November 04, 2013

Final four-game stretch will show us how much progress Canes have truly made

There was a reason Florida State pushed the Hurricanes around Saturday night like a little brother.

The Seminoles are better, elite in a lot of places: quarterback, running back, receiver, defensive line, secondary. The gap may not have looked that big after two quarters Saturday. But it was on display for the nation to see over the final 30 minutes. Florida State is legit, national championship good. Miami is just getting back into the Top 25 good.

That gap is nothing to be ashamed about if you bleed orange and green. Jimbo Fisher has been building this thing for over five years, since we first heard he would be the guy replacing Bobby Bowden.

Al Golden? He's been trying to rebuild Miami for three years with one arm tied behind his back. It wasn't until two weeks ago tomorrow the 28-month hostage situation with the NCAA really came to an end. Even then, it's been impressive what Golden has been able to accomplish the last couple years.

As fun as it was to see this team start 7-0, climb to No. 7 in the national rankings, ask any talent evaluator and they will tell you these Hurricanes truly were not ready for a Top 10 showdown Saturday. Three recruiting classes into yet another Miami makeover, Golden has restocked the shelves with a few gems (RB Duke Johnson, CB Tracy Howard, DE Tyriq McCord, DE Quan Muhammad, CB Artie Burns, S Deon Bush, OL Ereck Flowers, WR Stacy Coley, LB Jermaine Grace). But really, he's still playing catch-up and only now beginning to fight with both fists free.

I know the thirst has been here for awhile to shout "We're back baby!" But that's really not going to happen until the Hurricanes get to the point where Florida State is. Where you have legit NFL prospects up and down your roster. Fisher had a school-record 11 players taken in last April's NFL Draft. He'll probably have eight more at least this year with half of that taken in the first two rounds.

Miami had two players taken last April (RB Mike James, CB Brandon McGee) and might have four or five this April (LB Denzel Perryman, QB Stephen Morris, OL Brandon Linder, OL Seantrel Henderson) and one of them is a punter. Do the math. Did that sound like a Top 10 matchup Saturday night?

Truth is Golden and his staff over the last three years have taken a bunch of average, leftover talent (DT Curtis Porter, OL Jon Feliciano, S Kacy Rodgers, MLB Jimmy Gaines, WR Allen Hurns, DE Shayon Green, OL Malcolm Bunche, WR Rashawn Scott), coached them up, plugged in a few holes with transfers (DL David Gilbert, DL Justin Renfrow, P Pat O'Donnell) and made this team better year-to-year.

Saturday's game might have been a little closer in the second half had a few guys (LB Eddie Johnson, LB Gionni Paul, CB Thomas Finnie) kept their heads on straight and still been here. But every program has a few knuckleheads who don't seem to get it. Until Saturday, UM hadn't faced a team with superior depth and talent to the them. Florida? The Gators have an elite defense and that's why Miami was in a dog fight. But the Gators are 4-4 now, proof even Will Muschamp (hired at the same time Golden was) isn't having an easy time of it in Gainesville after losing eight draft picks from last year's team.

What the Hurricanes have proven thus far in 2013 is that they are not going to lose games they shouldn't and have the fight in them to rally when they're down. Players are improving. That's what we didn't see enough of during the last regime.

Now, after Saturday's heartbreaking loss (Golden gave the team Sunday off to rest and recover) we'll get to see what this coaching staff and this team is really made of. Duke Johnson is a special talent. But he's not the sole reason Miami is 7-1 and still ranked 14th in the country.

Saturday's opponent, Virginia Tech, a team UM hasn't beaten twice in a row since 2002, is the real benchmark the Hurricanes have to measure themselves against. The Hokies have won the ACC four times since coming over from the Big East with Miami in 2004. Their talent and Miami's talent is and has been much more comparable over the last couple of seasons.

What Golden and his coaches have to prove to us now is that even in the face of adversity (losing his best player) and coming off a humbling defeat against the team you want to catch-up to they can get this football team to re-focus and finish the season strong. As Golden pointed out last year, you can't win the ACC until you win the Coastal Division.

That's really what this season needs to be measured on: Can these Canes continue to beat the teams they are supposed to, win their division and finish the season with momentum for the future?

That's what Randy Shannon's teams couldn't seem to do. UM only had one winning month in November (3-1, 2009) in his four years here. Golden is now 5-4 after Saturday in November. UM finished 3-1 in November last year.

It's going to be challenging without Johnson to finish this November 4-1. But this UM team should be good enough to beat Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2) at home Saturday, Duke (6-2, 2-2 ACC) on the road Nov. 16, Virginia (2-7, 0-5) at home Nov. 23, and win at Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-3 ACC) the day after Thanksgiving.

It's time to finish the mission Canes. 

November 03, 2013

Duke Johnson out for the season with broken ankle source says

A bad night just got a lot worse for the Hurricanes.

A source has told our Susan Miller Degnan that star running back Duke Johnson will miss the remainder of the season with a broken ankle. Johnson is expected to have surgery early next week.

Johnson was injured on Miami's final offensive play of the third quarter when he was tackled by FSU defensive tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample a yard short of the first down on 4th and 1. Johnson's right ankle buckled and he was helped off the field by trainers. He was then carted off for x-rays and seen with tears streaming down his face.

Johnson, seen after the game with his ankle heavily taped and on crutches, is traveling back to Miami with the team the source confirmed.

UM coach Al Golden said during his press conference he didn't have an update on Johnson's condition.

"I saw Duke, great spirits," UM quarterback Stephen Morris said. "Still, I don't know the extent of his injury. He's doing fine. He's in great spirits right now, talking to his teammates, trying to encourage us. Duke is Duke and he'll be OK."

The Hurricanes (7-1, 3-1 ACC) have a huge Coastal Division game against Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2) next Saturday. If UM were to lose, the Canes would no longer control their own destiny in the division having lost the tiebreaker.

Johnson finished with 97 yards on 23 carries Saturday and was the second-leading rusher in the ACC coming into the game. His final stat line for the season: 145 carries, 920 yards, 6 TDs. 

Backup Dallas Crawford carried the ball twice for three yards Saturday. Crawford has one career start for UM.

"Our biggest thing is we have to leave this game in Tallahassee and when we hit down in Miami tonight come back tomorrow and learn on it," Morris said. "If we weren't mature enough our record wouldn't be 7-1 right now. I got full confidence in this group."

COACH, PLAYER REACTION AFTER SATURDAY'S LOSS

November 02, 2013

A-Rod in Tally to support the Hurricanes

TALLAHASSEE -- Alex Rodriguez, still suing Major League Baseball for engaging in what he called a "witch hunt" and appealing its 211-game suspension for what the league said was a violation of it's drug policy, was on the University of Miami sideline pre-game Saturday night to cheer on the Hurricanes.

Rodriguez has always been a huge Hurricanes fan and has followed their season closely. He was at the Georgia Tech game earlier this year. He plans on attending next week's game against Virginia Tech at Sun Life Stadium his spokesman said.

UM put Rodriguez's name on its baseball stadium back in 2009 after he provided a $3.9 million donation to help renovate Mark Light Field. It's now called Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park.

Here is a link to a photo I tweeted earlier tonight of Rodriguez with former Hurricane Yonder Alonso on UM's sideline.

Gameday blog: Miami Hurricanes at FSU Seminoles

It's the big matchup you've been waiting for: Canes at Seminoles, 8 p.m., ABC.

Feel free to participate in our live blog throughout the game as usual. 

November 01, 2013

Taiwanese animators provide their take on Canes-Seminoles showdown

October 31, 2013

Counting stars: A breakdown of UM-FSU on defense by talent, recruiting hype

And now for the second half of the breakdown between the Hurricanes and Seminoles.

DEFENSIVE LINE

> Miami: DE Anthony Chickillo (6-4, 277, Jr., 4-star, No. 3 DE in 2011 by Rivals); Shayon Green (6-3, 264, Sr., 3-star, No. 65 DE in 2009 by Rivals); David Gilbert (6-4, 256, Sr., 4-star, No. 12 DE in 2009 by Rivals); Ufomba Kamalu (6-6, 285, Jr., 2-star, unranked JUCO in 2013 by Rivals); Al-Quadin Muhammad (6-3, 240, Fr., 4-star, No. 3 WDE in 2013 by Rivals); Tyriq McCord (6-3, 235, So., 4-star, No. 7 WDE in 2012 by Rivals); DT Justin Renfrow (6-6, 320, Sr., 3-star, No. 43 DE in 2009 by Rivals); Olsen Pierre (6-4, 305, Jr. 3-star, unranked in 2011 by Rivals); Curtis Porter (6-1, 325, Sr. 3-star, No. 54 DT in 2009 by Rivals); Luther Robinson (6-3, 296, r-Sr., 4-star, No. 18 DT in 2009 by Rivals).

> FSU: DE Eddie Goldman (6-4, 303, So., 5-star, No. 2 DT in 2012 by Rivals); Mario Edwards (Jr., 6-3, 277, So., 5-star, No. 1 DT in 2012 by Rivals); Chris Casher (6-4, 260, R-Fr., 4-star, No. 4 WDE in 2012 by Rivals); Demonte McAllister (6-2, 290, r-Sr., 4-star, No. 4 SDE in 2009 by Rivals). DT Nile Lawrence-Stample (6-1, 305, r-So., 4-star, No. 29 DT in 2011 by Rivals); NG Timmy Jernigan (6-2, 296, Jr., 4-star, No. 2 DT in 2011 by Rivals); Jacobbi McDaniel (6-0, 295, R-Sr., 5-star, No. 2 DT in 2009 by Rivals); Desmond Hollin (6-3, 270, Jr., 3-star, unranked JUCO in 2013 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. If not for the transfers of Justin Renfrow and David Gilbert for Miami, the talent gap here would be much wider than it already is. FSU has three 5-star recruits in its defensive line rotation and three highly-touted 4-stars that were top five at their respective positions. UM doesn't have any 5-star recruits on the d-line and only two who were top five at their respect positions in Chickillo and McCord.

> What's happened: That all being said, UM's front is vastly improved from a year ago. UM ranks 39th in run defense (141.7 yards per game) has tallied 22 sacks (the Canes had 13 all of last season). FSU's run defense ranks 29th (135.7 yards per game) and the Seminoles have produced 17 sacks with only five coming from their linemen. All that being said, Jernigan is the highest-rated NFL prospect of all the current draft-eligible defensive linemen in this game. ESPN ranks him second among DTs. CBS Sports rates him sixth best among and a potential second rounder. McAllister is next at 11th among DTs according to ESPN.

> Real edge: FSU, but not as widely as people think. For all the hype FSU's linemen got out of high school, only Jernigan has been a consistent force up front. Miami does its work collectively, but still gets the majority of its pass rush from third-down specialists like McCord and not enough from its starters. FSU has produced 19 quarterback hurries this season and only allowed five. UM has produced 13 QB hurries and allowed 17.

LINEBACKERS

> Miami: MLB Jimmy Gaines (6-3, 240, Sr., 2-star, unranked in 2010 by Rivals); Raphael Kirby (6-0, 235, So., 4-star, No. 5 OLB in 2012 by Rivals); OLB Tyrone Cornelius (6-2, 225, Sr., 3-star, No. 38 OLB in 2010 by Rivals); Denzel Perryman (6-0, 240, Jr., 3-star, No. 25 ILB in 2011 by Rivals); Alex Figueroa (6-3, 235, Fr., No stars, no ranking in 2012 by Rivals; Thurston Armbrister (6-3, 233, Jr., No stars, no ranking in 2011 by Rivals)

> FSU: MLB Terrance Smith (6-4, 215, R-So., 3-star, No. 18 OLB in 2011 by Rivals); OLB Christian Jones (6-4, 235, Sr., 5-star, No. 2 OLB in 2010 by Rivals); Telvin Smith (6-3, 218, Sr., 4-star, No. 18 OLB in 2010 by Rivals); Reggie Northrup (6-1, 220, So., 4-star, No. 30 OLB in 2012 by Rivals); Dan Hicks (6-4, 260, R-Sr., 2-star, unranked in 2009 by Rivals); Ukeme Eligwe (6-2, 240, R-Fr., 4-star, No. 2 OLB in 2012 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. It's almost puzzling how Miami has managed to survive at linebacker considering the of lack of talent recruited for the position. Gaines, recruited by former assistant John Lovett, had only a couple other offers (Buffalo, UConn and Syracuse). Figueroa didn't have any offers and Armbrister, a converted safety, was a late addition by Golden.

> What's happened: Gaines has developed into a lot more than anyone really expected, tallying 158 tackles in 21 career starts. Perryman, the only Butkus semifinalist in the ACC, has blossomed into UM's best defensive player despite being thrown into the fire right away as an undersized freshman. CBSSports rates him as the eighth-best draft-eligible outside linebacker and a potential second or third round pick in April. FSU's Jones, meanwhile, sits atop the board as the top projected inside linebacker by CBSSports and a second round pick. Teammate Telvin Smith ranks 12th among outside linebackers and a potential fourth rounder.

> Real edge: FSU. Jones (33 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks) and Smith (49 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 sack) are elite players. UM has one in Perryman and a couple overachievers. It should be noted by the way Jones plays a lot of defensive end, too and told reporters in Tallahassee this week he sees himself as a defensive end now.

SECONDARY

> Miami: CB Tracy Howard (5-11, 184, So., 5-star, No. 1 CB in 2012 by Rivals); Ladarius Gunter (6-2, 196, Jr., 3-star, unranked JUCO in 2012); Antonio Crawford (5-11, 187, So., 3-star, unranked CB by Rivals); Artie Burns (6-0, 190, Fr., 4-star, No. 15 CB in 2013 by Rivals); S Kacy Rodgers (6-2, 212, Sr., 3-star, No. 37 CB in 2010 by Rivals); Rayshawn Jenkins (6-1, 208, So., 3-star, No. 32 S in 2012 by Rivals); Deon Bush (6-1, 203, So., 4-star, No. 6 S in 2012 by Rivals); AJ Highsmith (6-0, 208, Sr., 3-star, unranked ATH in 2009 by Rivals).

> FSU: CB Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 190, Sr. 5-star, No. 1 CB in 2010 by Rivals); P.J. Williams (6-0, 190, So., 4-star, No. 9 S in 2012 by Rivals); Ronald Darby (5-11, 190, So., 4-star, No. 2 CB in 2012 by Rivals); Nick Waisome (5-10, 176, Jr., 4-star, No. 8 CB in 2011 by Rivals); S Jalen Ramsey (6-1, 195, Fr., 5-star, No. 3 CB in 2013 by Rivals); Terrence Brooks (5-11, 200, Sr., 3-star, No. 45 CB by Rivals in 2010); Keelin Smith (6-3, 185, R-So., 3-star, No. 34 CB in 2011 by Rivals); Nate Andrews (5-11, 208, Fr., 3-star, unranked ATH in 2013 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. Outside of Howard, Burns and Bush, Miami's secondary is made up of mid-level talent according to recruiting gurus. While FSU has two five star recruits starting (one at corner and one at safety) and the rest of its corners are all four-star prospects.

> What's happened: FSU has allowed the fewest passing yards in the country (153.7), ranks fifth in passing efficiency defense (97.34), has 29 pass breakups and 10 interceptions (two returned for touchdowns). Joyner, a player FSU took out of UM's backyard at St. Thomas Aquinas, has been dominant. He's posted 27 tackles, 1 INT, 3 sacks, 3 pass breakups and 3 forced fumbles in his senior season and is projected to be the second free safety taken in April's draft according to CBS Sports. Brooks, his teammate, has 22 tackles, 4 PBUs, 2 FF and 2 INTs. He's projected to be a third or fourth rounder. UM ranks 17th in pass defense (200.6 yards per game) 10th in passing efficiency defense) and has 22 passes broken up and 12 interceptions. Howard leads the way with three.

> Real edge: FSU. Miami, obviously a lot younger than FSU in the secondary, didn't look good against the one good pass offense it faced in North Carolina, which completed 74.4 percent of its passes for 395 yards. Tight end Eric Ebron abused Miami. FSU hasn't had a bad game yet in pass defense and held Tahj Boyd and Clemson to only 203 yards passing. Opponents are only completing passes at a 52.2 percent clip against FSU, which is also allowing only 5.2 yards per attempt.

SPECIAL TEAMS

> Miami: K Matt Goudis (6-0, 172, So., 2-star, No. 13 kicker in 2011 by Rivals); P Pat O'Donnell (6-5, 220, Gr., 2-star, unranked in 2009 by Rivals); KR/PR Stacy Coley (6-1, 180, Fr., 4-star, No. 13 WR in 2013 by Rivals); KR Duke Johnson (5-9, 196, So., 5-star, No. 1 all-purpose running back by Rivals in 2012).

> FSU: K Roberto Aguayo (6-1, 203, R-Fr., 3-star, No. 3 kicker in 2012 by Rivals); P Cason Beatty (6-3, 229, So. 2-star, unranked kicker in 2012 by Rivals); KR Lamarcus Joyner (5-8, 180, Sr., 5-star, No. 1 CB in 2010 by Rivals); KR Karlos Williams (6-1, 223, Jr., 5-star, No. 2 safety in 2011 by Rivals.com); PR Kenny Shaw (6-0, 170, Sr., 4-star, No. 14 WR in 2010 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: None really. But it is noteworthy Aguayo got a three-star rating. Kickers rarely do.

> What's happened: The Hurricanes lead the nation in kickoff return average thanks to Johnson (29.23 average) and Coley (1 kick return for a TD). FSU does a better job on punt returns (29th, 11.79 yard average) compared to UM (62nd, 8.09 yard average). When it comes to punting, O'Donnell (45.67 average) has saved the Hurricanes a couple times with big kicks. Beatty is averaging 40.3 yards a punt. Aguayo has converted all 58 kicks in his career (10 field goals, 48 PATs) and has a career-long of 45 yards. Goudis also hit a 45-yard field goal against Wake Forest, but has missed his last two kicks from 40 yards or more (43 and 40).

> Real edge: Even. Both teams have explosive return men and Miami has an edge with O'Donnell. But if it comes down to making a big kick Aguayo has the stronger track record.

> HERE IS A LINK TO THE COMPLETE LIST OF DRAFT ELIGIBLE PLAYERS FOR UM IN 2014

> HERE IS A LINK TO THE COMPLETE LIST OF DRAFT ELIGIBLE PLAYERS FOR FSU IN 2014

Counting stars: A breakdown of UM-FSU on offense by talent, recruiting hype

Florida State and Miami has always been a huge game not only because of the rivalry, but because of the recruiting stakes involved in the game.

Nowadays, recruits pick schools for a lot of different reasons (playing time, relationship with the coach recruiting him, etc.). Still, to the winner usually go the spoils because perception is whoever wins this game and looks better playing in it is closer to the ultimate prize: a national championship. And that always has ripple effects in recruiting -- usually with high school underclassmen and not seniors (many of which have already made their minds up by now).

That being said, this isn't a breakdown of which recruits are on the fence for UM and FSU heading into February's National Signing Day. That on the fence deal doesn't really exist anymore since players commit so early and classes are usually filled by now.

Rather, this is a breakdown of the perceived talent versus talent in Saturday's game. Who has more stud recruits and where are they on the field? Making recruiting evaluations is hardly a perfect science. But when you watch the game Saturday night take note of some of the items in this blog so you can keep count of who was supposed to be the better recruit in head-to-head battles.

QUARTERBACKS

> Miami: Stephen Morris (6-2, 218, Sr., 3-star, No. 26 Dual-Threat QB in 2010 by Rivals)

> FSU: Jameis Winston (6-4, 228, R-Fr., 5-star, No. 1 Dual-Threat QB in 2012 by Rivals)

> What's happened: Winston (69.9 comp. pct, 2,177 yards, 23 TDs, 4 iNTs) has obviously lived up to all the hype with a stellar first season as the starter after being recruited to FSU by former recruiting coordinator Dameyune Craig (now at Auburn). Winston is already among the favorites in the Heisman race and projected to be a first rounder in the NFL.

Although an ankle injury has slowed the preseason hype down around Morris (he won MVP honors at the Manning Passing Camp and is now ranked 7th among draft eligible QBs by ESPN), people forget how much Morris (59.9 comp. pct., 1,463 yards, 10 TDs, 8 INTs in 2013) has grown during his time at Miami. When he chose to play for Mark Whipple the summer before his senior season his other top two offers were Virginia and Purdue. Where would UM be without Morris today? Probably not in the Top 25 rankings.

> Recruiting edge: FSU. In case someone gets hurt, backup Jacob Coker (3-stars, No. 18 pro-style QB in 2012 by Rivals) is considered a better talent than UM backup and Memphis transfer Ryan Williams (6-5, 223, Jr., 2-stars, unranked among QBs). Although Williams has played better this season in spot duty.

> Real edge: FSU. Hard to argue with what Winston is doing right now even with what the ankle injury has done to Morris.

RUNNING BACKS

> Miami: Duke Johnson (5-9, 196, So., 5-star, No. 1 all-purpose running back by Rivals in 2012); Dallas Crawford (5-10, 194, R-So., 3-star, No. 27 cornerback in 2011 by Rivals); Maurice Hagens (5-11, 250, Sr., 3-star, No. 8 fullback in 2011 by Rivals).

> FSU: Devonta Freeman (5-9, 203, Jr., 4-star, No. 10 running back by Rivals in 2012); James Wilder (6-2, 229, Jr., 5-star, No. 2 running back in 2012 by Rivals); Karlos Williams (6-1, 223, Jr., 5-star, No. 2 safety in 2011 by Rivals.com).

> What's happened: Johnson, who committed to Randy Shannon before news of pending NCAA sanctions broke, has been an instant superstar upon his arrival. He's averaged nearly 7 yards a carry in his career and been a nightmare to stop on kickoff returns while proving to be one of the country's best all-purpose threats. Crawford, who switched over from defensive back, led UM to a come-from-behind win at North Carolina with Johnson out and has proven to be better than your average backup (65 carries, 295 yards, team-leading 9 TDs rushes).

Freeman, whom UM made a very late push for once coach Al Golden took over the program, has broken out this season (87 carries, 561 yards, 6 TDs) with a career-best 6.4 yards per carry average. A linebacker and running back in high school, Miami never really pushed for Wilder. Despite a mediocre college career (41 att., 226 yards, 2 TDs, 5.5 average in 2013) is the only FSU draft-eligible running back on ESPN's big board (he ranks 14th). Williams, who made the switch to running back this season after starting for the first time in the ACC championship gmae at linebacker, leads FSU with 7.9 yards a carry (44 carries, 349 yards, 7 TDs).

> Recruiting edge: FSU by the numbers. A pair of 5-star talents and a 4-star running back who lead your team in rushing compared to one 5-star running back and a converted three-star defensive back.

> Real edge: UM. Sure, FSU has more depth. But tell me someone who wouldn't take Johnson over any of FSU's running backs.

RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS

> Miami: WRs Allen Hurns (6-3, 195, Sr., 3-star, No. 60 WR in 2010 by Rivals); Herb Waters (6-2, 193, So. 3-star, No. 50 WR in 2012 by Rivals); Stacy Coley (6-1, 180, Fr., 4-star, No. 13 in 2013 by Rivals); Malcolm Lewis (6-0, 187, So., 4-star, No. 28 WR in 2012 by Rivals); Rashawn Scott (6-2, 199, Jr., 3-star, unranked in 2011 by Rivals); TEs: Clive Walford (6-4, 259, R-Jr., 3-star, unranked in 2010 by Rivals); Asante Cleveland (6-5, 260, Sr., 2-star, unranked in 2010 by Rivals).

> FSU: WRs Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 234, r-So., 4-star, No. 8 WR in 2011 by Rivals); Kenny Shaw (6-0, 170, Sr., 4-star, No. 14 WR in 2010 by Rivals), Rashad Greene (6-0, 180, Jr., 4-star, No. 29 WR in 2011 by Rivals); Christian Green (6-2, 200, r-Jr., 4-star, No. 7 ATH in 2010 by Rivals); TEs Nick O'Leary (6-3, 248, Jr. , 4-star, No. 1 TE in 2011 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: FSU. This is a case where FSU went out and recruited well, developed players and they've lived up to the hype. UM went hard after Benjamin (23 catches, 430 yards, 5 TDs), O'Leary (17-307, 6 TDs) and got Greene (39-690, 8 TDs) to take an official visit in January, but FSU won the recruiting war.

> What's happened: With Winston throwing them the football, FSU's top four receivers are all averaging at or near 18 yards a catch. Outside of the much-hyped Coley (who picked UM over FSU), the Hurricanes have taken mid-level recruiting talent and developed it nicely. Hurns (28 catches, 506 yards, 2 TDs to lead the team) has become Morris' favorite target on third downs along with Walford (17-244, 2 TDs). Coley (17-278, 3 TDs) is just beginning to hit his stride now. Although the loss of Phillip Dorsett (3-star, No. 38 WR in 2011 by Rivals) hurts the Canes, Lewis and Scott returning to full health should help them down the stretch this season.

> Real edge: FSU. More players catch passes for Miami, but the foursome FSU has at the top is nightmarish.

> Future: Of all the draft-eligible receivers in this game, FSU's Rashad Greene rates the highest according to NFL scouts. He's currently ranked 19th by NFLDraftScout.com. Hurns is UM's highest-ranked draft-eligible receiver at 38 by NFLDraftScout.com. Coley could ultimately be the biggest star down the road in the NFL.

OFFENSIVE LINE

> Miami: LT Ereck Flowers (6-6, 315, So., 4-star, No. 20 OT in 2012 by Rivals); LG Jon Feliciano (6-5, 318, rJr., 3-star, No. 55 OT in 2010 by Rivals); C Shane McDermott (6-4, 296, Jr., 3-star, No. 31 OC in 2010 by Rivals); RG Jared Wheeler (6-5, 319, Sr., 3-star, No. 43 OG in 2009 by Rivals); RT Brandon Linder (6-6, 319, Sr., 4-star, No. 3 OC in 2010 by Rivals); RT Seantrel Henderson (6-8, 345, Sr. 5-star, No. 1 OT in 2010 by Rivals); OL Malcolm Bunche (6-7, 327, rJr., 4-star, unranked in 2010 after prep school).

> FSU: LT Cameron Erving (6-6, 320, rJr., 3-star, unranked DT in 2010 by Rivals); LG Josue Matias (6-6, 322, Jr., 4-star, No. 25 OT in 2011 by Rivals); C Bryan Stork (6-4, 300, rSr., 3-star, No. 26 TE in 2010 by Rivals); RG Tre' Jackson (6-4, 330, Jr., 3-star, No. 60 DT in 2011 by Rivals); RT Bobby Hart (6-4, 315, Jr., 4-star, No. 8 OT in 2011 by Rivals); OG Ruben Carter (6-4, 309, R-So., 3-star, No. 29 OG in 2011 by Rivals).

> Recruiting edge: Miami. Henderson, who lost his spot in the starting rotation after another suspension (something he's battled throughout his career) recently, was no doubt the most highly-touted offensive lineman any of these teams signed. But the Hurricanes earn the edge here not because of him, but overall depth and natural ability. FSU had to convert some players into offensive linemen including Irving, who now the clear-cut NFL top prospect in the group. CBS Sports currently has Irving to projected to go 10th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. 

> Real edge: Miami slightly. The Hurricanes have put up better numbers this season in pass protection allowing only six sacks compared to FSU's 15 (Winston has been sacked 12 times, preferring to eat it than throw it up). But when it comes to running the football UM (214.71 yards per game, 19 TDs) and FSU (212.29 yards per game, 22 TDs) are about dead even.

> Future: Stork ranks 4th among draft-eligible linemen at center by ESPN. Henderson (8th among OTs by ESPN) is the highest-rated draft eligible tackle in this game. Linder ranks 11th at guard according to ESPN.

CHECK BACK FOR THE DEFENSIVE AND SPECIAL TEAMS BREAKDOWNS

October 30, 2013

Golden expects Morris to "close chapter" on ankle injury, "play kind of game he wants to play" Saturday at FSU

UM coach Al Golden made his weekly appearance on the ACC teleconference after Wednesday morning's practice. Among the noteworthy topics discussed:

> Asked for an update on quarterback Stephen Morris and his ankle, Golden said: "I think he looks great. I think he'll be able to close this chapter [on his ankle injury] and go out and play the kind of game he wants to play."

> With the Hurricanes playing it low-key this week and staying free of any bulletin board material, Golden was asked to contrast his team's perceived buttoned-down persona compared to Florida State's attitude: "I've never heard button-downed mentioned with our team before," he said.

"I think our guys play with a lot of passion. We got a couple celebration penalties that I'd like to button them down for those. I don't see how we're a button down team. I think we play with a lot of energy. I think we celebrate each other's big plays on offense and defense. I don't see how we're button-downed or that makes us button-downed. "

> Receiver Rashawn Scott was cleared to play last week versus Wake Forest, but didn't see any action. Where is Scott after Wednesday's practice?

"He's got to continue to prepare, work really hard here in the next 72 hours to prepare and eliminate any mental aspects of the game," Golden said. "He has to play fast. I think he's in good condition. He should be ready for this opportunity. It's good to get him back.

> Golden said when it comes to leadership every position group leader needs to step up this week. "Stephen [Morris] can't do it by himself," Golden said. "But certainly he's made a big difference. We're certainly going to need a lot of our position group leaders, Allen Hurns, Brandon Linder, Shayon Green, Anthony Chickillo, Denzel, Jimmy Gaines, all those guys are going to need to step up and lead. We're going to need that maturity. We're going to need that poise because obviously it's an elite team that's executing well right now, playing in a tough environment. We're going to have to draw on our leadership and certainly our unity." 

> What will UM have to do better than some of FSU's previous opponents?

"We don't have enough time to cover it all, but we have to defend the deep ball," Golden said. "We have to tackle really well. We can't let them be a three-headed monster in terms of the perimeter pass game and then obviously the run game. We have to find a way to get pressure on them. That's the challenge, no question about it. We have to do a lot of things better than we did last Saturday. Hopefully our guys will continue to improve as the week goes on. No question that's the challenge in our building because we have to stop a lot of different things."

> With UM a 22-point underdog does Golden still see this Top 10 matchup as a clash of titans or does he feel like an underdog?

"I don't worry about any of that and I don't mean to be short with you," Golden said. "I just think I didn't really answer questions about being the favorite last week and I don't really want to talk about being the underdog this week. It's really a function of us preparing our young people for the type of game we want to play in terms of our game plan is, how we prepare and how we focus on the process everyday. It's certainly been a challenge for a better part of two years. Hopefully we've learned a lot from the adversity that can help us in this spot and get us focused on what we need to be focused on."

> What does it mean for UM to be playing in a matchup of two Top 10 teams again this late in the season considering the program has dealt with an NCAA investigation for the last 2-plus years?

"We're excited about moving forward," Golden said. "Last Tuesday was a rebirth or a renewal if you will. It really gave us the platform to move forward. So we're excited about that part of it. In terms of everything else you mentioned, look Florida State has so many weapons and is such a good team they're going to need every ounce of our focus and energy. Hopefully that is where our minds will be here in the next three days. That's where it has to be."

> What is Golden's favorite UM-FSU memory?

"All of them," he said. "The passion. The tradition. How much the games meant in terms of the national spotlight, repercussions of the post-season. It's exciting to have that opportunity and we want to continue to grow the type of team that expects to be in these type of games year in and year out. We're trying to build."

> After being torched by North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron two weeks ago how does Golden plan on defending FSU's Nick O'Leary?

"When Coach D'Onofrio says I spy 85 all week and we let 85 go for 200 yards clearly we didn't execute the game plan the way we needed to," Golden said. "We weren't specific enough. We weren't precise enough in the execution. Because of that the young man had a great game. We did not tackle well. We better tackle O'Leary really well. We better account for him in the red zone because he's always been a touchdown maker for them in the low red. Hopefully we learned a lot. Hopefully we applied that to Campanaro. Although he's going to get his catches we didn't allow to have as many as he normally does or the sheer number in terms of yards per catch. It wasn't perfect, but it was better. Obviously we have the same challenge here with Nick O'Leary, Rashad Greene or [Kelvin] Benjamin.

> AUDIO: GOLDEN ON WEDNESDAY'S ACC TELECONFERENCE

VIDEO: Canes talk FSU -- Perryman, Feliciano, Hurns, Hagens

Here are some video interviews with the Hurricanes from Tuesday prior to the big showdown Saturday in Tallahassee.

October 29, 2013

Canes biggest underdog in Top 10 matchup history Vegas insider says

Even though they say they're bunkered down and not paying attention to the outside world, it's bound to creep under their skin at some point before kickoff Saturday night.

According to ESPN radio host and Vegas insider RJ Bell, the seventh-ranked Miami Hurricanes (7-0, 3-0 ACC) are the biggest underdog in history when it comes to two undefeated teams meeting this late in the season. Third-ranked FSU opened as a 21-point favorite this week and at last check was favored to beat UM by 22 points.

According to Bell, there have been only two other instances of a double digit favorite when two undefeated Top 10 teams play this late in the season:

> Texas favored by 12 hosting Oklahoma State (Oct. 25, 2008)

> Miami favored by 11 vs. Ohio State (2002 BCS Title Game)

The database goes all the way back to 1980 according to Bell.

Texas beat Oklahoma State 28-24 and you all remember what happened between UM and Ohio State in 2002. If you don't, ask Terry Porter.

Canes running back Duke Johnson was asked Monday if this game was an opportunity for Miami to make a statement to the nation.

"When it comes to that, it's out of our control," Johnson said. "Whether an underdog by how many points, the only thing we can do is go out and play the game the way coaches want us to play it and everything else will take care of itself."

Is UM not getting enough respect?

"It doesn't matter whether someone respects us or not," Johnson said. "We don't care. We're here to play football and do it the way we're being taught to."

October 28, 2013

VIDEO: Golden, D'Onofrio, Coley talk FSU

October 27, 2013

Only a few minor defensive changes on Canes' latest depth chart

There were only minor changes on the Hurricanes depth chart this week as they prepare for their big trip to Tallahassee. UM, by the way, remained 7th in the BCS standings. 

While the offensive depth chart remains unchanged, a few changes have been made on the defensive side.

> Senior Justin Renfrow is listed as the starter at defensive tackle after being a co-starter last week.

> Senior Tyrone Cornileus, who missed the tackle on Wake Forest's last touchdown Saturday, replaces Thurston Armbrister as one of the starters at outside linebacker. Armbrister moved to No. 2 behind Denzel Perryman at weakside linebacker.

> Junior Ladarius Gunter is now the starter at cornerback. He was previously a co-starter with freshman Artie Burns.

Picture 2

Coach Al Golden on Sunday: "I plan on being here for a long time and facing a lot of these games.''

Al Golden was Al Golden on Sunday (just like Stephen Morris always says "Duke was Duke"), as the Hurricanes head into Florida State week and the biggest game of Golden's UM coaching career.

He said  he doesn't pay attention to the rankings. (Note: He often says the only ones he'll notice are at the end of the season.) He said trying to take care of FSU with all those weapons will be difficult. He said the stakes are getting higher as the Canes keep winning. He said he worries every day about his players falling prey to the outside noise (about, for example, rankings or how good or otherwise they might think they are or about how they're going to be in a bowl) instead of concentrating on one opponent at a time. 

And he did offer up on his own, without being prodded, that he intends to stay at Miami for a long time. I'm sure all the reporters' ears perked up when they heard that quote. In the long run it doesn't ensure anything, but it was refreshing to hear that from a guy who has brought this program to new (recent) heights.

In terms of what a win against Florida State would do for your program, is this the biggest game since you've been here?

Golden's reply: "They're all big now. When you're winning, all the games are significant. The stakes gets higher as you climb the ladder for sure. There's not much margin for error now certainly as we're closing in on November. We have to trust the process, take our training to the game and everybody do their job and block everything else out, block all the other crowd noise out and focus on what we've got to do six seconds every play. 

"I know it sounds cliche, but we have to use our maturity and experience and be able to do that and be able to hold each other accountable all week to invest in it. That's the biggest thing.

"I'm not worried about the magnitude of games or anything like that. I plan on being here for a long time and facing a lot of these games.''

 With a No. 7 ranking in the AP poll and No. 6 among the coaches, the Canes have maintained despite pulling out wins in the last minute the past two games. Even though teams have jumped them, if Miami beats FSU it will be in excellent shape. Then again, can you imagine beating FSU and having to play the Seminoles again in the ACC title game? (Or the other way around?)

Either way, just winning the ACC this season would be an amazing (if not next to impossible) achievement.

Briefly, Golden said WR Allen Hurns (hip pointer) is doing well, and he is hoping he gets back S Kacy Rodgers (ankle) for FSU. He said WR Rashawn Scott (collarbone/shoulder), as has already been reported, was cleared for Wake Forest. But Golden didn't say why Scott didn't play. That extra week of healing has to be beneficial.

The BCS standings will be released tonight.

Oh, yes, if you don't know already, FSU has opened as a 21-point favorite over the Hurricanes.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 26, 2013

VIDEO: Golden, Hurricanes react to win over Wake Forest, NCAA sanctions

Hurricanes coach Al Golden after the Wake Forest win: "Now we can breathe and move forward."

Here are the postgame quotes from UM coach Al Golden after Saturday's 24-21 come-from-behind win over Wake Forest.
On an eventful week leading up to Saturday’s game... 
“Clearly emotional. I’m not going to lie to you. Just an emotional week. Now we can breathe and move forward. I was more worried than ever this week, just because nobody was really talking about Wake. Everybody was talking about the NCAA and obviously future scheduling. I just tried to keep them going all week. I was hoping we would have enough in the tank, just because of how emotional it was to have that ordeal over. We didn’t really address it, but you guys gave it ample play, and I’m sure they were listening to you guys all week. I’m just glad we had a chance to come out here and find a way to win.”

On the distractions of the week taking a toll on his team...
“Again, I give Wake Forest a lot of credit. It sounds like you’re downplaying the effort the Wake Forest kids and coaches did. I think they did a great job. That’s one of the best coaches around - period. It wasn’t like we were sloppy with the football. We just didn’t convert when we needed to convert, we didn’t stop them enough on third down. But we finished. We’re learning how to finish, and that’s something I’m really proud of – the mental toughness. I was just worried about how much we had in the tank. I can sit up here and say we were focused all week. I promise you I have never worked harder in my life the last 72 hours to get them focused for a game. Obviously we have a chance to regroup tonight and move forward.”

On the stress related to NCAA investigation closure as it relates to on-field performance...
“I was looking for the Athletic Director [Blake James] Tuesday morning. To me, they’re all one-game deals. The other ones, we had a lot of turnovers and in many respects we were fortunate to be in that position. I didn’t feel that way about this one – we weren’t sloppy with the football. They made some plays, we didn’t make some plays. Give them a lot of credit - they played tough. Our kids responded. At midnight tonight, this one is over. There is no carry-over. We all know who we’re playing next week, and it’s time to get ready for that.”

On the performance of sophomore running back Duke Johnson...
“Man, oh man. He ran with a purpose and an anger that we haven’t seen from him. His stiff arm was awesome all day. He ran with his pads down, protected the ball. He was clearly on a mission. How about his conditioning? What tremendous conditioning. He gets knocked out of the game last week, and this week he is lowering the pads all day, second and third effort...what can you say about the effort that he gave? Was he at 35 yards or something at the half? It wasn’t much more than that. That’s a heck of a
second half, and certainly heck of a fourth quarter.”

On his concerns about slow starts...
“It’s all a concern. It’s just one big [concern]. They’re all just one-game weeks. They’re just one-game seasons. Every game is its own chess board, and you have to make adjustments. I thought we made adjustments, but obviously we were disappointed in the tackling on the long play. I thought the defensive staff and defense made adjustments. It was a long period before they scored after they scored early in the game. We certainly found some surfaces to run the ball on late in the game, so I was proud of that. We all know what this week is about coming up. We’ll regroup here tonight, tomorrow get healed up and get ready to go. I don’t think there will be any carry-over.”

On the performance of senior quarterback Stephen Morris...
“I thought he did a good job with protecting the football. I thought he did a good job with his decisions. To be honest with you, this is the best he has looked physically. Is there an element in that still? No. We’re blessed to have a 12 o’clock game, it’s not like we’re on the road and we’re going to get back at 2 o’clock or 3 o’clock in the morning. And we really don’t have to practice him again until Tuesday. I’m really hoping that will be the last little 10 percent or whatever we need to get him over the hump. He came out of it good, came out of it healthy. Obviously another two-minute drive at the end of the game speaks a lot about his leadership and the belief they have in him. I think we’ll make progress here over the next 72 hours with him.

“He’s had to alter his mechanics, I don’t think there is any question. We have to get him back to center, and we will. I thought he was better. He threw a great long ball to Stacy [Coley] – not the one he made the magnificent catch on, but the other – that was a ball he could have down with. There were a lot of throws he did make. I really believe and I’m hopeful that he’ll make that last little step this week. I really believe he’ll do that over the next 72 hours.”

On hearing from Athletic Director Blake James about the NCAA sanctions...
“Obviously he got done with the President and informed me, and then came down to address the team at 9:05 a.m. Obviously the kids were thrilled. That journey ended - but 10 minutes later you have to go prepare for Wake Forest. You want to talk about an emotional rollercoaster. For all of us, we didn’t talk about it all week. I know they’re excited about it now in there, thrilled that it’s over. We found a way to scratch and claw and win our seventh [game]. You can’t take any of the previous wins with you to Tallahassee next week. That’s over, we have to get better at the things we need to get better at, and we need some kids to step up.”

On the performance of Stacy Coley...
“He did a great job, and he makes really good decision. He’s doing a good job on his returns. He’s a very mature kid. When you sit in the meetings with Stacy, and they ask him questions, he has the right answers. He knows football. He studies it. Great start for him. Obviously a catch for the ages there. Tremendous catch.”

On if his team is prepared for media frenzy regarding Miami-Florida State rivalry...

“With all due respect, there has been more national exposure over the last 28 months than any of us can handle. If it’s about football, we’re all in. We’re all in.”

Gameday blog: Miami Hurricanes vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Your BCS 7th-ranked Miami Hurricanes (6-0, 2-0 ACC) kickoff the second half of their season and play their first game without an NCAA anvil hanging over their head at noon today against visiting Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2).

The game can be seen on ESPNU. Feel free to chat with us as the game is going on.

October 25, 2013

Hurricanes coach Al Golden pens letter to University of Miami students; only 3,900 tickets left for game

"OPERATION SELLOUT" IS IN FULL FORCE AT UM TODAY FOR SATURDAY'S NOON WAKE FOREST GAME AT SUN LIFE STADIUM.

COACH AL GOLDEN PENNED THE LETTER BELOW ON FRIDAY TO UM STUDENTS TO SHOW HIS APPRECIATION FOR THE IMPROVED ATTENDANCE THIS SEASON. AND HE MAKES SURE THEY KNOW HE WANTS THEM TO STAY THROUGH THE ENTIRE GAME, NO MATTER WHAT.

GOLDEN CONSTANTLY TALKS ABOUT HOW HE AND HIS PLAYERS HAVE TO BLOCK OUT THE EXTERNAL, BUT IT'S OBVIOUS HE KNOWS THE IMPORTANCE OF A PACKED HOUSE.

SATURDAY IS UM EMPLOYEE DAY. EMPLOYEES EACH WERE ABLE TO RECEIVE ONE FREE TICKET TO THE GAME, AND WERE ALLOWED TO PURCHASE UP TO THREE MORE TICKETS FOR A BUCK APIECE. EACH TICKET INCLUDED A $10 VOUCHER FOR REFRESHMENTS.

IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE HOW MANY PEOPLE ACTUALLY FILL THE SEATS FOR THE TICKETS THAT WERE PURCHASED. THERE WERE ONLY ABOUT 3,900 TICKETS AVAILABLE AS OF 2:30 P.M. FRIDAY. All TARPS WILL BE REMOVED FROM SUN LIFE STADIUM.

THE ADVANCED ORANGE PARKING FOR SATURDAY'S GAME IS SOLD OUT. THE MAIN PARKING LOTS REQUIRE A PREPAID PARKING PASS AND CASH WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED IN THOSE LOTS. GAMEDAY PARKING IN THE EXTERIOR CASH LOTS WILL BE $25 PER CAR ON SATURDAY.

STUDENT BUSES WILL LEAVE THE UM CAMPUS FROM THE BANKUNITED CENTER AND WILL BEGIN DEPARTING AT 9 A.M. THE FIRST BUSES RETURN AT HALFTIME (GOLDEN WOULDN'T LIKE THAT) AND WILL RUN UNTIL 45 MINUTES AFTER THE GAME ENDS.

FOR TICKETS, GO TO HURRICANESPORTS.COM.

HERE'S THE LETTER FROM GOLDEN:

 University of Miami Students,

As we approach the midway point of our football season, I want to stop and take a moment to thank you for the effort you have put forth to improve the atmosphere inside Sun Life Stadium. I don't know if you truly understand how important your role is in the grand scheme of our success, but please know how much our players and I appreciate each and every one of you who choose to support us on game day.

As we hit the home stretch of the ACC schedule, we need your presence and enthusiasm more than ever...and we need it for four quarters. The student section is the epicenter of our home field advantage, and we need you louder than ever during the fourth quarter.

We have three home games remaining on the schedule, and I sincerely hope that each of you will continue to support us by packing that student section, dancing in the smoke, screaming on third down, joining us as we raise four fingers in the fourth quarter, and having a great time while you cheer on this team from the opening kick to the final whistle.

When that student section is packed, your presence, your voices, and your energy can truly create a home field advantage, and this season you have done an outstanding job! I really can't say it enough, thank you all very much.

See you on Saturday!

Deserve Victory,

Al Golden

Head Football Coach

Miami Hurricanes 

 

October 24, 2013

Kudos to Miami Hurricanes for impressive off-field accomplishments -- reason to be proud

Nice job off the field by the Miami Hurricanes. Here's the news, via UM.

Eight teams compiled perfect GSR marks of 100 percent

 CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami recorded a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 92 percent, according to the rates released Thursday by the NCAA.

 For the second straight year, Miami’s department-wide GSR ranks fourth among ACC schools and eighth overall among FBS programs. UM has exceeded the NCAA average GSR in each of the last nine years. In 2012, Miami set a school-record with a 93 percent GSR, a year after establishing a then-record at 89 percent.

 “We set a high standard for our Hurricanes to achieve excellence in all academic and athletic pursuits,” said David Wyman, Associate AD for Academic Services. “The growth we have witnessed in our Graduation Success Rates is remarkable and we continue to produce tremendous results.  In less than 10 years, we have improved our rate by 15 percentage points and we are now a national leader in the most important academic performance measure.”

 Eight teams compiled GSR marks of 100 percent. Men’s diving and golf each posted their ninth consecutive perfect marks, while women’s tennis recorded its sixth straight GSR score of 100 percent. Baseball, women’s track & field / cross country, rowing, women’s swimming and volleyball also tallied perfect GSR scores. It was volleyball’s third straight year with a perfect GSR; rowing and women’s swimming posted perfect scores for the second straight year.

 “I am very proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, whose vigilance in academics lays the groundwork for graduation,” said Blake James, Miami AD. “One of our goals as a program is to graduate every student-athlete and I am proud that we are getting close.  By earning a degree from the University of Miami, our student-athletes are ready to achieve excellence in life.  Congratulations to our coaches, staff and especially our student-athletes.”

 Baseball had the largest jump of any UM program, improving by 20 points (80 to 100) and has improved by 40 points (60 to 100) since 2010.

 The NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) was developed in response to college and university presidents who wanted graduation data that more accurately reflect the mobility among college students today. Both rates improve on the federally mandated graduation rate by including students who were omitted from the federal calculation.

 The GSR measures graduation rates at Division I institutions and includes students transferring into the institutions. The GSR also allows institutions to subtract student-athletes who leave their institutions prior to graduation as long as they would have been academically eligible to compete had they remained.

 The most recent Division I Graduation Success Rates are based on the four entering classes from 2003-2004 through 2006-07. More than 110,000 student-athletes are included in the most recent four classes using the GSR methodology, as compared to about 79,500 in the federal rate. The NCAA began compiling these figures with the entering freshmen class of 1995.

 UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI’S 2013 GSR PERCENTAGES

SPORT                                                                    SCORE

Baseball                                                                 100

Men’s Diving                                                         100

Women’s Track & Field / Cross Country          100

Rowing                                                                   100

Women’s Golf                                                       100

Women’s Swimming                                            100

Women’s Tennis                                                  100

Volleyball                                                               100

Women’s Basketball                                            93

Soccer                                                                    91

Men’s Track & Field / Cross Country                88

Football                                                                  86

Men’s Basketball                                                  85

Men’s Tennis                                                        75


Earlier this year, three Hurricanes teams received APR Public Recognition Awards for being among the top 10 percent in APR – men’s basketball, women’s cross country and women’s golf. Six teams scored 980 or better out of a possible 1,000 points – baseball (983), men’s basketball (990), men’s tennis (993), women’s cross country (1,000), women’s golf (1,000) and women’s swimming (989).

 

October 23, 2013

Vinny Testaverde will be honorary captain Saturday for Canes vs. Wake Forest

HERE'S THE RELEASE FORWARDED FROM UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI, HOT OFF THE PRESS:

Testaverde will be 10th Miami Hurricane inducted into College Football HOF

IRVING, Texas – Miami Hurricanes great and 1986 Heisman Trophy winning QB Vinny Testaverde will be honored during Saturday’s game with a National Football Foundation Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute. Testaverde will also be the honorary captain for the Miami Hurricanes game vs. Wake Forest. Kickoff is set for noon ET on ESPNU.

 

 The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program is a hallowed tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951, and to this day the salutes remain the first of numerous activities in each inductee’s Hall of Fame experience. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution. The events take place on the field during a home game, and many inductees cite the experience as the ultimate capstone to their careers, providing them one more chance to take the field and hear the crowd roar their name.

 One of the greatest quarterbacks in school history, Testaverde was Miami’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 1986, while also winning the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Trophy. He led the Hurricanes to three bowl berths, including the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, which determined the national champion. Testaverde, who was a redshirt on Miami’s 1983 national championship team, went 23-3 as a starter playing for legendary coaches Howard Schnellenberger and Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson.

 Tampa Bay selected Testaverde as the No. 1 overall selection in the 1987 NFL Draft, and his pro career spanned 21 seasons with seven different teams. The 1998 All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection finished his NFL career seventh all-time in passing yards (46,233) and eighth in touchdowns (275).

 The Elmont, N.Y., native currently resides in Florida where he plays an active role with the Children’s Cancer Center of Tampa. Testaverde remains among only four Hurricanes to have their jerseys retired at Miami.

 Testaverde will become seventh Miami Hurricane player and 10th overall to be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame – Bennie Blades (2006), Don Bosseler (1990), Andy Gustafson (1985), Jack Harding (1980), Ted Hendricks (1987), Jimmy Johnson (2012), Russell Maryland (2011), Gino Torretta (2009) and Arnold Tucker (2008)

 

The 2013 College Football Hall of Fame FBS Class will be inducted Dec. 10, 2013, at the 56th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. They will be honored guests Jan. 2, 2014, at the National Hall of Fame Salute in New Orleans at the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

 The Hurricanes will look for their first 7-0 start since the 2003 season when they host Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2 ACC) on Saturday. Fewer than 5,600 tickets remain for Miami’s Oct. 26 home game vs. Wake Forest, which is also UM Employee Day.  To purchase tickets, fans can order online at www.canestix.com, visit the UM Ticket Office at BankUnited Center (M-F, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.) or call 1-800-GO-CANES.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN 

October 22, 2013

Former Hurricanes assistant Clint Hurtt apologizes for his rule-breaking at UM

Before he got into coaching at Miami, Clint Hurtt was a Hurricane himself. And he apologized Tuesday after practice for his role in hurting his alma mater.

Here is the video from Louisville's post-practice availability Tuesday.

Welcome To The U! Canes land DT recruit hours after NCAA sanctions announced

Full Speed Ahead. 

That's been the mantra through this whole ordeal, and it appears to be the phrase of the day now that the Hurricanes have added another big commitment to their 2014 Signing Class.

According to Canesport.com, UM landed a verbal from 6-4, 340-pound defensive tackle Michael Wyche out of East Los Angeles College. Wyche, rated a three-star recruit, had been committed to USC. 

"It's funny, because I didn't even know about the NCAA stuff today," Wyche told Canesport.com. "I committed and then the coaches told me about it.

"They were like `Today is an exciting day.' I was like `Why?' And they said `Because now we are moving forward from the NCAA.'"

Wyche told Canesport he plans to enroll in January.

In the end, Wyche told Canesport he is a Cane because "Miami just seemed like a better fit as far as what I need. They're giving me a chance to come in and compete for a starting job. And they need more help. Hopefully I can give them the help they need."

Canes hope NCAA will take into account self-imposed, internal scholarship reductions in football

University of Miami athletic director Blake James, speaking to The Miami Herald during a one-on-one interview, made it clear the program will not officially appeal any decisions made by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions Tuesday.

But that doesn't mean UM isn't going to try trim the number of football scholarships its set to lose -- nine over three years -- down a bit. For the first time Tuesday, James said UM had already "internally imposed some scholarship reductions" and the hope is the NCAA will take those measures into account. But if the NCAA doesn't, that doesn't mean Miami is going to put up a huge stink.

"We will be discussing that situation with the NCAA right now and we'll see how its best to go forward," James said. "Again, we were looking at the situation and getting an understanding of where we thought things were going to go. Again, we did think [scholarship reductions] were a possibility, but it was something we kept internal. Now that it did become a reality of our penalties we'll document with the NCAA the steps we took and work with them on checking on the possibility of that being included in this year's scholarship numbers."

The Hurricanes, currently at 74 scholarship players by the media's count, have 19 seniors on their roster and 25 oral, non-binding commitments. If the Canes' current recruiting class stays at the same number and no underclassmen depart the program, UM would have 80 scholarship players on its roster next season.

Of course, UM has the flexibility, James said, of reducing its football scholarships at the rate it sees fit. Meaning, UM doesn't have to trim three scholarships each year. It can work with any formula it sees fit. Men's basketball, set to lose one scholarship per year over the next three years, doesn't have that flexibility, James said.

"That's something I'll work with Al on," James said. "It's really going to be Al communicating with us how it best works for us to meet the penalty, at the same time what's best for the football program understanding we have that flexibility with these nine that we can allocate them over a three-year period."

> What was Blake's reaction to Tuesday's news?

"First of first reactions I was pleased to be at the end of the process," he said. "Obviously it's a process I think that's worn on all of us. It's something that as an institution we've taken very seriously. I was pleased to get to the end of the process. In terms of looking at the sanctions, we're looking at nine scholarships for football. I would say, being honest, being a part of the process, it was something I thought was in line with what I expected, but still something that was very significant.

"I would say the same with basketball -- again in line with what I was expecting based on the case. With that said, very significant along with many of the sanctions we've put in place, many of which have been very public setting up the bowl bans, two bowls and an ACC championship. And some that until today we had been working on behind the scenes and working with the NCAA on."

James said if UM had been given another bowl ban it definitely would have been something the school appealed. But he didn't sense that coming.

"I think that was something that would have been real hard," James said of another bowl ban. "We have 115 young men in our program right now that are committed to achieving their goals. In many cases you have a group that hasn't been able to play in a bowl at all. In some case you have a few individuals that maybe got a chance to be a part of the Sun Bowl and that experience there, but really weren't active members of the team and have sat out on the sidelines the next few years.

"To have our young men not have that opportunity again would have been something that would have been very hard. But again, we respected the process and understood the Committee on Infractions was going to do what was best. I didn't feel another bowl justified and I was pleased to see the COI felt the same way. So I was very pleased we were able to go forward in that front."

James said he had been on the phone all morning with UM President Donna Shalala. Her reaction wasn't much different than his, he said.

"We've been in regular communication. I would say her feelings are very similar to mine," James aid. "Obviously we're disappointed that the institution had this situation occur. We're going to do things we need to do to make changes. Many of those are already in place. We'll continue to educate our people. We'll continue to closely monitor the program and we'll move forward as the great athletic program we are representing one of the finest institutions in the country."

This obviously isn't the first time Miami has dealt with sanctions. What kind of changes has Blake seen from the athletic department when it comes to compliance since taking the athletic director job? Plenty, he said.

"I think it's a situation where I first got here we had a very established compliance program in that they were looking to do all the things they needed to do with enforcement. How we ended up missing some of the violations that occurred is the disappointing part because I think the people we had in place were professional and did the best job they could," James said.

"I think it's a situation where maybe we didn't do some of the education that we're doing now. You see those things being in place. If you look at it from my time being a senior associate to my time now I would really say the biggest change is just the educational aspect. I think we have made some structural changes and our approach on things is really trying to make everyone understand what the rules are and how we have to operate within those rules. I wouldn't say that wasn't the case here before. Obviously there's something amiss we had this going on for 10 years. Not being here for the vast majority of that time it's hard for me to speculate on that because I know people that were here before were very dedicated to putting an institution in the best light. I know I struggle with how something like this could happen."

James said UM will not cut ties with former players as USC did.

"Again, based on the COI report there wasn't any mention of any type of disassociation," James said. "I would say that isn't something at this time we need to move forward with given the results of the findings."

From a purely personal standpoint how does James feel now that this is over?

"Again, I'm happy the process is completed," he said. "Obviously I hope this is a situation I never have to go through again, and I can assure all of us I will do everything I can to put systems in place to avoid this situation again. [I'm also] disappointed our program has gone through the challenging time it has over the last few years. It's been hard on our coaches, hard our student-athletes and hard on our administration and staff. I think we all recognize that and are all happy to move full speed ahead."

Statements from Shalala, James, chair of UM board of trustees

STATEMENTS RELEASED BY THE SCHOOL

The University of Miami received the NCAA Committee on Infractions report this morning, concluding a more than three-year process that included an investigation conducted by the NCAA and an appearance by senior University officials before the Committee on Infractions in June.

The University cooperated fully with investigators and took responsibility for its actions by proactively self-imposing severe penalties, including an unprecedented two-year bowl ban in football, withholding the football program from competing in the ACC Championship Game in 2012, and instituting substantial recruiting restrictions.

The University accepts the findings and the additional penalties as detailed in the Committee on Infractions report and will not appeal. The University is grateful to the Committee for a fair and thorough hearing.

As a proud member of the NCAA, the University of Miami remains committed to its fellow institutions and to the core principles that we—the members of the association—have always believed in.

The following are statements from the Chair of the Board of Trustees Leonard Abess, President Donna E. Shalala, and Director of Athletics Blake James:

> University of Miami Board of Trustees Chair Leonard Abess:

“The University of Miami moves forward today stronger and rededicated to the high ideals that have always sustained it. I am proud of our leadership and staff, who conducted themselves throughout this process with integrity, forthrightness, and in the spirit of full cooperation.”

> President Donna E. Shalala:

“The Committee on Infractions report closes a challenging chapter in the history of the University of Miami.

“I am grateful to our coaches, staff and student-athletes for their dedication to the University and to intercollegiate athletics. I also want to thank Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford for his steadfast support.

“Finally, I want to apologize to the Hurricane family, as we have asked for your patience, faith and support during a difficult time. Thank you for standing with us.”

> Director of Athletics Blake James:

“Our honest and committed efforts to address these allegations have made us stronger. We have already taken many proactive steps to ameliorate any concerns, and we will continue to improve in all areas. Now it is time we look ahead and work diligently to support our student-athletes.”

Statements from Golden, Larranaga on NCAA news.

University of Miami Head Football Coach Al Golden:

“I want to sincerely thank our student-athletes and their families who, not only stood with the University of Miami during this unprecedented challenge, but subsequently volunteered for the mission. They shouldered the burden, exhibited class and exemplified perseverance for Hurricanes everywhere.

“Further, I would like to express heartfelt appreciation to our staff and families who did not subscribe to this challenge three years ago, yet courageously adopted it as their own. They have brought the utmost professionalism, resiliency and integrity to our program. More importantly, they continue to recruit and represent our world-class institution with class and dignity in unprecedented circumstance.

“Lastly, it is with gratitude and humility that I say thank you to our administration, U Family everywhere and the entire South Florida Community for their unyielding support of our young men and program over the last 28 months.”

University of Miami Head Basketball Coach Jim Larrañaga:

"I am a big believer that success is based on attitude. We continually remind our players that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

“We will continue to approach our work with a positive attitude as we march towards being the best we can be. I am grateful to our administration and counsel for leading us through this difficult journey and I want to thank everyone who loves this University and who has supported the young men who proudly wear the Miami uniform. We are excited about the upcoming season and we are all moving forward.”

Canes radio voice Joe Zagacki: "It's been far from a slap on the wrist."

With Hurricanes coaches and players off limit to the media the rest of the week, the closest we might get to hearing a voice on the team is the voice of the team WQAM's Joe Zagacki.

His reaction to Tuesday's news the program is losing nine football scholarships and facing no further post-season bans?

"It beats the alternative that's for sure and considering what's happened over the last three years it's a manageable situation," Zagacki said. "Al Golden is a terrific talent evaluator. He's just a great manager in terms of leading your corporation. I think this is good news for Miami because they can move forward. Al Golden can continue with his program and the damage has been done. It's been three years and I think that damage has to be taken into account."

The Hurricanes are 6-0 and ranked 7th in the latest BCS standings. Although an anvil has hung over his head since the day he arrived, Golden has done a good job blocking out the distractions in his three years here. And Zagacki thinks Tuesday's news won't throw UM off its game heading into Saturday's showdown with Wake Forest.

"I think he's done a great job keeping them focused," Zagacki said. "I think it's easier when you have a mature team that he has now. The seniors can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I also think they've shown a lot of leadership for the young players. There's still plenty of freshmen and sophomores on this team that were wondering 'Am I ever going to play in a bowl game? Did I make the right decision coming here?' And had the news been different I think it would have been a big distraction for some of those young players that would have questioned 'Why did I stay home to play for Miami?' Now, they have a resolution and they can move forward with their careers and continue playing for the University of Miami without being burdened with all this NCAA stuff."

Many outsiders are shocked UM only lost nine scholarships after this long investigation. They think the punishment is too light.

"It's been far from a slap on the wrist," Zagacki said. "Take into account not only the damage for Al Golden and what he's had to recruit against -- that's just on the football field. Take into account the average student the day the atom bomb went off. He was a freshman. He's now a junior of his college experience and he's yet to go through a college experience like everybody else in the country. You put that in there, factor that in and then everything else in the program. The damage has been done to the brand. The orange and green is one of the best brands in the country. It has to be protected. And the damage that has been done to that is immeasurable. Today is an opportunity for Miami to rebuild all that and move forward. I can't help but think of what Al Golden said in the summer. We're going to be like the explorer in Key West who kept waking up every day hunting for gold saying 'Today might be the day. Today might be the day.' Finally for Al Golden, today is the day."

Golden was scheduled to meet with the media at 12:30 today. That was obviously scratched. What does Zagacki thinks Golden reaction will be once we can hear it?

"Whatever he's going to say is going to be good," Zagacki said. "He's so articulate. The University of Miami is fortunate to have him. The way he's handled the situation, really the face of the program. He's talked with common sense. He's been pragmatic, been a great leader, shown excellent perspective. He hasn't taken the bait on following the sensationalistic side of the story. He's just stayed by the facts and guided his team. I think he's exactly what Miami has needed through this process. He really has been the calming force."

Official announcement from NCAA: 9 scholarships over 3 years for football, no more post-season bans

The news is officially out from the NCAA on UM -- and it's better than anticipated. LINK TO COMPLETE REPORT

HERE IS THE LIST OF SANCTIONS FROM THE NCAA ON UM

> Public reprimand and censure.

> Three years of probation from October 22, 2013, through October 21, 2016.

> Former assistant football coach B (Clint Hurtt) penalties: A two-year show-cause order from October 22, 2013 through October 21, 2015. The public report contains further details. The committee also adopted penalties imposed by the coach’s current employing university, which are detailed in the public report.

> Former assistant football coach C (Aubrey Hill) penalties: A two-year show-cause order from October 22, 2013, through October 21, 2015. The public report contains further details.

> Former head men’s basketball coach Frank Haith penalties: A suspension for the first five regular-season games of the 2013-14 season. Attendance at one NCAA Regional Rules seminar at the conclusion of the 2013-14 academic year.

> Former assistant men’s basketball coach B (Jorge Fernandez) penalties: A two-year show-cause order from October 22, 2013, through October 21, 2015. The public report contains further details.

Football program penalties

> Reduction of football scholarship by a combined total of nine during the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

> Miami may only provide a prospect on unofficial visits complementary tickets for one home game during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

Self-imposed by the university

> Two year bowl ban following the 2011 and 2012 seasons, including the 2012 ACC Championship game.

> Reduction of official paid visits for 2012-13 by 20 percent to a total of 36 visits.

> Reduction of fall evaluations in 2012-13 by six (from 42 to 36).

> Reduction of available contact days during the 2012-13 contact period by 20 percent.

Men’s basketball program penalties

> Reduction in the number of men’s basketball scholarships by one during the each of the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

> Additional penalties: For all sports, any staff member who sends an impermissible text to a prospect will be fined a minimum of $100 per message, and coaches will be suspended from all recruiting activities for seven days.

> Further penalties resulting from impermissible texts and phone calls are detailed in the public report.

BREAKING NEWS: WQAM reports 3 lost scholarships per year for 3 years, no bowl bans (updated)

The results are in and it looks good for the Hurricanes.

WQAM show host Joe Rose announced earlier today on his morning show the Hurricanes will only be losing nine scholarships total (three over three years) and there will be no further post-season bans.

If true, that's obviously a huge victory for UM and a happy ending to the three-year ordeal. Well, maybe a happy ending for everyone but Nevin Shapiro.

WQAM is the Miami Hurricanes' flagship station. 

Our Michelle Kaufman reported former UM basketball coach Frank Haith (now at Missouri) will receive a five-game suspension. Former football assistant coaches Clint Hurtt (Louisville), Aubrey Hill (Carol City High) and basketball coach Jorge Fernandez have been hit with a 2-year show cause penalty, which means they will not be able to coach at the college level for two years.

Miami's basketball program, meanwhile, will lose 2-3 scholarships total.

The NCAA will make its sanctions public to the media at 10 a.m and then the head of the Committee on Infractions will speak with reporters at 11 a.m.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the day.

October 21, 2013

Golden declines comment on impending NCAA sanctions

Hurricane coach Al Golden, who has dealt with the NCAA investigation since his first fall practice, declined to address Tuesday impending announcement after participating in his weekly radio segment Monday night in Coconut Grove.

Al Golden“I’m not going to get into it, guys. I apologize. I haven’t talked to the president or the AD," said Golden, when approached by a throng of reporters outside of Sandbar Grill, site of Hurricane Hotline.

Asked what he said to his players, Golden didn't budge.

“Guys, I’ve been respectful as you can be for 28 months," Golden said. "I don't know anything that you guys don’t know and I haven’t talked to either of my superiors. So in deference to that, I’m not going to comment on anything."

Before NCAA sanctions news broke, Canes were already trying to block out distractions

Before the news broke concerning the announcement of the impending NCAA sanctions, Al Golden's Miami Hurricanes began preparing for their next game against Wake Forest by trying to block out the outside noise of being ranked seventh in the BCS as well as the mega-matchup with No. 2 Florida State a week from Saturday.

"I wouldn't say [there has been] slippage, but it's a challenge," Golden said of blocking out the distractions.

"There is cheese all around them. Don't take the cheese. Don't take the trap. You have a guy here or there that all of a sudden they're seduced by it. They want to hear about it. They want to talk about it. It has nothing to do with the outcome. Doing your job, preparing, asking questions, being engaged, doing your role -- all those little things that's what we need to focus on. That's what we need leadership for."

Golden said he completely ignored the movement up the polls this weekend, went out to dinner with his wife Saturday night and didn't watch any of Florida State's blowout win at Clemson.

"We're going to continue to ignore it," Golden said of the polls and hype surrounding the team. "I need the coaches to do that. I need the players to do that. I need anybody that touches a Miami Hurricane to do that. Families, academic support, strength and conditioning, training room, it doesn't matter. We got to make sure we're all on the same page and keeping the guys focused on what we need to do because the rest of it doesn't matter. The rest of it will take care of itself if we take care of our business and do our job everyday."

That challenge figures to get harder Tuesday. Two hours after the NCAA makes its sanctions public to the media at 10 a.m., Golden and his players are scheduled to meet with reporters again around noon.

RODGERS STILL NOT HEALTHY

Starting safety Kacy Rodgers was the only player injured last week at North Carolina aside from receiver Phillip Dorsett (expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a slight tear of his MCL) to not practice on Monday.

"Kacy is probable right now," Golden said. "We're being careful with him early in the week because he's still in the recovery phase if you will. Once they take him from taking it slow in recovery to the rehabilitation phase we'll know more, which will probably be Wednesday. I'm hopeful for Kacy."

Quarterback Stephen Morris (ankle), running back Duke Johnson (head), safeties Deon Bush (leg), Rayshawn Jenkins (leg), receiver Rashawn Scott (shoulder) and running back Walter Tucker "were all fine [Monday]." Golden said.

> Offensive guard Danny Isidora (foot) went to see a doctor Monday to get cleared to play, Golden said.

JOHNSON BATTLING MIGRAINES

Johnson, who suffers from migraine headaches and has been tested for concussions on the sidelines in previous games, confirmed he was injured last Thursday when he took a knee to the head trying to make a block.

“I came back the next drive and kind of felt a headache coming on," Johnson said. "Because I suffer from headaches I wasn’t trying to [play] after that."

Johnson said he's been working with the training staff to eat the right foods so it doesn't trigger his migraines. Johnson said his mother also battles migraines.

> Offensive coordinator James Coley said Morris' ankle is still tender and his four interceptions last week were a combination of that and receivers not always running routes the way they should have.

"The common thread is he's out there competing and he wants to make a play," Coley said. "Sometimes making the play when something breaks down is do the next best thing and get the ball out of your hands and throw it away and have your coach call another play."

> Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onfrio said the breakdowns in coverage UM had against North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron (199 yards) were the result of too much freelancing. He said members of the secondary in zone coverage didn't have their eyes on the quarterback enough either.

“We were trying a lot of different things, I know it didn’t appear that way,” D’Onofrio said. “We had a lot of different things to try and combat him, but he’s a great player, he made some plays. We had some unforced errors, we hit a couple 10 rows deep over the net. We helped him move up in his ranking. I hope he appreciates it."

BREAKING NEWS: NCAA to announce Miami Hurricanes' sanctions tomorrow

Hurricanes fans, brace yourself.

Your waiting is nearly over.

Tomorrow is the day the world will learn of the University of Miami's punishment in its NCAA case involving convicted felon and former Hurricanes booster Nevin Shapiro.

The NCAA just confirmed the Miami Herald report that on Tuesday it will publicly reveal UM's punishment. Shortly after the written report is released, protocol is that the NCAA will have a teleconference for the media only. 

All UM's sanctions will be listed on the written infractions report, with background on the case and a synopsis of why the punishments have been inflicted -- in other words, everything that the NCAA's Committee on Infractions says UM did wrong. 

The school is informed of its specific penalties on the same day the media/public receives the information, just earlier. But with all the information that has been leaked over the past couple of years in this case, maybe UM knows a bit -- or more than a bit -- of what's coming. 

No one outside of the NCAA and perhaps UM, and those who might get leaked the information, knows what's coming. UM could appeal all or part of its penalties. 

The Canes are expected to get scholarship sanctions, and possibly coaching and recruiting restrictions. Some coaches who have moved on to other programs are expected to get Show Cause penalties, meaning they effectively will be barred from coaching in college for a set amount of years.

Some are wondering if any of the former players who were involved with the scandal will be barred from campus or from attending games, or if any victories or records will be vacated. The Canes could also be hit with financial penalties

   "I mean, the school, they've done so much already to avoid a harsh penalty by punishing themselves, so hopefully [it's] not too bad,'' said Miami Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon, one of the former UM players suspended for accepting improper benefits from Shapiro.

   "It's kind of ridiculous in a way, Vernon said of the case taking so long to be decided, but I guess that's how the NCAA operates. You've got to let it take its course.'' 

  One way or the other, the waiting will be over, and UM can get on with its post-sanctions life.

The Hurricanes would have 15 days to submit in writing its intent to appeal any or all of the sanctions. If the Canes get another postseason ban (they already self-imposed bowl games after the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and the chance to play in the 2012 ACC title game), they could appeal it and pretty much ensure themselves the right to play in this postseason, as the appeals process takes several months.

Are you nervous? Relieved? 

Your thoughts on what will come tomorrow? 

Best realistic scenario? Worst scenario?

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

Canes-Seminoles an 8 p.m. kickoff on ABC

The game times for the week of Nov. 2 have been announced and your 7th-ranked Miami Hurricanes are headed for a primetime showdown with the No. 2 BCS-ranked Florida State Seminoles.

The game, scheduled for an 8 p.m. kickoff, will be televised on ABC. That means Tallahassee is the likely destination for ESPN's Gameday Crew. 

More later.

October 20, 2013

Hurricanes release new depth chart before Wake Forest; Waters replaces injured Dorsett as starter

The Miami Hurricanes released a new depth chart Sunday night shortly after learning they've been ranked 7th in the first BCS standings of the year. Here are the changes:

> With the loss of receiver Phillip Dorsett for 4 to 6 weeks with a slight tear of his MCL, sophomore Herb Waters is listed as the starter at the slot receiver and the co-starter with freshman Stacy Coley at the second receiver spot.

> Senior Allen Hurns remains the listed starter at the No. 1 receiver position with sophomore Malcolm Lewis listed as his backup.

> On the defensive side, seniors Justin Renfrow and Curtis Porter are listed as co-starters at defensive tackle.

> Three sets of co-starters occupy Miami's secondary. Sophomores Tracy Howard and Antonio Crawford are co-starters at one cornerback spot, while junior Ladarius Gunter and freshman Artie Burns are co-starters at the other corner position.

The Hurricanes will look for their first 7-0 start since the 2003 season when they host Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2 ACC) at noon Oct. 26 on ESPNU. Fewer than 7,000 tickets remain for the game.

Picture 1

College football rankings out: UM Canes rise to No. 7 in AP and jump five spots to No. 6 in coaches' poll

Last week the news was Miami reaching the Top-10 in the Associated Press poll for the first time since 2009.

Today it's even juicier: the Canes are No. 7 in the AP -- and have jumped five spots to No. 6 among the coaches.

Miami is undefeated at 6-0 (and 2-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) since a harrowing, end-of-game drive culminated in a touchdown with 16 seconds left Thursday at North Carolina.

 The No. 7 AP ranking is the highest since Nov. 13, 2005, when the Canes were ranked third after defeating Wake Forest 47-17.

   Regarding the USA Today coaches' poll, Miami's No. 6 ranking is the highest also since Nov. 13, 2005, after defeating Wake Forest 47-17.

   So, who do the Canes play this Saturday? 

   Wake Forest.

   You know that coach Al Golden will be intensely focusing his players on that Wake Forest game at noon Saturday at Sun Life Stadium -- because let's face it, everyone else is thinking about Florida State on Nov. 2 in Tallahassee.

Can you say ESPN College GameDay? It hasn't been announced, but presuming everything goes as expected... And come to think of it, what week recently have things gone as expected?

So, what are your thoughts? Are you in any way wary of Wake Forest, which is 4-3 overall and won its past two games against North Carolina State (28-13 score) and Maryland (34-10 score)?

Or are you totally zoned in on the Seminoles?

From what we've all witnessed, FSU is an amazingly good team with a downright amazing quarterback.

The Hurricanes need to heal quickly and take care of business against the Demon Deacons.

AP RANKINGS

1. Alabama 7-0

2. Oregon 7-0

3. FSU 6-0

4. Ohio State 7-0

5. Missouri 7-0

6. Baylor 6-0

7. Miami 6-0

8. Stanford 6-1

9. Clemson 6-1

10. Texas Tech 7-0

11. Auburn 6-1

12. UCLA 5-1

13. LSU 6-2

14. Texas A&M 5-2

15. Fresno State 6-0

16. Virginia Tech 6-1

17. Oklahoma 6-1

18. Louisville 6-1

19. Oklahoma State 5-1

20. South Carolina 5-2

21. UCF 5-1

22. Wisconsin 5-2

23. Northern Illinois 7-0

24. MIchigan 6-1

25. Nebraska 5-1

USA TODAY COACHES

1. Alabama 7-0

2. Oregon 7-0

3. FSU 6-0

4. Ohio State 7-0

5. Baylor 6-0

6. Miami 6-0

7. Missouri 7-0

8. Stanford 6-1

9. Texas Tech 7-0

10. Clemson 6-1

11. UCLA 5-1

12. Oklahoma 6-1

13. (tie) Oklahoma State 5-1

13. (tie) LSU 6-2

15. Texas A&M 5-2

16. Louisville 6-1

17. Auburn 6-1

18. Fresno State 6-0

19. Virginia Tech 6-1

20. South Carolina 5-2

21. Nebraska 5-1

22. Northern Illinois 7-0

23. Michigan 6-1

24. Wisconsin 5-2

25. UCF 5-1 

 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

October 18, 2013

Dorsett will miss 4-6 weeks with partial MCL tear; Duke, Rodgers injuries not serious

First the bad news: Hurricanes coach Al Golden said receiver Phillip Dorsett has a slight or partial tear of his MCL and it's a 4-6 week injury.

The good news? He could be back for the end of the season and none of the other injuries sustained in Thursday night's win -- running back Duke Johnson or safety Kacy Rodgers -- appears to be serious. In fact, both could be back by the Wake Forest game.

"Last night it did not look good," Golden said of Dorsett's injury. "We're all relieved and I know he is. We're all disappointed, but he'll go through the adversity and be back. Certainly it could have been far worse."

Rodgers, who injured his ankle in the first quarter, is going to be monitored in the next 72 hours. But Golden said it looks like Rodgers will be okay. "I think the nine days off will help," Golden said.

Golden said Johnson was taken out of the game by doctors after taking a knee to the helmet and because of his history with migraines.

"He looked very good today, very positive today watching film," Golden said. "We're still evaluating him whether it was a blow that triggered a migraine reaction or a level 1 concussion. We're evalauting that. Because of the time that we have and the way our doctors reacted, it was great and did not cause any additional injury."

> Golden said safeties Rayshawn Jenkins and Deon Bush "both had deep thigh contusions, but they're both good today."

> Golden also said receiver Rashawn Scott (shoulder) has been cleared and fullback Walter Tucker (ankle) will be fine to go for the Wake Forest game.

"I think he's going to give us a huge, huge lift here," Golden said of Scott. "I'm excited about what Rashawn can give us. He had a great spring for us."

> Asked if he gave any thought to pulling a struggling Stephen Morris on Thursday night Golden emphatically answered me: "No. No."

Did Morris convince him to stay in the game?

"He didn't need to convince me," Golden said. "I saw him in the huddle there at the end, those last couple drives. I saw that look going into that last huddle. He had command of that huddle. I actually left the huddle because of it. He was talking to those guys. I knew James did a great job settling him down, saying okay these are the 3 or 4 routes we're going to run. He felt comfortable with it. They were doing some things that obviously caused him some difficulty in addition to what he was battling physically. James got him settled down, which I thought was awesome He threw those last three or four balls with great confidence and rhythm and timing. Obviously, it was the difference in the game. You have to trust your gut in those [instances]. There's no question Ryan Williams can win games for us and is really improved and we're excited about Ryan. But this was Stephen's time and I just felt he was going to lead us to victory certainly at that point, given that environment and where we were, 91 yards away. Stephen was the guy who was going to give us a chance to win."

AUDIO OF FRIDAY'S TELECONFERENCE WITH UM COACH AL GOLDEN

Golden credits defense for bending, not breaking against UNC

UM coach Al Golden spoke with WQAM broadcaster Don Bailey Jr. after Thursday night's thrilling 27-23 come-from-behind win at North Carolina.

Golden called the victory "a gutsy win" and lamented UM's four turnovers. But he also praised the overall defensive effort, the MVP performance from Dallas Crawford, the blocked field goal by freshman Artie Burns and the guts Miami showed on its game-winning drive late.

The Hurricanes (6-0, 2-0 in ACC play) lost running back Duke Johnson (head), safety Kacy Rodgers (ankle) and receiver Phillip Dorsett (knee) to injuries. Golden told ESPN he thought Johnson would be okay, but didn't discuss the other injuries.

Crawford, Thursday night's hero, said of his game-winning TD run: "Four yards out, I just knew I can't be denied. It's what you work out for, what you live for -- situations like that. I just knew I couldn't be denied."

The Hurricanes won despite a lot of ugliness. This was the third straight game UM turned the ball over four times. Stephen Morris threw four interceptions and simply looked off his game, finishing 19 of 35 for 322 yards, but nearly costing UM the game.

"Again, we got to take care of the football," Golden said. "We have to improve by taking care of the turnovers. But really gutsy by the defense to overcome four turnovers. 23 points on 80 plays and four turnovers. What does that say about the defense? Again, I know we have to fix some things. We let [North Carolina tight end Eric] Ebron get into the secondary too much. I know all that. At the end of the day they only scored 23 points on 80 plays and you give them four turnovers -- it says a lot about how tough they finish drives. Every time they intercepted or held them to a field goal that kept us in the game. If any of those go to 14 or 17 that thing is running away from us."

Golden praised Crawford not only for his running, but his blocked punt as well. Burns had the blocked field goal that led to UM's first touchdown.

"Artie Burns -- what can you say?," Golden said. "He shaved the outside leg, laid up, not out. I'm just proud of him man. We needed that. That takes away one of the interceptions when you score on defense. Just proud of the effort we gave."

As for Crawford, UM's hero with two late touchdowns and a career-high 137 yards on 33 carries, Golden said the team put the game on his back.

"And he wanted it," Golden said. "He never got cautious with the football. He continued to see the same reads, made the same cuts with confidence. I'm real proud of him and real proud of OT [Eduardo Clements], who came in when he got tired there and made a couple big runs."

Miami marched 90 yards on 13 plays for the game-winning drive.

"Are you kidding me? To do that on the road you got something in your bowels, you got a foundation to work off of," Golden said. "I'm proud of those guys."

Miami's defense gave up 500 yards including 395 through the air, but came up with two huge turnovers.

"Is it pretty? Do you want to walk out of here with 500 yards or whatever? No," Golden said. "[But] think of it in terms of possessions because of the turnovers. To end up holding them to 23 [points] says a lot about red zone defense and our stamina and conditioning. To hang in there, not let them in. Look, we'll fix a lot of things when we get back to Coral Gables. But make no mistake this is a big win for the Miami Hurricanes."

Cornerback Tracy Howard came in with one career interception. He had two Thursday including a huge one in the fourth quarter to stop a UNC drive at the UM 10.

"Tracy's got a good sense for football, a good football mind," Golden said. "We're just going to keep coaching him on just making sure he's playing the defense. I know he missed the tackle on Ebron on the big one [71-yard touchdown]. We'll get him coached him up on that. Again, give them credit. They were hyped. They were ready. That was a turkey shoot for awhile there. But you're going to have this during the year. If you want to be a good team you got to maybe not play your best or not execute your best and find a way to win. We found a way to win."

What is Golden most proud of leaving Chapel Hill?

"What I said. We played until four zeroes [showed on the clock] and we had every opportunity along the way to say 'Well, it's not our night' or not have the courage to finish. They chose to deserve victory," Golden said. "That's what they chose. They chose to win, stay together, fight, stand their ground until the end and because of that they gave themselves an opportunity to win the game."

Golden had told the team in Wednesday night's meetings the Hurricanes were going to have to fight until the very end to beat North Carolina (1-5).

"If they weren't believers before I told them just now in the locker room by the time you land you'll be a believer," Golden said. "We knew what we were going to face here tonight. This was a circle the wagons game tonight for them. This was all the energy you can absorb and then try to fight back. So it was a good win for our guys."

Here is what offensive lineman Jonathan Feliciano said after the win on Twitter...

October 17, 2013

Gameday blog: Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels

The 10th-ranked Miami Hurricanes (5-0, 1-0) play their first game of the season outside of the state of Florida tonight against ACC rival North Carolina (1-4, 0-2). Kickoff is at 7:45 p.m. on ESPN.

Feel free to join our live chat below to talk about the game while its happening.

ESPN's Rece Davis and Jesse Palmer talk UM football -- are the Canes really a Top-10 team?

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.. -- We had availability this afternoon with ESPN personalities Rece Davis and Jesse Palmer, who will be on the broadcast tonight for the UM at UNC game. Both don't think we'll really see just how good Miami is until two weeks from now at Florida State -- but both are high on Al Golden (So, who isn't?) and it seemed to me that Rece Davis is pretty high on UM in general.

ON HOW BIG THE NEXT FEW WEEKS WILL BE FOR MIAMI:

Jesse Palmer: "Really, the big weeks are going to be I think in early November, when they play against Florida State on the road and then against Virginia Tech, who I think is a really good team -- a team that has won six games since they lost to Alabama.

"From a subjective standpoint, you try to compare them to a Florida State or a Clemson -- it is hard. There's no doubt Miami is so explosive, and they have that ability. At the same time, to me they've been a little more inconsistent then those other two offenses. They've turned the football over a lot this year, already 10 times. They're averaging two a game.

"It's hard to know how good their defense really is because they just haven't yet played a maruqee offense this season. they're going to have that opportunity when they finally play Florida State. But tonight against North Carolina [and] their next game agaisnt Wake Forest, I don't know if that really provides the opportunity you need to see them play before you can say with conviction they're a top 10 or top 5 team."

ON TONIGHT'S ATMOSPHERE AND NC ''ZERO DARK THURSDAY'' ALL-BLACK UNIFORM THEME

Rece Davis: "I think it's a real thing. It's an intangible and you can't quantify it. But what you have is a team that, frankly, across the board is not very good. But they have a really good quarterback, they have an NFL tight end, and they have some young talent here and there and one really good defensive lineman and a couple pretty good defensive backs. So, they've got pieces, and they're desperate and they're embarrassed and they want to atone. All of those things are intangibles that you can't quantify that will probably have them playing their best game of the season.

"If Miami is what it wants to be, they'll be able to handle that because they're the better team. They will be the better team no matter what the score is at the end of the game. Miami will still be better. But it's like Holtz tells me every Saturday, the best team doesn't always win, the team that plays the best inside the stadium that night does. So it's real, I think there's an opportunity, but I do think Miami is significantly better."

DO YOU BELIEVE MIAMI IS REALLY THE NO. 10 TEAM IN THE COUNTRY?

Rece Davis: "I have them ranked --they're in the power rankings based on what I think they deserve. Realistically I would probably view them around 15 to 18, somewhere in that neighborhood, and that's no slight. They're good, they're building and I think all the arrows are pointing up.

"I think what Al [Golden] has done is remarkable. I was just saying in our meeting earlier, you want to talk about a guy that won't take a shortcut -- a guy who takes the Temple job and a guy who stays at Miami through what the NCAA has put them through? That's a guy who won't take a shortcut and I think he's doing a tremendous job. I think he's one of the brightest young coaches in all of college football. Because of that, I think Miami is close to being [back]. ..

"I'm not sure I look at them and say, 'Boy, they're overwhelming -- this is a juggernaut.' Somebody asked me if they were back to [being] the old U. I was like, 'I don't see Sapp and Vilma and Irvin and people like that running around out there.' They've got good players, but I don't know if they have that good level of player yet.'' 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

October 16, 2013

Canes listed as 25-1 shot of winning BCS championship

The road to a sixth national championship is as long as it used to be anymore. In fact, even Vegas is giving the Hurricanes a good shot.

After cracking the Top 10 this week, UM is listed with a 25-1 shot to win it all this season. At the beginning of the year, UM had 33-1 odds to win it all.

Truth is the only game UM probably won't be favored in the rest of the way is at Florida State on Nov. 2, and potentially the ACC championship game. So maybe the odds should be even better.

Here's a look at the latest lines from Bovada:

                Last week Current odds
Alabama      19/10      7/4
Oregon          7/2      11/5
Ohio State      6/1      6/1
Baylor          10/1      12/1
Clemson      14/1      12/1
Florida St.   12/1      12/1
LSU             25/1      14/1
Louisville     25/1      25/1
Miami         25/1       25/1
Texas A&M 50/1        25/1
UCLA         40/1        40/1
Missouri     100/1      100/1
S. Carolina 200/1      100/1
Stanford      14/1      100/1
Florida      150/1      Off the Board
Georgia      25/1      Off the Board
Oklahoma   25/1      Off the Board
Michigan     33/1      Off the Board
Okla. St.   250/1      Off the Board

Odds to win the 2013-2014 Heisman Trophy:
FAVORITE
Marcus Mariota (QB Oregon) 8/5 7/5

THE REST
Johnny Manziel (QB Texas A&M) 6/1 5/1
Jameis Winston (QB Florida St.) 9/1 11/2
Tajh Boyd (QB Clemson) 6/1 7/1
Teddy Bridgewater (QB Louisville) 13/2 10/1
A.J. McCarron (QB Alabama) 10/1 14/1
Brett Hundley (QB UCLA) 25/1 14/1
Bryce Petty (QB Baylor) 33/1 25/1
Lache Seastrunk (RB Baylor) 20/1 33/1
T.J. Yeldon (RB Alabama) 33/1 40/1
Duke Johnson (RB Miami) 50/1 50/1
Sammy Watkins (WR Clemson) 75/1 100/1
Aaron Murray (QB Georgia) 12/1 Off the Board
Blake Bell (QB Oklahoma) 33/1 Off the Board
Braxton Miller (QB Ohio State) 33/1 Off the Board
De'Anthony Thomas (RB Oregon) 33/1 Off the Board
Kevin Hogan (QB Stanford) 50/1 Off the Board
Todd Gurley (RB Georgia) 50/1 Off the Board

October 15, 2013

Blackout vs. Whiteout? Yes. "Zero Dark Thursday" for UNC -- Miami Hurricanes will be in all white

    Wouldn’t it be fun to have a good guys vs. bad guys game?

    It's happening, folks.

    Not that the North Carolina Tar Heels are bad guys, but they will be, after all, dressed for the part. Well, at least usually that's the way it is.

    For the style conscious among you (or just those who love the look of football uniforms), the Tar Heels will wear all-black uniforms against Miami in a game billed in Chapel Hill as “Zero Dark Thursday.’’ 

The Zero Dark Thursday theme, of course, is based on the acclaimed 2012 movie Zero Dark Thirty, about our manhunt for Osama bin Laden. But hey, Tar Heels?...C.I.A?  UM?...bin Laden? 

   This will be the night UM Canes come out in all white. 

     UNC described the all-black uniform occasion in its game notes as “the first installment in the ‘Tar Pit Series,’ which will feature an alternate uniform or helmet for one game each year. 

    “This year’s alternate uniform color has been taken from the black tar in the Tar Heel logo.’’

    UNC coach Larry Fedora, who reassured UNC fans that Carolina blue (UM fans would rather think of it as baby blue)  and white “will always be our traditional colors,’’ said it “made sense to have a black-out game this year after the success of last season’s white-out game vs. Virginia Tech.’’

   UNC won that game 48-34. 

   The Hurricanes are nine-point favorites. 

       SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

October 14, 2013

Miami Hurricanes announce 2014 baseball schedule

 

HERE'S THE RELEASE JUST SENT BY UM:

 

BASEBALL UNVEILS 2014 SCHEDULE 

Miami preps for challenging spring slate 

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Just one week away from officially opening fall practice, University of Miami head baseball coach Jim Morris released the team’s 2014 schedule Monday.

Miami’s 55-game schedule includes 33 contests inside Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. The Hurricanes finished with a 28-12 record (.700) at home this past season, qualifying for the NCAA postseason for the 41st consecutive year - the longest active streak in collegiate athletics.

“I think it’s one of the tougher schedules that we’ve played since I’ve been in Miami,” Morris said. “With the new ACC teams, plus the ones we already had in the conference, it’s going to be tough. Our nonconference schedule features some of the other great programs in South Florida.”

The Hurricanes will kick off 2014 with their annual preseason festivities: the First Pitch Banquet (Feb. 6), as well as FanFest and the Miami Baseball Alumni Game (Feb. 8).

Miami opens their 2014 slate with a weekend series against Maine (Feb. 14-16). The Hurricanes will host Florida (Feb. 21-23), head north for an exhibition with the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, Fla. (Feb. 26), and travel to Dick Howser Stadium for a series with Florida State (Feb. 28 – March 2) before opening conference play at home against Boston College (March 7-9).

Miami’s final two weekends in February feature three-game sets against rivals Florida and Florida State. The Hurricanes’ series against the Seminoles will not count towards ACC standings. The two programs will resume matchups with conference implications in 2015.

“We have a great rivalry with both programs,” Morris said. “There are a lot of Florida and Florida State fans across this state, and it’s important to play both of those schools every year.”

Miami will wrap up its regular season with a home series against North Carolina (May 15-17) before a potential trip to Greensboro, N.C., and the 2014 ACC Baseball Championship (May 20-25).

“I’m very excited,” Morris said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the younger guys compete against our veterans. We have a good nucleus returning, our recruiting class has been rated highly, and I’m excited to see them compete to see just how good we are.”

To view the team’s full 2014 schedule, click HERE.

October 13, 2013

Hurricanes ranked in AP Top-10 for first time since October 18, 2009 -- heading into enemy territory

The University of Miami football team, as of today, has entered the Top-10 AP rankings for the first time since Oct. 18, 2009.

The Canes (5-0) are now No. 10, per the rankings that were just released.

Miami rose three spots in the AP poll without having played, thanks to then-No. 12 Oklahoma, then-No. 7 Georgia and then No.-5 Stanford all losing yesterday. 

Per the Associated Press, the last time the Canes were ranked among the top-10 was the poll of Oct. 2009, when they were No. 8.

Also per the AP, the last time the ACC had three top-10 teams like it does now was the poll of Oct. 30, 2005 (Virginia Tech was ranked No. 3, Miami was No. 5 and FSU was No. 9).

So, in closing, is this a good thing going into a Thursday-night game at North Carolina, where the 1-4 Tar Heels will be totally psyched to pull off the upset? We've seen UM stunned before at UNC.

I know it's good for UM that it is rising in the polls, obviously, but just wondering if it affects the Canes' psyche. The national attention is coming for sure, and all eyes will be on UM Thursday.

Al Golden no doubt is hunkered down trying like heck to keep his players in the zone, disregarding the "external'' and staying within "the process.''

But the better and higher ranked they get, the more of a challenge that becomes.

After they were ranked 8th in 2009, the Hurricanes lost the next game in overtime against unranked Clemson.

Three games later, the Canes lost to guess who and guess where? Yup. At unranked North Carolina -- at Chapel Hill.

AP Top 10

1. Alabama 6-0

2. Oregon 6-0

3. Clemson 6-0

4. Ohio State 6-0

5. FSU 5-0

6. LSU 6-1

7. Texas A&M 5-1

8. Louisville 6-0

9. UCLA 5-0

10. Miami 5-0

11. South Carolina 5-1

12. Baylor 5-0

13. Stanford 5-1

14. Missouri 6-0

15. Georgia 4-2

16. Texas Tech 6-0

17. Fresno State 5-0

18. Oklahoma 5-1

19. Virginia Tech 6-1

20. Washington 4-2

21. Oklahoma State 4-1

22. Florida 4-2

23. Northern Illinois 6-0

24. Auburn 5-1

25. Wisconsin 4-2 

 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

October 12, 2013

Miami Hurricanes get verbal commitment from 4-star All-American Braxton Berrios of Raleigh, N.C.

Al Golden must be beaming on this gorgeous South Florida day.

His 2014 signing class just keeps getting better.

Braxton Berrios, a 5-9, 180-pound Under Armour All-American who plays QB (but is slated as a slot receiver in college) at Leesville Road High in Raleigh, N.C., just orally committed to the Hurricanes in a ceremony at his high school.

He chose the Canes over Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina and Oregon.

Berrios, who is often compared to NFLer Wes Welker, is a four-year starter on offense and defense for the pride, and is said to be a great talent with speed and amazing athleticism.

When the Hurricanes offered him in July, he tweeted: "The Miami Hurricanes just offered me! My childhood team, and even though it's not a done deal dreams do come true. #blessed #THEU

Last season, Berrios scored 33 touchdowns with 740 yards as a receiver, 1,260 as a rusher and 389 as a passer.

He has been clocked at 4.48 in the 40 and preciously ran the 20-yard shuttle in "a nation's best" 3.81, according to USA Today. His vertical leap was measured earlier this year at 40.9 inches, amazing for a guy his size.

"It's all about the U, baby!" Braxton said, according to reports, at his announcement just after noon today.

Canes receiver coach Brennan Carroll posted a Welcome to the U tweet, without naming any names, after he committed.

Off to interviews with current Canes!

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

As the Miami Hurricanes offensive line turns -- and other depth-chart drama heading into North Carolina

Just when the UM receivers were hitting their stride, along comes more good news.

Rashawn Scott is back -- well, at least on the depth chart.

Al Golden released his Week 6 Depth Chart tonight, and the 6-2. 199-pound junior is listed for the first time since sustaining a collarbone/shoulder injury opening night (Aug. 30) against FAU. Scott, last year's second-leading receiver with 512 yards and three touchdowns on 35 catches, is listed as a third-team wideout behind No. 1 Allen Hurns and No. 2 Stacy Coley.

Last we talked to Golden, Scott was "close'' but had not taken any hits. We'll update that tomorrow when UM reopens access to reporters.

***Also nice to see is sophomore safety Deon Bush get an "or'' between his name and Kacy Rodgers II's at safety. Deon has been getting more game action lately since recovering from hernia surgery. He recorded a sack and forced fumble on the same play at USF, and last Saturday against Georgia Tech flattened Georgia Tech kick returner Griffin on the Yellow Jackets' 17-yard line.

*** On the defensive line, Virginia transfer Justin Renfrow now finds himself locked in a three-way tie at tackle with usual fifth-year senior starter Curtis Porter and sophomore Earl Moore, who has seen his share of scout team this season, but also picked off a pass against Savannah State. Renfrow had six tackles and a forced fumble against Georgia Tech.

*** Also on the D-line, Jelani Hamilton is in a tie for the No. 2 spot with Ufomba Kamalu behind Anthony Chickillo.

*** On the last depth chart, cornerback Artie Burns was behind Ladarius Gunter. Now, Burns and Tracy Howard are listed as co-starters, with Howard's name listed first.

*** As the offensive line turns (or should we say, takes turns): Usual right guard Brandon Linder, a 6-6, 319-pound senior who earned All-ACC Honorable Mention last year after starting all 12 games at that spot, is now the starting right tackle for Thursday's North Carolina game in Chapel Hill. Linder started the Georgia Tech game at right guard, but switched during the game to right tackle, with Jared Wheeler taking his spot at right guard. Wheeler is first-team right guard for UNC, with Alex Gall behind him.

Shane McDermott gets his second start in as many weeks at center after returning from a foot injury.

Jon Feliciano is at left guard after replacing the suspended Seantrel Henderson at right tackle for the start of last week's game.

Henderson, back in the lineup, is now the backup to Linder at right tackle.

Ereck Flowers remains at left tackle.

*** At tight end, Asante Cleveland has moved up as a co-starter with Clive Walford. Walford had a great touchdown catch last game in the second quarter, but he was also intended to be part of one play in which Stephen Morris threw a pick. Walford was tightly guarded, but he never even turned around.

 *** Tailback Eduardo Clements (hamstring) again is not on the depth chart.

*** On special teams, freshman Stacy Coley is now a co-starter at punt returner, but his name is listed above Phillip Dorsett's, as opposed to being listed after Dorsett last week.

   And at kick returner, it looks as if Dorsett won that job over Duke Johnson this week. Last week, however, Johnson was listed as the No. 3 kick returner behind Dorsett "or'' Coley. In the latest depth chart, Coley isnt listed as a kick returner. 

    SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 OFFENSE

WR 1 Allen Hurns 6-3 195 Sr.
  3 Stacy Coley 6-1 180 Fr.
  80 Rashawn Scott 6-2 199 Jr.
LT 74 Ereck Flowers 6-6 315 So.
  79 Malcolm Bunche 6-7 327 RJr.
LG 70 Jon Feliciano 6-5 318 RJr.
  79 Malcolm Bunche 6-7 327 RJr.
C 62 Shane McDermott 6-4 296 Jr.
  75 Jared Wheeler 6-5 319 Sr.
RG 75 Jared Wheeler 6-5 319 Sr.
  67 Alex Gall 6-5 304 Fr.
RT 65 Brandon Linder 6-6 319 Sr.
  77 Seantrel Henderson 6-8 345 Sr.
TE 46 Clive Walford -OR- 6-4 259 RJr.
  82 Asante Cleveland 6-5 260 Sr.
  85 Beau Sandland 6-6 255 Jr.
FB 33 Maurice Hagens 5-11 250 Sr.
  44 Walter Tucker 6-0 226 Fr.
QB 17 Stephen Morris 6-2 218 Sr.
  11 Ryan Williams 6-5 223 Jr.
RB 8 Duke Johnson 5-9 196 So.
  25 Dallas Crawford 5-10 194 RSo.
  7 Gus Edwards 6-2 2225 Fr.
SLOT 6 Herb Waters -OR- 6-2 193 So.
  3 Stacy Coley 6-1 180 Fr.
WR 4 Phillip Dorsett 5-10 185 Jr.
  6 Herb Waters 6-2 193 So.
  9 Malcolm Lewis 6-0 187 So.
DEFENSE
DE 71 Anthony Chickillo 6-4 277 Jr.
  90 Ufomba Kamalu -OR- 6-6 285 Jr.
  99 Jelani Hamilton 6-5 285 So.
DT 78 Justin Renfrow -OR- 6-6 320 Sr.
  96 Curtis Porter -OR- 6-1 325 Sr.
  72 Earl Moore 6-1 302 So.
DT 91 Olsen Pierre 6-4 305 Jr.
  93 Luther Robinson 6-3 296 RSr.
DE 51 Shayon Green 6-3 264 Sr.
  11 David Gilbert 6-4 256 Sr.
  98 Al-Quadin Muhammad 6-3 240 Fr.
OLB 34 Thurston Armbrister -OR- 6-3 233 Jr.
  36 Alex Figueroa 6-3 235 Fr.
  17 Tyriq McCord 6-3 235 So.
MLB 59 Jimmy Gaines 6-3 240 Sr.
  56 Raphael Kirby -OR- 6-0 235 So.
  94 Kelvin Cain 6-3 250 Sr.
OLB 52 Denzel Perryman 6-0 240 Jr.
  31 Tyrone Cornileus 6-2 225 Sr.
CB 3 Tracy Howard -OR- 5-11 184 So.
  1 Artie Burns 6-0 190 Fr.
S 22 Kacy Rodgers II -OR- 6-2 212 Sr.
  2 Deon Bush 6-1 203 So.
S 26 Rayshawn Jenkins 6-1 208 So.
  30 AJ Highsmith 6-0 208 Sr.
CB 37 Ladarius Gunter 6-2 196 Jr.
  21 Antonio Crawford 5-11 187 So.
SPECIALISTS
P 16 Pat O'Donnell 6-5 220 Gr.
  18 Matt Goudis 6-0 172 So.
FG 18 Matt Goudis 6-0 172 So.
  16 Pat O'Donnell 6-5 220 Gr.
KO 16 Pat O'Donnell -OR- 6-5 220 Gr.
  18 Matt Goudis 6-0 172 So.
H 16 Pat O'Donnell 6-5 220 Gr.
  11 Ryan Williams 6-5 223 Jr.
LS 57 Sean McNally 5-10 200 RJr.
  61 Paul Kelly 6-1 255 RSr.
SS 61 Paul Kelly 6-1 255 RSr.
  65 Brandon Linder 6-6 319 Sr.
PR 3 Stacy Coley -OR- 6-1 180 Fr.
  4 Phillip Dorsett 5-10 185 Jr.
KR 4 Phillip Dorsett 5-10 185 So.
  8 Duke Johnson 5-9 196 So.

 

 

October 09, 2013

Al Golden: QB Stephen Morris "seems to be doing great, making a lot of progress.'' However...

  Coach Al Golden spoke on the ACC Teleconference this afternoon, and said his "chief concern'' regarding quarterback Stephen Morris, who has been playing very well the past few games, is getting him healthy for the UNC Tar Heels (1-4, 0-2 ACC) on Oct. 17.

  Morris sustained a deep right-ankle bruise against Savannah State on Sept. 21, and as of Saturday against Georgia Tech it was hurting him pretty badly. Golden said after the victory that Morris always reassured him that he was fine whenever the coach asked leading up to the game, but that he obviously wasn't.

  "We've held him out the last few days,'' Golden said. "We're being more aggressive in the treatment schedule, which we can be because we're not working on North Carolina yet. He seems to be doing great, making a lot of progress.''

   Then, Golden added: "I'm not taking Stephen for his word anymore. I'm going to make sure myself that he's OK. Hopefully we'll get him OK here in the next 48 hours or 72 hours and get him ready for game week. There is no question he's been playing good football for us.''

   *** Wide receiver Rashawn Scott (shoulder/collarbone) is also "doing great,'' Golden said. "He's close. He's running routes full speed and doing all that. Whether he's able to take a hit yet, I don't know. But he's running routes and doing all the non-contact stuff and looks pretty good.''

*** North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said he'd grade the performance of backup quarterback Marquise Williams "a B-, C+ type of situation'' in UNC's loss against Virginia Tech. Usual starter Bryn Renner did not play after sustaining a foot injury Sept. 28 against East Carolina.

   Williams, a third-year sophomore, completed 23 of 35 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions. He also ran for 56 yards. Renner has already said he wants to play against Miami.

   "Every rep that you get in a live situation is very important to any player, whatever position, but especially at the quarterback position,'' Fedora said. "He will just get better from that in the future.''

   Golden said he'll prepare for both.

   "I would suspect Renner will be back,'' Golden said. "He's one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he's had an awesome career. So I'm sure they're happy to get him healthy.

    "But we're going to see both in the game, and we'll have to get ready for both.''

***  UNC tight end Jack Tabb, who started at linebacker last Saturday against Virginia Tech and played both ways, is suspended for the first half of the UM game.

He was ejected with 4 minutes left for throwing a punch during a kickoff return.

"My version of the play was that Jack was retaliating to something that happened on the play, which you can't do,'' Fedora said. "Jack made a bad personal decision, and you have to be able to keep your poise in a situation like that, and he didn't do that, and therefore he was punished by the rule. That's really all there is to it.''

Tabb had just returned from a two-game suspension for violating team rules.

   SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

October 08, 2013

Five signs the Canes are heading in the right direction

At 5-0 the Miami Hurricanes are enjoying some time off with their second bye week of the regular season. That should help quarterback Stephen Morris' bruised right ankle get healthy in time for next Thursday night's showdown in Chapel Hill with North Carolina (1-4). 

First-year offensive coordinator James Coley joined WQAM's Hurricane Hotline Monday night and shared his thoughts after Miami's 45-30 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Here are some numbers that show us Coley is doing a fine job filling the shoes of Jedd Fisch, who is now coaching the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars.

SIGN 1: Even with a gimpy Morris under center and second-leading receiver Rashawn Scott out for the last four games, the Hurricanes are just as explosive, even a tad-bit more explosive on offense than they were a year ago. UM has hit on 17 pass plays of 25 yards or more. Last season they hit on 34 pass plays of 25 yards or more in 12 games.

Another encouraging sign from that is backup Ryan Williams is even getting involved. He's completed six of those long pass plays filling in for Morris, providing proof that while his arm may not be as strong as Morris' he can connect on the deep ball.

A year ago, Phillip Dorsett and Clive Walford led the team with nine catches of 25 yards or more. This year, it's Allen Hurns who has become UM's deep threat with five catches of 25 yards or more (he had one in an injury-riddled 2012 campaign). Freshman Stacy Coley and Dorsett are next with three.

"We call it chunks and home runs," Coley explained Monday. "Their eyes light up when we install the chunks and home runs during the week. They want the deep ball. Stephen does a great job throwing it. He has such a strong arm. He sees it very well and you've got guys that are running off the ball. It's hard to notice because everybody watches the guy who catches the ball, but the other three guys are instrumental in that deal also. There's a tight end last week on the second play of the game when Phillip [Dorsett] caught that great catch on that post route [for the touchdown]. The tight end on the other side Asante [Cleveland] took the corner on the near side and created a stretch. Stacy Coley took the safety in the middle and it put Dorsett one-on-one with the corner. If you watch the film all those guys really bought into playing with low pads, bursting out of their stances and creating the stretch we want."

"The home runs, deep balls are all a credit to the guys who work hard at beating press and beating zones. We run a lot of routes in practice and we try to emphasize it. Sometimes guys look at us like we're kind of crazy, but they understand. It's been fun to call it."

According to ESPN, the Hurricanes have a combined QB Rating of 174.7 which is 8th best in the FBS. A year ago, UM ranked 45th (139.5 rating). All that by the way with eight combined turnovers in their last two games (three INTs, five fumbles lost).

SIGN 2: Yes, Duke Johnson has fumbled three times in the last two weeks. But he's becoming more than just a player the Hurricanes sprinkle in with the hope he hits the home run.

In the fourth quarter of Saturday's win over Georgia Tech, UM handed Duke the ball five straight times after the Yellow Jackets had pulled to within 24-23. Johnson ran for 6, 6, 1, 6 and 3 yards, converting a 3rd-and-3 on his last carry. Two plays later, Stephen Morris hit Coley down to the three-yard line to setup Dallas Crawford's game-sealing touchown run.

On UM's next drive after that, Coley gave Johnson five consecutive carries again. He ran for 4, 16, 5, 4 and then 19 yards, driving UM from its own 34 to the Georgia Tech 18. Crawford scored on the next play.

Why is this significant? Johnson had never received five consecutive carries in any game since arriving in Coral Gables. The most he had were three (vs. FAU in 2013, Duke, USF, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia Tech in 2012). He also touched the ball a career-high six times on an 11-play scoring drive versus Savannah State. But never five carries in a row.

"I'm very proud of him," Coley said Monday. "He wants to be that guy and he became that guy last week where he wants the ball and they have to stop us and he's getting four, five yards a pop until he busted one. It's hard running. It's hard work especially when they're loading up the box and we're saying we're going to run the ball, you know where we're going and you have to come make this tackle. You watched it. We know he can hit the perimeter and run, but we saw him run it hard, take the contact, bounce off and get a couple more yards. Very proud."

By the way, the Hurricanes rank 10th among FBS schools with a 5.9-yard per carry average. A year ago they were averaging 4.7 yards a carry. Johnson by the way has three runs of 25 yards or more and two catches of 25 yards or more. A year ago, he had eight runs of 25 yards or more and two catches of 25 yards more.

SIGN 3: On the flip side of the coin, UM's defense has done a stellar job not only improving against the run, they've become adept at creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks and creating turnovers.

As I tweeted earlier today, the Hurricanes have produced 18 sacks, tied for fourth most among 123 FBS programs. Only Clemson, Virginia Tech and Fresno State have more (19). Who would have imagined that a year ago when UM had 13 all season.

At this pace, UM would finish with 43 sacks by season's end. That would rank 10th best all-time. The record is 52, set back in 1989.

SIGN 4: The added pressure on the quarterbacks has obviously helped the pass defense. UM has produced nine interceptions. That's tied for seventh most in the FBS. A year ago they had 11 all season.

The Hurricanes have created 16 turnovers overall and rank tied for 12th in turnover margin. They had 22 turnovers combined all of last year. 

SIGN 5: What's also being eliminated? The big plays. Mark D'Onofrio's defense isn't giving those up quite as often any more. UM had 22 explosive plays it allowed in its first five games last year (Boston College 4, Kansas State 4, Bethune-Cookman 4, Georgia Tech 4, N.C. State 6). 

> Georgia Tech had two plays over 25 yards Saturday -- a 31-yard TD run and a 27-yard pass. A year ago the Yellow Jackets had plays of 57, 37, 35 and 52 yards against UM.

> USF had two plays of 25 yards or more and one was a 36-yard completion against UM's second team unit. 

> The one long play UM gave up against Savannah State was a 75-yard touchdown run in which second and third team players weren't set at the snap. 

> Florida's longest run was 12 yards. The Gators did hit on 46- and 32-yard pass completions. But that was it.

> FAU's longest plays were a 19-yard scramble by its quarterback and an 18-yard completion.

So if you do the math, that's seven explosive plays in five games allowed by the defense and two of them came against the second and third team units.

October 06, 2013

Hurricanes coach Al Golden: "Seantrel is a grown man. ...I'm going to let Seantrel speak for Seantrel."

Al Golden just spoke to us on his weekly day-after-the-game teleconference, and he made it clear that he's not going to be making excuses for or talking about right offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson.

Henderson, who was suspended for the Georgia Tech game for an undisclosed team violation, can speak for himself, indicated Golden. Now a senior, Henderson has been suspended at least three times as a member of this team. Golden said he'll be back with the team "tomorrow morning" and "moving forward.''

  Here's exactly what Al said about Henderson:

   "As it relates to Seantrel, here’s all I’ll say: Seantrel is a grown man. He’s not a freshman  or sophomore. He’s not in here with a new coach or new athletic director anymore. I’m going to let Seantrel speak for Seantrel. I’m not going to answer these questions for Seantrel anymore.

   "I think he needs to address it next time we’re available to the media. I’m going to let you guys ask the questions and let him address it. I think it’s really important that he stands up and takes responsibility and let him communicate that to you guys.

   "Let me make it clear though, he’s back with us tomorrow and we’re moving forward. As it relates to Seantrel let him answer your guys’ questions, but as it relates to our team, tomorrow morning when we get back there he’ll be with us and moving forward."

   Golden raved about the play of the offensive line in UM's win against Georgia Tech, saying the line was "fantastic.''

   The coach also said it's important that quarterback Stephen Morris fully heals before North Carolina, and that if Morris is hurting, he needs to communicate it to coaches and staff members during the week. 

   Your thoughts on Henderson? This line is obviously special, and will excel with or without him. However, if Henderson can't get it together, the numbers are thin enough to be worrisome.

   SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

October 05, 2013

VIDEO: Golden, D'Onofrio, Canes players react to win over Georgia Tech

Seantrel Henderson suspended for Saturday's game vs. Georgia Tech game

The Miami Hurricanes have suspended starting right tackle Seantrel Henderson for Saturday's game against Georgia Tech for violation of team rules. The announcement was made about 45 minutes prior to kickoff.

Left guard Jonathan Feliciano will start at right tackle in place of Henderson. Malcolm Bunche, meanwhile, will start at left guard.

Henderson, who has been disciplined by UM in the past, was seen practicing with the scout team earlier this week. When asked by reporters on Tuesday how Henderson was doing, UM offensive coordinator James Coley and offensive line coach Art Kehoe did not indicate Henderson was in any trouble.

"I think Seantrel has shown a lot of enthusiasm," Coley said. "I've never seen a better conditioned athlete move the way he moves. He played a lot of positions this past week."

Henderson came to UM from St. Paul, Minn., in 2010 as the reigning USA Today High School Offensive Player of the Year. Since then, he has battled various situations, including a suspension (spring 2012), homesickness, back surgery, a car accident and the deaths of a family member and close friend.

He cut off his dreadlocks at the start of fall camp as a fresh start at UM.

“He’s in a good place right now,’’ UM coach Al Golden said then, minutes before the third day of fall camp began. “We’re starting to get all of Seantrel. In other words, a total commitment.

“… I can tell you this: we haven’t seen the best of him yet."

Golden is expected to address the issue after the game.

Gameday blog: Georgia Tech at Miami Hurricanes

The Miami Hurricanes look to open ACC play with a win over Georgia Tech this afternoon at Sun Life Staidum. UM hasn't been 5-0 since it started the 2004 season 6-0.

Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. The game is being televised on ESPNU. Feel free to follow the game with us here and participate in our CoverItLive discussion.

> As reported earlier, right tackle Seantrel Henderson has been suspended for today's game by UM for violation of team rules. Henderson, a senior, has made 21 starts in his career and now been suspended at least three times. Jonathan Feliciano will start in his place at right tackle. Malcolm Bunche will start at left guard. 

October 03, 2013

Georgia Tech spokesman: Vad Lee, NOT redshirt freshman QB Justin Thomas, to start against Canes.

I just called Georgia Tech to inquire about some Twitter speculation that Yellow Jackets redshirt freshman quarterback Justin Thomas will start against the Hurricanes -- and that usual starter Vad Lee is hurt.

"That's wrong,'' said Dean Buchan, Georgia Tech's assistant athletic director for media relations. "Vad Lee hasn't even been sidelined. He's not hurt. 

"I don't even know where that came from. It's not remotely true. Vad Lee will start Saturday.''

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday that Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson told reporters after practice that Thomas will "more than likely" play against the Hurricanes. But Johnson did not mention Thomas starting.

"That's because Justin has been playing well in practice,'' Buchan said of Thomas getting playing time. 

However, just because Thomas is not starting doesn't mean he won't see significant playing time. If Thomas comes in and moves the chains, and if Lee has a game like last week, then we could see a lot of Thomas.

Lee had a bad game last week in the Yellow Jacket's first loss of the season, a 17-10 defeat to Virginia Tech in Atlanta. In that game, Lee completed 7 of 24 passes for 144 yards, with two interceptions. He also lost a fumble.

Thomas has played in three games this season, with his only rushing attempts against Elon in the Aug. 31 season opener. He rushed five times for 53 yards and a touchdown, his longest run going 44 yards.

Thomas has not thrown a pass.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN