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43 posts from August 2014

August 31, 2014

Breaking down Monday night's Canes opener at Louisville on paper

A look at Monday night's showdown between Miami and Louisville on paper.

> WHEN THE CANES RUN THE BALL: The Cardinals led the nation in rushing defense last season (80.69 yards) and held the Hurricanes to a season-low 14 rushing yards on 28 attempts in a 36-9 blowout in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Part of those abysmal numbers were attributed to four sacks on Canes quarterback Stephen Morris. Monday night's matchup will be a little different for a pair of reasons: Duke Johnson will get a crack at the Cardinals (he was injured for the bowl game) and Louisville is replacing seven starters on defense. UM returns three starters on its offensive line -- left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Jon Feliciano and center Shane McDermott. In addition to only having two returning starters in the front seven, Louisville has switched from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4. Homestead High graduate James Burgess Jr., whose father played for the Hurricanes, and Miami Norland grad Keith Brown, a former teammate of Johnson's state championship team in 2011, are the two returning starters at inside linebacker for Louisville. Former defensive ends Deiontrez Mount (6-5, 243) and Lorenzo Mauldin (6-4, 252) are starting at outside linebacker. If UM wins this battle they’ve got a chance to win the game. Edge: Even.

> WHEN MIAMI THROWS THE BALL: Brad Kaaya will become only the second true freshman quarterback in the last 35 years to start for the Hurricanes in a season opener. The good news for Miami: he's got a strong cast of receivers loaded with experience including the speedy Phillip Dorsett, who didn't play in last year's bowl game. Louisville has to replace two starters at safety including Jets first round pick Calvin Pryor. But there is speed and plenty of talent from South Florida around including former Miami Central standout Charles Gaines (22 tackles, 5 INTs in 2013), senior Andew Johnson (Miami Southridge), junior Gerod Holliman (Southridge) and freshman Trumaine Washington (Killian). In the bowl game, Louisville held UM to a season-low 160 yards passing. I expect a better game for the Canes throwing the ball because of Johnson's presence in the backfield alone. But this is still a tough spot for Kaaya. Edge: Even.

> WHEN LOUISVILLE RUNS THE BALL: The Cardinals bring back four starters on the offensive line: 6-4, 304-pound right guard Jake Smith (38 career starts), 6-2, 312-pound left guard John Miller (34 starts), 6-6, 326-pound left tackle Jamon Brown (27 starts) and 6-5, 305-pound right tackle Ryan Mack (12 starts). With Teddy Bridgewater scorching the Canes for 447 yards and three scores in the bowl game, bruising tailback Dominique Brown (6-2, 241) didn't have much of the workload on his shoulders. He was still limited to 42 yards on 16 carries as the Hurricanes held Louisville to only 107 yards on the ground, one of their better performances of the 2013 season. Leading tackler Denzel Perryman has moved to  middle linebacker for the Hurricanes, who will rely upon him plenty to anchor a run defense which hasn't been very good for awhile. If new Louisville running back Michael Dyer (5-9, 212) is healthy enough to play he probably tips the scale the Cardinals way. Edge: Even.

> WHEN LOUISVILLE THROWS THE BALL: New sophomore starting quarterback Will Gardner threw for 542 yards and four touchdowns in Louisville's spring game and with offensive guru Bobby Petrino now in charge the feeling is the Cardinals won't skip a beat without Bridgewater. As ESPN analyst Lee Corso says -- not so fast my friend. Leading receiver DeVante Parker, who scorched Miami for nine catches, 142 yards and a touchdown, will miss the first six to eight weeks of the season with a broken bone in his left foot. That puts the onus on senior Eli Rogers (Miami Northwestern graduate) and tight end Gerald Christian to step up against the Hurricanes, who finished 59th in opposing quarterback rating last season. Except for injured safety Rayshawn Jenkins, UM returns its entire starting secondary and is hungry to make up for last year's bowl embarrassment. Edge: Even.

> SPECIAL TEAMS: Both teams have plenty of explosiveness in the return game. Cardinals punter Ryan Johnson, a three-year starter, averaged 41.2 yards a punt and had 11 land inside the 20 in 2013. Kicker John Wallace connected on 20-of-24 field goal attempts and was a perfect 9-for-9 from 30-39 yards. He is a perfect 16-of-16 for his career from that distance. UM's new punter is sophomore walk-on transfer Justin Vogel, who has yet to punt in a college game. Kicker Matt Goudis is back after going 13-of-17 on field goals in 2013, but he's not 100 percent healthy. Edge: Louisville.

> COACHING: Whether he's been at Louisville, Arkansas or Western Kentucky, Petrino's offenses have always been among the nation's best. He's 83-30 in nine seasons as a college head coach and inherits a program for the first time in his career that is already good. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham spent his last four years at Georgia where the Bulldogs averaged 33 sacks a season over the last three years and ranked in the Top 36 in scoring defense every season but last. Canes coach Al Golden (58-53 in nine seasons) brings back all but one coach from last season and finally has the NCAA cloud in the rear view mirror for the first time in his tenure in Coral Gables. In the end, Petrino's track record is better than Golden's and defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio. Edge: Louisville.

PREDICTION: Louisville 34, UM 27

August 30, 2014

UM finally says QB Kevin Olsen suspended for Louisville -- and some "extremity" information.

The Hurricanes sent reporters this email a little bit ago:

Good morning,

Here is the University of Miami football injury report heading into Monday’s game against the University of Louisville.


Rashawn Scott - Upper Extremity 

NOTE FROM SMD: Translation: shoulder/clavicle.



Kevin Olsen – Suspended for Violation of Team Standards.

NOTE FROM SMD: We've known this for several weeks now, but I'm glad UM finally announced it. The "Team Standards'' part is a new phrase. Also, we reported that this suspension is for "at least'' one game. The next couple of games (Florida A&M and Arkansas State) are at home and should be a lot easier, before the Canes travel for Sept. 20 game at Nebraska.

 Also, I find it curious that quarterback Ryan Williams is not on the injury report. I know he's traveling, and I guess he'll dress out, but wouldn't they say he's "Out?'' if he absolutely, positively could not see any action. At this point I have no idea. I do not think Ryan Williams will play, or is ready to play. 

 Coach Al Golden told us yesterday that Ryan was going "for leadership, and he knows the offense better than anybody so he’s good to have on gameday.''

 And we had this conversation with Ryan earlier in the week, when a reporter asked him if any games were ruled out by the doctors. 

Williams: “I mean, I tried my hardest to be ready for this game. I guess it wasn’t physically possible. I’m just going to take it week by week and when I can come back, I will.”

No specific date then?

Williams: “No specific date, no.”

Stay tuned.



The freshman QB experience and where Brad Kaaya fits into college football and UM history

ATLANTA -- The average college football fan hears the term "freshman starting quarterback" and hardly flinches anymore.

After all, look at what Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston did in their first years under center. They  won the Heisman, and Winston led Florida State to the national title in January.

But lumping every freshman starting quarterback into the same category is a mistake. And that certainly applies for University of Miami freshman Brad Kaaya, who will make his debut Monday night at Louisville and join Jacory Harris (2008) as the only the true freshmen over the last 35 years to start the season opener for the Hurricanes.

Ken Dorsey didn't do it (he started the last three regular season games as a true freshman). Jim Kelly didn't do it (he made his first career start in the eighth game of the season at Penn State). And Bernie Kosar didn't do it. He, like Winston and Manziel, had the benefit of a redshirt season to learn Miami's offense before leading UM to its first national title in 1983.

Kaaya obviously won't have a year of apprenticeship under his belt. And unlike a bunch of other true freshmen who have found their way under center recently throughout college football, Kaaya doesn't even have the added experience of having enrolled early and participated in spring football.

He's only been at UM since the end of May when the first session of summer classes began in Coral Gables.

Over the last five years, a total of 34 true freshmen have started a game and attempted at least 100 passes for a school in a major conference (FootballStudyHall.com did the research from 2008-2012 and I looked up last year's numbers). Of that group, only nine started the season opener. The majority of those true freshmen enrolled in college early including two of the three who did it last year -- former Texas Tech walk-on Baker Mayfield (who has since transferred to Oklahoma) and Cal's Jared Goff.

Penn State's Christian Hackenberg, who started all 12 games for the Nittany Lions last year as a true freshman and went 7-5 as a starter before being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, enrolled in college in late June. He might be the only example of someone who got into school later than Kaaya and started right away.

While Winston, Manziel, Stanford's Andrew Luck, Boise State's Kellen Moore, Nebraska's Taylor Martinez, Georgia's Aaron Murray, UCLA's Brett Hundley and Oregon's Marcus Mariota all had tremendous success as redshirt freshmen, most true freshmen have endured growing pains.

The good news for Kaaya -- and Miami fans -- there is some history of true freshmen having success.

Back in 1985, Jamelle Holieway became the first and only true freshman quarterback to lead his team to a national title after being pressed into duty when Troy Aikman was lost for the season in a 27-14 loss to the Hurricanes in Norman.

More recent examples include:

> Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor took over as the starter three games into the 2008 season and went 8-2, completing 60.2 percent of his passes for 1,942 yards and 18 touchdowns. He finished with a quarterback rating of 145.6. Pryor was not an early enrollee.

> Baylor's Robert Griffin III enrolled early in college and put up a quarterback rating of 142.0 after coming off the bench four drives into his first season and taking the starting job from there. Baylor went 4-7 with Griffin, who threw for 2,394 yards and 28 touchdowns and eventually went on to win the Heisman a couple years later.

> USC's Matt Barkley led a top five-ranked team in 2009 from the start to a 9-3 record. He completed 54.7 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns and 2,697 yards finishing with a QB rating of 131.3. Barkley was an early enrollee. 

> Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater started the final 10 games of his true freshman season and went 5-5, completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,129 yards, 14 TDs and 12 picks. Bridgewater was an early enrollee.

> In 2009, Rutgers' Tom Savage started 11 games and went 8-3, completing 52.3 percent of his passes for 2,106 yards and 15 touchdowns. Savage was an early enrollee.

> And just this past year, Texas Tech started a pair of true freshman -- Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb -- and went 8-5. Both were early enrollees. 

> Houston's John O'Korn, a former St. Thomas Aquinas standout, meanwhile, took over as a starter three games into the 2013 season and went 6-5. He was the named the American Athletic Conference's Rookie of the Year after setting the Houston freshman record for touchdowns (28) and completions (259). O'Korn was a summer enrollee.

Something else for Kaaya can lean on aside from history: his backups.

Seniors Jake Heaps and Ryan Williams both started as true freshman for BYU and Memphis, respectively. Heaps became the starter the fourth game of the season and went 6-4. Williams became the starter the third game of the season and went 1-9.

What has coach Al Golden told Kaaya to do with all the hype surrounding his start opening night?

"Just keep ignoring, keep blocking it all out," Golden said. "I think he's mature in that sense. He'll do it. Again, expectations are just like what they sound -- external.

"He's playing to a standard right now and not really worried about anybody's expectations. He competed everyday for the starting job. He won it outright. I think that's all he's worried about it -- performing and taking care of all the little things as we get closer to the game. We need the whole offense to rally around him and keep him poised, keep him relaxed and not worry about the outside."

August 29, 2014

Which QBs are making the trip to Louisville? Al Golden's last pregame chat.

Just spoke to Hurricanes coach Al Golden before the Canes close up shop (at least from the media) and get ready to head to Louisville for the big game at 8 p.m. Monday.

What you need to know:

*** The four quarterbacks making the trip are starter Brad Kaaya, backup Jake Heaps, Ryan Williams and true freshman Malik Rosier. "

   Golden said Williams, still recuperating from a torn ACL sustained in early April, is traveling "as a captain and leader, that kind of role,'' Golden said. "...Ryan is there for leadership and he knows the offense better than anybody so he’s good to have on gameday."

*** The freshmen playing special teams will include Trayone Gray for starters, and "Oh, my goodness, there’s a whole bunch of them --[Ryan] Mayes for sure, Darrion Owens, Juwon Young -- God, there are so many.''

  Golden was then asked if Tyre Brady would play special teams? "They’re on the depth, whether or not that actually unfolds on game day…  Brady’s ready, [Darrell] Langham’s ready.. right now they’re all traveling. we’ll evaluate all that tonight, select the final traveling squad, kind of set the depth and go from there."

  ***Walter Tucker will get in the game at fullback and on special teams, and maybe on defense.

    Golden: "The order for him will be fullback, special teams and then defense. He’ll definitely see action on offense and special teams and he’s close on defense. That selection is going to be made here, to be honest with you based on how he and Juwon performed and then who won the special teams jobs. That’s how we’ll work that."

 *** Golden is still not revealing the starters at right tackle, cornerback and safety.

  On right tackle -- "[Jon] Feliciano can play out there, [Taylor] Gadbois can play out there, [Trevor] Darling can play out there and [Kc] McDermott can play out there. We’re going to keep rotating all those guys out there. There will be probably two in the game at that position.''

    And safety? "That will be determined out here. It would be silly of me to sit here and select it right now without making sure I go back and evaluate the tape and give everybody a fair opportunity."

   How did Gadbois look?  "Taylor looked much better. There’s really good competition there. Nobody can relax. I thought [right guard] Danny Isidora has had a good week. Obviously the center [Shane McDermott] and left guard [Feliciano] and left tackle [Ereck Flowers] have been really experienced veterans for us. I think all the guys contributing at right tackle are doing well, it’s just hard to figure out who’s the starter and who’s going to come in next."

  *** Kicker Matt Goudis was never in the punting competition because of his back ailment earlier in the summer, but Justin Vogel earned the kickoff spot because he's been better in practice.

    "We pulled him back from punting because of that,'' Golden said of Goudis. "And to be honest with you, Vogel has been doing better at kickoffs right now. He’s healthy now. There was some weakness. I expect him to be ready to go game day. Everybody is behind Vogel right now at kickoffs."

   ***Nantambu Fentress, as defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said recently, is playing safety now and special teams. 

 *** Receiver Rashawn Scott (shoulder/clavicle) went to the doctor recently, but Golden gave very few specifics on his recovery status.

   "He’s doing good,'' the coach said. "I don’t know what his recovery. I know he just met with the doctor and they said he’s recovering well. What that means I don’t know. So it would be crazy for me to comment on it."

  That's it, folks. Have a happy weekend enjoying all that football. Can't believe it's back!

   The Hurricanes are now officially in hibernation until Louisville.


August 28, 2014

Canes notes: Vogel wins punting job, will handle kickoffs too; Chickillo talks Louisville rematch (video)

Al Golden (COMPLETE AUDIO OF GOLDEN'S PRESS CONFERENCE THURSDAY) wasn't ready to reveal a final depth chart or tell us who has won the remaining position battles up for grabs (secondary, right tackle), but we did learn Thursday at least who will be handling kickoffs and punts.

Walk-on sophomore Justin Vogel, a transfer from Florida, said Golden informed him a couple days ago he'll be handling punts at Louisville Monday night. Vogel said he also climbed to the top of the depth chart -- the one only players and coaches have had a chance to see -- on kickoffs.

"I've always been No. 2 on kickoffs, but I had a really good day on Tuesday," Vogel said. "I had always been hitting them here and there. But then we did our game plan, scheme and I just hit a couple of really good kicks. Coach [Golden] was like do it again the next day. So I replicated it again. That moved me up to first team."

Freshman walk-on Michael Badgley is backing Vogel up on kickoffs. Redshirt senior Ricky Carroll is behind Vogel on punts.

"They judge all of it," Vogel said of the competition for the kicking jobs. "First off [on punts] they want to make sure the operations aren't slow. No matter how good your kick is if the operation is bad you're kick is getting blocked. So it has to be off under in under two seconds. Coach Golden wants is 43 yards, 4.3-second hang [time]. I've been averaging around that. I've kicked better than that too."


> So what is happening with some of the remaining position battles yet to be determined?

"We're still going," Golden said. "For some of them it's too early to call. I like our depth at a lot of positions. Obviously some of them are settled like Denzel [Perryman] and Chick [Anthony Chickillo]. But if you look at the back four, the secondary, those guys are fighting. Thurston [Armbrister] has had a good camp, [Raphael] Kirby seems to be back now from his ailment. On the other side [Taylor] Gadbois and KC [McDermott] and Trevor (Darling) are all still in the mix at tackle. We'll see more of [Chris] Herndon and Jake O'Donnell now and Ron Regula as a third or fourth tight end. The tailbacks are the same as all camp and Brad [Kaaya]. We'll probably play six or seven wide receivers as well."

> Golden yet again reiterated that sophomore defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad will play in Monday's opener. Muhammad was back at practice Thursday morning after missing Tuesday's practice to deal with what Golden referred to as a personal issue.

> Golden said the only freshman who will be counted on in a major role is quarterback Brad Kaaya

"The last few years we were counting on so many young guys before they had the opportunity to learn the system or ready to go. We're playing a lot of young guys but they're not in significant roles, they don't have to shoulder the burden," Golden said. "Obviously Brad is the one outlier in this instance. The good news with Brad is he has a veteran line in front of him, a nice complement of veteran guys."

Asked if there is plan to play senior transfer Jake Heaps, Golden said: "No."

Asked if Kaaya struggles if Heaps would replace him, Golden said: "No. He's our quarterback. He's going to do great, execute really well, has been doing really well. Brad's worked really hard over the last 16 weeks, has earned this job and that's it. There were no qualifiers here ever. He's the exception this year in terms of a freshman that has to start."

What is it about Kaaya that gives Golden so much confidence in him? "I don't know," he said. "All I can say is really sharp. First of all not many mechanical flaws. And then the young man went and lost 20 pounds so you weren't dealing with mechanics and something physiological in terms of condition. And whatever he learned via videotape or book transferred to the field spatially, conceptually. Plus a young man who's a great example for everyone else. He gave up a lot socially, a lot of his time to continue to work hard, ask the right questions, fix his flaws. He has a long way to go as a quarterback, as we all do, but he really worked hard mentally and physically to put himself in this position."

Did Golden think Kaaya would start from Day 1? "No," he said. "We thought he'd compete, but we took a lot of roads since April 4 [the day Ryan Williams tore his ACL] to get to this point. I sleep well at night knowing we have two guys we can run at quarterback right now without Ryan being in the mix yet."

> On Wednesday night Miami landed a commitment from Kaaya's former high school teammate, four-star offensive tackle Bar Milo. Golden was asked how having a kid like Kaaya helps UM's recruiting efforts.

"Your greatest recruiters are the young men that are in your program because they're the ones that know how you treat them every day, what the values are," Golden said. "When you start getting that endorsement, the testimony they give to the local kids, that gives a lot more weight than any feedback a coach has in a recruiting setting. It's good. We're seeing more of that. Guys are proud of what we're building at the University of Miami. It's exciting for us."


> I was able to catch up with Vogel and defensive end Anthony Chickillo and record their interviews on video.

Chickillo talked a lot about facing Louisville's offensive line which returns four starts, game planning for new coach Bobby Petrino's offense and what it's going to be like facing a Louisville team that trash talked a whole lot in the bowl game.

August 27, 2014

Another "Welcome to the U:" Kaaya 4-star OT teammate commits

The Brad Kaaya pipeline is paying dividend for the Miami Hurricanes.

West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade four-star offensive tackle Bar Milo – class of 2015 – committed to the University of Miami on Wednesday night.

Kaaya, the true freshman starting quarterback for the Hurricanes, recently graduated from Chaminade.

Milo, 6-6 and 300 pounds, told Rivals.com on Monday that “regardless of where I commit I promised my parents I’d keep my recruitment open and not be fully committed. But where I commit, that’s where I plan on going. I’d just stay open.’’ Milo added that “he’s taking into consideration’’ that his parents don’t want him to go too far from home.

His other finalists were Washington, Nebraska and ArizonaState.

Milo attended ‘U’ Day on an unofficial visit Aug 10. He watched the Canes practice and told 247Sports.com that Kaaya was “fantastic. He only says good things about Miami – how fantastic he’s been treated and how it’s a family atmosphere. He thinks it would be a great fit for me.’’

Milo is ranked the 32nd best offensive tackle by Rivals and the 26th in 247Sports’ composite rankings.

He is the seventh offensive lineman to commit for 2015, a class that now has 23 commits, according to 247Sports. On Tuesday, Under-Armour All-American kicker Andrew Galitz decommitted from Miami and committed to Baylor.

“I have officially decommited from the University of Miami,’’ he posted on Twitter. “I would like to thank the coaching staff for recruiting me.’’

If he follows through and signs with UM, Milo would be the third Hurricane out of West Hills Chaminade. Kicker Matt Goudis also went there.    


Hot off the press: ACC announces '15 men's hoops schedule

ACC Announces 2015 Men's Hoops Schedule


CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami opens it 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference schedule against reigning league champion Virginia on Jan. 3 in Coral Gables, ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced today.


In the 2014-15 campaign, Miami will host three Atlantic Coast Conference opponents that finished in the Top 25 in 2014, including preseason No. 7 North Carolina (Feb. 28), league newcomer No. 10 Louisville (Feb. 3) and No. 12 Virginia (Jan. 3). The Canes will travel to preseason No. 2 Duke (Jan. 13) and No. 21 Pittsburgh (March 4).


“The ACC in my mind is the best basketball conference in the country. Every night you are playing against a Top 20 or Top 10 team in the country,” said Larrañaga. “Whether you are at home or on the road, you had better be at your best, or you will be defeated.”


Miami will play eight games on the ESPN body of networks (ESPN, ESPN2 & ESPNU), one game on CBS, three on the ACC Network and six will be aired on the ACC’s regional sports network (RSN), which consists Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Carolinas, Fox Sports Florida, Sun Sports, Fox Sports Indiana, Fox Sports Midwest, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, NESN, YES Network, MSG Network and ROOT Sports.


“We have such a demanding non-conference schedule because of the number of games we are going to play in such a short period of time. We are going to find out right away how well prepared we are for the ACC,” added Larrañaga. “This is going to be a very challenging team with nine new players. They are going to be asked to bond and play well together very very quickly. That’s why the trip to Spain was so important to us.”


The Canes start the conference season with two at home and two on the road, as UM hosts Virginia Jan. 3 on ESPN 2 and Boston College (Jan. 10), then hits the road for a pair of ESPN or ESPN2 televised matchups against Duke (Jan. 13) and Notre Dame (Jan. 17). Following a home outing against NC State on Jan. 22, Miami travels to Syracuse, N.Y. to face the Orange on Jan. 24, a game that will be on ESPN or ESPN2. Miami wraps up the month with a home matchup with Georgia Tech on Jan. 28.


The Canes play nine games in February, five of which are at the BankUnited Center. UM opens the second month at Florida State on Feb. 1, then is in Coral Gables Feb. 3 and Feb. 8 to face Louisville and Clemson, respectively. Miami’s next three of four games are on the road as the Canes go to Wake Forest (Feb. 11) and Boston College (Feb. 15), are home for Virginia Tech (Feb. 18), then travel to Louisville Feb. 21, for an ESPN or ESPN2 game. The Canes conclude the home portion of the schedule with home matchups against Florida State (Feb. 25) and North Carolina (Feb. 28).


Miami’s two games in March are on the road, as the Canes play at Pittsburgh (March 4) and at Virginia Tech (March 7).


The ACC Tournament will be held at the Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum March 10-14.


In 2015-16, Miami will play home and away against Virginia, Florida State, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech and will host Duke, Louisville, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest. UM will play on the road against North Carolina, NC State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Boston College that season.


The 2014-15 season will be the first year of a 12-year schedule rotation during which teams that are not partners play five years at home only, five years on the road only, and two years both home and road. The past two conference schedules were “one-offs” due to an increase from 16 to 18 conference games and conference expansion, respectively.


This season will mark the third in which each ACC team will play an 18-game conference schedule. With Louisville joining the ACC on July 1, nine of the conference’s 15 teams will enter next season having made postseason appearances in 2013-14, including seven teams that took part in NCAA Tournament play this past year.


The ACC’s collective non-losing streak in the NCAA Tournament reached 27 years in 2013-14, by far the longest stretch in the nation. The ACC has had at least one team ranked among the Top 10 of the final Associated Press poll for 54 consecutive years.


For the latest information on the Miami Hurricanes, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @CanesHoops. For the most accurate and up to date information delivered to your phone, download the official Miami Hurricanes app for your Droid or iPhone.







Nov. 6

Eckerd College (exhibition)

Coral Gables, Fla.



Nov. 14


Coral Gables, Fla.



Nov. 17

at Florida

Gainesville, Fla.


7 p.m.

ESPN Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)

Nov. 20


Charleston, S.C.


3 p.m.

Nov. 21

Akron/Southern Cal

Charleston, S.C.



Nov. 23

Penn State/South Carolina/Cornell/Charlotte

Charleston, S.C.



Nov. 25

at Charlotte

Charlotte, N.C.



Nov. 28

South Alabama

Coral Gables, Fla.



Dec. 2


Coral Gables, Fla.


9 p.m.

Dec. 6

UW-Green Bay

Coral Gables, Fla.



Dec. 8

Savannah State

Coral Gables, Fla.



Dec. 19

Eastern Kentucky

Coral Gables, Fla.



Dec. 22

vs. Providence  (at Barclays Center, N.Y.)

Barclay’s Center



Dec. 30

College of Charleston

Coral Gables, Fla.



Jan. 3


Coral Gables, Fla.


2/4:30 p.m.

Jan. 10

Boston College

Coral Gables, Fla.


4 p.m.

Jan. 13

at Duke

Durham, N.C.


9 p.m.

Jan. 17

at Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Ind.


2 p.m.

Jan. 22

NC State

Coral Gables, Fla.


8 p.m.

Jan. 24

at Syracuse

Syracuse, N.Y.


4 p.m.

Jan. 28

Georgia Tech

Coral Gables, Fla.


9 p.m.

Feb. 1

at Florida State

Tallahassee, Fla.


12:30 p.m.

Feb. 3


Coral Gables, Fla.


8 p.m.

Feb. 8


Coral Gables, Fla.


6:30 p.m.

Feb. 11

at Wake Forest

Winston-Salem, N.C.


7 p.m.

Feb. 15

at Boston College

Chestnut Hill, Mass.


6:30 p.m.

Feb. 18

Virginia Tech

Coral Gables, Fla.


7 p.m.

Feb. 21

at Louisville

Louisville, K.Y.


2 p.m.

Feb. 25

Florida State

Coral Gables, Fla.


9 p.m.

Feb. 28

North Carolina

Coral Gables, Fla.


2 p.m.

March 4

at Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, Pa.


8 p.m.

March 7

at Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Va.



ACC Tournament, Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum

March 10

First Round




March 11

Second Round




March 12





March 13





March 14









Al Golden just spoke on ACC Coaches' Teleconference. Here he is...

You guys have two prime-time games in first 20 games of season. In recruiting how much do you still talk about Miami being a national brand and obviously somebody that is still attracted to networks?

GOLDEN:  “From our recruiting realm, young people understand that and the high school communities around the countries understand that. That’s one of the reasons that we can still attract nationally, but yet at the same time make sure we’re paying close attention regionally and locally for sure. In terms of our guys on the team, they’re just focused on this week and worrying about Louisville. The rest of it will take care of itself.’’

 How is Duke Johnson doing? Is he ready for Louisville?

 GOLDEN: “Duke has been doing good. He’s had a great recovery. There are no signs of fatigue or anything. He’s much stronger. He’s retained his quickness, he’s posted his fastest 40 since he’s been here back in July. Duke is ready to go.”

 NOTE: Golden also talked about Brad Kaaya being the starter and all the veterans he has around him.

 Al, a couple of your players have told the media down there they felt disrespected by the way Louisville played the second half of the game, maybe thinking they ran up the score. Do you find any sense of extra motivation from players given what happened at the bowl game?

 GOLDEN: “No, not at all. Louisville played really well. They had an exceptional team. They only lost a couple times in two years. That was a great team [that] played really well. But no, in terms of our program and their program, this is a different team for both and clearly we have to take care of our business, not worry about anybody else’s.”

 When Golden was asked about what it was about Kaaya’s play since beginning of August that made him decide to go with him as his quarterback, he said, “His completion percentage was excellent. He did a great job at the line of scrimmage. That’s probably where we got the most confidence from him, just his overall depth and understanding of what we were trying to get done and his ability to get us in the right play at the line of scrimmage. Without that, it would be hard to name him the starter. But he certainly demonstrated to us all training camp that it certainly wasn’t going to big for him and we’re excited for him.’’

 From what you’ve seen of Petrino offenses in the past on film, what is it about that Petrino system that makes them traditionally so prolific with him as the coach?

 GOLDEN: “He does a great job, no question about it, with multiple formations and tempo, high completion percentage and probably what goes under the radar the ability to run the football in addition – a two headed monster if you will. Those are things we have to adjust to and be prepared for going into this game.’’

 The defense this year has looked really good this year in camp, despite having a few younger players. What are your expectations of the defense and how good can the unit be this year?

 GOLDEN:  “That’s the challenge we have to answer. We can talk about it all we want, but at the end of the day there’s a great challenge. I thought they improved in the spring, I thought they started to play together a lot more. I thought there was more harmony. I think our tackling was better. At the end of the day, it’s going to be about going out there and proving it and what better opportunity [than] to go against a prolific offense that Louisville has.’’

 Any plan for which players on the right side of the offensive line will start and what rotation will be used?

 GOLDEN: “Danny Isidora, a young man who played for us [at right guard] last year, he’s been the starter since spring there. That hasn’t changed. And then Taylor Gadbois, Kc McDermott, Trevor Darling, all of those guys have seen action at right tackle and we’ll let that play out this week to see who the starter is.’’





August 26, 2014

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino talks injuries, Canes, Kaaya, Duke and more

Louisville's pre-game press conference took place Tuesday afternoon and he are several topics coach Bobby Petrino touched on related to the Hurricanes before Monday night's opener.

> Louisville's best receiver DeVante Parker, injured in practice last Friday, will miss Monday's game after undergoing surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot. Parker is expected to miss six to eight weeks. 

“He’s a tremendous player, and what we just have do is guys have to step up and perform. I think we’re fortunate in the situation we’re in that we have a lot of experienced players. We’ve got Eli Rogers, we’ve got Michaelee [Harris], we’ve got Kai De La Cruz, Matt Milton, James Quick, guys that have played in games and made plays. And certainly they’re all going to have to contribute, we’re going to have to rely on our tight ends and running backs, so you’re never going to replace a guy like DeVante with just one guy. You’ve got to do it collectively with all the weapons that we have stepping up and making more plays.”

Will the injury to Parker restrict Louisville's offense?

"It’ll change things around. I don’t know if restriction is the right word. Certainly when you miss a guy like that, we’re going to be a little bit different. Like I said, we’re not going to have one guy step in and say “OK, you’re now DeVante.” We’ve got to be able to utilize the weapons that we have, the things they do well, mix the ball around, get guys in a position where they can make plays.”

> The health and availability of running back Michael Dyer (bruised quadriceps) remains in question. “Michael has not progressed as well and we had th0ught he would initially. He still has some swelling in there, he’s not been able to get back out on the field yet. I think here, today, tomorrow are big days to see if he’ll be available for the game. He has made progress and he has gotten better, particularly the last part of the week last week, but we’re yet to see if he’ll be available for the game.”

> Petrino said he and his coaching staff have gathered plenty of film on freshman starting quarterback Brad Kaaya.

“We’ve got his high school film," Petrino said. "We studied his high school film. He’s a big guy, he makes a lot of good throws, he looks like a guy that gets the ball out of his hand quick, has a quick release. In the video that we watched, he’s not like a run-around guy and he’s more of a pocket passer. But he was impressive in his high school video.”

> Louisville didn't face Duke Johnson in last year's 36-9 blowout win over Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl. They will this time.

“He’s a really good player,"  He’s somebody that we have to contain. We’ve got to do a good job of setting edges with our outside linebackers and defensive ends. Our safeties are going to have a to do a good job coming downhill and tackling, and we’ve got to get 11 guys to the ball. I think that’s the biggest thing when you watch him is that we’re going to have to run full speed to the ball because he’s a guy that can take it the distance.”

> Would Petrino rather be coaching the losing team in a bowl game rematch?

“No I would rather be coaching the team I’m coaching right now. And I wasn’t part of that either," he said. "I think that’s the thing that we’ve tried to make sure our players understand. They’re two completely different teams. We have a different offense, different defense, they have a different quarterback. They do have the same defensive coordinator and some of the same guys back on defense. But it’s totally two different teams, and it’s going to be a battle. We have to go out there and perform well, play with great intensity and try to find a way to win the game in the fourth quarter.”

Canes DE Quan Muhammad misses practice Tuesday to deal with personal issue, Golden said

Sophomore defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, expected to be one of the team's top pass rushers this coming season, was noticeably absent from Tuesday's Hurricanes practice.

But there is no reason for fans to be alarmed. Apparently, it wasn't unexcused.

"He's got something on campus he's dealing with right now. It's personal in nature," Golden said. "We'll have him back here by [pause] he's probably in class right now."

Will Muhammad play in the opener? "Absolutely," Golden said. 


> Redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen (6-3, 200) was out there in a scout team jersey. So, no, he hasn't transferred.

> A total 15 players on offense were wearing orange jerseys (designated for starters): tight ends Standish Dobard and Clive Walford, running backs Gus Edwards and Duke Johnson, fullback Ronald Regula, receivers Malcolm Lewis, Phillip Dorsett and Stacy Coley and offensive linemen Kc McDermott, Shane McDermott, Jon Feliciano, Trevor Darling, Ereck Flowers, Danny Isidora and Taylor Gadbois

> A total of seven players on defense were wearing black jerseys (designated for starters): Cornerbacks Corn Elder and Ladarius Gunter, safeties Nantambu Fentress and Dallas Crawford, defensive linemen Olsen Pierre and Anthony Chickillo and linebacker Denzel Perryman.

> Junior defensive tackle Corey King remained in a yellow non-contact jersey. He was in one Monday, too.

> Gadbois, competing for the starting right tackle job with freshman Kc McDermott, said he took all the first team reps Tuesday with McDermott backing him up. It was the first time this week Gadbois said he took all the reps. McDermott and him had been splitting the reps.

"I assume the battle never stops," Gadbois said. "I'm just going to keep pushing forward with what I've got to do. I took all the reps with the ones and he took the reps with the twos [Tuesday]. Whatever. Coach's call. But like I said when we go to Louisville I'll be the starter."

> The cornerback position continues to be a hot battle.

Corn Elder said he continues to get most of the reps at field corner with Tracy Howard working in with him. At the boundary corner, it's Ladarius Gunter leading the way with Artie Burns getting some reps. 

"I think a lot of guys are getting used to competing and not worrying about the end result," Golden said. "They're just trying to get better. Obviously our team will get better if we keep doing that. We have a group there -- certainly five -- we'll rotate into the game and a lot of guys fighting for that nickel spot too."

> Quarterback Ryan Williams will travel with UM to Louisville, but won't play. Williams, who said his surgically repaired right knee was about 85 percent on Monday, has not been cleared for contact, Golden said, but "he's cleared to progress what he's confident with." 

"To say he's ready for middle dog blitz at him or the ability to step up with somebody coming at him those are all things that have to be determined by the doctor no question about it," Golden said. "He's making progress. We're pleased with how he's progressing. But at the end of the day it's going to be a medical decision and a decision Ryan has to make in conjunction with the medical staff, training staff and his family."

August 25, 2014

Backups Williams, Heaps talk and more notes from Canes practice

A day after it was announced true freshman Brad Kaaya had been named Miami's starting quarterback, the guys backing him up -- seniors Ryan Williams and Jake Heaps -- talked about the situation.

> Asked if Kaaya was keeping his seat warm, Williams smirked and said: "I mean, they couldn’t sit around and wait for me, I guess. I’m hurt. I didn’t think I was going to play Week 1. Didn’t really expect to. The recovery’s been a long time, but it’s still been faster than a lot of people. They had to move on. They couldn’t wait around and see if I could play or not. Glad for Brad. He had a great camp. I think he’s very smart. I think he can get the job done.”

Williams, who started as a true freshman for Memphis back in 2010 and lost 56-0 at Louisville during a 1-11 season, will be making the road trip with the Canes next week even though he won't be physically ready to play. Coach Al Golden said he's taking Williams because he wants his leadership there.

With redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen suspended for at least the opener, freshman Malik Rosier will also probably be making the trip, Golden said, as the team's third quarterback behind Heaps.

“It’s a big confidence-booster," Williams said of being on the travel roster. "Just means that I’m there to help my team regardless of the situation. Even though I can’t play, I’ll still be there to talk with Brad on the sideline and the other players on the sideline regardless of what happens.

“I did a lot of that last year. Me and Stephen would talk about everything, every drive, every play, really. So I don’t expect any different this year.” 

> Williams said his surgically repaired right knee is about 85 percent. In camp, Williams participated in 7-on-7 work and "did a little bit of team stuff one day," but he still hasn't been into full-speed reps very much.

Williams said he is "just trying to get moving on it and throwing on the run and getting the cutting down and all that stuff” and hopes to get into more team drills soon. But there is no timetable for a return. 

> Heaps, who transferred in from Kansas with the hopes of being Miami's starting quarterback when Williams went down in April, said Monday he's not considering transferring after losing out to Kaaya. 

"I'm happy to be here," Heaps said. "I don't have regrets being here. This is a great opportunity and we'll just see what happens the rest of the season. All we know is we're getting ready for game one and we're excited for it.

"For me, it's just about keeping my head up,  just continuing to work hard and practice hard and be a team guy. When my team needs me I'll be ready. That's all I can do at this point."

Heaps missed UM's second scrimmage with what Golden said was elbow soreness. But it appears it was a little more than soreness. Williams called what happened to Heaps "an unfortunate accident in practice."

Still, neither backup quarterback said they felt Heaps missing the scrimmage factored into Kaaya winning the starting job.

"It wasn’t like my arm got tired or anything like that," Heaps said. "I won’t really get into the details of it, but it was something that I just needed to have some time to recover from.

"So I don't think [that was a factor]. I think it was over a period of camp and a full evaluation. I don't think one day makes or breaks you. But me not being out there, I would have loved to be out there with my team and be in the game situation and compete out there. It would have been better than not being out, but I don't think it was the deciding factor."

Said Williams: "I didn’t think it really hurt his chances. Brad had a great camp, it wasn’t like he was given it for no reason.”


> Golden said sophomore walk-on Justin Vogel, a transfer from Florida, had a really good day punting Monday. It appears safe to say he's leading in the race for the job over senior Ricky Carroll. Vogel apparently is also impressing on kickoffs.

"It comes at a good time," Golden said "Tomorrow is a big special teams day."

> Six players on the offensive line -- including sophomore Taylor Gadbois -- were wearing orange starter jerseys Monday, and Golden said he isn't sure who is going to be in the starting five. 

"But I feel like we have a rotation now," Golden said. "Kc [McDermott] is making progress. Alex Gall is making progress. Trevor Darling. We're definitely in a better position than we were at the beginning of camp and certainly coming out spring ball. 

Golden said a lot of jobs will remain up for grabs all the way up until Saturday's practice. 

"A lot of those jobs -- it's all the game within the game," Golden said. "You guys maybe don't see the guy coming in on short yardage and one guy leaving. Well that job is up for grabs. Goalline that job is up from grabs. On the nickel those jobs are up for grabs. Those are all different jobs on defense. Offense the same thing. 21, 12, 11, 10 personnel. Empty package. Those are all up for grabs. We have a long way to go -- five more practices -- before that."

> Tight end Clive Walford said the veterans in UM's offense are all pushing to make Kaaya feel more comfortable in the huddle. 

"He's still kind of young," Walford said. "We're all trying to teach him when he calls a play in the huddle to make sure everybody knows the play, and before he snaps the ball to make sure everybody is set and the guys in motion are in motion. We're trying to stay on top of him with that. As soon as he messes up in the huddle the veteran guys correct him."

> Why does cornerback Tracy Howard think Kaaya won the starting job?

"I think it's his pocket presence," Howard said. "He has great footwork in the pocket. He has a natural feel. He does a great job stepping up and avoiding defenders in the pocket. He makes great decisions. You can't beat a guy who makes great decisions. He rarely makes bad decisions. I feel like before he'll throw an interception he'll throw it away. I just feel like he makes great decisions with the ball. He moves the ball down the field. He moves the sticks."

How is Kaaya's arm strength compared to Stephen Morris? "I feel like he's got good strength and he can get the job done. They're starting him for a reason. I feel like his strength is up to par."

Is Howard nervous about starting a true freshman at quarterback opening night? "No. I'm not nervous," Howard said. "I feel like he goes up against a good defense in practice every day. I feel like he handled himself very well. Not saying sometimes we didn't get the best of him. But he goes out there and makes plays. I feel like if he can do it against us he can do it against defense in the country."

> Even though freshman Darrion Owens is wearing a black jersey in practice, defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said nothing is official yet in terms of him getting the starting nod over Thurston Armbrister at strongside linebacker. 

> D'Onofrio said Antonio Crawford, Howard and Corn Elder are the three players competing at nickel corner. "We’ve got some flexibility there as far as the combination there," he said. "Obviously they all play corner as well."

Early morning Monday for Miami Hurricanes

The Miami Hurricanes were already doing their walk-through by 7 a.m. this morning.

Afterward, we got to watch the first 15 minutes of practice. 

It's definitely game-week for the opener a week from tonight at Louisville, but it's also something else today for the Hurricanes: the first day of college classes.

Think Brad Kaaya, the new starting quarterback, has a lot on his mind?

Coach Al Golden was on the Joe Rose show on 560 WQAM this morning, and said he wanted to get a really early start for the kids today so they could have the whole day in front of them to focus on school.

 How much do you think they think about school during the day, vs. football?

 Anyway, you don't have to answer that.

Here's who I saw wearing the orange jerseys, in no particular order, for the offense (orange signifies first-team or the players who most recently performed well): RB Duke Johnson, OT Kc McDermott (he has been playing first-team RT), OG Danny Isidora, RB Gus Edwards, OT Taylor Gadbois, OT Ereck Flowers, WR Malcolm Lewis, FB Ronnie Regula, TE Standish Dobard, TE Clive Walford, WR Stacy Coley, WR Phillip Dorsett, C Shane McDermott, LG Jon Feliciano.

 Here's who I saw wearing the black jerseys, in no particular order, for the defense (black signifies first-team or the players who most recently performed well): DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE Anthony Chickillo, LB Denzel Perryman, LB Raphael Kirby, LB Darrion Owens (Al Golden lauded him today on the radio), S Dallas Crawford, CB Corn Elder, DT Olsen Pierre

  Glad to see S Deon Bush (green jersey, for defensive players who aren't in black) without any type of limited (yellow) jersey on. Deon has had his share of injuries over the past couple seasons and he is a real talent. He just needs to stay healthy.

  Also glad to see Gus the Bus in orange for the second consecutive day. He's a bull, and Canes need him to perform, too.

 A new player who is being added to the roster is Collin Alford, a running back who will wear No. 45. He played for Miami Columbus High (two-time All-Dade selection) and the Fighting Falcons of Fairmont State University in West Virginia (at least in 2011 and 2012), from what I looked up.

 ***TE Beau Sandland is transferring, according to Palm Beach Post, and even though Golden didn't respond to the question, saying he'll address the situation as soon as he talks to Sandland, it appears to be true. Sandland was not at practice this morning. That leaves Clive Walford and Standish Dobard as the go-to tight ends. 

** Kind of felt bad for Jake Heaps this morning. OL coach Art Kehoe was giving him crap for not getting a play off fast enough in very early drills. I like Heaps and I thought he'd be named the starter. But I have to give kudos to Al Golden and James Coley for not going the safe route and choosing the guy they think is ready for the moment.




August 24, 2014

Brad Kaaya new starting QB for Miami Hurricanes

A true freshman will lead the way.

Finally, a week and a day before the University of Miami season opener at Louisville on Labor Day night, coach Al Golden named a starting quarterback -- and that quarterback is 18-year-old Brad Kaaya.

"Brad Kaaya will be the starter,'' Golden said, calling the decision "close'' as reporters began immediately posting the news on Twitter. "Jake understands exactly what he needs to do in terms of getting ready and supporting Brad, and Brad knows that the competition is going to continue.

   "We've got a long way to go in terms of the season. There's competition at every position.
   "It was a tight battle. It was a battle that none of us, including you guys, could have foresaw at the end of June or beginning of July or maybe even at the beginning of camp. I'm excited about that position.

   "In Ryan [William's] absence, those two had a great battle. Kevin Olsen really improved, so I'm excited about him. But right now, Brad nudged out Jake and he's our quarterback.''

   Golden said he made the decision this morning and told the media after practice Sunday that Kaaya "nudged out'' graduate transfer Jake Heaps, 23, who played his first two years at BYU, transferred to Kansas and spent the next two years there, and transferred again this summer to Miami.

  Kaaya will not be made available to the media until after the Louisville game, which is the usual policy for freshmen who haven't played  in a game. Heaps and Ryan Williams, who were both requested by media members, however, also were not made available to the media Sunday.


    UM offensive coordinator James Coley said the decision had nothing to do with the injury (elbow) that kept Heaps out of the second scrimmage.

  "I thought that Jake did a great job this camp and I just thought that, you know, Kaaya towards the end here really pulled away and started getting really comfortable, and like I've been saying, he's not your regular freshman, right?'' Coley said. "He's not a freshman anymore, he's the starting quarterback at the University.     "He's really embraced it. There's no hiccups.

   "It was tough early coming in. Down maybe the last eight to 10 days you saw him get a lot [more] comfortable out here with the players and with the speed of the game.''

   Kaaya, 6-4 and 206 pounds, is from West Hills, Calif. and was an All-American at West Hills Chaminade College Preporatory.  Kaaya led Chaminade to a 23-3 record as a starter and threw for a school-record 3,855 yards during a state-championship senior season, and has impressed everyone this fall camp.

Heaps, 6-1 and 210 pounds, came out of Skyline High in Sammamish, Wash., as a Parade All-American ranked the nation's No. 1 pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com. He completed 219 of 383 passes in all 13 games his freshman season at BYU, good for 2,316 yards and 15 touchdowns, with nine interceptions, setting nearly every BYU freshman record.

But last season at Kansas he completed only 49 percent of his passes for 1,414 yards, with eight touchdowns and 10 picks.

  Golden said Kaaya "has come along great'' in terms of progressing with his communication skills and being more vocal. "He's really maturing. We're putting him in a tough environment every day in terms of the music [UM blasts at practice]. I think the biggest thing now is to get him to... because we don't have our whole offense in for the opener, he'll improve by leaps and bounds in the next three or four days."

 What was Heap's reaction?

  "They were both very positive,'' Golden said. "I don't want to get too much into the personal stuff in terms of protecting our privacy. But obviously both are really positive guys, they've been great the entire competition and they know it's an ongoing thing. It's all about performance and execution. That's where we are today. Brad is the starter going into the opener and Jake knows he needs to support the starter and get ready to go.''

   What does this mean for Williams, the fifth-year senior who would have been the starter had he not torn his ACL in April?

   "Ryan, as I said all along, that's a medical issue right now,'' Golden said. "When it's not a medical issue anymore and he can do everything that we need our quarterbacks to do,then we'll look at it in every angle and see what's best for our football team. But right now that's not part of the equation. His health right now, his strength, his ability to rehab and return is paramount for him. Once he does that we'll evaluate the situation.''

   Kaaya did not come to UM for spring football, which makes this decision even more impressive.

   "The biggest thing was we saw how much he was devoted to it, how many sacrifices he made, how well he learned and how it translated to the field,'' Golden said. "A guy can be good in the film room or be good out of the book and then it doesn't translate. But it has translated here. We've put him in very tough situations. 

   "We've put him under the gun, his completion percentage is good, he's protected the ball really well, he can articulate the offense, he's very poised. At the end of the day, as I told him, he's our quarterback. He's not a freshman quarterback, he's the University of Miami quarterback.''

   Golden said this is the first time in his career he's starting a true freshman at quarterback.

  And this will be the first time that a true freshman quarterback starts for the Hurricanes in an opener since Jacory Harris was anointed in 2008. Harris' selection was the result of former quarterback Robert Marve being arrested on a misdemeanor charge in Coconut Grove, and thus suspended for the opener.

The 2008 opener was against Division I-AA Charleston Southern, which UM throttled 52-7. 

The Canes finished 7-6 in 2008, with Marve and Harris sharing reps during games.

Louisville, which embarrassed the Hurricanes 36-9 this past December, is in the "others receiving votes'' category in the Associated Press poll -- equal to a ranking of 31, while UM would be ranked 39th in the AP.

UM coach Al Golden said he will not allow Kaaya to speak to the media until after he plays his first game.


August 22, 2014

New high for Canes' season-ticket sales at Sun Life. Oh, you want FSU tickets? Read this.

   The Hurricanes have sold more than 31,000 season tickets this season – “more than we’ve ever sold since we moved to Sun Life Stadium in 2008,’’ said Chris Freet, UM’s senior associate athletic director for communications, marketing and sales. "We're really pleased, really excited." 

   There are 27,000 seats in the lower Sun Life bowl, and the Canes have sold 95-percent of the seats that aren’t allocated to students (5,500), visiting teams (about 800) and recruits and high school coaches (about 1,500), Freet said.

   The capacity of Sun Life is 75,000, but goes down to 67,000 when the four corners are covered with tarp.

    Last year the Canes sold 29,917 season tickets, Freet said.

   "The impact of the Florida game on the schedule last season was fantastic and we've only played the Gators at home once every 10 years historically,'' Freet said. "This year, with Florida State on the schedule, which comes in every two years, the fact that we're outpacing last year is really, really exciting for us in terms of growing our fan base No. 1 and the impact it will have on revenue for our department.''


   Now, the more pressing issue for Canes fans: single-game tickets to FloridaState on Nov. 15 have already been sold out through the Hurricane Club, Freet said. The only way to still get a ticket to FSU is by buying a “mini-plan’’ that encompasses both the FSU and North Carolina (Nov. 1) games. The least expensive mini-plan is $108.00 for upper-bowl seats.

   The cheapest ticket Friday for the FSU game on StubHub.com was $112.89.

   Freet said the 1,500 tickets UM got for the Sept. 1 Louisville opener have been sold out.

  “What we heard from our fans is that it’s a difficult trip because they’d have to travel back on Tuesday, a work day,’’ he said.

   Freet added that there will be “a much larger group of UM fans at Nebraska’’ on Sept. 20. He did not specify how many seats have been allocated to the Canes.


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.

August 20, 2014

Only three Canes in first-team black jerseys Wednesday afternoon, but lots in first-team orange

Surprise, surprise.

The report we got after Monday's closed scrimmage mentioned several defensive players who made impressive plays. 

But when the media was permitted to watch the first 15 minutes of the afternoon session of Wednesday's practice (open practices have ended), only three players on the Hurricanes' defense were garbed in the black jerseys worn by first-team players.

They are cornerbacks Corn Elder and Artie Burns, and defensive end Anthony Chickillo

That means all-everything linebacker Denzel Perryman was wearing ordinary green for the first time this fall camp, as well as safety Dallas Crawford, and on and on.

Can't wait to hear what the coaches have to say on that. Sending a message, anyone?

"Denzel had an awesome first scrimmage and a pretty good second one,'' defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said. "Just making sure he sets the same standard that he can every time he's out there. I'm pleased with the linebacker group. Jermaine Grace had a really good scrimmage. Just got to finish a few more plays. Very productive, productive as anybody we had out there. I'm not unhappy with them, just as far as a black jersey, it's, 'Did you do your job and did you finish every play?' At the end of the day, it's a hard thing to get, is how we're making it.''

Many players, however, wore the first-team orange.

They are, in the order I spotted them, OL Jon Feliciano, WR Stacy Coley, OL Kc McDermott, WR Phillip Dorsett, OL Ereck Flowers, OL Danny Isidora, OL Alex Gall, TE Standish Dobard, RB Joseph Yearby, FB Ronnie Regula, OL Shane McDermott, RB Duke Johnson, WR Malcolm Lewis and TE Clive Walford.

As for your quarterbacks, they were all out there throwing during preliminary drills -- that includes graduate transfer Jake Heaps, who was accompanied by fellow scholarship quarterbacks Ryan Williams, Brad Kaaya, Kevin Olsen and Malik Rosier. The walk-ons were there, too.

Keep in mind that we only watch the first 15 minutes, then go inside.

 Heaps, listed with Kaaya as the co-starters on the depth chart, did not participate in Monday's scrimmage "to rest his arm,'' a UM report noted after the scrimmage.

  Today, Heaps did not wear an elasticized sleeve or any other protective device on his arm during that first afternoon portion we watched.

  Turns out, according to Golden, and Heaps did not disagree, that Heaps had a sore elbow on his throwing arm. Heaps wanted to compete in the scrimmage, but Golden, in consultation with the team doctor, wanted to rest him to play it safe. Golden said he will not penalize Heaps in the competition for sitting out that day.

   Heaps said he felt good today, and competed fully in both sessions. He also said he will continue to rehabilitate.




August 19, 2014

Hurricanes land huge commitment from Killian 4-star safety Jaquan Johnson

The Hurricanes landed one of the most prized safety recruits in the nation Tuesday night when Miami Killian's Jaquan Johnson called coaches to inform them he was committing to their 2015 signing class.

Johnson (5-11, 192) is rated a four-star prospect by 247Sports.com and the ninth best safety in the nation. He's a three-time All-Dade First Team selection and a U.S. Army All-American.

Johnson told The Miami Herald last week his top five college choices were Miami, Florida, Florida State, South Carolina and Louisville and that he might be making a decision soon. He also told The Herald he planned on taking official visits to LSU, Alabama and Louisville during the season. 

There is no word yet if he still plans to, but Killian coach Cory Johnson said Jaquan, no relation, told him Johnson informed UM coaches "Coral Gables is where he plans to play his college football."

"He's going to walk in there trying to be the man right away," Cory Johnson said.

Johnson missed the first four games of his junior season at Killian last year with a lower back injury. He said he contemplated having surgery to shave a disc in his back but decided against it. Johnson said he still experiences some tightness in his back.

Johnson finished his junior season with 75 tackles, an interception, five fumble recoveries and eight catches for 122 yards and three scores. As a sophomore he collected 94 tackles, 7 INTs and ran 88 times for 646 yards and 17 touchdowns. As a freshman he had 45 tackles, two forced fumbles, 1 blocked field goal, 417 yards rushing and eight rushing touchdowns. He also scored on two touchdown catches.

"One thing I know about Quan is if you put the ladder up six feet higher than he can reach he's going to find a way to climb it," coach Johnson said. "He'll go as high as he can to get to the top of that ladder."

The Hurricanes have 23 commitments in the 2015 signing class. Johnson is one of six who is considered a four-star recruit.

August 18, 2014

Hurricanes' final fall scrimmage completed. 2 TD passes for Kaaya.

The Miami Hurricanes' second and final fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over.

  NOTE: UM just sent message saying fifth-year senior quarterback Jake Heaps was "held out to rest his arm.'' Hmmm. Is his arm hurt? Is it just sore? This was a scrimmage, and a very important one at that. 

  I like the way Lindsay Bohlen, UM's Assistant Director of Football Operations/Recruiting described it in her tweet: "Monday Night Football for the Canes!"

 The next game is the real thing two weeks from tonight at Louisville.

Though we couldn't watch, the University of Miami's sports information staff generated a scrimmage report. 

Here's the UM report, while I work on a story for tomorrow's paper and to post online later.


 Yearby, Muhammad excel in second scrimmage


CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Monday night was filled with football in Coral Gables as the Miami Hurricanes held their second scrimmage of #CanesCamp.

 The Canes were out on the Greentree Practice Fields for a two-hour scrimmage, and players on both sides of the ball wasted little time making an impression on the coaches and NFL scouts in attendance.

 The offense got on the scoreboard early as Matt Goudis hit a 38-yard field goal on the team's second series of the evening. Brad Kaaya added six more points when he connected with Stacy Coley on a three-yard touchdown pass. Kevin Olsen's nine-yard touchdown pass to Tyre Brady completed the first half scoring for the offense.

 Kaaya got the Hurricane offense into the end zone for the final time Monday night when he found fullback Walter Tucker in the end zone for a score from nine yards out.

 Several of Miami's running backs had impressive showing on Monday, led by freshman Joseph Yearby. The former Miami Central standout rushed for a team-high 71 yards, including a game-best 33-yard run. Duke Johnson, Gus Edwards and Trayone Gray also had several impressive runs.

 Fifteen different Canes caught a pass on Monday, with freshman Braxton Berrios leading the way with five catches for 48 yards. Seven Hurricanes has multiple catches and senior tight end Raphael Akpejiori recorded his first catch in a scrimmage.

 Linebacker Thurston Armbrister picked off a pass and returned it for a 40-yard touchdown, but the junior linebacker was not the only defensive standout on Monday night. Malik Mayweather also had an interception late in the first half, while senior linebacker Denzel Perryman delivered a loud and forceful hit on Edwards in the second half for a three-yard loss. Perryman finished the night with five tackles.

 Al-Quadin Muhammad was active in the backfield, recording two of Miami's seven sacks on Monday. Anthony Chickillo, Jermaine Grace, Ufomba Kamalu, Tyriq McCord and Darrion Owens also sacked the quarterback in Monday's scrimmage.

 The Hurricane defense finished the scrimmage with 10 tackles for loss, five pass breakups and two passes deflected at the line of scrimmage.


 Monday Night Football for the Canes! pic.twitter.com/ZZ6gM0rccs