Larry Scott discusses what's next for the Canes and himself on Saturday


University of Miami interim football coach Larry Scott fielded questions Saturday morning following the team's final regular season game and 29-24 win at Pittsburgh on Friday.

Here's what was discussed: 

** On Brad Kaaya's play since returning from the concussion in the loss to Clemson... "He came back and stepped right back in the saddle, did a great job with the game plan. He did a great job trusting the receivers -- all of them. He hasn't just been locked in on one guy either. He's done a great job putting the ball where it needed to be put, spread it around. He's come back really strong."

** On Joe Yearby getting close to 100 rushing yards on Friday and why he hasn't hit the 100-yard mark in a game since the loss at Cincinnati... "Joe's pretty close to reaching the 1,000-yard mark, which would be awesome for us as a team. The offensive line has been young, had some injuries. To still get him close to 1,000 yards is a feat for us all."

** Assuming UM goes in another direction with coach, how will Scott handle the next few weeks? "We're going to move forward with the recruiting calendar and do our job. Right now we're in a position to continue moving the program forward. It starts with recruiting, with a contact period that starts tomorrow. We're going to continue to move forward and sell the brand and what the University of Miami has to offer."

** What have the last 24 hours been like for Scott personally... "It's actually been fun, rewarding to watch the kids respond the way they've responded. They've been resilient, they've stayed together, they've kept working and kept feeding off what we were giving them. It was good to see them push through it and have the finish at the end of the year we talked about having and working so hard to do it. It's pretty emotional for me."

** What is the talent-level on this team for next year? It seems like this team can play with anybody.. "There's definitely talent on this team, and there's guys that are some really good players. One of the things we keep stressing to them is once your effort meets your talent level on the field it makes you a pretty formidable opponent. There is some talent on this team, some really good young players that are returning. And we're going to continue to recruit and build the talent level across the board from top to bottom."

** On if there is some personal pride about what he and the staff have done over the last five games... "We've been talking to the kids about having pride and what we're doing. Around the room there was a really high pride factor about what we were able to accomplish and that we were able to accomplish it all together. It wasn't perfect. But it was a fun ride. As coaches we needed to be out front, be the leaders and they followed."

** On what Scott says he tells recruiting commitments... "Even if things weren't in the circumstances they are in, what you always put out deep in front of the recruiting process is what is tangible. It's academically, athletically and socially what the University of Miami has to offer. That's tangible. The rest of it is intangibles."

** On what the players schedule is going to be moving forward... "Their schedule is going to give them a few days of being students, spending time with their families. We put them on a plane and took them away for Thanksgiving. So we're going to give them a couple days to catch up with their families, let their bodies heal. So we'll focus on academics as we get closer to exam time. Really it's the other side of what they do. Being an 18, 19-year-old and enjoying friends and family and being students. That's what the schedule will be for a couple days before we get into the bowl schedule, lifting and running and those type of things."

** On if there is a date in mind as far as when the team will get back together... "No. We've got a couple different [bowl] scenarios out. Once we get a little closer we'll lay that schedule out."

** On if he's had a conversation yet with athletic Blake James about keeping the job... "I have not and really because of what the focus was, it was just on the kids and moving the kids forward and getting them well prepared to each week. It's just been really a narrow focus by us. I have not [spoken with Blake James about being interviewed for the job]. Those are the things I'm not in control of. We'll kind of just take it day-by-day as far as those things unfolding."

** This is the time of year kids are thinking of leaving early. How is Scott handling that? "That's definitely something we're looking into and looking at with some of our kids, just preparing them and making sure they understand and are armed with all the information through this process. They have a team of people on this side that always make sure they represent them and their families in their best interest. It's an educational process you have to walk them through and help them deal with. When you have those situations come up that's always going to be a topic of conversation at some point."

** Have any underclassmen approached Scott yet about leaving... "No. But we've had communication with guys that those opportunities may present themselves. But I haven't been approached by any player per say."

** If Scott is retained is he looking for a head coaching job at another school? "It's one of those funny things you have to take it day-by-day and kind of explore whatever options present themselves and then look at it. I'm always going to make any decision I make with my families best interest at heart. I don't know how this thing is going to unfold. That's the uncertainty you're faced with. Those things will kind of take care of themselves as they unfold."

** Generally speaking do Scott feel pretty good about the opportunities the rest of the staff will have to find a job? "Every guy that went down this process were pros about it. When we first started out this thing we were asked to reevaluate and look back and reflect on why you got into coaching. They're all pros and really good football coaches. We all know the nature of the business, how it works."

October 26, 2015

Miami Hurricane recruits react to Al Golden firing

With the firing of Al Golden announced by UM Sunday evening, recruits reacted.

Wellington wide receiver Ahmmon Richards responded in the most extreme way. He decommitted Sunday night with this tweet.

*Three-star cornerback out of Hallandale Deion Jackson said the firing won't affect his commitment, but did say he felt the move was "stupid."

He added: "Golden was a good coach. He had chemistry with the team. He literally used to go on the field and work with the players himself.

"Golden brought a family together. He always used to say, 'This is not just a football program, it's a family.' Half of these college coaches don't care. They don't care. They don't even look some recruits in the eye when they speak to recruits. Golden did and always stayed on top of me with my grades and things like that.

"Other college coaches don't care about building chemistry. If you're good, they want you just to win."

*Jackson's teammate at Hallandale, running back Zack Moss, says the change doesn't affect his commitment.

"I didn't commit to the coaches," he says. "I just look at rosters, mainly my position."

*Lantana Santaluces linebacker Zach McCloud will take a wait-and-see approach. He doesn't have much time as he plans to be an early enrollee in January for the spring semester.

"To be honest, I'm waiting before I make any big decisions. My biggest concern in this process is my future with only three months to decide since I'll be an early enrollee," he says. "I'm not comfortable at the moment, still being patient, though. I want to make an informed decision."

*Four-star St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Sam Bruce, who was in attendance to watch UM's 58-0 debacle against Clemson and has also recently taken an Ohio State visit, when reached said: "No comment."

But Bruce later made his opinion known with the tweets below.

The latter of the two statements, of course, is in reference to UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard who once coached Bruce at University School. 

*Fellow Aquinas wide receiver and legacy Cane commit Michael Irvin II voiced his displeasure with the decision earlier Sunday.

*Teammate at Aquinas and 2017 linebacker Tyler Dunning had no comment but did post this to Twitter.

*Dionte Mullins' mother posted this on Twitter, noting "#StillCommitted" at the end.

*2017 safety out of Jacksonville Bolles Ahman Ross said, "Committed to UM. I will, of course, evaluate the staff, but I am committed to UM."

*Four-star athlete Tyler Byrd out of Naples posted this.

*Nick Roberts, 2017 defensive back out of Orange Park Oakleaf, expressed similar sentiments in this post.

*Deltona assistant coach David Williams said of senior tight end/defensive end Evan Hinson: "We're staying committed on our end."

*Fort Lauderdale coach Richard Dunbar said of committed defensive end Jaquwan Nelson, "Jaquwan will stay committed to UM but will take all of his visits. Just not sure what the university is thinking at this point. That's very critical for him."

Dunbar is referring to whether the new staff that comes in will continue to recruit his three-star defensive end, which has recorded 66 tackles and 15 sacks on the year.

*The latest UM commit, 2018 wide receiver Daquris Wiggins, said: "I'm still committed."


October 17, 2015

Rapid reaction: Canes beat Virginia Tech 30-20

Some quick post-game thoughts, notes and quotes from Saturday's 30-20 win over Virginia Tech: 

> KAAYA STEPPING UP: Brad Kaaya's performance was another example he's taking his game to the next level.

After throwing for a career-high 405 yards at Florida State in a tough 29-24 loss, Kaaya finished 19 of 30 for 296 yards and two touchdowns and did a pretty good job evading pressure when Virginia Tech threw it at him. He was sacked only once, but hit countless times.

Receiver Rashawn Scott, who caught both touchdown passes, said Kaaya is getting hit harder lately than he is.

"As a quarterback you've just got to be tough," Kaaya said afterward. "I wear my Kelly Tough shirt for a reason. I wore it today. I had it on last year at Homecoming. You've just got to be tough as a quarterback. As a quarterback there's a lot of things you can critique, but you can't really critique that. You're either tough or you're not. I have to sellout for my guys too. I know the receivers and the offensive line are all going to sell out for me. Joe Yearby is going to sell out on blocks. The receivers are going to lay out for me and I have to sell out and hang in there and make something out of nothing too."

Kaaya's season totals: 134 of 219 for 1,795 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception.

That means he's on pace for 3,590 yards, 20 touchdowns and two interceptions. The 3,590 yards would finish second only to Bernie Kosar's 3,642 yards as UM's single-season record. 

> RUNNING GAME STILL FLAT: UM's running game continues to struggle. After being held to 20 yards on 19 carries by FSU last week, UM managed only 99 yards Saturday on 39 attempts, a unsightly 2.5 average. Joe Yearby averaged 3.2 yards per carry and Mark Walton averaged 3.1 yards per carry.

That's not good when you consider Virginia Tech came in with the 97th-ranked run defense in the country.

UM obviously switched things up on its offensive line, inserting Kc McDermott and Joe Brown into the starting lineup for the first time in their careers. They rotated with the previous five starters: Trevor Darling, Alex Gall, Nick Linder, Danny Isidora and Sunny Odogwu. But it's not paying off much.

Kaaya is still getting hit and pressured. He was sacked only once Saturday. But still... this isn't good. Clemson, by the way, came into this weekend ranked 18th in run defense and 40th in sacks (18). 

“I feel like we have the right guys We’re rotating the right guys, so I’m going to let them sort it out - who wants to start, who played really well tonight who needs to improve and all that," coach Al Golden said of line. " I feel like we have more guys certainly than we did five or six weeks ago. Kc [McDermott] is really starting to look like himself right now, his conditioning, everything that he’s doing. And Joe [Brown] is making a lot of progress. I’m not disappointed with other guys, we just wanted to continue to push it forward.”

> STACY BEING STACY: Stacy Coley followed up his breakout performance at FSU with a team-leading four catch, 63-yard effort against the Hokies. He also had a 15-yard run on a reverse. That's a good sign. 

> STILL GIVING UP EXPLOSIVE PLAYS: Defensively, the Canes didn't look pretty in the explosive plays department, giving up seven plays of 20 yards or more against the Hokies. They came in having given up up 25 plays of 20 yards or more this season (68th). So, they're up to 32 now. Last year, UM gave up 39 plays of 20 yards or (fifth fewest).

Clemson's offense came into this weekend with 28 plays of 20-yards-or-more. That ranks 48th nationally.

> TURNOVER KINGS: The Hurricanes improved to 16-1 in the Al Golden era when forcing three-or-more turnovers. They produced four Saturday -- two interceptions by Artie Burns, one by Juwon Young and a fumble recovery by Trent Harris -- after having none at Florida State and only one at Cincinnati.

The Canes came into the game Saturday ranked third nationally in turnover margin at plus 9. They are at plus-13 now. Western Kentucky entered the weekend leading the nation at plus-13.

> BURNS GOES INTO SEAN TAYLOR TERRITORY: Speaking of Burns, he's first defensive player at UM with five interceptions in a season since Sean Taylor had 10 in 2003. For more context, the entire Hurricanes defense in 2008 only had four, fewest in the nation.

“I’m just trusting my technique," he said when asked why he's having more success with interceptions. "I’ve been working on my craft over the offseason, getting better with ball control and stuff like that, and making plays.”

> LOSING KIRBY, GAINING YOUNG?: Losing leading tackler and defensive captain Raphael Kirby is going to hurt the Canes. But I wouldn't put it past sophomore Juwon Young in being more than capable of filling Kirby's shoes.

He entered the game with 6:54 to go in the third quarter, racked up four tackles and made a key interception that led to a field goal. His teammates seem to have a lot of confidence in him.

"He's going to probably be in the meeting tomorrow right there coaching them boys," receiver Rashawn Scott said of Kirby. "That's one thing -- the person behind him, he coached him real good. We trust him."

Young is pretty confident in himself too.

“I've got to be the captain," Young said. "That’s it. Point, blank, period. I’m the [mike] of the defense. I’m the quarterback of the defense, so I got to give the calls, the checks and all that.”

> PENALTY PROBLEMS: The Canes were flagged nine times for 81 yards in Saturday's win. It continues to be a problem, but Golden said he's left in the hands of his captains to handle from now on.

"That's on us," Kaaya said. "We were on them all week. We still had some penalties today and its something we have to correct. Coaches have already done enough with penalties and showing us film of stuff. At this point its got to be on us. They can't get out there with us and make sure we don't jump off sides. Coach can't run out there with us and say 'Hey Trevor [Darling] don't jump on this play.' It's got to be on us, it's got to be on the captains. 

"It's got to be on Nick [Linder], Alex [Gall], on Joe [Yearby], on Stacy [Coley] on Rashawn [Scott], just all the guys on the line on both sides of the ball. That last penalty we had in the red zone, we can't have that. I know Scotty was pumped up. I was pumped up too. But we can't have those in those situations. But we'll go back at it next week."

Gameday blog: Miami Hurricanes vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

Live Blog Miami Hurricanes vs. Virginia Tech: Oct. 17, 2015

October 04, 2015

Hurricanes-Seminoles set for primetime next Saturday

Thursday's loss at Cincinnati apparently wasn't enough to scare anyone making the TV decisions at ABC and ESPN away.

Late Saturday night, the network that decides the time slots and channels college football's biggest games are played decided it wanted the Miami Hurricanes (3-1) and 11th ranked Florida State Seminoles (4-0) on primetime next week.

UM and FSU will kickoff at 8 p.m. on ABC next Saturday in Tallahassee. FSU has won five in a row in the series and could put a crippling dent into Al Golden's future at Miami with another big win over the Canes.

Golden not only has been unable to beat FSU his first four tries, he's 4-7 against ranked teams and 10-15 away from Sun Life Stadium. Last year, the Canes let a halftime lead slip away at home as the Seminoles rode the legs of Dalvin Cook to a come-from-behind win in Miami.

September 23, 2015

UM football player injured in practice, airlifted to Jackson for 'precautionary reasons'

A University of Miami football player was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital Wednesday morning after being injured in practice, a Miami Herald source has confirmed.

The unknown player was hurt during a head-to-head collision in practice. 

Here's what UM released moments ago: "A University of Miami football student-athlete suffered an injury during practice and was transported to the hospital for precautionary reasons."

UM coach Al Golden was scheduled to speak during the ACC teleconference Wednesday morning at 11:50 a.m. but did not participate according to moderator Mike Finn "due to a situation."

Stay tuned for more details. 

September 22, 2015

The good, the bad and the ugly on offense for the Hurricanes through 3 games

There are plenty of reasons to feel good about the way the season has started for the Hurricanes offense:

> UM ranks 20th in scoring (41.7 points per game), 36th in total offense (472.0) and is tied for 11th in fewest turnovers (two).

> The Canes' young offensive line has allowed only three sacks (tied for 23rd fewest) and seven tackles for loss, tied for the fewest in the country with Toledo, Texas Tech, LSU and Navy. Left tackle Trevor Darling has given up two of those sacks. 

> Quarterback Brad Kaaya ranks 50th in QB rating (145.53), is completing 61.4 percent of his passes and has thrown a touchdown pass in 16 consecutive games dating back to last year. He's thrown five touchdowns compared to just one interception.


Maybe the biggest reason to be excited: sophomore running back Joe Yearby has proven in his first three games as the starter to be just as explosive a weapon as Duke Johnson was.

Yearby is averaging 7.59 yards per carry, which ranks 10th in college football among players with at least 30 carries. He's averaging 10.3 carries per game and is pretty fresh after just a few games.

Last year, Johnson averaged 6.83 yards per carry and averaged 18.6 carries a game.

It's not just the running game where Yearby has been effective. Of the 99 players in the country with at least 42 touches from scrimmage, Yearby's 9.0 average per touch ranks second only to Georgia Southern's Matt Breida (9.8 yards per touch).

Last year, Duke finished 19th in touches (280) and tied for third in yards per touch (7.4) among the top 100 players nationally in plays from scrimmage. Only Toledo's Kareem Hunt (7.8) and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon (7.6) averaged more.

Can Yearby handle more of a workload? We'll find out in the coming weeks. But with freshman Mark Walton having less success running the ball (4.43 yards per carry), the Hurricanes might not have much of a choice. Walton said after the FAU game he was having trouble finding holes and creases as easily as he would like.


As encouraging as all of those starts are, we know the struggles the Hurricanes have had on third down and in the red zone could come back to haunt them as the season progresses and the schedule gets tougher.

UM's third down woes are nothing new. They struggled on third down last year, too. Right now, the Canes rank next-to-last in converting (9 of 38, 23.68) among 128 FBS programs.

Even if you believe the idea that strategically the Canes are using third down simply as a setup for fourth down on certain parts of the field, UM is converting just 14 of 43 on what Golden refers to as "money downs." That's a 32.5 conversion percentage. That's not good to begin with, but even more troubling when you consider that happened against Bethune-Cookman, FAU and Nebraska, three of the worst defensive teams in the country.

Overall, UM hasn't had to face third down very much because they've been exceptional on first and second down. But against better competition you have to convert. The Cares are tied with Oregon, Florida State and Nebraska for having faced the 35th fewest. Each of those other teams, though, are converting at 36 percent or better.

It isn't just third and long the Canes are struggling in. UM has been in 3rd-and-3 or less 12 times. Coordinator James Coley has called for the run and pass evenly (six times each) and his offense has converted just three times (once passing, twice running) overall.

Last year, UM had 3rd-and-3 or less 52 times and converted at 50 percent running the ball (17 of 34) and 47.3 percent (9 of 19) when they decided to pass it. Gus Edwards ran it 12 times in those situations and picked up five first downs. Duke picked up first downs 11 of the 16 times he ran it in those situations. Yearby ran it three times in third-and-short and didn't pick up a first down.

Having a healthy Edwards would probably make things easier for UM's offense in short yardage situations. So far, Trayone Gray hasn't gotten many opportunities to fill Edwards' shoes. Might we see that in the coming weeks? Maybe. 

Kaaya, meanwhile, is 9 of 27 on third down (33.3 percent), the second-lowest completion percentage of any of the top 100 quarterbacks in the country with at least 14 pass attempts on third down. Only Kent State's Colin Reardon (6 of 21, 28.6 percent) is worse.

The staggering part of Kaaya's struggles is the fact that he simply can't connect with his veteran receivers on third down.

Fifth-year senior Rashawn Scott has been targeted a team-leading six times on third down and has only catch for nine yards -- when he fell a yard short of the marker against Nebraska and UM ended up settling for a field goal. Herb Waters is next on the list with five targets on third down and he doesn't have a single catch. Fourth-year junior Malcolm Lewis has been targeted twice on third without a catch as well. 

Meanwhile, sophomore Tyre Brady (2 targets) and freshman Lawrence Cager (1 target) have two first downs on money downs between them, both came through with big catches against Nebraska.

Where Kaaya has had most of his success on money downs is checking down to his running backs and tight ends. Walton (3 targets) and Yearby (3 targets including a fourth down catch) have converted on money downs four of the six times they've been targeted out of the backfield.

Standish Dobard has been targeted four times on money downs, he's cashed in once for a first down on third down and a touchdown on fourth down, both against Bethune-Cookman.

Last year, UM wasn't great on third down either. But at least Kaaya was connecting with his receivers on third down. He was 57 of 99 on third down (57.6) and produced 35 first downs in those situations.

Kaaya certainly misses his go-to receivers from last year. A look at the numbers on third down last year shows Phillip Dorsett had 12 catches including nine first downs (1 catch, 1 first down on 4th down) on third down. Clive Walford had 10 catches for eight first downs (1 catch, 1 first down on 4th down) and Duke Johnson had 14 catches for six first downs (5 catches, 3 first downs on 4th down) on third down.

If there's a reason for hope its the potential return of slot receiver Braxton Berrios. Last year, Barrios had five catches for 53 yards and five first downs on third down. He also had three catches for 33 yards and two first downs on fourth down.


The Hurricanes rank second nationally with 21 trips in the red zone, but they've gotten into the end zone only 10 times on those trip. That 47.62 touchdown percentage ranks 108th nationally. Last year the Canes ranked 105th (51.06 touchdown percentage).

Last Saturday against Nebraska UM was up 14-0 and about to go up three touchdowns when they had a first-and-goal situation at the Cornhuskers 3. But back-to-back runs by Walton netted just one yard before a false start penalty by left guard Alex Gall on third and goal moved the ball back to the six. UM ended up settling for a field goal when Kaaya failed to connect with David Njoku in the end zone on third down.

Had UM scored a touchdown in that situation or a couple of others when they were in the red zone they wouldn't have needed overtime to survive against Nebraska.

Running the ball better in the red zone would help. UM is averaging only 2.75 yards per carry in the red zone compared to 6.75 yards when they line up on the rest of the field. UM has run it 32 times in the red zone and thrown it 28 times. The Canes are 12 of 28 inside their opponents 20 (42.9 percent) passing compared to 52 of 79 (65.9 percent) when the line of scrimmage is outside the red zone.

So, the shorter field ultimately means bad results for the offense. That's something Coley and Kaaya have to address.

September 16, 2015

September 12, 2015

September 11, 2015

Gameday blog: Miami Hurricanes at FAU Owls

The Canes (1-0) are listed as a 17 1/2 point favorite heading into tonight's 8 p.m. kickoff at FAU (0-1).

The game will be broadcast on FoxSports1.

Stay tuned for our live blog later tonight.

Live Blog Miami Hurricanes at FAU Owls: Sep. 11, 2015

September 04, 2015

A series of notes/observations heading into Saturday's season opener for the Hurricanes

A series of notes and observations as the Hurricanes prepare to open the season Saturday against Bethune-Cookman:

> GOLDEN AND THE HOT SEAT: As much as Al Golden deserves heat for his 28-22 record (identical to Randy Shannon when he was fired), we need to recognize he hasn’t had the type of depth on the roster during his first four years on the job as he has now.

Monday, on WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline, Golden noted this was this fall camp was the first time he had three full units per position in training camp and 80 scholarship players. Last year, Golden said, UM was operating around 69 to 70 scholarships.

Part of that are the NCAA sanctions. A bigger part of that are the staff's misses in recruiting. As I noted in a blog earlier this week, 30 of the 55 players on the depth chart released Sunday night belong to the last two recruiting classes (2014 and 2015).

You can look at it two ways:

One, it’s an indictment on Golden for having 23 of the 62 players who got into school and on the field in his first three signing classes either transfer on their own (DL Jalen Grimble, LB Gionni Paul, DL Corey King, DL Ricardo Williams, WR Robert Lockhart, RB Danny Dillard, DE Dwyane Hoilett, CB Vernon Davis, CB Larry Hope, DT Jacoby Briscoe, DB Antonio Crawford, WR Jontavious Carter, DT Dequan Ivery, DB Nate Dortch, TE Beau Sandland, CB Ray Lewis III) or get kicked out (LB Eddie Johnson, CB Thomas Finnie, OL Taylor Gadbois, LB Jawand Blue, DE Gabriel Terry, QB Kevin Olsen, LB Alex Figueroa).

Or two, the NCAA cloud kind of forced him to offer scholarship to some kids who didn’t belong here in the first place.

I fall somewhere in the middle of those two arguments to be honest.

Butch Davis, who also dealt with NCAA sanctions and plenty of losing, seemed to do a much better job stacking the roster with talent back in his day. Davis, by the way, went 31-15 his first four years on the job (against a weak Big East) but 0-4 against Florida State. His fifth season? He lost to Florida State again, but went 9-4 with a Gator Bowl victory and finished 15th in the AP poll. I would assume Golden, if he really deserves to continue as coach, should be expected to do about the same.

“If you finish on a bad note there's only one way to erase that, it's to go out there and do it,” Golden said Monday on Hurricane Hotline. “We've had a great team mentality all training camp. We just have to continue to do that."

> TOP CONCERN: It’s easy to spot the biggest question mark on the team: offensive line. With only 22 games of combined starting experienced back between three players, quarterback Brad Kaaya has his hands full entering the season. And he’s doing his part.

“When we go to the pass protection meetings, Brad gets up and runs the meeting,” Golden said on Hurricane Hotline Monday. “He points out 56 is the MIKE… it's created a cohesiveness and given him more opportunities to be a commander and not just a leader.”

Right guard Danny Isidora, who owns 13 of those 22 starts I mentioned early, told me last week we should expect to see a lot more rotation on the offensive line this season than we did a year ago when the only time backups got in were for injuries. Isidora, for instance, spent most of camp at right tackle, where Sunny Odogwu is slated to be the starter. Center Nick Linder, who started four games last year, has played a lot of guard and has two backups at center.

“I try to talk the guys, let them know what they got to do,” Isidora said. “Yeah, I started 13 games, but we have two other leaders. Nick Linder and Alex Gall, they're two good leaders too. We all try to coach the guys up. Me, Alex, Nick, we all try to coach the guys up, do the best we can. From a standpoint of experience, I feel like we kind of make up for the losses to graduation."

Miami recruited 11 offensive linemen in the last two years and many are highly touted. True freshmen Tyree St. Louis and Tyler Gauthier have both been very impressive in camp and will see playing time. Kc McDermott, injured last year, might not have won a starting job coming out of camp. But he’s UM’s best offensive linemen and that will probably show itself during the season. In other words, offensive line will be a concern early, but it may not be by seasons end.

> THE FRESH APPROACH: Golden said he expects nine redshirt freshmen and 12 true freshmen to play Saturday.

Here’s who you should be most excited about among that group from a few people who observed camp and shared their thoughts with me: running back Mark Walton, H-Back David Njoku, defensive linemen Kendrick Norton, RJ McIntosh and Demetrius Jackson, receiver Lawrence Cager, cornerback Sheldrick Redwine and safety Jaquan Johnson.

Of that group, I expect Cager to become a Kaaya favorite, a Tommy Streeter-like weapon in the red zone.  “Just very fluid, in and out of cuts,” Golden said of Cager, a 6-5, 215-pound U.S. Army All-American listed as the backup to fifth-year senior Rashawn Scott. “He can go up and get it. His catch radius, quarterbacks are very comfortable throwing to him. He can absorb the ball five feet in any direction.”

> WHAT ABOUT TIGHT END? Replacing Clive Walford’s passing game production won’t be easy and I’m not sure there is a tight end on the roster – Standish Dobard, Jerome Washington or Jake O’Donnell – who can do that. But Njoku and sophomore Chris Herndon, listed as H-Backs, could be the ones who end picking up the slack while the other three serve as blockers.

Both are Njoku and Herndon are athletic like Walford was and according to Njoku have lined up at various spots on the field throughout camp. “I'm at the Y, H and sometimes outside,” Njoku said.

Sounds like offensive coordinator James Coley wants to use his H backs to exploit matchups. Maybe that’s something he picked up from the Dallas Cowboys during his visit this spring.

“From terms of where I sit, I just want to see production,” Golden said of the tight ends/H Backs. “I don't care who gets it. Those guys have to add up to what Clive's production was. It's a very good group. It's a deep group. You can see Chris Herndon and David Njoku are kind of the same."

> DEFENSIVE SURPRISES: They may not be fan favorites like highly touted high school stars Al-Quadin Muhammad and Chad Thomas, but sophomore rush end Trent “Toolbox” Harris and sophomore linebacker Darrion Owens do get a lot of love from the coaching staff. And both appear poised to be future leaders of this defense.

"He's the type of guy that does everything you ask him to do,” defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio said of Harris. “He's done nothing but gotten better since he got here.”

Senior Tyriq McCord told me he’s actually learning from Owens, who is listed as the starting strongside linebacker and is playing three positions, something D’Onofrio doesn’t do with anybody in his system.

“Just his toughness,” starting inside linebacker Raphael Kirby said when asked why Owens got the starting nod over McCord. “He sets edges, runs to the ball. He looks to make the play, does his job. He doesn't make MEs. He doesn't cost us yards. He's a great guy, great kid on and off the field. All those things tie into why he's had the success he's had."

> SPECIAL TEAMS: Don’t underestimate the value of walk-on kicker Jon Semerene earning the starting job on kickoffs. UM was putrid on kickoff coverage last season and it hurt them badly with field position. Golden said Semerene had four kickoffs in the team’s last scrimmage and three went deep into the end zone.

Also, having an experienced kicker in Michael Badgley and punter in Justin Vogel will help this team immensely. Badgley’s range has improved considerably. He made a 55-yard field goal into the wind in the final scrimmage according to Golden.

“Badge is nuts. I don't listen to anything he says because he thinks he can make every kick. He's always pointing to the ground, I can make it from here. I can make it from here,” Golden said. “You'd rather have him like that than the other way. He's courageous, he's tough. It's just nice to have a kicking game where we have veterans there."

Perhaps the best thing about UM’s improved depth is that starters on offense and defense won’t be so heavily relied upon to also play special teams. That, of course, led to some breakdowns on kickoff coverage.

> SAFE AT SAFETY: UM’s defense cut down on the number of big plays it allowed last season (76th in terms of plays 20 yards or more in 2013 to 5th in 2014). A big part of that was improved play at the safety position -- or the health of Deon Bush, who has finally learned not to injure himself while tackling.

I only expect better play from the safety position this season now that fifth-year senior Dallas Crawford has figured things out (Golden said he’s better on deep balls and making checks) and Rayshawn Jenkins ins healthy. Remember, UM made those improvements last year with former walk-on Nantambu Fentress making eight starts while Crawford tried to adjust after switching back over to defense from running back.

Now, UM has four legit starting safeties and a future star in Jaquan Johnson. Considering safety is the most important position in D’Onofrio’s defense because of the responsibility that comes with it (checks, etc.), I expect improvement on the defense – which means more turnovers and big plays.

September 01, 2015

Depth chart shows us Canes very reliant on two most recent signing classes

When UM released its depth chart Sunday night there were 55 players listed on offense (29) and defense (26).

While the Hurricanes have 80 scholarship players on the roster (79 if you don't count RB Gus Edwards who was lost for the season), the most coach Al Golden said he's had during his tenure, it's interesting to see who exactly is being counted on at least on paper to carry the bulk of the weight.

One way to look at it is by class: 11 seniors, 15 juniors, 14 sophomores, 14 freshmen. 

I prefer to look at it a different way -- recruiting class: 2011 (3), 2012 (10), 2013 (12), 2014 (21) and 2015 (9). 

A year ago at this time, after UM opened the season with an ugly loss at Louisville, I wrote a story on how player retention woes from Golden's first three recruiting classes were killing the Canes.

It still is.

Here's an update to some those recruiting stats I put out last year:

> Of the 71 players signed by Golden his first three years on the job, 11 finished their careers at UM (two were first round picks) and only 28 are still on the roster (16 are starters, 9 backups heading into 2015). Perhaps more frightening than that: nine of those 71 signees never got on the field (six never made it into school) and 23 have left the program (either dismissed or transferred). So only 39 of the 71 recruits in Golden's first three classes truly panned out. 

Now, of the 55 players on UM's latest depth chart, only 25 are part of Golden's first three signing classes. That means the remaining 30 players are from his last two signing classes. So, he's relying more on his newest recruits than his older ones to deliver. 


2011 (19 players signed, 8 finished their careers at UM, 3 are on the depth chart, 2 are starters): WR Rashawn Scott (starter); S Dallas Crawford (starter), LG Hunter Wells (backup)

2012 (33 players signed, 3 finished their careers at UM, 13 are still around, 10 are on the depth chart, 5 starters): RG Danny Isidora (starter), ILB Raphael Kirby (starter), CB Tracy Howard (starter), WR Herb Waters (starter), S Deon Bush (co-starter), WR Malcolm Lewis (backup), S Rayshawn Jenkins (backup) OLB Tyriq McCord (backup), TE Jake O'Donnell (backup)

2013 (19 players signed, 12 are still around, 9 are starters, 3 are backups): WR Stacy Coley (starter), LG Alex Gall (starter), RT Sunny Odogwu (starter), TE Standish Dobard (starter), DE Ufomba Kamalu (starter),ILB Jermaine Grace (starter), CB Artie Burns (starter), CB Corn Elder (starter), S Jamal Carter (co-starter), C Hunter Knighton (backup), RB Walter Tucker (backup), OLB Al-Quadin Muhammad (backup)

2014 (27 players signed, 26 are still around, 21 are on the depth chart, 9 are starters, 12 are backups): QB Brad Kaaya (starter), RB Joe Yearby (co-starter), LT Trevor Darling (starter), C Nick Linder (starter), H-Back Christopher Herndon (starter), NG Calvin Heurtelou (starter), DT Courtel Jenkins (starter), OLB Trent Harris (starter), OLB Darrion Owens (starter), QB Malik Rosier (backup), RB Trayone Gray (backup), WR Braxton Berrios (backup), LT Kc McDermott (backup), RG Joe Brown (backup), H-Back David Njoku (backup), DE Chad Thomas (backup), NG Michael Wyche (backup), DT Anthony Moten (backup), ILB Terry McCray (backup), ILB Marques Gayot (backup), OLB Demetrius Jackson (backup)

2015 (22 players signed, all are on the roster, 9 are on the depth chart, one is a starter): RB Mark Walton (co-starter), WR Lawrence Cager (backup), LG Tyler Gauthier (backup), RT Tyree St. Louis (backup), TE Jerome Washington (backup), DE RJ McIntosh (backup), NG Kendrick Norton (backup), CB Sheldrick Redwine (backup), S Jaquan Johnson (backup)

August 19, 2015

UM president Julio Frenk attends Wednesday morning's Canes practice, talks to team

It was a presidential Wednesday morning at Greentree Practice Field.

New UM president Julio Frenk met with the team for about six minutes prior to the start of Wednesday's drills. First he spoke to the coaches and players. Then, he put on a Canes jersey (No. 1) and posed for photos with the seniors. He was given an autographed football from the team.

Frenk did not speak to reporters, but we did shoot pictures of his meeting with the players and team. 

I didn't notice it upon first glance, but Frenk was actually given an old Nike jersey. I'm sure once UM's new Adidas jerseys arrive it will be switched out.

Here's what Frenk tweeted out two days ago when he arrived on campus at UM for his first official day on the job.

For you football fans, I only noticed two players in red non-contact jerseys this morning. Those were receivers Malcolm Lewis and Braxton Berrios.

There also was some interesting music selections being played. It sounded like someone raided the CD collection of running backs coach Tim "Ice" Harris.

August 07, 2015

July 07, 2015

Canes all-time leading rusher Duke Johnson hosting charity bowling event

Fans of former Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson know he loves to bowl.

So, at 7 p.m. tonight – Tuesday, July 7 – Johnson will do what he loves while raising money to provide equipment and uniforms for underprivileged schoolchildren through the Duke Johnson Foundation, as well as for his mother’s charity “Young Women Facing their Future.”

The Young Women Facing their Future mentoring program helps empower Miami-Dade youth ages 7 to 18.

The Bowling for Kids event is at Strike 10 Bowling & Sports Lounge at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, and will run until about1 a.m., Johnson’s mother, Cassandra Mitchell, said.

Tonight’s program is the foundation’s inaugural event. People who attend can hang out with Johnson, the Canes’ all-time rushing leader who was drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Browns.

Johnson will sign autographs and pose for photos with event-goers, who can also participate in a separate event tournament that allows bowlers to donate extra to Johnson’s foundation.

Cost is $20 a person for unlimited bowling.

Call 305-699-3837 for more information.

Kaaya named to Maxwell watch list

University of Miami sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya was named to the watch list for the 79th annual Maxwell Award on Tuesday by the Maxwell Football Club.

The Maxwell Award, named in honor of Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell, has been given to America's College Player of the Year since 1937. Maxwell's contributions to the game of football were extensive, including time as a player, a sportswriter and an official.

Kaaya received the preseason honor after he authored one of the finest first-year campaign’s in school history, while guiding the Hurricanes to their second-consecutive bowl appearance.

During his rookie campaign, Kaaya was the only true freshman quarterback in the country to throw for over 3,000 yards, 26-or-more touchdowns and 12-or-fewer interceptions.

In addition, Kaaya rewrote the Hurricanes’ freshman record book as he set the single season freshman standard for passing yards and touchdowns. He finished the year with 3,198 passing yards and 26 touchdown passes. His 26 touchdown passes from a year ago tied him with Heisman Trophy winning signal-caller Vinny Testaverde for third all-time.

This is the third preseason honor Kaaya has received this summer. In the month of June, he was named to both the Phil Steele and Athlon Sports Preseason All-Conference Team.

Kaaya is one of 20 sophomores that were named to the Maxwell Watch List and was one of just eight sophomore quarterbacks that were recognized nationally.

June 30, 2015

Donor gives UM $1 million to help fund football scholarship

University of Miami alumnus Scott C. Mueller, BBA ’85 and CEO of Dealer Tire, has made a gift of $1 million to establish The Scott C. Mueller Endowed Football Scholarship at the University of Miami.

The gift will help fund a scholarship in perpetuity for a student on the football team.

Mueller, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, attended the University of Miami on an academic scholarship and never forgot the opportunity the University gave him.

“I was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship while attending the University of Miami,” Mueller said. “I always thought it was a great honor and a tremendous break in my life and I want to make sure that I pay back that generosity by helping another student. The hard work and commitment of Miami’s students- athletes is very inspiring to me and I want to ensure the University is positioned for future success.”

Mueller, who lives in the Cleveland area, co-founded Dealer Tire in 2001 with his brother, Dean, and father, Walter, after selling the 84 year-old family business, Mueller Tire & Brake. Dealer Tire supplies tires and accessories to car dealers and manufacturers and is one of the largest distributors of tires in the nation.

Mueller has been a fan of Miami football since his days as an undergraduate student in the early 1980s, when the Hurricanes captured their first National Championship under head coach Howard Schnellenberger.

“On behalf of the University of Miami, I would like to thank Scott for his unwavering support and generosity to our Athletics Program,” said Miami Athletic Director Blake James. “This leadership gift will provide an academic and athletic opportunity to a deserving young man who will proudly represent UM on the football field while working toward a degree. Scott truly defines what it means to be a Miami Hurricane and we can’t thank him enough for his passion and support of our student-athletes.”

The University of Miami Department of Athletics fields 17 varsity sports with over 400 plus student-athletes and has won 21 national championships. Almost 260 student-athletes receive athletic scholarship dollars.

June 25, 2015

Gadbois announces he's no longer part of Hurricanes football team; UM says they dismissed him

Taylor Gadbois' days as a Miami Hurricane are over.

The 6-8, 321-pound junior offensive tackle, who started five games at right tackle last season before going down with a season-ending knee injury versus Duke, was dismissed from the football team on Thursday.

Before UM announced the news, Gadbois posted it on Twitter.

Coach Al Golden released the following statement via a press release: “Taylor is a bright young man and we wish him the best in his future academic and athletic endeavors."

Gadbois was expected to start the season on suspension for unspecified reasons.

His departure leaves an already young and inexperienced UM offensive line a little more depleted.

The Canes lost three starters on the line: Ereck Flowers left early for the NFL Draft and was taken in the first round by the Giants, and seniors Jon Feliciano and Shane McDermott.

The only returning starter with plenty of experience is right guard Danny Isidora.

Sophomore Trevor Darling started the final five games of the season at right tackle. Darling and sophomore Kc McDermott are expected to be the first team offensive tackles.

Gadbois was very confident he was going to be the starting left tackle this coming season. He spoke with Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post during a local youth football event last week. Here's a link to what Gadbois told Porter.  

April 21, 2015

Kiper ranks Dorsett highest of Hurricanes draft eligible players; Gruden 'shocked Miami didn't have more success on field'

Our Barry Jackson will have a more in depth report on what analysts think of potential Miami Hurricanes draft picks in his Buzz column later this week, but this is what Jon Gruden and Mel Kiper had to say about them Tuesday.

The Miami Hurricanes haven't had a first round pick since the New York Giants took Kenny Phillips 31st overall in 2008.

But that figures to change a week from Thursday. 

Receiver Phillip Dorsett and offensive tackle Ereck Flowers are two Hurricanes ESPN analysts Jon Gruden and Mel Kiper believe are worthy of first round selections. Both raved about Dorsett and Flowers Tuesday on separate conference calls with the media.

"I told several people that I talk to in the league that my favorite players in this draft are Miami Hurricanes," said Gruden, once thought to be a candidate himself to be the Hurricanes coach before Al Golden was hired. "I love [Ereck] Flowers at left tackle. I think he's going to be a Pro Bowl lineman. I don't know if he's going to be a right tackle, a guard or a left tackle. He's just a pup. But he is big, he is powerful and he has the playing style I love. I can't tell you how much I love Flowers at left tackle."

Kiper projects Flowers anywhere from the 20th pick to the 32nd in the first round. Kiper has Dorsett rated even higher.

"When you look at Dorsett and run like he does, in the 4.2s, a 4.33 at the combine, a 4.2 at his Pro Day, you catch the ball and you're gone," Kiper said. "[He's] a great kid, the ultimate team player, a positive personality, great leader, great versatility. The T.Y. Hilton comparisons I think are valid. Although I think Hilton tracks the ball down the field a little bit better, I think Dorsett is a first round pick.

"I think [linebacker Denzel] Perryman is a second round pick. I think [tight end Clive] Walford is a second round pick. As I said before, [center Shane] McDermott and [guard Jon] Feliciano are going to play in this league. I don't care where they're drafted. [Ladarius] Gunter, the corner, could get drafted. [Defensive end Anthony] Chickillo, [will be taken] late. There's a lot of Miami of Florida players that are going to come into this league and play. As I said before, had they not come into that FSU game and lost, their year would have finished a heck of a lot different than it did."

Running back Duke Johnson, like Flowers, is entering the draft as an underclassman. Kiper projects him as a third or fourth round pick because of "durability issues."

I asked Kiper if he thought Johnson should have returned to school for his senior season to raise his stock.

"Well, there's two ways to look at that. If you go back and get hurt again, have injuries, then all of a sudden there are major durability concerns," Kiper said. "You roll the dice either way on that and strike gold or have a major problem and then fall down maybe further than say the third or fourth round, which is where I think he'll go. If you can keep him healthy...

"Some guys come in banged up and then they never get hurt once they're in the league. Some guys are completely healthy and get hurt right away and have injury problems. You never know how injuries are going to correlate to pro careers based on past history. There's no guarantee or certainty that's going to happen. He may be fine. But he has shown injury issues and durability is a concern. He has great kick return ability too if you go back to a couple years at Miami prior to this season. I think he's a third or fourth round draft choice."

Gruden seems to think Johnson is going to be a steal. He's also very fond of Perryman and Dorsett.

"[Perryman] is on my All-Gruden Grinder team," Gruden said. "He's like [Jon] Beason, he's like all those Jonathan Vilma guys that have come through there. He makes a lot of tackles. He's a great communicator, biggest hitter in the draft. Perryman can play.

"And if you don't like Duke Johnson, you have to tell me why. Maybe he's not big enough. But he can return. He's a great receiver. Anybody I talk to down there tells me he has the heart of a lion just like [Willis] McGahee and just like [Clinton] Portis and [Frank] Gore had. He makes a lot of yards and a lot of plays.

"And Dorsett, is there a faster, more dynamic player in the draft? I mean this kid can fly.

"I'm really shocked Miami didn't have more success on the field, but those four Hurricanes are going to go high. You watch. They're going to go real high in this draft and make some people real happy." 

March 28, 2015

Replacing a handful of NFL draft picks no easy task, but here's where UM made strides this spring

The Miami Hurricanes have to replace 11 starters and potentially five players who look like they will get taken within the first three rounds of the NFL Draft next month: running back Duke Johnson, receiver Phillip Dorsett, offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, tight end Clive Walford and linebacker Denzel Perryman.

So is there enough talent in Coral Gables to improve upon a 6-7 season and contend for the Atlantic Coast Conference title?

That was a hard question to answer at Saturday's spring game especially with a trio of key players out with injuries (cornerback Tracy Howard, defensive tackle Calvin Heurtelou, safety Rayshawn Jenkins), another held out because he broke curfew (running back Joe Yearby) and 17 of the 22 recruits in the signing class still yet to arrive on campus.

But here's what offensive coordinator James Coley and defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said they saw this spring in terms of growth: 

> Even though he split time this spring between baseball and football, redshirt freshman Malik Rosier (6-1, 212) has impressed all camp and was sound again Saturday. He engineered a 12-play, 84-yard scoring drive that ended with a four-yard touchdown pass to receiver Braxton Berrios and it's clear coaches feel better about its backup quarterback situation.

"He's juggling two different calendars right now," Coley said. "When he goes full time in the fall it's going to be fun -- because he can play man, he can run. He's a really good athlete."

Although he struggled Saturday and was picked off three times, starter Brad Kaaya "got better every week as well," Coley said. "His passing percentage was sick all spring long, 78-80 percent."

> Gus Edwards left Saturday's scrimmage with a left shoulder injury, but running backs coach Ice Harris said the junior has clearly taken the next step in terms of development.

Coley said Edwards will enter the fall as the No. 1-back ahead of Yearby. Coley said Edwards has some of the fastest "GPS numbers" on the team, which measures speed, effort and distance traveled and he isn't worried about him being too big for the position.

"You see consistency with the reads, the decision making, when he's running routes, his protections," Coley said. "With his overall consistency you can feel comfortable calling the base offense with him starting the game. Either way, they're both going to play."

> Replacing the speedy Dorsett, who helped stretch the field won't be easy, but Coley believes he has two receivers capable of it. 

"Stacy [Coley] and Herb [Waters]," he said. "Herb's got to come down with a couple of those catches, but he was open. He's just go to finish the play. Stacy, we just need to get him the ball. He's wide open. There was a couple times [Saturday] there where we missed a guy up front and Brad's got to scramble. He's got Stacy breaking open and can't get him."

> Who is the most improved offensive weapon? "I would say Malcolm Lewis because of the strides he hit with getting his weight down," Coley said. "He made so many plays this spring. I would say it's hard to say Malcolm Lewis isn't back to his speed."

> Replacing Walford at tight end, who led the team in catches (44), appears to be a tougher task. Junior Standish Dobard had another drop Saturday and Coley admitted he's been inconsistent in camp. Newcomer Jerome Washington also still needs to make a lot of strides. 

> UM's offensive line, which must replace four starters (right guard Danny Isidora is the only full-timer back), gave up six sacks Saturday and clearly has to make the biggest improvement of any unit. A healthy Kc McDermott (he was around for only four spring practices), Taylor Gadbois and the addition of five recruits will help, Coley said.

> Does UM have a linebacker that can remotely fill the shoes of Denzel Perryman at linebacker?

"One guy? Not one guy," D'Onofrio said. "He had physical gifts and the ability to time those [big hits] up and see them happen, annihilate the ball carrier. That's a skill that he had and he brought and not everybody has that level of explosiveness to them, but that doesn't mean they can't be great players. 

"Everybody has their own skill set and I'm pleased with the group. We have to build some depth, get guys in a position where they can impact the game. But I like the direction we went in."

D'Onofrio said senior Raphael Kirby is the leader of the group "that sets the standard in meetings, on the field, how he prepares."

"Obviously Jermaine [Grace] has a unique skill set in that he can run," he continued. "Darrion Owens is different. He's 6-3 and he can do a lot of things for us. They're all kind of different in their own way and they're all improving."

> Although the defensive line must replace two starters who logged a lot of playing time in Anthony Chickillo and Olsen Pierre, D'Onofrio said he's pleased he has six former first year players who garnered plenty of experience last season. 

Who is the best pass rusher?

"I'd rather talk about most improved," D'Onofrio said with a chuckle. "I think [Ufomba] Kamalu made some really big strides. Chad [Thomas] is gifted, so he's got an opportunity where he can just beat guys easily at times. I think Trent Harris has made really big strides. For a young player, he's really a technician both in the run game and the pass game. He knows how to use his hands to beat guys, knows how to setup moves and do all that kind of stuff."

> D'Onofrio said new defensive line coach Randy Melvin has been stressing a different technique when it comes to pass rushing that he prefers. 

"If you meet a point of resistance we can't stop and try to bat down balls," D'Onofrio said. "We want to keep collapsing the pocket, keep making progress on the quarterback. That was a big goal and I think we did that. I see the guys doing that right now, working their countermoves. Randy has done a great job."

> As for the secondary, which lost only senior Ladarius Gunter to graduation and junior Antonio Crawford (he quit the team), D'Onofrio feels like the safeties made tremendous growth.

"The No. 1 thing back there that they have to be able to do, they have to be able to communicate, get us in the right call," D'Onofrio said. "[Jamal Carter] and Dallas [Crawford] made huge strides in that area. Very proud of what they've done there."

The Hurricanes have three corners and one safety coming in the fall. If needed, D'Onofrio said, Deon Bush would be his first choice to switch from safety to corner in a pinch. Gunter did that the other way, moving from corner to safety, last season.

"Deon played some corner today," he said. "He'd been doing it throughout the spring. That's something we always try to do, look ahead and down the line, move guys around a little bit."

March 16, 2015

Canes slugger David Thompson named ACC Player of the Week; Football announces staff promotions, additions

It was a big week at the plate for Hurricanes third baseman David Thompson and it paid off Monday when he was honored as the ACC's Player of the Week.

Thompson hit .524 (11-for-21) with two doubles, three home runs and a team-high 13 RBI as the Hurricanes went 5-0. Thompson’s walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday keyed a three-game sweep of NC State over the weekend.

In a 15-4 win over FGCU last Tuesday, Thompson set career marks with four hits and six RBI and came just a triple shy of the cycle. His slugging percentage was 1.048 for the week. For the season, he is hitting .354 with team-high totals of four home runs and 26 RBI, and his .608 slugging percentage leads all players.

UM has a 12-1 record at Mark Light Field this season, and is ranked in the top 25 of every national poll. The Hurricanes return to the diamond Tuesday for a midweek matchup with Army before traveling to Wake Forest for a weekend series.


The Miami Hurricanes on Monday formally announced the promotion of current staff members Larry Scott, Kareem Brown, Eric Josephs and Jorge Baez, and the addition of Josh Darrow, Evan Cooper and Jake Flaherty to the staff.

Scott, the tight ends coach, will add the title of run game coordinator. Brown, a former graduate assistant who has spent time coaching the defensive line, will serve as the outside linebackers coach and direct the team’s nickel package defense. Josephs, who spent the last two years in the football operations department, is now director of player personnel. Baez will serve as the coordinator of on-campus recruiting/offensive personnel.

The three additions to the Hurricanes’ staff will feature Darrow moving into the role of assistant director of football operations (high school relations and community affairs), Cooper as the assistant director of player personnel, and Flaherty serving as the team’s offensive graduate assistant.

Scott is no stranger to working with running backs as he served as the running backs coach at USF in 2012. For Brown, a former Hurricane, this will be the first time he serves as an assistant coach.

Prior to his arrival at UM, Josephs had three different intern stints in the NFL, working with the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. In his new capacity, Josephs will be responsible for the identification, selection, organization and flow charts of perspective recruits. In addition, the 2008 Miami alum will be responsible for the recruiting travel logistics of coach Al Golden.

Baez, a Miami native, came to UM after spending the 2013 season as Gulliver Prep’s offensive coordinator and two seasons at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. where he worked as the team’s wide receivers coach and co-passing game coordinator. Baez will now coordinate all unofficial visits, independent junior days and continue with his role as the team’s offensive player personnel director.

Darrow has been a sideline reporter for UM football since 1999 and covered South Florida high school, college and professional sports for nearly 15 years at WQAM and He will coordinate the Hurricanes’ 7-on-7 Clinic, oversee the program’s in-house social media messaging, manage high school coaching visits to spring practice, direct gameday experiences for youth coaches, oversee instructional clinics in South Florida, supervise the Deserve Victory Tour and coordinate team community events.

Flaherty arrives in Coral Gables after serving as an offensive quality control assistant at Montana State University. Under Flaherty’s assistance, the Bobcats offensive unit averaged nearly 500 yards per game (488.3). MSU finished the year with an 8-4 record and just missed out on a bid to the NCAA playoffs. In addition, Flaherty spent the summer of 2013 working as a Dallas Cowboys training camp intern. During the summer of 2013, Flaherty worked closely with the Cowboys wide receivers under assistant coach Derek Dooley. As student-athlete, Flaherty played four years at wide receiver at Bucknell University.

Cooper joins the staff after spending the past two seasons serving as a defensive graduate assistant at Temple University where he played. Cooper spent two seasons as the defensive backs coach at Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy prior to that. At Temple, Cooper played for Golden and had 44 tackles during his senior season en route to earning the 2008 Carlos Diaz Award as the most improved player following his final season.