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3 posts from August 21, 2014

August 21, 2014

Canes cancel Friday practice, end camp

 

Apparently, the Miami Hurricanes don't need any more stinking training camp.

In an email sent out late Thursday night the University said Friday's practice had been canceled, essentially wrapping up camp. The Hurricanes will instead be off Friday and around to sign autographs Saturday from 4-7 p.m. at CanesFest.

Preparation for Louisville officially begins on Sunday when practice resumes.

 

Canes notebook: Denzel is back in black, Chickillo is refocused and Heurtelou ready to wreak havoc

Fans might be fretting over who gets chosen as Miami's starting quarterback for the season opener at Louisville, but the players hardly seem fazed.

"I'm kind of comfortable with all the quarterbacks," receiver Malcolm Lewis said Thursday. "It doesn't really matter who is throwing ball, just that someone throws the ball."

Lewis said senior transfer Jake Heaps and freshman Brad Kaaya continued to split the first team reps Thursday.

Asked if Heaps' absence in Monday's scrimmage (UM said he was resting his sore elbow) is a sign of something, Lewis responded: "I don't know what goes on in the quarterback room, but they're probably just giving him rest."

> Senior middle linebacker Denzel Perryman wasn't wearing a black starters jersey on Wednesday -- the first day back following Monday's scrimmage. But he was back in one Thursday morning.

"It feels good. I'm not going to lie," Perryman said. "I was in a green jersey Wednesday. That's based on my play in the second scrimmage. I didn't perform as well as I did in the first scrimmage. And, I picked it up in practice [Wednesday] and got my jersey back. I made a couple mistakes in the second scrimmage. Coach D asked me if I wasn't focused in the scrimmage. I was focused. I was just being overly aggressive and it caused me to make mistakes."

> Sophomore cornerback Corn Elder played well in the scrimmage and had a good day on Wednesday. "Yesterday was like his highlight film in the defensive meeting room," Perryman said. "He was breaking up passes, catching interceptions, left and right."

> Senior Anthony Chickillo tried to keep his discontent about having to play defensive tackle for the Hurricanes in third down situations last year under wraps. He tried to show a good face, tried to be a good teammate. But he's bought into the role now and he wants to have a big senior season.

"It helps a lot accepting what they're asking me to do," he said. "I came in here I was more of an edge guy and they asked me to do something I've never done before and anytime somebody asks you to do something you've never done before you're going to have resistance.

"When you've been doing it since high school and you did it really well, you think that's what you're going to do forever. That's not what the game of football is about. Football is doing whatever your team, coaches ask you to do. You do whatever for the benefit of the team. I'm just happy now I'm able to do what they're asking me to do at a high level."

Chickillo said he refocused himself back in January "when all the things about whether I was going to leave or come back happened." When the NFL told him he would only be a fourth or fifth round pick, he realized he needed to prove himself at Miami as a senior.

"I feel like for my size and my speed... I can go a lot higher than that," he said. "I've just got to go out there and make plays. I'm going to do well at the combine. But that's a long way away and I'm not worried about that now."

Chickillo said he's  watched some film on Louisville and knows the Labor Day Night challenge won't be easy.

"They've got a lot of veteran guys coming back on their o-line," he said. "Both their tackles are coming back. They've got a really good guard in Miller. They're going to be a really tough challenge for us. Teddy [Bridgewater] was a big piece for them. But Coach Petrino is a really smart football coach, a really good offensive mind. So, we know they're going to be ready for us and we've got to be ready for them."

> Chickillo said it stinks EA Sports did not come out with a video game this year for college football (in light of the Ed O'Bannon case). He and his teammates have been playing FIFA World Cup soccer in the interim.

> Defensive tackle Calvin Heurtelou (6-3, 315) came into spring practice overweight and out of shape, but in fall camp he's been outstanding in the eyes of defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio and his teammates.

"I figured out I'm one hell of a player in this 3-4 defense," Heurtelou said Thursday. "I realized I've made progress since I've been here since the spring. It was a new position for me. But I've done well the last three weeks."

Heurtelou said he played the three technique in junior college and adjusting to nose guard took some time for him. He arrived at Miami at 330 pounds, lost 25 pounds and then gained 10 pounds of muscle over the summer. He had the third most bench press reps (of 225 pounds) on the team (33) this summer. 

"Calvin's got a lot of energy, really strong guy," Chickillo said. "He comes to work everyday. He's just what you want inside. I'm really happy with Calvin's progress and he just needs to keep getting better."

 

News, notes and quotes from Thursday's practice

News and notes from Thursday's practice:

> Coach Al Golden cut practice at least an hour short because he said he thought "the humidity was catching up to us a little bit." Miami practiced twice on Wednesday after having an off day Tuesday.

> With junior Matt Goudis solidly in position to be Miami's kicker, the punter job remains a battle between walk-on senior Ricky Carroll and walk-on sophomore Justin Vogel. Golden said the team will have a  special teams scrimmage on Friday "that will determine a lot." 

"They're going back and forth," Golden said. "Will [Friday's special teams scrimmage] be the final? No. We have a lot of practices left. So, we might not even determine who the starters until next week."

Goudis has been trying to bounce back from a lower back issue. “He’s getting stronger," Golden said. "I think the biggest thing right now is there’s nothing ailing him in terms of pain. There’s no real medical condition. It’s just strength, and the way you build that back up is to kick, lift and do whatever you’ve got to do. Then you rest, let it heal and come back the next day. He’s making a lot of progress right now. He’s just got to keep doing that, have no setbacks. He’s doing well.”

> Golden said senior transfer Jake Heaps "was sharp" in Thursday's practice. Heaps was held out of Monday's scrimmage with a sore elbow, but continues to take first team reps alongside freshman Brad Kaaya.

"I thought he ran [the offense] really well," Golden said. "We threw some more deep balls perhaps than we have. When he didn’t have those, he came down, worked his progression. Thought he did a good job. Threw the ball well.”

> Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said Wednesday the cornerback position remains the toughest position to narrow down in terms of starters. 

“[Wednesday's standouts were] Ladarius [Gunter], I think he’s really improving," Golden said. "Corn [Elder] probably had his best day [Wednesday]. Artie [Burns] did really well. We come back [Thursday], Antonio [Crawford] gets two interceptions and he looks better.

"It’s definitely a group that's competing, I think they all understand that – but it’s a good situation. They’re competing for both corner spots and then the starter on the nickel. We have a long way to go in terms of that, so we’ll see how that plays out. But we feel much better about our depth and competition.”

> Safety Deon Bush was in a yellow non-contact jersey Thursday. Golden said they were protecting Bush because he has "a little hamstring" issue. "If we were practicing this afternoon, he’d probably be ready to go, "Golden said. "He did significant amount of individual stuff and everything, but he’ll be fine.”

> Golden said he feels better about Miami's linebacker situation because senior Thurston Armbrister "is playing really well."

"Thurston’s playing really good football and Darrion Owens has been really consistent," he continued. "[Jermaine] Grace is active, which is nice. [Rapael] Kirby is back now. Juwon Young and [Walter Tucker] should be able to help us. It will be a good group – Tuck and Juwon and Grace have to keep hammering their alignment and their technique and all the little things, but clearly having Denzel and Kirby, veterans there, should help settle it down.”

> Senior Nantambu Fentress, who has seen time at weakside linebacker and safety in camp, will be on scholarship for the second year in a row, Golden said. Fentress was a walk-on who first received a scholarship last year. The scholarships are one-year renewable and Fentress said last Friday at media day he didn't know if he would receive on this year.

"He's been renewed," Golden said. "He's basically a starter. The only reason he doesn't start on every special teams is because we save him for all the other things he does. Nantambu is one of those guys. He's smart. He plays two positions. He's a tremendous leader for us and he's doing a great job for us on special teams."

Golden wouldn't reveal which other walk-ons have received scholarships. He said he usually keeps that private. Fentress, by the way, has spent the past two days working at safety.

> Freshman David Njoku is back at receiver after spending two days last week working at linebacker. 

"We think he's more inclined to be an offensive player," Golden said. "Just where he is right now in terms of his body and his makeup he would have to stay on Slim Fast for 4 years to stay at 230. I think he's going to develop into an H [back]. I think when we're talking on March 1st he'll be 250 pounds. So I think he's going to go the route of being an H. If he helps us at all this year it will be as an X receiver, low red zone, things of that nature."

> Golden said sophomore Al-Quadin Muhammad came out of Monday's scrimmage having earned a first team spot at rush end. Tyriq McCord and freshman Trent Harris continue to receive reps there behind him.