August 12, 2016

Day 10 in the books at Canes football camp: quarterbacks, receivers, injuries, Jadyn...

The Hurricanes finished Day No. 10 of preseason camp on Friday at Greentree Field.

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Some notes:

*** Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad and linebacker Jermaine Grace both were at practice. 

*** Behind Brad Kaaya at quarterback during our 15 minutes of media viewing were redshirt sophomore Malik Rosier, followed by redshirt freshman Evan Shirreffs, true freshman Jack Allison and redshirt freshman Vincent Testaverde

  Mark Richt said he still hasn't decided on a backup.

"That’s kind of where it’s at,'' said Richt's son, Jon, the quarterbacks coach. "All those guys are competing. They’re working hard. They’re trying to get better every day. But right now there’s no clear No. 2 or No. 3."

    Here's Jon's assessment of last year's backup Malik Rosier: "Some of it is him getting used to our system. It's a completely different feel, a completely different way to go. But he's doing a good job right now of coming up. He's got to be more consistent. That's our big thing with him. He's got to come in play in and play out. We're putting a lot on our quarterbacks and they've got to know what they're supposed to do and what not to do.'' 

*** Mark Richt on the team's first-year receivers: "Dayall [Harris] is farther ahead. Ahmmon [Richards] is in pretty decent shape, and there's [Sam] Bruce, by virtue of the fact that he got here later than everybody else... We have some first-year tight ends, too, that have a ways to go, just learning what to do. There's so much to master as a tight end in this system. They're struggling a little bit mentally. When you're not sure, it's hard to be physical. The young guys in general are struggling, but Dayall and Ahmmon are a little bit further ahead at receiver.''

***On the absence of tight end Stan Dobard, S Robert Knowles and FB Gage Batten from practice: "Stan had an ankle thing. I think Stan's was an ankle. Knowles, it could have been a hand. He had something to do with his finger -- it got jacked up a little bit. [Batten's surgery] went well, but it will be a little while before he can practice.''

*** Running back great Edgerrin James attended practice Friday. James' nephew Jeff James is a freshman safety out of Orlando Olympia High...By the way, Richt said there will not be just one featured back this season.

*** CanesFest is from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the BankUnited Center. Football players and coaches will sign autographs from 5:30 to 6:30 in the multipurpose room. A voucher is required for autographs, and will be distributed beginning at 4:30 on a first-come, first-served basis.

   Jon, Jadyn and Seantrel Henderson

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Miami Hurricanes quarterbacks coach Jon Richt, if you didn't know by now, is the son of head coach Mark Richt, who told us in the spring that "I think most people are calling him Coach Jon. It's CMR on my underwear and CJR on his."

Jon Richt spoke to reporters Friday about his quarterbacks, his dad and his daughter, 2-year-old Jadyn, who is progressing in her battle with Crohn's Disease. (Here's my story I posted Friday afternoon)

According to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Crohn's Disease belongs to a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract.

 The young Richt, 26, is as pleasant and upbeat as they come, and it's nice to see him and CMR and their families together again.

"It was great to know that he had the faith in me at such an early age to get the job done,'' Jon said of his dad. "His trust means a lot to me.''

Jon, on whether he knew that he wanted to be a quarterbacks coach:

"At first, yes. I thought I was going to do that. once I got older -- I actually got married as a sophomore in college -- I kind of got the picture that once I got older, I wasn't going to be around as much [if I were a coach], so I tried to do something else first and that lasted about five months. I was in the mortgage business for about five months and then very soon after that I was back on the field coaching and working with some guys from the NFL Combine -- so it wasn't long.

"I knew what I wanted to do. I love it. The hours don't matter when you are doing something that you love to do, so that's what it is all about.''

Jon acknowledged that little Jadyn has helped rejuvenate her grandfather, who was fired from Georgia late last year after one of the most illustrious coaching tenures in the nation.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN 

 

Muhammad's back, QB order, quick (very) hits Friday from Miami football camp

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Our 15 minutes of media viewing just ended Friday at the University of Miami:

*** The most noteworthy news: defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (Jersey No. 8 above) was back practicing. 

*** Still here: linebacker Jermaine Grace.

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*** The backup quarterback order after Brad Kaaya for at least the past couple days: redshirt sophomore Malik Rosier, redshirt freshman Evan Shirreffs, true freshman Jack Allison and Vincent Testaverde.

*** Sophomore tailback Mark Walton and junior Joe Yearby traded reps as the No. 1 tailback.

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SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

August 11, 2016

Miami Herald update on Al-Quadin Muhammad, Jermaine Grace, Dionte Mullins

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   Al-Quadin Muhammad missed Thursday's preseason football practice (Day No. 8, session No. 9), and from what I heard, he was supposed to be there.

    The Miami Herald caught up with athletic director Blake James a few minutes ago.

    When asked if Muhammad (and/or linebacker Jermaine Grace -- please see original post below) was at a disciplinary hearing today or has a university-related disciplinary hearing pending regarding the rental-car case being investigated, James said, "No. There was no disciplinary hearing and there is no disciplinary hearing pending.''

    I learned from someone else that Muhammad and Grace, as is protocol in this type of situation, met with compliance Wednesday night and are expected to do so again in the near future. 

    I confirmed that Grace also missed a portion of practice today, just not the portion reporters get to see.

    Coach Mark Richt said re Muhammad: "He had some personal things to work on today. I plan on him being in practice tomorrow. Like I told you,'' he added politely, "when there's something to report I'll report it to you.''

   Are we at least getting closer? Richt was asked. "I think so, yeah.''

  *** Good news regarding Dionte Mullins, the young receiver out of Gulliver Prep who still has yet to report to camp, Richt said, "He's still working. He's not out of it. We plan on him being here.''

   ORIGINAL PRE-PRACTICE POST FROM EARLY THIS MORNING RE MUHAMMAD IS BELOW:

We will hopefully be back to you very soon with an update, but first-team redshirt junior defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad was not at University of Miami football practice Thursday during the 15 minutes of viewing time the media gets.

   First-team strong-side linebacker Jermaine Grace, a senior, was out there (*Note: I confirmed Palm Beach Post report that Grace was pulled out at a point during practice).

   That might not be significant, or it might be significant, which we’ll hopefully find out when UM coach Mark Richt speaks at the end of practice. But at the very least it raises at least a red flag, as Muhammad is one of the players – and Grace – who is being investigated for allegedly being involved in a situation that focuses on whether players received discounted (heavily discounted?) luxury rental cars by a South Beach rental company.

   Both Grace and Muhammad competed in Wednesday’s first fall scrimmage, with Muhammad registering two sacks and Grace registering three tackles.

   Muhammad was suspended in 2014 by the university in a situation involving a fight with a former roommate – he could not even take classes – so he missed that season completely. He also was suspended the first game of 2015 for violating team rules.

   He is 6-4, 250 pounds of fury that resulted in his finishing third on the team last season with 54 tackles and a team-leading five sacks and 8 1/2 tackles for loss.

   Grace led the Hurricanes with 79 tackles last season and had six tackles for loss and two sacks. He’s undersized for sure, but he is extremely fast, talented – and the only linebacker out there with experience.

   Internet chat rooms are running wild with speculation that Grace, for one, will be kicked off the team – or suspended for multiple games. Pretty much the same is being discussed on the Muhammad landscape.

   Other practice notes: In one-on-one drills, Malik Rosier was the backup quarterback Thursday. Behind him was Evan Shirreffs, Jack Allison and Vincent Testaverde.

   ***Also, freshman safety Cedric Wright out of Gulliver Prep arrived at his first practice this morning. As for Gulliver teammate Dionte Mullins, a talented receiver that the Canes surely could use, he still hasn’t enrolled. Miami had expected him to arrive this Monday, Aug. 15. I was told his summer academic work was to be completed any day, but that he still has to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center, formerly known as the Clearinghouse.  

     SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

Miami DE Al-Quadin Muhammad not at practice, safety Cedric Wright arrives

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We will hopefully be back to you very soon with an update, but first-team redshirt junior defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad was not at University of Miami football practice Thursday during the 15 minutes of viewing time the media gets.

   First-team strong-side linebacker Jermaine Grace, a senior, was out there.

   That might not be significant, or it might be significant, which we’ll hopefully find out when UM coach Mark Richt speaks at the end of practice. But at the very least it raises at least a red flag, as Muhammad is one of the players – and Grace – who is being investigated for allegedly being involved in a situation that focuses on whether players received discounted (heavily discounted?) luxury rental cars by a South Beach rental company.

   Both Grace and Muhammad competed in Wednesday’s first fall scrimmage, with Muhammad registering two sacks and Grace registering three tackles.

   Muhammad was suspended in 2014 by the university in a situation involving a fight with a former roommate – he could not even take classes – so he missed that season completely. He also was suspended the first game of 2015 for violating team rules.

   He is 6-4, 250 pounds of fury that resulted in his finishing third on the team last season with 54 tackles and a team-leading five sacks and 8 1/2 tackles for loss.

   Grace led the Hurricanes with 79 tackles last season and had six tackles for loss and two sacks. He’s undersized for sure, but he is extremely fast, talented – and the only linebacker out there with experience.

   Internet chat rooms are running wild with speculation that Grace, for one, will be kicked off the team – or suspended for multiple games. Pretty much the same is being discussed on the Muhammad landscape.

   Other practice notes: In one-on-one drills, Malik Rosier was the backup quarterback Thursday. Behind him was Evan Shirreffs, Jack Allison and Vincent Testaverde.

   ***Also, freshman safety Cedric Wright out of Gulliver Prep arrived at his first practice this morning. As for Gulliver teammate Dionte Mullins, a talented receiver that the Canes surely could use, he still hasn’t enrolled. Miami had expected him to arrive this Monday, Aug. 15. I was told his summer academic work was to be completed any day, but that he still has to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center, formerly known as the Clearinghouse.  

    SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

August 10, 2016

Kaaya shines, defense creates nine sacks, pick six in Canes first scrimmage

I'll return with quotes and details from today's closed scrimmage, but here are the stats provided by coach Mark Richt from Wednesday's first scrimmage of the fall:

SOME DETAILS

> Richt said he had the first team offense face the second team defense and the first team defense go up against the second team offense. 

> The defense created nine sacks, one interception return for a touchdown and two forced fumbles.

But as far as the pressure was concerned Richt said: "Again it's hard to call it a sack when we're actually not sacking the quarterback. When we think we have him dead to rights we let the official call it a sack."

> Redshirt sophomore Ryan Mayes picked off quarterback Brad Kaaya and returned it for a touchdown. Richt, though, took the blame saying he asks Kaaya to make throws anyway.

> Kaaya threw his touchdown pass to Braxton Berrios on what Richt described as a deep go route.

> Sophomore safety Jaquan Johnson forced two fumbles with big hits. 

SCRIMMAGE STATS

Passing
Brad Kaaya 16 of 19, 258 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Vinny Testaverde 3-3, 62 yards
Evan Shirreffs 3-5, 16
Malik Rosier 2-5, 1

Rushing
Mark Walton 7-29, 1 TD
Gus Edwards 7-13
Crispian Atkins 4-20
Joe Yearby 4-25
Travis Homer 7-22
Trayone Gray 2-6

Receiving
Braxton Berrios 3-75, 1 TD
Stacy Coley 3-35
Dayall Harris 2-80
Chris Herndon 2-24
Marquez Williams 2-16
Wyatt Chickillo 2-10
Sam Bruce 2-7
Malcolm Lewis 1-12

Defense
Trent Harris 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and two sacks for minus 15 yards
Romeo Finley 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and one sack
Jaquan Johnson 4 tackles, 2 forced fumbles
Robert Knowles 4 tackles
Jermaine Grace 3 tackles
Jamie Gordinier 3 tackles
Zach McCloud 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and a fumble recovery
R.J. McIntosh 3 tackles
Mike Smith 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss
Michael Pinckney 3 tackles
Teddy Stavetski 3 tackles
Charles Perry 3 tackles
Al-Quadin Muhammad 2 sacks for minus 16 yards
Chad Thomas 3 tackles, 2 sacks for minus 7 yards
Rayshawn Jenkins 2 tackles, 1 pass breakup
Charles Perry 2 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks
Corn Elder 2 tackles
Kendrick Norton 2 tackles
Gerald Willis 2 tackles
Malek Young 2 tackles
Terry McCray 2 tackles
Demetrius Jackson 1 tackle, 1 pass breakup and a fumble recovery
Ryan Mayes 1 tackle, 1 PBU and 1 interception for a TD
Shaquille Quarterman 1 tackle
Jared Hardie 1 tackle
Jamal Carter 1 tackle
Terrance Henley 1 tackle
Eddie Dunn 1 tackle

RICHT TRANSCRIPTION

On who stood out in the first scrimmage of #CanesCamp…

“We went ones [first string] versus twos [second string]. Our one offense, when it was all said and done, had a pretty good day. But we had a pick-6, and we had a fumble that could have got us beat. You take the turnovers out, it’s a pretty good day. But you can’t take the turnovers out, unfortunately. Had a couple of dropped balls. [Brad] Kaaya was 16 of 19 – we threw and caught the ball well. I think at least one was a drop, maybe two. The other one was a pick-6. That’s on me, really more than. him, to be honest with you. He was throwing a route on rhythm, and I told those guys to throw it no matter what. In practice, we’re not going to lose a game on it. So really, he did exactly what I asked him to do. It turned into a pick-6, so that was on me. Brad was very sharp. The other quarterbacks, I’ve kind of got to watch it. Obviously there were some statistics…but that doesn’t always tell the story, because we grade accuracy over the completion percentage and the decisions that these guys make.

“A few runs spit, not a lot. I thought defensively we played the run pretty darn good. The number one defense would have had as many sacks as we recorded – I think they would have had every one of those. They were really coming off the edge and creating issues for that number two [offensive] line.”

“One of the blessings is that nobody got banged up. Somebody might have got banged up, but nobody got hurt to the point where they had to come off the field for any reason, which was a huge blessing. That’s kind of what I’ll say as far as my observation. The farther away we were, we didn’t really drive the ball well…it’s kind of what tends to happen in the game. On the drives that started on the 50 or 40 [-yard line], the offense did extremely well. On the drives that started on the other side of the 50, we couldn’t execute well enough to go down the field – whether it was a turnover, or missed assignment, or whatever it may be. We did do some situations – third-and-medium and third-and-long. The ones on each side of the ball won the drill, in my opinion – one offense did well, the one defense did well. We let the threes [third string] rep. We let the threes get reps, and there’s just too many guys have no earthly idea what to do on just Day 1 plays. That’s what happens. It’s the first scrimmage of your life in college, you get a little nervous, you just forget everything. You can’t even get lined up. We had some of that going on with the young guys. It was kind of a cluster offensively with the threes, but they have to go through it.”

On if he saw any issues with penalties in the first scrimmage…

“We had a few penalties, but I didn’t think it was a massive amount. We had ACC officials. I told them to call it like they call it in a game. We had a holding on a screen play that you should never have. I’m trying to think of any defensive penalties – we didn’t really keep track of that. I don’t really remember any defensive penalties. We didn’t have any alignment issues, or any of that pre-snap stuff. We might have had another holding or something along the way…not a lot of penalties.”


On if he was encouraged overall with the performance of the team…

“Yeah. The other thing too, is you set up a scrimmage kind of the same you would have done it for years and it took ‘X’ amount of time. This scrimmage ended fast. It wasn’t because we went less plays, it was because we went less time between plays, and with tempo. Back in the old days, you’d call a play and get in the huddle, call a play and get in the huddle, call a play…that whole thing, I don’t know if it doubled it in time, but it must have been close. When you go no-huddle, even the scrimmages go faster.”


On if there were any players that took ownership of the moment…

“I’ve just been really pleased with Brad [Kaaya]. Brad has been very, very solid. Today, he was just locked in, taking care of business. [David] Njoku – we had a third-and-nine or third-and-ten – caught the ball short of the sticks by two or three yards, and guys were ‘bb’ing’ him, and he kept his balance and kept his feet and made a nice run. Same thing with Yearby – Yearby had a play where he probably got hit two yards short of the sticks but he just battled and fought to get that first down on those third-down situations. The edge pressure all day was more than what we could really handle – on that number two [offensive] line, for sure.”


On if any quarterbacks separated themselves as the No. 2 option…

“It sure was [even] going into this thing. I think the pack of twos were locked in pretty good. It’s been frustrating to figure out who that guy is. I talked to them last night about it, that there’s a possibility after this scrimmage that we might start repping one guy with the twos and one guy with the threes, and getting that guy ready. I don’t know if we’ll do that or not. After I look at the tape I’ll decide, and I know you all will be asking me that. Right now I don’t know for sure. But I also said, if someone gets named the number two tomorrow, if you’re three or four, don’t cry. You’ll still get reps, and it could change. It really, truly, could change. I don’t see anybody coming out of the crowd. I see a cluster of people – good thing, bad things, and there are some redeeming qualities in every one of them. They’re all doing some very nice things. But they are also doing some things that give me pause as to naming them the No. 2 quarterback.”

On the status of freshman linebacker Michael Pinckney…

“Pinckney got reps. He practiced. He’s been hobbling around with some kind of soft tissue issue. He went today. I’ll see how well he moved. We did every test you could to maybe give him peace that he’s okay, and he went. That was good. It’s hard. I think he’s a guy that has never been hurt. You don’t really know what a pulled muscle is. Is it truly a pull? Or is it just a cramp? What happens sometimes, when you get a cramp and it tightens up your hamstring, you say, ‘Oh, I pulled it.’ Sometimes it’s just constricted, it’s a cramp, and you don’t really understand the difference. From what [head athletic trainer] Vinny [Scavo] is saying and the doctors are saying, he has tremendous strength in that area, and they don’t see any weakness at all. We think he’s okay.”

August 09, 2016

First-team Miami linebacker Michael Pinckney gets hamstring checked at hospital

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Michael Pinckney, UM's freshman first-team weak-side linebacker out of Jacksonville Raines High, went to the hospital Tuesday to get his ailing hamstring examined, a source close to the situation told the Miami Herald.

The source said before Pinckney was examined that UM expected Pinckney to be OK and to finish preseason camp. The doctor's visit was for "precautionary reasons,'' the source said, and the freshman returned for the second practice session, closed to the media, Tuesday afternoon. As with the morning session, he rode an exercise bike.  

No word on his injury status.

Tuesday was Miami's first two-a-day during preseason camp.

Pinckney is one of UM's gifted freshman backers that arrived at school early in January and include first-team middle linebacker Shaq Quarterman and strong-side linebacker Zach McCloud.

Coach Mark Richt, who had a previous engagement and was unable to speak with reporters after practice Tuesday, told us Friday that Pinckney had a quad/hamstring injury and indicated he didn't think it was serious.

Pinckney, 6-1 and 220 pounds, was a consensus three-star prospect by ESPN, Rivals, 247 Sports and Scout. 247Sports had him as the 19th-best inside linebacker in the nation. He chose UM over offers from Arkansas, Florida, Louisville, LSU, Nebraska and South Carolina, among others, according to UM.

At Raines, Pinckney had 85 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, eight sacks and one interception last season.

 Here's what UM defensive coordinator Manny Diaz told the Herald about Pinckney before preseason camp began:

“We really like what Pinckney did this spring. He’s a guy that embraces the mentality of playing downhill and [of] fast, aggressive linebackers. Will (weak-side) linebacker is an important spot in our defense so we’ll let Darrion Owens and Pinckney battle it out during fall camp.”

Note that the 6-3, 245-pound Owens, a redshirt sophomore out of Orange Park Oakleaf High, sustained a season-ending knee injury the second week of the 2015 season and is back practicing for the first time in camp.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

August 08, 2016

Columbus four-star cornerback Trajan Bandy becomes third Canes 2017 commitment in 24 hour span

The Hurricanes on Monday afternoon picked up their third commitment in a 24-hour span when four-star Miami Columbus cornerback Trajan Bandy became the latest player to join the University of Miami's 2017 recruiting class.

Bandy (5-9 1/2, 180) is rated the 29th best corner in the country according to 247Sports.com and had offers from Clemson, Oklahoma and South Carolina among others. He was previously committed to Oklahoma.

"Coach [Mark] Richt and [cornerbacks] Coach [Mike] Rumph, they were genuine from Day 1," Bandy said. "They recruited me throughout the process. They kept in contact with me when I was committed to OU. They stayed in contact with me every single day. Just going out there and speaking with Coach Richt, he doesn't pressure you at all. When I was uncommitted and undecided he took his time with me and I really like that about him. He just wanted me to fall in love with the school and get back on campus and get the feeling again of being home. I feel like [Sunday] was the time to do it. I did it last night and I called him up and let him know what I was going to do. I'm excited to get out there and show them what I'm going to do."

Bandy, who has a 3.0 GPA and scored an 18 on the ACT, said he's "100 percent committed to UM" and will not be taking any other recruiting visits. He said coaches are recruiting him as a corner and that he could play nickel corner and on the punt return and punt coverage teams. He expects to enroll in the summer. 

Bandy's high school teammate, four-star corner back Christopher Henderson (6-1, 175), is rated the 19th-best at his position according to 247Sports.com.

In addition to Bandy and Henderson, Miami also has a previous commitment from three-star St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Brian Edwards (6-1, 195), who is rated 55th best at his position. UM is expected to sign at least four cornerbacks. 

Cornerback is a huge position of need for the Hurricanes, who are transitioning from a read-and-react, funneling 3-4 zone defense under Mark D'Onofrio to a more aggressive, 4-3, man-to-man bump and run style under new coordinator Manny Diaz.

"Playing man coverage is something that we want to do more of," Diaz said Monday.

"We're recruiting to that idea -- guys with the speed and the instincts and the mindset to play press man out there. It's the first defense we called in the spring practice. It's the first defense we called in fall practice was bump-and-run man-to-man. We will play it. The issue is what's the proper mix of how much we're going to play."

Earlier Monday UM received a commitment from three-star defensive end Jonathan Garvin from Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, who was the defensive line MVP from The Opening at Miami. 

On Sunday, the team received a commitment from Jacksonville Sandalwood three-star outside linebacker Bradley Jennings Jr., a former FSU commitment and son of former FSU linebacker Bradley Jennings. 

Hurricanes land commitment from 3-star defensive end Jonathan Garvin

UM received its 19th oral commitment on Monday from Lake Worth three-star defensive Jonathan Garvin, a 6-4, 240-pound senior with offers from Mississippi State, Clemson and Florida State among others.

Garvin had 93 tackles, 36 tackles for loss, nine sacks and six forced fumbles as a junior and was the defensive line MVP of The Opening Event at Miami back in March.

Garvin joins four-star recruit D.J. Johnson of Sacramento, Calif. as UM's two defensive ned recruits in the class. UM's class is ranked 10th by 247Sports.com.

August 07, 2016

Miami WR Stacy Coley needs to step up, was told 'Look, you've got to lead'

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   The man that could help catapult Brad Kaaya to the next phase of an illustrious football career and the Canes to their finest season in years has not been made available to the media this preseason. And judging by what coaches said Sunday, senior receiver Stacy Coley is obviously being pushed to do more and be more of a leader.

   Coley, 6-1 and 195 pounds and out of Oakland Park Northeast High School, caught 47 passes for 689 yards and four touchdowns last season. He missed two games because of injury, and has had hamstring and nagging injury concerns throughout his career.

   He has 1,464 receiving yards in three seasons, with 11 touchdowns. If you recall, his freshman year in 2013 he was the only player in the FBS to record at least one touchdown via rushing, receiving, punt return and kick return.

   When asked about Coley in particular, head coach Mark Richt said, “Him, and everyone else, just pushing a little bit harder and longer than maybe they’re used to. This is a team thing, not a Stacy thing in particular, but a lot of times you’re running a deep ball and in the end, the defensive back and receiver go to the ground because the ball was short or somehow they get tangled up.

  “Now guys are starting to pop off the ground and hustle back and run the next play, instead of laying there and assessing whether they’re too tired or something hurts. Just get up and come back to the huddle and play another down. We’re doing a lot better in that area as a team.’’

   A few minutes later, receivers coach Ron Dugans said this about Coley:

   “Stacy, he’s been working. He’s trying to be more of a leader. I challenged him. ‘Look, you’ve got to lead. I’m the coach. I coach you guys, I get you guys motivated and everything but this is your segment group. What’s our identity?’

   “I want him to be one of the leaders in that room. He’s been coming out. He actually sprung a long run in the run game [Saturday] and then came back the next play and got put on his butt. And I was kind of excited about that. So, just let him know, that, ‘Hey, man, this is a physical ball game.’’’

   Coley is a great talent and if the Canes are to rise to another level this season, they need him to take the reins and show the younger guys how it’s done in every way.

   MALCOLM LEWIS DELIVERING

   One receiver both Richt and Dugans praised was fifth-year senior Malcolm Lewis, a super kid who hasn’t been the same since sustaining a severe ankle injury his freshman season at Georgia Tech.

    Malcolm has 439 receiving yards and two touchdowns the past three seasons, but Richt sounds like he'll get a lot more opportunities this year.

   “One kid, Malcolm Lewis, is kind of under the radar to me a little bit,’’ Richt said. “He has really practiced well in the spring and the fall. I think he’s a very good player, and I think He is a guy we’re going to have to count on this year, and I think he’ll do well for us.

  “…He leads by example.’’

   Added Dugans: “I challenged Malcolm. I just told him we expect bigger things out of him, being a veteran, being around for some years. He competes, he’s got good ball skills, the kid has got good speed, and he does some really good things. He’s caught the ball well for us this fall camp.

   “I’m excited about him. He’s done some things on the kickoff return team and I’m pleased with what he’s doing now.’’

  Dugans on freshman Ahmmon Richards: “He’s got a good skillset. He can run [laughs, as if that’s an understatement]. That’s one thing that he can do. He’s a shifty kid. Great kid that has good ball skills. I think he’ll be a really good player for us. Still young. Still has got to get some strength and conditioning… explosive and can catch.’’

  Dugans on Sam Bruce: He was one of the younger guys that came a little later in the summer, so he’s not as far along as some of the other young guys. He’s learning, throwing him in from time to time, he’s playing multiple positons. He’s a kid that can play inside or outside lane. I’m excited about the few things I saw him do this fall.

   SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

  

August 06, 2016

Miami football coach Mark Richt: snap-crackle-"pop"- and "Thud." Defense dominates.

 

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Here's coach Mark Richt praising the defense Saturday after practice

"Great day as far as putting some shoulder pads on and being able to pop a little bit, and do what we call 'thud.' It's a tempo. You have 'live' - which is tackling, blocking below the waist. 'Thud' is a full-speed drill but there's no below-the-waist blocking or tackling to the ground. There's other times we're going to run by a guy and tag off. We were in 'thud' today. Some really good, nice contact plays.

“The defense definitely won the day. They looked like they were more excited about playing football today. It started well for them and it just kept going. Offensively, I will say, sometimes things go bad and they just turn to junk for the rest of the day. But they fought, they competed, started to execute a little bit better as we went. Overall the defense looked like a more physically tough team than the offense, as a whole. Nice, hot, smoky, muggy day.”

On which defensive players stood out Saturday...

"It was like a swarm. I couldn't even tell you who - a lot of them. The defensive backs played, I thought, exceptionally well, with the ball in the air. There were some outstanding balls in the air that were broken up, and some really good-looking picks. I couldn't even tell you who got them, because I'm going to the next play. I'm not looking at the [jersey] number to see who got it. Overall, I thought the defensive backs really had a nice day with the ball in the air, and competing physically too.”

On if he would like to see his defense always "win" practice...

"I would be sick if the offense won every day. You're going to be in trouble. Defense, they might win every day, but I like it when at least one side of the ball is tough, if at least one side of the ball is getting after it, sooner or later the other side of the ball is going to rise to that. I'm not saying the offense didn't compete. I'm just saying today, the defense got the best of it. They looked more tough, more physical. Part of it was how they swarmed the ball. It wasn't necessarily one individual play or one individual hit. The guys were really rallying to the ball and striking.

“I'll say this too - when you 'thud,' as soon as you 'thud' a guy, we call him down. We know in real games, guys actually break a tackle, guys get yards after contact. If the drill is to four yards, and if it goes to four yards the offense wins, and if it's under four yards the defense wins, if the 'thud' is at three and a half, we're saying it's down, so the defense would win. In a real game, if that back  finishes behind his pad and gets one yard after contact, the offense would probably win that drill. It's hard to keep score when you're in 'thud,' but it's still worth doing, because I want them competing every single drill.”

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN (and thank you again Cam Ghorbi)

Day 3 of Miami Hurricanes preseason football camp: Jermaine, Golden Canes & rain

Linebacker Jermaine Grace was back at practice Saturday after missing Friday's session on the final day of summer session exams. Dozens of bystanders, including lots of Golden Canes boosters, lined Greentree Field, as this morning was open to the most generous Canes fans.

Today is the first day in pads.

It's gray out there today, as it rained pretty hard earlier. Greentree field was, thus, really wet, which is always a concern for knees and other body parts.

 The rain on this day, as on Pro Day in spring, reminds us that an indoor facility is indeed needed. It won't be that long...

Here are a few pictures from our 17 minutes of viewing this morning, when running backs were especially getting at it with some intense drills:

  Rbs8-6-16

  OL8-6-16

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I took the above photo of new fullback Marquez Williams

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That's Gus Edwards behind that sled

Foodgoldencanes

And finally, through the Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence windows: some morning refreshments to keep those hungry Golden Canes satiated.  

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

August 05, 2016

Miami coach Mark Richt: Hurricanes "practiced like champions'' Friday

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(above is CB Adrian Colbert)

Following are some Mark Richt quotes after he spoke following Friday's second day of Miami camp. 

Opening Statement…

“Much better day of everybody handling the tempo, handling the heat, handling everything that we’re asking them to do. I thought we practiced like champions today. We got to keep doing it, but it was a very good day in regards to that.”

*** On what it means to practice like a champion…

“Effort. Focus. Energy level. Just doing what you’re coached to do, down after down. It wasn’t perfect by any means. We had too many penalties today, we had some issues on assignments – you’ll always have that when you rep two [second-string] and three [third-string] teams. I know what it looks like to have the type of practice where you’re going to get better every day, and today was one of those. Yesterday was close, but today was.”

On the play of the team’s safeties through the first two days of camp…

“I like it – the veterans, especially. You can tell a big difference between the young guys and the old guys – just learning how to disguise coverage better. There’s a cat-and-mouse game every snap, with the quarterback trying to figure out what the coverage is. The more the safeties and secondary can disguise it, the tougher it is for the quarterback to be right. It makes him hold the ball longer. The veterans do a great job of that, and the young guys are still learning it. Overall, the safeties, especially the older guys, are doing a great job.”

On the timeline of naming a backup quarterback…

“I’m not making any promises, but it could be as early as the first scrimmage. I just want to have peace that I’m doing the right thing. Sooner or later, we have to get the reps for the number two guy. If I have to wait until even after the third scrimmage, which gives me still 10 practice days prior, I think we’ll still be okay.”


On the status of freshman linebacker Michael Pinckney, who was seen riding an exercise bike…

“I think it’s a quad or hamstring. Something is bothering him a little bit. We don’t think it’s serious, but enough to where he wasn’t going full speed.”


On the status of junior linebacker Jermaine Grace, who was not seen at practice…

“Final day of exams. We had a few guys doing that today.”


On the idea of wanting his players to be bored with the playbook due to consistency and repetition…

“There’s still a lot to learn, a lot of variables. I want them to be bored in that it’s the same thing, it’s a consistent message. In this coverage you do this, in that coverage you do that. In this look, you run this way, in that look, you run that way. It never changes. In some ways, I want it to be boring in that they know it so well, that when the heat comes, they’ll be able to function well and not panic.”

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN (thanks to Cam Ghorbi from UM sports information)

 

Miami Hurricanes media viewing over with one major player missing (likely in class)

  Crispianatkins8-4-16

Day Two of media viewing for the Miami Hurricanes is over. Starting strong-side linebacker Jermaine Grace was not there for our 17 minutes of viewing. However, today is the last day of classes for the final summer session, and good chance Jermaine was in class or doing something academic related, as Canes Insight writer (and Miami Herald correspondent) Peter Ariz noted, per source.

Here are some pictures I took during our viewing.

Be back later.

Say hi to Kc McDermott:

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Say hi to Sunny Odogwu

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Here are your top two running backs in chronological order (No. 1 Mark Walton and No. 2 Joe Yearby)

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More of your running backs

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Be back later with post-practice report

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

August 04, 2016

Miami QB Brad Kaaya waiting for a backup to assert himself and take the job

 

Kaaya8-4-16

So, Day One is over, and Day Two is nearly upon us.

The one thing that stuck out to me after practice was the talk of the backup quarterbacks -- or lack thereof of one that has earned that important job. And I'd say the backup to Brad Kaaya is very important. Just ask Malik Rosier, who came to the rescue big-time against Duke, but apparently has not yet done enough to win the job.

Malik8-4-16

Here's what Brad Kaaya had to say today about his backups, which was a real eye-opener:

"I've seen them put the effort in. I think it's just time for someone to take that next step and step up. We still don't know who the backup is. This is a group that really needs to step their game up. I'm not calling them out or anything, but someone needs to be real assertive and step up from those four guys."
 
Coach Mark Richt said the three backups behind Brad alternate, but in a good portion of the practice we saw today, redshirt freshman Evan Shirreffs was the No. 2 guy, followed by redshirt sophomore Vincent Testaverde and redshirt sophomore Malik Rosier.
 
Here's what Mark Richt said about the backups: "They’re familiar with what we’re doing. They know how to run our offense. They know who to point out as a Mike linebacker with some identification that they’re in charge of. We have combo plays at the line where they have to run this play or that play. And they’re knowing when to check, which is good. Everybody threw the ball pretty good today. It was a pretty good day, really."
 
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Running back Joe Yearby on his goal this season:

"My goal is just be a team player, come out and compete, go out and have a good season.  I’ll be truly blessed if I get yards but I’m just trying to help my team win the Coastal and ACC championship and if the individual goals come out to that I’ll be truly blessed. It’s a faster tempo. More conditioning. More in shape."

Safety Rayshawn Jenkins on the difference in the practice: 

"It’s fun. It’s just fun, competitive. You want to see that out of your football team. If you don’t something is wrong. It’s the first day of training camp. You want to see guys running around and being very energetic. When asked if he had new hope, he said, "Most Definitely. I feel like Coach Richt not only brought good coaches in, he brought good men in. All of them are leaders in some aspect."

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

Miami Hurricanes football commences for preseason camp: some notes

 

It's on: 2016 University of Miami preseason football camp has begun. The guys were running hard and running all the time – during drills, after drills, before drills. Running. This team is high-tempo.

Notes from the first hour we watched. We still haven't talked to Mark Richt yet.

*** Quarterback Brad Kaaya was waaay down the field all day, some of it working with true freshman Jack Allison. Redshirt freshman Evan Shirreffs worked as the No. 2 guy in much of the hour we watched, with Vincent Testaverde and Malik Rosier behind him.

*** Saw the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver and Miami great Michael Irvin’s son – tight end Michael Irvin II -- looking mighty good with an extremely impressive, one-handed grab as he was falling to the ground. And guess what happened then? One of UM’s assistants yelled that the route he ran was [expletive]. He was being covered by strong-side linebacker Jermaine Grace. Irvin looks strong.

***Saw freshman receiver Sam Bruce playing in the slot. Saw fellow fellow freshman Ahmmon Richards lining up at the same time as transfer Dayall Harris. Saw senior Malcolm Lewis on the field making plays with junior Braxton Berrios.

*** It was good to see linebacker Darrion Owens back after tearing the ACL of his right knee at FAU in the second week of the 2015 season. He is a much-needed addition to that position group. In 2014, Owens played in 12 games, with no starts, and tallied 23 tackles and a pass breakup. He is from the same high school as first-team middle linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, who has done everything right since he arrived at UM in the spring.

*** Junior linebacker Juwon Young, listed as 6-2 and 248 pounds in the media guide, is no longer on the Roster. Young was behind freshman Michael Pinckney at weak-side. I hear he’s back in his home state of Georgia. He’s not expected back at Miami, as he was suspended indefinitely surrounding the rental-car situation in which other Canes, including defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad and strong-side starting linebacker Jermaine Grace, are allegedly involved. Young, like Muhammad and Grace, was a substantial talent. He finished 2015 with 47 tackles in 10 games, with four starts, adding three tackles for loss and an interception.

*** Kicker Diego Marquez is a new name on the roster, and he wears No. 98. He is a 6-1, 200-pound redshirt freshman from Loma Linda, Calif.

*** On the sidelines still recuperating from earlier injuries were defensive end Scott Patchan and fullback Gage Batten.

*** And the guy who made all of us do double-takes and elicited “oohs” and “ahhs” was new fullback Marquez Williams. He’s listed as 6-1, 280 and he can motor. He caught one from Shirreffs and zoomed down the field like a locomotive run wild.

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

Miami to launch first Virtual Reality Channel for Hurricanes fans

Virtualreality

The University of Miami keeps expanding its brand in cool, technologically savvy ways. 

EON Sports VR, "the world's leading virtual reality and fan experience company,'' according to its just released email, has announced a partnership with the University of Miami "to create the first virtual reality (VR) channel for fans.

Date of the intended launch: early October, when, according to EON  Sports, "Immersive 360-degree content will bring fans closer to their favorite team and players than ever before."

The partnership will enable the Hurricanes to be "the first college team to provide fans with an all-access virtual reality pass to experience intercollegiate athletics up close and personal,'' the release said.

Content from men's and women's programs will be available.

Canes fans can access the VR channel by purchasing a "UM-branded VR headset.'' Cost: $29.95.

EON Sports said that examples of what fans will have access to include scrimmages, practice footage, huddles and interviews that will be streamed to the channel. 

“We’re incredibly excited to be working with EON Sports to put this virtual reality channel together. At the University of Miami, we strive to be on the cutting edge of digital, video, social, and web technologies and EON and their team have helped immensely in that endeavor," said Jason Layton, Miami Senior Associate Athletic Director for Communications and Sales. "After an investment in broadcast and video production, we wanted to expand into other ventures, including 360º video and we’re able to do that with this immersive product. As we look forward to an October launch, we’re excited to show off what our team has been working on in conjunction with EON Sports.”

Get your credit cards ready. 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

August 03, 2016

Quarterback Kevin Olsen gets another go-around -- just not at Miami

Kevinolsen

And I just read yet another story about Kevin Olsen, the former Miami Hurricanes quarterback and younger brother of former UM tight-end great Greg Olsen -- a compelling piece by Charlotte Observer writer David Scott.

Olsen's latest saga includes some of his history with Miami, as we, too, have chronicled over his career.

Here's one of them. 

Here's another.

Kevin was always very kind to us, really nice, and he has obviously struggled mightily.

Here's hoping that this stop is his last, and that it's successful and he comes out on top.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

August 02, 2016

Sold out in 60 minutes, Miami football tickets prove hot draw at Appalachian State

Appstatekiddbrewerstadium
 
Sold out in 60 minutes.
 
It took one hour for football fans to gobble up the tickets for the Sept. 17 Miami at Appalachian State game, App State announced Tuesday.
 
The game, in scenic Boone, N.C. -- a popular tourist site -- marks the first time the Mountaineers have hosted an opponent from one of the power five conferences. The former FCS school is now among the big boys in the FBS.
  
Appalachian State finished 11-1 (7-2 Sun Belt) in 2015, and won three consecutive FCS national titles from 2005 through 2007, beating Michigan in one of the biggest upsets in college football history to start the 2007 season.
 
And in case you didn't know, Mark Richt told reporters at the ACC Football Kickoff that his sister Michelle "got her degree'' at Appalachian State. "She was a volleyball player,'' he said, adding that O-line coach Stacy Searels "coached there years ago.
 
"Great program. A team that's used to winning. It's going to be a battle royale I can promise, going into their house. It's a great team. Well coached. I have seen their tape. I've looked at the first three, first four opponents. It's going to be a battle.''
 
Kidd Brewer Stadium is at an elevation of 3,280 feet, and seats just over 24,000.
 
As of Tuesday night, there were general admission tickets available for as low as $113 on Stubhub.com -- and a couple of tickets going for just under $1,000.
 
 
The Hurricanes, who open fall practice Thursday, host App State on Sept. 11, 2021.
 
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
 

 

AP ranks Miami Hurricanes football 13th all-time college program

 

Ginotorretta

Bravo to lucky (well, maybe not lucky, just downright dominant) No. 13 Miami, ranked the 13th all-time college football program by the Associated Press "in the first-ever all-time rankings tabulated by the organization from more than 1,100 weekly polls over the past 80 years."

This is very cool, and very impressive.

According to the AP, "the ranking was based on total poll appearances, number of times ranked No. 1 and AP national championships."

"College football is rich with history, and the AP poll is a unique measure of how the sport has changed through time," said Noreen Gillespie, deputy sports editor. "The all-time list lets fans interact with that history, and debate how the nation’s top programs fared over time."

To view The Associated Press' all-time rankings, click HERE.

Following is part of the release sent out by UM:

Starting Aug. 15, AP will release a series of eight stories focused on trends and top teams during each decade of the AP poll, including the University of Miami's domination in the 1980s. The historical poll data also will be used in coverage of the upcoming season to provide a perspective unique to AP.

Now known as The AP Top 25, the poll originated with 20 teams, then was reduced to 10 teams from 1961 to 1967 before expanding back to 20. The poll then grew to 25 teams starting with the 1989 season.

The 2016 preseason AP Top 25 will be released on Aug. 21.

The Associated Press began its college football poll on Oct. 19, 1936, It is now the longest-running poll of those that award national titles at the end of the season. A panel of 61 sports writers and broadcasters from around the country votes on the poll weekly. All of the voters have an extensive background in covering college football.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

July 28, 2016

College Football Playoff announces news re future semis and New Year's Eve

Orangebowldeshaun

Here is the news that affects our Orange Bowl games and I'm sure is making everyone happy: 

FUTURE PLAYOFF SEMIFINALS WILL BE ON SATURDAYS AND HOLIDAYS
 

IRVING, Texas – Bill Hancock, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff (CFP), today announced a shift in scheduling to the semifinal games in years 5, 6, 11 and 12 of the rotation.

With this adjustment, all semifinals games will be played on Saturdays or holidays.


“We had healthy discussions with a lot of people who love college football and we concluded that making these changes would be the right thing to do for our fans.” said Hancock.

“We tried to do something special with New Year’s Eve, even when it fell on a weekday. But after studying this to see if it worked, we think we can do better.  These adjustments will allow more people to experience the games they enjoy so much.  For these four years, our previous call is reversed.”

Hancock pointed out that the semifinals do remain on one weekday New Year’s Eve—Friday, December 31, 2021—which will be the federally observed New Year’s holiday.

Here are the dates of the future semifinals (asterisks indicate years when the schedule has been changed):


2016-17 Saturday, December 31 Fiesta and Peach
2017-18 Monday, January 1 Rose and Sugar
*2018-19 Saturday, December 29 Cotton and Orange

*2019-20 Saturday, December 28 Fiesta and Peach

2020-21 Friday, January 1 Rose and Sugar

2021-22 Friday, December 31 Orange and Bowl TBD

2022-23 Saturday, December 31 Bowls TBD

2023-24 Monday, January 1 Rose and Sugar

*2024-25 Saturday, December 28 Orange and Bowl TBD

*2025-26 Saturday, December 27 Bowls TBD


As noted above, the semifinals will be played in the Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls at least through 2025-26.  The CFP expects to determine the other semifinals sites for the 2021-22 season and thereafter some time in 2018.