The Hurricanes (2-0) host 60-point underdog Savannah State (1-2) tonight at 7.
The game can be seen on ESPN3 and heard on WQAM (560 AM).
As usual, join our live chat or follow me on Twitter for updates.
The Hurricanes (2-0) host 60-point underdog Savannah State (1-2) tonight at 7.
The game can be seen on ESPN3 and heard on WQAM (560 AM).
As usual, join our live chat or follow me on Twitter for updates.
It's not often the punter gets invited to the post-game victory press conference.
But Pat O'Donnell earned himself a place in the spotlight Saturday afternoon with a pair of booming punts in the second quarter while the Hurricanes offense was struggling and the defense badly needed to shift field position.
"We're grateful for Pat O'Donnell. That's all I'm going to say," said sophomore rush end Tyriq McCord, who had the sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery that led to the decisive touchdown run by Duke Johnson.
"He's amazing. In practice he's always booting it about 100 yards average. That's all I can say."
O'Donnell, a graduate student and transfer from Cincinnati, crushed a 55-yard punt from Miami's 17-yard line after the Hurricanes offense went three-and-out to open the second quarter. He then shifted the field again with a 60-yarder, his longest punt of the season, after another three-and-out and Miami pinned back at its 16.
It was a nice bounce-back effort considering the day didn't exactly start great. Florida produced it's 13th blocked kick under coach Will Muschamp when Louichez Purifoy broke through and blockedhis first punt that led to Florida's first touchdown.
"As a punter, that's your job to flip the field when you can," O'Donnell said. "Unfortunately we had some events in the game that didn't go our way. I tip our hats to the Florida Gators. They did a good job rushing the punt."
Saturday's first quarter was one to remember for quarterback Stephen Morris and the Hurricanes, who put up 14 quick points on a seven-yard TD pass to Herb Waters and then a 52-yard scoring pass to Phillip Dorsett.
But the final three quarters were a nightmare.
UM only produced four first downs and 69 yards on 35 plays after exploding out of the gate with 143 yards over the first 15 minutes. Duke Johnson ran for 39 yards in the first quarter, but only 20 more over his final 15 attempts. Morris finished 12 of 25 passing for 162 yards and an interception after going 8-of-11 for 101 yards to open the game.
UM's 212 total yards of offense were the fewest since a 31-7 loss at Virginia Tech in 2009.
"They have a great defense, one of the best defenses we’re going to play all year, one of the best defenses in the country," said Johnson, who was babying his left foot after the game. "They just came out and did their job and did it better than I expected."
Said Morris: "They made a lot of great adjustments. They knew when we were going to run and throw it. that was the best defensive line I ever went against, but we did what we needed to do to win the game."
MOVING UP THE POLLS
The Hurricanes, who broke into the polls earlier this week for the first time under coach Al Golden at No. 24 in the ESPN Coaches' poll, should find themselves moving up when the new polls are released Sunday.
Morris, who said Tuesday he could give "two you know whats" about where Miami was ranked, kept the same mindset after Saturday's win.
"It really doesn’t matter to me or this team," Morris said. "Whoever is in front of us we’re going to look at as a threat and we’ve got to do our best to win that game, no matter what we’re ranked no matter; if we’re not ranked. Our biggest focus is to continue on and moving forward."
> Safety A.J. Highsmith had the tackle on Florida's failed two-point conversion attempt and the recovery on the Gators' failed onside kick attempt late in the game.
> Senior Seantrel Henderson made his first start of the season at right tackle. Junior Jonathan Feliciano, who started at right tackle in the open, slid to left guard. The rest of Miami's starters remained the same.
> Safety Rayshawn Jenkins, who had an interception in the first half, was helped off the field with 5:29 to play in the third quarter. Trainers were looking at his left leg.
> Linebacker Thurston Armbrister left the game with a left ankle injury early in the fourth quarter.
I shot this video in the tunnel. Listen to them sing: "It's Great to be a Miami Hurricane!"
It's the big day.
We'll be hosting our live chat as usual. Join us in CoverItLive.
Kickoff is at noon. Gators are a three-point favorite. Game can be seen on ESPN and heard on WQAM (560 AM locally). Make sure to follow me on Twitter @Manny_Navarro. I posted plenty of pregame Vines and photos.
Here is the latest on secondary ticket sales for Saturday's game between the Gators and Hurricanes from SeatGeek analyst Connor Gregoire.
> To follow up on our phone call earlier, here is what we've found on tomorrow's UF-Miami game. Regarding your question about volume, we've seen about 10,000 tickets change hands, and the market for this game is the most active of any in college football this weekend, including Notre Dame-Michigan.
> With an average ticket price of $188, this Saturday's Florida-Miami game is the most in-demand Hurricanes home game we've ever tracked, topping the average price of FSU-Miami in 2010 ($145 average ticket price) by 30 percent. Interestingly enough, the Gators have only hosted one game with a higher demand for tickets on the secondary market -- their October 2011 meeting with Alabama ($285 average ticket price).
> Among home games for ACC teams since 2010, only four games have ever demanded a higher average ticket price -- South Carolina-Clemson in 2012 ($194), Notre Dame-Boston College in 2010 ($198), Oklahoma-Florida State in 2011 ($215) and Georgia-Clemson last weekend ($279).
> Over the past week, tickets in the upper deck are selling for an average of $131 per ticket, while it is costing an average of $236 per ticket to sit in the lower level and an average of $327 for a seat in the club level. The cheapest ticket we've seen sell went for $76 in the upper deck, and the most anyone has paid per ticket is $598 for club seats.
> Right now on SeatGeek, the least expensive tickets available are $123 apiece in the upper deck. All the latest information on ticket prices and availability can be found on SeatGeek’s event page for the game.
There's been a little confusion all week about which jerseys the Hurricanes will be wearing this week.
As of lunchtime Friday, two UM spokesman have told The Herald players will be wearing orange tops for Saturday's showdown with the Gators. UM has asked fans to wear white as part of their "White Out the Gators" campaign.
Some fans are a bit confused as to why officials would ask its fans to wear white when the visiting Gators will be wearing white jerseys and UM will be in orange.
Miami associate athletic director Chris Freet pointed out that other sports teams -- like the Miami Heat -- have asked fans to wear white while the team has worn a different color jersey.
A UM student organization called Category 5 is distributing 6,000 white t-shirts that feature coach Al Golden’s tie and a pair of Sebastian the Ibis sunglasses for students on the lower level.
Freet said the student section will be packed Saturday.
The Gators are three-point favorites heading into Saturday's showdown with the Hurricanes. It's going to be a crazy and emotional atmosphere for the fans, who know this is probably the last time the teams will meet in the regular season.
So who owns the edge coming into the game? I'll break it down for you.
WHEN THE HURRICANES RUN THE BALL
> As dazzling and explosive as sophomore Duke Johnson has been since he arrived (he put up a career-high 186 yards last week against FAU), he's yet to have to shoulder a load bigger than 19 carries in a game and he has yet to deliver against top-end opponents. Last year against Miami's three ranked opponents (Notre Dame, Kansas State and Florida State) Johnson combined for 68 yards on 23 attempts (2.96 per carry) without a touchdown. Johnson said he trained all off-season, got bigger and stronger for a game like Saturday's. Florida returns only three starters from last season's top five scoring and run defense, but still has 15 players back from its two-deep at the end of the 2012 season. The Gators, whose longest run allowed all of 2012 was 25 yards, held Toledo to only 50 yards total on the ground in the opener. Florida held seven teams under 100 yards rushing last season and are 17-2 under coach Will Muschamp when they out gain their opponents on the ground, but 2-6 when they lose the rushing battle. This is a huge test for Johnson and Miami's formidable offensive line. Edge: Even.
WHEN THE HURRICANES PASS THE BALL
> As hot as Canes quarterback Stephen Morris finished last season, he really didn't put up great performances against Miami's toughest foes, throwing for only 639 combined yards, one touchdown and one interception against UM's ranked opponents in 2012. He was also sacked nine times combined in those three games compared to seven the rest of the season. Florida's pass defense ranked second nationally in efficiency in 2012, allowing a mere 5.63 yards per passing attempt (fourth best). Creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks is a big key to Florida's defensive success. They racked up 30 sacks last year and forced 13 fumbles. They also picked off 20 passes (7th nationally). Junior cornerback Marcus Roberson (St. Thomas Aquinas) finished third in the SEC with 14 pass breakups a year ago. He'll be blanketing Miami's 2012 leading receiver Phillip Dorsett, his former high school teammate at St. Thomas Aquinas, a lot in one-on-one coverage. Whoever wins the battle probably leads their team to victory. Edge: Even.
WHEN THE GATORS RUN THE BALL
> Florida improved to 13-0 under Muschamp last week when rushing for 150 yards or more. When the Gators don't run for 150 yards, they are 6-8 under Muschamp. Key to the game, anyone? Good starts (Gators are 4-7 when they are tied or trail at the half under Muschamp) and time of possession are also important for Florida's success. Playmaking sophomore tailback Matt Jones (6-2, 226) returns from a viral infection this week to start, but his backups did a fine job against Toledo last week as Mack Brown (5-11, 215), Valdez Showers (5-11, 190), Mark Herndon (5-9, 198) and freshman Kelvin Taylor (5-10, 214) combined for 218 of Florida's 262 rushing yards. Although UF's offensive line returns 89 career starts, right guard Jon Halapio (6-3, 320, 33 career starts) won't play against the Hurricanes as he is still recovering from injury. That's good news considering UM had one of the worst run defenses in the country last year (217.92 yards per game). The Canes are supposed to be bigger, stronger, deeper and better up front. They held FAU to only 3.1 yards a carry last week. But this is the real measuring stick game to see if this defense is physically ready for a heavyweight fight. Edge: Gators
WHEN THE GATORS PASS THE BALL
> Florida ranked 114th in passing last season, producing a mere 27 pass plays of 20 yards or more. Quarterback Jeff Driskel, UF's second leading rusher in 2012, completed a career-high 77.3 percent of his passes in the opening win over Toledo. But he only threw for 153 yards. That's efficient, not dangerous. That means the Hurricanes, led by Denzel Perryman, Anthony Chickillo and Jimmy Gaines can zero in on stopping the run and the short passing game. UM's five sacks last week were also an encouraging sign, though defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofro said only one of those sacks came as the result of a pressure from fewer than five pass rushers. He would like to be able to do it with four man fronts so he doesn't put extra strain on his secondary. Edge: Hurricanes.
> Florida punter Kyle Chirsty, a finalist for the Ray Guy Award in 2012, averaged 45.8 yards a kick last season. Redshirt freshman Austin Hardin went 1-for-2 on field goal attempts in his debut last week against Toledo (he missed from 39 yards) as he attempts to replace Caleb Sturgis, the Dolphins new kicker. Roberson had four punt returns for 72 yards against Toledo, tied for the eighth best average in the nation. Florida has blocked 12 kicks during Muschamp's 27-game tenure as coach, including four field goals last year. Duke Johnson, one of the nation's premier kick and punt returners last season, didn't handle any special teams work in the opener against FAU. Will he this week? We'll see. Dorsett, Dallas Crawford and Stacy Coley handled all returns vs. FAU. UM probably has the advantage in the kicking game. Punter Pat O'Donnell, a transfer from Cincinnati, has a strong track record (44.8 average vs. FAU) and new kicker Matt Goudis drilled both of his field goal attempts last week. Edge: Even.
> UM coach Al Golden and his counterpart Muschamp took over two entirely different programs at the same time in Dec. 2010. Golden has had to deal with an NCAA investigation and rebuilding a program that was on a downward trend; Muschamp inherited an 8-4 program that simply needed a little retooling and still had momentum from 2006 and 2008 national championships. That being said, Florida has the track record it shows up more often in big games and in crunch time. The Gators beat seven bowl-eligible teams against the nation’s toughest schedule according to NCAA in 2012 and was 7-2 against bowl teams last season. UM went 0-3 in games against ranked opponents a year ago and 4-3 overall against schools who were bowl-eligible (not including a loss to North Carolina). When it comes to the fourth quarter, the Gators have the better track record. UM was outscored 113-102 in the fourth quarter last year. The Gators won the fourth quarter 128-32 in 2012. If the Canes win Saturday, they need to hold up four fingers and then prove they mean it. Edge: Florida.
The largest crowd in Sun Life Stadium history for a Hurricanes game is expected Saturday when the University of Miami hosts the Florida Gators in what could very well be the final regular season meeting between the two rivals.
And if you don't have a ticket yet expect to pay top dollar for a last minute seat. The game, long sold out, has individual tickets selling on the secondary market for close to $200.
The demand for Saturday's game has certainly helped the Hurricanes' season ticket sales. According to Chris Freet, Assistant Athletics Director for Communications and Marketing, only 350 to 400 of 30,000 season ticket packages remain. The cheapest are going for $390 with the most expensive stretching to $1,400.
UM sold a little less than 23,000 season tickets last year according to Freet.
Miami brought in an extra 1,313 seats behind the home team bench to accommodate a bigger crowd. Freet said capacity for Saturday's game has been set for 76,854.
The largest home crowd for a Hurricanes game at Sun Life was 75,115 for Florida State on Oct. 9, 2010. Miami, which has averaged about 48,560 fans a game since moving from the Orange Bowl, has only drawn better than 60,000 for a game five other times.
Those are: Oct. 20, 2012 vs. Florida State (73,328); Sept. 17, 2011 vs. Ohio State (66,279); Oct. 4, 2008 vs. Florida State (65,786); Sept. 5, 2011 vs. Duke (62,053); Oct. 3, 2009 vs. Oklahoma (61,790).
The largest crowd in Sun Life Stadium history for a college football game was 80,120 for last year's BCS title game between Alabama and Notre Dame.
Freet said Governor Charlie Crist and state senator Marco Rubio are expected to attend Saturday's game. Cortez Kennedy, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, Ray Lewis and Bernie Kosar are among the former players who have already confirmed with UM they will attend.
Former Hurricanes basketball standout James Jones has also reserved a suite for him and several Heat teammates.
Freet said 115 recruits and 350 high school football coaches have been invited to the game by Miami.
Former Hurricanes quarterback Brock Berlin, a transfer from Florida, is UM's honorary captain and will be involved in the pre-game coin flip.
"We expect a few other local celebrities to come out of the wood work," Freet said.
With prepaid parking passes sold out, the only available parking spots at the stadium are in the auxiliary lots. They go for $30. You must show a game ticket to park.
"I know for 2010 Florida State game there were 8,000 people just partying in the auxiliary parking lot that never came into the game," Freet said. "Because the stadium just went through the BCS title game, I think they've got the patterns worked out and traffic will move pretty quickly. But everybody should add a little extra time for their drive and parking."
Duke Johnson followed up his stellar freshman campaign with a career-best performance in the season-opening win over Florida Atlantic, rushing for 186 yards on 19 attempts. So how does he feel about leading the nation in rushing after 1 week?
"... We've got bigger fish to fry, things to overcome than being No. 1 in the nation," Johnson said Monday.
The Hurricanes are facing one of the nation's top defenses Saturday in Florida. You know the Gators are going to be looking to punish Johnson at every turn. This has to be the game he not only shines above all others, but shows he can take that pounding, too. I asked Johnson why he thinks he can handle a heftier load. His answer: He spent all summer getting bigger for this moment. We'll find out for sure on Saturday.
> Hurricanes freshman receiver Stacy Coley talked about his two drops against FAU and how quarterback Stephen Morris and other veterans came up to talk about it with him after the game. Coley said he hasn't had two drops in the same game since he was a sophomore in high school. I expect the freshman to bounce back with a big game against Florida.
> Hurricanes receiver Phillip Dorsett said there is no trash-talking going on right now between the Canes and Gators. But with two former high school teammates from St. Thomas Aquinas -- cornerback Marcus Roberson and safety Cody Riggs -- roaming the Florida secondary Dorsett is looking forward to Saturday's game.
Dorsett also talks about the injury to Rashawn Scott and how the Canes collectively have to step up. Dorsett, the fastest Hurricane with a 4.29 time in the 40, only had two catches for 14 yards against FAU, but was bracketed and doubled often. He also said he was happy to speak with freshman Stacy Coley last Friday after his two drops. You might remember Dorsett had to deal with a case of the drops against Notre Dame.
> Among the more interesting thing Hurricanes defensive end Anthony Chickillo talked about Monday was how fresh the defensive line was in its win over FAU. That obviously hasn't always been the case. Chickillo, who has started since he was a freshman, said he played his fewest snaps ever at UM last Friday because the Hurricanes had more players to turn to. That's obviously a good sign.
> Tracy Howard said in camp he wanted to have 10 interceptions this season. He didn't have any against FAU, but maybe he will Saturday against Jeff Driskel and the Gators. You might remember, Florida was once the odds on favorite to land the nation's top cornerback in 2012 before teammate Malcolm Lewis and coach Al Golden convinced Howard to stay in town and play for Miami. Here is what Tracy talked about Monday.
Junior Rashawn Scott, Miami's second-leading receiver last season, will not be suiting up against the Gators Saturday and likely could be out a while after injuring his shoulder last Friday against FAU.
Scott had his left arm in a sling Monday as he watched practice in his jersey and shorts.
"It doesn't look good for this week. It looks like it's going to be a little bit longer than we want it to be," UM coach Al Golden said of Scott. "As soon as we make a definitive determination we'll let you know."
CanesInsider reported Scott has a broken collarbone and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks. Asked if the injury was a collarbone, Golden responded: "Shoulder."
"He's alright. He's dealt with something like this before," teammate Phillip Dorsett said. "He's not really down. He's still a good guy, still up, talking a lot, still in meetings. He'll be alright."
With Scott out, the Hurricanes are down to six healthy scholarship receivers. Asked if he might switch someone over to receiver to help out, Golden said: "No. D'Mauri [Jones] will have to step up. [Walk-on] Garrett Kidd will get some work there. We carry four tight ends. We'll have enough there."
> Freshman cornerback Corn Elder, who could play receiver if needed, said coaches have not talked to him about switching over to offense at all.
"I'm just working on getting better at corner and try to do whatever I can to help the team out," Elder said. "If needed, I'll do whatever they want. We haven't really talked [about a switch]. I'm just mastering my role at corner now."
> Golden was asked if he thinks there are any parallels between him and Gators coach Will Muschamp, who arrived at Florida at the same time time Golden did in Miami.
"They're coming off national championships in  and  and didn't have an NCAA thing. I don't think they are parallels at all," Golden said. "They're different jobs. I don't know Will. I have tremendous respect for him as a football coach and as a man and as a teacher. But I don't have a relationship with him and I don't him. I have respect for him, the job that he's done there. But I don't think you could compare the two right now."
Golden said the Gators definitely have Miami's attention.
"You just have to watch them on tape, that's how they get your attention," Golden said. "Big physical team, deep, speed, can really run to the ball on defense. Excellent special teams. They get after the quarterback. They get you in money down situations. They get after you with the pass rush, make big plays happen on the back end. On offense, they'll pound you. That's been our achilles heel. I'm sure that's what they're going to do. We got to buckle up and stop 'em."
Golden said he hopes to see improvement from the passing game this week.
"I was disappointed. We all were," Golden said. "Our completion percentage coming in right after the first scrimmage and coming to the game was really good. We were crisp. We weren't putting the ball on the ground. I was really excited where we were last Monday and Tuesday. And we didn't throw and catch very well, didn't convert on third down which hurt us in time of possession again. It's a challenge right now for everybody. I think were 58 percent in the game, not where we want to be. We have to do a better job certainly against this group Saturday."
> Golden said while the offensive line's conditioning was good last Friday, they abandoned technique at times.
The 2013 season is set to begin at 8 p.m. tonight against the visiting FAU Owls.
As per tradition, we will be hosting a live blog on CoverItLive here at Eye On The U. Tonight's game is being televised on ESPNU and broadcast on WQAM (560 AM), Radio Caracol (Spanish, 1260 AM), WVUM (90.5 FM) and XM 191 on Satellite Radio.
The Hurricanes are favored to beat the Owls by 32 points according to the spread makers in Las Vegas. FAU is coming off a 3-9 season and is under second-year coach Carl Pelini. The Owls are expected to play a couple guys under center, but it's likely sophomore Jaquez Johnson (6-1, 225) who will start. He'll get some help from freshmen Greg Hankerson (6-0, 172) and DJ Juste (6-2, 180).
OwlAccess.com reported Thursday that five players will sit out today's game with suspensions: starting slot receiver Daniel McKinney, tight end Darion Howard, running back Damian Fortner, defensive tackle Lance Burlingame and long-snapper Stephen Curtis. The last four are not starters.
Here is the live blog. Remember to login and keep it clean please. I'm picking Miami to win handily by the way.
The Hurricanes are only a few days away from opening the season Friday night against FAU.
Here are some video clips from this morning's press conference with Coach Al Golden, defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio, offensive coordinator James Coley, offensive line coach Art Kehoe, defensive end Shayon Green and linebacker Tyriq McCord.
With the NCAA expected to make its announcement regarding infractions in the near future (we have no idea exactly when) and a few former scholarship players leaving the program of late, I figured it might be a good time to go over exactly where the Hurricanes stand in term of scholarship numbers by position.
Unless something has changed since Monday (in terms of walk-ons and whom Al Golden has awarded a scholarship to) my estimation is the Hurricanes have 76 scholarship players, nine fewer than the 85 allowed.
HERE IS THE BREAKDOWN
> Offense: 36 scholarship players (5 QB, 6 RB, 7 WR, 5 TE, 13 OL); 9 walk-ons
> Defense: 38 scholarship players (16 DL, 9 LB, 13 DB); 8 walk-ons
> Special Teams: 2 scholarship players; 8 walk-ons
> Totals: 76 scholarships; 25 walk-ons
QUARTERBACK (5): Stephen Morris, Sr.; Ryan Williams, Jr.; Preston Dewey, R-Fr.; Gray Crow, R-Fr.; Kevin Olsen, Fr. Walk-on (2): Garrison Lassiter, Fr.; Michael Welch, Fr.
RUNNING BACK (6): Maurice Hagens, Sr.; Eduardo Clements, Sr.; Dallas Crawford, So.; Duke Johnson, So.; Walter Tucker, Fr.; Gus Edwards, Fr. Walk-ons (2): De'Andre Johnson, Jr.; Brandon Yosha, So.
RECEIVER (7): Allen Hurns, Sr.; Phillip Dorsett, Jr.; Rashawn Scott, Jr.; Malcolm Lewis, So.; Herb Waters, So.; D'Mauri Jones, R-Fr.; Stacy Coley, Fr. Walk-ons (5): Garrett Kidd, So.; Stephen Sweeney, So.; Malik Mayweather, Fr.; Greg Golden, Fr.; Josh Johnson, Fr.
TIGHT ENDS (5): Asante Cleveland, Sr.; Clive Walford, Jr.; Beau Sandland, Jr.; Jake O'Donnell, R-Fr.; Standish Dobard, Fr.
OFFENSIVE LINE (13): Jared Wheeler, Sr.; Brandon Linder, Sr.; Seantrel Henderson, Sr.; Jon Feliciano, Jr.; Malcolm Bunche, Jr.; Shane McDermott, Jr.; Hunter Wells, So.; Ereck Flowers, So.; Danny Isidora, R-Fr.; Taylor Gadbois, R-Fr.; Alex Gall, Fr.; Sunny Odogwu, Fr.; Hunter Knighton, Fr.
DEFENSIVE LINE (16): Curtis Porter, Sr.; Kelvin Cain, Sr.; Justin Renfrow, Sr.; David Gilbert, Sr.; Shayon Green, Sr.; Luther Robinson, Sr.; Anthony Chickillo, Jr.; David Perry, Jr.; Olsen Pierre, Jr.; Ufomba Kamalu, Jr.; Jelani Hamilton, So.; Corey King, So.; Earl Moore, So.; Dwayne Hoilett, R-Fr.; Al-Quadin Muhammad, Fr.; Naim Mustafaa, Fr. Walk-on (1): Anthony Naser, Jr.
LINEBACKER (9): Jimmy Gaines, Sr.; Tyrone Cornileus, Sr.; Denzel Perryman, Jr.; Thurston Armbrister, So.; Raphael Kirby, So.; Tyriq McCord, So.; JaWand Blue, R-Fr.; Alex Figueroa, Fr.; Jermaine Grace, Fr. Walk-ons (2): Akil Craig, Sr.; Jared Goldenberg, Fr.
DEFENSIVE BACK (13): A.J. Highsmith, Sr.; Kacy Rodgers, Sr.; Ladarius Gunter, Jr.; Tracy Howard, So.; Rayshawn Jenkins, So.; Antonio Crawford, So.; Deon Bush, So.; Nate Dortch, R-Fr.; Larry Hope, R-Fr.; Artie Burns, Fr.; Jamal Carter, Fr.; Ray Lewis III, Fr.; Corn Elder, Fr. Walk-ons (6): Hugo Delapenha Jr., Sr.; Alex Irastorza, Sr.; Nantambu-Akil Fentress, Jr.; Jordan Tolson, Jr.; Andrew McClelland, Fr.; Wyatt Chickillo, Fr.
KICKERS/PUNTERS (2): Matt Goudis, So.; Pat O'Donnell, Sr. Walk-on (4): Josh Bacon, Fr.; Austin Barnard, Fr.; Ricky Carroll, R-Jr.; Grant Coffman, Fr.
LONG-SNAPPERS - Walk-ons (4): Sean McNally, Sr.; Paul Kelly, Sr.; Ronald Regula, Jr.; Frank Gabriel, So.
Stephen Morris and Ryan Williams each threw two touchdown passes, and kicker Matt Goudis was a perfect 2-for-2 on field goals during the Hurricanes' second and final fall scrimmage Friday night.
Freshman receiver Stacy Coley caught both of Williams' TD passes. Morris' TDs went for over 50 yards.
UM played under the lights at Cobb Stadium and the scrimmage lasted nearly two hours.
The first half of the scrimmage featured the first-team offense vs. the first-team defense. After a brief halftime, the second-team offense squared off against the second-team defense.
Prior to the game, the Hurricanes presented Jack Jablonski with a jersey. Jablonski was a Minnesota prep hockey standout who was paralyzed after being checked into the boards during a tournament in December 2011.
BankUnited #CanesFest13 will be held Saturday from 4-7 p.m. at the BankUnited Center.
Members of the football, basketball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball and swimming & diving programs will be in attendance. Admission and parking is free to the public.
This was an edited version of the release UM's Sports Information staff sent out tonight...
Defensive lineman Jalen Grimble, tabbed as a four-star recruit out of Las Vegas in Al Golden's first signing class at Miami, has left the Hurricanes football program a University of Miami spokesman confirmed late Tuesday.
Miami recently announced the additions of two transfers on the defensive line: former Wisconsin standout David Gilbert and former Virginia backup lineman Justin Renfrow.
Grimble had last appeared on Miami's depth chart before the USF game on Nov. 17.
UM's sports information staff tweeted birthday wishes to Jalen on Aug. 10. The picture is to the right.
The Miami Hurricanes held their first closed preseason scrimmage of the fall Sunday, a scripted 90-minute exhibition with referees and artificial crowd noise in mid-90 degree heat.
According to UM's sports information staff, Stephen Morris threw two TDs, a one-yarder to fullback Maurice Hagens and a 30-yarder in which receiver Phillip Dorsett made an over-the-shoulder catch to end the scrimmage. Redshirt freshman running back Danny Dillard posted a 3-yard TD and senior RB Eduardo Clements later found pay dirt from six yards out – all after initial contact to barrel into the end zone.
Defensively, the Hurricanes registered three sacks, four tackles for loss, three pass deflections and three pass break-ups.
Sophomore kicker Matt Goudis was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goal attempts, knocking home all three kicks from between 45-47 yards out.
Several players were held out of action. Junior DL David Perry, sophomore DB Deon Bush and sophomore RB Brandon Yosha were in red (non-contact) jerseys, while six other Canes were not in pads – junior DE Ufomba Kamalu, senior DT Justin Renfrow, senior DE David Gilbert, junior DE Anthony Naser, freshman OL Hunter Knighton and freshman DE Naim Mustafaa.
The scrimmage opened with goal line and short yardage situations as the offense showcased a number of different looks. The next set of plays flipped the field, with the ball being spotted inside the five-yard line.
The Hurricanes are off Monday and will return to practice Tuesday morning with their second two-a-days practice of camp.
Busy day at UM today since it was Media Day. Got oodles of video, audio and written content to share.
Couple quick notes:
> Got to watch the final 30 minutes of practice today (a rarity since the media isn't allowed to watch beyond stretching). Defense was very impressive. First time since Kirby Freeman was around that I thought the defense actually looked better than the offense.
> Sophomore Antonio Crawford looked like an absolute beast (had two pass breakups against freshman Stacy Coley). Also like the impact Curtis Porter has at defensive tackle. Quite obvious defense is better with him.
> Pass rush and pass coverage looked a lot better. Run gap assignment still appears to be a work in progress. Duke Johnson and Dallas Crawford were able to break free for long runs because guys weren't where they needed to be. Still, defense won a lot of the head-to-head battles. More on practice later.
> UM released it's new depth chart.
> Even though defensive tackle Olsen Pierre is now listed as the starter at end ahead of Anthony Chickillo don't read too much into it. Pierre said he's only getting snaps there as a backup. Chickillo was injured this week and missed a lot of practice.
> The fact Thurston Armbrister is now listed as the starter at strongside linebacker ahead of freshman Alex Figueroa is probably a move to create more motivation for Figueroa, who is obviously still adjusting himself to the playbook, etc.
> The most interesting battle for me will be who emerges as the team's fourth cornerback. Freshman Artie Burns has been impressive and defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio echoed those sentiments saying he's giving Nate Dortch a battle there.
> Offensively the big shakeup was Jonathan Feliciano moving past Malcolm Bunche as the starter at left guard. Again, don't read too much into it. Bunche was running with the ones today. Odds are he and Feliciano will split a lot of playing time anyway.
> Meet freshman defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, easily the most interesting interview of the day. Kid says told me he has moves some people have probably never seen others make. D'Onofrio and Golden love him.
> He's only a freshman, but cornerback Ray Lewis III is already showing us he's capable of speaking in front of cameras and maybe speaking up and delivering speeches to the entire team.
> Meet linebacker Alex Figueroa, easily the freshman most likely to play a ton this season. He talked about sitting out a season and what his expectations are this season at UM. He's currently listed second at strongside linebacker.
> Meet tight end Standish Dobard, who like Figueroa has been around since the spring. He said getting lit up by sophomore linebacker Raphael Kirby this spring was his welcome to college moment.
> Meet freshman receiver Stacy Coley, who talks about what he needs to improve now that he's in college.
Three practices into fall camp is hardly enough time for Al Golden to make a determination on which freshmen will actually make an impact this coming season. But so far, it's safe to say cornerback Artie Burns, receiver Stacy Coley and defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad have shown flashes that have caught Golden's eye.
"The first battle as a freshman is to come in shape. The second battle is to know your stuff and clearly those two (Burns and Coley) have made progress," Golden said. "They aren't where they need to be yet, but there's a little poise about Artie Burns. You coach him everyday and he looks you right in the eye. He's not too high, not too low and he's ready to move on."
Golden said Burns, a 6-1, 190-pound former standout at Miami Northwestern, and Coley, a 6-1, 180-pound standout from Oakland Park Northeast, have risen to the challenge everyday in practice.
As for Muhammad, a 6-3, 230-pound standout from New Jersey powerhouse Don Bosco Prep, Golden complimented him by calling him "twitchy."
"When somebody is explosive or somebody is sudden, you can feel it," Golden said. "Sometimes you can see it on the film. But when you get to this level, when you have a lot of guys that have twitch, sometimes you just see there is a little difference in one guy. I think Quan is a very explosive young man. He has to understand the system, get bigger and stronger and all that. But he has twitch.
"He can go from a standing position to five, seven, 10 yards in a very short period of time. The guys that can do that irrespective of their body size have a chance to continue improve and grow and be a difference maker."
Golden also mentioned receiver Corn Elder (out with a hamstring injury), bruising running back Gus Edwards (6-2, 225) and offensive tackle Alex Gall (6-5, 304) as other freshmen standouts.
> If you haven't heard by now, receiver Phillip Dorsett (5-9, 179) put up the fastest 40-time on the team during off-season testing, posting an eye-opening 4.29 seconds. Dorsett ran a 4.39 a year ago.
"I kind of knew I was going to run it," Dorsett said of his blazing time. "I kept messing with [conditioning coach Andrew] Swasey telling him I was going to run it. I wasn't really shocked, just more relieved I put up a legit time like that."
Dorsett, who runs track, said he spent a lot of time this off-season working on "lower body explosion" and converting his speed "to breaking down and helping me run better routes, working on my hands a lot."
"I feel like I'm a lot better receiver," Dorsett said. "I can't wait to go out there and show it."
OTHER NOTES FROM TUESDAY
> Three players were in a red non-contact jersey Tuesday: safety Deon Bush (sports hernia surgery), defensive end Anthony Chickillo (ankle) and receiver Corn Elder (hamstring). Golden said Chickillo was moving better before practice and would likely get integrated more into practice on Wednesday.
> Freshman offensive lineman Sunny Odogwu spent his second straight day in a yellow limited-contact jersey.
> Quarterback Stephen Morris said he watched film and worked on his footwork this off-season with former Hurricanes quarterback Steve Walsh.
**** The following notes are from UM's sports information department following practice ****
## During stretching, the team listed to a Michael Irvin speech before the tones of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice, Ice Baby” filled the air at the Greentree.
## The offense dominated early, winning 10-2 in first 11-on-11 drill, winning the WR vs DB drill and the red zone skeleton.
## Following the three straight losses, junior LB Denzel Perryman called the defense together and spoke about the importance of accountability. He emphasized, focus, communication and execution. Senior LB Jimmy Gaines also spoke about the keys to defensive success in the huddle.
## The defense rallied to win the next 11-on-11 drill, despite senior QB Stephen Morris connecting with sophomore RB Duke Johnson on a wheel route for a TD and TD runs from running backs Dallas Crawford and Danny Dillard.
## The two units tied in the next 11-on-11 drill with senior DB AJ Highsmith recovering a Duke Johnson fumble. Johnson rebounded in the 2-minute drill, scoring a TD on the first play with a long run up the middle. But the defense won the 2-minute drill, with freshman LB Alex Figueroa picking up a tackle for loss to help seal the victory.
CHECK ON TUESDAY'S VIDEO MONTAGE FROM PRACTICE
> Watch incoming and former JUCO defensive lineman Ufomba Kamalu (6-6, 285) walk the sidelines. He's the guy on the right.
> Watch the Canes do tip drills.
> Watch offensive guard Jonathan Feliciano take on defensive tackle Olsen Pierre in a one-on-one battle at practice.
> Watch offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson take on defensive lineman Jalen Grimble in a one-on-one battle.
> Watch defensive lineman Jalen Grimble work with position coach Jethro Franklin during drills.
Moments after concluding his pre-practice press conference Saturday morning, Hurricanes football coach Al Golden jogged past his defense, shook his head and smiled.
In case you hadn't heard Golden say it the first time, he said it again Saturday. His team is bigger, more mature. And in college football that matters quite a bit. Aside from that four letter word Golden doesn't want to use (the NCAA), size and maturity have been Miami's biggest obstacles on the field the last two years (specifically on defense).
While the offense hummed with Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson behind the wheel last season, Miami's defense played most Saturdays like they were listening to Miley Cyrus' new song We Can't Stop (as in anybody).
Opponents averaged 30.5 points per game (ranked 82nd out of 120 FBS programs). Quarterbacks had all day to throw (UM's 13 sacks ranked 113th) and the run defense was historically bad (ranked 112th, giving up 217 yards per game). The secondary? Sure, they forced more turnovers (11 INTs, 11 fumbles) but even the worst quarterbacks in the country often looked like Heisman candidates (UM's pass defense ranked 102nd overall and gave up 268.5 yards per game).
Youth, inexperience, lack of depth -- particularly up front -- were the excuses put forth. Most of it valid of course. But those excuses are officially old now.
Especially when Golden says things like this Saturday: "We didn't have anybody not pass the [conditioning] test for the first time since I've been here... They demolished it, absolutely crushed it."
Two years ago -- Golden points out -- half the team couldn't pass the conditioning test. He had everyone out on the field at 5:30 a.m. to do extra conditioning so they could try to be physically ready to go. It took away focus. Saturday the team began fall camp without schedules, Golden said. "We're having the leaders run it," he said.
Junior defensive end Anthony Chickillo, once thrown into the fire as a baby-faced freshman at 6-4, 248 pounds, sat down and spoke to reporters at 6-4, 275 pounds. Remember what it was like that first game at Maryland two years ago, Chickillo was asked?
"I was ready to play mentally, but from a physical standpoint my body wasn't where it needed to be," said Chickillo, who now benches more than 400 pounds, squats around 500, power cleans 350 and recently benched the NFL-testing standard of 225 pounds 29 times (up from 27 last year).
"That's what we've been working on," he continues of getting bigger and stronger. "I want to hold the point [of attack], be more durable, whatever I can to help the team win. I've actually gotten faster with my weight. I'd say I'm more explosive. I feel good.
"We feel like as a defense we got big this off-season. We're proud of that."
The growth in size can be seen everywhere. Sophomore defensive end Jelani Hamilton has gained 14 pounds since last season. He's 6-5, 285 pounds now. Redshirt sophomore David Perry has gained 12 pounds and is now listed at 6-7, 277 pounds.
Defensive tackle Olsen Pierre, once 6-4, 265 as a freshman, is now 6-4, 305 pounds as a junior. Luther Robinson (6-3, 303) has gained 13 pounds since last season. Often-injured Curtis Porter is up eight pounds (6-1, 316).
The linebackers? Denzel Perryman (6-0, 240) and Tyrone Cornelius (6-2, 225) are both 10 pounds heavier than they were last season. Middle linebacker candidate Jimmy Gaines (6-3, 240) has gained eight pounds. Sophomore Raphael Kirby (6-0, 235) has gained a dozen. Former defensive back Thurston Armbrister (6-3, 233) has gained 11 pounds since his first year at linebacker in 2012.
"I thank [conditioning coach] Andrew Swasey everyday," said Perryman, who came to UM weighing 205 pounds and played at 217 as a freshman.
So bigger has been established. Maturity too (bad seeds Gionni Paul, Eddie Johnson, Thomas Finnie are gone). Proving they are better is what they have to do next.
UM defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio didn't make it out to practice early enough to address the media Saturday. But the truth is you don't need to hear anything from D'Onofrio until after his unit hits the field on game day. That's when they'll start answering the real questions. If this team is going to be better, defense is where it starts.
Lack of size is no longer an excuse. At least it wasn't Saturday. In fact, for the first time Golden was hooting and hollering about how big his guys looked.
MORE NEWS AND NOTES
> Chickillo, who led the team last season with four sacks, spent the off-season working on his flexibility and refining his technique. He also studied film of NFL stars Chris Long, JJ Watt, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Mario Williams. "I really wanted to see how they get after it," Chickillo said.
> Sophomore cornerback Tracy Howard, who finished his freshman season strong said his goal this season is to produce 10 interceptions. "It's possible," he said. "It hasn't been done before, but with the system we run we're going to have a chance to make a lot of plays."
> Of the criticism of UM's defense, Perryman said he takes it personal. "What's bothered me the most is when I know as a defense it's one of those woulda, shoulda, coulda deals. That one mistake would cost us everything."
Said Howard: "We hear about it day in and day out. We got to prove ourselves, prove it to the coaches. We have to prove we can be a top defense in the country. Even prove it to the fans. They pay their money to come watch us. We owe it to the fans [to be better]."
> UM coach Al Golden said the reason quarterback Stephen Morris and defensive end Shayon Green were chosen as captains is because they've "distinguished themselves .... not just as guys who do their job everyday, but who people will follow."
> UM plans to be careful with the reps of receiver Malcolm Lewis initially, but Golden expects him to be full-go by the time the season starts. Golden is still impressed Lewis is ready to go after his horrific injury last year. "He made the conditioning test," Golden said. "What a marvel of medicine."
> Golden said safety Deon Bush, coming off sports hernia surgery, should be fully integrated into practice in a week. Running back Eduardo Clements (neck) is full-go at practice already.
> Golden said the first 72 hours of camp will be pivotal to seeing which freshmen "can make a run at a position or help the squad." Asked which freshmen he's most excited to see the first names out of Golden's mouth were receiver Stacy Coley, running back Gus Edwards and defensive back Artie Burns.
Here is the pre-camp depth chart released by the University of Miami sports information staff a little after 9 p.m. Wednesday. Fall camp begins Saturday.
> In case you missed it, our Barry Jackson had a stellar preview of the top position battles heading into the start of fall camp in Wednesday's edition of his Sports Buzz.
Blanche Ely football coach Charles Hafley has been around Broward County for about a decade, long enough to see how the University of Miami has been run differently under its last three head coaches.
When it's come to building relationships in the Hurricanes' backyard, it's the current guy in charge -- Al Golden -- whom Hafley said has figured out the best way to establish real meaningful connections, one that netted UM another commitment Tuesday morning in Ely linebacker Terry McCray.
Listed at 6-3, 220-pounds according to Hafley, McCray is ranked a three-star recruit according to 247Sports.com and the nation's 58th-best inside linebacker. Although rated just a two-star recruit by Rivals, McCray had BCS offers from Syracuse, Minnesota, Cincinnati and West Virginia and is a player the Hurricanes have been on since last October, Hafley said.
A Third Team All-Broward selection by The Miami Herald, McCray finished his junior season with 89 solo tackles, 13 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. Hafley said McCray has a 2.5 GPA and recently took the ACT, but still hasn't received the test score. He believes McCray will qualify at UM.
"They're recruiting him as an outside linebacker," Hafley said. "They really like his hybrid ability there, the way he rushes the quarterback and makes plays. What separates Terry is his knack and ability to be a student of the game. He comes in and watches film. He does what it takes to be a better leader. He's a 305-pound bencher, 200-pound power cleaner and 505-pound squatter. Runs a 4.6 [in the 40]. He's a phenomenal football player. We're going to move him around so teams can't get a beat on him.
What makes McCray's commitment significant for the Hurricanes is that he's the first player from Ely since four players from the Tigers last state championship team (2002) -- Tyrone Moss, Andrew Bain, Teraz McCray, and Cyrim Wimbs -- decided to head to Coral Gables. UM tried unsuccessfully to recruit others from Ely after that including star cornerback Patrick Peterson and most recently Rashard Robinson a year ago. Both went to LSU.
McCray's commitment gives the Hurricanes 24 total in the Class of 2014 including 15 from the South Florida area. Ten are from Miami-Dade, three from Broward and two from Palm Beach.
"Coach [Paul] Williams and Coach Golden did a great job of recruiting Terry," Hafley said. "South Florida has always been and always will be UM territory. Coach Shannon, Coach Coker knew that. But at the end of the day, Coach Golden is just going beyond the call of building relationships. His coaching staff and his support staff as well.
"To me, it's community service projects, the camps. They had Stephen Morris, [Denzel Perryman], [Tracy Howard] at the park down here in our neighborhood recently. The players are the ones really selling the program. Howard did a great job communicating and telling the kids what UM is all about, about it's family atmosphere. It's something that is big for the high school kids and younger kids to hear it from someone from their own backyard."
Hafley said Golden, who took over in 2011 after coming over from Temple, has built stronger relationships with head coaches and programs in South Florida.
"When Coach Golden came to recruit a previous player from here last year [Robinson] he took time to speak to staff members so he can build those relationships," Hafley said. "He's really winning over the South Florida coaching community by doing those things and the clinics they have.
"He's invited myself down to speak with him one-on-one. He's done that with a lot of other head coaches. It's that personal relationship he has with all the coaches that helps them in the long run."
Rivals.com currently ranks UM's class third behind Tennessee (24 commitments) and Florida State (22 commitments). 247Sports.com ranks UM's class fifth behind Tennessee, FSU, Georgia (16 commitments) and Alabama (15 commitments). ESPN, which moved UM up five spots after last week's commitments from Miami Booker T. Washington defensive end Chad Thomas and cornerback Nigel Bethel, had UM ranked seventh prior to Tuesday's commitment from McCray.
NEW YORK -- It's that time of year when just about every top college football player in the country ends up on a preseason award watch list.
Hurricanes receiver Phillip Dorsett became the latest player at UM to end up on one Tuesday afternoon when the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation selected him as well as nine other receivers from the ACC to the preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the game's top receiver each season.
The list, which includes 75 names in all, won't get cut down to 10 semifinalists until Nov. 18 and three finalists until Nov. 25 before the award itself is handed out Dec. 12 during the The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN.
Of all the Hurricanes nominated for preseason awards Dorsett, sophomore tailback Duke Johnson and quarterback Stephen Morris are the players who I think have the best shot at actually reaching the semifinal stage and perhaps beyond.
Other Hurricanes on preseason watch lists:
> Paul Hornung Award (most versatile player in college football): RB Duke Johnson.
> Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year): RB Duke Johnson and QB Stephen Morris.
> John Mackey Award (top tight end): TE Clive Walford.
> Rimington Award (top center): C Shane McDermott
> Ray Guy Award (top punter): P Pat O'Donnell
> Outland Trophy (outstanding interior lineman): OG Brandon Linder
The Miami Hurricanes' summer recruiting run continued Friday when the program picked up its 19th pledge for the Class of 2014 in little known Miami Booker T. Washington defensive end Demetrius Jackson.
The 6-5, 230-pound senior played varsity football for the first time this spring and was known more for what he did on the basketball court, earning All-Dade Second Team honors this past season.
"People may not know much about him right now, but they will," Tornadoes offensive coordinator Tim "Ice" Harris Jr. said. "He's a freak talent who played plenty of football growing up. He just turned his focus to basketball in high school. But he knows his best way to a scholarship is football. A lot of schools who saw him this spring were impressed."
Jackson had a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery as well as a few batted balls at the line of scrimmage in the spring game for the defending Class 4A state champions. He has offers from Arkansas and FIU and had committed to the Razorbacks last week, but the school didn't accept his oral commitment because he hadn't visited the campus yet.
"He's going to be like a rush end/outside linebacker in 3-4 look," Harris Jr. said. "He can rush the quarterback. You look at him at [four-star recruit] Chad Thomas they compliment each other well. Demetrius probably has him in speed, movements. That's going to work out well."
Harris Jr. said Jackson is already a full college qualifier and has a 3.0 GPA and scored 21 on the ACT. Harris Jr. said Jackson is the cousin of former Booker T. defensive ends Joseph Jackson (South Florida) and Jonathan Jackson (FIU).
GILBERT COULD BE HEADED TO UM
Although it's not a 100 percent done deal according to sources at UM, reports are UM will also be adding former Wisconsin senior defensive end David Gilbert to its roster, just a couple months after the former Oakland Park Northeast High standout said he was ending his career with the Badgers due to foot injuries.
BadgerBlitz.com was the first to report the news Thursday night. Gilbert reportedly graduated in May would be eligible to play for the Hurricanes as a post-graduate.
Gilbert started 13 games last season, rolling up 42 tackles, 9.5 for loss, four sacks and three forced fumbles and earned honorable mention on the All-Big Ten Team.
Gilbert broke his right foot twice in 2011 and missed spring practice this past April to undergo more surgery on the same foot, repairing ligament damage this time.
As a senior at Northeast, Gilbert was an All-State First Team selection, racking up 57 tackles, nine sacks and eight tackles for loss in 2007.
> Canesport.com reported Friday that 2013 signee Ryheem Lockley is headed to Fork Union Military Academy, but says he will remain committed to UM and expects to arrive in Coral Gables in the spring. UM's sports information staff told The Miami Herald the only Summer II session arrivals were the five players reported earlier this week.
> Former Canes forward Kenny Kadji and guard Durand Scott signed as undrafted free agents with the Cavs and Spurs, respectively.
Another day, another commitment.
On a day UM confirmed former quarterback David Thompson was giving up football to concentrate on baseball, the Hurricanes netted their 17th commitment in the Class of 2014 from another quarterback who can swing the bat, too.
Alabama Faith Academy's Malik Rosier, also a catcher who hit .400 on his high school baseball team, committed to Miami late Tuesday night, a decision the 6-2, 205-pound told the Press-Register he reached after sat down and talked it out with his mom.
Rated a three-star recruit according to 247Sports.com, Rosier had other offers that included Southern Mississippi, Northern Illinois, Western Kentucky, Arkansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Furman. He camped at Miami back on June 2nd according to published reports and will visit Coral Gables again this coming weekend.
Despite his football team finishing 3-7 in 2012, he completed 169 of 305 pass attempts for 2,238 yards and 20 touchdowns and also ran for 1,002 yards and 12 touchdowns on 153 carries.
Rosier was a running back on the junior varsity team as an eighth-grader according to the Press-Register. As a freshman, he started at free safety for the varsity before moving to quarterback in a Wing-T system as a sophomore.
His coach Rusty Mason told the Press-Register in March he's been pleasantly surprised with Rosier's quick adjustment from a Wing-T to the Tony Franklin-style offense the Rams ran last season.
"He played way above any expectations I could have had for him," Mason said. "He just continued to get better. From Week 1 to Week 10, it was like night and day. We knew what he was physically - he looks great. But you never know mentally how a kid is going to react.
"When you roll him out, he's as good as I've ever had and maybe as good as I've ever seen in terms getting his shoulders square and hitting a receiver on the run. We'll put more on him this year, more checks. A lot of our stuff is run-pass switches, and he'll have a chance to do more of that."
BY SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN, sdegnan@MiamiHerald.com
The University of Miami’s quarterback of the future, Wayne Hills, N.J., High School senior and soon-to-be graduate Kevin Olsen, was charged with “leaving the scene of an accident after he smashed his car into a vehicle in his hometown of Wayne” on May 25, according to court records reported Monday by The Wayne Patch local newspaper.
Olsen “was additionally charged with failure to report an accident and careless driving” after the incident was witnessed by a bystander who said the quarterback “crashed his car into a tree and drove away,” according to the Wayne Patch.
After checking out the damage, the report said, Olsen hit another car “parked on the road” in the neighborhood while leaving the scene.
According to the paper, the police report said Olsen’s face appeared to have blood on it and that he “appeared to be under the influence of something.”
He is reportedly scheduled to appear in Wayne Municipal Court on June 20.
Olsen’s older brother Greg was a tight end for the Hurricanes and now plays for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL. Kevin Olsen is scheduled to report to UM to begin his collegiate career this summer.
The university said Tuesday it was unaware of Olsen's legal situation. "We are still trying to gather information about what happened," said Chris Yandle, UM's director of communications for athletics.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Lara Cerri
Heisman trophy winning Hurricanes quarterback Vinny Testaverde will be one of 14 former players and coaches who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as part of the 2013 class.
The National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame made the joint announcement Monday during the telecast of College Football Live on ESPN. The remainder of the 14-member FBS class will be announced Tuesday at noon press conference from the NASDAQ OMX Market Site in New York City.
Testaverde was Miami’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 1986 and led the Hurricanes to three bowl berths. He went 23-3 as a starter playing for legendary coaches Howard Schnellenberger and Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson.
The Bucs picked Testaverde as the No. 1 overall selection in the 1987 NFL Draft, and his pro career spanned 21 seasons with seven different teams. The 1998 All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection finished his NFL career seventh all-time in passing yards (46,233) and eighth in touchdowns (275).
He remains among only four Hurricanes to have their jerseys retired at Miami.
Testaverde will become sixth Miami Hurricane player and 10th overall to be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame. He joins: Bennie Blades (2006), Don Bosseler (1990), Andy Gustafson (1985), Jack Harding (1980), Ted Hendricks (1987), Jimmy Johnson (2012), Russell Maryland (2011), Gino Torretta (2009) and Arnold Tucker (2008).
The 2013 College Football Hall of Fame FBS Class will be inducted Dec. 10, 2013, at the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. They will be honored guests Jan. 2, 2014, at the National Hall of Fame Salute in New Orleans at the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Mike James, rushed for career-best 621 yards and 6 TDs on 147 attempts as a senior for the Hurricanes, got his name called in the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
The Bucs plucked James with the 21st pick, 189th overall. He was the 18th running back taken off the board.
James was the second Hurricane to be taken in the draft. The Rams drafted cornerback Brandon McGee in the fifth round.
The Hurricanes have now had a player taken in the NFL Draft 38 consecutive seasons.
Brandon McGee's NFL dreams came true Saturday afternoon when the St. Louis Rams took him with the 16th pick in the fifth round, 149th overall.
McGee, a two-year starter at cornerback for the Hurricanes, was the first UM player taken in this year's NFL Draft. He was the 22nd cornerback taken off the board.
STL! We On.— Brandon McGee (@B_McGee21) April 27, 2013
McGee, a former standout at nearby Plantation High School, started all 12 games as a senior and finished tied for sixth on team with 54 tackles and tied for the team lead with two INTs. After the season he was the recipient of the Captain's Award and Plumer Award for Leadership, Motivation and Spirit.
Mike James, who rushed for career-best 621 yards and 6 TDs on 147 attempts as a senior, is likely the next Hurricane who will get drafted. So far, 13 running backs have been taken off the board through about 150 picks.
"We're excited to see some of our guys get drafted here in the next couple days," UM coach Al Golden said earlier this week. "Our staff is working hard to make those that don't get drafted get great free agent opportunities."
Heralded Plantation American Heritage five-star running back Sony Michel made his college announcement Friday and it wasn't what the Hurricanes were hoping for.
Michel, considered the fifth best recruit regardless of position according to Rivals.com, chose the Georgia Bulldogs over the Hurricanes because he "wanted something different."
Michel (5-11, 205) is the second straight highly-touted running back from Broward County to choose an SEC school over the Hurricanes. In February South Plantation star tailback Alex Collins chose Arkansas over Miami.
As disappointing as those losses may be, Canes fans shouldn't be totally heartbroken. Something different could end up being a good thing come February when Michel and the rest of the 2014 signing class has to put their commitments to paper and sign National Letters of Intent.
As it stands, the Hurricanes have Miami Central standout Joseph Yearby, the sixth-best running back in the country according to Rivals, as a 2014 commitment. And getting his teammate, Dalvin Cook, rated the fourth-best running back in the country by Rivals, to saddle up with the Canes may not be far-fetched. Cook, currently committed to Florida, said earlier this week continuing his college career alongside Yearby and UM-bound offensive tackle Trevor Darling, another Miami Central standout, is something three have been discussing plenty.
"We talk about it a lot. Playing together at the next level would be a fun experience," Cook said. "This recruiting process is crazy. Things happen. A lot of it changes. All of us are graduating early. Miami? I'm letting them recruit me. We'll see what happens."
Yearby, who has shared the backfield with Cook for the defending Class 6A state champions the last two years, sharing it in college is no big deal to him.
"Our families want to see us stay together because they say me and Dalvin are the best duo they've seen in years," Yearby said. "They would love to see us play at the next level again. Coach Golden, too. Playing at home is very attractive. It's not like we've got to go build ourselves up. Everybody knows us and will come support us."
Of course, it's no guarantee Cook, Yearby and Darling pick Miami as the place where all three play together at the next level. USF hired their former high school coach Telly Lockette two months ago and teamming up together in Tampa isn't something the three say is out of the question.
"What's exciting about that is we could go play for a coach we had for three years, so it would be a very good choice for us to make, too," Yearby said.
Yearby (5-10, 185) said USF and USC continue to pursue him.
Cook (5-11, 195), once a Clemson commitment, also has an older brother, new Canes' basketball guard Deandre Burnett, pushing him to stay home.
UM coach Al Golden made it pretty clear Thursday -- freshman linebacker Gabe Terry is no longer a Hurricane and won't be again.
"Gabe was suspended before the incident and we didn't take him to the spring game. Gabe is no longer with our football team," Golden said. "It's done. Again, I apologize. I don't know what [information] was released on our end, but he's no longer with the team. He was suspended before the incident. We've separated and moved in another direction."
Terry, arrested last Friday morning after being found by police face down on the steps near his dorm with 26.8 grams of marijuana, had been suspended indefinitely according to UM's sports information department before Thursday. But it's official now -- Terry is the fourth defensive player (Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul, Thomas Finnie) to be booted from the team since the end of last season. Golden said he handles all disciplinary issues the same.
"It's certainly case by case and it certainly has to do with the resume of the young man in terms of whether or not there were any incidents in his career here and whether or not he does all the things we ask him to do here," Golden explained.
In other news:
> Golden expects to have everybody on the roster healthy and back by Aug. 1 with the exception of defensive end Dyron Dye. "But it sounds like Dyron will have a chance to be back during training camp, which is great," Golden said.
> Golden described the situation with senior running back Eduardo Clements, who told The Miami Herald last month he was definitely coming back this fall, as "still a little tenuous."
"I know he's anxious to come back. All indications are he will be cleared," Golden said. "But in terms of the medical aspects of that I have to make sure I'm careful with that and don't overstep my bounds."
> As far as the backup running back situation is concerned, Golden said: "I was pleased with Dallas Crawford. He had a really good spring, certainly showed his interchangeable and can do a lot of things with the football... Danny Dillard made a lot progress. Gus Edwards is a big back coming in. The eight ball, the guy who threw us the curve was Mo Hagens. Mo really grew as a ballcarrier."
> Although there are rumors out there receiver Robert Lockhart may be interested in transferring, Golden said it's premature to address those because players are still taking exams and the semester hasn't ended.
"It would be premature for me to say that or speculate on that when nothing is definitive," Golden said. "It's probably prudent for me to wait until we're finished with [spring] exams and then make a release. Obviously every year at this time there are kids for a variety of reasons -- to go home, play earlier, seek transfer. The best thing for us to do is let it play out and then release it all on one day."
> Despite the loss of three linebackers from the end of last season, Golden said he's confident there is enough depth at the position and raved about the growth of freshman Alex Figueroa.
"I just kept waiting for him to hit a wall and he never did," Golden said of Figueroa. "He's a mature kid. His parents are marines. Very disciplined young man, very tough. He comes to us 6-3 and 230, very strong, physical, smart, explosive. You're talking about when this guy is all said and done he's going be 250, running and a smart player. We're excited about his progress. He's kind of thrown away the freshman tag because he doesn't act like it at all. He's started from the first practice to the last and did the same in the off-season program with his conditioning. He's on a mission right now. We're going to continue to let him grow and do his thing. "
> As for his team's new punter Pat O'Donnell, Golden said: "Pat is going to give us a great opportunity and really the experience we need, the veteran player we need," he said. "I'm excited about [Matt] Goudis. He did a lot of good things this spring to take that next step. We're going to supplement Pat with a lot of eager walk-ons that want to come in and earn a scholarship. Pat kind of bridges that gap. O'Donnell definitely gives us an opportunity to be steady because we were really steady there there the last two years."
Suspended Hurricanes linebacker Gabriel Terry was tased during his arrest early Friday morning, moments after school police officers found the 19-year old freshman sleeping face down on the steps near the rear entrance of his dorm and with a Ziploc bag filled with 26.8 grams of marijuana in the left-side pocket of his shorts.
According to the arrest affidavit from the Coral Gables police department, officers woke Terry up at around 3:48 a.m. and asked him several times to stand up and put his hands behind his back, but he did not comply. Terry then began to argue and pushed an officer away with his body before police shoved him to the ground in an attempt to handcuff him. Terry, who turns 20 on Sept. 21st, was warned he would be tased according to the report, but didn't comply and was able to standup before police used the taser to subdue him. The report said Terry eventually cooperated.
Coral Gables fire rescue was called "to retrieve the [taser] prongs" from Terry's back. Terry was charged with felony possession of cannabis and resisting an officer without violence. He was released Saturday after posting $6,000 bond.
Terry, who has a troubled history as a juvenile and whose father is serving a life sentence in a Central Florida prison for a 2001 murder, has an arraignment hearing scheduled for 9:45 a.m. on May 20th.
Listed as 6-3 and 210 pounds on the spring roster, Terry played in seven games as a freshman. He finished with five tackles and blocked a punt against Virginia Tech. He was suspended for the Virginia and USF games late last season, though UM coach Al Golden never specified what Terry had done wrong.
UM has taken Terry's name off its roster online and suspended him indefinitely. UM's defense has parted ways with three underclassmen -- linebackers Gionni Paul and Eddie Johnson and cornerback Thomas Finnie -- since the end of last season following suspensions and or arrests.
Thursday turned out to be a pretty good day for the Hurricanes' basketball team.
Coach Jim Larranaga and athletic director Blake James were in the state capitol building Thursday and honored on the floor of the house of representatives and senate, who designated April 18th, 2013 as University of Miami Hurricanes Men's Basketball Day in Florida.
That was nice, but so was seeing junior college transfer James Kelly officially sign his National Letter of Intent. The 6-7, 240-pound forward from Division II Owens Community College in Findlay, Ohio is considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and 247Sports.com. He averaged 18.3 points and 10.1 rebounds a game last season and is know for some pretty vicious dunks on YouTube. Here are a few links (CLIP 1, CLIP 2, CLIP 3)
Kelly also had recruiting interest from Clemson, Louisiana Tech, Marshall and St. Bonaventure. He's the third player to sign with UM joining Deandre Burnett and Davon Reed, who signed in the early signing period. Running back Corn Elder, who signed a football scholarship with the Hurricanes, is also expected to play hoops this coming season for Jim Larranaga.
Coach Al Golden released his team's post-spring depth chart Tuesday with one notable addition -- a new punter.
Pat O'Donnell, a graduate from the University of Cincinnati, is listed as the Canes' No. 1 punter and is also listed on the depth chart for field goals, kickoffs and placeholder. O'Donnell has signed a financial aid agreement with the University of Miami and is expected to enroll in either the summer or fall semesters according to UM. O'Donnell averaged 41.8 yards per punt on 59 attempts with the Bearcats in 2012, while dropping 23 kicks inside the 20-yard line and booting 10 kicks of 50+ yards.
UM returns 10 starters on offense and nine on defense from its 2012 squad that finished 7-5 overall and tied for first in the ACC Coastal Division with a 5-3 league mark. Several players were held out of spring practice due to injury, including LB Thurston Armbrister, RB Eduardo Clements, WR Robert Lockhart Jr., C Shane McDermott and DL David Perry. WR Malcolm Lewis, who was held out for the majority of spring practice, made his debut during the Spring Game with a scripted 75-yard TD catch - his first action since a season-ending ankle injury last September at Georgia Tech.
Freshman Alex Figueroa is listed as the Canes' No. 1 outside linebacker, the only freshman listed as a starter following spring practice.
CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO SEE HOW THEY'RE LISTED (REMEMBER THERE WILL BE INCOMING FRESHMEN IN THE FALL)
Sometimes when you watch a game it's hard not to just trust your eyes and rush to judgement. It's like stealing the ball at half court and having the lane completely open for a slam dunk.
When it comes to spring football games, though, you can't just call it like you see it. Schemes are simplified and in UM's case Saturday with the game being televised on ESPN3 coaches made sure to keep things pretty basic on both sides.
Mark D'Onofrio's defense ran two coverage schemes -- basic man and zone. But really it was a lot of man coverage without any blitz packages, he said. Offensively, James Coley didn't want show anything either.
The difference: he had Stephen Morris, Duke Johnson and a set of receivers who are clearly better than anything UM has in its secondary when it comes to old-fashioned, beat your man one-on-one football.
And that's really what we learned from this scrimmage. When it comes right down to it, Miami's offense is way ahead of the defense. Luckily for D'Onofrio he'll get to be creative when the season starts. Plus, more help is still on the way.
"We wanted to get the guys out there and challenged a little bit, get some matchups, put some guys against some guys -- some of our corners -- that weren't going against the 1s and find out if they could do it," D'Onforio said.
"It's good to see the guys [in vanilla scheme]: Can you beat a block? And can you cover somebody?" D'Onofrio said. "At the end of the day it's not a call generated scrimmage where you're putting them in position to do something or giving them some type of advantage. At the end of the day it's can they beat the guy across from them. It's a nice way to do it."
Morris pretty much showed everyone why his senior season could be special. He picked apart a mixed collection of UM starters on defense, finishing 13 of 23 for 256 yards and four touchdowns -- all that without a healthy Allen Hurns or Phillip Dorsett out there. His backups, meanwhile, showed just how far behind Morris they really are. Ryan Williams, last year's backup, finished 10 of 25 for 123 yards, 1 TD and two bad interceptions. Gray Crow did nothing to take the backup job away from Williams either, finishing 2 of 8 for a mere 50 yards.
"I was pleased with some of the execution," Coley said. "We had the thought of throwing the ball deep today and we did it. The other scrimmages and stuff like that we we're looking at other schemes and stuff we put in [installed]. This was probably an old school type of deal. You're in pro formation and either running the ball or throwing it deep. I liked how some of the guys looked out there. [Rashawn] Scott looked good. Stephen threw the ball really well and [left tackle] Flowers blocked unbelievable. When I wanted five yards I went to the left side for five yards."
Scott, suspended for the final three games of last season, pretty much took Tracy Howard's lunch money on a daily basis this spring. Howard wanted a one-on-one matchup with him again Saturday and just couldn't ward off the 6-2, 204-pound receiver, who by my set of eyes was clearly the most impressive receiver on the field this spring. Saturday he finished with five catches for 94 yards and two scores -- both on Howard.
"I don't know what he did in the past. I just know from when I got here his focus level -- he's been challenged everyday and he's responded," Coley said. "I like him. I like 'em big like that."
> Sophomore receiver Herb Waters had three catches for 50 yards and a score before leaving Saturday's game with a shoulder injury. He was in a sling for most of the second half.
"He's fine," Coley said. "We got a look at D'Mauri [Jones] a little bit. He made some nice catches. That was a blessing in disguise. We know what we have Herb. He's had a solid spring."
Jones finished with one catch for nine yards. Redshirt freshman Jontavious Carter had a much better day. He led the team with five catches for 113 yards -- including a 48-yarder in the first quarter where he left starting corner Ladarius Gunter in the dust.
As bad as UM's corners looked Saturday, D'Onofrio said he isn't worried about his top three -- Gunter, Howard and Antonio Crawford. But that doesn't mean he's not looking for help.
"I think its improved," D'Onofrio said of his secondary, which ranked 102nd in pass defense last season. "I'm still looking for some -- we're trying to figure out the fourth, fifth corner situation. We got some guys coming in that will help us out in that area. I'm looking forward to Artie [Burns] to coming in and playing corner and see how he competes with some of those guys. I feel good about Gunter. I feel good about Crawford. I feel good about Tracy [Howard]. [Nate] Dortch (beaten plenty Saturday) had a good spring. He had a couple on him today. I thought he improved. We'll just keep looking and see where we're at.
"As far as the safeties goes, Kacy didn't play today. He was out the whole spring. We look forward to him coming back. Jamal Carter is coming in. We're looking forward to building some depth there."
MORE NEWS AND NOTES
> Linebacker Denzel Perryman had two tackles (one for loss) and two interceptions in Saturday's scrimmage. But it's clear coaches want him to raise his game this fall.
"I'm looking forward to Denzel making a lot of progress over the summer," D'Onofrio said. "I think he's capable of playing at another level than he played with this spring. I think that comes with preparation, the day in and day out competing that he's capable of. I have high expectations for him. I'll continue to challenge him because I want to get the most out of him I can."
> Freshman linebacker Alex Figueroa, praised plenty by D'Onofrio this spring, hardly made a dent in Saturday's scrimmage. But there's a reason. "He's been nursing an ankle for the last 2 1/2 weeks," D'Onofrio said. "He's a tough guy. He fought through it. He didn't miss any [practices] which says a lot. He got a tough injury in the ninth practice, before the Naples scrimmage. We limited him some, but he never really missed any time."
> Will Saturday's defensive effort sway D'Onofrio from saying this was a good spring?
"Not at all," he said. "I thought guys did a great job. I thought we had a really good spring. Again, today we broke up the teams. So on defense we were broken up. It wasn't necessarily the first team or second team defense. We had a lot of mix and match in there, not necessarily a lot of guys who had played together in the spring. [The other two] scrimmages is where we controlled it. We tried to take a look at the top of guys. We didn't get past maybe 16 guys who were in there one time.
"I was really pleased -- particularly the second scrimmage. I'm really happy with where we're at. We'll look at this tape and look at the individuals. But kind of how this spring went, very happy with where we're at out there. Guys did a great job."
> Dallas Crawford had three catches for 33 yards and nine carries for just 19 yards and a touchdown Saturday, but it's safe to say he's earned the job as Duke Johnson's backup this spring.
"I love Dallas. Dallas gives so much," Coley said. "He's a guy that can play a lot of things for us. He's the guy."
> Tight end Beau Sandland, UM's most hyped new arrival on offense, finished with three catches for 30 yards Saturday. Although he didn't have an overwhelming spring, Coley saw progress.
"It's always hard when you're learning a system," Coley said. "You got to play fast because you're playing against faster folks. Now he's picking it up, processing it and starting to play fast. And guess what spring is over with. Let's take that over to fall and hopefully he'll get going."
Orange: Herb Waters 13 pass from Stephen Morris (Matt Goudis kick)
White: Garrett Kidd 13 pass from Ryan Williams (Ricky Perez kick)
Orange: Malcolm Lewis 75 pass from Stephen Morris (Matt Goudis kick)
Orange: Rashawn Scott 15 pass from Stephen Morris (Matt Goudis kick)
Orange: Rashawn Scott 14 pass from Stephen Morris (Matt Goudis kick)
White: Ricky Perez 26 FG
White: Andre Johnson 45 pass from Gino Torretta (Ricky Perez kick)
Orange: Dallas Crawford 2 run (Matt Goudis kick)
White: Ricky Perez 40 FG
PASSING: Stephen Morris 13-23-0-256 4 TD; Ryan Williams 10-25-2-123 1 TD, Gray Crow 2-8-0-50.
RUSHING: Duke Johnson 10-120, Maurice Hagens 8-39, Dallas Crawford 9-19 1 TD, Danny Dillard 8-16, Stephen Morris 1-2.
RECEIVING: Jontavious Carter 5-113, Rashawn Scott 5-94 2 TD, Herb Waters 3-50 1 TD, Dallas Crawford 3-33, Beau Sandland 3-30, Garrett Kidd 3-19 1 TD, Malcolm Lewis 1-75 1 TD, D’Mauri Jones 1-9, Stephen Sweeney 1-6.
TACKLES: Ladarius Gunter 5, Tracy Howard 5, Shayon Green 4, Rayshawn Jenkins 4, Tyrone Cornileus 4, Larry Hope 4, Deon Bush 4, Nantambu Fentress 3, Earl Moore 3, Jalen Grimble 3, Corey King 3, Tyriq McCord 3, Jordan Tolson 3, Denzel Perryman 2, Raphael Kirby 2, Luther Robinson 2, AJ Highsmith 2, Jimmy Gaines 2, Ronald Regula 2, Nate Dortch 2, Dequan Ivery 2, Anthony Chickillo 1, Olsen Pierre 1, Curtis Porter 1, Ricardo Williams 1, Brandon Yosha 1, Akil Craig 1
SACKS: Luther Robinson 2 (-14), Anthony Chickillo 1 (-11)
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Luther Robinson 2 (-14), Anthony Chickillo 1 (-11), Shayon Green 1 (-5), Denzel Perryman 1 (-2), Curtis Porter 1, (-1), Ladarius Gunter .5 (-2), Larry Hope .5 (-2).
FORCED FUMBLES: Corey King 1
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Tyriq McCord 1.
PASSES DEFENDED: Ladarius Gunter 2, Nate Dortch 1, Raphael Kirby 1.
INTERCEPTIONS: Denzel Perryman 2 (45 yards)
KICKING: Ricky Perez 2/2 FG (Long: 40), 2/2 PAT; Matt Goudis 0/1 FG, 5/5 PAT
PENALTIES: Orange 6-50, White 2-10
OK, so it wasn't exactly original. But the Canes still provided a nice moment for fans and receiver Malcolm Lewis on Saturday when they scripted a 75-yard touchdown pass to him from Stephen Morris.
Miami's defense let Lewis catch the pass uncovered and then jogged behind him to celebrate with him and the rest of the team in the end zone.
Nebraska's football team did something similar last week for a young boy battling cancer.
Lewis, who dislocated his ankle in what really was a gruesome season-ending injury at Georgia Tech last September, has been ahead of schedule in his rehab. He said last week he expected to be ready for contact in the fall.
Scripted as the touchdown to Lewis may have been, the emotions teammates and coaches shared with Lewis in the end zone were real.
Here is the video courtesy of Hurricanesports.com
It wasn't quite as memorable as Micheal Barrow's hit on Florida State's Tamarick Vanover or even as bone-jarring as Jonathan Vilma's blow to Nebraska's Ben Zajicek.
But when sophomore middle linebacker Raphael Kirby laid out freshman tight end Standish Dobard with a vicious hit during last Friday's scrimmage in Naples it definitely evoked memories of the days when the Hurricanes had a nasty presence in the middle of its defense.
Kirby (6-0, 230) celebrated his hit by raising his arms in triumph while Dobard (6-4, 255) laid on the ground waiting for trainers to come check him out and escort him off the field. Except for the 15-yard penalty Kirby would have received for taunting on the hit, UM coach Al Golden said Tuesday he's liked just about everything he's seen from his sophomore middle linebacker this spring.
"Kirb is going to be good," Golden said. "He's a bright kid and he's a hard worker. He's got to get to the point where it's second nature and he's not thinking. He's getting there. He's made a lot of progress this spring. He's been in a black shirt the majority of the time.
"He shows up at scrimmages. He had three or four physical plays the other night. You know, the taunting notwithstanding, which obviously, in that situation we taunt, we give them 15 yards and it turns into a touchdown or whatever. And that's a lesson for the whole team. But that notwithstanding they played really physical the other night and we've just got to continue to move him forward. But I'm excited about Kirby."
Kirby, an early enrollee as a freshman, was well on his way to making an immediate impact last season when he injured his right knee during a fall scrimmage. He came back for the final seven games of the season and tallied just 16 tackles.
"When I came back I was probably like 75 percent," Kirby said Tuesday. "I pushed through it, played when they called my number and got the experience."
But playing at 75 percent was definitely frustrating. Kirby would often limp around and favor his left leg. Now at 100 percent, he's been splitting reps with senior Jimmy Gaines at middle linebacker.
He said he gained 15 pounds of muscle in the off-season and now bench presses the NFL-testing standard of 225 pounds a total of 28 reps (junior Denzel Perryman is tops among linebackers with 33 reps).
"This spring I've just been working on being more vocal and being very physical, playing attached, getting guys lined up and being a leader in the middle," Kirby said.
"My goal [in Saturday' spring game] is to go out and have fun, play fast and get to the football and make plays."
Kirby did that last Friday. Aside from his crushing blow on Dobard, he tallied five tackles and had a pass deflection in pass coverage. But that hit Dobard definitely left an impression. Coaches made Kirby run sprints for the final portion of the scrimmage after the hit. Kirby said he apologized to Dobard afterward and said there is no bad blood.
"I believe I can be that type of player," Kirby said of being a vicious hitter in Miami's defense. "You just have to play balls to the wall every play. You can make a lot of plays and be dynamic when you stick to your assignment."
> Defensive end Jelani Hamilton injured his knee during Tuesday's practice according to Golden.
"He got hurt in a warm up drill, went down to pick up a fumble and got hurt," Golden said. "I really have no idea [how long he will be out]. Non-contact injury. Obviously we're concerned about it. It's unfortunate. We're trying to reach his family to get an MRI. Definitely an injured leg."
> Former Hurricanes recruit Angelo Jean-Louis, now at Marshall, was arrested Tuesday morning on felony charges of using a stolen credit card to purchase roughly $25 worth of food at a 7-11.
NAPLES -- Hurricanes tailback Eduardo Clements was wearing a headset during Friday's scrimmage at Naples High. But he expects that -- and the neck brace he's been wearing for months -- to be replaced with a football helmet soon.
The 5-9, 192-pound senior from Booker T. Washington High, whose health and future with UM has been in question, said Friday he will have his brace taken off in the next two weeks and expects to be full-go when fall practice rolls around.
"I'm really happy that I will be getting this thing off," Clements said Friday. "At first they thought it was a stinger, but then they realized I had to have surgery for a herniated disk. I'm really going to be excited to be back out there with the guys soon."
Clements' return will provide experience behind ACC Freshman of the Year Duke Johnson as well as depth alongside sophomore Dallas Crawford.
Redshirt freshman Danny Dillard (6-2, 210) appeared to injure his shoulder during Friday's action. But he got praised by UM coach Al Golden for his work after Friday's scrimmage when asked how Johnson's backups have been performing.
"We're giving the ball to Maurice Hagens more. He's answering. Mo is a physical runner, has a good lateral cut. He's showing some niftiness. I'm excited about it," Golden said. "I thought Danny ran hard on the goalline," Golden said. "I think Danny Dillard is starting to understand who he is. He's got to be a big back and wear people down. What can you say about Dallas? He's having arguably the best spring on the offensive side of the ball."
NAPLES -- Things didn't exactly go as planned for Anthony Chickillo or Rashawn Scott last season.
So far this they're showing signs their sophomore struggles could be behind them.
Chickillo tallied three sacks and batted two passes at the line of scrimmage and Scott hauled in nine passes for 128 yards and a touchdown as the Hurricanes wrapped up their second scrimmage of the spring in front of about 3,000 people at Naples High Friday night.
"I thought we were crisp," said UM coach Al Golden, who estimated his first team units got about 60 reps and his second team units about 55. "We completed some throws, did some good things on both sides of the ball, kicked the ball fairly well. It was much better [than the first scrimmage two weeks ago]. We had a good tempo. I thought the guys were in better condition, not as many mental errors and I thought we got a lot done."
The Hurricanes, who produced just 13 sacks last season on defense, tallied seven sacks and three interceptions in all Friday. Chickillo picked up the first two sacks before senior Kelvin Cain (two sacks and an interception), redshirt freshman Dwayne Hoilett (one sack), sophomore Tyriq McCord (one sack) started getting pressure on the quarterbacks, too.
"I think we are doing better," Chickillo said of UM's defense, which set all kinds of records last season for futility. "We're playing the run better. Guys are staying in their gaps and a lot of the sacks come from good coverage. Guys aren't blowing coverage assignments. We just have to keep working."
Scott, the team's second leading receiver a year ago before he was suspended for the final three games of the season for undisclosed reasons, made a handful of spectacular catches. He had a lunging nine-yard grab on third down to keep the offense's first scoring drive alive and then added a 32-yard catch later by fighting off cornerback Tracy Howard for the football as he fell to the ground.
Later in the scrimmage, Scott yanked in another 19-yard pass on third down to setup a Stephen Morris to Allen Hurns 8-yard touchdown pass two plays later. But Scott's highlight of the night was catching a short pass in the flat from Ryan Williams and turning it up field for a touchdown that spanned 27 yards.
"I think this is a big step for him," Golden said. "He practiced well, didn't have a great first scrimmage, but took care of business today. I'm pleased with what he's doing."
Said quarterback Gray Crow of Scott: "It's just a complete 180 with his attitude on and off the fld. He's willing to do anything. He's coachable. I just feel like there's a difference compared to last year."
Crow, embattled with Williams for the backup quarterback position, finished 8 of 17 passing for 72 yards one touchdown and an interception. But he stood out by engineering a 12-play, 99-yard scoring drive by going 6 of 8 for 67 yards on the drive. Williams finished 6 of 12 for 93 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Morris went 20 of 33 for 133 yards and two scores.
"That's a battle," Golden said of the backup quarterback job. "Gray led a nice drive from a backed up position and Ryan answered [with a field goal]. We'll look at both of them, evaluate them more thoroughly. But there's a good competition brewing with for the two-spot right now."
> The three touchdown passes to Scott, Hurns and Dallas Crawford (a 12-yarder from Crow) were the only scores for the offense during non red-zone work. The running game never really got going. Duke Johnson finished with 15 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown in red zone work. Crawford had 10 carries for 20 yards and a rushing touchdown in red zone work.
> Kicker Matt Goudis made a 20-yard field goal but missed a 41-yarder later. He finished 3 of 5 later in field goal work (makes of 49, 41 and 45 and misses of 41 and 53).
> Redshirt freshman cornerback Nate Dortch and walk-on Alex Irastorza had interceptions.
The University of Miami did not release a new depth chart following its first football scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, but its safe to say whoever failed to perform to the level expected of them brought their A-games on Tuesday.
Hurricanes coach Al Golden called Tuesday's practice: "the best since I've been a Miami Hurricane coach."
Why so good? According to Golden the team's most talented players didn't play their best Saturday and a lot of them came out with "pride because they didn't live up to their own expectations or they felt a little heat from somebody."
"There were a lot of guys in that scrimmage the other day that either weren't happy with their performance or got a sniff of it or two and are now running with the [first team]. I think the whole competition level rose today and guys responded," Golden said. "It had all the elements of a great practice. It had very few mental errors and had a great approach from the get-go. They started fast and competed. I had to keep looking at my watch because it was moving so fast. We got a lot done."
> Despite acknowledging that a leg injury to Dyron Dye on Saturday is "significant," Golden wasn't ready to release any more news on the fifth-year senior defensive end on Tuesday "until I hear from the medical people."
"It's terribly disappointing. It was basically a non-contact [injury] if you will, just running," Golden said. "We're all praying for him. Hopefully we'll have some good news here."
While Dye's injury doesn't appear to be good, Golden said every other player dinged up on Saturday was back at practice Tuesday. One guy who isn't practicing, but showing positive signs coming off injury is sophomore receiver Malcolm Lewis.
"I don't know if you were at the scrimmage the other day but he was out pregame running routes, which I didn't okay and was surprised as anybody to see it," Golden said. "But if he's out there it's because the trainers said it was okay for him to do it. I was just shocked to go out there and see him coming out of a break.
"That's amazing. That is an amazing feat, really a medical miracle that he's able to do that. We'll be careful with him until June, keep his weight down and then condition him on the bike and get him stronger. We're really excited for him to have a full recovery."
> With the number of scholarship running backs a bit low, Golden said the focus this spring has been to get sophomore Duke Johnson to learn to carry the load "and teaching him to be a 20-carry guy" while also being careful with his reps.
In the meantime, Golden said: "The guy that is probably having the best spring right now is Dallas Crawford. We don't have a final word yet on Eduardo [Clements] so we don't know where he's at. But certainly Dallas stepping up and [redshirt freshman] Danny Dillard stepping up has helped a lot. We have Gus [Edwards] coming in. I think we'll be okay."
Golden said UM plans on recruiting two to three running backs in its next signing class.
> Golden said redshirt freshman receiver Jontavious Carter (6-2, 208) had too many plays on Saturday where he didn't finish.
"He's got to learn to play big," Golden said. "He's not Phillip. He's not Malcolm. He's got to learn to play big. Big receivers catch slants. Big receivers show up in the red zone. Big receivers are blocking and cracking and distorting safeties and outworking people. Once he understands that and does it everyday then he can be fine."
> Golden once again had high praise for freshman linebacker Alex Figueroa (I'll have a story on him in Wednesday's paper) and kicker Matt Goudis, who booted a 49-yard field goal Saturday. A scout on hand Tuesday told me he thinks Figueroa is a future NFL linebacker.
> Despite tallying a handful of sacks Saturday, defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said a big reason for the success was having three guys out on the offensive line.
"I think we're getting better there, but that scrimmage shouldn't be the one indicator we're improving," D'Onofrio said. "I think the guys we've recruited -- [Al-Quadin] Muhammad and [Ufomba] Kamalu are going to make a big impact with the group."
> UM's receivers had about eight to 10 drops on Saturday and both Phillip Dorsett and Allen Hurns said that needs to improve.
"Every third down we've got to make the catch," Hurns said.
Said Dorsett: "We got to get better, show more effort."
> Hurns absolutely crushed safety Deon Bush during 7-on-7 work Tuesday.
"I wasn't supposed to do it. I was just caught up in the moment," he said afterward. "I have to apologize because that's not what we're supposed to do as teammates."
Hurns, who has taken a lot of big hits in his career, said it felt good though to dish out a little punishment. And Bush didn't seem to mind.
"It's all part of the game. It's nothing personal," Bush said. "It's a good sign to see that [from Hurns]. That's good that all the receivers they're really trying to get control of the blocking and stuff like that."
With spring football practice set to begin Saturday (scrimmages are set for March 23rd at Traz Powell, April 5th in Naples and April 13th at Sun Life Stadium) here is a look at the top story lines at each position entering camp. (FYI, UM is expected to release a new spring depth chart in the coming days.)
- Only five seniors who appeared on the two-deep were lost to graduation: running back Mike James, offensive tackle Ben Jones (one start), backup left guard Jeremy Lewis and receivers Kendal Thompkins and Davon Johnson.
That hardly seems tough to replace, but the big transition here is coaching. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch (Jacksonville Jaguars) is gone along with receivers coach George McDonald (Syracuse) and running backs coach Terry Richardson (Jacksonville Jaguars). James Coley comes over from Florida State with only one year of play-calling experience to take over for Fisch as offensive coordinator. UM promoted Hurlie Brown to running backs coach and hired Larry Scott away from USF to coach tight ends after Brennan Carroll made the move over to receivers coach. UM ranked 37th in total yardage offense (25th in passing; 87th in rushing) and averaged 31.2 points per game in 2012 (49th out of 120 FBS schools).
17 Stephen Morris (6-2, 214, Sr., Miami Monsignor Pace)
11 Ryan Williams (6-6, 223, Jr., Miramar High)
13 Gray Crow (6-3, 222, R-Fr., Clearwater Countryside)
12 Preston Dewey (6-2, 208, R-Fr., Austin, Tex.)
19 David Thompson (6-2, 207, R-Fr., Miami Westminster Christian)
Kevin Olsen (6-3, 196, Fr., Wayne Hills, N.J.)
> STORYLINE: There is no reason to be worried about the starting spot here as it looks like Morris and Coley are hitting it off. But it will be interesting to see who among the returning freshmen catches the eye of UM's new offensive coordinator. David Thompson will not be around because he's playing baseball, but Gray Crow and Preston Dewey will. With Kevin Olsen set to arrive in the fall and 2014 commitment Alin Edouard (Hialeah High) already handpicked by Coley the pressure will be on for Crow and Dewey to do something this spring. If they don't, don't be surprised if they end up elsewhere.
8 Duke Johnson (RB, 5-9, 188, So., Miami Norland)
33 Maurice Hagens (FB, 5-11, 238, Sr., Tampa Bay Tech)
23 Eduardo Clements (5-9, 192, Sr., Miami Booker T. Washington)
25 Dallas Crawford (5-10, 190, So., South Fort Myers)
32 Danny Dillard (6-2, 225, R-Fr., Venice)
27 Jameson Labady (5-11, 215, Sr., North Miami)
48 Brandon Yosha (6-0, 183, So., Carmel, Ind.)
Augustus Edwards (6-1, 222, Fr., Staten Island, N.Y.)
Cornelius Elder (5-11, 170, Fr., Nashville, Tenn.)
> STORYLINE: Coming off a fantastic freshman season Johnson should look even bigger and better coming off off-season workouts. The concern here is who backs him up moving forward with Mike James gone. Clements (neck) has health concerns. Crawford carried the ball just six times for 23 yards last season. He will be given first shot and we also should get a good look at Dillard in camp. But those are just two names. Incoming freshmen Gus Edwards and Cornelius Elder won't arrive until the fall. But if Crawford and Dillard don't impress in the spring, Edwards and Elder may actually come in and compete for playing time right away.
> STORYLINE: The huge bright spot entering camp and the season is the return of all five starters on the offensive line as well as four solid backups in Flowers, Isidora, Wheeler and Wells. Will any of those guys push for a starting spot? Flowers and Isidora probably could. The stories to follow this spring are newcomers Sunny Odogwu and Hunter Knighton. Golden is thrilled about both. They need to show they can be ready by 2014.
46 Clive Walford (6-4, 248, Jr., Belle Glades Glades Central)
82 Asante Cleveland (6-5, 260, Sr., Sacramento, Calif.)
43 Sean Harvey (6-4, 260, Jr., Largo Indian Rocks, Fla.)
95 Jake O'Donnell (DE, 6-6, 243, R-Fr., Doylestown, Penn.)
Standish Dobard (6-4, 255, Fr., Belle Chasse, La.)
Beau Sandland (6-6, 255, Jr., Woodland Hills, Calif.)
Ryheem Lockley (6-4, 217, Fr., Middlesex, Va.)
> STORYLINE: Al Golden told our Barry Jackson earlier this month Dyron Dye and David Perry were being switched to defensive end. Why? Because he was bringing in two studs in Dobard and Sandland, considered the top JUCO tight end in the country. Both should look good alongside Walford (25 catches, 451 yards, 4 TDs) as pass-catching tight ends moving forward.
4 Phillip Dorsett (5-9, 187, Jr., Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas)
1 Allen Hurns (6-3, 195, Sr., Miami Carol City)
80 Rashawn Scott (6-2, 202, Jr., Melbourne Central High)
86 Herb Waters (6-2, 185, So., Homestead)
9 Malcolm Lewis (6-0, 192, So., Miramar)
6 Robert Lockhart Jr. (6-1, 188, So., Delray Beach)
81 Jontavious Carter (6-2, 203, R-Fr., Cordele, Ga.)
15 D'Mauri Jones (6-4, 190, R-Fr., Leesburg, Fla.)
18 Chad Barnes (5-8, 170, R-Sr., Weston Cypress Bay)
37 Alex Irastorza (6-3, 190, Sr., Miami Columbus)
87 Garrett Kidd (6-2, 186, So., Midland, Mich.)
24 Joey McNeill (5-10, 172, Jr., Newton, Penn.)
24 Stephen Sweeney (5-11, 184, So., Ridgewood, N.J.)
Derrick Griffin (6-6, 215, Fr., Rosenberg, Tex.)
Stacy Coley (6-1, 175, Fr., Oakland Park Northeast)
> STORYLINES: Dorsett (58 catches, 842 yards, 4 TDs) proved to be the go-to target for most of the 2012 season and will once again enter camp as that guy. The players to watch will be Scott, who was suspended indefinitely after nine games and was having a stellar season (35 catches, 512 yards, 3 TDs) before that and Lewis, who of course was having a great freshman season before dislocating his left ankle and fracturing his fibula. Lewis, I'm told, will not participate in team drills during the spring but will be around.
-- There are only three seniors from the two-deep that are gone: starting cornerback Brandon McGee, backup defensive tackle Darius Smith and backup safety Vaughn Telemaque. But there were other losses. Cornerback Thomas Finnie was booted off the team after being involved in a laptop theft on campus, third-leading tackler Gionni Paul was booted from the team, and fourth-leading tackler and talented outside linebacker Eddie Johnson remains suspended indefinitely.
The Hurricanes had a horrific season in 2012 on defense statistically, ranking 116th in total yardage, 112th against the run, 102nd in pass defense and 82nd in scoring defense (30.5 ppg). They also produced just 13 sacks in 12 games. The good? UM produced 22 turnovers on defense -- 11 INTs and 11 fumbles.
71 Anthony Chickillo (DE, 6-4, 265, Jr., Tampa Alonso)
91 Olsen Pierre (DT, 6-4, 296, Jr., Rahway, N.J.)
96 Curtis Porter (DT, 6-1, 308, Sr., Charlotte, N.C.)
51 Shayon Green (DE, 6-3, 260, Sr., Tifton, Ga.)
94 Kelvin Cain (DE, 6-3, 245, Sr., Clovis, Calif.)
99 Jelani Hamilton (DE, 6-5, 271, So., Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas)
17 Tyriq McCord (DE, 6-3, 236, So., Tampa Jefferson)
92 Jalen Grimble (DL, 6-2, 292, Jr., Las Vegas, Nev.)
66 Dequan Ivery (DT, 6-1, 303, So., Lake City, Fla.)
67 Corey King (DT, 6-1, 292, So., West Boca Raton)
72 Earl Moore (DT, 6-1, 300, So., Tampa Hillsborough)
93 Luther Robinson (DT, 6-3, 290, Sr., Fort Pierce Westwood)
90 Ricardo Williams (DE, 6-5, 251, So., Homestead)
87 Jacoby Briscoe (DT, 6-5, 312, R-Fr., Lafayette, La.)
97 Dwayne Hoilett (DE, 6-3, 247, R-Fr., Vero Beach)
49 Dyron Dye (6-5, 258, R-Sr., Sanford Seminole, Fla.)
85 David Perry (6-7, 265, Jr., University School)
Al-Quadin Muhammad (6-4, 225, Fr., Ramsey, N.J.)
Ufomba Kamalu (6-5, 280, Jr., Butler Community College, Kan.)
> STORYLINE: UM's run defense was a complete joke for most of the season -- surrendering 217.92 yards per game. But over the final three games, the Canes allowed an average of just 137 (that would have ranked 32nd as a season average). The common denominator? A healthy Porter at defensive tackle. He played in just four games last season, starting the final three alongside Pierre. Porter has played in just 15 games over his four years at Miami. Aside from him, it will be interesting to see how Chickillo (team-leading four sacks) bounces back from an average sophomore season. Will he get pass rushing help from any of the sophomores or redshirt freshmen? McCord produced 3.5 sacks last season. Believe it or not, he and Cain (1 sack) were the only other defensive ends to sack the quarterback. Dye and Perry move over from tight end and will attempt to become pass-rushers themselves.
59 Jimmy Gaines (6-3, 232, Sr., Getzville, N.Y.)
34 Thurston Armbrister (6-3, 222, Jr., Hollywood Hills)
52 Denzel Perryman (6-0, 230, Jr., Coral Gables)
31 Tyrone Cornileus (6-2, 215, Sr., Stone Mountain, Ga.)
56 Raphael Kirby (6-0, 223, So., Stone Mountain, Ga.)
58 Gabe Terry (6-3, 215, So., Palm Beach Central)
54 JaWand Blue (6-0, 210, R-Fr., West Boca Raton)
44 Eddie Johnson (6-1, 234, R-So., Stone Mountain, Ga.)
47 Akil Craig (6-1, 226, R-Sr., Tampa Jesuit)
57 Nantambu Fentress (5-9, 205, Jr., Nashville, Tenn.)
Alex Figueroa (6-3, 225, Fr., Stafford, Va.)
Jermaine Grace (6-1, 196, Fr., Miramar)
Devante Bond, 6-3, 230, Jr., Sierra Community College, Calif.)
> STORYLINE: Losing Eddie Johnson could hurt the Canes immensely despite the return of a couple of other veterans. Gaines, Kirby and Perryman are all coming off injury-plagued seasons. It will be interesting to see what they can do when fully healthy and recovered and coming of a good off-season. The new arrival -- Figueroa -- has a chance to put himself in position to compete for playing time. It will be interesting to see just how much talent he has along with Blue and Terry.
2 Deon Bush (S, 6-1, 195, So. Miami Columbus)
37 Ladarius Gunter (CB, 6-2, 196, Jr., Montgomery, Ala.)
30 AJ Highsmith (S, 6-0, 208, Sr., Missouri City, Texas)
29 Rayshawn Jenkins (S, 6-1, 203, So., St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut)
22 Kacy Rodgers II (CB/S, 6-2, 212, Sr., Southlake, Texas)
21 Antonio Crawford (CB, 5-11, 188, So., Tampa Plant)
3 Tracy Howard (CB, 5-11, 185, So., Miramar High)
35 Nate Dortch (CB, 5-11, 175, R-Fr., South Fort Myers)
11 Larry Hope (CB, 6-0, 183, R-Fr., Miami American)
38 Jordan Tolson (6-1, 192, Jr., Inglewood, Calif.)
Jamal Carter (6-1, 175, Fr., Miami Southridge)
Artie Burns (6-0, 183, Fr., Miami Northwestern)
Ray Lewis III (5-10, 192, Fr., Lake Mary Prep)
> STORYLINE: The cornerback position has just one proven starter back in Gunter, but plenty of talent and potential with Howard and Crawford coming back after playing a lot as freshmen. That trio will be interesting to watch throughout camp along with the progress of Dortch and Hope, who were both redshirted last season. The safety position appears to be in much better hands in terms of experience. Can Jenkins and Bush push Highsmith and Rodgers out of the starting lineup for good? Strong reinforcements will arrive in the fall in terms of Carter, Burns and Lewis III.
18 Matt Goudis (K, 6-0, 172, So., West Hills, Calif.)
46 Ricky Perez (K, 5-8, 182, So., Miami Krop)
88 Zach Costa (K/P, 6-2, 209, So., Hillsdale, N.J.)
88 Ronald Regula (LS/TE, 6-2, 225, Jr., Miami Palmetto)
27 Ricky Carroll (P, 6-3, 185, Sr., Mission Viejo, Calif.)
> STORYLINES: You can't underestimate the losses of kicker Jake Wieclaw and punter Dalton Botts. Both were among the best in the ACC at their respective positions. Now Goudis, who participated in just three kickoffs, is the likely front-runner to handle both of those duties.
Mario Cristobal's fourth stint at the University of Miami sure didn't last very long.
Hired by coach Al Golden to serve as associate head coach and tight ends coach a month ago after being fired as the head coach at FIU, Cristobal on Monday accepted a job offer to become the new offensive line coach at Alabama according to multiple reports.
UM has yet to confirm it.
Cristobal, 42, replaces former Hurricanes offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, who was recently hired by new Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
Cristobal, who played and won two national titles at UM and served as an assistant coach from 2004-06, interviewed for the job on Friday in Tuscaloosa and was weighing the decision on whether or not to take it over the weekend, a source said.
UM hired Cristobal on Jan. 10 and then his former offensive coordinator at FIU two weeks later in James Coley. The two are solid recruiters in South Florida.
UM's spring football schedule was released Friday. The first of 15 practices begins March 2nd.
Three scrimmages will be open to the public.
> March 23: First scrimmage at Traz Powell Stadium in Miami (10 a.m.)
> April 5: Second scrimmage in Naples (7 p.m.).
> April 13: Annual Spring Football Game (3 p.m.) at Sun Life Stadium.
For the first time, the Canes will hold a "Student Appreciation Day" during their Tuesday, March 26th practice at Greentree Practice Field. With the exception of March 26 and the three scrimmages, all practices are closed to the public.
UM coach Al Golden discussed the 2013 signing class and other topics Wednesday evening.
Among the first questions asked was if the Canes were done. Golden's response: "I can't really comment on a specific story percolating. But we may have room for one more but that's about it."
Asked about report that running backs coach Terry Richardson is expected to be hired by the Jaguars, Golden said it was an issue he still had to discuss with his assistant.
Opening statement: "It's a class we're proud of. It was a class we really had to fight hard for. I don't think it's something anybody outside of this room understands what we were up against the entire year, fight for this class. I'm proud of our coaches for not making any excuses, hanging in there and bringing in a class that is not only excellent, but a great compliment to the class that played so well and so often for us a year ago."
"We started out targeting 16 guys, which is a really low number. Some of that is in part because of the self-imposed penalties. So, it was a tight number to begin with. But as you break it down we out searching for a big-time pro style quarterback and I think we got the best, if not the best in Kevin Olsen. We started out looking for one receiver in this class -- and that's tough when you're in South Florida and you got to let some of the best ones go -- but we felt we got the best one down here in Stacey Coley. That was a real great get for us. He's one of the more fluid receivers we've seen in a long time. We sought out to get one to two running backs. Obviously we're still uncertain of of Eduardo Clement's future because of his injury, but that number was set at one or two based on that. We needed a big back and brought in Gus Edwards and feel Gus fulfills that at 6-1, 230 pounds, a guy that can run between the tackles. We sought out to get two tight ends and we did that. I think we have two of the best in the country. We got one of the best in junior college in Beau Sandland. He's 6-4, 255 pounds. He's here right now. And Standish Dobard, also in this class from Louisiana -- two big time tight end prospects and real proud of coach Caroll. We sought out to get three offensive linemen. We got Alex Gall from Moeller High School, Hunter Knighton who will play center or guard for us, and one we're really pleased in Sunny Odogwu.
"On the defensive side we sought to get two defensive end and I think we accomplished that. No. 1 a pass rusher on the open side. Al-Quadin Muhammad from Don Bosco Prep we think he's one of the premier pass rushers in the country. He's 6-3 1/2, 240 pounds, long, rangy, animated, plays with passion. The other young man I'm equally excited about -- Ufomba Kamalu, 6-5, 275 pounds -- also a defensive end prospect. We needed some with a little more maturity so we went to Butler Community College to get Ufomba. We wanted to get three or four linebackers in this class and obviously we missed out on a highly sought after young man locally, but we did get Jermaine Grace who was the best linebackers, one of the premier two linebackers in the state of Florida. We also got Devanta Bond, a sam linebacker from Sierra Community College, and Alex Figueroa enrolled with us mid year. We got three of the fourr needs. We sought to get three defensive backs and we feel we got two guys who are proven defensive backs in Artie Burns, who can play corner or safety, and Jamal Carter. We also got a guy in Ray-Ray Lewis who can play corner, slot receiver or running back. We're excited about that. There's no question we lost our defensive tackle and that's something we have to address here moving forward. I think that should give you the overview of the class because you can get caught up in the numbers. We didn't take 23 or we took 28 guys. We took 32 last year. We're very pleased with that group. Out of the last two years 30 of the 48 or 63 percent hail from the state of Florida. I think we're right on wit that."
How concerned are you about the defensive tackle spot?
"We're going to have some options there. Again, it is what it is. You want to stay in there with the best kids in the country and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Getting Gus Edwards today, Stacy Coley and Jermaine Grace, those are three big-time football players we got down the stretch. We're in a business where everybody focuses on the guys you didn't get. But the reality is make sure the guys you get help your program, make sure they fit. In this case because we were so tight on numbers, again, this is as tight as you can be from a football standpoint. We're happy with the guys we ended up getting today."
You lost Jedd Fisch, added Mario Cristobal late. How did that affect things?
"I think it does. There's no question relationships are formed and then obviously dissolve at different times. I think that pales in comparison to what we've encountered from the sheer cloud or the presence of the word sanctions. It's something hopefully we can get resolved here in the near future and move on. We had one junior day a couple weeks back. We have another junior day Saturday. That's our third class where we're having to deal with an unknown. As long as we have known we can all deal with. The unknown is what's killing us. The unknown is what is allowing us to be exposed to attack."
You only signed five kids from Florida guys, four from South Florida. Is that what you want?
"Clearly I would have loved to hit on a couple more today, I don't think there's any question. Again, it's just the way it worked out. We needed tight ends. If there were 10 tight ends from down here going places then I would be concerned. We went out of state to get a quarterback. We went out of state to get offensive linemen. That's not uncommon. I always try to look at different rosters and make sure we're doing things the right way. The 2001 [national champion] roster was 55 percent in state. The rest was out of state. We're somewhere between 57 and 60 percent. I like to stay at 60-65, 70 percent. But again, you can't always predict how it's going to turn out."
So you operated on need base?
"It had to be. With 16-17 spots it was all about need. Obviously down the stretch here today we lost a couple Florida kids. You're not going to get them at all. But I really like the guys we're bringing in."
Were you disappointed with the Miami-Dade kids who went elsewhere?
"I'm a competitor like everybody else. I'm more proud of the guys we did get. Artie Burns, Jamal Carter, Stacy Coley, Jermaine Grace is an incredible talent. It's just the way it shakes out sometimes. We just got to move forward and hopefully get this NCAA thing behind us so we can roll. Right now we're fighting with one arm behind our back."
Can you talk about the situation with Booker T. Washingto and Denver Kirkland?
"The only thing I'll say and I don't believe in airing that out publicly so I'm not going to that. Again, there is a difference between pulling a scholarship and having none left. It's tough when you get to this point in the year. If it's any normal year, I can absorb going over one. But we had a hard ceiling this year because of the self imposed penalties and I was up against it. The commitments that i had gotten a run on commitments Wednesday, Thursday and you're out. So, that's all I can say to that in terms of just making sure we're on the same page. I was against a hard ceiling and I had no room."
How many scholarships were self imposed?
"Can I answer this question? I feel like I'm in court. I've been at this for two years. I can't answer that."
How many kids were silent commitments and how many were you sort of sweating it out for?
"All of them. That's the game we're playing right now. We're not coming from a position of power or leverage right now because of the sanctions. If we can get that lifted, we'll move forward. Again, it's really important the communication is good. I think we have a great relationship with the high school coaches in South Florida. We've got to continue to do that, continue to communicate. This is just an anomoly -- I hope it is because I hope we can move on from the NCAA -- it's an anomoly in such that this was out of my control. This wasn't like last year where we thought we were going to get 31 or 32 and signed 33, whatever the case may be. You can absorb one. I had no room to absorb one as we went into the day today and obviously when we went into the weekend last weekend."
Talk about the emotions of the Kirkland-Thomas announcement before Coley-Grace announced
"It's like the Godfather, right, it's the business we've chosen. It's up, it's down. It's the way it is. Don't worry about the ones you don't get and worry about the ones you do get can play and match your core values, the things you want to do. I know everybody is disappointed about the ones we didn't get today. But we're here to celebrate the Quan Muhammads and the Stacy Coleys, the Jermaine Graces and how about this Artie Burns. Nobody talks about him because he didn't do a hat show. This guy is a superstar. Let's talk about those guys and the impact they're going to have on Miami football."
What time did Gus Edwards send in his signed letter of intent?
"7 a.m. That was a good start to the day. We needed that."
Were the self imposed limits on visits?
"Obviously to some degree. I just can't say what.
"We visited 27 guys. We had to self impose penalties there. We visited 27 guys. What's our hit ratio? That's an incredible hit ratio. We're not allowed to visit 45 guys. Some in the coaching community that didn't understand the impact these things were going to have in recruiting and this was not in our control. Just to say you're going to take one receiver should say it all. I think we got the best one down here."
What happens if one or two recruits want to come in on signing day and you don't have space?
"If you have 25 you're not worried because you already filled your needs, so the guy who is doing the signing day thing is obviously - I don't want to say the bonus ball - or you have good information way in advance that he's coming. You put five hats out there, there's really not five schools waiting. You know or you have a 50 percent chance of getting it."
So if you think a kid is coming and he goes elsewhere you have one spot open then. Do you go after someone else to fill that spot at that point?
"It was late in the day, late in the process to do that."
How much more imperative is the development of the tackles you have here now?
"It's huge. With the cloud over our head to try and get a JUCO defensive tackle who already has a condensed time period on your campus, many weren't interested because of how tenuous it was."
How important is the defensive tackle position?
"We have to get better at that position. That starts with the guys on campus developing and continuing to develop more competition and keep our eyes and ears open for guys that become available."
How often do recruits ask about NCAA stuff?
"Just about every other question."
Is it hard to answer the questions?
"I can't even answer them in here."
Ray Lewis could be around the program now with his son at UM. Like that idea?
"It's exciting. To end like that, that's a story book ending for Ray [winning the Super Bowl]. And for Ray Ray to not only have passion and be disciplined and have a great work ethic and everything - but he kind of looks like Ray. It'll be fun to have him around."
Ray Lewis III comes to UM with the shadow of his father hanging over his head. How do you think he will deal with that?
"When I went to he house [for a visit] I told them Ray Ray was an incredible gentleman, took in the garbage can, did the dishes. This young man, you think he'd have every opportunity to be entitled and he wasn't."
Last year a lot of newcomers played right away. Do you expect that with this class?
"Last year was about signing basically a two deep everywhere because we lost so many seniors the year before. This group is more filling in now, giving us some symmetry and competition. … everyone gets a chance to compete for a starting job, it doesn't matter if you're a freshman or senior. There'll be a great number of these guys that will ultimately help us I'm sure."
Are you getting back to the symmetry you want in terms of the depth chart?
"We're moving in that direction. We're hamstrung a little because we have to artificially keep our numbers down."
You have 20 starters returning, was that an issue convincing guys to sign?
"We have 20 starters back on a 7-5 team. We get 10, 11 wins then you can say there's a little bit of hierarchy. We have a long way to go as a program. With a target of 16 or 17 we weren't going to be a top 10 recruiting class. That seldom if ever happens just because of the way the formula is. As I go down this list, I'm taking Sunny, Ufomba, Al-Quadin, Kevin Olsen any year. Grace is a fabulous player, Artie Burns. I'm thrilled about this group, can't wait to get them on campus."
Do you expect recruiting will only get easier now?
"If I say it now I may have to say it again when the (NCAA) cloud is removed. I don't know where we are in the process. I think all of us feel like there's closure coming, that it's there, that it's going to be a great day. I haven't had that experience yet at the University of Miami. I'm looking forward to going into homes and communities and not answer that question because it's either the first or second question. The first is how you doing, the second is how is the NCAA thing going."
What has Mario Cristobal's edition meant?
"Wisdom. He's got a poise about him, is connected to the community, South Florida high school coaches. A wisdom to see things like a head coach. I'm excited about him. I've leaned on him a couple of times [already]. We're excited about being here together. Now it's time to move forward."
You have an associate head coach and assistant head coach on your staff in Mario Cristobal and defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio. What's the difference?
"I don't know. I honestly don't know. But they have different roles in helping me with the administrative side. Mark deals with the weight room, Mario helps with the social, behavioral, discipline side. He's a good guy to have on the discipline side."
Did UM's academic standards impact recruiting at all?
"No. We just have to get to the point where we keep building this thing."
The University of Miami's compliance office took to Twitter Thursday morning to send a message it hoped its fans would receive and heed: leave recruits alone.
"Canes fans: We love when you support #TheU, but remember, only coaches can recruit prospects. #AskBeforeUAct," the tweet at around 10 a.m. from @UCompliance read.
Why the concern? Fans from both Miami and Arkansas have been a little too interested lately in trying to sway South Plantation blue-chip running back Alex Collins to pick their school. Collins is set to announce his college decision in an Atlanta TV studio Monday night after 10 p.m. on FoxSports Network.
It's against NCAA rules for fans -- especially those who provide financial aid to the schools they love -- to get involved in the recruiting process. Lucky for them, the NCAA doesn't have the time or resources to chase everyone down. But in this case, with Miami being under investigation, it's probably a good idea for Hurricanes fans to stop.
Collins, whose Twitter account is @Budda03, has been relatively happy with "the love" he's been receiving. But messages have been getting nasty lately. Some UM fans believe Collins' high school coach Doug Gatewood is steering him away from Miami because of an alleged connection to Arkansas.
Here is one example of one of those Tweets from Cane Flexin @ThatCaneZo: "Hey @Budda03 don't let your coach make your decision for you. It's your decision and yours only."
This morning Collins responded to some of those tweets: "It's crazy how people can make things up or assume things that's no where close to being true.. I've been hearin crazy things thats not true."
Gatewood has vehemently denied the claims and told The Miami Herald Thursday: "I get paid $3,100 to be a head coach and have caught more [expletive] this year than you can imagine. People sitting there saying I'm profiting from this, I'm going to send them a picture of my truck. It needs a paint job and is missing a window.
"I guess it happens. But I've never been a part of it. Everybody talks about my relationship with [Arkansas assistant] Charlie [Patridge]. At the end of the day, I use every resource I have to help my kids get recruited. I call every person I know when I have a kid. When [Collins] started playing last year nobody was recruiting him. I called everybody and said 'I got a kid. You got to come look at him.'"
"As much as I care about him, he cares about me as well. Nobody wants people talking [expletive] about their coach."
Some UM fans have responded positively to the UM compliance office's request. Victor Castro (@BudussyCanes) tweeted Collins: "Mr. Collins, wherever U decide 2 play ur college ball, we Canes wish U nothing but the best of luck. #GOCanes"
Arkansas fans, meanwhile, have continued to pursue Collins. The running back shared a picture of a chain of papers he got in the mail which reads: WOO PIG SOOIE GO HOGS!
Here's a list of some of the tweets Collins has received from both Miami and Arkanas fans and retweeted:
From Randall Baker @RSB416
"@Budda03 if you came to arkansas, I'd convert to Buddism."
From Kel Clarke @kclarke56
"@Budda03 @HogCaller90 can u imagine 80,000 fans wearing dreads at all the games.. I know id buy one - that would be sick - RAZORBUDDA!!!"
From Purple Cane @PurpleCane41
"I'd take a blindside hit from @raylewis if it got #AlexCollinsToTheU"
From Gene Esposito @GeneEspo69
"@Budda03 u gonna play for Miami and hit up south beach or play for Arkansas where marrying your cousin is common?"
From Jonathon Zenk @jzenk42
"@Budda03 You should go to Miami, unless you would enjoy getting your teeth kicked in by Bama and LSU every year..."
Perhaps the most interesting tweet came from Arkansas coach Bret Bielema himself. Of course, it wasn't directly sent to Collins. But it did mention Budda -- Collin's nickname. Bielema sent it to his running backs coach.
Here is the message: "Found a Budda in Dallas. Lucky charms everywhere we go. #wps #gohogsgo @coachjoelt"
The picture Beilema tweeted is below. Wonder if the NCAA will question Bielema for the Budda reference?
From the zany world of Twitter here's a new story making the rounds: UM running back Duke Johnson apparently became a target of one of LeSean McCoy's twitter followers for publicly voicing his opinion on the Eagles' star running back's baby mama drama.
BlackSportsOnline first got wind of the story Sunday and now it's spreading after a few retweets. Here is a link to the story and the details.
In a nutshell, Johnson criticized McCoy publicly -- as other athletes have -- for his public battle with his ex-girlfriend. One of McCoy's fans @John082583 then began attacking Duke for his comments.
Johnson hasn't paid much attention to it. His response on Twitter: "My mom always told me beware of the Internet thugs....✌"
UM fans have of course come to Duke's defense.
It will be interesting to see if UM coach Al Golden says anything about this. He's been pretty lenient on guys having Twitter accounts.
Turns out freshman David Thompson isn't the only athlete at the University of Miami who can swing a big bat and fling a football around.
Outfielder Grant Heyman, a three-sport star at Pittsford-Sutherland High School (N.Y.) and 11th round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in June, said Friday he's had discussions with the football staff about going out for football in the fall.
Heyman (6-4 1/2, 205) was an All-State quarterback and said he had offers from Rutgers, Syracuse and Buffalo as well as some Football Championship Subdivision programs. He said UM coaches told him he would come in as an athlete and potentially play "quarterback, receiver, really anywhere."
But right now, Heyman said, he's concentrated on trying to earn a starting spot on the baseball team and not worrying about football. Coach Jim Morris and the baseball Hurricanes held their first official practice of the spring Friday and have three weeks to prepare for the season, which begins at home against Rutgers Feb. 15.
"I guess when I originally came here they said I could play football. That's part of the reason I came, not the biggest reason," Heyman said. "I'm just trying to put on more weight before I go over there."
Heyman, who hit .424 with nine homers in just 18 games his senior year of high school, was the recipient of the Rawlings National High School Gold Glove Award his senior year. He said he was timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash and 6.6 seconds in the 60-yard dash.
Unlike Thompson, whose first love was baseball, Morris said Heyman's first love has always been football. Morris said Heyman is certainly talented enough to play both, but he loves his raw baseball skills. Because he lived in the northeast, though, Heyman just hasn't had as much time as others to focus on baseball.
"He has to progress," Morris said. "He's the highest drafted player on our team to come in here [this season as a freshman]. [In fall practice] he hit balls on the deck [of the parking lot behind the right field wall at Mark Light Field]. He just hasn't had the repetition. So he has a lot of work to do to learn how to play the game. But that guy is going to be a very good player for us.
"He's got great tools. Number 1, the power. He can run. He's 6-5," Morris continued before slipping in a joke. "He's a prototype quarterback -- I mean outfielder."