September 15, 2015

Stacy Coley returns to practice, Berrios still MIA

Al Golden said Sunday he was expecting to have both Stacy Coley and Braxton Berrios back on the practice field this week.

So far, Al's batting .500.

Coley was back at practice Tuesday morning, but Berrios, who injured his left knee early in the season-opening 45-0 win over Bethune-Cookman, was not. 

Coley missed last Friday's 44-20 win at FAU because of a left hamstring injury, but was in a regular orange practice jersey Tuesday. That means he's practicing without limitations.

The Hurricanes could certainly use the help at receiver. They had six drops against FAU according to Golden and had five in the opener. 

Also back: sophomore linebacker Juwon Young, who was injured in camp and missed the first two games. Young's return should help UM which lost sophomore Darrion Owens to a season-ending knee injury at FAU.


Miami Hurricanes safety Deon Bush was named to the American Football Coaches Association's Good Works Team on Tuesday morning, an honor for making a positive impact on others and their communities.

The senior from Miami Columbus High was one of 22 players selected from a group of a record 197 nominees. He's the third Hurricanes player to be picked to the team in the last four years. Running back Mike James (2012) and quarterback Stephen Morris (2013) were previous UM selections.

In its 24th year, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team is comprised of athletes who have used their limited free time to perform inspirational acts of service.

This past December he served food to the homeless at the Providence House in Shreveport, La. and even used his own per diem money during the Independence Bowl to buy Christmas gifts for homeless children.

Bush has been very active in the local community in his time at UM. He served as one of the team leaders organizing the Be The Match Bone Marrow Drive, helping add over 500 donors to the national registry. He also was a regular visitor to local nursing homes and elementary schools. 

Football Bowl Subdivision team

Player, Year, Position, College, Hometown
Jonathan Wallace, Sr., WR, Auburn, Pheonix City, Ala.
Trent Matthews, Sr., S, Colorado State, Converse, Texas
Kelby Brown, Sr., LB, Duke, Matthews, N.C.
Malcolm Mitchell, Sr., SE, Georgia, Valdosta, Ga.
Landon Foster, Sr., P, Kentucky, Franklin, Tenn.
Deon Bush, Sr., S, Miami, Miami, Fla.
Myer Krah, Sr., OLB, Navy, Durham, N.C.
Joshua Perry Sr., LB, Ohio State, Galena, Ohio
Ben Kline, GS/Sr., LB, Penn State, Silver Valley, Pa.
James Conner, Jr., RB, Pittsburgh, Erie, Pa.
Driphus Jackson, Sr., QB, Rice, Cedar Hill, Texas

September 13, 2015

Another season-ending injury for the Canes at a position at which they were already thin


 University of Miami fans who thought the Hurricanes had trouble tackling Friday against FAU should take up meditation immediately – especially with the Nebraska Cornhuskers and running back Terrell Newby coming to Sun Life Stadium at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

    Miami coach Al Golden revealed Sunday that strong-side linebacker Darrion Owens, who began the season as the starter, is out with a season-ending knee injury. Golden said Owens will have surgery in “about 10 days.’’

    “Darrion Owens will be lost for the season,’’ Golden said during his weekly teleconference. “Obviously a tremendous young man and arguably one of our hardest workers. We feel badly for him. But we have some guys that have got to step up. We have to have the next-man mentality and get that situated by the time we go back to work on Tuesday.’’

    The good news: receiver Braxton Berrios (knee sprain) and middle linebacker Juwon Young (foot sprain) are expected back at practice Tuesday, as well as true freshman cornerback Terrance Henley, according to the coach. Receiver Stacy Coley (hamstring), was back last week wearing a yellow, limited contact, jersey.

    Owens, a sophomore from Orange Park, Fla., fell to the ground clutching his right knee with 2:09 left in the first quarter of UM’s 44-20 victory at FAU. He was seen on the sidelines in tears.

   Owens had four tackles in the first two games. Last year as a true freshman he had 23 tackles in 12 games.  His career-high in tackles – seven – came last year against the Cornhuskers.

   Nebraska no longer has star running back Ameer Abdullah, but does have heir apparent Newby, who rushed 28 times for 198 yards this past Saturday in a 48-9 win over South Alabama.  

   So, what now?

   Golden said 6-3, 236-pound senior Tyriq McCord, who has played both rush end and linebacker at UM, will help compensate for Owens’ absence. Also in the mix, starting rush end Trent Harris, who can slide into the strong-side linebacker spot because Al-Quadin Muhammad is back at rush end.

    Redshirt freshman linebacker Mike Smith is also available.

    Golden also mentioned Demetrius Jackson doing better at rush end and thus allowing for a possible Harris move.

   Even true freshman strong-side linebacker Jamie Gordinier is “on alert,’’ Golden said, but would play only “if we incurred another injury.’’

    Another true freshman that could be elevated, if needed: defensive end Scott Patchan, who had been rehabbing from his own ACL tear dating to early last season. “If there’s another injury at either one of the outside backer position than he might have to be elevated,’’ Golden said of Patchan.

   Added Golden: “To be honest with you, everybody is kind of on alert.”

    UM's linebacker depth and experience are cleary lacking.

   At times Friday against FAU, especially in the first half, UM'S defense looked lost as the Owls racked up 292 yards – 168 of them on the ground because of what sometimes amounted to shoddy tackling that led to huge chunks of yardage.

   Owens is UM’s second player to go down with a season-ending injury. Running back Gus Edwards was also lost for the season with a foot injury.

   Here's hoping that Darrion comes back strong.



September 12, 2015

September 11, 2015

Gameday blog: Miami Hurricanes at FAU Owls

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

The game will be broadcast on FoxSports1.

Stay tuned for our live blog later tonight.

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

September 08, 2015

Hurricanes coach Al Golden says no surgery for Berrios -- and FAU's excuse letter


    FullSizeRender (25)

    Miami coach Al Golden shed a bit more light on receiver Braxton Berrios’ injury situation Tuesday, saying emphatically, “No,’’ when asked if there’s a chance Berrios could have surgery.

   “I don’t know if he’s going to quite make it this week,’’ Golden said, “but surgery has not come up.’’

   Berrios was not at practice.

   Golden said receiver Stacy Coley, who has a hamstring injury and showed up at practice Tuesday wearing a yellow (limited) jersey, “has a chance’’ to play. “That’s where we’re at.’’

   Golden said if Coley doesn’t play, Mark Walton, Corn Elder, Artie Burns, Trayone Gray, Joe Yearby and Herb Waters all are available for returning kicks.

   Also in yellow Tuesday were linebacker Darrion Owens, cornerback Sheldrick Redwine and receiver Rashawn Scott.

   Some players are now put in yellow jerseys when they are being held back because “they might have too [many] miles on them,’’ said offensive coordinator James Coley.

   It is believed Scott is one of them, and is expected to play Friday. 


  Al-Quadin Muhammad earned Defensive Scout Team Player of the Week last week. He sat out of the opener for violating an undisclosed team rule.

  Running back Joel Evans, who got into the Bethune-Cookman game, was named Offensive Scout Team Player of the Week.


   FAU coach Charlie Partridge posted a form letter Tuesday on Twitter to Owls’ fans to give to their employers.

   “Dear (fill in the blank)’s Employer,’’ it begins.

   “FAU football has their home opener this Friday at 8 p.m.. Now this isn’t just any home-opener. Our campus is abuzz with excitement because on September 11th at 8 p.m., we are hosting the University of Miami at FAU Stadium. An opportunity to attend a game like this doesn’t come around often and (fill in the blank) would be crushed if (fill in the blank) missed it.

   Let’s be honest, (fill in the blank) is one of your hardest workers and is obviously very bright because (fill in the blank) attends FAU Football games. Please don’t deny (fill in the blank) this experience. Please allow (fill in the blank) to leave work early, or even get the day off, to make the pilgrimage to FAU Stadium and cheer on the Owls as they take on the Canes…

  …P.S. By the way, could you go ahead and give them the day off for our other home games?…




Million dollar pledge made to University of Miami athletics

From UM... 


Student-Athlete Excellence Fund, Basketball Victory Fund among supported initiatives

  University of Miami Board of Trustees member and alumnus Michael J. “Pete” Piechoski and his wife Jeri have made a $1 million commitment to Hurricanes Athletics as part of a generous University-wide pledge.

Piechoski, who earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Miami in 1976, is a member of the Athletic Director’s Advisory Committee and was the founding member of the Champions Level ($55,000+) of annual giving with the Hurricane Club.

“I am thrilled to be able to invest in the University that invested in me,” Piechoski said. “I have the highest regards for all University officials at Miami, including the educators, athletics staff and coaches that make it such a special place. They have the utmost regard for integrity and professionalism.”

The $1 million commitment will help support the Student-Athlete Excellence Fund, which provides operational and scholarship support for Miami Athletics, the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence, and the newly created Basketball Victory Fund, established to enhance the BankUnited Center, the locker rooms for men’s and women’s basketball, as well as additional support areas.

"I want to express my sincere gratitude to Pete for his unwavering commitment to UM Athletics and for his continued leadership and service to our University," said Director of Athletics Blake James.  "As a trustee and alumni leader, Pete always answers the call to help provide the resources needed to ensure our student-athletes have the resources to compete at the highest level, academically and athletically."    

Piechoski is the former senior vice president and chief financial officer for Peter Kiewit Sons', Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska, one of North America's largest construction and engineering firms. Additionally, Pete serves as Board of Directors Chairman of the Team USA Bobsled and Skeleton committee, on which he recently began serving a four-year term.

In addition to their strong support to athletics, the Piechoskis also established three endowment funds: the Piechoski Family Endowed Graduate Business Fellowship Fund; the Piechoski Family Endowed Graduate Engineering Fellowship Fund; and the Piechoski Study Abroad Endowed Fund.

A resident of Tempe, Ariz., and Coral Gables, Pete and Jeri have two children: Alexandra, a graduate of Villanova University and Brad, a 2012 graduate of UM’s College of Engineering who is currently enrolled in the MBA program at Miami.



September 07, 2015

No Berrios, No Coley, & Al Golden: "Get the hell away from there!"

     Receivers Braxton Berrios (left knee) and Stacy Coley (left hamstring) did not practice this afternoon, as expected, and given the shortened week before the game Friday night at FAU (0-1), I’d say there’s a pretty decent chance they’ll sit out the game to get more healed.

    Of course I don’t even know the diagnosis, so it could be worse than that -- or better.

    Coach Al Golden said “day-to-day’’ on Sunday.

   Hamstring injuries are touchy situations, and often recurring. And Berrios already tore the ACL of his right knee, so they’ll be extra prudent with him. This is not a torn ACL, or hopefully Golden wouldn’t be saying, like he did today after practice, “We’re very blessed, we’re fortunate right now for those guys and we’ll see where it goes.’’

   Here’s exactly what Golden said on the Berrios/Coley front:

   “They weren’t going to be in the mix today. It was just too soon. We’re just treating them, elevate them and go from there. We’ll evaluate it every day and see where they’re at. But obviously we’re very blessed, we’re very fortunate right now for those guys and we’ll see where it goes.”

    Are they doubtful for Friday’s game at FAU?

    Golden: “I have no idea. They weren’t even on the table to do anything today. That wasn’t part of it. Today was about getting them as many treatments as we can, getting them elevated, getting them off their feet and getting them ready to go. Tomorrow is another day and we’ll just go from there. That’s how we’re approaching it.”



   Remember that would-be 70-yard punt-return for a touchdown that Corn Elder ran back? It was nullified by officials because teammate Herb Waters attempted to wave off the return after the punt bounced down the field toward Elder, who scooped it up and cut toward the middle before sprinting to the end zone.

    Waters said Monday, “It was my fault. I’m a vet in the program [and] I should know. I didn’t know Corn would be athletic and do that. I take full blame. I know now not to do any motion – let the returner do all the pointing and calls and everything else.’’

    So, what did Waters tell Elder?

    “I apologized to him like five, 10 times, just to make sure, like ‘OK, bro, I’m sorry but I didn’t know, bro.’’’

    What did Elder tell Waters?

   “He was just like, ‘Bro, get out of my face, bro. It’s OK, bro. It’s OK, bro.’ That’s one of the things you do when you have a family like that. We just move on to the next play. He forgave me and we moved on – then he came back and ran back another one.’’

   After Elder ran back the other punt 72 yards for a touchdown later in the game, Waters said he was relieved.

    Golden said Monday that Waters “was just trying to make a smart play. I can’t say too much because then I’m giving away some things that we do. it was unfortunate but that’s not on him. We’ve got to do a better job coaching him.’’

   Golden’s point of view on whether Elder should have scooped up the bouncing punt: “Stay away. Get the hell away from there.’’

   Said Elder, laughing: “I saw the trajectory of the ball and felt I could make a play on it.”



September 06, 2015

September 05, 2015

Canes lose two receivers to injury on the opening drive of the game

It wasn't a good start to the season for a pair of Hurricanes receivers. 

On the opening drive of Saturday's game against Bethune-Cookman, UM lost junior Stacy Coley and sophomore Braxton Berrios to injuries.

Coley exited with an apparent left hamstring injury when he caught a short swing pass from quarterback Brad Kaaya on third-and-1 at the Wildcats 31-yard line and got hit for a two-yard loss. WQAM sideline reporter Josh Darrow said Coley would be reevaluated at halftime.

Berrios' injury appears to be more severe. On 3rd and 3 at the Wildcats 19, three plays after Coley exited the game, Berrios twisted his left knee while attempting to comeback and make a catch on pass thrown behind him. Berrios stayed on the ground a few minutes and was visited by coach Al Golden before walking off the field under his own power.

Darrow reported Berrios would not return to action Saturday. Berrios tore his anterior cruicate ligament in his right knee in the Under-Armour All-American Game as a senior in high school. 

Losing Berrios and Coley hurts the Hurricanes in the return game. Berrios won the starting job on punt returns and Coley was listed as a starter on kick returns alongside freshman running back Mark Walton.

After Berrios exited, junior cornerback Corn Elder and receiver Herb Waters handled the next two punt returns. Elder called for a fair catch. Waters did too, but fumbled. UM retained possession after Bethune was flagged for kick-catch interference. 

Gameday blog - Week 1: Hurricanes vs. Bethune-Cookman

Live Blog Miami Hurricanes vs. Bethune-Cookman: Sep. 5, 2015

Official: Miami Hurricanes Al-Quadin Muhammad, Tyre Brady suspended for opener

The University of Miami has confirmed what was widely reported Thursday night, that 6-3, 256-pound redshirt sophomore rush end Al-Quadin Muhammad has been suspended for tonight's opener against Bethune-Cookman.

Also suspended for tonight's opener: receiver Tyre Brady, a 6-3, 200-pound sophomore out of Homestead South Dade High School. Brady, who had 39 catches for 600 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior at South Dade, has not recorded any catches for the Hurricanes.

Both violated team rules, according to UM. The suspensions are one-game suspensions, per UM.

We saw Muhammad in a scout-team jersey last week at the beginning of practice, before he sprinted back into the locker room and came wearing his usual No. 8. 

Muhammad repeated several times when we asked him questions last week, that he just wants to win the Coastal, win the Coastal, win the Coastal.

Muhammad was suspended by the university all last football season and couldn't take classes after getting into a fight after the 2014 spring game. I have no idea whose fault that was, but I did see the police report from another incident last year, and it wasn't pretty.

Muhammad's stats at UM, all in 2013: 13 games, no starts, seven unassisted tackles, one assisted tackle, two tackles-for-loss.

  On Wednesday, coach Al Golden was asked if UM had anyone suspended to start the season.

"We do not right now,'' he said. "If there are any suspensions we'll tell you like we do every game. You will be notified in pregame if there's anything... That's our protocol.

"Right now we expect to have everybody.''



September 04, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

You can look at it two ways:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al-Quadin Muhammad suspended for opener against Bethune-Cookman



Rush end Al-Quadin Muhammad, a 6-3, 256-pound redshirt sophomore, is suspended for the opening game against Bethune-Cookman, a source told me late Thursday night. Peter Ariz reported his suspension first.

Muhammad is expected to play in the second game, at FAU. 

I do not know what Quan did. I can only imagine.

On Wednesday, coach Al Golden was asked if UM had anyone suspended to start the season.

"We do not right now,'' he said. "If there are any suspensions we'll tell you like we do every game. You will be notified in pregame if there's anything... That's our protocol.

"Right now we expect to have everybody.''

I think Al must have been crossing his fingers behind his back.

Curiously, we saw Muhammad in a scout-team jersey last week at the beginning of practice, before he sprinted back into the locker room and came wearing his usual No. 8. 

Anyway, Muhammad, who repeated several times when we asked him questions last week, that he just wants to win the Coastal, win the Coastal, win the Coastal, maybe doesn't want to win it as much as he thought.

Quan, by the way, was suspended all last football season -- suspended by the University, actually, and couldn't take classes after getting into a fight after the 2014 spring game. I have no idea whose fault that was, but I did see the police report from another incident last year, and it wasn't pretty.

Muhammad's stats at UM, all in 2013: 13 games, no starts, seven unassisted tackles, one assisted tackle, two tackles-for-loss.

 Stay tuned. And see you Saturday.





September 01, 2015

Canes notes: What the loss of Edwards means; Golden on Thomas, Muhammad as backups; Kaaya on turning 20


When fifth-year senior safety Dallas Crawford heard running back Gus Edwards was lost for the season over the weekend, he wasn't worried UM coaches were going to ask him to switch back to offense.

In fact, he wasn't worried much at all.

"We have a lot of good running backs out there with Joe, Mark and Choc," said Crawford, who was named a starter at safety Sunday, a season after he first switched from offense to defense. "They don't need me. They can handle it."

Coach Al Golden apparently agrees -- for now.

Tuesday, Golden reiterated he's confident UM has enough depth at the running back position to survive to loss of Edwards, who according to Golden was ruled out for the season after doctors performed surgery on his left foot Saturday and realized the injury was worse than initially diagnosed.

Golden said the fact UM's four running backs split carries evenly in camp has the team better prepared for Edwards' loss. He said if more help is needed at running back UM has "other things in place" so as not to move Crawford.

"I wanted from the get-go give all four guys reps with the ones," he said. "Even [fullback] Walter Tucker got reps, inside run. We don't feel we'll miss a beat there. Disappointed for Gus, he worked really hard."

Still, odds are UM will miss Edwards (6-2, 241) and his presence in short-yardage situations. Sophomore Joseph Yearby (5-9, 195) and freshman Mark Walton (5-10, 195) don't deliver big blows like Edwards does, and sophomore Trayone Gray (6-2, 215) is still growing into the position after having played quarterback and receiver in high school.

Gray said Tuesday he expects he'll get most of what would have been Edwards carries around the goal line and in short-yardage.

"It's tough," Crawford said. "Gus was primed to have a breakout year. He looked good every practice this camp. Things happen. I know Mark is ready. Joe is ready. Choc is ready. Tuck is ready. He's their biggest supporter. He was in the meetings today, has a good attitude. I know those guys will pick up the slack."

Said safety Deon Bush: "I'm very confident in the running backs. They're tough and they pound for yards. You can put any three of those guys in and they're going to fight for yards."

> So is Golden disappointed five-star defensive end Chad Thomas and four-star U.S. Army All-American Al-Quadin Muhammad didn't earn starting jobs coming out of camp?

Apparently not.

"We're excited about both those guys," Golden said. "This is the deepest we've been on the defensive line. [Ufomba] Kamalu has had a great camp for us, is 295 pounds now. Chad obviously will be in the rotation early. Maybe it's 1 and 1A. And RJ McIntosh has had a really good camp and will be in the mix. At the other spot Trent [Harris] was one of our most reliable players on defense a year ago. He doesn't make any [mental errors], exact every play. Demetrius [Jackson] had a good camp. We're not discouraged with Quan, Quan's going to be a heck of a player. Quan also missed 13 games a year ago. Those guys are going to be impactful. Our biggest change up front is how many we can put in the game."

> None of the Hurricanes wanted to talk about the photos that hit social media over the weekend depicting players in odd positions. 

"I'm not here to talk about pictures man," defensive tackle Calvin Heurtelou said. "I'm just focused on Bethune."

> What does quarterback Brad Kaaya want for his 20th birthday, which is Thursday?

"A win," he said. "20 isn't really an eventful number."

It's been an eventful 13 months since Kaaya arrived on campus. He was thrown into the fire and responded well as a true freshman. 

Does he think he was too young when he looks back on last season?

"Yeah, in a sense," he said. "When half your teammates are 22, 23 and half of them have kids or are married, so obviously in that sense. Yes."

Kaaya lived on campus last season. This year's he's living on campus with receiver Braxton Berrios and backup quarterback Malik Rosier.

With Duke Johnson and other stars gone he's been asked even more to become the face of the team this season, throwing out first pitches at games and being involved much more in the community.

"I'm comfortable with it," he said. "It just comes with being a quarterback here. It's just something I have to do. Even as a player at the University of Miami, or all over the country, people are expecting you to give back to the community. You can't be introverted, stay here all day. You've got to give back."

Kaaya's third down and fourth quarter were areas he admits were weak spots for him last year as a true freshman. But he's not taking all the blame for it either.

"There are 10 other guys on the field," he said "We have to operate on money downs and third and fourth downs. As an offense, that's where our focus was. It wasn't our biggest focus. But it was a focus [this off-season].

"Obviously, I watched the film and know I have to get better. But I'm not really sulking in last year. This is a new season now. It's September 2015. Some of those issues were happening in October and November 2014. I mean, I've moved on."

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

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

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

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

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

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

It still is.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

August 30, 2015

Canes lose running back Gus Edwards for season and release depth chart

Gus Edwards' "minor left foot injury" turned out to be much more than coach Al Golden initially told reporters earlier this week.

The 6-2, 241-pound running back will miss the entire 2015 season, the school announced Sunday night, leaving the bulk of the carries to sophomores Joe Yearby and Trayone Gray and freshman Mark Walton.

On the initial depth chart released along with Edwards' injury news, Yearby (5-9, 202) and Walton (5-10, 195) were listed as co-starters. Gray (6-2, 216), a converted high school quarterback and receiver, was listed third on the depth chart.

The Hurricanes don't have any other scholarship running backs on the roster, though, junior fullback Walter Tucker (6-0, 226) has received carries in the past. 


Offense (Pro) STARTERS IN BOLD  
Wide Reciever #11 Rashawn Scott  6-2, 203- R-SR
  #18 Lawrence Cager 6-5, 215- FR
Left Tackle #73 Trevor Darling 6-5, 316 - SO
  #52 KC McDermott  6-6, 310 - SO
Left Guard #67 Alex Gall 6-5, 312 - JR
  #74 Tyler Gauthier 6-5, 315 - FR
  #64 Hunter Wells 6-6, 316 - R-SR
Center #68 Nick Linder   6-3, 302 - SO
  #54 Hunter Knighton 6-5, 300 - R-SO
Right Guard #63 Daniel Isidora   6-4, 325 - JR
  #55 Joe Brown 6-4, 322 - R-FR
Right Tackle #66 Sunny Odogwu 6-8, 318 - R-SO
  #78 Tyree St. Louis 6-5, 312- FR
Tight End #5 Standish Dobard   6-4, 261- JR
  #88 Jake O'Donnell  OR 6-6, 252 - R-JR
  #87 Jerome Washington 6-5, 264 - FR
H Back #23 Christopher Herndon 6-4, 259- SO
  #86 David Njoku 6-4, 244 - R-FR
Fullback #40 Gage Batten 6-0, 235- JR
  #44 Walter Tucker  6-0, 226- JR
Quarterback #15 Brad Kaaya   6-4, 210 - SO
  #12 Malik Rosier 6-1, 212 - R-FR
Running Back #2 Joe Yearby   OR 5-9, 202 - SO
  #1 Mark Walton  5-10, 195 - FR
  #32 Trayone Gray 6-2, 216 - SO
Slot #3 Stacy Coley  6-3, 188 - JR
  #8 Braxton Berrios   5-9, 180 - SO
  #9 Malcolm Lewis   6-0, 190- R-JR
Wide Receiver #6 Herb Waters 6-2, 198 - SR
  #3 Stacy Coley  6-3, 188 - JR


Defense (3-4) STARTERS IN BOLD  
End #47 Ufomba Kamalu  6-6, 297 - R-SR
  #9 Chad Thomas 6-5, 275 - SO
  #80 RJ McIntosh 6-4, 291 - FR
Nose #93 Calvin Heurtelou 6-3, 315 - SR
  #7 Kendrick Norton 6-3, 318 - FR
  #11 Michael Wyche 6-4, 325 - Sr
Tackle #92 Courtel Jenkins 6-2, 311 - SO
  #95 Anthony Moten  6-4, 299 - SO
OLB #58 Darrion Owens   6-3, 247 - SO
  #17 Tyriq McCord  6-3, 241 - SR
ILB #56 Raphael Kirby   6-1, 238 - SR
  #23 Terry McCray 6-3, 228 - R-FR
ILB #5 Jermaine Grace    6-1, 221 - JR
  #13 Marques Gayot 6-1, 222 - SO
OLB #33 Trent Harris   6-2, 251- SO
  #31 Demetrius Jackson  OR 6-5, 248 - R-FR
  #8 Al-Quadin Muhammad  6-4, 256 - R-SO
Corner #3 Tracy Howard   5-11, 192 - SR
  #29 Corn Elder 5-10, 183 - JR
Safety #25 Dallas Crawford   5-10, 200 - R-SR
  #26 Rayshawn Jenkins 6-1, 208 - R-JR
Safety #2 Deon Bush  OR 6-1, 205 - SR
  #6 Jamal Carter 6-1, 209 - JR
  #4 Jaquan Johnson 5-11, 190 - FR
Corner #1 Artie Burns   6-0, 197 - JR
  #22 Sheldrick Redwine 6-1, 196 - FR
Nickel #29 Corn Elder 5-10, 183 - JR


Punter #16 Justin Vogel   6-4, 210 - JR
  #15 Michael Badgley  5-10, 185 - SO
FG's #15 Michael Badgley  5-10, 185 - SO
  #43 Jon Semerene 6-0, 197 - RFR
Kickoffs #43 Jon Semerene 6-0, 197 - RFR
  #16 Justin Vogel    6-4, 208 - JR
Holder #16 Justin Vogel  6-4, 210 - JR
  #12 Malik Rosier 6-1, 212 - R-FR
Long Snapper #39 Jordan Butler  OR 5-11, 202 - FR
  #55 Frank Gabriel   6-3, 210 - R-JR
Short Snapper #55 Frank Gabriel   6-3, 210 - R-JR
  #39 Jordan Butler 5-11, 202 - FR
Punt Returns #8 Braxton Berrios 5-9, 180 - SO
  #3 Stacy Coley   6-3, 188 - JR
Kickoff Returns #3 Stacy Coley   6-3, 187 - JR
  #1 Mark Walton  5-10, 195 - FR
Gus Edwards 6-2, 241- JR  


Odd poses in "fun" photos by Canes provide rival fans with plenty of social media fodder

If you live on Twitter or Instagram you've probably already seen these photos.

But if you haven't, brace yourself Canes fans. 

Whatever it was Hurricanes players were going for in these "fun" photos has provided Seminoles and Gators fans with plenty of make fun of The U material for years to come. 

Even Uncle Luke couldn't help himself. 

August 28, 2015

UPDATE: Miami Hurricanes' CaneFest still on, but will be scaled down and moved inside if it rains


While South Floridians watch the constant updates on Tropical Storm Erika, the University of Miami has made contingency plans for its annual CanesFest fan celebration, scheduled for 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday outside at Greentree Practice Field, Cobb Stadium and the UM Sports Hall of Fame.

If it rains, UM confirmed that the event will be considerably scaled down, and football players would sign autographs from 4 to 5 p.m. inside the Wellness Center's  "Centre Court'' -- one of the center's indoor basketball courts.

Football coaches will sign autographs in the lobby of the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence.

Fans who want to get football autographs must pick up a voucher to gain access for the autograph session. In case of rain, vouchers will be distributed from 3-3:45 p.m. at the Wellness Center, 1241 Dickinson Drive, Coral Gables, 33146. 

The UM Sports Hall of Fame, adjacent to the Hecht Athletic Center, still plans to remain open from 3 to 7 p.m. 

If the weather is clear, the event will be held outside at Greentree Field, where autograph vouchers would be available from 3-3:45 p.m. In that case, the interactive games and other activities involving other UM sports would continue as usual.  


August 26, 2015

Update on Miami Hurricanes running back Gus Edwards missing second day of practice -- where was he?



Great news for Hurricanes fans regarding running back Gus Edwards. He is, indeed, in a boot, but coach Al Golden indicated it is not a long-term injury and he is "day to day.''

So where has he been the past two days? Getting treatment after treatment after treatment...

Golden said Edwards' foot has "a bruise on the top. Everything [the medical testing] is negative.What we've learned is the best way to heal them is not to have them out here aggravating it. We put them in the boot, progress the healing and get them 19 treatments a day.''

"Just making sure he's getting the treatment he needs and massages and just making sure there is no swelling in there. He's doing really well and we'll see where he's at tomorrow and the next day. Everybody goes in a boot.''

Golden said the injury occurred during Saturday night's scrimmage.

Does the coach anticipate Edwards being out for a while?

"If he was out I would tell you. He's day-to-day right now and he's doing good.''

Golden said linebacker Juwon Young, who the coach previously said sprained the bottom of his foot, "is getting healthy and seeing where it goes. He's doing good though. [Cornerback Ryan] Mayes (hamstring), too -- same situation."

### Good news on the injury front confirmed: Both WR Braxton Berrios (hamstring) and WR Malcolm Lewis (undisclosed) practiced today. "So, just to summarize,'' Golden said, "Mayes and Young we got a little time. Gus is probably more of the immediate [return]. Mayes and Young, it may be a little bit more time.''

 ### Golden said on the defensive line: "It's hard to say anyone has had a better camp than [rush end] Trent [Harris]. Trent is faster than he was a year ago. He's stronger. He's much more sudden. He's a very smart young man. He plays the defense really well and he doesn't make mistakes. He's a very unselfish kid. We've just got to keep getting Trent to lead. Trent has had an excellent camp.

"...Demetrius (Jackson), Quan [Muhammad], that's a heck of a battle there. Scotty Patchan on the other end. We always mix those guys up on the speed, which is our five DB package, which you play more and more in college football.''

 ### Golden on if the players know who has won starting jobs? "No, we've got a long way to go. For the majority of the positions, it's going to take until next week for sure -- at least."

 ### I asked offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu if he is excited about the season opener Sept. 5 against Bethune Cookman. His response (try to imagine the Nigerian accent):

"We are fired up! Fired up, bro! We are excited, like so excited. The coaches are, the community is, our fans are, our opponents are, everybody is excited, and so are we -- even the birds, you can see them flying around singing."



Just came in from our 15 minutes of Miami Hurricanes practice viewing Wednesday and running back Gus Edwards was not at practice for the second consecutive day.

 Edwards, a 6-2, 230-pound junior nicknamed “Gus the Bus” for his strong body and bruising style, was also not at practice Tuesday morning during the 15 minutes of media viewing.

 We heard rumors yesterday of him being seen with a boot on his left leg, but I have not been able to confirm that. Let's see what coach Al Golden, who did not talk to us yesterday after practice, says after today's session. The Hurricanes in the past have put players in boots to immobilize the foot or ankle for even minor injuries.

    Either way, that is obviously not a good sign for the Canes, who have not released a depth chart this preseason but did have Edwards as the No. 1 back in the last depth chart it released at the end of spring practice.

    Miami’s all-time leading rusher Duke Johnson left after last season and was drafted in the third round by Cleveland.

    UM begins its season Sept. 5 at home against Bethune-Cookman.

    After Saturday's scrimmage, offensive coordinator James Coley said there were “some nicks on some guys.’’

    “For me,’’ Coley continued, “health means there were no major injuries. Just some guys that we’ve got to see if we can get them ready by next week. It was physical out there. Guys were hitting.’’

   Edwards, out of Tottenville High in Staten Island, N.Y., was the Canes’ third leading rusher last season, rushing for 349 yards on 61 carries, a 5.7-yard-per-carry average. He scored six touchdowns.

   If Edwards should be out for an extended period of time, Miami still has the following three-headed running attack:

   # Sophomore Joe Yearby, the returning leading rusher with 509 yards and one touchdown on 86 carries, a 5.9-yard-per-carry average.

  # Sophomore Trayone Gray, who played in six games and ran only six times for 24 yards and a touchdown.

  # Freshman Mark Walton, a four-star runner out of Miami Booker T. Washington High who rushed for 1,472 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior. He chose Miami over Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee and South Carolina.

    Walton and Edwards scored short-yardage touchdowns Saturday in the scrimmage.

### The good news Wednesday: Slot receivers Malcolm Lewis and Braxton Berrios, previously in red or yellow jerseys worn by injured players, were in regular jerseys at practice.



August 24, 2015

News flash: Miami Hurricanes just told QB Gray Crow they have found a spot for him and he can return to practice


Wow. That was fast.

According to a source close to Gray Crow:

Saturday, redshirt junior quarterback Crow was told by a UM staff member that there was not a roster spot for him and he likely would not be participating in fall practice -- but to stay tuned until a final decision.

Sunday, Crow was told by an assistant coach that he, indeed, would not be participating in fall practice and thus, would not dress for games.

Within the last hour, however, UM apparently had a change of heart and told Crow he could report for fall practice.

He has not yet competed in fall camp, but has been on the roster and in the media guide all along.

Here's my recent blog from today that preceded this update: Click here

Stay tuned.