Manning Passing Camp and is now ranked 7th among draft eligible QBs by ESPN), people forget how much Morris (59.9 comp. pct., 1,463 yards, 10 TDs, 8 INTs in 2013) has grown during his time at Miami. When he chose to play for Mark Whipple the summer before his senior season his other top two offers were Virginia and Purdue. Where would UM be without Morris today? Probably not in the Top 25 rankings.

> Recruiting edge: FSU. In case someone gets hurt, backup Jacob Coker (3-stars, No. 18 pro-style QB in 2012 by Rivals) is considered a better talent than UM backup and Memphis transfer Ryan Williams (6-5, 223, Jr., 2-stars, unranked among QBs). Although Williams has played better this season in spot duty.

> Real edge: FSU. Hard to argue with what Winston is doing right now even with what the ankle injury has done to Morris.


> Miami: Duke Johnson (5-9, 196, So., 5-star, No. 1 all-purpose running back by Rivals in 2012); Dallas Crawford (5-10, 194, R-So., 3-star, No. 27 cornerback in 2011 by Rivals); Maurice Hagens (5-11, 250, Sr., 3-star, No. 8 fullback in 2011 by Rivals).

> FSU: Devonta Freeman (5-9, 203, Jr., 4-star, No. 10 running back by Rivals in 2012); James Wilder (6-2, 229, Jr., 5-star, No. 2 running back in 2012 by Rivals); Karlos Williams (6-1, 223, Jr., 5-star, No. 2 safety in 2011 by Rivals.com).

> What's happened: Johnson, who committed to Randy Shannon before news of pending NCAA sanctions broke, has been an instant superstar upon his arrival. He's averaged nearly 7 yards a carry in his career and been a nightmare to stop on kickoff returns while proving to be one of the country's best all-purpose threats. Crawford, who switched over from defensive back, led UM to a come-from-behind win at North Carolina with Johnson out and has proven to be better than your average backup (65 carries, 295 yards, team-leading 9 TDs rushes).

Freeman, whom UM made a very late push for once coach Al Golden took over the program, has broken out this season (87 carries, 561 yards, 6 TDs) with a career-best 6.4 yards per carry average. A linebacker and running back in high school, Miami never really pushed for Wilder. Despite a mediocre college career (41 att., 226 yards, 2 TDs, 5.5 average in 2013) is the only FSU draft-eligible running back on ESPN's big board (he ranks 14th). Williams, who made the switch to running back this season after starting for the first time in the ACC championship gmae at linebacker, leads FSU with 7.9 yards a carry (44 carries, 349 yards, 7 TDs).

> Recruiting edge: FSU by the numbers. A pair of 5-star talents and a 4-star running back who lead your team in rushing compared to one 5-star running back and a converted three-star defensive back.

> Real edge: UM. Sure, FSU has more depth. But tell me someone who wouldn't take Johnson over any of FSU's running backs.


> Miami: WRs Allen Hurns (6-3, 195, Sr., 3-star, No. 60 WR in 2010 by Rivals); Herb Waters (6-2, 193, So. 3-star, No. 50 WR in 2012 by Rivals); Stacy Coley (6-1, 180, Fr., 4-star, No. 13 in 2013 by Rivals); Malcolm Lewis (6-0, 187, So., 4-star, No. 28 WR in 2012 by Rivals); Rashawn Scott (6-2, 199, Jr., 3-star, unranked in 2011 by Rivals); TEs: Clive Walford (6-4, 259, R-Jr., 3-star, unranked in 2010 by Rivals); Asante Cleveland (6-5, 260, Sr., 2-star, unranked in 2010 by Rivals).

> FSU: WRs Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 234, r-So., 4-star, No. 8 WR in 2011 by Rivals); Kenny Shaw (6-0, 170, Sr., 4-star, No. 14 WR in 2010 by Rivals), Rashad Greene (6-0, 180, Jr., 4-star, No. 29 WR in 2011 by Rivals); Christian Green (6-2, 200, r-Jr., 4-star, No. 7 ATH in 2010 by Rivals); TEs Nick O'Leary (6-3, 248, Jr. , 4-star, No. 1 TE in 2011 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. This is a case where FSU went out and recruited well, developed players and they've lived up to the hype. UM went hard after Benjamin (23 catches, 430 yards, 5 TDs), O'Leary (17-307, 6 TDs) and got Greene (39-690, 8 TDs) to take an official visit in January, but FSU won the recruiting war.

> What's happened: With Winston throwing them the football, FSU's top four receivers are all averaging at or near 18 yards a catch. Outside of the much-hyped Coley (who picked UM over FSU), the Hurricanes have taken mid-level recruiting talent and developed it nicely. Hurns (28 catches, 506 yards, 2 TDs to lead the team) has become Morris' favorite target on third downs along with Walford (17-244, 2 TDs). Coley (17-278, 3 TDs) is just beginning to hit his stride now. Although the loss of Phillip Dorsett (3-star, No. 38 WR in 2011 by Rivals) hurts the Canes, Lewis and Scott returning to full health should help them down the stretch this season.

> Real edge: FSU. More players catch passes for Miami, but the foursome FSU has at the top is nightmarish.

> Future: Of all the draft-eligible receivers in this game, FSU's Rashad Greene rates the highest according to NFL scouts. He's currently ranked 19th by NFLDraftScout.com. Hurns is UM's highest-ranked draft-eligible receiver at 38 by NFLDraftScout.com. Coley could ultimately be the biggest star down the road in the NFL.


> Miami: LT Ereck Flowers (6-6, 315, So., 4-star, No. 20 OT in 2012 by Rivals); LG Jon Feliciano (6-5, 318, rJr., 3-star, No. 55 OT in 2010 by Rivals); C Shane McDermott (6-4, 296, Jr., 3-star, No. 31 OC in 2010 by Rivals); RG Jared Wheeler (6-5, 319, Sr., 3-star, No. 43 OG in 2009 by Rivals); RT Brandon Linder (6-6, 319, Sr., 4-star, No. 3 OC in 2010 by Rivals); RT Seantrel Henderson (6-8, 345, Sr. 5-star, No. 1 OT in 2010 by Rivals); OL Malcolm Bunche (6-7, 327, rJr., 4-star, unranked in 2010 after prep school).

> FSU: LT Cameron Erving (6-6, 320, rJr., 3-star, unranked DT in 2010 by Rivals); LG Josue Matias (6-6, 322, Jr., 4-star, No. 25 OT in 2011 by Rivals); C Bryan Stork (6-4, 300, rSr., 3-star, No. 26 TE in 2010 by Rivals); RG Tre' Jackson (6-4, 330, Jr., 3-star, No. 60 DT in 2011 by Rivals); RT Bobby Hart (6-4, 315, Jr., 4-star, No. 8 OT in 2011 by Rivals); OG Ruben Carter (6-4, 309, R-So., 3-star, No. 29 OG in 2011 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: Miami. Henderson, who lost his spot in the starting rotation after another suspension (something he's battled throughout his career) recently, was no doubt the most highly-touted offensive lineman any of these teams signed. But the Hurricanes earn the edge here not because of him, but overall depth and natural ability. FSU had to convert some players into offensive linemen including Irving, who now the clear-cut NFL top prospect in the group. CBS Sports currently has Irving to projected to go 10th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. 

> Real edge: Miami slightly. The Hurricanes have put up better numbers this season in pass protection allowing only six sacks compared to FSU's 15 (Winston has been sacked 12 times, preferring to eat it than throw it up). But when it comes to running the football UM (214.71 yards per game, 19 TDs) and FSU (212.29 yards per game, 22 TDs) are about dead even.

> Future: Stork ranks 4th among draft-eligible linemen at center by ESPN. Henderson (8th among OTs by ESPN) is the highest-rated draft eligible tackle in this game. Linder ranks 11th at guard according to ESPN.


October 30, 2013

Golden expects Morris to "close chapter" on ankle injury, "play kind of game he wants to play" Saturday at FSU

UM coach Al Golden made his weekly appearance on the ACC teleconference after Wednesday morning's practice. Among the noteworthy topics discussed:

> Asked for an update on quarterback Stephen Morris and his ankle, Golden said: "I think he looks great. I think he'll be able to close this chapter [on his ankle injury] and go out and play the kind of game he wants to play."

> With the Hurricanes playing it low-key this week and staying free of any bulletin board material, Golden was asked to contrast his team's perceived buttoned-down persona compared to Florida State's attitude: "I've never heard button-downed mentioned with our team before," he said.

"I think our guys play with a lot of passion. We got a couple celebration penalties that I'd like to button them down for those. I don't see how we're a button down team. I think we play with a lot of energy. I think we celebrate each other's big plays on offense and defense. I don't see how we're button-downed or that makes us button-downed. "

> Receiver Rashawn Scott was cleared to play last week versus Wake Forest, but didn't see any action. Where is Scott after Wednesday's practice?

"He's got to continue to prepare, work really hard here in the next 72 hours to prepare and eliminate any mental aspects of the game," Golden said. "He has to play fast. I think he's in good condition. He should be ready for this opportunity. It's good to get him back.

> Golden said when it comes to leadership every position group leader needs to step up this week. "Stephen [Morris] can't do it by himself," Golden said. "But certainly he's made a big difference. We're certainly going to need a lot of our position group leaders, Allen Hurns, Brandon Linder, Shayon Green, Anthony Chickillo, Denzel, Jimmy Gaines, all those guys are going to need to step up and lead. We're going to need that maturity. We're going to need that poise because obviously it's an elite team that's executing well right now, playing in a tough environment. We're going to have to draw on our leadership and certainly our unity." 

> What will UM have to do better than some of FSU's previous opponents?

"We don't have enough time to cover it all, but we have to defend the deep ball," Golden said. "We have to tackle really well. We can't let them be a three-headed monster in terms of the perimeter pass game and then obviously the run game. We have to find a way to get pressure on them. That's the challenge, no question about it. We have to do a lot of things better than we did last Saturday. Hopefully our guys will continue to improve as the week goes on. No question that's the challenge in our building because we have to stop a lot of different things."

> With UM a 22-point underdog does Golden still see this Top 10 matchup as a clash of titans or does he feel like an underdog?

"I don't worry about any of that and I don't mean to be short with you," Golden said. "I just think I didn't really answer questions about being the favorite last week and I don't really want to talk about being the underdog this week. It's really a function of us preparing our young people for the type of game we want to play in terms of our game plan is, how we prepare and how we focus on the process everyday. It's certainly been a challenge for a better part of two years. Hopefully we've learned a lot from the adversity that can help us in this spot and get us focused on what we need to be focused on."

> What does it mean for UM to be playing in a matchup of two Top 10 teams again this late in the season considering the program has dealt with an NCAA investigation for the last 2-plus years?

"We're excited about moving forward," Golden said. "Last Tuesday was a rebirth or a renewal if you will. It really gave us the platform to move forward. So we're excited about that part of it. In terms of everything else you mentioned, look Florida State has so many weapons and is such a good team they're going to need every ounce of our focus and energy. Hopefully that is where our minds will be here in the next three days. That's where it has to be."

> What is Golden's favorite UM-FSU memory?

"All of them," he said. "The passion. The tradition. How much the games meant in terms of the national spotlight, repercussions of the post-season. It's exciting to have that opportunity and we want to continue to grow the type of team that expects to be in these type of games year in and year out. We're trying to build."

> After being torched by North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron two weeks ago how does Golden plan on defending FSU's Nick O'Leary?

"When Coach D'Onofrio says I spy 85 all week and we let 85 go for 200 yards clearly we didn't execute the game plan the way we needed to," Golden said. "We weren't specific enough. We weren't precise enough in the execution. Because of that the young man had a great game. We did not tackle well. We better tackle O'Leary really well. We better account for him in the red zone because he's always been a touchdown maker for them in the low red. Hopefully we learned a lot. Hopefully we applied that to Campanaro. Although he's going to get his catches we didn't allow to have as many as he normally does or the sheer number in terms of yards per catch. It wasn't perfect, but it was better. Obviously we have the same challenge here with Nick O'Leary, Rashad Greene or [Kelvin] Benjamin.


VIDEO: Canes talk FSU -- Perryman, Feliciano, Hurns, Hagens

Here are some video interviews with the Hurricanes from Tuesday prior to the big showdown Saturday in Tallahassee.

October 29, 2013

Canes biggest underdog in Top 10 matchup history Vegas insider says

Even though they say they're bunkered down and not paying attention to the outside world, it's bound to creep under their skin at some point before kickoff Saturday night.

According to ESPN radio host and Vegas insider RJ Bell, the seventh-ranked Miami Hurricanes (7-0, 3-0 ACC) are the biggest underdog in history when it comes to two undefeated teams meeting this late in the season. Third-ranked FSU opened as a 21-point favorite this week and at last check was favored to beat UM by 22 points.

According to Bell, there have been only two other instances of a double digit favorite when two undefeated Top 10 teams play this late in the season:

> Texas favored by 12 hosting Oklahoma State (Oct. 25, 2008)

> Miami favored by 11 vs. Ohio State (2002 BCS Title Game)

The database goes all the way back to 1980 according to Bell.

Texas beat Oklahoma State 28-24 and you all remember what happened between UM and Ohio State in 2002. If you don't, ask Terry Porter.

Canes running back Duke Johnson was asked Monday if this game was an opportunity for Miami to make a statement to the nation.

"When it comes to that, it's out of our control," Johnson said. "Whether an underdog by how many points, the only thing we can do is go out and play the game the way coaches want us to play it and everything else will take care of itself."

Is UM not getting enough respect?

"It doesn't matter whether someone respects us or not," Johnson said. "We don't care. We're here to play football and do it the way we're being taught to."

October 28, 2013

VIDEO: Golden, D'Onofrio, Coley talk FSU

October 27, 2013

Only a few minor defensive changes on Canes' latest depth chart

There were only minor changes on the Hurricanes depth chart this week as they prepare for their big trip to Tallahassee. UM, by the way, remained 7th in the BCS standings. 

While the offensive depth chart remains unchanged, a few changes have been made on the defensive side.

> Senior Justin Renfrow is listed as the starter at defensive tackle after being a co-starter last week.

> Senior Tyrone Cornileus, who missed the tackle on Wake Forest's last touchdown Saturday, replaces Thurston Armbrister as one of the starters at outside linebacker. Armbrister moved to No. 2 behind Denzel Perryman at weakside linebacker.

> Junior Ladarius Gunter is now the starter at cornerback. He was previously a co-starter with freshman Artie Burns.

Picture 2

Coach Al Golden on Sunday: "I plan on being here for a long time and facing a lot of these games.''

Al Golden was Al Golden on Sunday (just like Stephen Morris always says "Duke was Duke"), as the Hurricanes head into Florida State week and the biggest game of Golden's UM coaching career.

He said  he doesn't pay attention to the rankings. (Note: He often says the only ones he'll notice are at the end of the season.) He said trying to take care of FSU with all those weapons will be difficult. He said the stakes are getting higher as the Canes keep winning. He said he worries every day about his players falling prey to the outside noise (about, for example, rankings or how good or otherwise they might think they are or about how they're going to be in a bowl) instead of concentrating on one opponent at a time. 

And he did offer up on his own, without being prodded, that he intends to stay at Miami for a long time. I'm sure all the reporters' ears perked up when they heard that quote. In the long run it doesn't ensure anything, but it was refreshing to hear that from a guy who has brought this program to new (recent) heights.

In terms of what a win against Florida State would do for your program, is this the biggest game since you've been here?

Golden's reply: "They're all big now. When you're winning, all the games are significant. The stakes gets higher as you climb the ladder for sure. There's not much margin for error now certainly as we're closing in on November. We have to trust the process, take our training to the game and everybody do their job and block everything else out, block all the other crowd noise out and focus on what we've got to do six seconds every play. 

"I know it sounds cliche, but we have to use our maturity and experience and be able to do that and be able to hold each other accountable all week to invest in it. That's the biggest thing.

"I'm not worried about the magnitude of games or anything like that. I plan on being here for a long time and facing a lot of these games.''

 With a No. 7 ranking in the AP poll and No. 6 among the coaches, the Canes have maintained despite pulling out wins in the last minute the past two games. Even though teams have jumped them, if Miami beats FSU it will be in excellent shape. Then again, can you imagine beating FSU and having to play the Seminoles again in the ACC title game? (Or the other way around?)

Either way, just winning the ACC this season would be an amazing (if not next to impossible) achievement.

Briefly, Golden said WR Allen Hurns (hip pointer) is doing well, and he is hoping he gets back S Kacy Rodgers (ankle) for FSU. He said WR Rashawn Scott (collarbone/shoulder), as has already been reported, was cleared for Wake Forest. But Golden didn't say why Scott didn't play. That extra week of healing has to be beneficial.

The BCS standings will be released tonight.

Oh, yes, if you don't know already, FSU has opened as a 21-point favorite over the Hurricanes.










October 26, 2013

VIDEO: Golden, Hurricanes react to win over Wake Forest, NCAA sanctions

Hurricanes coach Al Golden after the Wake Forest win: "Now we can breathe and move forward."

Here are the postgame quotes from UM coach Al Golden after Saturday's 24-21 come-from-behind win over Wake Forest.
On an eventful week leading up to Saturday’s game... 
“Clearly emotional. I’m not going to lie to you. Just an emotional week. Now we can breathe and move forward. I was more worried than ever this week, just because nobody was really talking about Wake. Everybody was talking about the NCAA and obviously future scheduling. I just tried to keep them going all week. I was hoping we would have enough in the tank, just because of how emotional it was to have that ordeal over. We didn’t really address it, but you guys gave it ample play, and I’m sure they were listening to you guys all week. I’m just glad we had a chance to come out here and find a way to win.”

On the distractions of the week taking a toll on his team...
“Again, I give Wake Forest a lot of credit. It sounds like you’re downplaying the effort the Wake Forest kids and coaches did. I think they did a great job. That’s one of the best coaches around - period. It wasn’t like we were sloppy with the football. We just didn’t convert when we needed to convert, we didn’t stop them enough on third down. But we finished. We’re learning how to finish, and that’s something I’m really proud of – the mental toughness. I was just worried about how much we had in the tank. I can sit up here and say we were focused all week. I promise you I have never worked harder in my life the last 72 hours to get them focused for a game. Obviously we have a chance to regroup tonight and move forward.”

On the stress related to NCAA investigation closure as it relates to on-field performance...
“I was looking for the Athletic Director [Blake James] Tuesday morning. To me, they’re all one-game deals. The other ones, we had a lot of turnovers and in many respects we were fortunate to be in that position. I didn’t feel that way about this one – we weren’t sloppy with the football. They made some plays, we didn’t make some plays. Give them a lot of credit - they played tough. Our kids responded. At midnight tonight, this one is over. There is no carry-over. We all know who we’re playing next week, and it’s time to get ready for that.”

On the performance of sophomore running back Duke Johnson...
“Man, oh man. He ran with a purpose and an anger that we haven’t seen from him. His stiff arm was awesome all day. He ran with his pads down, protected the ball. He was clearly on a mission. How about his conditioning? What tremendous conditioning. He gets knocked out of the game last week, and this week he is lowering the pads all day, second and third effort...what can you say about the effort that he gave? Was he at 35 yards or something at the half? It wasn’t much more than that. That’s a heck of a
second half, and certainly heck of a fourth quarter.”

On his concerns about slow starts...
“It’s all a concern. It’s just one big [concern]. They’re all just one-game weeks. They’re just one-game seasons. Every game is its own chess board, and you have to make adjustments. I thought we made adjustments, but obviously we were disappointed in the tackling on the long play. I thought the defensive staff and defense made adjustments. It was a long period before they scored after they scored early in the game. We certainly found some surfaces to run the ball on late in the game, so I was proud of that. We all know what this week is about coming up. We’ll regroup here tonight, tomorrow get healed up and get ready to go. I don’t think there will be any carry-over.”

On the performance of senior quarterback Stephen Morris...
“I thought he did a good job with protecting the football. I thought he did a good job with his decisions. To be honest with you, this is the best he has looked physically. Is there an element in that still? No. We’re blessed to have a 12 o’clock game, it’s not like we’re on the road and we’re going to get back at 2 o’clock or 3 o’clock in the morning. And we really don’t have to practice him again until Tuesday. I’m really hoping that will be the last little 10 percent or whatever we need to get him over the hump. He came out of it good, came out of it healthy. Obviously another two-minute drive at the end of the game speaks a lot about his leadership and the belief they have in him. I think we’ll make progress here over the next 72 hours with him.

“He’s had to alter his mechanics, I don’t think there is any question. We have to get him back to center, and we will. I thought he was better. He threw a great long ball to Stacy [Coley] – not the one he made the magnificent catch on, but the other – that was a ball he could have down with. There were a lot of throws he did make. I really believe and I’m hopeful that he’ll make that last little step this week. I really believe he’ll do that over the next 72 hours.”

On hearing from Athletic Director Blake James about the NCAA sanctions...
“Obviously he got done with the President and informed me, and then came down to address the team at 9:05 a.m. Obviously the kids were thrilled. That journey ended - but 10 minutes later you have to go prepare for Wake Forest. You want to talk about an emotional rollercoaster. For all of us, we didn’t talk about it all week. I know they’re excited about it now in there, thrilled that it’s over. We found a way to scratch and claw and win our seventh [game]. You can’t take any of the previous wins with you to Tallahassee next week. That’s over, we have to get better at the things we need to get better at, and we need some kids to step up.”

On the performance of Stacy Coley...
“He did a great job, and he makes really good decision. He’s doing a good job on his returns. He’s a very mature kid. When you sit in the meetings with Stacy, and they ask him questions, he has the right answers. He knows football. He studies it. Great start for him. Obviously a catch for the ages there. Tremendous catch.”

On if his team is prepared for media frenzy regarding Miami-Florida State rivalry...

“With all due respect, there has been more national exposure over the last 28 months than any of us can handle. If it’s about football, we’re all in. We’re all in.”

Gameday blog: Miami Hurricanes vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Your BCS 7th-ranked Miami Hurricanes (6-0, 2-0 ACC) kickoff the second half of their season and play their first game without an NCAA anvil hanging over their head at noon today against visiting Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2).

The game can be seen on ESPNU. Feel free to chat with us as the game is going on.

October 25, 2013

Hurricanes coach Al Golden pens letter to University of Miami students; only 3,900 tickets left for game










 University of Miami Students,

As we approach the midway point of our football season, I want to stop and take a moment to thank you for the effort you have put forth to improve the atmosphere inside Sun Life Stadium. I don't know if you truly understand how important your role is in the grand scheme of our success, but please know how much our players and I appreciate each and every one of you who choose to support us on game day.

As we hit the home stretch of the ACC schedule, we need your presence and enthusiasm more than ever...and we need it for four quarters. The student section is the epicenter of our home field advantage, and we need you louder than ever during the fourth quarter.

We have three home games remaining on the schedule, and I sincerely hope that each of you will continue to support us by packing that student section, dancing in the smoke, screaming on third down, joining us as we raise four fingers in the fourth quarter, and having a great time while you cheer on this team from the opening kick to the final whistle.

When that student section is packed, your presence, your voices, and your energy can truly create a home field advantage, and this season you have done an outstanding job! I really can't say it enough, thank you all very much.

See you on Saturday!

Deserve Victory,

Al Golden

Head Football Coach

Miami Hurricanes 


October 24, 2013

Kudos to Miami Hurricanes for impressive off-field accomplishments -- reason to be proud

Nice job off the field by the Miami Hurricanes. Here's the news, via UM.

Eight teams compiled perfect GSR marks of 100 percent

 CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami recorded a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 92 percent, according to the rates released Thursday by the NCAA.

 For the second straight year, Miami’s department-wide GSR ranks fourth among ACC schools and eighth overall among FBS programs. UM has exceeded the NCAA average GSR in each of the last nine years. In 2012, Miami set a school-record with a 93 percent GSR, a year after establishing a then-record at 89 percent.

 “We set a high standard for our Hurricanes to achieve excellence in all academic and athletic pursuits,” said David Wyman, Associate AD for Academic Services. “The growth we have witnessed in our Graduation Success Rates is remarkable and we continue to produce tremendous results.  In less than 10 years, we have improved our rate by 15 percentage points and we are now a national leader in the most important academic performance measure.”

 Eight teams compiled GSR marks of 100 percent. Men’s diving and golf each posted their ninth consecutive perfect marks, while women’s tennis recorded its sixth straight GSR score of 100 percent. Baseball, women’s track & field / cross country, rowing, women’s swimming and volleyball also tallied perfect GSR scores. It was volleyball’s third straight year with a perfect GSR; rowing and women’s swimming posted perfect scores for the second straight year.

 “I am very proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, whose vigilance in academics lays the groundwork for graduation,” said Blake James, Miami AD. “One of our goals as a program is to graduate every student-athlete and I am proud that we are getting close.  By earning a degree from the University of Miami, our student-athletes are ready to achieve excellence in life.  Congratulations to our coaches, staff and especially our student-athletes.”

 Baseball had the largest jump of any UM program, improving by 20 points (80 to 100) and has improved by 40 points (60 to 100) since 2010.

 The NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) was developed in response to college and university presidents who wanted graduation data that more accurately reflect the mobility among college students today. Both rates improve on the federally mandated graduation rate by including students who were omitted from the federal calculation.

 The GSR measures graduation rates at Division I institutions and includes students transferring into the institutions. The GSR also allows institutions to subtract student-athletes who leave their institutions prior to graduation as long as they would have been academically eligible to compete had they remained.

 The most recent Division I Graduation Success Rates are based on the four entering classes from 2003-2004 through 2006-07. More than 110,000 student-athletes are included in the most recent four classes using the GSR methodology, as compared to about 79,500 in the federal rate. The NCAA began compiling these figures with the entering freshmen class of 1995.


SPORT                                                                    SCORE

Baseball                                                                 100

Men’s Diving                                                         100

Women’s Track & Field / Cross Country          100

Rowing                                                                   100

Women’s Golf                                                       100

Women’s Swimming                                            100

Women’s Tennis                                                  100

Volleyball                                                               100

Women’s Basketball                                            93

Soccer                                                                    91

Men’s Track & Field / Cross Country                88

Football                                                                  86

Men’s Basketball                                                  85

Men’s Tennis                                                        75

Earlier this year, three Hurricanes teams received APR Public Recognition Awards for being among the top 10 percent in APR – men’s basketball, women’s cross country and women’s golf. Six teams scored 980 or better out of a possible 1,000 points – baseball (983), men’s basketball (990), men’s tennis (993), women’s cross country (1,000), women’s golf (1,000) and women’s swimming (989).


October 23, 2013

Vinny Testaverde will be honorary captain Saturday for Canes vs. Wake Forest


Testaverde will be 10th Miami Hurricane inducted into College Football HOF

IRVING, Texas – Miami Hurricanes great and 1986 Heisman Trophy winning QB Vinny Testaverde will be honored during Saturday’s game with a National Football Foundation Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute. Testaverde will also be the honorary captain for the Miami Hurricanes game vs. Wake Forest. Kickoff is set for noon ET on ESPNU.


 The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program is a hallowed tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951, and to this day the salutes remain the first of numerous activities in each inductee’s Hall of Fame experience. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many inductees cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and hear the crowd roar their name.

 One of the greatest quarterbacks in school history, Testaverde was Miami’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 1986, while also winning the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Trophy. He led the Hurricanes to three bowl berths, including the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, which determined the national champion. Testaverde, who was a redshirt on Miami’s 1983 national championship team, went 23-3 as a starter playing for legendary coaches Howard Schnellenberger and Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson.

 Tampa Bay selected 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).

 The Elmont, N.Y., native currently resides in Florida where he plays an active role with the Children’s Cancer Center of Tampa. Testaverde remains among only four Hurricanes to have their jerseys retired at Miami.

 Testaverde will become seventh Miami Hurricane player and 10th overall to be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame – 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.

 The Hurricanes will look for their first 7-0 start since the 2003 season when they host Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2 ACC) on Saturday. Fewer than 5,600 tickets remain for Miami’s Oct. 26 home game vs. Wake Forest, which is also UM Employee Day.  To purchase tickets, fans can order online at www.canestix.com, visit the UM Ticket Office at BankUnited Center (M-F, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.) or call 1-800-GO-CANES.


October 22, 2013

Former Hurricanes assistant Clint Hurtt apologizes for his rule-breaking at UM

Before he got into coaching at Miami, Clint Hurtt was a Hurricane himself. And he apologized Tuesday after practice for his role in hurting his alma mater.

Here is the video from Louisville's post-practice availability Tuesday.

Welcome To The U! Canes land DT recruit hours after NCAA sanctions announced

Full Speed Ahead. 

That's been the mantra through this whole ordeal, and it appears to be the phrase of the day now that the Hurricanes have added another big commitment to their 2014 Signing Class.

According to Canesport.com, UM landed a verbal from 6-4, 340-pound defensive tackle Michael Wyche out of East Los Angeles College. Wyche, rated a three-star recruit, had been committed to USC. 

"It's funny, because I didn't even know about the NCAA stuff today," Wyche told Canesport.com. "I committed and then the coaches told me about it.

"They were like `Today is an exciting day.' I was like `Why?' And they said `Because now we are moving forward from the NCAA.'"

Wyche told Canesport he plans to enroll in January.

In the end, Wyche told Canesport he is a Cane because "Miami just seemed like a better fit as far as what I need. They're giving me a chance to come in and compete for a starting job. And they need more help. Hopefully I can give them the help they need."

Canes hope NCAA will take into account self-imposed, internal scholarship reductions in football

University of Miami athletic director Blake James, speaking to The Miami Herald during a one-on-one interview, made it clear the program will not officially appeal any decisions made by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions Tuesday.

But that doesn't mean UM isn't going to try trim the number of football scholarships its set to lose -- nine over three years -- down a bit. For the first time Tuesday, James said UM had already "internally imposed some scholarship reductions" and the hope is the NCAA will take those measures into account. But if the NCAA doesn't, that doesn't mean Miami is going to put up a huge stink.

"We will be discussing that situation with the NCAA right now and we'll see how its best to go forward," James said. "Again, we were looking at the situation and getting an understanding of where we thought things were going to go. Again, we did think [scholarship reductions] were a possibility, but it was something we kept internal. Now that it did become a reality of our penalties we'll document with the NCAA the steps we took and work with them on checking on the possibility of that being included in this year's scholarship numbers."

The Hurricanes, currently at 74 scholarship players by the media's count, have 19 seniors on their roster and 25 oral, non-binding commitments. If the Canes' current recruiting class stays at the same number and no underclassmen depart the program, UM would have 80 scholarship players on its roster next season.

Of course, UM has the flexibility, James said, of reducing its football scholarships at the rate it sees fit. Meaning, UM doesn't have to trim three scholarships each year. It can work with any formula it sees fit. Men's basketball, set to lose one scholarship per year over the next three years, doesn't have that flexibility, James said.

"That's something I'll work with Al on," James said. "It's really going to be Al communicating with us how it best works for us to meet the penalty, at the same time what's best for the football program understanding we have that flexibility with these nine that we can allocate them over a three-year period."

> What was Blake's reaction to Tuesday's news?

"First of first reactions I was pleased to be at the end of the process," he said. "Obviously it's a process I think that's worn on all of us. It's something that as an institution we've taken very seriously. I was pleased to get to the end of the process. In terms of looking at the sanctions, we're looking at nine scholarships for football. I would say, being honest, being a part of the process, it was something I thought was in line with what I expected, but still something that was very significant.

"I would say the same with basketball -- again in line with what I was expecting based on the case. With that said, very significant along with many of the sanctions we've put in place, many of which have been very public setting up the bowl bans, two bowls and an ACC championship. And some that until today we had been working on behind the scenes and working with the NCAA on."

James said if UM had been given another bowl ban it definitely would have been something the school appealed. But he didn't sense that coming.

"I think that was something that would have been real hard," James said of another bowl ban. "We have 115 young men in our program right now that are committed to achieving their goals. In many cases you have a group that hasn't been able to play in a bowl at all. In some case you have a few individuals that maybe got a chance to be a part of the Sun Bowl and that experience there, but really weren't active members of the team and have sat out on the sidelines the next few years.

"To have our young men not have that opportunity again would have been something that would have been very hard. But again, we respected the process and understood the Committee on Infractions was going to do what was best. I didn't feel another bowl justified and I was pleased to see the COI felt the same way. So I was very pleased we were able to go forward in that front."

James said he had been on the phone all morning with UM President Donna Shalala. Her reaction wasn't much different than his, he said.

"We've been in regular communication. I would say her feelings are very similar to mine," James aid. "Obviously we're disappointed that the institution had this situation occur. We're going to do things we need to do to make changes. Many of those are already in place. We'll continue to educate our people. We'll continue to closely monitor the program and we'll move forward as the great athletic program we are representing one of the finest institutions in the country."

This obviously isn't the first time Miami has dealt with sanctions. What kind of changes has Blake seen from the athletic department when it comes to compliance since taking the athletic director job? Plenty, he said.

"I think it's a situation where I first got here we had a very established compliance program in that they were looking to do all the things they needed to do with enforcement. How we ended up missing some of the violations that occurred is the disappointing part because I think the people we had in place were professional and did the best job they could," James said.

"I think it's a situation where maybe we didn't do some of the education that we're doing now. You see those things being in place. If you look at it from my time being a senior associate to my time now I would really say the biggest change is just the educational aspect. I think we have made some structural changes and our approach on things is really trying to make everyone understand what the rules are and how we have to operate within those rules. I wouldn't say that wasn't the case here before. Obviously there's something amiss we had this going on for 10 years. Not being here for the vast majority of that time it's hard for me to speculate on that because I know people that were here before were very dedicated to putting an institution in the best light. I know I struggle with how something like this could happen."

James said UM will not cut ties with former players as USC did.

"Again, based on the COI report there wasn't any mention of any type of disassociation," James said. "I would say that isn't something at this time we need to move forward with given the results of the findings."

From a purely personal standpoint how does James feel now that this is over?

"Again, I'm happy the process is completed," he said. "Obviously I hope this is a situation I never have to go through again, and I can assure all of us I will do everything I can to put systems in place to avoid this situation again. [I'm also] disappointed our program has gone through the challenging time it has over the last few years. It's been hard on our coaches, hard our student-athletes and hard on our administration and staff. I think we all recognize that and are all happy to move full speed ahead."

Statements from Shalala, James, chair of UM board of trustees


The University of Miami received the NCAA Committee on Infractions report this morning, concluding a more than three-year process that included an investigation conducted by the NCAA and an appearance by senior University officials before the Committee on Infractions in June.

The University cooperated fully with investigators and took responsibility for its actions by proactively self-imposing severe penalties, including an unprecedented two-year bowl ban in football, withholding the football program from competing in the ACC Championship Game in 2012, and instituting substantial recruiting restrictions.

The University accepts the findings and the additional penalties as detailed in the Committee on Infractions report and will not appeal. The University is grateful to the Committee for a fair and thorough hearing.

As a proud member of the NCAA, the University of Miami remains committed to its fellow institutions and to the core principles that we—the members of the association—have always believed in.

The following are statements from the Chair of the Board of Trustees Leonard Abess, President Donna E. Shalala, and Director of Athletics Blake James:

> University of Miami Board of Trustees Chair Leonard Abess:

“The University of Miami moves forward today stronger and rededicated to the high ideals that have always sustained it. I am proud of our leadership and staff, who conducted themselves throughout this process with integrity, forthrightness, and in the spirit of full cooperation.”

> President Donna E. Shalala:

“The Committee on Infractions report closes a challenging chapter in the history of the University of Miami.

“I am grateful to our coaches, staff and student-athletes for their dedication to the University and to intercollegiate athletics. I also want to thank Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford for his steadfast support.

“Finally, I want to apologize to the Hurricane family, as we have asked for your patience, faith and support during a difficult time. Thank you for standing with us.”

> Director of Athletics Blake James:

“Our honest and committed efforts to address these allegations have made us stronger. We have already taken many proactive steps to ameliorate any concerns, and we will continue to improve in all areas. Now it is time we look ahead and work diligently to support our student-athletes.”

Statements from Golden, Larranaga on NCAA news.

University of Miami Head Football Coach Al Golden:

“I want to sincerely thank our student-athletes and their families who, not only stood with the University of Miami during this unprecedented challenge, but subsequently volunteered for the mission. They shouldered the burden, exhibited class and exemplified perseverance for Hurricanes everywhere.

“Further, I would like to express heartfelt appreciation to our staff and families who did not subscribe to this challenge three years ago, yet courageously adopted it as their own. They have brought the utmost professionalism, resiliency and integrity to our program. More importantly, they continue to recruit and represent our world-class institution with class and dignity in unprecedented circumstance.

“Lastly, it is with gratitude and humility that I say thank you to our administration, U Family everywhere and the entire South Florida Community for their unyielding support of our young men and program over the last 28 months.”

University of Miami Head Basketball Coach Jim Larrañaga:

"I am a big believer that success is based on attitude. We continually remind our players that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

“We will continue to approach our work with a positive attitude as we march towards being the best we can be. I am grateful to our administration and counsel for leading us through this difficult journey and I want to thank everyone who loves this University and who has supported the young men who proudly wear the Miami uniform. We are excited about the upcoming season and we are all moving forward.”

Canes radio voice Joe Zagacki: "It's been far from a slap on the wrist."

With Hurricanes coaches and players off limit to the media the rest of the week, the closest we might get to hearing a voice on the team is the voice of the team WQAM's Joe Zagacki.

His reaction to Tuesday's news the program is losing nine football scholarships and facing no further post-season bans?

"It beats the alternative that's for sure and considering what's happened over the last three years it's a manageable situation," Zagacki said. "Al Golden is a terrific talent evaluator. He's just a great manager in terms of leading your corporation. I think this is good news for Miami because they can move forward. Al Golden can continue with his program and the damage has been done. It's been three years and I think that damage has to be taken into account."

The Hurricanes are 6-0 and ranked 7th in the latest BCS standings. Although an anvil has hung over his head since the day he arrived, Golden has done a good job blocking out the distractions in his three years here. And Zagacki thinks Tuesday's news won't throw UM off its game heading into Saturday's showdown with Wake Forest.

"I think he's done a great job keeping them focused," Zagacki said. "I think it's easier when you have a mature team that he has now. The seniors can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I also think they've shown a lot of leadership for the young players. There's still plenty of freshmen and sophomores on this team that were wondering 'Am I ever going to play in a bowl game? Did I make the right decision coming here?' And had the news been different I think it would have been a big distraction for some of those young players that would have questioned 'Why did I stay home to play for Miami?' Now, they have a resolution and they can move forward with their careers and continue playing for the University of Miami without being burdened with all this NCAA stuff."

Many outsiders are shocked UM only lost nine scholarships after this long investigation. They think the punishment is too light.

"It's been far from a slap on the wrist," Zagacki said. "Take into account not only the damage for Al Golden and what he's had to recruit against -- that's just on the football field. Take into account the average student the day the atom bomb went off. He was a freshman. He's now a junior of his college experience and he's yet to go through a college experience like everybody else in the country. You put that in there, factor that in and then everything else in the program. The damage has been done to the brand. The orange and green is one of the best brands in the country. It has to be protected. And the damage that has been done to that is immeasurable. Today is an opportunity for Miami to rebuild all that and move forward. I can't help but think of what Al Golden said in the summer. We're going to be like the explorer in Key West who kept waking up every day hunting for gold saying 'Today might be the day. Today might be the day.' Finally for Al Golden, today is the day."

Golden was scheduled to meet with the media at 12:30 today. That was obviously scratched. What does Zagacki thinks Golden reaction will be once we can hear it?

"Whatever he's going to say is going to be good," Zagacki said. "He's so articulate. The University of Miami is fortunate to have him. The way he's handled the situation, really the face of the program. He's talked with common sense. He's been pragmatic, been a great leader, shown excellent perspective. He hasn't taken the bait on following the sensationalistic side of the story. He's just stayed by the facts and guided his team. I think he's exactly what Miami has needed through this process. He really has been the calming force."