First Hurricanes spring football practice in the books: great day, says Al Golden (& news on Hunter)
Before I drive home to write my stories, here's some quick news you can use from today's opening day of Miami spring practice:
* First and most important: UM offensive lineman Hunter Knighton, who was in the hospital (not sure about now), is doing much better, according to coach Al Golden. That right there made my day.
* A lot of players -- 12 from what we know right now -- are injured and not taking part in spring practice, at least for now. Several of them are out for all of spring.
The injuries I know about:
* Fr WR Braxton Berrios (ACL surgery)
* Soph WR Malcolm Lewis (he was granted a medical hardship waiver for injury a couple seasons ago at Georgia Tech) for sports hernia
* Soph S Rayshawn Jenkins (unspecified)
* Soph CB Nate Dortch (knee)
* Soph CB Corn Elder (knee)
* Sr. DL Anthony Chickillo (unspecified)
* Sr. CB Ladarius Gunter (shoulder/left arm in sling)
* Sr. C Shane McDermott (boot on left foot)
* Jr. WR Herb Waters (brace on left knee)
* Jr. RB Duke Johnson (broke ankle at FSU)
* Fr. RB Joseph Yearby (fractured fibula this past season)
* Sr. TE Clive Walford (unspecified)
Golden said he wasn't sure yet which guys would miss all of spring and which would return sooner. Some will eventually be doing individual drills, for example, and not have any contact.
The ones I heard that were out temporarily (maybe through spring break, let's say -- but not for sure) are Chickillo, Lewis, Jenkins and Waters). We'll see on those, however. These injury situations are usually in flux.
Just about every one except Ladarius Gunter is a "lower extremity'' injury, although not sure yet on Walford.
* Here are some of the defensive players who were wearing the coveted black jerseys: Soph CB Larry Hope, Soph S Jamal Carter, Jr. CB Tracy Howard, Jr. S Deon Bush, Soph LB Alex Figueroa, Soph DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, Jr. DL Ufomba Kamalu, Jr. LB Raphael Kirby.
* Yes, Dallas Crawford is a safety now, and he said Coach Golden was the one who approached him about it. He wants to play, and he seems ready to do whatever the team needs him to do. He's a wonderful team player and Golden insisted no matter how coaches look at Dallas, he is one of the 22 best football players on the team.
* The starting offensive linemen today were left tackle Erick Flowers, left guard Jon Feliciano, center Alex Gall, right guard Danny Isidora and right tackle Taylor Gadbois.
The second-team OL today: left tackle Kc McDermott (yes, Shane's 6-4, 296-pound "little (haha)" brother, LG Sean Harvey, center Hunter Wells, right guard Trevor Darling and right tackle Sunny Odogwu.
* Ricky Carroll, a 6-3, 198-pound fifth-year senior out of Mission Viejo, Calif. and formerly of Orange Coast College, appears to be your punter. UM needs big-time help with this position.
* Sr. WR Rashawn Scott, back from suspension and injury, scored a nice touchdown from quarterback Ryan Williams. Scott was contrite about his mistakes in the past and is very happy to be back and intent on making his senior year count. Scott has tons of talent, but between getting in trouble several times and the injury... This is his last shot.
* Sr. Ryan Williams is poised to be your starter, no doubt. He is mature and forthright and knows his weaknesses and strengths. Both coach Golden and offensive coordinator/QB coach James Coley said today that Ryan needs to be more vocal. Ryan said he's working on it every day. I hope he succeeds.
* Golden and Coley also were upbeat about backup redshirt freshman QB Kevin Olsen, who seemed pleased to be back. Nothing tells me in any way that he'll end up starting this season unless something happens to Ryan. Backup sophomore Gray Crow is the other scholarship QB battling at the position.
* Sr.LB Denzel Perryman will play in the middle this season in the 4-3 defense. He looks bigger and more muscular than he's ever been. He said he knew he made the right decision in returning for his final year when he came out there today on the field.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN