Before we get to practice news, big congratulations to three Canes who just were announced as part of the 2016 UM Sports Hall of Fame Class: offensive tackle Joaquin Gonzalez, tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. and running back Willis McGahee.
Weakside linebacker Jermaine Grace, who sustained an ankle injury last Thursday at Cincinnati, was back on Greentree Field practicing Wednesday, but was limited. Nonetheless, it was a welcomed sign in advance of the FSU game.
"I think he'll have a chance,'' UM coach Al Golden said of Grace. "I think today was big. He got some flexibility and moved around, got confidence with it. I think tomorrow he'll have the opportunity to heal some more. So, there's a good shot for him now.''
Added Golden: "We protected him in certain spots. But just the ability to run and cut and do all those things was good.''
Also continuing to practice -- full-go: wide receiver Stacy Coley.
"He's fine,'' Golden said of Coley.
NO WAR CHANT YET THIS WEEK
Any noise in practice this week? Golden was asked Wednesday.
The coach said, "Oh year, everyday. Yeah.''
But we usually hear the war chant, Golden was told.
"Not so much the chant,'' Golden said. "Just whatever we've been playing. Just again, keep the focus on us and whatever we did last week, whatever we're going to do next week, let's continue to do it. Just trying to get them in that mindset.''
So much was invested in last year's game, which UM lost, and Golden was asked if he's trying to downplay the game this year.
"It’s my responsibility,'' he said. "It’s not that we didn’t recover. We didn’t play well afterwards. It’s so easy to just…because of time and because it was last year, it’s so easy just to sweep it into that corner and say, ‘Alright, we had so much invested that we didn’t do that.’ There’s a lot of factors that went into it. We examined all those. That was last year. I think our guys are excited about this game. I don’t have to get them fired up. They’ll be fired up. But as I said yesterday in the presser, I don’t think I need to talk about it every day in terms of what kind of energy we’re going to have. We’ll have energy. But it’s our job to execute and play fast. We left a lot of plays out there in the second half of last year’s game. We have to learn you can’t carry much forward other than your experience. Does that answer your question?”
The feeling is that since you guys didn’t win a game after that, are you trying to protect from that because there’s so much season left?
“No, no, no,'' Golden said. These are all one-game seasons right now. This one sells itself, so you don’t really have to worry as much about the focus or what everybody on the outside is talking about. So, from that standpoint, we’re focused and not really worried about next week. Not worried about last week. We just have to play well and do well today.”
TYRIQ McCORD: "I SHOULD HAVE JUST IGNORED IT, BUT I HAD TOO MUCH PASSION."
Linebacker Tyriq McCord acknowledged Wednesday that he made a mistake and went too far earlier in the week addressing a fan on Twitter who had apparently ridiculed the Hurricanes. McCord wrote a tweet basically telling the person who posted the tweet to tell McCord that to his face, and in not so nice words that he would take care of him in defense of McCord's "brothers.''
"I got very emotional, very passionate for my teammates and stuff,'' McCord said Wednesday after practice. "At the moment I just felt like I had to speak on it. I chose the wrong route, honestly, I chose the wrong route looking back on it. I should have just ignored it, but I had too much passion, I had too much love for my brothers to not comment on it. But I should have never did that. I apologized to that person and the fans and I apologized to myself too and my family because I don’t represent myself like that nor my family."
Added McCord: "Just a mistake, a young kid’s mistake. I’ve just got to learn and grow from it. I really don’t want to speak on it, but I chose the wrong route."
Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said Tuesday that he addressed the situation with McCord. McCord said he expects to play both halves against Florida State.
"I expect to play. A lot of my teammates and some of my coaches knew how I was feeling,'' McCord said. "They knew that I was very passionate and the love I have for the team. They really didn’t harp on it too much. They really didn’t want to mess up my head like that. They made me understand how I really messed up. I should have chosen another route. I knew that right after I wrote that. But they emphasized that more. You’ve just got to learn from it."
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Hurricanes top baseball recruit Kep Brown looks like he's headed to Coral Gables, not the minor leagues
If the Major League Baseball Draft is a nervous time for players consider it twice as hard on college coaches.
That's because as much as Jim Morris wants to see his juniors and seniors make a splash and get paid, he also wants to hold onto the one he's recruited. Barring some huge surprises, that should happen with Miami's next recruiting class.
Of the six players in the 2015 class, only one, Wando, S.C. power-hitting outfielder Kep Brown, was taken during the first two days of the draft. The Cardinals took Brown in the 10th round Tuesday with the 311th overall pick, meaning Brown will sign for the $149,700 he's slotted for according to Baseball America (the Cardinals can offer him more, but it's unlikely) or head to Coral Gables.
Brown, who went down with a season-ending achilles injury in April, hinted to a few news outlets Tuesday he's already decided what he's going to do and it sounds like he'll be wearing orange and green.
“It was a stressful, emotional couple of days,” Brown told the South Carolina Post and Courier. “It didn't go how we had planned, really, but to hear my name called did give me chills. It was awesome.
“We've got a pretty good idea of what I'm going to do,” he said. “But I probably won't let that go public for a bit longer, just out of respect for the Cardinals.”
UM's other five recruits are all local players who have yet to get drafted: Coral Gables right-hander Andrew Cabezas (6-3, 0.39 ERA, 81 Ks), American third baseman Roman Gonzalez (.410, 4 HR, 26 RBI), Westminster Christian right-hander Isaiah Musa, Florida Christian right-hander Alex Valverde and Terra Research Institute right-hander Frank Bartow.
On the flip side, UM has already had three of its best players taken.
Pitcher Andrew Suarez was taken with the 61st overall pick Monday. Third baseman David Thompson was taken by the Mets in the fourth round with the 119th overall pick and second baseman George Iskenderian was taken by the Brewers in the seventh round with the 211th overall pick. Suarez is slotted at $1,010,100 (slightly more than he would have made if he signed last year), Thompson at $474,800, and Iskenderian at $195,700.
By the way, before Tuesday, the Hurricanes hadn't had three players taken within the first 211 picks of the draft since 2009 when Jason Hagerty (144th overall), Ryan Jackson (159th), Kyle Bellamy (163rd) and Chris Herrmann (192nd) were taken within the first 192 picks.