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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.



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Good news about Knighton.

U is getting some depth........Good luck to the Canes in 2014--------

Keep after it, Canes! Have a great Spring!

Go canes good luck this spring! Can't wait til 2014 season!!

If Ryan Williams looks good this spring is it bc he's actually good or bc it's against dno?

He looked good against other teams fake zook!

Thanks Susan...Good Stuff! Excited to see our 2014 Canes get into action.

Did I read that right? We're going to run the 4-3 Defense? Did I really read that right? Don't play with my emotions like that.

If this is true, then it's the best defensive news I've heard in 4 yrs.


Dallas Crawford a safety??? Really ? Not good with the running backs aleady suspect with duke and yearby coming back from injury. is there a stud redshirt rb we r not aware of ?

I think they will run a 4-3 with some 3-4. Remember they held ohio st to less points when they were at temple than we did with the last guy was here.

No hope





At the 1:49 mark 67 dropping into coverage!!

Say it ain’t so!!!!


Ryan Williams will be the player getting coaches on the hot seat this year. We need a better option at the QB position.

Ugh. 14 is gonna suck.

Gus looks big. I'm looking forward to seeing his development this season. Loking forward to Yearby too. That will be the major difference in our team in addition to the up front push we play with.

The team is on the way back with this latest recruiting class and the next one will be even better. Lose the "smoke" uniforms and take a page from the championship seasons. I hate that ugly helmet with the grey. Awful.

I am hoping Ryan Williams steps up. His laid back style is fine, but we need a guy for whom losing is a major upset. Maybe we will see a solid underneath and intermediate passing game this year. Better ball control, keep the D off the field approach.

Defense is a major question. With D'Onofrio and Golden and their rigidity and reported unwillingness to take input from players, I am not optimistic. Why do we recruit solid DBs who are fit for man coverage? I also question their ability to motivate and inspire the team. Have watched the Canes get pushed around in too many big games. The confidence has not been there out of the gate.

Hoping this year is a breakthrough. If not, the coaches need to go. Golden will never fire D'Onofrio, and both are probably better suited for Midwest and Big 10 football styles, not Miami.

But best wishes to the Canes in 2014!

This says it all:
"And despite a strong start...

...UM finished in the bottom half of the country in every key statistical category in 2013..."

Despite the lack of talent, the stopgaps JUCOs and Renfrows of the team, we had enough talent to not be THAT bad..

Coaching Matters.

No more excuses, all AG's players, no NCAA hangovers; there had better be some showing of improvement on Defense this year.

Don't hold your breath.

I think we will have better ball control with RW than we did with SM.

Criticism from standout ex-Canes players follows D'Onofrio...

Gee, imagine that... but they're probably just bitter old Canes that have no idea what they're talking about and the always in prevent 'efense will get much better through the "process"riiieet ?

Agreed. Not too worried about the Offense.
Better ball control should help the defense out.

Dallas Crawford is our toughest RB and is an able replacement for Duke; why move him to DB? He is a RB, not SS. There is no guarantee that Gus will pan out to be nothing more than a 3rd down back; he has talent, but has not demonstrated anything. If AG wants to experiment, put Gus as a FS or SS; he is bigger and has not proven himself as a RB. Crawford is our best bet if Duke goes down again or cannot last an entire game b/c of head injuries or whatever. It's not like AG brought into the mix Cook, Mical, or any other prime time RB to move Crawford out. Yearby will be good, but he's another Duke; not one of these guys can carry the ball 25-30 times a game if needed - only Crawford has proven worthy of carrying the load in that fashion. Damn, what next?

DC can always be moved right back to RB - in the middle of an offensive series, if needed.

Gus will be a great Power RB, once he learns this off-season to get his COG lower.

Posted by: beedharphong | March 02, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Okay, 3 years of turmoil and .5yrs of NCAA clarity but now he has 1 year to perform? Does that even make sense? This guy will coach out his contract no matter what any of you jamokes think or say.

"Former UM assistant coach Don Soldinger said he sees nothing wrong with D’Onofrio’s system. What bothers him is this: “You don’t see guys swarming to the football. Guys are hesitant. Sometimes, they’re not taking the right angles. I question if the effort was there for all 11 guys. Al will fix it; I think the guy is special.”"

"If AG wants to experiment, put Gus as a FS or SS; he is bigger and has not proven himself as a RB. "

Posted by: Cane89 | March 02, 2014 at 12:06 PM

That's the thing, Dallas was recruited as a DB and played there for several games asa freshman, hence this is no experiment. Experimentation would be making Gus a DB. We have a number one back in DJ followed by either a 235lb back-up in GE or a newcomer that is supposed to be the second coming of DJ. So where is Dallas going to get touches?

I hope you and Soldy are right. It would be delicious to see a D unit gel and start to perform.

Looking back to the 2011 inherited roster, we weren't bad at all. We have been stuck in this grey area for a long time and the end of last season wasn't anything to be happy about. With another year of stopgaps and high hopes on young ones, the evidence suggests another year of Dno having an under-performing unit.

I don't mean to foreclose any hope, but at this point, I have very tempered expectations - hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

D Crawford came to Miami as a safety, so he's returning to his natural position.

With Susan all but giving Williams the starting qb job, I know my instinct that he won't start is correct.

Moving Perryman to the middle makes a lot of sense.

If they are going to move D. Crawford...then expect him to start at strong safety.

My point with DC is that he is proven as a RB at the college level; not at SS. Gus has done nothing to this point; DC would get more carries than Gus this year and any year because he is better at RB. Gus is a project; he is a fast kid, may be should make him an LB. Right now, DC is our number 2 RB; Gus is trying to make the 3rd or 4th string.

I dunno man,
What I saw from Gus was impressive, minus the goal line runs. That was a Lowered pads problem that can be fixed. He's big, a la M James, and moves like L Miller...

DC is decent, kinda like ED Clements - just okay. I look forward to having some depth at SS with DC.

GKC - I hope you're right about RW not being starter. Give the keys to Olsen or Kaaya. Build for the future. I'd rather see one of the young QBs struggle at the beginning of the year and develop as the season goes on, than go through another offseason wondering which of the two is going to emerge for 2015. Better to setback in 2014, but be actually ready for 2015.

We can already make a reasonable guess that the defense isn't going to warp into great with this year's recruits, so take the lumps and growing pains now on both sides of the ball.

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