November 22, 2015

The morning after: On who might be pondering turning pro... and more


Some thoughts after yesterday's 38-21 victory over Georgia Tech:

***The Canes will likely lose some players early to the NFL Draft, and the ones probably pondering are good ones, too.

   The players who might be pondering their future football careers are redshirt sophomore linebacker Al-Quadin Muhammad, junior cornerbacks Artie Burns and Corn Elder and junior wide receiver Stacy Coley. I also think junior weakside linebacker Jermaine Grace is a tremendous talent, but he should be a major force next season while he continues to bulk up a bit. Besides, Jermaine seems to be really devoted to the school, and I just see him sticking around.

If all those guys stayed, this team could be very good next season. But I don't think they'll all stick around.

Muhammad, who was suspended all last season from the university because of a fight he got into after the 2014 spring game, was basically asked after the GT game if it would be his last time playing at Sun Life. "It's never about me,'' he said, standing at the lectern with Juwon Young (great game by the way, with 13 tackles and a forced fumble). He went on to say that he plays for his coaches and the seniors and his son.

  He was then asked, ''Do you know about what you want to do after the season?" Muhammad, after pausing: "I don't want to talk about it now. Sorry.''

  Muhammad had a career-high 11 tackles last night, his team-high fourth sack of the season and a forced fumble and three tackles for loss.

  As for the others: Burns is tied with Boston College's Justin Simmons for first in the ACC with five interceptions and has eight passes defended; Elder has 11 passes defended and nine passes broken up, with two interceptions -- and on special teams, a touchdown on a punt return and a touchdown on a kickoff return.

   And after early-season hamstring issues, receiver Coley, in only nine games (as opposed to 11 for Rashawn Scott and Herb Waters, for instance) leads UM with 600 yards receiving. That's good for third in the ACC. He averages 14.6 yards a catch and 66.7 yards a game. He has three touchdowns.

   My take is that Muhammad should stay for next season, which would technically be his junior year. With a new coaching staff, and likely a more aggressive defense, he should dominate next season and significantly improve his draft stock. He could also prove for one more season that he's a team player and stay focused on school and his responsibilities and not wander from that path.

  Would be great if they all stick around, but not sure how Artie is feeling with his mom's passing, and being the father of a little one. He also has a couple younger brothers still in school here, so... Just not sure on that. He'd be tremendous next season, as would the others.

 *** Joe Yearby has quietly had a very solid season, and is 160 yards away from 1,000 yards. Yearby is tied for third in the ACC with 36 plays of 10+ yards rushing. He's tied for second with 13 plays of 20+ yards. He's sixth in the ACC with his 76.3 yards a game rushing. He averages just under five yards a carry.

 *** Freshman Mark Walton is getting progressively better and now has 819 all-purpose yards -- 419 rushing, 156 receiving and 244 in kickoff returns. He has also scored a team-leading nine touchdowns.

   Both those guys play very hard. Yearby, who has six touchdowns rushing, has 273 receiving yards and great hands.

*** Who doesn't think tight end David Njoku is a star in the making?

*** And quarterback Brad Kaaya next season? Forget about it. He just keeps getting better and better and better. He leads the ACC with 275.8 yards a game, and his timing on those big plays is impeccable. He has 14 touchdowns to four interceptions.






November 21, 2015

Two Miami Hurricanes suspended for Georgia Tech game today


I guess they weren’t all in.

 The news today before the kickoff between Miami and Georgia Tech at Sun Life Stadium: Hurricanes wide receiver Tyre Brady and tight end Standish Dobard have been suspended for the game.

 Don’t know yet if either of the suspensions will continue into next week.


 Also don’t know why they were suspended, although it’s obviously for violating some type of rule.

 This is not Brady’s first transgression, as his first suspension was announced just before this season’s opener against Bethune-Cookman – also at Sun Life Stadium.

 Brady, listed as 6-2 and 205 pounds, is a sophomore out of Homestead South Dade High. He wears No. 82. He has caught passes in three games: Nebraska, Cincinnati and last week at North Carolina. His numbers this season: nine catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. His best game was five catches for 54 yards at Cincy.

 Dobard, listed as 6-4 and 262 pounds, is a junior out of New Orleans Edna Karr High. According to UM, Dobard has played in nine games, of which he started seven. He has eight catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. He has been underwhelming.

 Bottom line: their suspensions should not affect the way UM plays today. But it might affect the way they are viewed by their teammates.



November 19, 2015

NCAA honors former Miami Hurricane great Russell Maryland

This just in from the University of Miami...

Maryland Honored with NCAA Silver Anniversary Award

 CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Legendary Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Russell Maryland was recognized by the NCAA today along with five other former student-athletes with the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award for his collegiate and professional achievements.

 The Silver Anniversary Award annually recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers. Representatives of NCAA member schools and conferences, along with a panel of former student-athletes, select each year’s recipients.

 Joining Maryland as 2016 recipients are Abby Cheng, Chris Howard, Joé Juneau, Dikembe Mutombo, and Steve Smith. The NCAA will recognize the honorees at the Honors Celebration during the 2016 NCAA Convention on Jan. 15 in San Antonio.

 Maryland earned the recognition following a memorable collegiate career where he led the Hurricanes to a 44-4 record during his career. He helped the team set the NCAA record for consecutive home football victories at 58. The two-time national champion was named the defensive Most Valuable Player in the 1991 Cotton Bowl, where he had nine tackles and three sacks in a 46-3 victory over the University of Texas at Austin.  

 Following the year, was selected as a consensus All-American and became the first Miami player to win the Outland Trophy, which goes to the best interior lineman in college football.

 In the spring of 1991, Maryland became the first pick of the NFL Draft and was selected by the Dallas Cowboys. 

 He went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL, including five with the Cowboys, who won three Super Bowls during that time.  He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 1993, and over the course of his career, he recorded 375 tackles, 24.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, one interception and one touchdown.

 He retired from the NFL in 2001 and continued work on the Russell Maryland Foundation through 2004, providing educational resources and recreational enrichment, free football camps and clinics, and scholarships to Chicago area youth.

 Since 2010, Maryland has been a member of the Cotton Bowl Board of Directors. He also became a spokesperson and member of the board of directors for the C5 Youth Foundation of Texas.

 He recently worked as an assistant director of player engagement for the Cleveland Browns, providing professional and personal development resources for players and their families, before working with the Dallas Cowboys at their 2015 training camp.




November 18, 2015

UM men's basketball signs top 30 national recruits, Dewan Huell, Bruce Brown

How big of a day was it for UM men's basketball recruiting?

The Miami Heat gave the Canes props on Twitter for their 2 huge pickups today as they signed Miami Norland power forward Dewan Huell and Massachusetts guard Bruce Brown.

Link to Heat tweet:


Here's my story on Dewan Huell's signing ceremony.....

By Andre C. Fernandez

Dewan Huell said he felt "stress relief" Wednesday afternoon.

The University of Miami men’s basketball team probably just felt pure joy.

Huell gave the Hurricanes plenty to be excited about when Miami Norland’s versatile 6-10 power forward signed his letter of intent to play for UM at a ceremony at the high school.

"I had thought about putting this off until the spring, but to be honest, I wanted to get this done," Huell said. "I called coach last night and told him, I’m ready to commit. I barely slept just from the excitement."

Huell capped a huge day for UM basketball recruiting, which also saw the Hurricanes land Massachusetts 6-4 shooting guard Bruce Brown, the No. 30 overall prospect by ESPN.

Huell, ranked the No. 21 overall prospect nationally by ESPN, chose the Hurricanes after careful consideration between them, Florida State and South Carolina.

"His athleticism and his toughness and his ability to rebound will allow him to jump in and play right away," Norland coach Lawton Williams III said. "I don’t know if he’s ready now to score on that level yet, but there are other things that will let him compete at that level next year.

"Each year on this team, his role change and he adjusted to it. A 6-10 kid that can jump like him is a skill set you don’t often see. He’s been pretty special."

Huell averaged 19.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per game last season for Norland, and has played since his freshman season and been a part of three state championships for the Vikings, who have won a Miami-Dade County record four in a row. Norland is attempting to tie for the state-record for consecutive state titles if it can secure a fifth this season.

Huell, named The Miami Herald’s Class 8A-6A Player of the Year and a two-time All-Dade first team selection, is the first five-star recruit for the Hurricanes since DeQuan Jones in 2008.

"With all that stress off my back, I can focus on making my team better," Huell said. "I’ve worked my butt off for this and the opportunity to play basketball so I’m happy to play here in [Miami]. From talking to the coaches, I feel in my heart that I belong."

An agile big man who will join a talented UM recruiting class that includes 6-11 four-star center Rodney Miller from Oak Hill Academy, Huell impressed college scouts by starring at several prestigious events including the Under Armour Elite 24 this past August in Brooklyn.

The event included some of the nation’s best including Canadian Thon Maker, ESPN’s top prospects such as Josh Jackson (Michigan) and T.J. Leaf (California) and highly-rated juniors DeAndre Ayton (San Diego) and Troy Brown, Jr. (Las Vegas).

"UM was on him since his freshman year and they kept pressing and pressing and they got him," Williams said. "It’s great. I can see him in practice and games and I’ll be there for him."

Huell said he is looking forward to playing in arguably the top conference in college basketball.

"The ACC is the best conference there’s going to be a lot more talent on every team we play," Huell said. "I’m definitely looking forward to that."

November 17, 2015

Huell expected to sign with UM

Wednesday could be a huge day for UM men's basketball. While the Hurricanes are in Puerto Rico preparing for Thursday's opener of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, 5-star recruit Dewan Huell of Miami Norland High is expected to announce his college of choice. And word from a few sources is that the 6-9, 220-pound power forward will pick Miami over South Carolina. FSU was also in the mix, but he apparently eliminated the Seminoles from his list in the past few days.

Huell had a big summer impressing scouts, and is rated anywhere from No. 20 to No. 25 nationally depending on the recruiting site.

If you've never seen him play, here's a preview...


posted by Michelle Kaufman. See you at the BUC.

Fans taking advantage of Twitter to let Jon Vilma know their suggestions for head coach


Step right up and get your suggestions for the next Hurricanes' head coach in to @JonVilma51. It's becoming a trend.

 Former University of Miami linebacker Jonathan Vilma, a Coral Gables High graduate and member of the UM Sports Hall who played at UM from 2000 to 2003, is becoming more popular than ever among Hurricanes fans.

   On Monday, Miami athletic director Blake James announced that Vilma was one of two former players on the football head coach “search advisory committee’’ that will “provide James with input on the process and candidates.’’ The other is former Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde.

   “Thanks for the support everyone, can promise ALOT of hours are being put in to get this right. #Canes,’’ Vilma posted Tuesday on Twitter.

   Some of the dozens of tweets to Vilma by UM fans: “We believe in you Villllllmmmmaaaaa,’’ and “As you know by now many of us want Butch Davis back, is the rumor true about him being a last option?’’ and “Cristobal!!


November 16, 2015

Miami Hurricanes announce football head coach search committee. Search advisory committee includes Vinny Testaverde and Jon Vilma

University of Miami athletic director Blake James just announced "the retention of a search firm and the formation of a search advisory committee'' in UM's seeking of a new head football coach to replace Al Golden.

Included on the advisory committee: former Canes linebacker Jon Vilma and former Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde, the father of UM sophomore quarterback Vincent Testaverde.

The firm: Korn Ferry, "one of the world's most respected search firms with vast experience in coaching searches has been retained and will assist the University in all aspects of the search process,'' according to a written release by UM.

The committee will help James by providing advice and input on candidates.

"Members of the advisory committee include Board of Trustee members Hilarie Bass, David Espstein and Steve Saiontz; deputy athletic director Jennifer Strawley and former UM standouts Jonathan Vilma and Vinny Testaverde,'' UM wrote in the release.

Said James in the release: "We are well underway in our search process and, as expected, there is already a tremendous amount of interest in The U.  Additionally, we are reaching out to a number of UM constituencies to engage in dialogue and to hear their thoughts and vision.  We will work diligently to find a great fit for Miami and I want to thank in advance the members of the advisory committee for their dedication to our University.”




November 14, 2015

Can the Miami Hurricanes pull off another huge win in North Carolina?


    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Getting ready to drive a few miles to the Hurricanes at UNC game at Kenan Stadium.

   Temperature before noon is 55 degrees and will be in the low to mid 40s at the end of the game. Sounds like great football weather.

   The other interesting number before we head into kickoff: 13 -- give or take a half-point. That's about how much North Carolina is favored by today.

   I completely understand that point spread. UNC has won eight consecutive games after losing its opener to South Carolina, and it has a very talented quarterback in senior Marquise Williams. He threw for 494 yards and accounted for five touchdowns last week against Duke. He can obviously throw well, but he also is very dangerous with his legs.

  Williams is just the fifth quarterback in ACC history with at least 2,000 career rushing yards and also has the UNC record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, with 28.

   UM (6-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won the past four of five games in this series, but this one will be really challenging against a fast-moving, big-play-making Tar Heels (8-1, 5-0) team. UM's defensive line has to put some pressure on Williams, and then if (and probably when) he scrambles loose and starts running, he must be stopped. The Canes would help out their cause considerably by forcing some turnovers.

  UM's runners somehow must find a way to prevail to take pressure off Brad Kaaya, as UNC has the No. 3 pass defense in the nation.

  Last time I said the words "upset alert" before a game was Clemson at Sun Life Stadium. OUCH! 58-0.

   I'm not feeling those words today, which probably is good for Hurricanes fans. 

   Can the Canes pull off another big one in North Carolina? If Miami is to achieve its goal of winning the Coastal Division, it has to.


FullSizeRender (25)

I'll get this in my notebook for tomorrrow:


    Miami sophomore slot receiver Braxton Berrios, a four-star recruit and Under Armour All-American when he graduated early his senior year from Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, is the only Hurricane who grew up near University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

    Earlier in the week, Berrios seemed thrilled to be making his second homecoming in three weeks to North Carolina. Two weeks ago he was there for the Duke game in Durham.

   “It’s a blast,’’ Berrios said, “especially because this one is not on Halloween. I should have more friends and family there. It’s weird at first, because where we stay in the hotel is right across the street from my mall, and where we went to the movies is the movies I went to growing up – a mile from my house and a mile from my high school.’’

    Though Berrios had 21 catches for 232 yards and three touchdowns last season as a freshman, an early-season injury plus increased production by other pass-catchers have resulted in a more meager season for him in 2015. He now has nine catches for 70 yards.

    His attitude, however, remains positive.    

   “You’ve got to stay in the moment,’’ Berrios said. “The fact is there’s one ball and we have a lot of good receivers, we have good running backs, we have good tight ends and we have a pretty good quarterback, too. You’ve got to take it in stride. Each week is a new week and that’s how we take it.

   “Everybody goes through it. Everybody in high school was that guy.’’

   Berrios is that guy in the classroom. Majoring in entrepreneurship, he has a 3.98 grade point average.



November 13, 2015

Kamari Murphy suspended

By Michelle Kaufman

The University of Miami men’s basketball season got started with bad news two hours before tipoff Friday.

Junior forward Kamari Murphy, an Oklahoma State transfer expected to be a major contributor, was suspended for the first three games for a violation of team rules, the school announced as the Hurricanes prepared to host University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley at the BankUnited Center.

Murphy will return to the team Nov. 20 for the second-round game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Murphy sat out last season per transfer rules, and entered this year with high expectations. He is a tenacious rebounder and defender, and a vocal leader. Teammates and coaches raved about him in the past few weeks.

Teammate Sheldon McClellan called Murphy “a junkyard dog,’’ a tireless worker and among the team’s most respected leaders.

“Love him,’’ UM coach Jim Larranaga said of Murphy a few weeks ago. “Last year, I thought there were two areas we needed to improve and give attention to. Kamari Murphy does both very well. He is an outstanding defender and rebounder. He can guard one through five. That’s how quick he is…Once he’s settled in, maybe 10 games in, he’s going to be really, really good.’’

Added Angel Rodriguez: “Kamari brings what this team needed – somebody else to be very vocal, what I call a dog. He not only gets himself going, he gets everybody going.’’

November 12, 2015

UM hoops signs 6-11 center

Some basketball news on the eve of season-opener (7 p.m. Friday vs. University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley)

Rodney Miller, Jr., a 6-11 center, signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball for the University of Miami, Head Coach Jim Larrañaga announced Wednesday.

Miller is a native of Laurelton, N.Y., and plays for Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. He is considered a four-star recruit, and is ranked No. 15 among centers by ESPN. He chose UM over Connecticut, Florida, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Seton Hall.

“Rodney Miller, Jr., impressed us from the very first time we saw him play with his size, rebounding and shot-blocking ability,” Larrañaga said. “He has a lot of raw potential and we expect that he will improve dramatically in our program. He has learned to compete at the highest level in high school by playing for one of the very best college prep schools in the country.”

See you at the BUC -- Michelle Kaufman

November 11, 2015

Miami Hurricanes' Wednesday practice report for UNC week

  FullSizeRender (44)

   The Canes looked good to go once again during the first 15 minutes of media viewing at Wednesday’s practice. Only one player – true freshman receiver Lawrence Cager (sprained ankle) wore a yellow (limited) jersey.

   Offensive tackle Trevor Darling (bruise on top of foot) practiced again, in addition to the others who were tended to during the Virginia game.

   “For this time of year where we’re at we’re – (tap-tap-tap on lectern) – in pretty good shape,” UM interim head coach Larry Scott said at Tuesday’s press conference. I’m very encouraged with our health right now. You’ve got to treat yourself. You’ve got to understand that this time of year is vital that you’re taking care of your bodies.”

      Defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio said this week that defensive end Chad Thomas “really didn’t practice very much last week…We were light Chad.

    “We only used him on third down and two-minute, so he didn’t get any of the physical Tuesday and Wednesday practices. So, we felt like with them trying to run the ball on the perimeter and do some of the things they were doing the best place he could help us was on third down and two-minute, so he did that. Now he’s back healthy.

   “That just gives us the rotations we’ve had all year. I’m pleased with their play.’’

 *** Four refs were at practice again, in order to help the Canes alleviate some of those brutal penalties. Miami entered the week worst in the nation in “fewest penalties per game,’’ averaging 9.63 penalties a game.

  FullSizeRender (48)

    They are 124th of 127 teams ranked in the FBS in “fewest penalty yards per game,’’ averaging 86.7.

   However, last game against Virginia, the Hurricanes were flagged seven times for 52 yards.


November 10, 2015

Just happened: Larry Scott at weekly Miami Hurricanes press conference

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Larry Scott Tuesday afternoon press conference (picture above is from after Virginia game at Sun Life) just took place.

He says this time of year you've got guys banged up, bruised up. Part of winning this game is taking care of your body..

"We're up for it," he said of UNC. "You embrace these type of challenges.

"They're all fired up and have the right approach and mindset.''

He said he has spoken with his coach when he played at USF, Jim Leavitt, for advice on coaching tips. He has also gotten advice from former USF coach Skip Holtz.

Larry Scott on some of the things he has realized being a head coach: "You're the spark plug. You come in every morning, you lay out the plan. They're looking for the guidance, looking for how we're going to attack this thing... when you come in you've got to be ready to go.''

On UNC offense: "They're explosive. They execute the system very well. Up-tempo and they take shots. They present definitely an explosive challenge for our team."

 How impressed are you with Trent Harris adjusting to different spots on the field?

“It’s amazing. You watch the film and you say, ‘Huh? He was just the SAM, now he’s the MIKE, now he’s the rush. It’s a testament to him and the way he prepares, the way he works, the way he applies himself in every meeting, in every walk-through and in every rep that he gets. He’s a coach on the field. He’s competitive, he’s smart and he’s a leader in the way that you want guys to lead – through his play and through the way he works.  He’s everything you want when you’re out recruiting and trying to build a program - you want kids that are like that. That’s what you want.”

On TE David Njoku: "His future is very bright." 

Injury-wise, Scott said WR Lawrence Cager has a "slight ankle sprain" and OT Trevor Darling has a "big bruise on top of foot.. Both did very well [today]. Both involved in practice. For this time of year, I'm very encouraged.'' 




Hurricanes begin practice for UNC with all the injured (even temporarily) from Virginia game back



    The Hurricanes were back on Greentree Field to start practicing for the No. 17 North Carolina Tar Heels (8-1, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) – kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Chapel Hill and will be televised by ESPNU.

    Good news as far as we could tell in the media’s 15 minutes of viewing at the beginning of practice.

   Back from the game were all five players who went down at one point or another and were attended to during the 27-21 victory against the Cavaliers. Some of these guys went back in the game, but it’s always key to see them back on the field Tuesday, because adrenaline can carry these guys a long way on game day.

   Offensive tackle Trevor Darling, who left the game limping in the third quarter with what interim head coach Larry Scott said was a foot injury, was back.

   The others who were back: defensive tackles Anthony Moten and Courtel Jenkins, defensive end Ufomba Kamalu and middle linebacker Trent Harris.

   Cornerback Artie Burns, who took the game off while dealing with family issues stemming from his mother’s death, was also back.

   Wearing a yellow (limited) jersey was guard Joe Brown, who did not play Saturday.

   UM (6-3, 3-2) will need a big-time effort this week to do well against a UNC team that has won eight straight after losing the season opener 17-13 to South Carolina.


November 09, 2015

Larry Scott on Stacy Coley, recruiting, UNC and being a father figure -- and info for Georgia Tech game


Before we get to Larry Scott, UM fans probably won’t love this news, but the final home game against Georgia Tech has been set for 12:30 p.m. Nov. 21 at Sun Life Stadium, as announced this afternoon by the Atlantic Coast Conference.

 Does a breakfast tailgate interest you at all?

 Thought not.

 How about breakfast with some Mimosas?

 The game will be televised by the ACC Network, which means it will be televised by a local TV network. We don’t know which one yet.

 ***Congratulations to Larry Scott, who is 2-0 as the Hurricanes’ interim head coach. I enjoy what he has to say, but am really interested in what product he’ll put out there Saturday at Chapel Hill against a formidable Tar Heels team.

   The Tar Heels just took the Duke team UM barely beat and demolished it. It is ranked among the Top-15 nationally in passing efficiency, scoring offense, passing yards allowed, team passing efficiency defense and third-down conversion percentage.

   UNC, however, is 113th in the nation in rushing defense and 119th in punting.

  Scott made his weekly audio visit Monday morning to 560 WQAM for an interview with host Joe Rose.

  Here are some of the things he talked about with Rose:

Stacy coley

   ***On wide receiver Stacy Coley, who had his second 100-plus-yard game with seven catches for 132 yards and a touchdown against Virginia: “…[He’s] just continuing to mature and grow up and understand that once work ethic, once preparation meets talent, that’s when you reach your full potential and become the player you should be. It starts at the beg of the week – ‘What are the details, what are the finer points that I need to make sure that I’m on top of on a daily basis to be the player I need to be on game day?’ Finally with him that switch is starting to turn on. He’s preparing, he’s watching film, he’s taking care of his body. He’s doing all the little things right on and off the field, and that’s allowing his talent and his preparation to come together at one time. We’re seeing some of the benefits of that. We just have to keep him going in the same direction.”

 ***On recruiting at this point of the season: “Right now you have to proceed as business as usual. You want to hold on to the guys that we feel are good enough to be in our program as people and as players. It’s part of your job and that hasn’t changed. The University of Miami has a great product to offer young people, so right now that’s what you go out and sell – the opportunity to go out and get a great education and the opportunity to play for one of the most tradition-rich programs in the country. You sell it with passion and you sell it with everything you have in you and continue to build the program. That’s what we do everyday. That’s our job.”

    Note that Sunday night, Columbus three-star senior defensive end Josh Uche went on Twitter to announce his decommitment from the Hurricanes’ 2016 recruiting class

   “With the recent coaching change at the University of Miami and the uncertainty of the future, I would like to de-commit at this time,’’ Uche tweeted. “I would like to explore other options and when a new head coach at Miami is named, my family and I will reevaluate the situation.’’

 ***On being a father figure and counselor of sorts the past two weeks in the aftermath of turmoil: “As a coach, when you get into this business, if you’re in it for the right reason, you wear all of those hats constantly around the clock all the time. You have to embrace that part of what we do and love that part. Ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s about developing these young people holistically all across the board in every aspect of their lives… to help them understand that far before you get to the field, if you’re right  in your heart and right in your mind and you’re doing all the right things and you understand that life is going to throw you curve balls, it’s how you respond to it all is what makes you go out and play the game the way you should play the game… Because [then] you don’t carry those things with you on the field if you’re doing it right off the field.

  “The biggest piece to it is making sure you have these young people’s hearts and you’ll get what you want from them on the field.’’


November 07, 2015

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya cleared and expected to start today against Virginia

0002 UM vs FAU 091215

Very good news for the Miami Hurricanes.

Quarterback Brad Kaaya, who sustained a concussion against Clemson two weeks ago, has been cleared to play and is expected to start at 3 p.m. against Virginia at Sun Life Stadium.

Backup QB Malik Rosier is also good to go today, in case needed. Rosier did a great job last week at Duke in his first career start.

Kaaya has completed 140 of 229 passes for 1,846 yards and 10 touchdowns, with two interceptions.

Rosier has completed 29 of 57 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns, with three picks. 

The Cavaliers (3-5, 2-2) are ranked 88th nationally in passing yards allowed (allowing an average of 248.9 yards a game) and ranked 118th in team passing efficiency defense.

The Virginia defense has one interception this season.


Here's how the Hurricanes can win the Coastal Division -- and meet Clemson or FSU in the ACC Championship

   The Hurricanes must continue winning, with four games left in the regular season, to stay alive in the Coastal Division race of the ACC.

   “That has always been our goal from Day One,’’ UM interim coach Larry Scott said this week. “That will continue to be our focus each and every week.’’

   To win the Coastal, which would catapult Miami into its first ACC title game against the winner of the Atlantic Division, the Hurricanes would have to defeat Virginia, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Georgia Tech at home and Pittsburgh on the road the day after Thanksgiving.

   UM also needs UNC (7-1, 4-0) to lose one game – Saturday to Duke (6-2, 3-1) in Chapel Hill would be advantageous; and Duke to lose one more afterward.

   That would establish a three-way, first-place tie in the Coastal, and Miami would prevail because of head-to-head wins.

   By the way, can you even begin to imagine if UM pulls off the unexpected and wins the Coastal? That would mean a rematch against Clemson or Florida State.

  Can you imagine?

   But even if Miami’s dream scenario doesn’t materialize, a win against Virginia Saturday would qualify the Hurricanes for a bowl game.


November 06, 2015

"Our student-athletes played their hearts out and won the game fairly...''

Yesterday, University of Miami athletic director Blake James wrote a letter to Miami season-ticket holders and Hurricane Club members regarding the highly criticized Miami victory against Duke, saying, in part, that UM submitted to the ACC "the plays we believed were incorrectly called as a matter of weekly protocol, and were notified by the league that multiple incorrect calls impacting our team occurred during the game, including a pass interference call on the final drive.''

Today, new University of Miami president Julio Frenk put the cherry on top with his own letter to the "University of Miami Community.''

A Message from President Julio Frenk: November 6, 2015

The two most striking paragraphs:

"As one of the newest members of the U family, I was deeply touched by the passionate and hard-won victory of our team against Duke University last Saturday in North Carolina. This is a team that in recent days experienced great adversity. They came together in a united and inspired effort to face these challenges head on. Our student-athletes played their hearts out and won the game fairly with a spectacular play that showed their commitment to winning to the very final seconds.

"In the aftermath of the controversy related to the officiating of the game against Duke, I wish to express my disappointment with statements that question the legitimacy of our victory. Let me be clear: Both teams fought hard and at the highest levels of competition, and in the the University of Miami won.''

 It's Alumni Weekend and Homecoming Saturday tomorrow for the 3 p.m. kickoff. Will be interested in seeing how many fans show their support after a very tough couple of weeks for the Hurricanes.

 In closing, check out this video UM produced on the Duke game and the moments leading to it and after it. Very touching.


November 04, 2015

Canes offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu is loud, happy and has perfected the art of scoring TDs



    All the talk following the UM-Duke game revolved around one play that will live forever, but all the pandemonium, excitement and controversy over the eight-lateral kick return for a game-winning touchdown as time expired has had many forget another key touchdown from a very unlikely source.

   That is, of course, 6-8, 318-pound offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu's fumble recovery in the end zone in the second quarter that helped the Hurricanes jump out to an early lead. It was story time with Sunny on Greentree Practice Fields on Wednesday as he took reporters through the entire sequence.

   Here's how it all went down through the eyes of Odogwu:

   ***"I always try to run to the ball and run to where the ball is on every play. After my block, I pushed my guy outside, so I saw lots of piles, everyone was laying down.

  ***"Then I turn around and I saw something brown roll out, and I'm like, 'Oh crap. That's not someone's leg. That's the ball. So I've got to go get it.'

   ***"I dove to the ball, so I ran to the ball and dragged it to me. -"I was just there to secure the ball, but then Kc McDermott started yelling in my ear, 'Sunny, you scored a touchdown. It's a touchdown.' I was like, 'HUH?!'

   ***The Duke guy, No. 48 [Deion Williams] was trying to put his hands to drag the ball. I was like, 'Dude, there is no way you're going to get the ball from me. There is no shot!'

   ***"I stood up with the ball. When everyone was screaming 'Touchdown!' I was like, 'Now what do I do with the ball? I do not know what to do with the ball. You know, I'm going to just do [Patriots tight end Rob] Gronkowski, spike the ball. Of course, that was the first thing that came to my mind. Nick Linder was like, 'Sunny, don't spike it! Penalty!'  I was like, 'Oh, OK. So what do I do with the ball now? Do I spin it? Do I throw it up?' I handed it to the ref, walked to the sideline and went on to the next play."

  It's not the first time Odogwu has scored points in a game. In high school, he doubled as a kicker/punter and scored on field goals. He has also played soccer. Odogwu says he was 3 for 3 on field goals as a kicker, and when punting, would just punt for distance.


November 03, 2015

Fired up Canes: Brad Kaaya back at practice, still going through concussion protocol

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The Canes are fired up.

 They returned to Greentree Field for practice today, and they were loud and motivated and just plain fiery from the moment they ran out of the facility onto the field.

 Can’t blame them. They’re the team everybody is talking about, but as has been the case in one way or another for many years, not in the most complimentary way.

 I’m thinking UM (5-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) going to take their new-found energy and channel it into the Virginia (3-5, 2-2)game Saturday – 3 p.m. and broadcast on the ACC Regional Network.

 As for this morning, Brad Kaaya was back, taking snaps with the first team. However, he is still going through UM’s strict concussion protocol, a series of steps that must be undertaken before Kaaya can play again. Some of that includes going through a practice with contact. We were told by UM that he has not been cleared to play yet, but I’m guessing he will be by the end of the week.

 Quarterback Malik Rosier, who put on a super performance Saturday in his first career start (20 of 29 for 272 yards, two touchdowns, with one interception), was out there, too. I can’t say for sure whether he was limited or not today. But as we were told Sunday by UM, Rosier stayed overnight after the game because he “sustained an injury during the game. In the abundance of caution,” a UM spokesman wrote in an email to media members, “he was evaluated in Durham before returning to Miami.

     “He has been released and will continue to be evaluated by our doctors.’’

   I was on the same flight into Fort Lauderdale with Rosier, who was accompanied by head trainer Vinny Scavo and team physician Lee Kaplan.

    Rosier was tired, naturally, and slept on the way home. Otherwise, he looked fine. He told us after the game that he had the wind knocked out of him.


November 02, 2015

Jermaine Grace and Corn Elder earn ACC Player of the Week honors after impressive performances


Congratulations to Corn Elder and Jermaine Grace, both recipients of ACC Player of the Week honors, announced by the conference on Monday afternoon. 


The ACC Players of the Week, in case you're wondering, are selected by a 14-member media panel.

Elder, a junior out of Nashville, Tennessee, scored the winning touchdown in UM's 30-27 victory Saturday against Duke. He was on the receiving end and the final person to touch the ball in the now famous eight-man lateral that won the game for the Hurricanes. He was named as the specialist of the week.

Elder's kickoff return, officially 75 yards but much longer than that as the Canes kept weaving back and forth to keep the play alive, is the only player in college football this season to record an interception, punt return for a touchdown and kickoff return for a touchdown.

Grace, a junior from Miami Gardens, was, as the ACC wrote in its release, a "one-man wrecking crew Saturday'' as he totaled a career-high 17 tackles at Duke. Grace also forced a fumble. Grace is the starting weak-side linebacker for the Canes. He was the ACC linebacker of the week. 

Both Elder and Grace are super players and very nice young men.