January 04, 2016

Miami Hurricanes announce three hires; Larry Scott hired by Tennessee

University of Miami coach Mark Richt just announced three more hires, two of which we already reported: UM hired Stacy Searels from Virginia Tech to coach the O-line, Mike Rumph of Plantation American Heritage High School to coach cornerbacks and Ephraim Banda of Mississippi State to coach safeties.

Below this release you'll see the news release about Larry Scott, who has been hired by Tennessee as the tight ends coach.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

Here's the UM release (scroll down after this one and you'll find the Tennessee release):

Richt Names Three More Assistants to Miami Staff

 CORAL GABLES, Fla. – University of Miami head coach Mark Richt announced the addition of Mike Rumph, Stacy Searels and Ephraim Banda to the Hurricanes’ coaching staff for the start of the 2016 campaign.

In their new roles with the Hurricanes, Rumph will serve as the team’s cornerbacks coach, Searels will move into the role of offensive line coach and Banda will coach the safeties.

“These individuals possess the type of qualities we are looking for in our staff,” Richt said. “Each of these men will play a significant role in our team’s development as we pursue excellence. I looking forward to working with each of these coaches.”

Rumph, a member of the Hurricanes’ 2001 national championship team, returns to his alma mater after spending the past three seasons as the head coach at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla.

During his three seasons as head coach, Rumph guided the Patriots to three straight Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) state playoff appearances and compiled an overall record of 34-6 in one of Florida’s most competitive districts.

Rumph wasted little time making his mark on the local high school coaching scene as his 2013 and 2014 squads claimed 5A FHSAA State Championships, defeating its opponents by a combined score of 104-8 in the final game. American Heritage became just the second school in Broward County history to win back-to-back state football championships.

Searels, the former offensive line coach at Virginia Tech, Texas, Georgia and LSU, and an All-America offensive lineman as a player at Auburn, reunites with Richt for the second time in his career. Searels spent the 2007-10 seasons on Georgia’s staff.

The Georgia native arrives in Coral Gables after he spent the past two seasons at Virginia Tech. During his two seasons at Virginia Tech, Searels’ offensive line helped guide the Hokies to a pair of bowl victories.

In 2013, his final season at Texas, Searels’ line enabled the Longhorns to finish 36th in the country in rushing offense and 17th in sacks allowed per game. Trey Hopkins was named first-team All-Big 12 while Donald Hawkins secured a spot on the second team.

In 2012, the Hokies offensive line, which was without a senior starter, allowed the opposition to post just 4.1 tackles for loss per game, which ranked tied for third in the country.

During his first season at Texas, Searels helped the Longhorns rank 21st nationally and third in the Big 12 with 210.4 rushing yards per game.

Searels joined the Longhorns after coaching the offensive line at Georgia for four seasons. He added the duties of running game coordinator in 2009. During his time there, the Bulldogs ranked in the top 25 in the nation in fewest sacks allowed three times, including ranking sixth and leading the SEC in 2009 with just 12.

A three-year starter on the offensive line at Auburn, Searels earned first-team All-America honors from both The Associated Press and Football News as a senior in 1987.

Banda spent the 2015 season at Mississippi State where he served as a defensive assistant under current Hurricanes defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.

During the 2015 season, Mississippi State posted a 9-4 record and posted a victory over North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl. The Bulldogs’ defensive unit held opponents to just 23.2 point per game and ranked in the nation’s top 10 in redzone defense.

In addition, MSU led the nation in fewest pass plays of 20+ yards allowed in 2015, surrendering only 24. Despite several key injuries to seniors, the secondary ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference in passes defended with 63.


Prior to arriving in Starkville, Banda spent three seasons as a defensive graduate assistant at the University of Texas from 2012-15. He filled a variety of roles from scripting practices and organizing scouting reports to assisting with the defensive backs. He also worked with both head coach Charlie Strong and former head coach Mack Brown.

In addition to his work on defense, Banda also assisted with the Longhorn special teams

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

Here's the news release from Tennessee on former UM tight ends coach/interim coach Larry Scott. He would have been a major asset for the Hurricanes. He already did so much for UM, leading it to four wins in its last five games of the season, and making the Hurricanes believe in themselves.

I'm sure he'll have a successful career at Tennessee, and I expect to see him one day as a head coach somewhere. I'll miss having him at UM.

Susan Miller Degnan

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- University of Tennessee head coach Butch Jones announced Larry Scott has agreed in principle to become the Volunteers tight ends coach. Scott joins the Vols after spending the last three seasons as the Miami Hurricanes tight ends coach. He concluded the 2015 season as the interim head coach, leading the Hurricanes to a 4-2 mark and a berth in the Sun Bowl.

Scott has 15 years of coaching experience, including 11 seasons on the collegiate level, and has coached in eight bowl games. He joined the Miami staff on Feb. 25, 2013 where he oversaw the tight ends unit. He became the 22nd football coach in UM history on Oct. 25, 2015, given the interim tag after Al Golden was fired after seven games. The Hurricanes won four of their last five games under Scott en route to an 8-4 finish.

"We are very excited about welcoming Larry Scott, his wife, Shakiera, and their children (Larry, Jalen, Jurnee) into the Tennessee football family," Jones said. "Larry brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our staff. He is a great teacher, motivator and recruiter, and most importantly, a great mentor for our student-athletes. I think the way Miami finished the season under his guidance speaks volumes to his leadership skills."

In 2014, the UM tight ends combined for 52 receptions and 833 yards receiving. Under Scott's tutelage, Clive Walford led the team with 44 catches and earned third-team All-America and second-team All-ACC honors. Following the season, Walford was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.

Prior to joining UM, Scott spent eight seasons at the University of South Florida, beginning in 2005 as the director of high school relations. He moved to a graduate assistant role in 2006 before he was promoted to tight ends coach in 2007, a position he led from 2007-08 and again in 2010-11. He coached the offensive line in 2009 and moved to running backs coach in 2012.

A native of Sebring, Florida, Scott was part of a group that helped USF to its fifth straight eight-win season, making it one of only 15 programs nationally and one of just 10 in BCS leagues to accomplish the feat. He was the main recruiter within the Miami-Dade and Broward counties. USF's 2009 class was ranked 21st nationally.

Scott began his coaching career as run game coordinator and offensive line coach at Tampa's Wharton High School from May 2001-August 2001. He served as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 2001-03 at Freedom School before returning to his alma mater, Sebring High School, in 2004 as the co-offensive coordinator.

Scott was a three-year letterman at South Florida, where he played offensive tackle and earned his bachelor's degree in his communications. He was a member of the first recruiting class that began practicing in 1996, the year before the first USF Football game. He attended Sebring High School, where he lettered in football, baseball and wrestling.

Scott and his wife, Shakiera, have three children: sons, Larry and Jalen, and daughter Jurnee.

Alumnus Mike Rumph confirmed to be headed to UM as new CBs coach

            Mike Rumph was part of the last national championship team at the University of Miami.

            Rumph is headed back to his alma mater to try and help them win another one.

            Rumph, who spent the past three years as the head football coach at Plantation American Heritage School, is set to join the coaching staff at UM under new coach Mark Richt.

            CanesInSight.com first reported that Rumph has been hired as the Hurricanes’ cornerbacks coach, a position he played at UM and in the NFL.

American Heritage athletic director Karen Stearns confirmed that Rumph met with his team Monday morning to let them know he would be leaving. Rumph did not immediately return phone calls Monday morning to The Miami Herald.

“Mike called me last night and let me know he was leaving,” Stearns said. “It was an emotional meeting with the kids and obviously we’re sad to lose him, but we’re thrilled for him. It’s very exciting for him, for UM, and for all of us. It’s a great move.”

            Rumph starred at UM where he had six career interceptions and finished his college career on UM’s star-studded 2001 national championship team.

            Rumph, 36, played six seasons in the NFL and had stints with the 49ers, who drafted him in the first round in 2002 and later the Redskins and Rams.

            Not long after retiring following the 2007 season, Rumph went into coaching.

            Rumph became an assistant coach at Miramar Everglades in 2010 and later at American Heritage in Plantation.

In 2013, Rumph replaced former Miami Dolphin Jeff Dellenbach as the school’s head coach and guided the Patriots to back-to-back state championships and a regional semifinals appearance this past season. During that time, American Heritage went 35-6.

Rumph replaces UM defensive backs coach Paul Williams, who has reportedly been hired at the University of Illinois. Williams spent the past five seasons coaching at UM originally under former coach Al Golden.

January 03, 2016

Miami Hurricanes dismiss OL coach Art Kehoe, hire Stacy Searels

Artkehoe

The only man with all five University of Miami national championship rings has been dismissed from his job.

 UM Sports Hall of Famer and Miami offensive line coach Art Kehoe, either as a player or coach with the program a total of 31 years and one of, if not the, truest Cane there ever was, has been replaced by former Virginia Tech OL coach Stacy Searels.

Kehoe had a three-hour interview on Wednesday with Mark Richt, and continued talking with him afterward. But in the end, Richt released Kehoe.

Contrary to a report put out previously by another outlet, Kehoe was never offered a fundraising job at UM -- or any other job.

I hear from my excellent source that Kehoe might have another opportunity. I believe he definitely had the opportunity before, but he thought he was going to be retained.

God bless you, Art. Will miss you barking on the field, and then slapping me five.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

January 02, 2016

Manny Diaz, former Miami Mayor's son, hired by UM as D-coordinator

Manny Diaz Jr. is coming home.

Diaz, 41, was named the University of Miami defensive coordinator on Saturday by new Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt.

Diaz, who has been coaching for 18 years, is the son of former Miami mayor Manny Diaz. He comes to the Hurricanes after a one-year stint as D-coordinator and linebackers coach at Mississippi State.

And for Hurricanes fans who could not tolerate what they thought was a weak, non-aggressive, far too complicated 3-4 defense by former UM coordinator Mark D'Onofrio, Diaz runs an extremely aggressive, attacking 4-3 scheme.

"I'm very excited about Manny Diaz becoming our defensive coordinator,'' Richt said in a release. "I've known him for over 20 years and I've watched him become one of the best defensive minds in the business. He and our defensive staff will implement a 4-3 attacking style defense.''

Diaz coached this past season under MSU head coach Dan Mullen, who interviewed recently for the UM head-coaching vacancy.

Diaz played three sports at Miami Country Day High School, but never played college football. He started his coaching career in 1998-99 as a graduate assistant at FSU, where he received his bachelor's degree.

Diaz's defense this season for the Bulldogs (9-4) was ranked 57th overall, allowing 391.2 yards per game. His rushing defense finished the season ranked 70th (174.6 rushing yards a game allowed), passing defense finished 57th (216.5) and scoring defense was 37th nationally (23.2 points a game allowed).

His team gave up 5.32 yards per play, 45th nationally of 128 FBS teams.

For comparison's sake, UM's defense ranked 69th this season, allowing 404.8 yards per game. UM's rushing defense finished 102nd this season (201 rushing yards a game allowed), passing defense finished 38th (203.8) and scoring defense was 77th (28.2 points a game allowed).

The Bullodogs were ranked ninth in team tackles for loss and ninth in red zone defense.

"Starkville is a special place and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity Dan Mullen and Scott Stricklin game my family and I,'' Diaz said. "...God blessed me with a chance to return home, to coach in my hometown and to reunite with family. It is the kind of opportunity that comes along rarely in this business. It was simply too good to pass up.

"I can't wait to help Coach Richt build a championship program at Miami.''

In 2014, Diaz spent one season at Louisiana Tech, leading the nation in turnovers gained (40) with 15 fumble recoveries and 25 interceptions. 

Prior to La Tech, he coached three seasons at Texas and was fired by former coach Mack Brown just two games into the 2013 season after the Longhorns allowed 670 yards of total offense -- 550 of them rushing -- against BYU.

Diaz has been considered one of the bright, up-and-coming defensive young minds in the nation as he worked his way up from FSU to NC State (graduate assistant, linebacker, safeties, special teams from 2000-01 through 2004-05), Middle Tennessee (defensive coordinator, safeties, linebackers 2006-07 through 2008-09), to his first stint at Mississippi State in 2010 (defensive coordinator, linebackers).

In 2010, Diaz brought a team that had finished 71st in scoring defense the previous year to 22nd overall, and brought the Bulldogs from 62nd in rushing defense to 17th.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN 

 

 

December 28, 2015

Miami Hurricanes sign DE Patrick Bethel to grant-in-aid agreement

Just in from the University of Miami: 

Canes Ink Bethel to Grand-In-Aid Agreement

 CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami football program signed senior defensive end Pat Bethel to a grant-in-aid agreement on Monday.

Bethel, who hails from Vero Beach, Fla., concluded senior season at Vero Beach High School after he recorded nine sacks in 2015.

He is currently ranked No. 88 in the ESPN 300 ratings. Bethel also has a four-star ranking and is rated as the 10th–best defensive end by 247Sports. He also is ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the TCPalm Super 11 rankings.

Most recently, Bethel was selected to play in the 2015 Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 2.

Bethel is the fifth grant-in-aid player to sign with the Hurricanes. Earlier this year, Miami inked Jack Allison, Shaq Quarterman, Mike Pinckney and Zach McCloud. He also is the fourth player ranked in the ESPN 300 ratings to sign with the Canes.

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Season tickets to the 2016 Miami Hurricanes football season are on sale now – visit CanesTix.com or call (305) 284-2263 for more information.

UM junior Artie Burns to enter NFL Draft, pens letter

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 University of Miami cornerback Artie Burns did what he knew he had to do.

    On Monday, Burns announced that he will forgo his senior season at the University of Miami to enter the NFL Draft.

    Burns’ mother, Dana Smith, died in late October, leaving him with custody of his two younger brothers. He also has a 1-year-old son.

     Burns finished the season with an ACC-leading six interceptions and is considered the most NFL-ready player of the Hurricanes considering entering the NFL Draft – including receiver Stacy Coley, linebacker Al-Quadin Muhammad and cornerback Corn Elder.

     In a letter Burns wrote and was emailed by his aunt to the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel and the University of Miami, Burns said he wanted to give “GOD the glory and a special thanks to my teammates, coach Al Golden and coach Mark Richt, the UM coaching staff, the University of Miami and all the Canes Fans.

   “I can't put into words what these past three years have meant to me in my development as a football player but even more importantly as a man. It is only right to acknowledge that and I thank you all.

   “After considering all the options, and looking into my future, I feel it is in my best interest to forgo my senior year and declare for the NFL Draft.

    “This was a long and extremely difficult decision to make.

    “Due to m y mom sudden passing and my father being incarcerated, I now have custody of my two younger brothers and my son to raise. It is my responsibility to be the financial supporter my family needs to continue our day to day lives.

    “Also, playing in the National Football League has always been a dream of mine and I believe the time to pursue this dream is now, I feel I’m mentally and physically ready. Now that the time has come for me to take the next step in my journey, I will come back to complete my degree from this prestigious University.

   “Once again I want to Thank my family for all the support. I want to thank all the professors, advisors, trainers, and coaches for everything they have done for me.

My teammates, I love you all, you guys are my brothers. We have accomplished so much, I’ll always cherish those moments with you.

   “And finally to each one of you unbelievable fans that back us each and every day, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me during my time at The University of Miami. You guys truly made my college experience one to remember.

   “I will ALWAYS BE A CANE 4 LIFE!!! and continue to root and support whenever I can. Because its ALL ABOUT THE “U”.

   “Yours Truly,

    “Artie Burns”

  Also on Monday, CanesInSight.com reported, per sources, that Larry Scott is expected to be retained on UM's staff.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

December 27, 2015

Mark Richt update, Sun Bowl thoughts on cold Miami ending

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EL PASO, TEXAS (where the snow is still coming down hard from last night and I doubt I'll get out) --Another Hurricanes bowl and another Hurricanes loss. There's only one way to go now, and that' up.

New UM coach Mark Richt is expected to announce his new staff later this week -- and not today. 

Have a feeling several changes will be made. The current staffers, who could be told their fate at any time,
have had it tough not knowing what their futures hold.

One person close to the situation told me it was "freaking nerve-racking'' not having any indication from Richt on what he was planning to do.

I still think Larry Scott and the other guys did a tremendous job holding this team together after Al Golden was fired. Unfortunately, it all blew up Saturday in the 20-14 Washington State loss.

And now, this: Even if that halfback pass from Joe Yearby to intended receiver Stacy Coley (who was open and ready for the catch) was thrown in the right X's and O's situation, it wasn't the right time. With only three minutes left in the game and it being do-or-die time, with the snow coming down hard, with the wind blowing, with the players sopped and cold (including their hands), a guy who is a tailback and hasn't throw the ball all day is asked to make his one shot in those circumstances a perfect one. Why not give it to your ace?

Other notes provided by Miami:

  • Miami’s matchup with Washington State marked the first all-time meeting between the two schools.
  • This is Miami’s second trip to the Sun Bowl in school history. 

TEAM NOTES

  • Miami Starters: 

OFFENSE: QB #15 Brad Kaaya, RB #2 Joe Yearby, LT #73 Trevor Darling, LG #67 Alex Gall, C #68 Nick Linder, RG #63 Danny Isidora, RT #52 Kc McDermott, WR #3 Stacy Coley, TE #5 Standish Dobard, TE #23 Chris Herndon, WR #11 Rashawn Scott.

DEFENSE: DL #9 Chad Thomas, DL #47 Ufomba Kamalu, DL #93 Calvin Heurtelou, LB #5 Jermaine Grace, LB #51 Juwon Young, LB #8 Al-Quadin Muhammad, DB #1 Artie Burns, DB #29 Corn Elder, DB #2 Deon Bush, DB #26 Rayshawn Jenkins, DB #25 Dallas Crawford.

  • Miami became just the third team this season to hold Washington State under 400 yards of total offense. In addition, Miami became the only team this season to shut out Washington State in the second half. 
  • Miami’s first scoring drive of the game consisted of 15 plays and went 69 yards. The Hurricanes have had 17 drives of 10-or-more plays this season.
  • Miami allowed 87 rushing yards in the game. The last time the Hurricanes allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards was in a 45-0 win over Bethune-Cookman (9/5/15) when they gave up just 53.

OFFENSIVE INDIVIDUAL NOTES

  • Sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya finished the game with 219 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception.
  • Kaaya’s interception was just his seventh interception in his last 578 attempts.
  • Kaaya’s 219 passing yards moved him past Gino Torretta (two separate seasons), Steve Walsh and himself last season to tie Vinny Testaverde sixth in single-season passing yards (3,238).
  • Kaaya’s 30 passing attempts moved him past Bernie Kosar, George Mira, Ryan Clement and Craig Erickson for sixth all-time with 766. He also passed Gino Torretta and himself last season for eighth on the single-season list with 388.
  • Kaaya’s 17 completions moved him past Ryan Clement for seventh all-time (459). He also surpassed Ken Dorsey, Craig Erickson, Gino Torretta and Steve Walsh for fourth on the single-season list (238).
  • With 193 yards of total offense, Kaaya passed Craig Erickson for fifth all-time (6,193). He also moved past Gino Torretta, himself last season, Vinny Testaverde and Steve Walsh for seventh on the single-season list (3,126).
  • Kaaya has thrown for 200-or-more yards in 19 of his 25 career games and has at least one touchdown in 23 career outings.
  • Kaaya currently has 42 career touchdown passes. He needs just one touchdown pass to tie former Cane quarterback Ryan Clement (1994-97).
  • With his 63 yards rushing, sophomore running back Joe Yearby became just the ninth player in Miami history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing. Yearby also moved into 10th place on the all-time single season rushing list, surpassing Jarrett Payton.
  • Yearby’s 63 rushing yards moved him passed Vincent Opalsky for 23rd in career rushing yards (1,511).
  • Yearby’s 14 rushing attempts moved him past Frank Gore and James Jackson for ninth on the single-season list (205).
  • On just his third career rush, sophomore wide receiver Braxton Berrios recorded a career-long 60-yard run, which set up a Hurricanes’ scoring drive. Berrios’ 60-yard rush was the Hurricanes’ longest rush of the season. 
  • Freshman Mark Walton scored his 10th touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter as he rushed in from five yards out. Walton’s 10 touchdowns are tied with Stacy Coley as the most touchdowns by a Miami freshman since 2000.   
  • Walton also hauled in three receptions for team-high 57 yards receiving in the first half. 
  • Offensive lineman Danny Isidora made his 26th-consecutive start. 
  • Isidora, OL Nick Linder, OL Trevor Darling and RB Joe Yearby are the only Hurricane players to start every game this season. 
  • Dallas Crawford, Tracy Howard and Tyriq McCord have tied Jon Peattie and Laron Byrd for second in games played (51). They have also tied Jon Peattie for first in consecutive games played (51). 

DEFENSIVE INDIVIDUAL NOTES

  • Redshirt freshman linebacker Mike Smith logged his first career fumble in the second quarter. 
  • Senior defensive lineman Tyriq McCord tied a single game career-high with five tackles.  
  • Redshirt freshman Demetrius Jackson and true freshman R.J. McIntosh both tallied their first career sacks. 
  • Sophomore linebacker Juwon Young posted a team-high seven tackles in the first half. He finished the contest with a game-high 10 tackles. 
  • Senior safety Deon Bush made his team-best 32nd career start.

SPECIAL TEAMS INDIVIDUAL NOTES

  • With his extra point in the third quarter, sophomore kicker Michael Badgley moved passed Edgerrin James for third on the single-season points list (115).
  • Badgley also passed Greg Cox for ninth in consecutive PATs made (45). He tied Cox and Matt Bosher for consecutive PATs made in a season (40).

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

December 26, 2015

Blast from past: Donald Trump for president? How about Trump for Mike Leach?

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EL PASO -- Donald Trump for president?

How about, Donald Trump for Mike Leach?

Leach is the coach of Washington State (8-4, 6-3 Pac-12), the team that will meet the University of Miami (8-4, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) in the Sun Bowl at 2 p.m. today.

Trump rallied twice in support of Leach getting the head job at Miami -- once after the 2006 season when Larry Coker was fired and then again after the 2010 season when Randy Shannon was fired.

Following is the Miami Herald's blog from 2010 on Trump praising Leach, stemming from the written message to former UM president Donna Shalala on the front page of the Palm Beach Post sports section (Trump owns property in Palm Beach):

"Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, who is lookng for a job, got a ringing endorsement from Donald Trump Wednesday. Trump sent a written message to UM president Donna Shalala praising Leach on the front page of a Palm Beach Post sports section.

Leach took to the airwaves Wednesday (in 2010) on ESPN radio and then sent his own message.

"I think It is a great opportunity for anybody,'' Leach said of the UM job. "They have got a great tradition and all the rest. A great recruiting base, and you could do big things at Miami. I have had success everywhere else, you know, and I think it just has to do with everybody doing their role. See, Texas Tech started out in the border conference, which was a really soft conference, then Texas Tech went to the Southwest Conference, which was a pretty good conference, then they went to the Big 12, which was a great conference. But in that 10 years that me and my staff were in the Big 12 we won more bowl games than all of the years that Tech had the rest of the years combined. So we have got a pretty good team and a good plan.'

Here is the link from The Post story written on Dec. 1, 2010 by my distinguished colleague Jorge Milian, who used to cover Miami football but now covers news for the Post. 

http://tinyurl.com/zszoe9m

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

Who has the edge when Miami faces Washington State for the Sun Bowl?

Here are Manny Navarro's edges for the game, and finally, his prediction.

When Miami throws the ball

The Hurricanes will be without starting right tackle Sunny Odogwu, and right guard Danny Isidora (undisclosed injury) is on the mend. That makes protecting quarterback Brad Kaaya a little tougher than normal (Miami has allowed only 15 sacks all season) against a decent Cougars pass rush (27 sacks total). Washington State’s secondary gives up plenty of completions (64.1 percent) and yards (249.2 vs. FBS winning programs) but is good at preventing big plays (only 27 plays of 20 yards or more, ninth fewest) and has 11 interceptions. The key for Kaaya — as has been all season — is to stay out of third-and-long (UM is 14 of 60, 23.3 percent on third-and-7 or more). Outside of Kaaya, the Cougars have only faced two other quarterbacks with as many yards per game as Kaaya: Cal’s Jared Goff and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. They lost to Goff and barely beat Rosen. Edge: Miami.

When Miami runs the ball

Joe Yearby and Mark Walton don’t hit the home run quite like Duke Johnson did (UM has only 11 runs of 20 yards or more this season, 113th among FBS schools), but the Cougars don’t stop the run very well (4.98 yards per carry, 103rd). UM has fumbled only four times all season (tied for third fewest among FBS schools). If Yearby and Walton can protect the ball and convert on third-and-short (UM was 13 of 27 on third-and-3 or less when it ran, 48.1 percent) the Hurricanes can keep Washington’s State’s high-powered passing attack of the field. If not, it could end up being a long day. Edge: Miami.

When Washington State throws the ball

The Hurricanes had only three opponents throw the ball against them more than 40 times in a game — Nebraska (45), Duke (52) and Virginia (42) — and Miami won all three of those games. Cougars sophomore quarterback Luke Falk (30th in QB rating, 148.75) will surely throw more than 40 times in this game. The leader of Washington State’s Air Raid pass attack has a 70.7 percent completion percentage (second among FBS passers) and has thrown 4,266 yards (fifth), 36 TDs (fourth) and eight interceptions on the season. He has thrown more than 60 passes four times this season and threw a season-high 74 times in a 45-38 win at then 15th-ranked Oregon. The key for Miami’s secondary, which comes in 29th in pass defense (196.3) and 22nd in interceptions (15), is completion percentage. UM had six opponents complete better than 60 percent of their passes. UM went 2-4 in those games with the wins over Virginia and Virginia Tech. Edge: Washington State.

When Washington State runs the ball

The Hurricanes will be without sophomore defensive tackle Courtel Jenkins, who started seven games this season and was sent home from bowl practices because he was academically ineligible. But his loss on run defense doesn’t figure to mean much because the Cougars rank last in rushing (79.92 yards per game) and rush attempts (22.42 per game). Sophomore Gerard Wicks (6-0, 224) will get to carry it every now and then and does have a 5.87-yards-per-carry average. If Cougars coach Mike Leach decides to run it more, he should have success again Miami. The Hurricanes gave up 249.3 yards rushing per game this season against FBS winning programs (111th). Edge: Even.

Special Teams

Michael Badgley (25 of 30 on field goals) has a stronger, more consistent leg than Washington State’s Erik Powell, who is 18 of 24 on field goals but only 5 of 10 from 40 yards or more. Badgley is 8 of 11 on kicks of 40 yards or more and has a season long of 57 yards. The Cougars have also had two kick returns and two punt returns for touchdowns against them this season while the Hurricanes only had one punt taken back against them. Edge: Miami.

Prediction: Miami 37, Washington State 34.

 

December 24, 2015

James Coley and Mark D'Onofrio decline to talk about future, but very appreciative of their players

EL PASO -- Hurricanes offensive and defensive coordinators James Coley and Mark D'Onofrio faced reporters at the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Thursday, but declined to talk about what lies ahead. Can't blame them, with what these guys must be going through right now.

We know (without "knowing'') that Mark D'Onofrio won't be back, and it seems that Coley's chances of returning have lessened considerably since it was reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Mark Richt is bringing in Georgia running backs coach Thomas Brown, possibly as a co-offensive coordinator.

Here are some of their comments today:

Coley:

On the highlight of the season for him: "Coaching guys like Brad Kaaya, coaching guys like Joe Yearby, watching Stacy Coley come back after missing out the first half of the season, watching Rashawn Scott grow up, watching the offensive line grow up, that’s been fun. Part of this job is who you can affect as a coach, who you can reach and how you can help guys develop and that’s been really the joy for me."

On the accomplishments of RB Joe Yearby this season: "He’s our savviest back. Joe does a great job playing the game itself. He’s not a guy where you're going to micromanage where he runs. He’s got a great feel for playing ball. I’ve been very proud of him. He’s close to 1,000 yards. Our aim is to make sure within our game plan he’s able to have an opportunity to get that."

 On quarterback Brad Kaaya's next step as a player: "I think the next step in his ability, and we’re starting to see it, is to extend plays with his feet. We’ve seen it the last several games. That’s why his numbers are getting better because he’s able to move now, he’s comfortable moving in the pocket. Pocket presence, he has stated in the past he feels like he’s getting better at it, and he is, and primarily because of his footwork – understanding where he should be in the pocket, how deep he should be, understanding where the lanes are. Those are things that come by watching film and really practicing and where I think his biggest gains are going to be will be his ability to extend plays going forward and [being in] full control of who he is once this off season is over with. You’ll see a different player."

On Washington State's defense: "Their scheme, they do a great job with creating confusion up front. They move. They spin guys down in coverage. They hide their coverages really well. They play physical and they look like a group that is 13, 14 deep of guys that are just tough, guys that will really smack you in the mouth. They play right to their offense’s hands. What they do great is they hit you and they make you fumble the football, or they’ll pick it off because they’ll confuse you, and now you’re giving the offense the ball."

D'Onofrio:

On Washington State's spread offense: "They do an unbelievable job. They’re just a really really disciplined team and they execute extremely well. .. They have a lot of good players. They’re deep, particularly at skill positions, at wideout, running back and do a really nice job up front. Guys are physical and athletic at the same time."

On the highlight of his season: "Like James, it’s all about developing players and getting them to be the best they can and helping them to reach their goals as seniors and hoping you prepared them as best they can so that they can go play beyond college and if not, if they’re going to move into something else, that they’re ready to do that, and conquer that. I’m just proud of the way the team stuck together. At the beginning of the year, we talked about having great unity and dealing with adversity and that was Al’s plan – Al put that out there. And I’m most proud of the fact that we’ve all carried it through. That’s what I’m really proud of. As a staff, I’m proud to work with James, Larry, all the guys on the staff I think did an unbelievable job of just sticking together through a really, really hard. It says a lot about our coaches and our kids."

 On if he can compare Wazzu's offense to any the Canes have played this season: "No, they’re really good. .They are different. They do spread a different way. That’s one of the tough deals about college football coaching on the defensive side of the ball. You’re going to see something different every week. We just played a pro-style team in Pitt in our last game. Before that we played a triple-option team. Before that we played teams who were spreading to run. And now we’re playing a team that spreads to pass. They’re pretty unique and do an unbelievable job of executing their package."

On appreciating his players: "I really appreciate the senior group and when we talk about the unity and dealing with adversity it’s because of them that we’re in this situation. It’s because of the senior group and because of their leadership and their holding everyone together and keeping everybody accountable. It’s really because of them. It's been coaching guys like that. It’s fun to coach a guy like Tyriq McCord for four years and have him play multiple positions and teach him a bunch of stuff that you hope can help him earn a living and play football beyond here."

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

December 23, 2015

News on Mark Richt's possible new Miami Hurricanes coaches

  More news on the coaching front: Chicago-based sportswriter Dave Wischnowsky reported Wednesday that Hurricanes defensive backs coach Paul Williams will leave Miami to take the same position with Illinois.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had already reported that Georgia running backs coach Thomas Brown is joining former Georgia coach Mark Richt at Miami to become the running backs coach and possibly the co-offensive coordinator, and that Georgia   director of player personnel and interim special teams coordinator Todd Hartley is also coming to UM as a defensive assistant.

    Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated reported that Hartley will be UM’s special teams coordinator “and also coach tight ends or defensive backs.’’

    With Williams leaving for Illinois, it could be defensive backs. Hartley was Marshall’s safeties coach for two years before becoming its tight ends coach.

   Another report on Wednesday by FootballScoop.com said Georgia tight ends coach John Lilly “has turned down an offer to serve as co-offensive coordinator for Richt. Over the past few weeks we have heard of a good bit of interest in Lilly from other programs.’’

    That means that UM interim coach/tight ends coach Larry Scott could slip right into the tight ends coaching spot, that is, if Richt wanted him in the first place. In my opinion, Scott is an asset, and should be retained.

  ***Guard Danny Isidora once again wore a yellow jersey (limited contact) at Wednesday's practice session, the last intense session of the year. But Scott said once again that Isidora will be playing on Saturday.

*** Receiver Stacy Coley and cornerback Artie Burns, both underclassmen, continue to say they're waiting until after the Sun Bowl to decide whether to enter the NFL Draft.

    I asked redshirt sophomore linebacker Al-Quadin Muhammad today if he's made any decisions about his future and the NFL. He is eligible to enter the draft.

  "I'm focused on the team that's ahead of us,'' Muhammad said of Washington State. "I don't want to talk about that.''

  If I were to guess, I'd say Burns enters the draft, Coley might be leaning that way but still might return and Muhammad... Not sure why he keeps saying "I don't want to talk about that'' if he isn't leaning that way. But except for possibly Burns (and even him, too), they all could improve their draft stock immensely if they return.

  SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

   

   

December 22, 2015

Miami Hurricanes DT Courtel Jenkins academically ineligible for Sun Bowl

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EL PASO -- The Miami Hurricanes announced yet another football player who will be sent home and not allowed to play in the Hyundai Sun Bowl against Washington State on Saturday.

Defensive tackle Courtel Jenkins, a 6-1, 311-pound sophomore, "has been ruled academically ineligible and will not participate in the 2015 Hyundai Sun Bowl,'' UM reported in an email.

"Jenkins will be sent home from the bowl and will not take part in any further bowl activities this week,'' UM said.

Jenkins started seven games this season and played in all 12. He has 29 tackles 1.5 sacks, three tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble this season. 

Also sent home on Tuesday: junior Jamal Carter, a hard-hitting, hard-playing safety who violated team rules, according to interim UM coach Larry Scott.

The Hurricanes will face the No. 1 passing offense in the nation in Washington State on Saturday, and need all the help they can get defensively.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

Miami Hurricanes coach Larry Scott said he wasn't informed of coaching news

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported today, per sources, that Georgia running backs coach Thomas Brown  is set to join the Miami Hurricanes coaching staff, possibly as co-offensive coordinator.

At today's press conference, I asked UM interim coach Larry Scott if he has been informed of any news behind the scenes about coaching changes?

Scott: "No. I like sitting on this table and getting news. No, I haven't heard anything in regards to that. Our morning has been jam-packed with just getting 115 guys ready to go for practice and again, outlining where we're going to go on one field and having a lot of guys with us. That's what our focus has been, just that and the team and getting ready to go.''

This news makes one obviously wonder about the future of Hurricanes offensive coodinator James Coley. New UM coach Mark Richt has made it clear he would like to call plays and could have a co-offensive coordinator to assist with offensive responsibilities and likely game-planning. 

Coley told us last week that he would like to work for Richt.

From the AJC story: 

"The offer would include some sort of title, possibly co-offensive coordinator. Richt has said he intends to call plays for the Hurricanes.

Brown had previously stated he would remain with the Bulldogs while he was out on the road recruiting with Kirby Smart in the days after Smart was named the Bulldogs' head coach.

Brown was recruited to Georgia by Richt, convinced to try coaching by Richt after Brown’s NFL career ended and lured back to UGA from Wisconsin.

Brown is expected to remain with the team through the bowl Jan. 2 in Jacksonville.

Brown may not be alone. Todd Hartley, who has served as director of player personnel after spending three seasons at Marshall coaching safeties and tight ends, is expected to join the former Bulldogs coach in Miami as a defensive assistant.

Two other Georgia coaches, Bryan McClendon and John Lilly, have reportedly been offered positions on the Hurricanes' staff."

Here's the AJC link to story: http://tinyurl.com/jq3zah8

 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

Miami Hurricane Jamal Carter sent home, suspended for bowl, still on team

Jamalcarter

Just got the email from the University of Miami that Hurricanes junior safety Jamal Carter has been suspended for the Sun Bowl and will be sent home for breaking team rules.

Here's the email from UM:

"Carter Suspended for Hyundai Sun Bowl

EL PASO, Texas - University of Miami Football junior safety Jamal Carter has been suspended for a violation of team rules and will not participate in the 2015 Hyundai Sun Bowl. 

Carter will be sent home from the bowl and will not take part in any further bowl activities this week."

Carter, who has been working to rehabilitate a hamstring injury, was a hard-hitting, hard-playing safety, and his absence will hurt -- especially because Washington State, who UM will face in the Sun Bowl, has the No. 1 pass offense in the nation and throws almost every play. Carter played in 12 games this season and had a career-best 48 tackles. He had one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

We talked to UM interim coach Larry Scott after today's practice about Carter's suspension. As expected, he didn't give details.

"It's a violation of team rules,'' Scott said. "We're not going to comment on anything specifically when it comes to that. We made a decision...choose to do right or choose to do wrong. That's it.

"Obviously, it's always disappointing to have to send someone home or to suspend someone from a game. It's disappointing. However, there are always life lessons to be learned. There are standards and there are rules, and we're going to do what's right.''

Scott said Carter is "still on the team. He's just going to go home.''

Also suspended, Scott said, is wide receiver Tyre Brady, who did not travel with the team. Brady has been suspended for several games this season, but Scott said he's still on the team as well.

He is ranked fifth on the team in total tackles with only one start against UNC.

The Canes still have senior Deon Bush, senior Dallas Crawford and Junior Rayshawn Jenkins as veteran safeties. They also have freshman Jaquan Johnson, likely a future star out of Miami Killian High.

 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN 

 

December 21, 2015

Sun Bowl-bound UM Hurricanes could see snow in El Paso

They're raring to go, as Miami offensive line coach Art Kehoe might say, even if it becomes a white night-after-Christmas.

The Miami Hurricanes left the sunny, warm beaches of Miami for the cool (and very cold at night) desert of El Paso -- near the Mexican border and New Mexico --  on a charter flight from Miami International Airport Monday afternoon. 

The Canes (8-4) willl face Washington State (8-4) of the Pac-12 at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Just looked at the forecast for El Paso this weekend and seriously did a double-take: 80-percent chance of rain during the game, with temperatures starting in the low-to-mid 40s on Saturday, turning into snow and temperatures in the mid 30s by Saturday night.

This is the desert.

The Canes' predecessors in 2010, of course, got manhandled by Notre Dame the only other time UM played at the Sun Bowl -- and a thin layer of snow and ice blanketed Sun Bowl Stadium that morning from the night before. But that seems so far away now, doesn't it?

 Either way, guaranteed these guys are thrilled.

At first, players were disappointed they weren't invited to the Pinstripe Bowl for Christmas in New York (unbelievably forecast for temps in the low 70s on Christmas) but now they genuinely seem happy and eager to head somewhere they've never been.

"El Paso I heard is a great place,'' said redshirt freshman quarterback Malik Rosier. "Coach told us it had great tradition. Honestly, I'm excited. At first everyone was hoping we were going to New York. Now I'm just ready to play. Washington State is a good team. These guys are my family, so to me I'm not really being away [for Christmas].''

Said senior safety Dallas Crawford: "It's a blessing to be in any bowl game, especially after the season that we had with all the ups and downs. I mean, we're grateful they picked us. It'll be a great experience. From what we're hearing, it'll be great people running the bowl, great service and the whole town is excited for us to come out there.''

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

December 18, 2015

Miami Hurricanes starting OT Sunny Odogwu has knee surgery, out for Sun Bowl

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   Miami Hurricanes starting offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu, 6-8 and 318 pounds, had surgery on his right knee and will not play in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 26 in El Paso, UM coaches confirmed Friday.

    Odogwu was at the Hecht Athletic Center on campus Friday morning, a large brace on his right knee, using a metal crutch under his left arm to slowly limp down the hallway.

   UM interim coach Larry Scott said he’s hoping Odogwu will be back for spring practice, but not certain he will make all of it, which indicates the surgery was likely not a minor procedure. Scott said Odogwu will still travel with the team to enjoy the bowl festivities.

   Scott said this week that Odogwu, a redshirt sophomore, injured the knee at the last regular-season game at Pittsburgh.

   The Hurricanes (8-4) need to protect quarterback Brad Kaaya to keep up with what could be a high-scoring affair, given that Washington state (8-4) has the No. 1 passing offense in the nation, averaging 397 passing yards a game.

   The Canes, to their credit, are 19th nationally in sacks allowed, having given up only 15 this season. Miami’s rushing offense, however, is ranked 116th nationally. 

   Odogwu, from Nigeria, started nine of 12 games this season at right tackle. Fellow sophomore Kc McDermott, 6-6 and 310 pounds, started the next to the last game against Georgia Tech, and usual right guard Danny Isidora started twice at right tackle this season.

   Odogwu has been missing from practices this week.

   The problem now is that Isidora, a 6-4, 325-pound junior that has started 25 straight games on the offensive line entering the bowl game, had been wearing a red, no-contact jersey in the past couple of practices with an undisclosed injury. Scott said Friday after practice that Isidora wore a yellow (limited contact) jersey in the Canes’ final session of the 2015 season at Greentree Field, and that Isidora would be ready for the bowl game.

   McDermott, who also started six games at left guard this season, will slip into the right tackle spot during the bowl, making way for senior Alex Gall, who started the other games at left guard and is expected to play there at the Sun Bowl.

   UM had a short practice this morning, with no media availability at the start. The Canes will leave for El Paso on Monday.

  SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

December 17, 2015

Coach Mark Richt says he wants to help his Hurricanes "become great...''



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New University of Miami football coach Mark Richt (above photo courtesy of UM Athletics) spoke to four daily beat writers today in his office.

He was very relaxed, thoughtful about what he said and spent several minutes asking us about our lives and our families -- a first for me.

The man is hard not to like.

He wore gray shorts, a black UM shirt and black sneakers, and sat back in a comfortable, plush seat, across from us (also in comfortable, plush seats).

Some highlights:

*** He wouldn't say when he'll bring in his new coaches, and if he had already decided on them, although it was fairly obvious he knows who at least some will be. "We’ll let you know. We're on a need to know basis." He smiled when asked if his son Jon, now an offensive assistant with the Buffalo Bills, would be coming to UM as an assistant (we believe he will be coming here). "I don’t know. I don’t know,'' Richt said of his son. "We’ll see. He’s sharp. He’s really sharp. And he’s good. I’m biased, but he’s a good kid. Sharp. He worked at Georgia for a year as a quality control coach and now he’s with the Buffalo Bills kind of doing the same kind of thing."

***He confirmed he's not going to the bowl game. "I don’t even know what I would do there. I’m not going to try to get there and do any game management. They’ve been managing games for five weeks, for five games. Again, mostly out of respect for what’s been happening and to allow them to finish this season on the track that they’re on. I think they’re on a good track."

*** Some things he said about the current UM team: "They don’t feel like there are a lot of cliques. They feel like they all get along, they all enjoy each other’s company. And they think that type of thing has been improving throughout the time they’ve been here. So yeah, I think when you have a bunch of guys that are together, then that’s a very good place to start. You don’t like to have a lot of different cliques and factions and pockets of these guys, those guys. Team, man. It’s about team."

*** "The very first day when I addressed the team, a bunch of them.. I said, ‘Hey, I’ll be in the office if you want to come in’.. there’s like 30 guys in here, just saying hello to a bunch of guys and all.  “But I’ve tried to respect what’s been happening here over the last few weeks. I think the coaches have done a really nice job and Larry [Scott] in particular from what I see has done a very nice job as the interim head coach. There’s no reason for me to come in and try to take over. I don’t know what they’re doing on offense, defense and special teams. I don’t need to insert anything at this point in my opinion because they’ve done a nice job and they’ve been on a good path. The players have really responded in a positive way to an adverse situation, to a tough time. From what I see, I hear and see a bunch of guys that have come together."

*** On the culture Richt would like at UM: "We’re going to work hard. Everything we’re going to ask them to do is to benefit them academically, athletically, socially, if they choose to grow spiritually that’s up to them – nothing will be mandatory in that regard. I want to help them become great at what they want to be great at. That’s football and that’s to get a degree and to be a full grown man when they get out of here who’s responsible enough to take care of themselves and take care of the people in their lives in the future. I think God has ordained men to be the head of the household and to provide and protect for their family. That’s how I believe it. Not to say women can’t work. I’m not saying that at all. But I think a true man takes care of business. He can take care of himself and he can take care of his family. Those are the kinds of values and goals coming through this program. Every guy I’ve talked to is excited about that. We’re going to help them get there whether they like it or not kind of thing.

"I just told them, ‘Everything we do is to benefit you. So the faster you buy into what we’re doing the better off we’re going to be. If you build good men you’re going to build a good team. If you build good men you’re going to build good teammates. If you build good men you’re probably going to build good leaders.' So the process of doing things right in a first class manner is going to benefit them on the field and for years to come. So that won’t change.

"Because they usually do one of two things in that kind of situation: all the wheels fall off or everybody kind of comes together. That’s what I’m seeing and that’s what I’m hearing through conversation. It’s been very positive considering the circumstances."

 ***How many people in the community have recognized Richt? "More than I kind of thought would. Just about everywhere I go. Like I went to the grocery store and I was trying to get something to have at the place I’m staying and it’s just a lot more people than you think. ‘Hey coach, glad you’re here’ and ‘Good luck’ and all that kind of stuff.

Everyone in Athens is a dawg?

"Pretty much. Pretty much."

Here there are so many different interests, Richt was told.

"Yeah,'' he said. "The thing is, because I went here and I just kind of know that, I don’t expect.. I mean this is a massive group of people from all kinds of different walks of lives, from all different countries. But my feeling is I want to embrace Miami for what Miami is. I don’t want to say, ‘Well, it should be this or should be that,’ or ‘I wish it was this’ or ‘I wish it was that.’ I don’t. Coming down here I have a pretty good feel for the diversity of this place and the university itself and the city. I’m really looking forward to embracing all the culture here as much as I can and still do my job. But part of my job is to let people know that we care about them and we want them to be a part of our family."

 ***This year, spring practice will begin after spring break, Richt said. Spring break, according to the current UM academic calendar, is March 5 through March 13. 

    Former coach Al Golden previously would start spring practice the week or so heading into spring break and then continue it afterward, prolonging the window.

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

December 16, 2015

Hurricanes coach Mark Richt will not attend Sun Bowl

Markrichttheu

The Miami Herald learned Wednesday morning that new University of Miami football coach Mark Richt does not plan to attend the Sun Bowl.

Richt, who was introduced as the new coach on Dec. 4, originally said he planned to attend. It is not known why he isn't going, but it could be that he doesn't want the attention on himself -- that's just a guess. We'll likely find out soon enough.

On New Year's Eve of 2010, newly hired UM football coach Al Golden sat in a suite at Sun Bowl Stadium watching his Hurricanes get trampled by Notre Dame. In that game, former offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland was Miami's interim coach.

Larry Scott is the interim coach for the upcoming Sun Bowl game, at 2 p.m. Dec. 26, when the Canes (8-4) will meet the Washington State Cougars (8-4).

Miami began its fourth practice for the bowl game on Wednesday morning.

Richt was not there for the portion that the media can attend.

***Safety Jamal Carter (hamstring) was still in a yellow, limited contact, jersey. Offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu (knee) was not at practice. Guard Danny Isidora (undisclosed injury) was in a red, no-contact jersey.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

 

December 15, 2015

I asked James Coley if it's prudent to be exploring options outside of UM, if it's an issue for him that Mark Richt would call plays, and if he would be willing to be on a staff where he couldn't call plays...

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Four daily beat reporters talked to James Coley today after practice, and, as usual, he was classy and as frank as he could be. I know that Coley has interviewed with Arizona State, which he did not tell us, but I confirmed today with someone who knows. Coley was first reported as "a candidate'' for the Arizona State job by GridironNow.com. 

Here's the Miami Herald's, Sun Sentinel's, Palm Beach Post's and CaneSport's interview with Coley today:

For any coach, this is obviously an uncomfortable time. Have you been given any kind of indication to this point what might be happening?

 “No, no…no. We’re just working on the bowl game.”

When coaches don’t know their futures, in this kind of situation, is it prudent to be exploring options outside of UM?

 “If they come about, yeah. If they come about…options are…opportunities will come when you’re called upon. Right now, we’re all just focused on one thing and that’s El Paso and that’s playing in the bowl game. Don’t make me bring out a coke bottle. You know what I’m saying? Don’t make me do it.” 

Mark Richt has said he wants to call plays. Is that an issue for you?

 “No, that’s not an issue for me. I think throughout his career he’s done a great job calling plays. He’s obviously one of the best in the business at doing so. He’s a heck of a coach. He’s the head coach and when someone has that resume, he should be able to do whatever he wants to.”

Would you be willing to be on a staff where you wouldn’t call plays?

“I can’t…I mean, yeah, I would love to work for Mark Richt. He’s a great person and a great coach and a great teacher. But I don’t want this to be some type of, you know, forum where I’m applying for a job right here. Just stick to football…but, I respect the man immensely. He’s walked in the building and it’s been first class. You can tell why he’s a leader and a champion.”

And here are a couple of comments about future quarterback Jack Allison, who will start with UM in January:

You’ve built a very close relationship with Jack Allison, signed, curious, what is your analysis of what he’s been able to do this year and kind of where is he now?

 “The one thing he showed is that he’s tough. He had some inexperienced linemen his senior year and he took several hits. I know the coaches there were trying to protect him. Sometimes you just have to play and guys have to play and that’s how you get your experience. I thought you saw on film he was tough, he can stand in there and deliver the ball, I love the way he’s grown. I think he’s grown another half inch. He’s going to have to stop growing or they’re going to move him to basketball. I just like how tough he is, he’s a tough kid and he loves competing. That’s what you saw his senior year.”

Barring anything crazy, you imagine he would redshirt. What would be the redshirt year focus for him?

“Just to get bigger, probably. Learn the system, feel real confident by the next spring that he’s here. The first spring should be an acclimation for him, the next spring as best as he could, walk out there like he’s a veteran because he’ll be a vet by then. That’s the challenge.”

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

Hurricanes at practice No. 3 for Sun Bowl -- this time with coach Mark Richt there from the start

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   Another gorgeous (and hot – 81 degrees) morning on Greentree Field at the University of Miami for Hyundai Sun Bowl practice No. 3 to prepare for Washington State.

   This time, new head coach Mark Richt was there on the sideline from the beginning, diligently working his cell phone. Richt has absolutely nothing to do with the Canes' current practices. He's just a bystander taking it all in.

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   Here’s what I saw injury wise:

   *Offensive guard/tackle Danny Isidora in red, no-contact.

   *Safety Jamal Carter, who was in red on Saturday at the last practice, now upgraded to yellow (limited).

   *Safety Ryan Mayes in red, no contact.

   * Two walk-ons (unidentified) in red.

   The Canes, who were off Sunday and Monday, will practice Tuesday through Friday. They’re off Saturday and Sunday before leaving Monday for El Paso, Texas.

   The bowl game is at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, Dec. 26.

   SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN