August 10, 2014

Sunday in Coral Gables -- last afternoon practice for a long time, maybe all season. Tomorrow, it's back to a.m.

  The Hurricanes had a closed practice Sunday for the first time this camp, as they hosted recruits on campus for much of the day. “U Day’’ included a barbecue and a chance for the recruits and their guests to watch practice and see what life is like as a Miami Hurricane.

       Golden was asked what message he was hoping to convey.

     “Just what a sharp contrast from a year ago,’’ he said. “Just, everything. How we approach everything. How we attack. How we’re back talking about who we are, instead of defending who we aren’t. It’s just different. …As bleak as it was a year ago, we’re so jacked up about everything right now.

    “That’s the message to the kids. I know they want to bring the ‘U’ back, so we’re excited that they’re here.’’

    Golden once again praised the players for a constructive practice.

    "Good effort today again. Good focus. Guys have been taking care of their bodies, getting good rest. I was really impressed with the way they came out this morning. Had a walkthrough this morning and not a lot of error repeats from yesterday. It was good. They took care of business last night.”

     The coach said he spends '' a good deal of time'' with special teams, but hasn't revealed a lot about specifics yet to the media. "I think what we do is kind of do the heavy installs for offense and defense in the beginning, and when we repeat them we increase the installations for special teams. We’re right about that time now where special teams is going to increase in terms of the meeting time, the walkthrough time and obviously the practice time.”

    ***Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio was asked how much more advanced he could now be with his defensive linemen, considering many of them are veterans.

   “Last year we did make a schematic change,'' he said. "We adapted to more of a 3-4 package that evolved -- still a hybrid package. We’re playing a lot of 4-3 concepts and all that kind of stuff. So now this is year two of that, with the type of guys that we’re looking for. So, you know, I think the guys, what we’re asking them to do fits their skillset.

"Certainly you have to be multiple, you have to be multiple for the different teams that you see. Some teams are going to try to pound you, some teams are going to try to spread you out; we have to play Georgia Tech with the option. We just try to recruit really good players and put them in position to do things that they do well. That doesn’t exclude anyone in the recruiting process. We can find a place for Jermaine Grace at 200 pounds at Will, and Nantambu Fentress at 195, then we have Denzel playing next to him at 245. It doesn’t exclude us from anybody in the recruiting process.”

 *** UM reported in its camp notebook that quarterback Brad Kaaya made “several highlight-worthy throws and “connected for first downs with receivers Stacy Coley and Malcolm Lewis and running back Duke Johnson. His most “impressive’’ throw, according to the report, was “a perfectly placed ball over the safety and into the hands of Herb Waters for a 25-yard gain.

*** Cornerback Tracy Howard ended an 11-on-11 period with an interception for a touchdown, the report said, while safety Jordan Tolson had a pick during seven-on-sevens. The quarterbacks were not named.

 *** Please be sure to read my story in tomorrow's paper (online tonight) about UM's new punters battling to replace Pat O'Donnell. O'Donnell's talent will be missed, and who knows what kind of difference that might make this season.

*** Practice Monday is at 8:20 a.m. It is closed to the public.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

August 09, 2014

First a.m. practice in the books: QB competition will be cut to 2 contenders after next week's scrimmage

Our talented intern Jacob Feldman (@JacobFeldman4) covered practice today at Greentree Field.

And he saw what everyone else has been seeing, that graduate transfer quarterback Jake Heaps and freshman Brad Kaaya are the two young men getting the bulk of the reps with the first team, and it appears the favorites going into the first scrimmage (closed) Wednesday.

 Jacob reported and transcribed some of what Coach Al Golden said after practice. Make sure to read his story on Dallas Crawford later today, and his notes from camp on the quarterbacks.

GOLDEN:

***On if players are starting to separate themselves:

"There are some guys that have played a lot and have a lot of experience, so those guys kind of separate themselves and you can maybe give them 3 reps and the other guy 5 in an 8 play period, but I would say a majority of our team is scratching and clawing right now to be honest with you. I dont think there is going to be that kind of separation until after the 2nd scrimmage. There are a lot of guys in the mix right now so there are a lot of jobs open."

***On the quarterback situation:

"I'd like to get it down to two (QBs) after the first one (scrimmage). I’d like to get it down to two and go from there as we get into game week. The first scrimmage is Wednesday, and the second one is Monday so there isn’t a lot of time, so if I can get it down to two and give them a lot of work between the first one and second one, we’ll go from there."

   Note that Golden said Kaaya was more vocal Saturday.

*** On WR Darrell Langham, whose first practice (in shorts and jersey and helmet, no pads) was Saturday:

   "We'll get [him] caught up -- get him in condition here, be careful with him in the beginning so he doesn't pull anything or get an injury.''

*** On what has impressed him about freshman right tackle Kc McDermott:

  "Kc's really good with his feet for a big man, and that’s what's allowing him to compete. He’s smart and he’s got great feet, and obviously the rest of that group has worked together for a long time so that’s the 5 right now. And we have 6, 7, and 8, which is one group and then the next group -- 9, 10, and 11 -- that’s how we are breaking it down right now."

  UM's starting offensive line is from left to right: tackle Ereck Flowers, guard Jon Feliciano, center Shane McDermott, guard Danny Isidora and McDermott. He confirmed that Hunter Wells, Alex Gall and Taylor Gadbois are the next three in line.

 Tomorrow's practice is closed to the media, but we will still conduct interviews in the late afternoon.

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 08, 2014

More Kaaya, a little more Williams, lightning, Langham and................. it's Goudis!

HEAPS OF KAAYA (ON FRIDAY)

  It's still early in camp, but at least after four practices it seems that graduate transfer Jake Heaps and true freshman Brad Kaaya are the Nos. 1 and 1A leaders, respectively, in the quarterback race.

   Kaaya, the 6-4, 218-pounder out of West Hills, Calif. (Chaminade-Madonna), took the reins for much of Friday's practice as the first-team quarterback. He is poised, has a great release, nice touch and exudes confidence on the field.

   Golden, who has praised Kaaya all week, was asked what else he'd like to see from the young quarterback.

 “Just do what he’s doing,'' Golden replied. "Command of the huddle. Continue to be more vocal. I think that’s the one thing Jake Heaps is right now. He’s vocal. He’s not afraid to get into, get after other guys and communicate and be loud. We’ve got to continue to work with Brad and Kevin [Olsen] and Malik [Rosier] on that. So that was the challenge to Brad today, just continue to be more vocal. Obviously he’s learning a lot. We’ve got a lot going in on the front end.”

 *** Ryan Williams, slated to be the starting quarterback before he tore his ACL in April, was behind center for three plays during seven-on-seven drills Friday.

    "He’s making progress,'' Golden said of the fifth-year senior. "Again I keep knocking on wood, and I’m not being coy with you – I don’t know what it all means. All I know is, he’s having an unbelievable recovery. In terms of the bell curve, he’s on the high end of it. So it’s good.” 

IT'S GOUDIS!

   Hurricanes kicker Matt Goudis, a junior who hit 13 of his 17 field-goal attempts last season, said he is feeling  better after injuring his back this summer, forcing him to “miss some time in the weight room and running.’’

    Goudis said now that he's back, he needs to build up his legs again.

   “I should be good to go and back by Louisville,’’ Goudis said of the Sept. 1 opener. “From missing some running, my legs are just a little tired, not as explosive, but I’m still hitting from 50. In four more weeks I should be good to go.’’

LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN   

     The Canes had their next-to-last afternoon practice of fall camp Friday, but their fourth consecutive session with a lightning delay.

     That streak could end Saturday, when they switch to a morning practice and don full pads for the first time.

     They go in the afternoon Sunday and then back to mornings Monday.

    “It’s almost comical,’’ Golden said, laughing, when he was told by a reporter that it was a short practice. “We only had one interruption today, so this was good. The kids fought through it, finished up their finals and papers this morning and got locked in. I’m proud of them. They did a great job this week. Great maturity, excellent leadership, good focus.’’

   Golden said he likes morning practices better.

   “Yeah, it’s good for their recovery,’’ he said. “It’s better for our meeting schedule and most importantly, it’s best in terms of the heat and everything.’’

 *** Wide receiver Darrell Langham, the only Hurricane who has not joined camp, was expected to arrive Friday night, Golden said.

*** The Canes will practice for the first time this camp in the morning on Saturday. They will also be in full pads for the first time.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

   

Two-way Tucker not shying away from playing linebacker or fullback for Canes

When JaWand Blue and Alex Figueroa were arrested and booted off the team last month following their arrests on sexual battery, sophomore Walter Tucker said he had an idea coaches might ask him to move back to linebacker. 

Apparently, though, coaches didn't get around to it until Monday -- the day before camp started. 

"Basically [linebackers coach] Hurlie [Brown] called telling me to come to the office," Tucker said. "He asked if I minded playing linebacker. I was down for it."

Tucker (6-0, 218 pounds) is still down to play fullback, too. And as far as coach Al Golden is concerned, Tucker will.

Although he spent the first three days of camp at middle linebacker and will spend the rest of it shadowing starter and leading tackler Denzel Perryman, Tucker said he still expects to come in and block or carry the ball in short yardage situations as a fullback.

"It really shows that I'm an athlete," said Tucker, who said he still participates in team meetings with the running backs to stay fresh with that side of the ball. "In the past, when I was younger, I always played both sides of the ball.

"With the [defensive] scheme, things are coming along better than what it was last year. I also have DP there to help me. We always get together after practice and work on plays."

Tucker was a two-way star at Plantation American Heritage as well as a track star. He won a pair of state titles in the 110-meter hurdles and had the nation's fastest time as a senior at 13.89 seconds.

This summer, Tucker said he was timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.4 seconds, squats 405 pounds, bench presses 330 pounds and produced 25 reps on the bench of the NFL Combine testing standard (225 pounds).

What does he like about middle linebacker? "Basically, you get all the action," he said. "You are the head hunter and you are also like the quarterback of the defense. You're in control."

Golden called Tucker explosive earlier this week. 

“He’s a 4.5 guy who’s 230,” Golden said. “He played a lot there last year and even a great deal before the bowl game, he took a lot of reps there. He’s got some stored up. Talking to [linebackers coach] [Brown], he was comfortable with his recall to this point.”

August 07, 2014

Notes from Thursday's Canes practice: Ice Harris talks becoming an assistant; Golden has high praise for Heaps

When Tim "Ice" Harris rejoined the Miami Hurricanes staff back in March as the assistant director of football operations, his plan was to finish his final year of college so he could put himself in position to become an assistant coach should a position open. 

That opportunity came a little earlier than  expected. When linebackers coach Micheal Barrow stepped away last week to go on sabbatical, coach Al Golden decided it was time to make Harris, who spent 24 years coaching in South Florida at the high school level, a full member of his coaching staff.

“God is good, you know?," Harris said Thursday after practice, his third day as UM's running backs coach. "He definitely sets things up for you when you least expect it, but if you do things the right way, you definitely get your blessings. It’s an awesome blessing and I’m so excited to be in the position that I’m in, and I’m running with it.

“This is something I’ve been waiting for my whole life, you know. The hard work that you put in doing things the right way at the high school level, developing young people and then to have an opportunity to be the running backs coach at the University of Miami, it’s a dream come true.”

Although it's not an NCAA requirement for a college coach to have a degree, it is a standard colleges want their coaches to meet. Harris, 48, said he's at the tail-end of completing his degree in business administration and is just "waiting on some grades, some final stuff to finish up." He said Thursday he thinks he'll be finishing school just before September starts. 

"It's going to be different and exciting [being on the other end of recruiting and going into high schools]," Harris said. "But one thing they're going to be able to see is when we talk about dreams and goals and stuff we always set out to do they can actually somebody of my magnitude, it doesn't matter how old you are, how long it takes, if you're doing things the right way dreams will come true because time will pass by."

Barrow was arguably Miami's best recruiter in South Florida. Harris said Golden still hasn't decided which areas he will absorb in recruiting, but it's hard to imagine a man who has coached at Miami High, Northwestern, Central and Booker T. Washington wouldn't be asked to try and corner the market in his backyard.

"He's a guy that a lot of families and players can relate to," running back Duke Johnson said. "Just to have him coaching us is exciting. Just knowing he comes from the area where I'm from and knows what it takes to be successful and he's going to install upon us to be successful. I'm just excited to see what he's going to bring and help us learn."

Harris, known for his expressive behavior on the sideline and not being one afraid to chew a player out, was asked if he might give offensive line coach Art Kehoe a run for the title for feistiest Canes assistant.

"Oh, no," Harris said. ""Art Kehoe, he's got me. He's a true veteran. I haven't caught up with him. [I'm] just going to focus on development. Whatever we have to do to get them to be developed -- take their talent and game to the next level, understanding this team's mission -- that's what I'm going to focus on."

GOLDEN HAS HIGH PRAISE FOR HEAPS

Golden had high praise for Jake Heaps Thursday, who again took the majority of reps with the first team at quarterback. Freshman Brad Kaaya also received work with the ones.

“Just a complete understanding, poise, experience, very coachable, not an error-repeater," Golden said. "Anything you correct, he gets fixed. Pleasure to work with right now.”

Told by a reporter Heaps seems to be making the extra effort to connect with his offensive line and teammates, Golden responded: “He’s that kind of guy. Glad he’s here. Mature, grateful, and doing a great job trying to bring it all together for us.”

Although he overthrew the speedy Stacy Coley and Phillip Dorsett on a pair of long passes, Heaps had several highlights on Thursday including a nine-yard touchdown pass during 11-on-11s. His most impressive throw was to sophomore Malcolm Lewis. Heaps showed nice touch on a corner route, delivering a perfect pass over the safety and for a 30-yard gain.

> Golden mentioned defensive linemen Chad Thomas, Anthony Moten and Demetrius Jackson as freshman who could all compete for playing time this season. He also said freshman Darrion Owens is fighting for a starting job as the strongside linebacker. Owens has been wearing a black jersey -- designated for starters -- the first three days of camp.

"We’ve got a long way to go, but certainly those guys are going to help us,” Golden said.

> Senior receiver Rashawn Scott, suspended twice in his career by Golden, was wearing an orange jersey (designated for offensive starters) Thursday for the first time in camp. What has Golden seen out of Scott lately?

“More maturity right now, more focus," he said. "He’s just got to stay with the structure, be around good people, keep making good decisions and he’ll allow his talent to come to the surface. I think that’s the biggest thing with Rashawn. He’s done a great job this summer. I’m proud of him. Clearly, he’s come back in the best shape of his life because he’s playing good football right now.”

> Why is Coley in a white, non-starter jersey?

“Stacy’s doing good," Golden said. "It’s just a deeper position than it was a year ago. It’s deeper and Tyre [Brady] and [Braxton Berrios] tightened it up for us. Again, Phillip healthy, Herb healthy, Malcolm healthy, much different group and Rashawn back, much different group."

> Freshman running back Joseph Yearby missed Wednesday's practice because he was sick the night before. Yearby was back at practice Thursday. "We were prudent with him," Golden said. "We held him out. We didn’t like where he was at at 2 o’clock, we held him out. That’s it. I’m moving on.”

> Thursday was the first day the Hurricanes donned shoulder pads in camp. Miami spent the previous two days in only helmets. The team will be in helmets and shoulder pads again Friday. They will move into full pads on Saturday.

AUDIO CENTER

Here is what the folks down at UM were talking about after Thursday's practice -- the third of the fall.

AUDIO: Al Golden talks about how Jake Heaps has looked in practice

AUDIO: Ice Harris talks about being hired as an assistant coach and what it means to him

AUDIO: Receiver Malcolm Lewis on his return from injury and Phillip Dorsett's eye-opening 40-time

AUDIO: Tight end Standish Dobard on his development and new teammate Raphael Akpejiori

AUDIO: Sophomore Walter Tucker discusses his move back to linebacker and his role as a two-way player

Hurricanes basketball announces non-conference schedule -- Who's going to Gainesville Nov. 17?

JUST IN:

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team will host seven home games and travel to Gainesville, Barclays Center and the Gildan Charleston Classic during its 2014-15 non-conference slate, Coach Jim Larrañaga announced Thursday.

“This is a great non-conference schedule for our players and our fans,” said Larrañaga. “Playing Florida, Illinois, Providence and competing in the ESPN Charleston Classic will give us great competition to gauge our progress and prepare us for our ACC schedule."

UM opens the season with an exhibition against Eckerd College on Nov. 6, followed by the regular-season lidlifter on Nov. 14 against Howard. After games at 2014 Final Four participant Florida and at the Charleston Classic, the Canes return to the BUC for six of the final seven home games.

UM will face preseason Top 10 ranked Florida for the first time since 2009, in a Nov. 17 matchup in Gainesville, then the Canes will host the Gators in the fall of 2015. After the in-state matchup, Miami plays in the Charleston Classic Nov. 20-23, which includes Akron, Charlotte, Cornell, Drexel, Penn State, South Carolina and Southern California. The Canes will then face Charlotte on Nov. 25, also part of the Charleston Classic.

After five-straight home tilts from Nov. 28 to Dec. 19, Miami hits the road for Brooklyn to face Coach L’s alma mater and 2014 Big East Champion, Providence College, in a Dec. 22 matchup at the Barclays Center.

Miami’s home non-conference schedule is highlighted by the Dec. 2 ACC/BigTen Challenge game against Illinois. The Hurricanes last defeated the Fighting Illini in 2013, on their way to the NCAA Sweet 16. The Canes will also face a pair of conference champions in Horizon League regular season champs Wisconsin-Green Bay (Dec. 6) and Ohio Valley champs Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 19), as well as South Alabama (Nov. 28) and Savannah State (Dec. 8) at the BankUnited Center.

UM wraps up non-conference play in Coral Gables on Dec. 30 against College of Charleston.

The Canes welcome nine newcomers to the 2014-15 roster, which includes six recruits – Kamari Murphy, Ja’Quan Newton, James Palmer, Omar Sherman, Joe Thomas and Ivan Cruz Uceda – along with two Big 12 transfers – Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan – and redshirt freshman Deandre Burnett, who sat out the 2013-14 season with an injury.

 

Miami Men's Basketball Non-Conference Schedule

Nov. 6

Eckerd College (exhibition)

Coral Gables, Fla.

Nov. 14

Howard

Coral Gables, Fla.

Nov. 17

at Florida

Gainesville, Fla.

ESPN Gildan Charleston Classic

Nov. 20

Drexel

Charleston, S.C.

Nov. 21

Akron / Southern Cal

Charleston, S.C.

Nov. 23

South Carolina, Penn State, Cornell, USC, Charlotte

Charleston, S.C.

Nov. 25

at Charlotte

Charlotte, N.C.

Nov. 28

South Alabama

Coral Gables, Fla.

Dec. 2

Illinois

Coral Gables, Fla.

Dec. 6

UW-Green Bay

Coral Gables, Fla.

Dec. 8

Savannah State

Coral Gables, Fla.

Dec. 19

Eastern Kentucky

Coral Gables, Fla.

Dec. 22

vs. Providence

Barclay’s Center

Dec. 30

College of Charleston

Coral Gables, Fla.

 

 

August 06, 2014

GRAY SKIES IN THE GABLES: Frosh RB Trayone Gray reports ... Kaaya works with first team ... UM in lightning/rain delay

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

Talented freshman Trayone Gray (Miami Carol City) reported to his first day with the Hurricanes on Wednesday afternoon.

Gray, a first-team All-Dade Miami Herald selection last year, is wearing No. 32 and working with the running backs.


Coach Al Golden previously said that Gray could be used as a 'Wildcat' type quarterback but would likely start with the running backs -- as is the case Wednesday. Gray could also find himself at wide receiver sometime down the road.

"He took that first screen for quite a long way," Golden said of a Gray catch during the first 11-on-11 session of the day.

"I think we have him listed at 208 [pounds], but he weighed in at 222, so he's a big back. We'll see where he grows – will he grow into a wide receiver? Will he stay at running back? I don't know. He's young – he just got here. We just saw a couple of plays today, and we told him what to do so we could see him. We'll look at it and see where he goes, but he's certainly a big kid. We're happy he's here."

-- Miami's second practice of the summer was in a lightning delay for over 90 minutes.


Things like this happen in South Florida on an August afternoon.


-- Offensive coordinator James Coley said he was going to rotate his quarterbacks with the first team in camp.

On Wednesday it was true freshman Brad Kaaya's chance to get in some reps with the first unit. Jake Heaps was working with the second team today.

Hurricanes looking to establish depth at linebacker in camp

Hurricanes defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio opened camp Tuesday feeling the best he has ever felt regarding depth on the defensive line and in the secondary.

"Last year I don't think we had a stretch where we had more than three healthy safeties available," D'Onofrio said. "Now I'm looking at six guys and I'm no longer forced to play two of the young ones.

"We have some options at that nose tackle position between Earl [ Moore]. Calvin [ Heurtelou], who was here in the spring, [freshman] Cortel [Jenkins] and [junior college signee] Mike Wyche. The competition is really going to make everybody better."

Linebacker? That's another story. The dismissals of Alex Figueroa and JaWand Blue last month following their arrests on sexual battery have made developing depth at linebacker D'Onofrio's top priority in camp.

"I felt like we had seven guys coming out of the spring," he said. "Now we've got to go back and find No. 6, 7, and 8. That's going to be my focus. Just trying to figure out who the best combination of guys are on the field, particularly in passing situations."

After seniors Denzel Perryman (middle), Thurston Armbrister (strong side) and junior Raphael Kirby (weak side), there isn't a whole lot in the way of playing experience. D'Onofrio said 6-2, 210-pound sophomore Jermaine Grace, the team's fastest at the position, is currently fourth in his eyes on the depth chart but freshman Darrion Owens (6-3, 236) is coming on strong.

Tuesday, sophomore Walter Tucker, who spent most of last season and the spring as a fullback after being first recruited as a linebacker, was back taking snaps at linebacker. D'Onofrio said junior Tyriq McCord, who plays the rush linebacker position in the team's 3-4 formation, has strong-side experience and will be used there "while we develop other guys."

"There are going to be some guys that get shots early, and we're going to look at different combinations there," D'Onofrio said. "It will be good. We'll have competition. We've made some adjustments, made some moves. We'll work through it."

THIS AND THAT

What was senior defensive end Anthony Chickillo's first thoughts when he heard about the arrests and dismissals of two teammates on charges of sexual battery last month?

"Our thoughts were all with the victim and her family," he said. "Obviously, a huge mistake was made."

New defensive tackle Michael Wyche, signed out of East Los Angeles Junior College this summer, has already shed 10 pounds since his arrival to drop down to 6-4, 340 pounds. He's also established himself as a force in the weight room.

Wyche bench-pressed 225 pounds (the NFL Combine testing standard) a total 35 times, good for second on the team behind Corey King's 37 reps. Wyche said coaches want him to play at 335 pounds.

"I'm more about the action than talking, so I can't wait to get out there and just try to make some plays and learn about the defense," Wyche said.

Former basketball player turned tight end Raphael Akpejiori said he spent the summer working with former Hurricanes Jimmy Graham and Santana Moss on route-running and catching.

"At first I was getting jammed a lot [in 7-on-7s]," he said. "I didn't know how to get a release. But I've been doing pretty well so far. I've been finding myself open a lot. I dropped a few balls, but I think I caught more than I dropped. It's been great. "

August 05, 2014

AUDIO: Interviews from the first day of Hurricanes camp: Duke, Dorsett, Wyche, Heaps, Crawford, Chickillo

Here are a bunch of interviews from moments before the first practice of fall camp at Greentree Practice Field in Coral Gables.

AUDIO: Running back Duke Johnson's 1-on-1 interview with Manny Navarro

AUDIO: Receiver Phillip Dorsett talks his blazing 40-time of 4.19 seconds

AUDIO: New Canes DT Michael Wyche talks about his strength, size and the potential of the defensive line

AUDIO: New Canes QB Jake Heaps on what he would like to accomplish the first week of practice

AUDIO: Canes safety Dallas Crawford said he's had full grasp of the defense since a week before the spring game

AUDIO: Defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo on his health, the arrests of former teammates Alex Figueroa and JaWand Blue and the state of Miami's defense

AUDIO: Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio talks big picture

AUDIO: New tight end and former Canes basektball player Raphael Akpejiori on his transition to the gridiron

August 04, 2014

News, notes and quotes from Al Golden's press conference the day before the start of fall camp

Hurricanes coach Al Golden met with reporters Monday morning to preview the start of fall camp on Tuesday. Here is a collection of news, notes and quotes covered over the 28-minute press conference. 

AUDIO: Al Golden's press conference

> Golden said redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen will "absolutely" be at practice Tuesday.

It was reported Friday Olsen was suspended for at least one game for failing a drug test. Golden wouldn't address the issue of a possible suspension of Olsen directly, saying that was a question athletic director Blake James or associate athletic director Chris Freet would have to handle. 

James declined to comment on the subject of Olsen Monday.

"As far as how we're approaching camp: we have four quarterbacks," Golden said. "We're going to cut it to two after the second scrimmage, about two weeks prior to the first game. We'll cut it from four to two at that point. And then we'll have two we'll get ready for the trip to Louisville [in the season opener Labor Day night]."

Does Golden believe Olsen is committed to being a Hurricane for the long term? "In my mind sure, absolutely," Golden said. "Kevin has made a lot of progress this summer. He really has. He’s made a lot of progress, and grew a lot as a person, so I’m anxious to see that tomorrow. That’s what I want to see, just how much he’s grown. Just being in meetings, I can hear him. He’s more vocal, he’s more confident, understands the system a lot better and has had a lot of opportunities to grow since the spring and I’m excited to see what he can do tomorrow."

> Asked who would be limited or sidelined when practice starts Tuesday, Golden only mentioned quarterback Ryan Williams.

"I think he’s going to meet with the doctor tonight, so rather than me act like I know what I’m talking about, why don’t we just get an idea where he is [Tuesday]," Golden said. "He’s had no setbacks. He’s doing great physically. Obviously his mind has always been tremendous in terms of the game and the leadership from that standpoint. Is he going to be a factor in this race in the next five weeks? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know and it’s not worth speculating on. Let’s see what Dr. [Lee] Kaplan and his staff say and we’ll stay on track. He’s got much more experience in dealing with this and the integration part of it than we do, so we’ll just follow his orders."

> What does Golden want to see out of his eventual starting quarterback? "We need a QB that can manage the game, that’s smart, that protects the football and that has a great presence on the field in terms of getting us in the right play when we need to be," Golden said.

> Golden said kicker Matt Goudis "did have a little issue this summer but everything that I understand is he’s been much better here the last two weeks so he should be good."

> Golden said most of the incoming freshman are in and some are being processed. "We expect to have everybody out there [Tuesday] except two individuals," Golden said. "We'll reaffirm that as the day goes on. But we're still waiting on the arrival of receiver Darrell Langham and running back Trayone Gray to save you that question."

> With linebackers coach Micheal Barrow leaving the team to go on sabbatical last week, Golden has moved former running backs coach Hurlie Brown to coach that position. Golden said he has full confidence Brown can handle it. Plus, Golden pointed out, both he and defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio have coached the position in the past and will lend a helping hand when its needed.

"Not the best of timing. But all that is, is circumstance," Golden said. "It's not the definition of what's going to happen moving forward. Or, it's not the result. It's just the circumstance. It's not going to determine anything. We have good veterans at those two [coaching] positions and we expect our guys to rally and be stronger in camp."

Golden said moving Brown to defense is something the former Hurricanes safety is "very comfortable with."

"Obviously being in the meetings, the staff meetings and understanding the nomenclature of our defense,  being the type of guy who has a rapport with everybody I think he's going to make the transition quickly," Golden said.

As far as elevating Ice Harris to running backs coach, Golden said: "More than deserving and obviously very grateful. Here's a guy that's been doing this for more than a quarter century for this opportunity. And I know he's going to give us everything he has and he's going to make us better."

> With linebackers Alex Figueroa and JaWand Blue no longer on the team following their arrests for sexual battery last month Golden said there's no question the Hurricanes "lost some depth, but we have some other guys that are going to rally."

"It's going to give [freshman Terry] McCray an opportunity. It's going to give a guy like [freshman Mike] Smith an opportunity, Demetrius Jackson, Juwon Young, and obviously you already mentioned [Jermaine] Grace. Those guys will all get an opportunity," Golden said. "Having said that, I'm excited about our group. I don't want those that are not with us to diminish what the guys that are with us are all about. [Rapahel] Kirby. Denzel [Perryman] has had a great summer. 245 pounds now. [Darrion] Owens I mentioned earlier and [Thurston] Armbrister."

Golden said Grace has had a good summer. "He ran some of the fastest 40 times on the team," Golden said. "Consistently under 4.5. He's 210 pounds now. He's more experienced. He's smart. He's an excellent special teams player. He gives us three down value. He's a competitor and a striker. So, excited about Grace. And clearly, Owens. You guys know I was excited about his focus and his performance in the spring and how he's going to great opportunity at SAM [strongside linebacker] along with Thurston Armbrister. We'll start McCray over there as well."

> Golden said he's brought in guest speakers to talk to the team regarding this summer's sexual battery incident involving Blue and Figueroa.

"I'm responsible for all 114 guys and really every staff member," Golden said. "I'm responsible for everybody. But it's something we take seriously. It's something we're very prudent with in terms of being proactive... it's something that's disappointing. We just have to continue to educate and communicate and make sure we're making great choices on campus." 

> Golden said running back Duke Johnson has been fully integrated into workouts this summer and he doesn't expect his surgically repaired ankle to be a problem. Golden said Johnson has an edge about him, is stronger and at 208 pounds is running his fastest 40 times as a Hurricane.

"I don’t think we need to modify anything with Duke," Golden said of his workload. "We’ll be prudent with him just as we are with anybody. But he wants to go. He’s ready to go. It’s not been, ‘Hey, I’ll wait till I get to camp to test it.’ He’s been testing it out here for all of summer B, which I believe started June 28.

"At the same time we're excited about that group in general. With the emergence of Gus. Yearby. Tucker gave us a lot of work there in the spring. DeAndre Johnson. We have depth there. Duke has done a good job of mentoring a lot of those guys."

> What areas can Duke Johnson improve on?

"The biggest thing is we all want to see him pick up where he left off," Golden said. "He was pressing his runs. They were hitting where they were designed to hit. So he had great discipline at the end of last year. He was running between the [tackles] really well and then when he got to the second level he would allow his talent to take over but he was very disciplined in that. I don’t know if you guys feel the same way as observers, but I know this: He was running differently in those last 3 ½ games. He was running as strong and as hard as I’ve ever seen him run and delivering stiff arms, lowering his pads, running really where the ball needed to be run. Moments prior to the injury he was running the ball at Florida State as well as anybody probably all year. We need him to pick up where he left off and go from there."

> Is there any empirical data Golden can point to that he saw in the offseason that points to that the defense will be better?

"There are a lot of things certainly coming out of the spring in terms of our tackling, yards per carry, three-and-outs, things of that nature, certainly we’re attacking more and we’re stronger," Golden said. "We have seven guys now on the defensive front that [bench press] 225 [pounds] 30 times or more. Mike Wyche comes in and gives us great size and strength; Calvin Heurtelou comes in and gives us the same. AJ Moten, Chad Thomas, so in terms of depth that’s the best we’ve been there on the defensive line in quite some time.

"We’re stronger and the biggest difference I hope, and this isn’t empirical, this is just watching, is the experience and quiet mind that we’re seeing in the secondary. Everybody is back, everybody is stronger, everybody is stronger, everybody is experienced, the communication is really good, the belief in each other, the accountability. And we’ve got great leadership. We had the best leadership we’ve had in quite some time. Chickillo stepped up, Kamalu stepped up, Jamal Carter, Denzel, a bunch of other guys, Ladarius – just since the spring a really good summer and now they’ve got to bring it into the season."

> How does Golden assess the gap between FSU and the rest of the ACC?

“Again, I’m not worried about them," he said. "They had a great team last year. They deserve to be champions. We’re on a different course. We’re on a different path. We’re proud of the way we do things. We’re excited about the direction we’re going. We’re excited about the resources and the commitment that we’ve gotten from the administration and Blake James. As I’ve said multiple times recently, we sat here a year ago and we didn’t know what the future held. We weren’t quite in this building yet. We didn’t have the fields. We didn’t have the medical center that’s going up that’s going to house our sports medicine. We didn’t have the training table. So, there’s been a great transition here in the last 12, 13 months. We’ve moved into this facility, $17, $18, $19 million, whatever it is. Seven million dollars on the field, $3 million training table. We have a $120 million U-Health medical facility that’s going to house our sports medicine and performance center that’s going to be 200 yards away. All of those things are in conjunction, obviously, with what Mr. [Stephen] Ross and the Dolphins are doing to Sun Life [Stadium].

"As bleak as it was a year ago, we’re equally excited right now. We’re proud of the direction that we’re going. We appreciate the commitment that’s been made, all of the donors, the alumni, the administration, the board, to really make a lot of changes in a short period of time and to do it under not-so-great circumstances. That’s really all I’m focused on. I don’t have time to worry about anybody else’s program. We’ve got to take care of the Canes.”

> What are realistic expectations for freshman five-star defensive end Chad Thomas?

“We don’t really look at Chad as a freshman. We look at Chad as a defensive end. His maturity, his leadership, really are well above his years. So his expectations are high, but more importantly, his standards are high. He comes from a program where the standards are high. So, it’s going to be hard for us to say, ‘Chad, take it easy. You’re only a freshman.’ That’s not going to happen. Chad wants to make a difference just as Anthony does, Moten, just as Demetrius does, just as Mike Wyche does, Courtel. We’re going to let him rip and he’s going to compete over there at end with Chickillo and Hamilton and those guys to start. Because of the summer Kamalu had, we had a chance to separate him. So he’s over there with Olsen and those guys at the other spot. So we’ll see how that develops. All those guys are bigger and stronger and Chad’s going to be a big part of this and including the third-down pass rushing.”

> Do you guys have the size and depth up front to play more 3-4 full time?

“We’ve never really been 3-4 full time," Golden said. "We’re in and out of it depending on situations. It’s become a game of situations. Everyone thinks it’s a game of four quarters, it’s really not, it’s a game of situations and when they go 10 or 11-personnel, three or four wides, excuse me, when they go three or four wides, we’re going to match up a lot of times. Sometimes that means put the nickel out there, so you might see Deon Bush, Crawford or Tracy in the slot, okay, then bring another corner in. If Deon goes down in the slot, we have a bigger guy that’s kind of like a sam in space and we bring a safety in. As it relates to the front, we’re in and out of fronts constantly. Sometimes we’ll be in an odd front which is 3-4 based, other times we’ll be in over or under front, which is 4-3 based. We have the flexibility now because we’re stronger at the point of attack, we’re the strongest we’ve been there. Again, seven guys over 30 reps, that’s a big number. That’s a big number. That was a lot of hard work by Swasey and those guys, great jobs by the guys up front doing that, now we’ve got to see it pay dividends for us.”

> Assuming he gets in, what position will freshman Trayone Gray start out at? 

“We’ve talked a lot," Golden said. "We’re not where we want to be yet depth-wise at running back, so we might put him at running back. He’s also a young man that can play wide receiver or wildcat quarterback. Very good athlete, he’s about 6-2, 208, 209-pounds. A big strong kid. We’ll look at him in a number of places just to see where he best fits in and also get him involved on special teams early.”

August 01, 2014

Here's my updated UM quarterback Kevin Olsen story. Any thoughts you'd like to add?

    The quarterback situation at the University of Miami is in flux again.

    Redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen, whose status was elevated when formerly declared 2014 starter Ryan Williams tore his anterior cruciate ligament in April, has been suspended for at least one game, WQAM’s Adam Kuperstein first reported and the Miami Herald confirmed through a source early Friday evening.

    The reason for the suspension, Kuperstein said on the radio and the source confirmed, was for failing a drug test.

    UM did not respond to multiple Miami Herald requests to verify the report. 

    Olsen was also suspended for the Russell Athletic Bowl in December for violating team policy, and had gotten into trouble before he arrived at UM when he was initially charged with leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident and careless driving after a May 2013 incident in his hometown of Wayne, N.J.

    Olsen’s suspension for at least UM’s Sept. 1 opener at Louisville – the same team that badly defeated the Hurricanes in the Russell – means the competition for starting quarterback in Williams’ absence will be between recently transferred graduate student Jake Heaps and true freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier.

    Former UM scholarship quarterback Gray Crow, of Clearwater, was recently switched to H-back, UM coach Al Golden revealed at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff.

   The Herald source said “Thankfully" Heaps was brought in to compete. “Otherwise there would be two true freshmen competing for the starting job.’’

    Olsen, 6-3 and 210 pounds, was a four-star athlete ranked 10th nationally among pro-style quarterbacks by Rivals.com and seventh by 247Sports when he arrived at UM. He is the younger brother of former UM star tight end Greg Olsen, now with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

   It is believed that coaches wanted, if possible, to redshirt Kaaya, the highest rated true freshman vying for the job. But Golden said recently the competition was “wide open’’ and first he’d have to see what each quarterback could do in camp.

  Fall camp opens Tuesday for the Canes, and the question remains whether Olsen will be there. (My comment: Will Olsen stick around for this season? Will he transfer? I don't know answer, just saying...)

  In other news, UM announced Friday evening that the football program has signed rising senior tight end Bowman Archibald to a grant-in-aid agreement earlier Friday.

   Archibald, the school wrote in a release, “ranked among the top tight ends in the nation for the Class of 2015, played on both sides of the ball and exploded with an impressive junior campaign at Pasco High in Dade City, Fla.”

   Archibald, 6-6 and 244 pounds, is rated as the fifth best tight end in the Class of 2015 by ESPN. Rivals.com and 247Sports.com have him as the 17th best tight end in the nation.

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

  

 

BREAKING NEWS: Changes to UM Canes football coaching staff

HERE'S THE RELEASE STRAIGHT FROM UM WHILE I'M WORKING ON STORY...

So sorry to hear the Barrow news. I'm talking to someone right now on phone who knows the family and confirms to me that Barrow's mother is very ill and he wants to take care of her. Susan Miller Degnan

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Linebackers coach Micheal Barrow is taking a sabbatical from coaching to devote his time and attention to a family matter. 

 "As a proud University of Miami graduate, former football player and coach, it is with a heavy heart that I announce I'm taking a sabbatical from coaching this season,” Barrow said. “This was an extremely tough decision to leave my dream job. However, I have a very important family obligation that requires my full attention, and I would not have had enough time to effectively fulfill my coaching duties.

 “With the 2014 football season starting soon, please know that I am truly sorry if my decision brings the organization any inconveniences. I would like to thank President Shalala, Blake James, Al Golden, the coaching staff, UM football players and the entire UM family for seven great years. During this time, my professional career has grown and afforded me wonderful opportunities on and off the field. I have enjoyed working alongside some excellent colleagues and privilege to coach some great kids. I will never forget my tenure at the U and I'm looking forward to watching them this year. Go Canes!”

 Head football coach Al Golden wished Barrow and his family the best, and said the Hurricane legend will be missed.

 “Coach Barrow has always put faith and family first in his life and this is clearly a time in his life where family needs him,” Golden said. “Micheal Barrow is the very definition of a Miami Hurricane - having given 11 years of class, service and leadership to the University and our community. We wish Micheal, Shelly and their children all the best as they enter a new chapter in their lives and we certainly hope Mike will return to coaching and mentoring young people in the near future.”

 Barrow’s departure has resulted in subsequent promotions of two current Hurricanes staff members.  Former running back coach and two-time national champion Hurlie Brown will move to the defensive side of the ball as linebackers coach for his 15th year of coaching.  In addition, assistant director of operations and national champion Tim “Ice” Harris has been promoted to running backs coach.  Finally, former Hurricane captain and national champion Kevin Beard will replace Harris as assistant director of football operations.

 Brown, who completed his first season as Hurricanes running backs coach in 2013, will shift back to the defense where he spent his playing career in the orange and green as a standout Hurricanes safety.

 “Words cannot explain how fired up I am about going back to coaching on the defensive side of the ball,” Brown said. “The defensive side of the ball has always had a very special place in my heart. And to be given the opportunity now in my career to be able to coach linebackers at the University of Miami is a dream come true.

 “I have played on the defensive side of the ball all my life, safety, corner, linebacker and some defensive line. My passion and love for football has always come from a defensive mindset. Aggressive play, physical play and playing with a high motor are all defensive terms that have helped fueled me to love this game. I know I can help instill my love for the game and the University of Miami in the young men that are playing linebacker for the Hurricanes today. It is truly a blessing from God!” 

 Golden said Brown’s mentality is a perfect fit for his defensive staff.

 “When I informed Hurlie Brown about the vacancy on defense he was sad to leave the running backs he coached and recruited, yet  equally excited about the opportunity to return to the defensive side of the ball,” Golden said. “Hurlie brings with him 14 years of coaching and playing experience at four different defensive positions.  His time on offense has made him a better coach, and Hurlie has always had a great rapport with our players, regardless of their position, so I know his transition back to defense will be a seamless one.  We are excited to add Hurlie Brown and his attacking mindset to our defensive staff.” 

 Harris, who has more than 24 years of high school coaching experience and recently joined the staff as assistant director of football operations from nearby national powerhouse Booker T. Washington High School, was promoted to running backs coach.

 “I am so excited to be the running backs coach at the University of Miami.  Having been born and raised in Miami and also a high school football coach in Miami, words cannot explain how I feel about this great opportunity, “Harris said. “It’s a dream come true. I have a great passion and love for the game of football and developing young men to help them achieve their maximum potential every day and also be great in the community.”

 Golden is excited to shift Harris into his new position.

 “I’m extremely happy for Ice Harris and his family,” Golden said. “Ice has been a winner, teacher and mentor to young people in South Florida for more than 20 years and is excited to share his wisdom with our student-athletes here at The U!  Coach Harris brings a championship mindset founded on discipline and toughness to the running backs room.  Born and raised in Miami, Ice is an excellent recruiter and is excited to continue the many relationships he has formed here in the Miami community and throughout the state over the years.  It is with great respect and admiration that we welcome the National Champion Ice Harris to our staff as running backs coach.”

 A member of the Hurricanes team that won the 2001 national championship, Beard will join the staff from his most recent position as coach on the University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) coaching staff.

 “I am truly thankful for this opportunity.  I understand that this opportunity does not come around often.  To come back to my alma mater, a place that has shaped me to be the man that I am today is truly a blessing,” Beard said. “I am excited to get started with this new chapter in my life.  I hope to pass on the legacy that was passed on to me during my tenure here to bring a national championship back to the Miami Hurricanes.”

 Golden is excited about welcoming a member of the Hurricanes community back to the football staff in Coral Gables.

 “We are very fortunate to add Kevin Beard to our staff.  As a former team captain of a national championship team here, he truly understands what it means to be a student-athlete at The University of Miami,” Golden said. “His diverse background as a player, teacher, coach, and trainer enables him to contribute in a unique way, and we’re looking forward to him sharing his experience with our team.  His work ethic and personality will be welcome additions to our staff.  I am excited to have him rejoin the U Family.”

 

It's true: Miami Hurricanes linebackers coach Micheal Barrow leaving the program

    Just when you thought it would be a smooth, quiet transition into fall camp...

     Long-time University of Miami football coach Micheal Barrow is leaving the football program, a source told The Miami Herald late Thursday.

     Fall camp opens for the Hurricanes on Tuesday afternoon, and UM coach Al Golden was previously scheduled to address the media on Monday.

      Barrow’s departure was first reported by CanesInSight.com.

     A native of Homestead, Barrow coached linebackers at UM for seven seasons. Barrow played for the Hurricanes from 1989-’92, when he was the Butkus Award runner-up and finished seventh in Heisman Trophy voting. He was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year and finished his career as the third-leading tackler in UM history.

      Other Internet reports by CaneInsider.com and 247Sports.com said former UM receiver Kevin Beard would be joining the Hurricanes’ staff, though it was not confirmed.

     The 247Sports.com report said Beard has joined the UM staff “in a quality control position.’’ FootballScoop.com reported UM special teams quality control assistant Billy Furman left for Eastern Kentucky.

      When reached by the Miami Herald late Thursday, Beard, who was a UM player from 1999-2003, said, “I don’t have a comment.’’

      When asked if he would love to become a UM staff member, Beard, the receivers coach at University High School in Davie, said, “Definitely. If it happened that I could be an asset to UM, that would be a good situation.’’

    And CaneSport.com's Gary Ferman posted on his message board that he heard from a source close to Barrow who said Barrow's mother was very ill and that Barrow wanted to care for her -- but Ferman wouldn't confirm. 

       SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN    

 

July 31, 2014

Life, death and passages... Baby Cane comes into the world and former future-walk-on Cane departs it

Roman Louis Williams

Our most heartfelt congratulations go to Hurricanes quarterback Ryan Williams and his wife Deanna, who celebrated the arrival of a beautiful baby boy late Tuesday night -- Roman Louis Williams, a 9-pound whopper who at this point looks more like an angel than a future quarterback (or future whatever).

 I texted with Deanna and talked to Ryan's mother Jayne Williams -- that would be Grandma Jayne to little Roman -- today. They said Roman was 21 inches long, to Ryan's 22 inches at birth.

 And if you think 9 pounds is huge (it is), Ryan Williams was 11 pounds 1 ounce at birth -- "and he was born two weeks early,'' Jayne said.

"He is a cutie, he really is,'' said Ryan's mom of Roman. "Ryan seems like a natural with the baby. Once he knew Roman was fine, he said, 'I have to get back to my wife in the recovery room. He slept at the hospital the past two nights. But today he was back at Miami working out and doing therapy.''

Deanna, who will be released from Baptist Hospital tomorrow, said of Roman: "He's perfect, and Ryan helps out so much I love it. And he barely cries -- just when he's hungry.''

Give it time, Mom. :)

Jayne Williams said Ryan will likely be a player-coach the first several days of practice. She said he's waiting for a custom knee brace to arrive. He still has goals of returning relatively early in the season.

"Anything less than getting back this season is unacceptable to him,'' Jayne Williams said.

************************************************************************ 

 On a tragic note, our deepest condolences to the family of former University of Pennsylvania linebacker Joey Grosso, a two-time Ivy League champion who was set to begin UM law school and walk on to the Hurricanes' football team for his final year of NCAA eligibility.

  A day after Roman came into the world, Grosso -- only 22 -- left it after diving for lobster off Pompano Beach on Wednesday and becoming the first South Florida fatality of the 2014 statewide lobster mini-season.

 Chris Yandle, UM's assistant athletic director for communications, said Grosso "was added to the 105-man roster on Tuesday'' but hadn't been assigned a jersey number yet.

  Joseph-Grosso Grosso, a high school All-State linebacker at Pope John Paul II in Boca Raton, was from Lighthouse Point in Broward County. He reportedly returned to a dive charterboat after lobster hunting and decided to go back into the water alone. Grosso's stepfather Phil Franchina told WSVN-Fox7 that Joey ran out of air. He was found unconscious on the surface at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

  I just got off the phone with Joey's first cousin, Michael Becker.

   “This has been one of the most tragic 24 hours that anyone in our family has ever experienced,’’ said  Becker, Grosso’s first cousin. “He was a diehard UM fan – our whole family is. He didn’t even care about playing; he just wanted to say he was a Miami Hurricane. It meant the world to him.’’

   “The entire Penn football family is saddened by the tragic news of Joe’s passing,” Penn football coach Al Bagnoli said in a statement printed in the Daily Pennsylvanian. “Joe was a terrific young man, an accomplished student and an outstanding player. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family during this very difficult period.”

  From Grosso's Penn Bio: Career Accolades -- Two-time Ivy League champion (2010, 2012) ... Finished with 43 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception in 31 career games ... Played in every game over his final three seasons.

2013: Played in all 10 games ... Finished with 22 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and an inteception ... Had at least one tackle in nine games ... Had multiple tackles in each of the last four games ... Season-high six tackles at Villanova (Sept. 28) ... Had an interception at Brown (Nov. 2) ... Four tackles apiece at Harvard (Nov. 16) and versus Cornell (Nov. 23). 

    Grosso graduated from Penn in May with a major in politics, philosophy and economics, according to the Daily Pennsylvanian. 
  *****************************************************************

  Chris yandle And I'd like to close by saying farewell for now to Chris Yandle, whose last day at UM is today and who has taken a job as Georgia Tech's Assistant Athletic Director for Communications & Public Relations.

  "It's bittersweet,'' Chris told me this morning. "I came here two years ago for a great opportunity and met a lot of wonderful people. I didn't expect to leave so soon, but I'm grateful for everybody at Miami who gave me the opportunity. My family and I are excited about what the future holds in Atlanta."

   When I reminded Chris that UM has beaten Georgia Tech five times in a row (actually, he confirmed that for me) in football and asked him what he thinks about that now that he's on the other side, he said, "No comment. I'm still being paid by Miami until tomorrow.''

   Thanks for everything, Chris -- and see you on the dark side in October.

   SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN  

 

   

    

July 29, 2014

The Five: Most important newcomers on the Hurricanes' roster

With fall camp set to kickoff Tuesday, Aug. 5 it's time to start looking ahead to the season and what is in store for the Hurricanes in Al Golden's fourth season as head coach.

There are plenty of new faces on campus already, but here are the five most important newcomers you need to know about and follow. 

1. Jake Heaps, QB, Sr., 6-1, 210, transfer from Kansas: Golden didn't take long to go in search of a quarterback with some experience as soon as Ryan Williams went down with a torn ACL in his right knee late in spring camp. Here's all you need to know about Heaps -- he has more starts (25), completions (491), attempts (896), yards (5,182), touchdown passes (32) and interceptions (27) in college than anybody else on UM's roster combined. And that includes Williams and Gray Crow, who was just moved to H-Back. 

Heaps' experience gives him a leg up on the rest of the four-man field competing to start on Labor Day Night in Louisville. But how quickly he's able to pick up the offense will be pivotal of course. He's only been on campus since the end of June. But the good news is offensive coordinator James Coley has been able to visit with Heaps and his collection of freshmen quarterbacks two hours a week over the summer to break down film thanks to a new NCAA rule. So they aren't coming in completely raw. 

Heaps, who also played at BYU before Kansas, said the Hurricanes offense was very similar to the schemes and concepts he used at both of his previous college stops. He fully believes he can have success being a simple distributor in the Hurricanes' offense. That might be all coaches need to see from Heaps to land the starting job over redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen and true freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier.

2 and 3. (tie) Calvin Heurtelou, DT, 6-3, 318, Jr., Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College and Michael Wyche, DT, 6-4, 330, Jr., East Los Angeles College: Miami's search for a dominant run stuffer has been ongoing for years now and both of these former JUCO standouts are expected to come in and contribute if not start. 

Heurtelou has been here since the spring and was already considered a co-starter along with junior Earl Moore (6-1, 304). Heurtelou posted 59 tackles with four sacks and two fumble recovers last season. Wyche arrived this summer. At East L.A., he racked up 26 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss including one interception as a sophomore.

Outside of senior Olsen Pierre (6-5, 305), who started 12 games and racked up 33 tackles, a sack and two quarterback hurries in 2013, Miami doesn't have much in the way of experience at defensive tackle. Moore started two games out of necessity as a true freshman and was in mostly on special teams last season after UM was able to bring in some transfers. Junior Corey King (6-1, 302) was pretty much in the same situation last year after starting once in 2012. Junior Jelani Hamilton (6-5, 290) has moved over from end and is also in the mix.

4 and 5. (tie) Juwon Young, LB, 6-2, 240, Fr., Albany, Ga., and Darrion Owens, LB, 6-3, 217, Fr., Orange Leaf, Fla.

- With Alex Figueroa and JaWand Blue getting booted off the team after being charged with sexual battery earlier this month, the linebacker position has become an even bigger area of concern than it already was. The good news for Miami is Young and Owens were already on campus for spring football and have at least 15 practices under their belts. 

Young, who chose UM over offers from North Carolina and Mississippi, had an interception in the spring game and is already listed as a backup to Denzel Perryman at middle linebacker. Owens, listed as the backup to Thurston Armbrister at outside linebacker, was a Semper Fidelis All-American and chose the Canes over Auburn and Georgia. 

Still, Miami is one Perryman turned ankle away from being in DEFCON 5. There is no time for sophomore Jermaine Grace (6-1, 213) and junior Raphael Kirby (6-1, 238) to mess around. They have to be ready to go.

HONORABLE MENTION

> Joe Yearby, RB, 5-9, 180, Miami Central: Golden moved Dallas Crawford to safety in part because of how much he believes in Yearby, who like Duke Johnson lit up Miami-Dade County in high school and is also coming off a serious injury.

With emerging sophomore Gus Edwards (6-2, 234) and sophomore bruiser Walter Tucker (6-0, 218) around Yearby won't be pressed into major duty right away. But Yearby is going to get work when Johnson needs a breather and Coley wants to keep the offense going with an elusive and explosive back.

-- MANNY NAVARRO

July 28, 2014

Jake Heaps on winning UM QB job: "It's absolutely vital. I didn't come here to be the backup.''

After a lengthy teleconference with UM graduate transfer QB Jake Heaps (who played two years at BYU before transferring to Kansas, sitting out a year there and playing last season at Kansas), here's most of what he talked about:

(Note: He was completely friendly and open and talkative. Should be fun to cover him.)

** He said "it's absolutely vital" that he wins the starting quarterback job. "For me I made this decision for a reason. I didn't come here to be the backup. I came here to play, but you have to come and earn that. No one is going to give that to you and that's what I knew coming into this situation and that's what I wanted. I didn't want anybody to hand me a job. I wanted to come in and earn it. That's the only true way you're going to earn your teammates' respect and gain their confidence in you. So for me, I'm very excited about this opportunity. This is my last year. I've given everything I have at this thing and it's extremely important for me to perform well and to do well -- not only to win the job but for my goals and aspirations down the line as well.''

** He arrived in late June and has been basically living in the UM football facilities unless he's sleeping. "Living the freshman life again in terms of dorms, that has been very interesting going from where I was. But honestly it's been great. It's been a great opportunity for me to just come in and focus 100 percent on football -- go to class and take care of my responsibilities outside. ...Honestly, the only time I really go back to my dorm room is to go to sleep.''

** His wife arrives Wednesday and they already have an apartment ready to move into. He said he'll be back in the dorms during fall camp.

** He thinks coach Al Golden is "doing things the right way.'' He is impressed with Golden's attention to detail and doing things right. "The thing I get from Coach Golden is I think he's done a great job with this program. I think he's done a great job of implementing his ideals into this team and into this culture. Coach Golden likes to do things a very particular way. I wouldn't say it's a disciplinarian style, but doing things the right way, that's the way I'd describe it -- making sure you're on time; making sure you're doing all the little things correctly. The guys have responded very well to it. He cares about the guys. He makes sure you're doing all right, you're doing OK. The best thing is that he doesn't want to leave anybody stranded. He's about trying to help people be successful and reach their potential.''

** He said there has been no dissension among the quarterbacks or any of the teammates regarding his arrival, and that everyone has been welcoming and supportive. "Many times you're in a situation with quarteback battles [and] it's very easy to find a team that has a divided locker room, that in a lot of situations don't handle this situation very well. It's a testament to the group of guys in this quarterback room that there hasn't been any division. Everybody has an understanding that we're all trying to do what's best for this team.''  

** He said he's been through transitions to new playbooks before, and a big part of it is adjusting to the new language.

** He said he is impressed with all the talent around him.

** He said he's been here for one month "and it's been vital for me to get in front of these guys, show them that I'm a hard worker, show them what kind of guy I am; let them get to know me; let them see me throw. The only way they're going to jump on board or I'm going to gain their respect is by them watching me and interracting with me. I've tried to come in and be nobody else but myself and come in and work hard and show these guys how much I love the game of football. ...I think they've come to an understanding that this guy is all about the team and is all about wanting to do whatever it takes to win. That's been important. It's gone extremely well. I'm extremely excited to be on this team. These guys are great. They've embraced me and have welcomed me in and I'm very grateful for that.''

** Here's how Heaps describes his style of play: "I'm a pro-style quarterback. I'm a dropback quarterback. I can read defenses extremely well, manage the situation, manage the game, understand the game. I really love the game of football. I feel like my strengths fit really well with what we're trying to do here. The offense that Coach Coley has is  a true pro-style offense. We have the personnel to run it and I feel good about who I am. I'm not going to be taking off for 80-yard touchdowns or anything like that, running, but I'll definitely be distributing the football. I feel very confident in my abilities as a passer and I'm excited to be working with these talented receivers and tight ends. It will be great.''

** On young, incoming quarterbacks Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier: "They've done a good job in terms of handling being freshmen. Like I said earlier about our quarterback room, we're all competing but we're all helping each other out as well. It's important to let those guys know that you care. If we're all going to be here and we're going to go through a season together we might as well enjoy each other. I've been in situations where it hasn't been like that and it's not very fun. I think doing my part and helping in any way is important and letting those guys know that it's not just about football but I care about them as teammates and as people as well."

** He said skill-wise, Kaaya and Rosier "are talented guys. Brad is more of your true dropback passer and Malik is more of your throwing and running. I think they're going to be good here.''

 ** He's "loving'' the Miami culture. He said he went to church his first Sunday here and had to "wear a translator. There were people who have to translate. I had to wear headphone. It was very cool. I enjoyed the mix of cultures and the diversity. It makes it a lot of fun. It's an exciting opportunity and it's fun to experience it. So far I've been really loving it and enjoying it and soaking it all in."

** On what he needs to improve at based on his experiences at BYU and Kansas: "One of the things you can point out is making sure when the pressure is coming on that I'm making sure that I'm making the right decisions -- my mobility. I'm definitely not a runner, but I know that I'm confident in my ability as being mobile and putting myself in the pocket and moving around in the pocket and opening myself up for throws. To have an opportunity to play with the offensive line here at Miami, these guys are extremely talented. It's been a lot of fun getting to work with them. I feel very good. I'm not going to be the guy that is going to go around and scramble for my life. But when  you're having to make sudden movements in the pocket, that's something that I've been working very hard to be extremely efficient at -- not just moving in the pocket but when you're having to do so, being accurate with those throws when you're making off-platform throws.

  "The obvious thing is working on the playbook and making sure I'm studying the playbook as much as I can to where I'm comfortable at camp.''

** On offensive line and other teammates: "They've been great. I've had a chance to get to know them. That's been important for me, letting these guys get to know me on every front -- offense, defense, every position. It's been important because especially in this unique situation, these guys have to know you. They need to know you in order to follow you or let you be the quarterback. Coaches can appoint that, but it doesn't always mean that's going to work out. It's vital for the team to feel 100-percent confident. So, I've had a chance to hang out with them and it's been great. Camp is coming up and we'll bond even more through that experience as well.''

** He described the Miami fan base as "passionate.'' He said the fan bases he came from were "great fan bases. They were very loyal and supportive,'' and "especially at Kansas "it was a great situation. Everything was great. They treated myself and my wife extremely well. We were very a part of that community. It was a tough thing to leave, but the football situation just wasn't the right fit, wasn't the right place. 

"So far with my interractions down here at Miami the fans are very passionate, they're very supportive about the University and about Miami football in particular. They want to see us win. They're hungry to see us win. They're hungry to see us perform. And I think that motivates us as a team to go out there and perform as best as we can. It has been fun getting the chance to interract with the fan base as much as I have. It hasn't been a ton, but the interractions I've had I've really enjoyed them."

   "We feel very confident about who we are as a football team and what we can accomplish as a football team. We're all very excited to get this thing going.'' 

** He said he'll play every down like it's his last.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

July 25, 2014

Fast and faster... Strong and stronger... Canes' speed & strength numbers improving this summer

It's the heart of the summer, but the Miami Hurricanes are still out there running and jumping and pulling and sweating to get ready for summer camp that begins Aug. 5 in Coral Gables.

Spoke to Miami Hurricanes strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey early this morning to get an update on how everyone is doing this summer in terms of strength and speed.

The speedy keep getting speedier, and the strong, stronger.

Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who sat out five games with a knee injury sustained Oct. 17 at North Carolina, is the fastest Hurricane. Dorsett averaged a 4.21 the two times he ran the 40-yard dash earlier this summer, Swasey said.

"He's definitely explosive,'' Swasey said. "When you get to pound-for-pound and relative strength, Dorsett has gotten so much faster. It's amazing what he has done.''

Dorsett ran a 4.4 when he came to UM as a freshman, Swasey said. His 4.21 average set the new 40 record for the Canes, breaking Sam Shield's former 4.26.  

Dorsett also did an impressive 40.5-inch vertical leap and is by far the best jumper on the team.

Here's how the 40 timing is done, according to Swasey: Each player runs the 40 twice (Duke Johnson, impressively fast coming off a broken ankle with the team's third-best 4.42 average and 4.33 fastest, ran it three times). And each time a player runs the 40, there are "two or three'' other people (besides Swasey) holding stopwatches and timing that player. Swasey said all the times for each run are averaged to come up with one time. 

Then, the two times are averaged together for the one "average" result. They also record the fastest time of the two runs. So, for example, Dorsett's fastest time recorded this summer was 4.18! No matter whose stopwatch was more accurate, Dorsett is a speed demon.

The second fastest Cane is receiver Herb Waters (4.39 averate, 4.33 fastest), also coming off a knee injury. Swasey said Waters ran a 4.65 average as a freshman.

Receiver Malcolm Lewis was timed at 4.43 (average) and 4.39 (fastest).

Another eye-opening number: sophomore RB Gus Edwards' new power-clean record of 362 pounds, breaking Willis McGahee's record (357) for running backs. "Pretty amazing for a sophomore,'' Swasey said. Edwards, 6-2 and 235 pounds, averaged a 4.58 in the 40. Be assured he'll run over a few folks this fall.

Your quarterbacks are not the swiftest, though two are newcomers. Freshman Malik Rosier is the fastest, averaging 4.79. His fastest: 4.69.

Kevin Olsen was next fastest, averaging 4.88, with 4.83 the fastest.

Graduate transfer Jake Heaps averaged 5.24 (5.19 fastest).

Newcomer Brad Kaaya averaged 5.51, with his fastest 5.46.

All players are timed twice in the year, Swasey explained, "after spring practice and in the summer.''

Veteran Ryan Williams, rehabbing from a torn ACL, is "ahead of schedule,'' according to Swasey. He said Williams filled in for one series this week at 7-on-7s in the shotgun formation, without putting heavy pressure on his legs. "He's doing great and in the training room he's done a great job. He's running a little bit.''

Guard Danny Isidora is the fastest O-lineman, averaging 5.14 seconds in the 40. And no surprise that rush end Tyriq McCord is by far the fastest defensive big guy with a 4.66 average and 4.63 fastest 40.

Pound-for-pound strength-wise linebacker Denzel Perryman, who is listed as 242 pounds, leads the team.

"He constantly has developed and improved,'' Swasey said. Perryman broke a 29-year-old squat record for linebackers with his 605-pound squat. He also benched 435 and power cleaned 342 (same as OL Jon Feliciano).

Swasey said defensive tackle transfer Michael Wyche came in weighing 365 but has trimmed down to 343. "He's a beast on the bench, but we've got to get his legs stronger.'' Wyche bench pressed 435 pounds this summer. 

Defensive tackle Corey King leads the team with 41 bench-press reps of 225 pounds.

Swasey said the guys are in the weight room lifting about 70 minutes, four times a week, not including all the other parts of conditioning, including exercises in flexibility, agility, strength, coordination, etc.

Any old-time Canes fans might recall when the players did 16 reps of 110s that they needed to pass to be integrated fully into fall practice. Since head coach Al Golden arrived in 2011, the Canes have switched to doing 14, 40-yard dashes as a conditioning test, Swasey said. Each player has 15 seconds to jog back to the start, then another 15 seconds of rest before running the next 40-yard dash. They are placed with teammates of the same speed range.

The 14 reps of 40-yard dashes help determine if players are in good enough condition to begin fall camp in the South Florida heat. "In this weather you have to make sure that guys are not passing out."

In closing, a few other position records broken: Walk-on 5-11, 175-pound receiver Stephen Sweeney benched 360 pounds, breaking Randal Hill's record. And 6-2, 240-pound walk-on fullback Ronnie Regula benched 415 pounds. Safety Jamal Carter, listed as 6-1 and 207, set the power clean record of 318 pounds, 10 pounds more than the late Sean Taylor. Carter also did 20 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.

"I'm so excited to get the guys ready to roll,'' Swasey said. "Year after year I swap out a stronger group [of players who graduate] for a weaker group, so for me it starts all over.''

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 Here are the 40-time averages I was given:



Pos.

#

NAME

40 Avg

40 Best

20 yd

3 Cone

B.J.

B.W.

Neck

225 BENCH

DB

1

Burns, Artie

4.56

4.47

4.26

6.98

9'3"

186

15.50

6

DB

2

Bush, Deon

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

10'

197

16.00

17

DB

6

Carter, Jamal

4.67

4.62

4.52

7.06

8'8"

210

17.25

20

DB

21

Crawford, Antonio

4.47

4.38

4.27

6.98

8'8"

183

16.00

11

DB

25

Crawford, Dallas

4.85

4.83

4.36

7.10

8'10"

200

16.75

17

DB

46

Delapenha, Hugo

4.62

4.53

4.31

7.11

8'11"

193

16.00

19

DB

35

Dortch, Nate

4.66

4.60

4.35

6.91

8'6"

160

15.75

DNT

DB

29

Elder, Corn

4.46

4.37

4.45

7.21

8'8"

172

16.50

DNT

DB

28

Fentress, Nantambu

4.82

4.77

4.24

6.95

9'

188

16.00

6

DB

7

Gayot, Marques

4.87

4.82

4.29

7.17

8'4.5"

206

16.50

13

DB

37

Gunter, Ladarius

4.58

4.56

4.33

7.01

8'9"

193

16.50

7

DB

22

Hester, Kai

4.64

4.57

4.3

7.04

8'7"

203

16.50

9

DB

3

Howard, Tracy

4.57

4.52

4.26

7.10

8'10.5"

181

16.50

12

DB

26

Jenkins, Rayshawn

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

208

15.50

DNT

DB

20

Lewis, Ray

4.63

4.58

4.41

7.14

7'11"

187

16.00

10

DB

27

Mayes, Ryan

4.66

4.61

4.42

7.17

8'11.5

188

15.25

4

DL

71

Chickillo, Anthony

4.91

4.85

4.38

7.26

9'2"

273

19.00

30

DL

99

Hamilton, Jelani

4.98

4.93

5.02

7.80

8'1"

290

17.50

22

DL

33

Harris, Trent

5.09

4.96

4.60

7.84

8'10"

235

16.50

13

DL

93

Heurtelou, Calvin

5.66

5.57

5.17

8.10

7'1"

316

18.00

33

DL

44

Jackson, Demetrius

4.85

4.71

4.39

7.57

7'11.5"

241

16.75

15

DL

92

Jenkins, Courtel

5.53

5.43

5.18

7.97

7'3.5"

320

17.75

20

DL

47

Kamalu, Ufomba

4.91

4.89

4.45

7.50

8'2.5"

286

19.00

24

DL

67

King, Corey

5.45

5.41

4.86

7.84

7'8"

294

17.50

37

DL

17

McCord, Tyriq

4.66

4.63

4.42

7.13

9'2"

231

18.00

17

DL

72

Moore, Earl

5.46

5.40

5.20

8.41

6'5"

300

19.00

24

DL

95

Moten, Anthony

5.45

5.27

5.16

8.20

7'9"

303

17.50

20

DL

98

Muhammad, Alquadin

4.78

4.70

4.34

7.51

8'11.5"

238

18.50

17

DL

60

Naser, Anthony

5.34

5.30

4.97

8.19

6'3.5"

249

17.75

21

DL

91

Pierre, Olsen

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

298

18.25

DNT

DL

9

Thomas, Chad

4.91

4.82

4.50

7.57

8'3"

260

18.00

11

DL

11

Wyche, Michael

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

355

19.00

35

K/P

24

Badgley, Michael

4.85

4.78

4.45

7.23

8'5"

199

16.00

5

K/P

48

Bacon, Josh

5.02

4.93

4.60

7.47

7'7"

180

15.50

1

K/P

27

Carrol, Ricky

4.95

4.91

4.62

7.41

8'1"

199

14.75

7

K/P

 

Contorakes, JC

5.08

4.96

4.79

7.90

6'0

196

16.00

1

K/P

18

Goudis, Matt

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

161

14.75

DNT

K/P

43

Semerene, Jonathan

5.02

4.97

4.67

7.48

7'9"

206

16.50

7

K/P

16

Vogel, Justin

4.65

4.63

4.45

7.22

8'5"

208

15.50

8

LB

34

Armbrister, Thurston

4.73

4.62

4.42

7.27

8'6"

238

16.75

18

LB

41

Chickillo, Wyatt

4.73

4.69

4.51

7.16

8'5.5"

216

17.50

17

LS

55

Gabriel, Frank

5.15

5.11

4.68

7.45

7'5"

214

16.00

4

LB

5

Grace, Jermaine

4.49

4.43

4.16

7.04

9'.5"

205

16.50

17

LB

56

Kirby, Raphael

4.64

4.59

4.46

7.31

9'3"

233

17.00

31

LB

50

McCray, Terry

5.14

5.07

4.69

7.50

6'6"

226

16.50

8

LB

96

McGinnis, Michael

5.04

4.99

4.35

7.32

8'0"

218

16.00

11

LB

58

Owens, Darrion

4.79

4.78

4.36

6.95

8'2"

229

17.25

17

LB

52

Perryman, Denzel

4.71

4.65

4.51

7.27

8'8"

245

17.75

33

LB

57

Smith, Michael

5.22

5.09

4.99

8.15

6'5"

234

16.00

14

LB

51

Young, Juwon

4.75

4.69

4.55

7.49

8'11.5"

239

18.00

23

                     
                     

OL

77

Arnaut, Adam

5.78

5.74

5.15

8.31

5'6"

280

17.75

5

OL

55

Brown, Joe

5.73

5.72

5.12

8.20

7'0"

333

17.00

9

OL

73

Darling, Trevor

5.88

5.83

5.52

8.29

6'3"

317

17.25

13

OL

70

Feliciano, Jon

5.37

5.37

4.83

7.73

7'8"

319

18.25

24

OL

74

Flowers, Ereck

5.33

5.29

4.91

7.69

7'5"

314

19.00

34

OL

76

Gadbois, Taylor

5.22

5.19

4.76

7.61

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

OL

67

Gall, Alex

5.55

5.50

5.11

7.71

7'2.5"

311

17.50

18

OL

79

Goldberg, Justin

5.85

5.77

5.44

8.40

6'10.5"

316

17.75

13

OL

69

Grimsley, Tyler

5.40

5.34

4.74

7.65

7'10"

273

18.00

25

OL

75

Harvey, Sean

5.34

5.30

4.83

7.95

7'0"

293

18.25

32

OL

63

Isidora, Daniel

5.14

5.13

4.96

7.93

7'4"

319

17.75

31

OL

55

Jackson, Sterling

5.61

5.57

5.05

8.00

6'7"

268

17.75

5

OL

54

Knighton, Hunter

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

268

16.75

DNT

OL

68

Linder, Nick

5.60

5.53

5.05

8.45

6'3"

286

18.00

21

OL

52

McDermott, Kc

5.64

5.56

5.14

8.16

7'1.5"

307

18.50

22

OL

62

McDermott, Shane

5.48

5.44

4.78

7.77

7'6"

298

19.00

27

OL

66

Odogwu, Sunny

5.69

5.65

DNT

DNT

7'8"

317

19.00

30

OL

64

Wells, Hunter

5.47

5.41

4.96

8.38

7'8"

310

18.25

26

QB

 

Feller, Colin

5.28

5.27

4.76

8.09

7'1"

192

16.00

0

QB

16

Heaps, Jakes

5.24

5.19

4.64

7.43

7'9.5"

208

16.50

7

QB

15

Kayaa, Brad

5.51

5.46

4.80

8.01

6'9"

216

15.50

DNT

QB

19

Olsen, Kevin

4.88

4.83

4.45

7.17

8'1"

203

16.25

6

QB

12

Rosier, Malik

4.79

4.69

4.63

7.62

7'5"

204

16.75

7

QB

18

Welch, Michael

5.4

5.33

4.79

7.65

6'9"

216

16.75

1

QB

11

Williams, Ryan

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

223

15.50

8

RB

7

Edwards, Gus

4.58

4.49

4.33

7.17

8'10.5"

237

17.00

15

RB

30

Johnson, DeAndre

4.62

4.49

4.17

6.62

8'10"

193

17.00

17

RB

8

Johnson, Duke

4.42

4.33

DNT

DNT

9'2"

201

17.00

18

RB

44

Tucker, Walter

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

6'11"

233

17.50

18

RB

2

Yearby, Joseph

4.65

4.62

4.62

7.39

8'7"

187

16.50

13

TE

47

Akpejiori, Raphael

5.05

4.99

4.87

7.90

8'7.5"

243

16.50

11

TE

13

Crow, Gray

5.32

5.26

4.76

7.42

7'2"

225

17.00

8

TE

5

Dobard, Standish

4.97

4.88

4.67

7.56

8'3.5"

258

16.75

15

TE

40

Golden, Matt

5.47

5.23

4.91

7.86

7'5"

222

16.25

10

TE

23

Herndon, Christopher

4.82

4.79

4.62

7.40

8'9"

237

17.25

17

TE

83

O'Donnell, Jake

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

251

17.75

18

TE

39

Regula, Ronnie

4.82

4.77

4.42

7.13

8'4"

236

16.75

34

TE

38

Rodgers, Joseph

5.06

5.03

4.66

7.81

7'10"

236

16.75

DNT

TE

85

Sandland, Beau

4.83

4.82

4.51

7.42

8'7.5"

260

17.75

25

TE

46

Walford, Clive

4.89

4.83

4.53

7.03

8'6.5"

255

17.00

22

WR

83

Berrios, Braxton

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

DNT

186

16.50

13

WR

82

Brady, Tyre

4.86

4.83

4.48

7.30

9'5"

198

16.50

5

WR

3

Coley, Stacy

4.48

4.40

4.47

6.89

8'4"

182

16.00

1

WR

4

Dorsett, Phillip

4.21

4.16

4.07

6.56

10'1.5"

183

16.00

11

WR

84

Golden, Greg

5.08

5.00

4.37

7.14

7'9"

187

15.50

7

WR

21

Johnson, Josh

4.51

4.50

4.22

7.00

8'11"

153

14.75

14

WR

15

Jones, D'Mauri

4.74

4.69

4.62

7.21

8'4"

197

16.50

9

WR

87

Kidd, Garrett

4.53

4.51

4.35

7.04

8'8"

190

16.00

0

WR

9

Lewis, Malcolm

4.43

4.41

4.56

7.21

8'7"

189

15.25

12

WR

31

Mayweather, Malik

4.79

4.77

4.41

7.12

8'3"

177

15.50

7

WR

86

Njoku, David

4.76

4.67

4.64

7.22

9'6.5"

222

16.00

9

WR

 

Pfenninger, Austin

5.13

5.07

4.48

7.46

7'7.5"

165

15.50

6

WR

80

Scott, Rashawn

4.69

4.64

4.35

7.19

7'7"

200

16.00

17

WR

 

Stavetski, Theodore

5.01

4.94

4.57

7.53

8'7.5"

204

15.25

1

WR

24

Sweeney, Stephen

4.54

4.47

DNT

DNT

8'3"

178

16.00

17

WR

86

Waters, Herb

4.39

4.33

4.14

6.81

9'9.5"

190

16.25

11

                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                 

 

July 23, 2014

Here's the Preseason All-ACC Team that includes Duke Johnson and Denzel Perryman

From UM, via the ACC: 

Miami Hurricanes junior running back Duke Johnson and senior linebacker Denzel Perryman were named to the 2014 Preseason All-ACC Football Team released Wednesday.

Johnson, a second-team All-ACC performer in 2013, rushed for 920 yards and six TDs in eight games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. The Miami native enters his junior season with 1,867 career rushing yards in 20 games.

This summer, Johnson has already been named to the watch lists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Maxwell Award (college player of the year) and Doak Walker Award (best running back).

A 2013 All-ACC first-team selection, Perryman started all 13 games at outside linebacker for the Hurricanes in 2013, registering a team-leading 108 total tackles including 69 solo stops. In addition to earning All-America Honorable Mention honors from SI.com, Perryman was the recipient of the Hurricanes’ 2013 Hard Hitter Award and Defensive MVP award.

Perryman has been named to the watch lists for four major national defensive awards: the Bednarik Award (college defensive player of the year), the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (national defensive player of the year), the Rotary Lombardi Award (best lineman or linebacker) and the Butkus Award (best linebacker).

Miami opens the 2014 season Sept. 1 against new ACC member Louisville at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

2014 ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE PRESEASON TEAM

OFFENSE

WR  Jamison Crowder, Duke
WR  Rashad Greene, Florida State
WR  DeVante Parker, Louisville
TE   Nick O'Leary, Florida State
OT  Cameron Erving, Florida State
OT  Sean Hickey, Syracuse
OG  Tre' Jackson, Florida State
OG  Laken Tomlinson, Duke
C  Andy Gallik, Boston College
QB  Jameis Winston, Florida State
RB  Duke Johnson, Miami
RB  Karlos Williams, Florida State

DEFENSE

DE  Vic Beasley, Clemson
DE  Mario Edwards, Jr., Florida State
DT  Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech
DT  Grady Jarrett, Clemson
LB  Denzel Perryman, Miami
LB  Kelby Brown, Duke
LB  Stephone Anthony, Clemson
CB  Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
CB  P.J. Williams, Florida State
S  Anthony Harris, Virginia
S  Jeremy Cash, Duke

SPECIALISTS

PK  Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
P  A.J. Hughes, Virginia Tech
SP  Ryan Switzer, North Carolina

 
 

July 22, 2014

"#WelcomeToTheU'' tweeted Brennan Carroll, signaling a new Miami Hurricane commitment

Ah, those "Welcome To The U" tweets that pop up on Twitter every now and then. Each is a not-so-secret code that a new young football player has pledged his verbal (and non-binding) commitment to the Miami Hurricanes.

Canes' receivers coach and national recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll authors those tweets that likely bring every social-media crazed UM fan to life. He doesn't put the recruits' names because of NCAA rules, but the kids themselves usually broadcast the information via social media.

This afternoon it was long and lean Wellington High School receiver Ahmmon Richards -- Class of 2016 -- who posted on Twitter that he was "Verbally committed to the "U."

 Richards, 16, is a four-star player who was recruited by Carroll and according to 247Sports.com is the seventh of seven four-star commitments in the 2016 class, which 247 ranks No. 1 in the nation. He is one of four receivers in that class and reportedly chose UM over offers from Georgia, Louisville, Marshall, FAU, West Virginia, Tennessee and Florida -- among others.

He is listed as 6-2 and 172 pounds.

Anthony Chiang, who covers high school football for the Palm Beach Post, said Richards caught 29 passes for 468 yards and three touchdowns last season as a sophomore. He also had four interceptions and returned one kickoff for a touchdown.

"I committed to coach [Al] Golden and [Brennan] Carroll,'' Richards told Canesport.com on Tuesday. "They were really excited, said that it was a win for them to get another great player in that class.

"Coach Carroll is a down-to-earth guy, really cool, the kind of guy I like.''

Carroll's corresponding tweet included an old-time photo of former Cane Dwayne Johnson, now immortalized as "The Rock,'' standing next to Carroll "circa 2001"

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

July 21, 2014

Al Golden talks to Miami Herald in a fireside (without the fire) chat today. Some of what he shared...

   GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden was kind enough to give each of the three South Florida dailies that cover the team one-on-one time today before he meets with the entire media in the early evening.

There was a fireplace beyond our chairs, so I'd like to think of it as a fireside chat.  

  Just to get a few topics out of the way for those wondering... At some point in our chat, I asked him, "Were you offered the Penn State job?"

   "I'm never going to comment on those things,'' he told me. "Never.''

   Understood. I followed with, "What was that short window of your life like last year?"

   Golden: "I'm just not going to comment. I just don't want to get involved in that. Professionally I just think...(he pauses here) The year before, rumors were circulating about this thing or that thing. I just don't want to get involved with that.''

   I let it go.

   I also asked him about former UM linebackers Alex Figueroa and JaWand Blue and their rape-related case. He definitely would not touch that one in any specific way.

   "Ultimately I'm responsible for all 114 student-athletes on the team and making sure that they're conducting themselves in a manner consistent with the University and our mission. But more importantly this goes beyond that in terms of their families and our families and society and issues that we're dealing with in colleges.

  "We do a lot to educate them as a team and try to give them examples, help teach them the lifeskills, but more importantly support the lifeskills their parents gave them and sent them to us with. But at the end of the day it's my responsibility as a head coach.''

*********************************************************************

   Have you replaced Blue and Fig's scholarships yet? "No.''

   Are there two empty scholarships? "There may be.''

   Are you bringing in somebody from the outside to replace them? "We're always looking to improve the roster. We don't have anybody in mind at this point.'' 

  Look for Tyriq McCord to play a lot of linebacker again this season.

  Who's the quarterback? I asked.

   "xxxx xxxx!'' Golden said. He didn't divulge.

   On senior QB Ryan Williams, recuperating from a torn ACL: "Ryan is doing great. He's as good as anybody that suffered the injury he has. We don't know what that will mean though in terms of when he will be integrated back into action but whenever that is it will be the earliest possible because of how much progress he has made during his rehab. ...I am not prepared to give any kind of medical word on when he'll be cleared.''

   On redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen: "He's had a really good summer. He's growing up physically. He has matured. He's developing. He just looks a lot different, a lot more confident. He has put in a lot more time and has been focused.

   On graduate student/Kansas transfer Jake Heaps, who is eligible to play immediately: "We brought him in because he's 23 years old. He's married. he started 30 games in college and he gives us maturity, he gives us experience and he's exactly what we thought he would be. Very bright. Very focused. He's clearly in a little bit different place in his life than many kids that may be freshmen and sophomores. He's already been through it. He's competing very well right now. I'm very pleased with Jake.''

Would you hope Jake starts so Kevin can get one more year learning if he needs to? “We’ll see. I don’t predetermine it. We’ll go from 4 quarterbacks to 2 very quickly in terms of who we’re going to focus our reps on in camp. But right now Malik Rosier and Brad Kaaya have really benefitted greatly from being at both summer sessions. They’re both very bright and they’re both going to be excellent leaders. A little bit different style for both.

"Brad is a big presence in the pocket – 6-4, 6-5, 220-something pounds. Great work ethic, can really see it. so I’ve been very impressed with him. And Malik, big strong arm and bright. Most people think he’s a runner just because he’s athletic. But he’s athletic in the sense Stephen [Morris] was. He can move and create but he doesn’t really look to run all the time although he can run. He’s a very good athlete."

 

Golden: "[QB] Gray Crow moved to H-back."

Me: Why?

Golden: "It’s just how it worked out. It’s a position we feel he can help the team at, just the way it shook out at the quarterback position. I don’t think he’s disappointed. Gray has always been a team player. He loves the University of Miami. He’s a great teammate and a great guy to have in the locker room."

  Would you like to redshirt Brad and Malik? 

  "I don’t know. Those guys have been out there in 7 on 7s and 1 on 1s and all that and we haven’t seen them in practice or scrimmage settings. We’re going to let it play out on the field. We’re going to give them an opportunity to compete. They’ve been competing all summer. I think a lot of their teammates are impressed with their knowledge and with their work ethic and with their poise. I want to see what we have before we decide to redshirt them."

*****************************************************************************

Some other topics we discussed: 

 * Incoming freshmen WR Darrell Langham and ATH Treone Gray have not yet arrived at UM, but Golden said he expects them in camp.

* S Rayshawn Jenkins, who was injured during the spring, "is doing the best he's been and we expect him cleared for full activity and training camp within the next week,'' Golden said.

* CB Nate Dortch "has left the team,'' Golden said. Note: He played in six games last year, mostly on special teams. 

* Speaking of special teams, UF Gators transfer Justin Vogel, who shares the jersey No. 16  with QB Heaps, "is doing a really good job'' at punter, Golden said. The way it's looking now, according to Golden, is it's between Vogel and Ricky Carroll, though kicker Matt Goudis will also work there.

* Golden agreed with me that freshman Braxton Berrios has the "it'' factor. "He's just about 100-percent right now'' in terms of his knee surgery rehab. "He's already cutting and doing all that. It's just one of those deals where he just finds a way. He's very resourceful, whether it's special teams or slot receiver, he finds a way to get things done.''

* What does Golden think of DT transfer Michael Wyche: "He's strong,'' the coach said. He's at 348 pounds now, Golden said, and he wants him at 335. "He's got a great personality. He's very grateful. Every time you turn around he's speaking to kids. We're glad he's a Hurricane.''

* Coach said the Canes played with 80 or 81 scholarship players last season and he expects the same this season.

* Coach said he expects to sign "probably 25 or 26" in the 2015 signing class.

* I asked Golden about Ray Lewis III. If you recall he was suspended for the bowl game.

Golden: "He's making progress. He's got to continue to mature and settle in. Hopefully he's continuing to improve. Like a lot of kids his age, it's time to grow up and time to mature and make sure to prioritize your day, think about why you're here and what you're trying to get accomplished and what are your goals and what are the team goals. Hopefully, he'll continue to move in the right direction.''

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

Miami Hurricanes picked by media to win the ACC Coastal Division & face FSU in league title game

The Miami Hurricanes were voted by the media on Monday to win the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference and face defending national champion Florida State in the ACC title game.

The Seminoles, in the Atlantic Division, were predicted to win the ACC championship on 104 of 112 ballots cast. 

Miami's 26 first-place votes placed third among Coastal Division teams, but the Hurricanes' 614 total points led overall. Duke, the defending Coastal Division champion, received 33 first-place votes and 597 overall points.

Not one of the 112 ballots cast voted for Miami to win the ACC title.

Virginia Tech was voted to finish third in the Coastal (571 points, 23 first-place votes), followed by North Carolina (570 points and 27 first-place votes), Georgia Tech (322 and one), Pitt (319 and two) and Virginia (142).

 The Canes also were picked to finish first in the Coastal last season and in 2006. Last year Miami finished 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC (tied for second), while Duke (10-4 and 6-2) lost to FSU 45-7 in the league title game.

 In 2006 the Canes were 7-6 overall and 3-5 in the conference, with Wake Forest beating Georgia Tech in the ACC title game.   

FSU, which went 14-0 last season, was also voted to win the ACC in 2011 and 2012 -- and in each of its first 14 seasons after joining the league (1992-'05).

Predicted to finish behind FSU in the Atlantic: Clemson (660 points and three first-place votes), Louisville (564), Syracuse (368), NC State (326), Boston College (301) and Wake Forest (136).  

The media predicted Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston would be The ACC Player of the Year.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN 

July 20, 2014

Duke Johnson: ankle pain only when he overdoes it, on Blue & Figueroa's rape case: "I was disgusted;'' and on Al Golden's Penn State saga.

Greensboro, N.C. -- Had a quick chat this morning with running back Duke Johnson of the Miami Hurricanes. He looks great and seemed happy to be here at the Grandover Resort for the 2014 ACC Football Kickoff.

We'll get Duke in-depth, as well as Canes linebacker Denzel Perryman, late this afternoon. Their interviews end at 5 p.m.

 Johnson, listed as 5-9 and 206 pounds, looks rock-solid (and you can only imagine how that also pertains to Perryman, a man who prides himself on his physique and strength) and ready to go. Johnson already is on the Watch Lists for the Doak Walker Award (I'm a voter, by the way), Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.

 Duke rushed for 920 yards and six touchdowns in eight games before breaking his right ankle Nov. 2 at Florida State. He averaged 174.1 all-purpose yards. The year before he finished with 947 yards and 10 touchdowns in 12 games. Think he's itching to reach 1,000?

 Regarding his ankle, here's what he told me: "I'm 100 percent. I barely feel it. I feel good.''

 When asked when, if ever, he feels pain on it, he said, "Sometimes I feel pain when I'm doing too much and have a long day -- when I do more than one workout. When I do overtime, when I go the extra mile after practice. It's just pain, just tightness. Not really sharp pain, more like tightness of the ankle. You get off of it, ice it, heat it and stretch it out.

 "I used to sprain both my ankles, little sprains here and there.''

 ***********************************************************************************************

Johnson was adamant about former teammates JaWand Blue and Alexander Figueroa, both linebackers arrested and charged with sexual battery July 8 after admitting to Coral Gables police they got a 17-year-old new UM student intoxicated and raped her on campus.

Johnson's reaction: "I was disgusted. Yeah, they’re my teammates and yeah they were my teammates and we hung out and talked. But there’s a certain line you don’t cross and there are certain things you don’t do and when you do I become the enemy. I become the guy that just can’t associate with you.

"When the story came out I was more wanting to reach out to the girl and her family and make sure she was OK. Because that’s a family that just sent their daughter to college and that’s a fear of all families when they send their daughters to school. It hit homes with me because I have a goddaughter, I have a sister -- Autumn is 2. No matter how close you are with someone that’s not something that should ever be acceptable.

"I have not talked to them. I think the AD [Blake James] and Coach Golden made the right decision [to dismiss them permanently from team] but at the same time that was over their heads anyway. Once you get into the laws’ hands, there’s nothing they could do anyway. I feel like at the end of the day they would be off the team regardless."

Though there was a team meeting after the rape charges, Johnson said the team met with coaches. He was asked if UM conducts any seminars or lifeskill classes preparing them for social situations that could arise in college and how to cope.

"No,'' he said. "My mother taught me. It’s just something you learn growing up."

Does he  think the players should be given any type of education on that?

"No. Everybody is not like that. It was just a couple of kids. I don’t think there are that many guys who need a class for it. I think when older guys start drinking, they're able to handle it on their own and they understand the law. They know what’s right and what’s wrong."

*****************************************************************************************************************

 Duke on Al Golden's situation with Penn State and what it would have been like for the team if he left to become the coach there:

"It’s hard to say now what it would have been like, but obviously we would have had to move on and take the next step. We were on break at the time and just enjoyed our break, took our time off and hung out and relaxed. We weren’t bothered by it because if he left it was out of our control. If he stayed it was out of our control. The decision wasn’t up to us so there was nothing we could do. I think there was a time he did talk about it with us. but I didn’t even see the point. At the end of the day he had to make the best decision for his family."

****************************************************************************

 Before the interview was ended I quickly asked Duke about new senior quarterback transfer Jake Heaps.

 "He's a smart quarterback,'' Johnson said. "I like him. He's a bit undersized but he makes up for it with his smart decisions and quick release. He's an older guy so he can read coverages well. He knows what to throw and when it's open.''

 But Johnson quickly added as he was whisked away for another interview: "But Jake just got into our system, so...''

   SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

July 18, 2014

MLB 2nd-rounder Andy Suarez does the unexpected & returns to the Canes -- & other UM baseball news

I just looked back at a blog I wrote last month before going on vacation and saw the title: "Could Miami Hurricanes get back LHP Andy Suarez? Doubt it. But he still hasn't signed with Nationals."

Well, as of 5 p.m. today (Friday, July 18th), the improbable became true -- and Suarez will return to play for the Miami Hurricanes in 2015.

We spoke on the phone as the clock struck 5 and the signing deadline for Major League Baseball passed. Same old Andy: low-key, polite and very pleasant -- just a nice young man who is looking forward to returning to Coral Gables for his redshirt junior season.

Did he make the right decision? We'll know in another year. But he said he is "positive'' he did.

Bottom line, according to Suarez: The Nationals did not offer him more than the slot value of $987,800 for his place as the 57th overall pick.

He did not tell me their offer.

"I wasn't going to sign for slot and we didn't agree in negotiations,'' he told me. "And that was it pretty much. I feel like coming back is a good decision for me. I'm going to get my degree (in  criminology, with minor in psychology) and I'll be a junior so I can still negotiate.

"I'm feeling stronger than ever, really good, and hopefully it stays the same throughout the year.

"I know for sure I made the right decision. It's a win-win for me. 

"I'm really excited. We have unfinished business to take care of. I feel like this could be our year to make it to Omaha. We'll have some veteran hitters coming back next year and a lot of guys will do their jobs."

  Suarez, 21, is 6-2 and now 205 pounds. He had a 6-3 record this past season with a 2.95 ERA in 109.2 innings. He struck out 87 batters and walked just 15. He graduated from Christopher Columbus High and lives with his family in Miami.

He said he talked to the Nationals earlier this week. "They said they were just going to offer me slot and I told them I wasn't going to sign for that,'' he said. 

From the Washington Post online Friday: "The Nationals signed first-round pick Erick Fedde with a bonus worth just over $2.5 million, a deal that softened the blow from the Nationals’ inability to sign their second round pick."

Fedde is a right-handed pitcher who was selected 18th in the first round.

  UM coach Jim Morris was naturally ecstatic to get Suarez back. We spoke by telephone just after 5 p.m. because Morris wanted to be sure he was getting Suarez back.

  "He told me at 2:40 p.m. but I wasn't going to comment until afterward,'' Morris said. "I don't know if I have ever said this early who our starting pitcher would be on opening night. I don't know who the No. 2 pitcher is, but I know Andy Suarez is No. 1.

"Everything is special about Andy. He's a great kid, outstanding student and he throws the best pitch in baseball -- a strike. He has an outstanding breaking ball. He throws his curveball, slider and changeup for strikes."

 Suarez's fastball ranges from the low 90s to 95 mph.

The Canes finished the season 44-19 and lost to Texas Tech in the championship game of the Coral Gables Regional. They were 41-17 in the regular season for a .707 winning percentage, third only to national seeds Virginia (.772) and Florida State (.741) -- both fellow members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Miami won the regular-season ACC crown with a 24-6 league record (.800).

Morris said he wants to keep All-American closer Bryan Garcia as his closer next season, and wants to keep Cooper Hammond as the set-up reliever.

Right-handed pitcher Andy Honiotes, from Geneva, Ill., is coming off Tommy John surgery and will be on the roster next season as a redshirt freshman.

Also, Michael Mediavilla, a 6-5, 200-pound left-handed pitcher/first-baseman out of mater academy, will come to the Canes after being drafted last month in the 40th round by the Reds. He graduated from Mater Academy. 

Carl Chester, a 6-0, 185-pound outfielder who was drafted last month in the 38th round by the Brewers, also will play for UM next season. He's from Longwood, Fl and graduated from Lake Brantley.

 And 6-2 infielder George Iskenderian (Don Bosco Prep graduate in 2012), who played his freshman season for South Carolina and then transferred to Indian River State (drafted in 34th round recently by the Cardinals), will be joining the Hurricanes as well. 

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

"

July 10, 2014

Perryman makes Nagurski Award Watch List

Hurricanes senior Denzel Perryman, already on the watch lists for the Bednarik award and the CFPA Linebacker of the Year award, was one of 81 players named to the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List Thursday, an award given annually since 1993 to the National Defensive Player of the Year.

Past Hurricane winners of the Nagurski Trophy include defensive lineman Warren Sapp (1994) and linebacker Dan Morgan (2000).

Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. The Football Writer's Association of Amercin and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 20. The  Nagurski  winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2014 FWAA All-America Team. The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Dec. 8 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte.

Pittsburgh tackle Aaron Donald won the award last season.

July 08, 2014

Canes net two huge commitments from St. Thomas Aquinas

The Miami Hurricanes netted a pair big recruiting commitments Tuesday night from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale.

The first was Jordan Scarlett, a 5-11, 210-pound running back in the Class of 2015 ranked by 247Sports.com as the 11th best at his position nationally.

The other was Sam Bruce, a 5-8, 160-pound receiver in the Class of 2016 ranked by 247Sports.com as the 7th best at his position nationally.

Our Safid Deen has more on Tuesday's big Hurricanes recruiting story on our High School Sports Blog

Hurricane linebackers JaWand Blue, Alex Figueroa kicked off team after admitting to police they intoxicated, raped 17-year old on campus

Two University of Miami football players were arrested and charged with sexual battery Tuesday morning after admitting to Coral Gables police they got a 17-year-old intoxicated and then raped her on campus over the holiday weekend.

JaWand Blue, 20, and Alexander Figueroa, who turned 20 on Tuesday, have since been dismissed by the school, according to a statement made by athletic director Blake James.

"Earlier today, I permanently dismissed JaWand Blue and Alexander Figueroa from the UM football team," James said in a statement. "The University has also suspended the students from school and barred them from all campus facilities while the University conducts an internal investigation and continues to cooperate with local law enforcement.

"Any allegation of a sexual assault is extremely serious, and the University will not tolerate conduct that threatens the sanctity and safety of our students and our campus. We hold all of our students -- especially student athletes -- to the highest standards of moral conduct. The University is committed to maintaining a safe campus environment for all."

According to Coral Gables police, the victim, also a UM student, reported the crime to campus police. Coral Gables police investigated and made the arrests.

According to the arrest report, the incident occurred in the early morning hours last Saturday inside Figueroa's dorm room at Pearson Hall on campus.

According to the report, Blue and Figueroa administered or had knowledge of someone else administering to the victim a narcotic, anesthetic or other intoxicating substance that mentally or physically incapacitated the victim without her prior knowledge or consent. Police said the victim was physically helpless to resist.

On Tuesday morning, Blue and Figueroa admitted to police they bought and provided several alcoholic beverages for the victim before bringing her back to Figueroa’s dorm room. They admitted to performing sexual acts on her without her consent, the report said. Both were immediately arrested and transported to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. Figueroa was also charged with having a fake driver's license.

A spokeswoman for Miami-Dade Corrections said Blue and Figueroa were in the process of bonding out of jail Tuesday for $10,000 and $15,000 respectively. Miami-Dade state attorney's office spokesman Ed Griffith said Figueroa and Blue were scheduled to be arraigned in front of Judge Maria Elena Verde on July 29.

UM president Donna Shalala released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying she had spoken to the victim and offered full support.

"The safety and welfare of our students is fundamental to our mission as a university. We have zero tolerance for sexual assault and gender-based violence," Shalala said in her statement. "There is no confusion about our responsibility as a university: We will fully and compassionately support the victim of sexual assault. I have spoken to her myself and reassured her of our full support.

"We have suspended the men involved, and they have been barred from campus. Our athletic director has taken firm action ending their involvement in the football program. We have notified the individuals involved that the university is beginning an investigation immediately, which we expect to conclude quickly and fairly. We will also continue to cooperate with the police in their ongoing criminal investigation."

Blue, a former three-star recruit from West Boca Raton High, played in two games last season and registered one tackle. He finished the spring as the backup middle linebacker behind Denzel Perryman.

Figueroa, the son of military parents from Stafford, Va., played in nine games last season and made two starts, registering 17 tackles. He ended the spring listed as a co-starter at outside linebacker along with Thurston Armbrister.

Getting a quick boot from the team following an arrest is nothing new under coach Al Golden.

In May 2011, Hurricanes freshman defensive lineman Jeffrey Brown was booted from the team after being accused of sexual battery on a helpless victim and admitting to Coral Gables police he had sex with a severely-intoxicated female student in a campus dorm. Those charges were eventually downgraded to false imprisonment and Brown was asked to serve three year's probation, complete a sex therapy program and perform 100 hours of community service.

Two months prior to that linebacker Ramon Buchanan was arrested and charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors following an incident at a Coconut Grove nightclub. Buchanan was suspended from the team following his arrest but reinstated two weeks later after he was permitted to enter a pre-trial diversion program.

In December 2012, cornerback Thomas Finnie was suspended indefinitely from the football team after surrendering to police and admitting he was involved in a laptop theft on campus.

In April 2013, linebacker Gabe Terry was kicked off the team following his arrest on charges of felony marijuana possession.

Neither player has posted any updates on their social media accounts since the arrests. But Figueroa did post the following message on Twitter last night.

This story was updated throughout the day as information became available

McDermott (Rimington), Walford (Mackey) join growing list of Canes on preseason watch lists

Tis the season to be named to College Football Award Watch Lists.

Tuesday, it was Shane McDermott and Clive Walford who became the latest Miami Hurricanes to receive some preseason recognition.

McDermott was one of 66 centers named to the 2014 Rimington Trophy Fall Watch List, an award presented annually since 2000 to the nation’s top collegiate center in NCAA Division I FBS. Miami’s Brett Romberg won the Rimington Trophy in 2002 after contributing the Miami’s 34-game winning streak from 2000-2002. He never allowed a sack at center and led an offensive line that helped produce three 1,000-yard rushers – James Jackson, Clinton Portis and Willis McGahee.

Walford, meanwhile, was one of 40 players named to the John Mackey Preseason Watch List, an award given annually since 2000 to the nation's top tight end. It's the second year in a row he's on the list. Kellen Winslow II (2003) is the only Hurricane who has won the award.

McDermott, a Lake Worth, Fla. native, started 11 games at center in 2013 for the Hurricanes. A third-team All-ACC selection by the league’s head coaches, he helped anchor the offensive line that paved the way for a Hurricanes offense that averaged 425.8 yards of total offense and 33.8 points per game.

Walford played in all 13 games in 2013, making 12 starts at tight end. He finished the season with 454 receiving yards and two TDs on 34 catches, finishing second on the team in receptions. The Belle Glade, Fla., product had a streak of 27 consecutive games with at least one reception snapped Nov. 23, 2013, against Virginia. He later eclipsed the 1,000-yard career mark against Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

The winner of the Rimington Trophy is selected by determining the consensus All-America center pick from three prestigious All-America teams: Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). The Rimington Trophy presentation will be held Jan. 17, 2015, at Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Neb.

The Mackey winner is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee and will be announced Dec. 10, and then presented live Dec. 11 at The Home Depot Collegiate Football Awards Show.

MIAMI HURRICANES ON 2014 PRESEASON AWARD WATCH LISTS

> Anthony Chickillo, DE: CFPA Defensive Line Trophy

> Stacy Coley, WR/KR: Paul Hornung Award (most versatile); Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year)

> Ladarius Gunter, DB: CFPA Defensive Back Trophy

> Duke Johnson, RB: Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year); CFPA Running Back Trophy 

> Shane McDermott, C: Rimington Trophy (nation’s best center)

> Denzel Perryman, LB: Bednarik Award (College Defensive Player of the Year); CFPA Linebacker Trophy

> Clive Walford, TE: John Mackey Award (Outstanding collegiate tight end)

July 07, 2014

Canes' Coley, Johnson named to Maxwell Award watch list; Perryman to Bednarik watch list

Stacy Coley and Duke Johnson were named to the 2014 Maxwell Award Watch List on Monday, an award presented annually to the College Player of the Year since 1937.

Linebacker Denzel Perryman, meanwhile, has been named to the 2014 Bednarik Award Watch List, presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year annually since 1995.

Dan Morgan is the only Hurricane (2000) to win the Bednarik Award. Vinny Testaverde (1986), Gino Torretta (1992) and Ken Dorsey (2001) are previous Maxwell Award winners for Miami.

A 2013 All-ACC First Team selection, Perryman started all 13 games at outside linebacker for the Hurricanes, registering a team-leading 108 total tackles including 69 solo stops. In addition to earning All-America honorable mention honors from SI.com, Perryman was the recipient of the Hurricanes 2013 Hard Hitter Award and Defensive MVP award. 

A second-team All-ACC performer in 2013, Johnson rushed for 920 yards and six TDs in eight games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Johnson enters his junior season with 1,867 career rushing yards in 20 games. Last month, he was named third-team Preseason All-America by Phil Steele and was one of 40 FBS running backs named to the 2014 CFPA Running Back Trophy Watch List.

Coley was also one of 47 players named to the Paul Hornung Award Watch List on Monday, given annually since 2010 to college football's most versatile player.

As a freshman in 2013, Coley, a third-team All-ACC selection by the league’s coaches and honorable mention by the media, led the Hurricanes with 1,461 all-purpose yards – the 10th-highest single-season total in program history. He also led the team with seven receiving touchdowns while ranking second in receiving yards (591) and third in receptions (33). A Freshman All-America selection by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Coley was the only FBS player in 2013 to record a TD four different ways – rushing, receiving, punt return and kick return.

Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Award will be announced November 3 and the three finalists will be unveiled November 24. The winner of the 2014 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced December 11 as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.

The watch list candidates were chosen by the Maxwell Football Club's selection committee, which analyzes both past performance and future potential. The Club reserves the right to make additions and deletions to these lists as the 2014 season unfolds. All members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA sports information directors, FBS head coaches and selected national media are eligible to vote for the awards.

July 03, 2014

Cardinal Gibbons defensive lineman Richard McIntosh commits to Hurricanes

Cardinal Gibbons defensive lineman Richard McIntosh became the 17th commitment in the Miami Hurricanes' 2015 recruiting class Thursday.

And it was hardly a surprise for his football coach Mike Morrill.

"He kind of indicated before I left on vacation last week he was going to commit on or about the Fourth of July," Morrill said. "Miami was on him early and they did a very nice job. They were very thorough. I think it's going to be a great fit for him."

McIntosh, ranked a three-star recruit by both Rivals and 247Sports.com, is as big and athletic a player Morrill said he's ever coached. Last season the Chiefs lined McIntosh at defensive end, tight end and wide reciever.

"He was over 270 pounds last I saw him," Morrill said. "He played probably about 240 last fall and then played basketball this winter. As soon as basketball ended he recommitted himself to the weight room and he really got big. But he's still growing. He's 6-4 1/2, about 270, 275 now.

"He's such an athletic kid, has tremendous feet. We even put him at quarterback in short yardage last season. I think in the playoff game we went short yardage against Immokalee and I think he got a first down, maybe even scored a touchdown. We're not afraid to put him anywhere on defense or offense."

McIntosh is the fifth player from Miami's immediate backyard to commit to the Hurricanes and the fourth from Broward County. His younger brother, Dion McIntosh, is a standout running back in the 2016 class Miami is also pursuing. 

Six former Canes to compete in NBA Summer League; Perryman on CFPA watch list

According to UM's sports information staff, six former Miami Hurricanes are slated to suit up for NBA teams in the 2014 Samsung NBA Summer League, which tips off this weekend in Orlando, Fla., then will continue in Las Vegas, beginning July 11.

They are: Rion Brown (Charlotte Hornets), DeQuan Jones (Indiana Pacers), Kenny Kadji (Milwaukee Bucks), Shane Larkin (New York Knicks), Trey McKinney Jones (Miami Heat) and Durand Scott (San Antonio Spurs).

Brown recently completed his senior season with the Hurricanes, posting 15.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while hitting 1.9 shots per game from the 3-point line in his final season in Coral Gables.

Jones will be participating in his third NBA summer league season after spending the 2013-14 campaign playing for the Reno Bighorns. He spent the 2013 summer with the Sacramento Kings and earned a spot on the 2012-13 Orlando Magic after an impressive showing on their 2012 summer league squad.

Kadji is playing in his second summer league after spending his first summer with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season. Kadji played for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League in 2014, after starting the season with the NY Phantom Braunschweig in Germany.

Larkin, the 18th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, was traded to the New York Knicks on June 26. He appeared in 48 games as a rookie with the Dallas Mavericks a year ago. Now Larkin will look to show the Knicks what he can do as he prepares for the 2014-15 season.

McKinney Jones, who was named to the 2014 All-NBA Development League All-Rookie Third Team, averaged 15.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals for the 2014 D-League champion Ft. Wayne Mad Ants this season. He was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks training camp roster a year ago before starring in the D-League.

Scott was with the Spurs in the 2013 summer league and went on to play the 2013-14 season abroad with Obradoiro CAB of the Spanish ACB League. He will return to the Spurs this summer and the reigning NBA champions will take another close look at the talented and versatile guard.

From July 5-11 the Orlando Magic will host the 25 games of the Orlando League at their Amway Center practice court. The Las Vegas League will consist of 67 games between the dates of July 11 and July 21, which will be held at both the Thomas & Mack Center and the COX Pavilion on the campus of the University of Las Vegas. All games will be broadcast on NBA TV, NBA.com, and on the NBA Game Time app.

PERRYMAN ON WATCH LIST

You can go ahead Hurricanes senior Denzel Perryman to another watch list. Wednesday he was named one of 40 FBS linebackers selected to the 2014 College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Trophy Watch List.

He joins teammates Ladarius Gunter and Anthony Chickillo on the CFPA watch list at their respective positions. Miami is one of only five FBS programs with a player named to all three defensive player watch lists.

An All-ACC First Team selection in 2013, Perryman started all 13 games at outside linebacker for the Hurricanes, registering a team-leading 108 total tackles including 69 solo stops. In addition to earning All-America, Honorable Mention honors from SI.com, Perryman was the recipient of the Hurricanes 2013 Hard Hitter Award and Defensive MVP award.

July 01, 2014

Canes announce basketball series with Gators; Chickillo, Gunter named to CFPA watch lists

For the first time since 2009, the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators will meet on the hardwood as both schools have agreed to a home-and-home men’s basketball series. Florida will host the first game Nov. 17, while Miami will host the return game at BankUnited Center during the 2015-16 season.

Florida leads the all-time series 45-22. November’s nonconference matchup will be the first meeting since March 20, 2009 – a 74-60 loss at Florida in the second round of the NIT. The Canes haven’t hosted the Gators since Dec. 22, 2005 – a 77-67 Florida win. Miami last defeated Florida on Dec. 4, 2004, a 72-65 win in Gainesville. 

Miami finished the 2013-14 season with a 17-16 overall record and the Hurricanes are 66-36 in three seasons under head coach Jim Larrañaga.

The Canes welcome nine newcomers to the 2014-15 roster, which includes six recruits – Kamari Murphy, Ja’Quan Newton, James Palmer, Omar Sherman, Joe Thomas and Ivan Cruz Uceda – along with two Big 12 transfers – Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan – and redshirt freshman Deandre Burnett, who sat out the 2013-14 season with an injury.

CHICKILLO, GUNTER ON WATCH LIST

Miami Hurricanes seniors Ladarius Gunter and Anthony Chickillo have been named to the 2014 College Football Performance Awards Lineman Trophy Watch Lists at their respective positions.

Gunter, a defensive back, started the Hurricanes' first 12 games in 2013, missing only the Russell Athletic Bowl due to injury. He recorded 46 tackles (36 solo) with two TFL, six pass break-ups and three interceptions. He was named ACC Defensive Player of the Week for Oct. 7, 2013, after returning an INT 30 yards for a TD in a win over Georgia Tech. He was then named ACC Specialist of the Week for Oct. 21, 2013, after returning a blocked FG for a TD in a comeback road win at North Carolina.

Chickillo started all 13 games at defensive end for the Hurricanes in 2013, recording 46 tackles, 7.5 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks and seven QB hurries. Chickillo has started 34 consecutive games for the Hurricanes over the span of the last three seasons.

Miami's Leonard Hankerson won the 2010 CFPA Wide Receiver of the Year Award and Pat O'Donnell won the 2013 CFPA Punter of the Year Award.

June 30, 2014

Canes slugger Zack Collins talks making Team USA, becoming sixth player in UM history to be named Baseball America's Freshman of the Year

Monday turned out to be a pretty special day for Hurricanes slugger Zack Collins.

First he was one of 24 players selected to the USA's National Collegiate Team. Then, he became the sixth player in Hurricanes history to be named National Freshman of the Year by Baseball America.

"Starting off a Monday like this is always good," said Collins, who spoke with The Miami Herald by phone Monday afternoon.

Which achievement ranks higher?

"That's hard to say, but I would have to say making the national team," Collins said. "Before I came up here [to Cary, N.C. for tryouts] I told a couple friends that it's just an awesome feeling when you put on this jersey. It's kind of weird how when you put it on it gives you this electric feeling."

Collins, a Pembroke Pines native who starred at Plantation American Heritage High School, has chalked up plenty of accolades this summer. He was named 2014 Freshman Hitter of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association (NCBWA), 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year, and pulled in Freshman All-America honors on three teams. Collins (.298, team-leading 11 homers, 54 RBI) and freshman right-handed pitcher Brian Garcia (7-4, 1.75 ERA, 15 saves) both earned Baseball America Freshman All-American First Team honors on Monday.

Collins, though, is the first Hurricane to win the Freshman Player of the Year award since Chris Hernandez in 2008. Past Hurricane winners include Alex Fernandez (1989), Pat Burrell (1996), Kevin Howard (2000) and Ryan Braun (2003).

"That's a huge accomplishment. I never thought the way I started off my year it would have ended like this," Collins said. "It's just an amazing feeling for me knowing all the talent out there that I was named Freshman of the Year. I don't even know what to say."

Collins said he's looking forward to playing with Team USA this summer and making trips to Cuba and the Netherlands. He played on the 16-under National Team and won a gold medal in Mexico.

"It seemed like every time I was on the younger teams tryouts I was always looking up to the college team. And now I'm on it. It's just an awesome feeling," Collins said. " think I'm looking forward to going to Cuba the most because being from Miami there's a lot of people from Cuba and they always talk about how awesome it is over there. Just to go there and see the culture and where a lot of people come from in Miami is going to be pretty fun. I haven't really heard about any players in particular, but I know Cuba always has some tremendous players. Yasiel Puig once played for Cuba, Yoenis Cespdedes, all these guys played for their national team. It should be pretty fun."

Collins is also already looking forward to next season. He said losing to Texas Tech in the final game of the Coral Gables regional left him and his teammates quite hungry.

"I went to Miami to win a championship and that's pretty much the main goal for everybody on our team. We're definitely going to make it to Omaha next year," Collins said. "I think what we learned was how no matter what type of team you are in the regular season you have to be on your best once you make it to the playoffs. Because once you get there anybody you play is going to be really good."

Canes' Zack Collins selected to USA Collegiate National Team

Hurricanes freshman catcher Zack Collins has earned one of 24 roster spots on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, and will travel to both the Netherlands and Cuba as part of the team’s annual summer tour.

He hit .333 with Team USA during the Red, White and Blue Tour through the Coastal Plain League, where the team finished with a 6-1 record. He hit two home runs, scored six runs and drove in six more during the seven-game tryout stint to successfully earn a place on Team USA.

Collins is the 23rd Hurricane to make the team – the second-most of any program in history – and his selection marks the 20th year a Hurricane has been chosen, marking the third-longest stretch for any program all-time. His selection also makes it back-to-back years for Miami with a member on Team USA; lefthanded pitcher Chris Diaz was selected for the tour in 2013.

Collins was named 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year and ranked among the ACC leaders in nearly every offensive category. Collins batted .298 for the season with 11 home runs, 54 RBI and a slugging percentage of .556.

The Pembroke Pines native connected on 14 doubles and three triples, had an on-base percentage of .427 in his 58 starts. The third-team All-ACC selection tied for the team lead with 114 total bases this spring.

The Collegiate National Team opens its series against Chinese Taipei at 7:05 p.m. on July 1 at the National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. The teams will play again on July 2 at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C., on July 3 at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, N.C., and on July 4 and 5 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.

Team USA will then host a three-game set against Japan July 6-8 in Thomasville, Wilson and Wilmington, N.C., before traveling to the Netherlands for Honkbal-Haarlem Baseball Week, July 11-20. Following that tournament, the U.S. will head to Cuba for a five-game friendship series, July 23-27.

June 27, 2014

Former Krop standout, Niagra forward Joe Thomas signs financial aid agreement to play for Canes

Joe Thomas, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound forward, has signed a financial aid agreement to play for the Hurricanes, coach Jim Larrañaga announced Friday.
 
"Joe joins us at the perfect time," Larrañaga said in a statement released by the school. "We needed a front court player with experience and a fifth-year senior was exactly what my staff and I hoped for. He provides us with some size and strength and rebounding toughness."
 
Thomas, a fifth-year transfer from Niagara University,  will have one year of eligibility with the Hurricanes, beginning immediately. At UM, Thomas will be reunited with former Miami Krop High  teammate and point guard Angel Rodriguez.
 
Thomas averaged 3.4 points and 2.7 rebounds in 30 games last year during his redshirt junior season at Niagara. He led the Purple Eagles in blocks, and his 54.8 field goal percentage was second-best on the squad.  

As a prep player at Krop, Thomas averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists as a senior. He and Rodriguez led the Lightning to a 26-6 record and its first trip to the Class 6A state Final Four.

Thomas joins eight new players on Miami’s 2014-15 roster. Five are recruits: Kamari Murphy, Ja’Quan Newton, James Palmer, Omar Sherman and Ivan Cruz Uceda. Two are Big 12 Conference transfers –  Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan. Redshirt freshman Deandre Burnett sat out last season with an injury.

> Earlier this week, UM announced the team had an accepted an invitation to participate in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational hosted by the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Monday, Dec. 22. The Canes will take on Providence.

June 26, 2014

Canes QB Ryan Williams says he's had no setbacks since ACL surgery, still targeting Week 1 start

Hurricanes quarterback Ryan Williams said Thursday he's had no setbacks in his recovery from reconstructive right knee surgery on April 9 to repair a torn ACL, and he's still hoping to be Miami's starting quarterback on Labor Day night against Louisville.

"I feel pretty good, pretty confident in my rehab so far," Williams said Thursday during a series of one-on-one interviews with UM beat reporters. "I feel like where I'm supposed to be is where I'm at -- no setbacks yet. I think it's actually going better than I thought it was, these first couple months. I hope it continues and I'll be back in time.

"As long as I'm not going to go out there and reinjure myself and the doctor feels confident I can go out there and play in Week 1, I will play. But if I can't, if he wants me to hold off a couple weeks, then I will."

Williams said he's been doing leg-press exercises, squats and lunges during his rehab and he expects to begin jogging and running in a couple weeks. Then, he says, he will progressing to cutting -- the final hurdle. "I'm just getting my strength back and my range of motion and putting weight on it, getting movement so I can start running around on it," he said. 

Williams said Dr. Lee Kaplan, who performed the surgery, has remained positive throughout the process he can get Williams back on the field quickly.

"He's the one that's been positive the whole time," Williams said. "It took me a couple days to get over the injury and get refocused. But after that, my teammates have always been there for me. They saw me the first couple days when I couldn't walk. They were in the training room a couple hours later cheering me up. Really, keeping myself positive has helped myself heal. I'm trying to keep myself in a normal thinking state of mind."

Williams said the fact other athletes have made quick recoveries from ACL injuries gives him hope he'll be back at some point during fall camp. UM begins fall camp on Aug. 5 -- the same day Williams' wife is due to deliver the couple's first child, a boy.

Williams said UM trainer Vinny Scavo reached out to trainers at LSU and the Minnesota Vikings to gather information on fast recoveries made by former Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger and All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson. Mettenberger returned to action and participated in his pro day only 13 weeks after surgery. Peterson returned in four months time.

"It gives me something to go after knowing if I can work as hard as they did I can be successful," Williams said. "Adrian Peterson had a great year after his surgery. He didn't play with a brace. Luckily I don't have to run around like he did or get hit as much as he did. It definitely gives me confidence in my knee and my ability to come back after the injury.

"In the end, it all depends on how hard I'm willing to work for it and how fast my knee is going to take to the graph, which so far it's done really good. As soon as [Dr. Kaplan] give me the full-go, I'll be back out there. But until then we don't know how long it will be."

Williams said the fact he didn't have a lot of swelling in his knee allowed for Kaplan to do the surgery quickly, and thus the recovery process got started faster. He said it took him about a week and a half to get off crutches. He's been rehabbing since.

Williams said also knowing he's going to become a father soon "has helped my rehab kind of."

"I can't be crutching around and taking care of a baby or my wife," Williams said. "So I need to be able to take care of her when she needs something. She took care of me the whole time I couldn't walk. She was doing all this stuff in the middle of the night when I couldn't get up. I had to hurry up and recover so I could the same for her when she needed me every night."

June 24, 2014

Morris extended through 2018, DiMare named coach in waiting

The University of Miami and head baseball coach Jim Morris on Tuesday agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension through the 2018 baseball season and named longtime assistant coach Gino DiMare the coach in waiting.

Morris, who has been at the helm of the Hurricanes program since November 1993, led Miami to its second ACC Regular Season Championship in program history this past spring.  Among the most successful head coaches in college baseball history, Morris has guided Miami to over 900 wins in his 21 seasons in Coral Gables.

"We are ecstatic that Coach Morris has agreed to remain at the helm through the 2018 season," said Director of Athletics Blake James.  "What Jim has built at Miami is unprecedented, and the success speaks for itself.  This extension is well earned."

DiMare is entering his 16th season as an assistant at Miami, following a stellar playing career at UM and a professional career with the Boston Red Sox organization.  DiMare has been instrumental in the Canes success, overseeing recruiting and serving as the hitting coach for many years.

"Gino possesses all of the ingredients of successful head coaches," James said. "I have no doubt that he will continue to bring conference and national championships to Coral Gables.  As Jim leads our program through 2018, we have a plan in place for a smooth transition and continued excellence, and I couldn't be happier that Gino will be our next head baseball coach."

"Coach Morris has been a tremendous leader for our baseball program for many years, and I will be honored to serve with him for another four," DiMare said. "I am profoundly humbled by the opportunity to take over such a storied program from a legend, and I am confident that we will continue the proud Miami baseball tradition." 

Morris has led Miami to 21 straight appearances in the NCAA postseason and 11 trips to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Hurricanes’ college-baseball record 42 straight postseason appearances is the longest active streak for any Division I sports program nationwide.  Morris, who ranks fourth among active Division I coaches in career victories, has been named National Coach of the Year on three occasions. Including his time at Georgia Tech, Morris ranks eighth all-time in Division I victories.

"I am humbled and honored to continue to serve the University for four more years," Morris said.  "We have had an outstanding run but there is more work to be done and more championships to be won.  I want to thank President Shalala and Blake James for their belief in what we are doing and I am excited for Gino to get this opportunity."  

June 23, 2014

Hurricanes land commitment from one of the country's top 2016 quarterbacks

The Hurricanes picked up a commitment from one of the nation's top-rated quarterbacks Monday night. But they've got wait another two years before he can suit up for them. 

Jack Allison, a 6-5, 200-pound pro-style passer from Palmetto, Fla., pledged his commitment to UM on Twitter Monday night, two days after attending a football camp at UM.

Allison is considered the top quarterback prospect in the state in the 2016 class -- ninth overall among pro-style passers according to 247Sports. He had offers from Alabama, Missouri, South Florida, Tennessee, and UCF.

Allison finished his sophomore season throwing for 1,778 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions and led his team to the state playoffs. 

The Hurricanes also picked up a commitment from 2016 linebacker Michael Pinckney (6-1, 215) of Jacksonville Raines over the weekend. 

Miami has 13 commitments as part of the 2015 class including one quarterback -- Tampa Hillsborough's Dwayne Lawson.

Here is a link to Allison's highlights.

June 18, 2014

QB guru who tutored Aaron Rodgers believes Jake Heaps headed for monster year with Canes

If numbers never lie, new Hurricanes quarterback Jake Heaps appears to be nothing more than a former blue-chip recruit gone bust.

In four years, Rivals' No. 1-ranked pro-style quarterback in 2010 has gone from breaking Ty Detmer's freshman record at BYU for touchdown passes in a season (15) to the third-worst rated FBS quarterback in the country a year ago who lost his starting job on a 3-9 Kansas team.

It sure looks ugly and makes you wonder, 'Just how desperate is Al Golden for quarterback help?' But at least one man doesn't see this as a desperation move by the Canes. He sees it as a smart decision on both sides. 

Meet Taylor Barton (@TaylorBarton12), a former quarterback at the University of Washington who was on the field as a backup when the Hurricanes steamrolled the Huskies 65-7 en route to the national title in 2001. Barton is now a quarterback coaching guru in the Pacific Northwest, who runs the Barton Football Academy in Oregon and Washington.

Barton has not only coached Heaps since the sixth grade when his parents used to drive him 3 1/2 hours each way on the weekends over to Portland, Oregon for two hour camps. He has also tutored some of the best players to come out of the region including Super Bowl winning quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Jake Locker, Joey Harrington, Kellen Moore, Kellen Clemens and Derek Anderson among more than a dozen alumni who have reached the NFL. 

"We’ve been working together for a long time. Jake's one of my all-time favorites if not my favorite to come through," Barton said. "He’s a great kid, great competitor. I would say Jake epitomizes exactly what you think of when you picture the ideal quarterback. He’s not the big 6-foot, 5-inch quarterback. He’s not a guy who is going to blow you away with size or arm strength. But he does all the little things the right way. That stuff adds up to big things. That’s why he’s been so successful and that’s why I think he’s going to have a monster year next year at Miami."

It's hard to equate success to what Heaps has done at the collegiate level over the last three years. After completing 57.2 percent of his 383 passes for 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a freshman at BYU in 2010, his numbers went south along with his playing time in 2011. So he transferred to Kansas where Charlie Weis, who had tried recruiting him to Notre Dame, promised big dreams and a big payoff in his pro-style system after sitting out the 2012 season. 

Barton said the reason things fell apart at BYU are pretty simple. The Cougars changed their offensive coordinator and their scheme. "The next year after Jake left that coach ended up getting fired," Barton said. "I think that can lead you to the conclusion maybe he wasn’t put in the best position that year."

So why the struggles at Kansas? The Jayhawks pretty much stunk, Barton explains.

"You can look at maybe his completion percentage [49 percent, 125th out of 129 passers], but that doesn’t tell the whole story," Barton said. "I went back and looked at film in one game where he had four straight passes where he hit the receiver in the hands and they dropped it. Statistically that’s an incompletion. But from a quarterback’s standpoint all you can do is drop back, find the open guy and throw it to him. You can't run the route and catch it too. So there were a lot of things that get pinned on the quarterback."

Barton said Heaps has never been one to "point the finger at everybody else."

"He hasn’t been perfect. He’ll be the first to admit that," Barton said. "Every QB wishes they could have some reads back or throws back. But for the most part I think he’s been put in some situations where the odds were stacked against him. And I think that’s why he’s so excited about this situation and why I’m so excited about this situation for him. Because this is the first time he’s going to a program with superior talent, a tremendous coaching staff and a tremendous system. He doesn’t have to be the featured guy -- just get the ball in the athletes’ hands and let them make the plays.

"He hasn’t had that since he was in high school [at Skyline High in Seattle where he won three state championships]. And I think that’s why he’s going to end up having one of the biggest years and being one of the biggest surprises in the country next year."

When Heaps found out at the end of this past spring he wasn't going to be the starter at Kansas, he decided to transfer and immediately reached out to several schools at both the FBS and FCS levels. UM was one of the first schools respond. Barton said when Heaps took an official visit to Miami a month and a half ago, he was scheduled to meet with offensive coordinator James Coley for an hour. They ended up sitting down for six and breaking down the Hurricane's offense on a greaseboard.

"If anyone can do it I think Jake has the advantage," Barton said of picking up the Hurricanes' offense quickly. "I guess the silver lining in going through the path he’s gone he’s seen several different systems. There’s not much you can throw at him he hasn’t heard, seen or understands. I know Coach was very impressed with Jake’s intellect and knowledge of the game. Jake was excited. He came back saying he gets the concepts, loves what he’s doing and he thinks he’s going to thrive in it."

Heaps, who spoke with me for about 30 minutes Tuesday evening, said he received the complete playbook from UM "once things became official." But he's been preparing himself with the notes he took for weeks. He's set to arrive in Coral Gables on June 28th where he will immediately begin working with his teammates. He said he plans on living out of his suitcase until his wife, Brooke, a dental assistant, arrives in late August.

"The offense at UM is similar to different things I've done in the past," Heaps said. "The offense I ran at BYU my first year, and in some ways the offense I came to run at Kansas as far as making protection calls and changes at the line."

Listed at 6-1, 210, Heaps' height won't be an issue, Barton promises. Neither will mobility (he was sacked 23 times at Kansas).

"Guys are always a little bit smaller than they mention anyway, but he’s right around that 6-foot mark," Barton said. "He’s not going to walk into a room and have everybody say that’s Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. But one of the QBs who came through our academy was Kellen Moore. We sent him onto Boise State and he ends up being the winningest QB in BCS history. And he was 5-11. The guy who won the Super Bowl was 5-10 ½. The game has really changed at the position. Look at what Johnny Manziel is doing. He’s barely 6-feet tall. I think Jake has enough size.

"As a QB people overvalue height. You’re never throwing over lineman anyway. You’re throwing through lanes. Maybe back in the day that was more important. But the evolution of the game it has become a lot less about height and a lot more about athletic ability and being able to make quick reads and get the ball in your playmakers hands and that’s what Jake does tremendously. If the line gives him time, he can make reads and pick anybody in the country apart.

"Now, if the pocket collapses he’s not going to be a Marcus Mariotta or a Colin Kaepernick and break off a 70-yard TD run. That’s not his style. But he is athletic enough and fast enough where he can pose a problem for a defense. He can get that 8, 10, 12-yard gain and move the chains and be enough of a threat to keep a defense honest."

When it comes to arm strength and comparisons, Barton sees a bit of Drew Brees in Heaps.

"With Jake he’s probably in that 60-65 yards throwing it down field," Barton said. "But when it comes to what he does best -- the thing Jake is superior to when it comes to all the guys that I’ve worked with or seen – it's timing and anticipation. To get to the higher level that becomes more important than arm strength.

"You see a lot of guys that have a very strong arm, but they wait until a receiver is open. When you get to the higher levels, playing a Florida State, their defensive backs are fast too. They’ve already broken on the ball. The great quarterbacks throw it to a receiver before he’s open. So when he turns around or when he comes out of his break the ball is there. That’s what Jake does. What he lacks for in arm strength he makes up for in being so smart, reading the coverage and being able to anticipate the throw and get it to the receiver before he’s out of the break."

> What the Hurricanes could end up getting in Heaps in the long run is a 2-for-1 quarterback special. According to Barton, UM recently offered 2016 top-rated quarterback Jacob Eason of Lake Stevens, Wash. and camper at the Barton Football Academy.

"It very easily could be a situation with them signing Jake he could very well easily step in and be the starter and then with Jacob Eason he could end up stepping in at Miami and being the starter in two years," Barton said. "He’s a kid who is going to graduate early and end up somewhere in spring ball. He has a chance to be the best to ever come out of this region. He is going to be a guy that plays in the NFL for 12 to 15 years. He’s the real deal."

June 16, 2014

Waiting for Heaps: UM's other five QBs -- including injured Ryan Williams -- working hard to stay ahead.

Jakeheaps

While transfer Jake Heaps gets ready to arrive in Coral Gables to begin a one-season tenure with his third college football team, it's life as usual for the other five scholarship quarterbacks.

Redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen, recently arrived true freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier, third-year sophomore Gray Crow and fifth-year senior Ryan Williams are doing what it takes to prepare for what they hope will be a meaningful season. 

Kevinolsen"It comes with the position,'' Olsen's father and former high school coach, Chris Olsen, told The Miami Herald by phone Monday, when asked how his son was doing in light of the news of Heaps coming to compete for the job. "It is what it is. As far as Kevin goes, he's fine."

There were only two spring practices remaining, not including the annual spring game, when projected 2015 UM starting quarterback Williams tore the ACL of his right knee during a scrimmage. Suddenly, Olsen, a highly touted four-star recruit out of Wayne Hills (N.J.) High School, was thrust into the position of being the main man before he had ever thrown a pass in college.

Olsen, who had his share of struggles in his first year at UM, was doing well and had improved a great deal, according to teammates and coaches. But he had a disappointing showing in the spring game (as did Gray Crow), completing 7 of 21 passes for 65 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception.

Crow was 9 of 20 for 63 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception.

 "He's there the whole summer, taking summer school classes, going to workouts -- the whole thing that everybody does,'' Chris Olsen said. "All you can ask for is an opportunity to go out and play. It will all work out in the end.''

  Ryanwilliams
Meanwhile, Williams, who earned his undergraduate degree in December in sports administration, has been rehabilitating his knee daily and still has a goal of returning for the September 20 Nebraska game.

"I can't believe how fast he's bounced back,'' Jayne Williams, his mother, told the Herald today. "He was driving and off his crutches two weeks to the day of his surgery (which was Wednesday, May 9). 

"His spirits are unbelievable and he has such a great mindset. We were in New Orleans a month ago and we were in the French Quarter and he was walking around for hours. He said he's not in pain. He's doing fabulously.''

Jayne Williams said her son took it in stride that a new fifth-year senior quarterback would soon be arriving. Remember, Williams, too, transferred to UM from Memphis after starting there his freshman year.

"I feel like UM would have been doing itself an injustice if they didn't at least bring someone in with experience while Ryan is rehabbing,'' Williams said. "[Heaps] also has played and he's older than the other quarterbacks. That will make Ryan work twice as hard. That's the kind of kid Ryan is. He doesn't get upset in that kind of way.''

One big similarity between Heaps and Williams: both are married. 

 Williams' wife Deanna is expecting their first child -- a son -- on August 5th, the day fall camp opens. But she said the baby is so large (already over five pounds), that she doubts she'll last that long.

Heaps, a Mormon married to a former BYU student (he started 10 of 13 games as a freshman at BYU), transferred to Kansas after his sophomore season and played one disappointing season for Kansas (128 of 261 for 1,414 yards and eight touchdowns, with 10 picks). Kansas, however, had a bad offense all the way around, including its offensive line, which at least partly (or more than partly) allowed the less-than-mobile Heaps to be sacked 23 times.

 From everything I've read, Heaps is smart and a really good person with leadership qualities and a strong arm. He has publicly said he will get his degree this month, and thus, be able to play immediately at UM as a graduate student.

 He was rated the top quarterback in the nation by Scout.com and No. 1 pro-style quarterback by Rivals.com when he graduated from Skyline High School in Sammamish, Washington.

"I am excited for the opportunity to play my last year of college football as a Miami Hurricane!" Heaps posted on Twitter and Instagram. "Ready to get to work!"

This will be a compelling fall camp, and with Williams possibly in the mix early in the season, the storylines will be plentiful. If Williams can get back in the game sooner than later, he is going to do everything possible to play after waiting three years behind Stephen Morris.

I'm on vacation until football gets going with the ACC Football Kickoff (media days) in late July in Greensboro. Until then, Manny Navarro will be manning the blog while he also covers the Marlins.

Everyone have a happy and healthy summer.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

June 15, 2014

UM gets quarterback transfer from Kansas (via BYU) - but he doesn't have to sit out

From UM:

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Kansas QB Jake Heaps has signed a financial aid agreement and will transfer to the University of Miami, head coach Al Golden announced Sunday.

Heaps spent his junior season in 2013 with the Jayhawks, earning second-team Academic All-Big 12 honors. He was voted as one of the team captains. He played in 11 games, starting nine, and threw for 1,414 yards with eight TDs.

(Note from me: He also threw 10 interceptions along with the eight touchdowns, and had 49-percent accuracy).

The 6-foot-1 product from Sammamish, Wash., began his college career at BYU, where he played in 2010 and 2011. As a freshman in 2010, Heaps set every BYU freshman QB record, including passing yards (2,316), touchdowns (15) and wins (6). He was named New Mexico Bowl MVP and was later named honorable mention Freshman All-America by College Football News.

As a sophomore in 2011, he threw for 1,452 yards and nine TDs in nine games, making six starts. He sat out the 2012 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules after transferring to Kansas.

*******************************************************
Note: Heaps should be able to play immediately without sitting out another season, per NCAA rules, if he earns his college degree this month from Kansas and can take graduate courses at UM.
"I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me by Coach [Charlie] Weiss to play football and earn my college degree,'' Heaps said in an Associated Press story that ran Friday. "My wife and I have truly enjoyed being part of the Jayhawk Community. We have made lifelong friends through this experience.''

So, if Ryan Williams, recuperating from a torn ACL, doesn't return as quickly as he hopes (by Nebraska game September 20), the Canes now have an option in Heaps if Golden is intent on redshirting Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier, and Kevin Olsen or Gray Crow don't work out.

You would think that highly touted Olsen, who had a disappointing spring game, would know the offense enough and pick up his play enough to earn the starting job. But at this point who knows?

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN


June 11, 2014

6-9 forward Kamari Murphy transfers to Miami from Oklahoma State; will sit out the 2014-15 season

 Per University of Miami:

  Hurricanes head coach Jim Larrañaga has announced the signing Kamari Murphy to a financial aid agreement to play men’s basketball for the University of Miami.

"We were looking for a forward with great athletic ability," said Larrañaga. "Kamari, at 6-foot-9, can run and jump and is as good an athlete as you will find, but what is most impressive is his versatility both offensively and defensively. He can defend multiple positions and he can play both forward positions. We needed additional scoring and rebounding up front and he can provide that. He is a great addition to our program."

KamarimurphyMurphy, who played two seasons at Oklahoma State University, will sit out the 2014-15 season, then will have two years of eligibility with the Hurricanes.

As a sophomore with the Cowboys in 2013-14, the 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward started 21 of his 33 games, averaging 6.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks in 25.9 minutes per outing. In his rookie campaign, Murphy started his first 15 collegiate games and grabbed six rebounds in the semifinal game against Kansas State at the Big 12 Championship.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Murphy attended Lincoln High School before playing ball at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.). At IMG he averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and three assists for a team that finished 28-2 against prep schools and was ranked among the top-five nationally. He was ranked No. 10 on HoopScoop's list of top fifth-year players in 2012. As a senior at Lincoln, he averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game, helping the Railsplitters to the PSAL Class-AA title game as a senior and the Brooklyn regular-season crown and borough title. At that time he was ranked by HoopScoop as the No. 6 player in New York.

Murphy joins seven new players to Miami’s 2014-15 roster, which includes four recruits – Ja’Quan Newton, James Palmer, Omar Sherman and Ivan Cruz Uceda – along with two other Big XII transfers – Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan – and redshirt freshman Deandre Burnett, who sat out the 2013-14 season with an injury.

 

 

Miami Hurricanes baseball coach Jim Morris gets three-year contract extension through 2018

Imgres
    After leading the Hurricanes to their best regular season since 2008, University of Miami baseball coach Jim Morris has been awarded with a new contract that extends his head-coaching duties through 2018.

   Our Barry Jackson reported the news late last night.

   Morris, 64, had one year remaining on his contract, which would have taken him through the 2015 season. That contract extension was done in September 2009.

   “I love coaching,’’ Morris told the Miami Herald in mid-May, when asked about his future status and what he would say to critics that wanted him ousted after seeing UM go three consecutive seasons without winning a regional – one of those, in 2012, as the host. “I’m not doing things a lot differently than I did 10 years ago. We have better players this year. We had a great recruiting class.

   “You know what? I drive a Cadillac. And these guys are Cadillacs.’’

   The Hurricanes finished the season 44-19. They got to the championship game of the Coral Gables Regional, but lost to Texas Tech, now in the College World Series. They were 41-17 in the regular season for a .707 winning percentage, third only to national seeds Virginia (.772) and Florida State (.741) – both fellow members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

    Miami won the regular-season ACC crown with a 24-6 league record (.800).

   Morris has led the Canes, who have qualified for the NCAA tournament a national-record 42 consecutive years, to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, 11 times since he began coaching at UM in 1994.

    He brought national titles to Coral Gables in 1999 and 2001.

    But UM has not been to Omaha since 2008, and last year Morris was hospitalized with pneumonia during the NCAA tournament and said he doesn’t remember anything from that period. He said he’s in perfect health now, and doesn’t plan on hanging up his cleats anytime soon.

   SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

June 10, 2014

Could Miami Hurricanes get back LHP Andy Suarez? Doubt it. But he still hasn't signed with Nationals.

Seven Miami Hurricanes were drafted this past weekend in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft: pitcher Andy Suarez (second round, Washington Nationals), pitcher Chris Diaz (fifth round, Atlanta Braves), outfielder Dale Carey (seventh round, Washington), pitcher Bryan Radziewski (ninth round, Houston Astros), pitcher Javi Salas  (10th round, Milwaukee Brewers), left fielder Tyler Palmer (21st round, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) and second baseman Alex Hernandez (40th round, Houston Astros).

Six of the seven have, or are expected to in the next day or so, sign, and most are heading out this week to their prospective leagues.

AndysuarezOne is holding out for now: Suarez (6-3, 2.95 ERA).

He told me this evening that he has not signed a contract, and that if he doesn't by the July 18th signing deadline, he would gladly come back to the Hurricanes.

"I'm still negotiating,'' Suarez said. "If the Nationals and I don't make an agreement I'm going to end up coming back. I really don't know what's going to happen. It would be exciting [to play pro ball], but if it doesn't happy I don't really mind coming back. It would be a good thing.''

 Suarez, 21, a Miamian who graduated from Christopher Columbus High, just completed his redshirt sophomore season at UM, and has two years of eligibility left. MLB's assigned signing value for the 57th overall pick (Suarez) is $987,800.

Hard to believe he would come back.

If he signs with the Nationals, he'll join teammate Dale Carey in the New York Penn League's short season with the Auburn Doubledays.

"He has leverage, I don't,'' said Carey on Tuesday. "I am so excited. I cannot wait."

*********************************************************

Tylerpalmer
Tyler Palmer
is flying out tomorrow for Orem, Utah, to play short season advanced rookie ball with the Orem Owlz in the Pioneer League. 

"It was pretty funny,'' Palmer said of the moment he was drafted. "I was watching the draft and a super regional and getting kind of nervous. In the 15th or 16th round I left my house in Pembroke Pines and drove to Chick-fil-A -- on my way my phone started blowing up. As I was in the drive-through ordering my food, then paying for it, I get a call from a scout with the Angels.

"'Congratulations, we drafted you,' he said. I picked up my food, called my parents and brother and they were all ecstatic."

 ******************************************************************************************

   Bryan Radziewski told me tonight that he signed with the Astros today and will play for the Tri-City Valley Cats of Albany, N.Y., in the New York Penn League: His roommate? Alex Hernandez.  

  "It's definitely going to make the transition for me a lot easier,'' B-Rad said. "I haven't been away from home before. It's a lot more responsibility, but UM prepared us to be responsible.''

  Hernandez, 22, of West Palm Beach, was the first player taken in the 40th round -- the final round of the draft. "It was pretty nerve-racking because I'm a senior and it was pretty much do or die.''

   So, Hernandez and his parents, girlfriend and brother tried to relieve the stress by going to a movie. "An old friend of mine texted me saying, 'Better late than never,' Hernandez said. "I thought, 'What is this guy talking about?'

  "I went on Twitter, refreshed it and my name popped up. I saw that I got drafted before the movie started. They all started screaming and hugging me. We left.''

*************************************************************************

Chris Diaz said he's heading to Rome, Ga., to play for the Rome Braves. "This is something I've wanted to do my whole life,'' Diaz said. "I can't wait to start.'' 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN 

 

 

June 06, 2014

It's over for now. Canes pitchers Andy Suarez, Chris Diaz, B-Rad, Javi Salas & OF Dale Carey drafted.

Sometime before the sun set: Bryan Radziewski called me to make sure I knew that pitcher Javi Salas was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 10th round.

He told me all the guys were making plans to go celebrate. Salas said they all might gather in his "very big'' backyard, two blocks from campus.

"It's been a great ride,'' Salas said. "Obviously we started the season with high hopes and came a little short. But this is a great reflection of the program and coaching. Miami prepared us for this moment.''

5:45 p.m. Friday: I was on the phone with Dale Carey, when he shouted, ""B-Rad just went in! Awesome!"

  That was a cool moment. "B-Rad" is Bryan Radziewski, the left-handed redshirt junior who was just drafted in the ninth round -- 256th overall -- by the Houston Astros.

B-Rad was drafted by the Cardinals last year in the 29th round -- 875 overall -- but chose to return to the Hurricanes. Obviously a very wise decision. Not only did he earn his degree, he will have more money in his pocket and be that much better a player.

 Radziewski, from Miami and a graduate of Florida Christian School, went 8-2 this season with a 2.86 ERA. He struck out 111 batters in 100.2 innings and held opponents to a .228 average in 16 starts.

  He is in seventh place in the UM record books with a career 333 strikeouts.

  His patience and talent has paid off.

"Four years at UM passed in front of my eyes and now I'm ready to start a new chapter in my life. I'm looking forward to seeing what I can accomplish.''

  *************************************************************************************

5 p.m. Friday: UM's third player, outfielder Dale Carey, was drafted in the seventh round -- 214th overall - by the Washington Nationals. He will be joined by fellow UM player and new Nationals' draftee Andy Suarez.

 Carey led the Hurricanes with a .305 batting average this past season, with a team-leading 16 doubles. He also had seven home runs and 29 RBI and 16 steals and was the only Cane to start all 63 games. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 21st round in 2010, so he has improved his stock big time.

"I was sitting down and eating and I heard my dad scream and my name announced,'' Carey said. "That 'Oh my God! I just got drafted!' feeling came over me. I couldn't wait to hear my name called -- so stressful. Finally, relief.''

Couldn't be happier for him!

 

***************************************************************************************   

3:30 p.m.: UM's second player (and pitcher), left-hander Chris Diaz, was drafted by the Atlanta Braves 163rd overall (fifth round).  Diaz, the Atlantic Coast Conference Co-Pitcher of the Year, was Miami's Friday-night ace this past season. He was not drafted out of Miami Gulliver Prep.

 He is from Florida City.

Diaz finished 9-1 with a 2.41 ERA, and was Miami's first, first-team All-American (Louisville Slugger)  since Yasmani Grandal in 2010.

  The Hurricanes won every 2014 regular-season game started by Diaz. His only loss came in the NCAA regionals.

 Diaz was not drafted out of high school.

Also, Archbishop McCarthy left-handed pitcher Brian Gonzalez, who signed with Miami, was the Baltimore Orioles' first overall pick today -- 90th overall, third round. 

 ******************************************************************************************************************

 University of Miami left-handed pitcher Andy Suarez, who was drafted in the second round (57th overall) after 11 p.m. yesterday to the Washington Nationals, is naturally elated to be turning pro. Needless to say he didn't sleep much last night.

   He told me just now in a phone interview that he absolutely made the right decision to become a Hurricane when he was drafted in the ninth round out of Miami Columbus High.

   "Definitely worth coming to UM,'' Suarez, 21, told me. "It was always a dream of mine to play baseball at Miami. When I got drafted out of high school I still didn't know that much about baseball. But Coach [Jim] Morris and [pitching coach] J.D. [Arteaga] and all the older guys helped me mature and taught me so much. 

   "I just wanted to go to school, get an education and get ready. College helps you mature as a player and as a person.''

   Suarez, a 21-year-old who just completed his redshirt sophomore season, finished his season 6-3 with a 2.95 ERA. He pitched nine innings four times this past season, including a complete-game shutout against Bethune-Cookman in his final start May 30 during the Coral Gables Regional.

   "It was very disappointing to finish the way we did,'' Suarez said. "It wasn't how we wanted to end up. I'm sure next year the're going to bounce back and go further.''

   Suarez said he first learned he might be drafted soon when he got a text from a scout -- not from the Nationals -- "saying, 'Congratulations!' And I was like, 'What?'

   "I was at a friend's house and was checking on my phone. When the Nationals' scout called me and told me, I got over 100 text messages and phone calls congratulating me in the next 15 minutes. My phone just blew up.

   "I am honored to be taken so high in the draft.''

    He said he doesn't know anyone on the Nationals, but he was happy it is an "MLB East team so I get to be home a lot if i get a chance to make it.''

   I asked Suarez what's it like to almost be a millionaire (the slotted signing bonus for a player taken at his spot is nearly a million dollars). His dad is a local truck driver and his Cuban-born mom is a pharmacy technician. They are a hard-working family, but not a rich one.

    "It feels great,'' he said about the projected money. "I'm not going to try to spend it on anything except helping my family out. I'm sure I'll get them presents.''

    He has one older brother and a younger brother and sister that range from 15 to 23.

   Suarez said he needs one more year at UM to get his bachelor's degree in criminology and psychology.

   "If it doesn't work out with the Nationals,'' he said, "I'd come back to school.''

    Day 2 of the MLB Draft has just started. More UM players will go today, for sure.

   Some of them that might be taken in the remaining rounds of the draft, that continues through Saturday: pitchers Chris Diaz, Bryan Radziewski and Javi Salas; and outfielders Dale Carey and Tyler Palmer.

   "I'm supposed to go today as far as I know,'' said Radziewski, "but anything could happen. I'm just happy for Andy. There's no one who deserves it more. He turned down a lot of money to come to school, came closer to his degree and learned a lot. I know he wouldn't trade any of it for the world.'' 

   Every one of those young men are class acts.

    Good luck to them all.

    SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

June 02, 2014

IT'S OVER: Texas Tech Tops Canes 4-0, Wins Regional


TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards


After the Miami baseball team kept its season going with a win in an elimination game Monday afternoon, Hurricanes coach Jim Morris told his team they were going to "win the second game.''


They didn't, however, and now Miami's season is complete.


The Hurricanes put one runner in scoring position and failed to score in Monday's 4-0 loss to Texas Tech in the championship of the Coral Gables Regional at Mark Light Field.


Miami topped the Red Raiders 2-1 in 10 innings earlier in the day but couldn't get the second win.


"We were the home team, I thought we were going to win,'' Morris said.


Texas Tech (43-18) moves to an NCAA Super Regional for the first time in its program's history and are two wins away from the College World Series in Omaha.


The Hurricanes end 44-19 as they failed to get out of the regional round for a fourth straight year. Miami hasn't been to the CWS since 2008.


"It's very disappointing,'' said leadoff hitter Dale Carey, who walked three times in the championship game. "We fought hard in the game and all season. I'm proud of us.''


The Hurricanes got plenty of pitching during this regional but not enough run support.


In Monday's championship game, the Hurricanes first hit didn't come until the fourth inning as they were almost completely shut down by starter Cameron Smith.


"I didn't even know I was going to pitch,'' said Smith, who pitched a three-hitter despite complaining about stiffness in his left arm. "But I told coach I wanted the ball. I had to go and prove myself from my last outing. I put my team first and played well behind me.''


Miami was shutout by the Red Raiders for the second time since losing 3-0 on Saturday.


The Hurricanes hadn't been shutout all season before Saturday; it happened to the Hurricanes twice in the regional as Miami's bats went cold as Miami went 4-3 since clinching the ACC regular season title two weeks ago.


"They did a great job against us,'' Morris said. "It's a hard thing to explain at any level, whether it's here or high school or the major leagues and everywhere in between. It's hard to explain why the bats go cold. We've scored a lot of runs. But their two lefties ate our lunch.''


The Hurricanes scored 13 runs in its five games in the Coral Gables Regional -- although 10 of those came in Sunday's blow out of Bethune-Cookman.


In three games against the Red Raiders, Miami put two runs across with both coming in Monday's extra-innings win.


Monday, Miami's pitching was strong in both games.


Closer Bryan Garcia started the resumed game (Tech was leading 1-0 when the game was postponed because of weather on Sunday night) and pitched three no-hit innings.


In the second game, starter Derik Beauprez gave Miami four solid innings as he didn't give up his first hit until there was one out in the fourth.


Miami replaced Beauprez with submarine reliever Cooper Hammond.


The freshman from Venice got into a little trouble with one out as back-to-back singles put runners on the corners. Hammond then struck out pinch hitter Todd Ritchie (after he failed to bunt Devon Conley home from third and got Bryant Burleson to fly out to left.


Texas Tech did its damage in the seventh, with Ryan Long reaching after being clipped by a pitch and Tim Proudfoot singled.


Conley bunted to move the runners, but Miami catcher Garrett Kennedy overthrew Alex Hernandez covering first. The ball sailed into the right field bullpen and the Red Raiders got the only run they needed. Tech tacked on a second run on a sacrifice fly from pinch-hitter Alex Humphreys.


Miami, meanwhile, didn't do much to threaten. The Hurricanes rarely got the ball out of the infield and put just one runner (Johnny Ruiz in the seventh) in scoring position.


So, when Tech scored two on a single from Zach Davis in the top of the ninth, the game was all but over.


"They have a great pitching staff,'' outfielder Tyler Palmer said. "Every guy they threw at us kept us off balance, stayed ahead in the count, threw for strikes.''


In the elimination game, the Hurricanes quickly tied things up as they came into the eighth down 1-0.


The Hurricanes got back-to-back singles from Palmer and Zack Collins to start things off with Palmer coming home on David Thompson's grounder to third.


In the top of the 10th, Miami had runners on the corners with one out when Thompson lofted a fly ball that landed just down the right field line. Thompson's double brought Palmer in from third to make it 2-1. Miami had bases loaded with one out in the 10th but couldn't put any more across.


With Garcia dealing, it didn't matter as he put the Red Raiders down in order in all three innings pitched.


"We knew if we won the first game, we had a good chance,'' pitcher Javi Salas said. "We battled all season long, had a tough stretch at the beginning and really came along.''


CANES WIN: Hurricanes Top Texas Tech 2-1 in 10; Regional Title Game Starts at 4:10


TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards


The Miami Hurricanes baseball team stayed alive on Monday afternoon, beating Texas Tech 2-1 in 10 innings.


Miami's win forced a championship game of the NCAA's Coral Gables Regional. That game is scheduled to start at 4:10 p.m. on Monday.


Had Miami lost on Monday afternoon, its season would have been over.


Miami trailed the Red Raiders 1-0 when the game was halted because of weather on Sunday night. The game was resumed on Monday afternoon with one out in the top of the eighth inning.


It didn't take Miami long to tie things up.


The Hurricanes (44-18) got back-to-back singles from Tyler Palmer and Zack Collins to start things off with Palmer coming home from third on David Thompson's grounder to third. Texas Tech third baseman Ryan Long threw home, but Palmer slid without catcher Tyler Floyd applying the tag.


In the top of the 10th, Miami had runners on the corners with one out when Thompson lofted a soft fly that landed just down the right field line. Thompson's double brought Palmer in from third to make it 2-1. Miami had bases loaded with one out in the 10th but couldn't put any more across.


With closer Bryan Garcia dealing, it didn't matter. Garcia pitched all three innings in Monday's opener to get the win. Garcia put the Red Raiders down in order in all three innings pitched.


Follow me (@GeorgeRichards) for updates on the title game.


June 01, 2014

Hurricanes 5 minutes away from Coral Gables Regional baseball showdown with Texas Tech

Good evening from Alex Rodriguez Park, where the gray clouds are indeed ominous. 

The Canes, who finally broke out the bats against Bethune-Cookman this afternoon, are on the field being announced now for their do-or-die 7 p.m. showdown with the Texas Tech Raiders.

UM defeated Bethune-Cookman 10-0 this afternoon, eliminating the Wildcats and leaving just the Canes and Red Raiders in the regional.

If Texas Tech (42-18) beats UM tonight, the Red Raiders will claim their first NCAA regional championship and advance to a super regional next weekend.

If UM (43-18) defeats Texas Tech tonight, the teams will meet again in a winner-takes-all regional championship game at 7 p.m. Monday.

The Canes finally broke out their bats in the first game, garnering 10 hits, including ACC Freshman of the Year Zack Collins' two home runs that drove in five runs. Now Collins is tied with Mike Papi of Virginia with 11 home runs. 

And left-handed senior pitcher Bryan Radziewski was spectacular in allowing only three hits in nine innings for the shutout. Radziewski raised his record to 8-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.86.

UM still hasn't used many of its relievers, and the ones who have thrown have been used sparingly. Closer Bryan Garcia hasn't even pitched this tournament.

"Our bullpen is in great shape,'' Morris said after this afternoon's victory. "Woodrey threw an inning and a third last night and Cooper [Hammond] threw a little bit. [Javi] Salas is going to pitch tonight. ..We need a good outing out of him. I'm very confident he could pitch and do the things he needs to do. He's a senior and a guy that needs to get it down and step up.''

Pitching for Texas Tech: right-hander Ryan Moseley (1-2, 3.86 ERA)

If UM wins tonight, I, unfortunately, will have to miss the championship game Monday night. My son is graduating from high school at 7 p.m. I'll have my phone charged up and ready to go!

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

May 31, 2014

Breaking news: If you are a Miami Hurricanes baseball fan, a blog that will make you happy.

First, the No. 5 national seed Florida State Seminoles fell 6-5 to Alabama on Saturday in the NCAA baseball regional in Tallahassee.

Next, the No. 2 national seed Florida Gators fell 5-2 on Saturday to North Carolina.

What the Florida loss means for the Miami Hurricanes: If the Canes win their regional at Alex Rodriguez Park, they will be one of eight teams around the country to host the next round of the NCAA tournament -- the super regionals. If Florida and Miami both ended up winning their regionals, Miami would have had to go to Gainesville for the super regional.

However, the Canes, who beat Bethune-Cookman 1-0 Friday night, are losing 2-0 to Texas Tech heading to the bottom of the third.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

Batter up! Next games in Coral Gables Regional drawing near (& UM OF Willie Abreu likely to sit with hamstring injury)

    Day 2 of the NCAA Coral Gables Regional is upon us, with No. 4 seed Bethune-Cookman (26-32) ready to face No. 3 seed Columbia (29-19) at 2 p.m. Saturday. The team that loses is eliminated from the tournament.

    The top-seeded Hurricanes (42-17) defeated Bethune-Cookman 1-0 in a doozy of a pitchers' duel late Friday night.

    The Canes will take on Texas Tech (41-18) at 7 p.m. Saturday in the winners' bracket. Tech defeated Columbia 3-2 in the ninth innings on Friday afternoon.

      Bethune pitcher Montana Durapau was amazing, as usual, last night against MIami. Here were his late-night comments after the game:

Q: Montana, you were matching Suarez—only difference was that he was able to keep his pitch count low. What were the Canes doing to cause this to happen?

Durapau (held UM to no runs and 3 hits in seven innings, but threw 109 pitches): I don’t think it was anything they [the Canes] were doing per se, I just fell behind. I should’ve just attacked, attacked, attacked, but you just have to make the best of it and that’s what I tried to do.

Q: Montana, when you came out of the game, what were the thoughts going through your head after you just pitched 7 shutout innings? Do you feel like the momentum was on your team’s side that some thought you were going to win?

Durapau: Oh, for sure. I have all the faith in the world in my guys. As a starter, you just try and give your team the best opportunity to win and you do that as long as you can. I had faith in our bullpen—I wasn’t mad coming out of the game. We have a job to do—we have to fire guys up and just stay in the game.

Q: How would you say that you being able to win here earlier in the season helped your pitching today—if at all?

Durapau: You know, I faced Miami a couple of times: two starts against them, two wins. You get to see the hitters so many times, you get to see holes, you see things you can exploit—that only helps you as a starter.

Here's Bethune-Cookman coach Jason Beverlin's reaction to game:

Opening Statement

What a great couple of baseball games—both games—coming down to the last inning, both of them. Hats off to all the teams in this regional. I thought everyone played extremely well, and that’s the way baseball is supposed to be. It’s nip and tuck in this part of the year and coming down to the last inning and executing that last inning. What a great day of baseball.

Some Q and A with Beverlin:

Q: How disappointing was this knowing what a great pitching effort Durpeau had?

A: Yeah, he was unbelievable; he has been all year. I’ll put him up against anybody’s number one…he’s pitched that way no matter where we go—we could go play Washington, Miami—it doesn’t matter. All the teams in our league, he’s the same guy and he deals—that’s what he does. And that’s the bottom line. It doesn’t matter what conference, what team—he pitches the same way, and it’s good. But it is disappointing, there’s no question, but I’m not disappointed in the way we played at all. I thought we hit the ball pretty well. His pitch count was low, and he obviously did a good job of getting out of trouble and making pitches when he had to—no question. But with the approach we had, because he has good breaking stuff and he was able to bury his slider late in the count, we were trying to get to him early, and that’s where we got some of our hits but also got a lot of our outs and kept his pitch count down for him.

Q: What was the reaction of the players after the game coming so close to upsetting the #1 seed in the regional and having it end the way it did?

A: No question, they’re disappointed and rightly so. I’m disappointed, but I’m definitely not disappointed in the way they played. I told them to play that way tomorrow. That’s the way I want them to play, and I’m very proud of the way they went about their business and played the game. We just didn’t get a big hit when we needed it, but that’s baseball—it happens.

Q: It was a very clean game until the last inning—the right fielder with a blunder and that pitch at the end. When you talk about that, is that uncharacteristic for your team?

A: I thought we played great defense like you said until that last inning. We made a couple mistakes the last inning but like I said, I’m very proud of the way we played. It just so happens that was the same inning and the last inning, so it is what it is. But overall, I think we played excellent defense and did a good job.

 Q: What is it about your team that has you guys stepping up to the challenge?

A: What I try and pass on to our guys is regardless of who we play, you’re going to play to win the game. That’s why we play—that’s why there’s a scoreboard. There’s no moral victory- hey, we kept it close and lost- no, they’re disappointed we lost because they played to win the game today. I don’t care who we play, if it’s the number 1 team in the country or the #1 team in the regional, we are playing to win—not just to make a good showing. I think they really take that to heart, and that’s why you see what you see. They do a good job of not being intimidated and playing the games to try and win regardless of what the name on the other jersey says

 Miami Players: Winning pitcher Andrew Suarez (complete game shutout victory), David Thompson (he scored the winning run on a wild pitch with two outs in the ninth)

Suarez on his night:

I felt like all of my pitches were working and my command got better as the game went on. I was leaving some down the plate and they were getting some hits and then after that I just worked on keeping the ball low.

Suarez on the complete game:

It feels good, finally getting the win once I go nine innings.

David Thompson on the last play:

I thought it was a strike the catcher just missed it and ran home, plain and simple.

Thompson on what was said in the middle of the 8th:

Our captain, Tyler Palmer, brought us together and he was just telling us ‘this is our season, our season is on the line’. We struggled all game, we struggled through the ninth inning but we found a way to win. And that’s what he was telling us, we just have to find a way to win no matter what.

Thompson on the win:

It was awesome. It’s just a blessing to be back out on the field. You know I didn’t play that well today but I found a way to get on base and we just, Andy pitched a heck of a game and we just found a way to win. It was an amazing feeling.

Thompson on Bethune-Cookman’s Durapau

I wouldn’t say we were trying too hard. He was a really good pitcher and he just  pitched well against us the last time we played them and he pitched well against us today and he kept us off balance all game.

UM coach Jim Morris (Note that he says freshman right fielder Willie Abreu will likely sit out Saturday night's game with a hamstring pull.)

Opening Statement

First of all I’d like to congratulate in particular Durapau for the pitching performance. It was an amazing game pitched by both guys. Both guys pitched just as good as Suarez pitched and I don’t know about Durapau but he can’t be any better. He’s pitched good against us his whole career, thank goodness he’s a senior. We knew it was going to be a tough outing because he has beaten us twice before so he’s outstanding and they have a really good club and they’re well coached and its just a great win for us, huge win. You just have to find a way to win and that was a crazy way to win it but that’s a huge win.

Morris on the offense, Suarez:

We hit and ran once and hit it up the middle and it was a force out and got caught trying to steal a base one time to try to get someone in scoring position. He had to try to make something happen because as a normal rule he’s a guy who’s not going to beat himself and he’s just an outstanding competitor. Suarez of course had a great game and I know some people were asking me about pitching him, he’s probably our top draft pick come the 5th of June and that’s because of the way he pitched tonight. He’s pitched some gems, our first complete game of the year. We always go to our bullpen and try to save our guys until NCAA tournament time to even consider going with them a complete game and he would have gone another inning because he threw 94 pitches and he wanted to stay in the game and we would have let him throw one more inning so it was a great outing. We played some good defense and of course Lopez go the big hit right center to get David Thompson to third, don’t want to forget that and all the things that happened tonight.

Morris on B-C reliever Scott Garner

His ERA is five something and he comes in and strikes out the side and I’m thinking why in the world his ERA is five something to be honest with you. So it was a crazy thing and I know I was checking, we were checking pitch counts all night hoping that Durapau’s pitch count got over 100 and got out cause I’ve seen him pitch. Suarez did a great job of keeping his pitch count down all night.

Morris on  play of Abreu:

Well he’s just struggling. He’s got a hamstring pull and its bothering him to play a little right now and I think he probably needs to rest and get well because he’s been a great player all his life. He’s a USA Baseball guy that’s played in every level, at the top of the level. He was drafted and turned down a lot of money to come to school. He’s just struggling a little bit which is reflected by the fact that he’s still bothered by that pulled hamstring. I’ll probably give him the day off tomorrow too.

Morris on deciding to start Suarez Friday:

It’s the same way we do it every year. I’ve been here for 21 years and we’ve never thrown my ace one time, opening day. Our pitchers Suarez is very good, B-Rad is very good and Chris Diaz is an All-American so all three of them are very good. It can be anybody on a given day and I was more worried about getting a run than our pitching. We’ve don’t that every time since I’ve been here for 21years. Being the one seed if were 1 seed then we haven’t started our number one starter. 

 Thanks to UM and Taylor McGillis for the transcription.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

  

May 29, 2014

UM baseball coach Jim Morris wanted very badly for the Heat to win Wednesday. Can't blame him...

   University of Miami baseball coach Jim Morris, a fan of many sports, was watching the Heat game with extra interest Wednesday night.

  Morris wanted the Heat to win as much as any Miami fan – probably more.

   Because Miami lost to Indiana, the Heat are back home to play the Pacers at the AmericanAirlinesArena at 8:30 p.m. Friday for what could be the deciding game in the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals.

   Morris’ top-seeded Hurricanes (41-17) open their NCAA Coral Gables Regional play at 7 p.m. Friday against No. 4 seed Bethune-CookmanUniversity (26-31).

   Morris told me he has already talked to folks who have season tickets for the Heat and Hurricanes. He said they told him they'll be at the Heat game Friday night and back at Alex Rodriguez Park on Saturday for the double-elimination regional. 

     “I hope we have a great crowd,’’ Morris said during a news conference Thursday afternoon. "Last night I was pulling really, really hard for the Heat. And now they’re matching up against us… And that does make a difference in this city. It’s a big city but it makes a difference. These people have finally figured out what basketball is all about.

   “When I came to Miami I had a TV show. The basketball coach did not have one, just to give you a comparison. They’ve really caught on fire the last couple years and it does make a difference. Hopefully we’ll have a great crowd for everybody. It would be a fun atmosphere to be in.’’

   ***********************************************

   Miami left-handed junior Chris Diaz was named a Louisville Slugger first-team All-American Thursday. Diaz is 9-0 with a 2.31 ERA. The Canes won every 2014 regular-season game started by Diaz.

    Diaz, who has a career record of 18-6 with a 2.25 ERA, is the 10th Hurricane in UM history to be named to the Louisville Slugger first team.

   ***********************************************

   Get well soon to Columbia ace pitcher David Speer (7-2, 1.86), who had emergency appendectomy surgery on Monday and is unable to play in the regional with his Lions. Speer is a senior, and that has to be a heartbreaker for the left-hander and his team. He’s also the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year, having led the nation with four shutouts.

   The No. 3 seed Lions ( 29-18) will go with right-handed sophomore George Thanopoulos (5-2, 2.81) to face No. 2 seed Texas Tech (40-18) at 2 p.m. Friday at Alex RodriguezPark.

     SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN