Sunday in Coral Gables -- last afternoon practice for a long time, maybe all season. Tomorrow, it's back to a.m.
The Hurricanes had a closed practice Sunday for the first time this camp, as they hosted recruits on campus for much of the day. “U Day’’ included a barbecue and a chance for the recruits and their guests to watch practice and see what life is like as a Miami Hurricane.
Golden was asked what message he was hoping to convey.
“Just what a sharp contrast from a year ago,’’ he said. “Just, everything. How we approach everything. How we attack. How we’re back talking about who we are, instead of defending who we aren’t. It’s just different. …As bleak as it was a year ago, we’re so jacked up about everything right now.
“That’s the message to the kids. I know they want to bring the ‘U’ back, so we’re excited that they’re here.’’
Golden once again praised the players for a constructive practice.
"Good effort today again. Good focus. Guys have been taking care of their bodies, getting good rest. I was really impressed with the way they came out this morning. Had a walkthrough this morning and not a lot of error repeats from yesterday. It was good. They took care of business last night.”
The coach said he spends '' a good deal of time'' with special teams, but hasn't revealed a lot about specifics yet to the media. "I think what we do is kind of do the heavy installs for offense and defense in the beginning, and when we repeat them we increase the installations for special teams. We’re right about that time now where special teams is going to increase in terms of the meeting time, the walkthrough time and obviously the practice time.”
***Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio was asked how much more advanced he could now be with his defensive linemen, considering many of them are veterans.
“Last year we did make a schematic change,'' he said. "We adapted to more of a 3-4 package that evolved -- still a hybrid package. We’re playing a lot of 4-3 concepts and all that kind of stuff. So now this is year two of that, with the type of guys that we’re looking for. So, you know, I think the guys, what we’re asking them to do fits their skillset.
"Certainly you have to be multiple, you have to be multiple for the different teams that you see. Some teams are going to try to pound you, some teams are going to try to spread you out; we have to play Georgia Tech with the option. We just try to recruit really good players and put them in position to do things that they do well. That doesn’t exclude anyone in the recruiting process. We can find a place for Jermaine Grace at 200 pounds at Will, and Nantambu Fentress at 195, then we have Denzel playing next to him at 245. It doesn’t exclude us from anybody in the recruiting process.”
*** UM reported in its camp notebook that quarterback Brad Kaaya made “several highlight-worthy throws and “connected for first downs with receivers Stacy Coley and Malcolm Lewis and running back Duke Johnson. His most “impressive’’ throw, according to the report, was “a perfectly placed ball over the safety and into the hands of Herb Waters for a 25-yard gain.
*** Cornerback Tracy Howard ended an 11-on-11 period with an interception for a touchdown, the report said, while safety Jordan Tolson had a pick during seven-on-sevens. The quarterbacks were not named.
*** Please be sure to read my story in tomorrow's paper (online tonight) about UM's new punters battling to replace Pat O'Donnell. O'Donnell's talent will be missed, and who knows what kind of difference that might make this season.
*** Practice Monday is at 8:20 a.m. It is closed to the public.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN