« July 2014 | Main | September 2014 »

31 posts from August 2014

August 30, 2014

11:30 p.m.: Heat shakes up coaching staff; UM schedules series with FIU; Ex-players vocal on UM program; Heat summons FA center; Dolphins, Marlins

Quick 11:30 p.m. update: As Yahoo! reported tonight, Erik Spoelstra is shaking up his coaching staff.

Ron Rothstein and Bob McAdoo will no longer be in the significant positions they've held for years and have been offered other jobs in the organization. Juwan Howard is expected to take one of their spots on the bench.

The other spot held by Rothstein and McAdoo might go to a former NBA coach (Yahoo! said that has been discussed) or possibly to Dan Craig, who has coached the Heat's summer league team the past two years.

Meanwhile, David Fizdale, 40, will become Spoelstra's unquestioned lead assistant. He joined the Heat's staff in 2008, one of Spoelstra's first hires as coach, after holding assistant jobs with the Warriors and Hawks. He declined overtures to interview for Portland's job a couple of years ago, saying that he wanted to remain with the Heat.

Rothstein, 71, was the Heat's first coach and has been a Heat assistant for the past 11 seasons. McAdoo, 62, has been a Heat assistant for the past 20.




Hurricanes chatter as we approach Monday's season opener:

### Eight years after an ugly football brawl created a rift between UM and FIU, the schools have struck a deal to resume their cross-town rivalry. Look for UM and FIU to announce that they have scheduled football games in 2018 at Sun Life Stadium and 2019 at a site-to-be-determined.

The 2019 meeting is technically an FIU home game, but the game will not be at FIU Stadium because it’s too small; it figures to be played at Marlins Park (the Marlins would be interested) or Sun Life. The schools also will resume playing in other sports.

Emotions have thawed since 13 players were ejected and 31 assessed one-game suspensions after a bench-clearing brawl in their 2006 game. After that incident, UM said it would not schedule any more football or basketball games with FIU, beyond the 2007 football game already scheduled.

### I asked several UM players and officials for tangible reasons why this defense will be better after finishing 89th last season.

Among their answers: better defensive line depth with the additions of Chad Thomas, Trent Harris and Demetrius Jackson; the instincts and physicality that Dallas Crawford will bring to safety; talent and depth at cornerback; and the belief that Calvin Heurtelou, Courtel Jenkins and eventually Michael Wyche will be slightly better at defensive tackle than Curtis Porter (out of football), Justin Renfrow (cut by Arizona last week) and Luther Robinson (cut today by Green Bay).

Anthony Chickillo cited another reason: “Our defense is an NFL system and you have to put in the work. Guys are taking the initiative to learn it more” than past years.

Cornerback Tracy Howard said one reason for that increased player diligence is “we got a lot of distractions out of the program,” declining to elaborate.

Still, one UM person voiced concern about how UM will defend runs to the perimeter.

In general, “how they play defense is just crazy,” Fox analyst and former UM assistant and ex-Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said. “I’m pulling for them but they have some issues.”

### Some former UM players are restless with the state of the program.

“It’s a short leash this year,” Brett Romberg said this offseason. “Excuses are over. You’ve getting good athletes. No excuses any more! You’re seeing the same mistakes, and that’s coaching.

“They aren’t capable of running a 3-4 defense [which they will play sometimes]. Their linebackers aren’t capable of holding the gap in a 3-4. Bill Belichick was able to get the most even when he didn’t have great talent on his lines.”

Clinton Portis likes Al Golden --- "he's the right man for the job" --- but said: “For what we’re used to in a defensive coordinator, it’s not up to our standards. But we also don’t have the defensive linemen, linebackers and secondary we’re used to, don’t have playmakers who command double teams, don’t have linebackers who wreak havoc. But you have to give Mark D’Onofrio something to work with.”

And Randal Hill said: “Fans are spoiled because it’s Miami. And rightfully so. Butch Davis went through sanctions and won games. You can’t just win against only teams with losing records. A lot of former players want to see better defense and a better team. Are they going in the right direction? My jury is out.”

### Offensive coordinator James Coley insists UM has no intention of playing conservatively because Brad Kaaya is a freshman. “But you wouldn’t know he’s a freshman,” receiver Malcolm Lewis said, noting his poise and sound decision-making.

Provided Kaaya fulfills expectations, the future --– regardless of whether suspended Kevin Olsen sticks around --- looks promising at quarterback with Kaaya, Malik Rosier, 2015 Tampa-based oral commitment Dwayne Lawson (rivals.com’s 23rd-ranked dual threat quarterback who also has offers from UF, FSU and Ohio State) and 2016 four-star UM oral commitment Jack Allison, the 6-5 Palmetto High junior whom analyst Charles Fishbein calls “elite” and comparable in ability to Kyle Wright.

### Running backs coach Tim Harris predicts freshman Joseph Yearby “is going to be very special this season and the future, one of the great ones that comes through here. He reminds me of Clinton Portis. He has that type of ability to make guys miss in space and accelerate for a long run.”


### What do Las Vegas bookmakers think of the Dolphins? Not much.

Miami’s over/under for wins at the MGM Grand and 12 Nevada casinos is 7.5 and its odds to win the Super Bowl are 60-to-1. Only three teams have longer odds: Buffalo (80 to 1) and Tennessee and Jacksonville (125 to 1).

### Remember that committee that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross formed to review the team’s conduct policies and make suggestions? Tony Dungy told me last week that the group (Dungy, Dan Marino, Jason Taylor, Don Shula, Curtis Martin) never even met and has no plans to.

### The injury to Dolphins rookie linebacker Jordan Tripp is a bruised sternum, and the team is hopeful he will be back this week or next.... Please see the last post for a wrap-up of the Dolphins' roster moves, as chronicled in our running blog Saturday.

### The Heat, looking to add another veteran backup center, summoned 6-11 Nazr Mohammed, 34, for a workout and meeting with team executives on Thursday. Mohammed, who has career averages of 5.9 points and 4.8 rebounds, played in 80 games for the Bulls last season.

Among free agent centers, the Heat is most intrigued by Emeka Okafor. But ESPN said he might not play until midseason because of a herniated disk. The Heat also has inquired about 6-11 free agent center Andray Blatche, who has a home here.

### One veteran NBA scout said of the most prominent shooting guards still available last week --- Ray Allen, Jordan Crawford, Golden State-bound Leandro Barbosa, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Heat-bound Shannon Brown --- the Heat signed the worst in Brown, who’s an erratic shooter.

But the Heat wanted a backup two-guard with size (6-4) and one who can defend, and there were concerns about Barbosa’s defense and durability, and maturity questions about Crawford, who remains available. Also, Brown was willing to take a non-guaranteed deal, according to basketballinsiders.com.

The Heat would love for Allen to come back but know that’s unlikely. Associates say he has been conflicted about whether to retire or sign with Cleveland or another top contender (the Clippers and Spurs also want him).

Incidentally, before they were charged with trespassing, the seven teenagers who traipsed through Allen’s home tried to placate Allen and his wife by sending them flowers. The Allens refused to accept the flowers.

### Though David Beckham’s two preferred MLS stadium sites were rejected (PortMiami and the boat slip), a friend said Beckham remains very optimistic about finding another Miami location (downtown or nearby) to place a team here. Broward's interest, to this point, has not been reciprocated.

### Among the perplexing Marlins’ developments: how right-handers have gone from hitting .185 off closer Steve Cishek in 2013 to .289 in 2014, entering the weekend.

Teams have hit .279 off Cishek since the All-Star break and .248 overall, compared with .211 last season. One scout said his “slider is not as hard as it was; he’s a little shaky for me” and his overall velocity is down from last year.

Cishek (4-5, 3.74) has a good save percentage (31 for 35) and should command trade interest this winter. He would top $4 million in salary if he goes to arbitration, and the Marlins will need to decide if they believe he’s worth that.    

### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

5 p.m. Saturday update: A look at Dolphins' 53 left standing; Dolphins, UM, notable cuts

We'll update some Dolphins and other notable cuts around the league over the next couple of hours.

### 10 a.m.: Among UM players released in the past day: cornerback Brandon Harris (Houston), quarterback Stephen Morris (Jacksonville), fullback Maurice Hagens (Atlanta), guard Jared Wheeler (Buffalo). Jacksonville wants to re-sign Morris to the practice squad.

### 11 a.m.: The Dolphins have released cornerback Kevin Fogg, per our Adam Beasley. Tight end Kyle Miller was cut yesterday, leaving Miami with 20 more moves to make.

### 11:05 a.m.: Tampa Bay has released former UF running back Jeff Demps.... Minnesota cut former Dolphins DT Fred Evans... Carolina released G Andrew McDonald, who was among players harrassed in the Dolphins locker-room last year, according to the Wells Report.

### 11:15 a.m.: The Dolphins have cut Marcus Thigpen, leaving Jarvis Landry as the team's likely punt returner.... Kevin Cone has been cut.... Daniel Thomas also is expected to be released. He was summoned to team headquarters today to get the news. And so another second-round bust exits, stage left. Thomas' final rushing numbers in three years for Miami: 1312 yards, 3.6 per carry, 8 TDs.

### Noon update: Per our Adam Beasley, Rishard Matthews definitely will not be cut.

### 12:10 p.m. update: The Dolphins have released OL David Arkin and WR Matt Hazel. They want to re-sign Hazel to the practice squad, but there's a chance he might get claimed by another team. Hazel, a sixth-rounder, is the Dolphins' first rookie draft pick to be cut.

Arkin lost out in his bid for the team's ninth offensive line job. Miami is scanning the waiver wire for offensive linemen. As of 11:30 this morning, Mike Pouncey hadn't been informed if he's going on PUP.

### 12:20: The Dolphins have cut Andrew Wilson, the undrafted Missouri linebacker.

### 12:30: The Dolphins have cut quarterback Seth Lobato but have told him they likely will sign him to practice squad. They like his arm.

### 12:35 p.m.: The Dolphins have told Kemal Johnson, the undrafted Temple defensive tackle, that they are placing him on season-ending injured reserve with a torn miniscus.

### 12:40 p.m.: The Dolphins have informed undrafted running back Orleans Darkwa that he has made the 53-man roster, according to agent Brian Michael Hannula. Darkwa also was left with the impression that undrafted running back Damien Williams would make the team as well. (He is not a client of Hannula.)

Obviously, the Dolphins could change their mind in the coming days if they find a back they like better on waivers. But for now, two undrafted rookie RBs are on the team, according to Darkwa's camp.

### 12:45 p.m.: The Dolphins have cut safety Jordan Kovacs.

### 1:10 p.m.: The Dolphins have told defensive end Tevin Mims and defensive tackle Garrison Smith that they are being released. But they are interested in signing Smith to the practice squad; he had a sack and tackle for loss in Thursday's game against the Rams.

### 1:20 p.m.: The Dolphins have released offensive linemen Evan Finkenberg and Tony Hills. The Dolphins have announced nothing today, but the aforementioned moves account for 15 of the necessary 20 roster moves today.

### 1:30 p.m.: With Caleb Sturgis recovered from his groin injury, the Dolphins have released kicker Jake Rogers.

### 1:45 p.m.: The Dolphins have told undrafted rookie tight end Harold Hoskins that he has made the team, according to agent Jarian Lyons. Hoskins, at the moment, is slotted as the No. 3 tight end behind Charles Clay and Dion Sims.

But the Dolphins also are auditioning tight ends this weekend, including undrafted Central Arkansas rookie Chase Dixon (six TD catches in 7 games last year before breaking his leg, cut by Seattle recently) and Jacob Maxwell, an undrafted rookie from Louisiana-Lafayette who was released by the Detriot Lions when they signed ex-Dolphins TE Michael Egnew this past week. (Update: The Lions have released Egnew, according to Yahoo!)

### 1:48 p.m.: The Dolphins have cut defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui and guard/center Sam Brenner. They have left open the possibility of Brenner returning to the practice squad but there's no firm commitment on that. With Arkin and Brenner cut, Jason Fox looks to be in good shape for a roster spot. 

To the moment, the Dolphins have cut 17 players and put one on IR. The team hasn't announced anything yet but will later in the day.

#### 2:15 p.m.: The Dolphins have released defensive end D'Aundre Reed, the third-year player from Arizona. Nearly all of the team's roster moves are done, with a pending decision on whether to put Mike Pouncey on PUP.

### 3 p.m.: Undrafted rookie Anthony Johnson announces he has made the 53-man roster, as expected.

### 3:05 p.m.: The Dolphins have released tight end Evan Wilson. That means they now have room to keep every remaining player on the 53-man roster (including Mike Pouncey) without cutting any else, unless (and it's a big unless) they sign any players off waivers. And teams generally sign players off waivers after the Labor Day weekend roster cuts.

That means, for the moment, the Dolphins have kept six receivers (including Damian Williams), four backs (including the two undrafted rookies) and eight linebackers. But again, all that can change in a heartbeat if the Dolphins find players they like on waivers. And they are working out several this weekend.

### 3:10 p.m.: The Dolphins have decided to keep Pouncey on the 53-man roster instead of putting him on PUP. He would have been sidelined for six games if he had gone on PUP, but the Dolphins are encouraged he will be back before then. Pouncey said recently he's targeting Game 4 against Oakland in London.

### 3:40 p.m.: The Jets released former Dolphins cornerback Dimitri Patterson.

### 4 p.m.: The Rams released former UM OL Brandon Washington and DE Michael Sam, the NFL's first openly gay player.

### 4:30 p.m.: The Jets cut former Dolphins receiver Clyde Gates.... Carolina cut former UM DT Micanor Regis.... The Colts cut former UM basketball player Erik Swoope, who was trying to make the transition to football in one summer. He might join Indy's practice squad... Dallas cut former UM receiver Laron Byrd.... Cincinnati cut former FSU RB James Wilder Jr.... Atlanta cut former UM guard Harland Gunn.


Quarterbacks: Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore

Running backs: Lamar Miller, Knowshon Moreno, Damien Williams, Orleans Darkwa

Tight ends: Charles Clay, Dion Sims, Harold Hoskins

WRs: Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson, Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews, Damian Williams

OL: Mike Pouncey, Samson Satele, Brandon Albert, Shelley Smith, Daryn Colledge, Dallas Thomas, Ja'Wuan James, Jason Fox, Nate Garner, Billy Turner

DL: Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Terrence Fede, Anthony Johnson, Derrick Shelby, Earl Mitchell, Randy Starks, Jared Odrick

LB: Philip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbe, Koa Misi, Chris McCain, Jason Trusnik, Jonathan Freeny, Jordan Tripp, Jelani Jenkins

Safeties: Louis Delmas, Jimmy Wilson, Walt Aikens, Michael Thomas, Don Jones

Corners: Brent Grimes, Cortland Finnegan, Will Davis, Jamar Taylor

Specialists: Brandon Fields, Caleb Sturgis, John Denney

Note: Dion Jordan and Reshad Jones -- both suspended for four games -- don't count against the 53.

Please check the last post for the weekly media column, if you haven't read that.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

August 29, 2014

Media column: Lots of college football TV changes; NBA and local personnel moves; Lakers injustice


Expect to see a bunch of changes in television coverage of college football this weekend, none more significant than the mantle being passed from Brent Musburger to Chris Fowler on ABC’s lead announcing team, alongside Kirk Herbstreit, beginning with FSU-Oklahoma State on Saturday night.

Though Musburger is still proficient at his job --- albeit a target for criticism because he injects opinions more than most play-by-play men --- ESPN executives believed the time was right for a change for several reasons:

Both announcers had expiring contracts, and several networks were courting Fowler, who had strong interest in doing play-by-play. At 52, Fowler is 23 years younger than Musburger.

And the launch of the ESPN-owned SEC Network allowed Musburger’s employers to give him a job he could feel good about, as the fledgling network’s lead play-by-play voice on Saturday night games, paired with Jesse Palmer, and select other games, including Thursday’s South Carolina-Texas A&M opener. Musburger’s games often will be the weekend’s third-best SEC matchup.

Fowler has handled football play-by-play before, calling Thursday night games for ESPN from 2006 through 2009. He’s better in the studio, but he’s smart, well-prepared and should be highly competent in his new role.

“I try not to sound announcery,” he said. “I don’t try to make it about me or catchphrases. I try to document the action and stay out of the way. Our booth will sound conversational.”

Fowler made his new gig more challenging by asking to continue anchoring College GameDay on Saturday mornings. Fowler and Herbstreit then will fly from the GameDay site to the site of the Saturday night game when the broadcasts are in different cities.

Other notable changes:

### With Palmer leaving his studio job, ABC replaced him with two analysts: former FSU quarterback Danny Kanell and ex-Texas coach Mack Brown.

### Two coaches with past ties to UM landed prominent studio gigs: Dave Wannstedt, the former Dolphins’ coach, with Fox, and Butch Davis with ESPN2. Davis replaces draft analyst Todd McShay, who said he requested a move to a sideline reporter role.

### Tim Tebow –-- awaiting another NFL opportunity --- will be a studio analyst on SEC Network, which launched this month in more than 90 million homes.

### CBS, which doesn’t begin its Southeastern Conference coverage until Georgia-South Carolina on Sept. 13, changed hosts, replacing Tim Brando with Adam Zucker. Brando recently joined Fox for a college play-by-play job.

### FYI: ESPN assigned Rece Davis, Palmer and David Pollack to Monday’s UM-Louisville game.


### Some fans assuredly will celebrate Bill Simmons’ decision to leave ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA studio to host his own NBA program on ESPN. Because he offered a perspective different from ex-jocks and ex-coaches, Simmons’ presence on NBA Countdown didn’t annoy this viewer to the extent it did others.

But some of his observations were dubious (especially when he wondered if LeBron James was distracted in Game 2 of the Indiana series because Cleveland won the draft lottery), and he too often dominated the conversation, which resulted in Doug Collins not getting enough time to speak.

For now, ABC/ESPN is leaning against adding a fourth person alongside Collins, Jalen Rose and Sage Steele. Polarizing Stephen A. Smith would lure some viewers but probably drive others away.

### Somebody must have forgotten to tell the networks that the Lakers probably aren’t going to be very good.

They were given 20 ABC/ESPN/TNT games, compared with 19 for the champion Spurs. Yes, the Lakers draw higher ratings than most, but that much exposure isn’t warranted.

Eight teams have more national TV games than the Heat’s 16: Chicago, Cleveland and Oklahoma City (25 each), the Clippers (23), the Lakers, Spurs, Golden State (19) and Houston (17). Portland also has 16.

### A year after its launch, ESPN2 is moving Keith Olbermann’s show from 11 p.m. to 5 p.m., beginning Sept. 8, and slicing it from 60 minutes to 30. Olbermann said he also will host SportsCenter “now and then.”

### Can’t blame Rams coach Jeff Fisher for criticizing reporter Josina Anderson for being “very, very unprofessional” in asking Rams players this week about the showering habits of openly gay Rams defensive end Michael Sam. Raising the issue on air was unseemly, and ESPN apologized.

### Tidbits: Marlins ratings are up 25 percent, to a 1.6, from last year, when the team was dreadful… ESPN built a studio at the Clevelander in South Beach for Dan Le Batard to do his TV and radio shows, beginning next week. The public cannot watch in person because of lack of space on site…

FIU hired Mike Levine, who had been working UM baseball on WQAM with Joe Zagacki, as its new English-language football announcer on ESPN Deportes 1210, alongside Pete Pelegrin…Channel 33 in Miami agreed today to carry FIU's opener against Bethune Cookman at 8 p.m. Saturday, on one-hour tape-delay. That will air opposite the FSU game on ABC, the UF-Idaho game on ESPNU and a bunch of other games...  NBC 6 is searching for a new No. 2 sportscaster to replace Courtney Fallon, who is leaving for a college football sideline job on CBS Sports Net.

### This is the last U.S. Open tennis championship on CBS, which has carried the tournament for 46 years. The entire event moves next year to ESPN, which now carries weekday matches. Appropriately, CBS is bringing back Dick Enberg to call matches on Sunday and provide a retrospective on the network's coverage over the years.

The upshot is CBS, after this year, will no longer be limited to airing only 1 p.m. games on the first Sunday of the NFL season, which is necessary now to accommodate the men's U.S. Open final at 4:30 p.m. on that Sunday.

### Good move by 790/104.3 The Ticket to pair Josh Friedman with Chris Wittyngham on its evening show on weekdays. They’re rational, reasonable and can discuss issues with balance and perspective, without yelling or over-the-top criticism.

August 28, 2014

Postscripts, notes, quotes, thoughts from Dolphins' preseason finale

Postscripts from the Dolphins’ 14-13 win against St. Louis in a typically forgettable preseason finale:

### None of the most prominent “bubble boy” veterans had spectacular nights, though Daniel Thomas and Marcus Thigpen redeemed themselves a bit in the second half after awful starts, and Jelani Jenkins seemed to help himself.

Thigpen fumbled and subsequently kicked a punt, losing 18 yards in the process; made a poor effort on a Seth Lobato pass; and then was scolded by special teams coach Darren Rizzi for not entering the game on a punt return, leaving the Dolphins with – well – nobody to return the punt.

But Thigpen made a case to stay with a 32-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. "That says a lot about him," Joe Philbin said.

Thomas? Typically mediocre work -- 38 yards on 13 carries (2.9 yards per carry against a bunch of backups). His blockers did him no favors but Thomas did nothing remotely special on his own.

After an eight-carry, 17 yard first half, Thomas was somewhat better in the second: 5 for 21, including a five-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

"I thought he ran well and hard; ran physical," Philbin said. "Didn't look like there was a ton of space there at times. We hadn't seen him compete a lot relative to other guys at his position. It was an important evaluation for us."

Elsewhere, David Arkin –-- who started at left guard --- allowed a sack and was mediocre in the run game, then limped off in the final seconds.

Jonathan Freeny, trying to win the final linebacker job, committed an illegal contact penalty that resulted in a first down and had just one tackle.

Jelani Jenkins allowed at least two receptions but had six tackles, a sack on a blitz, a QB hit, and another tackle for loss. He seemingly did enough to win a roster spot – unless (and it’s a big unless) the Dolphins find somebody better on waivers.

Damian Williams, the ex-Titans receiver, didn’t have a catch.

And safety Michael Thomas, who seemed likely to make the team entering the game, had a horrendous night. He had a holding penalty, was out of position on Austin Pettis’ 11-yard TD catch and allowed at least two other catches.

### Bubble players who made a strong case to stay, besides Jenkins: Jordan Kovacs, who had two outstanding plays on special teams; defensive tackle Garrison Smith, who had a sack and tackle for loss; and Chris McCain (who seemed likely to make the roster coming into the game) with two sacks and a quarterback pressure.

If McCain was on the bubble, he shouldn’t be now; it would be shocking if he doesn’t make the team.

### Despite Thomas' low per carry average, nothing was completely clarified with the No. 3 running back job. Damien Williams had 14 yards on three carries and Orleans Darkwa 22 yards on 11 carries. Keeping Williams seems like the sensible move, but if there are better options on waivers, GM Dennis Hickey presumably will consider them.

### Found it odd that the Dolphins gave the second-half kickoff to Darkwa instead of Jarvis Landry (who had no return opportunities), Thigpen, or Damien Williams.  

### Final return numbers: Thigpen had all three punt returners, for 40 yards. Kick returns: Thigpen 1 for 25 and Darkwa 1 for 29.

### As most of you know, the Dolphins rested their starters. That meant a starting lineup, on offense, including Matt Moore, Thomas, Dion Sims, Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews, Damian Williams and an offensive line --- from left to right --- of Jason Fox, Arkin, Sam Brenner, Dallas Thomas and Nate Garner.

Dallas Thomas continued to struggle, whiffing on a block that resulted in a seven-yard loss for Daniel Thomas on a running play.

The Dolphins opened the second half with Thomas at right tackle and Evan Finkenberg at right guard. Tony Hills also got some time at left tackle.

### Rookie third-rounder Billy Turner sat out with a bone bruise in his left foot. Beyond Turner and Nate Garner, can any backup offensive lineman on this team feel safe?

Hickey assuredly will be scanning the waiver wire for upgrades.

### Hickey also will be looking for a No. 3 tight end who’s better than Harold Hoskins or Kyle Miller. Hoskins had one catch for five yards (you would have liked to have seen him targeted more) but had a good block on Matt Hazel’s 22-yard reception for a touchdown that put the Dolphins ahead with 6:15 left.

He also must decide whether any defensive tackles released are superior to rookies Smith, Anthony Johnson, Kemal Johnson and veteran Isaako Aaitui. With AJ Francis on injured reserve, the Dolphins need a No. 4 d-tackle. All four of the candidates had some good moments.

Anthony Johnson and Kemal Johnson started and shared a sack tonight, but the Rams had a handful of successful plays running the ball against the interior of the Dolphins’ line when they were in the game. Overall, though, the Rams averaged just 3.6 per carry (87 yards on 36 attempts).

### Defensively, every starter rested. Besides the undrafted Johnsons, the Dolphins started Dion Jordan and Tevin Mims on the defensive line; Jenkins, Jason Trusnik and McCain at linebacker; Jamar Taylor and Will Davis at cornerback; and Don Jones and Thomas at safety.

Taylor and Davis both played well. Walt Aikens disrupted two late Rams passes with blitzes.

Greg Robinson got the better of his matchup with Jordan, who was pushed aside on several running plays. Jordan finished with two tackles, including one for loss.

### Caleb Sturgis returned from a groin injury but was short and wide on a 56-yard field goal. "He looked good," Philbin said. "It came off his foot pretty well."

### Among the night’s biggest disappointments: promising rookie linebacker Jordan Tripp leaving early with a chest injury.

### Undrafted Northern Colorado rookie Seth Lobato (12-25-147-1 TD-1 pick) made a half dozen very good throws (including four good ones to Matt Hazel) but several head-scratching ones, too. Lobato, whose TD pass to Hazel accounted for the final margin, figures to land on the practice squad. The Dolphins like his arm.

Hazel (4 catches, 79 yards) also seems headed to the practice squad. So, potentially, are at least one of the three undrafted rookie defensive tackles that do not make the final 53. Hoskins has earned a spot on the practice squad if he doesn’t make the 53.

### Matt Moore played two series, finishing 5 for 8 for 38 yards.

### Final receiving numbers, besides the aforementioned Hazel and Hoskins: Landry 3 for 28; Kyle Miller 2 for 22; Thigpen 2 for 17; the running back Williams 2-14; Darkwa 1 for 8; Matthews 1 for 8; and Kevin Cone 1 for 4.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

August 27, 2014

1 p.m. Thursday; Golden addresses issues: Dolphins chatter, Canes notes; UM documentary debuts, Stanton

Quick 1 p.m. update from Al Golden's press briefing:

### I asked him if he will have more patience with Brad Kaaya, if he makes mistakes, then he would with an older quarterback. "No patience," he said. "He will execute really well. We don't say, 'You are a freshman.' There are no qualifiers ever here."

### Golden said freshman Trayone Gray is ready to contribute on special teams on Monday and "he's going to have to play this year" on offense, as well. UM is working him at running back, though he can also play receiver.

### He likes how Denzel Perryman has adjusted to mike linebacker. "He's stout and explosive."

### Justin Vogel has won the punting job, though Golden didn't announce it.

### Golden said a few battles for starting jobs are still too close to call. Tyriq McCord, Al Quadin Muhammad and Trent Harris will share time at the defensive end spot opposite Anthony Chickillo. (It's a rush linebacker job when UM plays a 3-4.)

### Golden said Taylor Gadbois, KC McDermott and Trevor Darling are still competing at right tackle. UM has been trying to push Gadbois, who was lax in conditioning this past offseason.


Notes on a Wednesday evening (updated at midnight with details from the new UM documentary that debuted tonight):

### Arthur Lynch’s back injury ultimately cost him his rookie season, but injuries to two other Dolphins rookies appear far less serious. Though guard Billy Turner has been wearing a walking boot this week, there’s no broken bone or need for surgery. Turner has a bone bruise on his left foot and said he’s optimistic he will return to practice next week.

Meanwhile, Walt Aikens, who has made an impressive transition from cornerback to safety, is playing through a hand injury by wearing covering on the hand.

### One question for Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey over the next 72 hours is whether he can parlay some of his receiver depth to acquire help elsewhere, perhaps a backup tight end.

Rishard Matthews, who has made a convincing case for the No. 5 receiver job, could be used as bait for a late-round pick or a backup tight end (not just a body, but somebody who can make a meaningful contribution).

Matthews is best in the slot, but he’s unlikely to play much because Brandon Gibson and Jarvis Landry are ahead of him as slot receivers. Matthews also has been getting some snaps behind Mike Wallace in practice.

We hear receiver Damian Williams has some support inside the Dolphins’ building. So if the Dolphins can get something of value at a need position for Matthews --- or perhaps even Gibson --- a case could be made to consider it.

The Dolphins would be short-changing other positions if they keep seven receivers (the top four, Matthews, Williams and Marcus Thigpen) instead of six. And many teams keep five.

### Even though Al Golden and defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio are friends, associates say Golden bristles when anybody uses that word in discussing D’Onofrio’s work. That happened today on Orlando Alzugaray’s show on WQAM.

Asked about constantly having to defend his friend, Golden said: “I don’t classify it as my friend. At Virginia, we went from 108 to 17 in defense.”

By the way, Golden told Alzugaray that Brad Kaaya has “moved from a manager to an attacker.”

### One huge key is whether the defensive tackle group of Olsen Pierre, Calvin Heurtelou, Courtel Jenkins, Earl Moore, Anthony Moten, injured Corey King and Michael Wyche (when he gets in better shape) is better than last year’s group of Pierre, Curtis Porter, Justin Renfrow, Moore and King. One UM official said he believes it is, but we’ll know a lot more Monday.

It’s telling that Porter wasn’t invited to an NFL camp, and Renfrow was cut by Arizona this week. Other Canes cut this week: offensive lineman Tyler Horn (Tennessee) and defensive end Adewale Ojomo (Dallas).

### Couple other UM items: Good to see Jacksonville Jaguars and undrafted UM receiver Allen Hurns leading the NFL in receiving yardage in preseason (230, on 13 catches). Nobody is even close to that…. CBS announced it will air the North Carolina-at-UM basketball game on Feb. 28… A UM official doesn’t expect former basketball player Rafael Akpejiori to be able to help much this season, even with Beau Sandland leaving. He’s behind at least four tight ends on the depth chart....

Enjoyed seeing the Najeh Davenport documentary on the UM football program that debuted at the O Cinema in Wynwood tonight. The film --- a fun trip down memory lane --- chronicles the 1999, 2000 and 2001 teams and is cholk full of interviews with the key figures from those teams and game footage and videos filmed by players during that impressive run. The film, available on theureloaded.com, is worth the $20 DVD cost if you're a hard-core Canes fan. 

Among the notable sound bites from the film: Ed Reed and Bryant McKinnie recalling how they went to then-athletic director Paul Dee to strongly encourage him to promote Larry Coker after Butch Davis left for Cleveland.... Brett Romberg and other players recounting the pre-Sugar Bowl street brawl between UM and UF players. Vince Wilfork emerged from a New Orleans voodoo store to join in.... Coker trying to persuade players to return in 2002, only to learn some of them had just bought expensive cars.

A bunch of former Canes showed up at the premiere tonight, including Phillip Buchanon, Mike Rumph, Jerome McDougle, Gerard Daphnis and former running backs coach Don Soldinger.

### For those who missed it, when Yahoo’s Tim Brown asked Giancarlo Stanton this week about how this season has altered his “top-down view of the organization,” he said: “Five months doesn’t change five years.”

Stanton, who’s eligible for free agency after 2016, made a similar comment to me a couple months ago (he asked that I not write it at that time, which I did not) and to at least one other reporter.

But the comment fuels the perception that he’s unlikely to accept a multiyear offer this winter. The Marlins could always make another offer after the 2015 season, as well.

“We’ve definitely done better than anyone thought we would do,” Stanton told Yahoo. “At the same time, we’re still not where we need to be to keep playing beyond the designed schedule. …I want to be the only game on TV at the end of the day.”

Stanton declined to clarify his future when he spoke with three reporters, including our Clark Spencer, before tonight's game in Anaheim. (Clark has a story on the Marlins page.) But he suggested that his comments to Yahoo are not any indication of his intentions.

Please see the last post for details on the Heat’s acquisition of guard Shannon Brown.

August 26, 2014

4 p.m. Wed.: Heat signs backup SG Brown; Dolphins lineup/roster decisions; Duke Johnson's NFL future; UM recruiting

4 p.m. update: Seeking help at backup shooting guard behind Dwyane Wade, the Heat today signed journeyman Shannon Brown, who has played for seven teams in eight NBA seasons.

Brown has averaged 7.7 points and shot 42 percent overall and 33.1 percent on three-pointers in 403 games, including 58 starts. The Heat offered him a contract after he worked out for team officials on Tuesday.

Brown, 28, played in just 29 games last season --- 19 for the Knicks and 10 for the Spurs --- and averaged 2.2 points on 36.4 percent shooting, while missing his only two three-point attempts. He averaged only 8.7 minutes per game last season, well below his career average of 18.0.

His best seasons were for Phoenix; he averaged 11.0 and 10.5 points in 2011-12 and 2012-13, respectively. His career high for three-point baskets in a season is 74, for the Lakers in 2010-11.

The Heat has spent several weeks looking for a shooting guard that it liked and was willing to accept the veteran's minimum.

Miami auditioned Chris Douglas-Roberts and also had direct contact with Jordan Crawford. Leandro Barbosa also received consideration. The Heat does not expect Ray Allen to re-sign with them; Allen reportedly is strongly leaning toward playing for Cleveland, though his agent has said he hasn't ruled out retirement.

Wade missed 28 games last season, which was one reason why backup shooting guard was Miami's biggest remaining priority before signing Brown. Heat president Pat Riley said last month that starting point guard Mario Chalmers also will play some shooting guard, and small forward Danny Granger will, too.

Brown, 6-4, was drafted 25th overall by Cleveland out of Michigan State in 2006.

Agent Mark Bartelstein declined to say whether his one-year, $1.3 million contract is fully guaranteed. Brown, who is married to R&B singer Monica, was released by the Knicks on July 23.

His signing gives Miami 16 players under contract. Teams can take 20 to training camp.




Asking and answering questions on the Dolphins and Hurricanes:

### Most interesting remaining Dolphins decisions? Our top 5:

1) Starting running back.

Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno split first-team snaps the past two days. Joe Philbin said the job is open but has been far more effusive and expansive discussing Miller than Moreno this week.

“I like everything Lamar has done since he’s gotten here,” Philbin said. “He’s had an excellent offseason and camp... I like everything he's done since April 21."

Philbin, conversely, has had only one thing to say about Moreno: "Knowshon ran the ball well [Saturday].”

Moreno is the better option on third down because of superior pass protection skills. And Moreno was the faster starter last year; in the first quarter of games in 2013, Moreno averaged 4.5 yards per carry, Miller 2.7.

Overall, Miller averaged 4.0 yards, 2.1 yards after contact and broke 20 tackles on 177 runs in 2013. Moreno averaged 4.3, 2.0 after contact and broke 21 tackles on 241 attempts for Denver….

2) Whether to start Mike Pouncey on PUP, which would sideline him six regular-season games.

The Dolphins are encouraged by his progress from hip surgery, even though he hasn’t been cleared for practice. Though a person involved cautioned that no decision has been made, the Dolphins now are at least strongly considering not putting him on PUP with the hope he can play in late September. Remember, he is not allowed to practice with the team if he's on PUP.

3) Third cornerback, which means playing well over half the snaps.

Will Davis has emerged as the clear front-runner over Jamar Taylor. Davis, in preseason, has allowed 4 of 12 passes thrown against him to be completed, for 40 yards, with a 43.7 quarterback rating against. Taylor has allowed 4 of 10 for 67 yards and a touchdown (to LaRon Byrd) and a 96.7 rating against….

4) Which of the undrafted developmental prospects to keep on the 53-man roster. The Dolphins very much like Damien Williams (24 carries, 55 yards in preseason), and he and Daniel Thomas are in a tight battle for the No. 3 running back job. Cutting Thomas would save $815,565 against the cap. Thomas still has some supporters inside the building, but fewer with Jeff Ireland gone….

Linebacker Chris McCain seems likely to make the 53; Pro Football Focus rates him Miami’s second-best defensive player this preseason, behind Jason Trusnik….

Defensive tackle Anthony Johnson's chances are helped by the Dolphins placing AJ Francis on IR today. That leaves Johnson, Kemal Johnson and Garrison Smith competing with Isaako Aaitui for the No. 4 defensive tackle job. Anthony Johnson has the most upside of the four…. Harold Hoskins has a legitimate chance to stick, as a No. 4 tight end or No. 3 if Miami can find nobody better on waivers. Otherwise, he's headed to the practice squad.

5) The last roster spots at offensive line (Miami wants to find help on waivers. Jason Fox is in serious jeopardy; Dallas Thomas was taking backup right tackle snaps Tuesday); receiver (coordinator Bill Lazor likes Marcus Thigpen, but his fate could hinge partly on returns on Thursday); linebacker (Philbin said Jelani Jenkins “has showed up the last couple games a little more, played more physical,” which leaves Jonathan Freeny in jeopardy); defensive back (Michael Thomas and Don Jones --- who have been getting work at both corner and safety --- have the edge over Jordan Kovacs). 

### Is there any truth to the theory that Ireland's picks are more at risk with Dennis Hickey now in charge? Absolutely. In fact, one offensive player said a coach was overheard saying that “we don’t have to keep you anymore” because the former GM is gone.

### Everyone has heard a lot about Ryan Tannehill’s deep ball issues. But how are his deep ball throws compared with other quarterbacks?

Not good. Consider: Last season, Tannehill completed 16 of 64 passes thrown 20 yards or more (25 percent), compared with 27 of 60 for Seattle’s Russell Wilson, according to Pro Football Focus. Five of those 64 were dropped. (Heck,  Jacksonville rookie Blake Bortles has completed 5 of 6 of those deep throws in preseason.)

Only Cam Newton (15 for 64) and Joe Flacco (17 for 88) completed a lower percentage of deep throws in 2013, and both also had drops.

Of those 64 throws that were in the air for at least 20 yards, Tannehill was 6 for 36 on passes to Wallace, 10 for 28 on passes to everyone else.

Good thing Tannehill seems to have improved in some other areas, including footwork.

### So how often do Tannehill and Mike Wallace practice deep balls?

Though Tannehill throws a bunch of deep balls in practice every week, he said Tuesday he probably throws only four or five a week to Wallace, including a 30-yard touchdown Tuesday.

So why don't Tannehill and Wallace practice deep routes more after practice?

“We aren’t going to keep a player, regardless of who it is, out for 20 extra reps if we don’t think it’s beneficial to his health,” Philbin explained. “…The game’s not that complicated. The guy’s open. We got to get him the ball.” 

### What was one key area that distanced Brad Kaaya from Jake Heaps?

UM loves Kaaya’s feet and ability to escape pressure; his athleticism is superior to Heaps’, which gives UM more options in play-calling. Conversely, Kansas radio analyst David Lawrence said Heaps’ “ability to escape pressure was limited, no question about it.”

### Most pleasant surprises of Canes camp, beyond Kaaya?

Three-star freshman Darrion Owens pushing for a starting linebacker job; Dallas Crawford exceeding all expectations and becoming a starting safety; Corn Elder still running with the starters at corner (one of UM’s deepest positions) less than nine months after knee surgery; freshman receiver Braxton Berrios earning playing time eight months after ACL surgery. And one more: receiver Malcolm Lewis is finally back to pre-injury form after the gruesome ankle injury during his freshman season.

### Biggest disappointments?

Michael Wyche, supposed to be a savior at defensive tackle, lagging on the fourth team because of conditioning issues partly resulting from an Achilles’ tendon injury at East Los Angeles Junior College last season…. Tight end Beau Sandland –-- whom former UM assistant Mario Cristobal assured would be the “next Jeremy Shockey” before Cristobal bolted for Alabama --- making little impact, then transferring.

### Will this be junior Duke Johnson’s last year at UM and how do scouts rate him?

Johnson says he hopes to earn his degree this academic year and that it’s too early to tell if he’s turning pro. His mother told Herald colleague Susan Miller Degnan they will see how the season goes before deciding.

But an NFL scout who met with UM coaches this month said UM people are under the impression Johnson probably will turn pro after this season.

“Size wise, he’s not a first-round pick,” the scout said. “Fast, quick, explosive, good hands but not the kind of back you’re looking for in the first round because of concerns about blitz pickup.”

ESPN’s Todd McShay has a third-round grade on Johnson, noting durability issues (including “a history of migraines” and a concussion and last November's ankle injury).

“Burst is his greatest asset,” McShay said. “Patience is a bigger concern than vision. He gets a little impatient and can run up blocker’s backs.”

NFL draft analyst Tony Pauline said "if Johnson stays healthy, he's a top 45 player."

### Might one of Kaaya's highly-rated high school teammates be joining him here?

Chaminade (Hollywood Hills, Cal.) four-star prospect Bar Milo, rated by rivals as the 32nd best prospect in the 2015 class, told rivals.com that he is "definitely leaning toward Miami" and will announce Wednesday. He said Arizona State, Washington and Nebraska are also in the mix.

"Miami was great," Milo said. "The facilities are fantastic. Everything was great. Having Brad at Miami was awesome."

He said Kaaya has told him that offensive line coach Art Kehoe "is an amazing coach and I'll really enjoy him."

Couple other recruiting notes: Under-Armour All American game kicker Drew Galitz switched his commitment from UM to Baylor today... Highly-regarded Booker T. Washington running back Mark Walton, who ran for 163 yards on 20 carries in his school's opening win at 24th-ranked Oscar Smith (Virginia), said he continues efforts to graduate next spring --- a year earlier than the rest of his class --- so that he can enroll at UM next summer.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

August 25, 2014

4 p.m.. Tuesday: Fallout on Dolphins' roster moves today; Dolphins chatter; Injuries create issues; UM notes

2:45 p.m. Tuesday update: The Dolphins got down to 75 players by today's 4 p.m. deadline and they did that not only by cutting eight, but placing three on injured reserve: AJ Francis, who had knee surgery recently; Mike Gillislee, the 2013 fifth-round draft pick who hasn't recovered from a hamstring injury; and tight end Arthur Lynch, who ultimately was doomed by an offseason back injury.

All three will miss the entire 2014 season. One player placed on IR can be designated as a player who can return after six games, but the Dolphins didn't use that designation on any of the three.

The eight cuts: quarterback Brady Quinn, receiver Armon Binns, tight end Brett Brackett, cornerback Steven Clarke, defensive end Rakim Cox, defensive tackle Cory Grissom, center Tyler Larsen and receiver Ryan Spadola.

Couple thoughts:

### Quinn, one of the bigger first-round quarterback busts in recent years, didn't even make it to the last preseason game after signing Aug. 11.

Quinn threw six interceptions over his past five practices, including one today.

That means Thursday's game against the Rams could turn into The Seth Lobato Show, for the most part. The Dolphins want another look at Lobato before deciding whether to put him on the practice squad or perhaps bring back Pat Devlin for the practice squad instead.

Matt Moore might play some on Thursday.

### Binns got caught up in a numbers game. Receiver is Miami's deepest position and Rishard Matthews and Damian Williams made more plays throughout camp than Binns, who missed all of last season after a training camp injury. He figures to draw interest elsewhere.

### Putting Francis on IR increases the chances of the Dolphins keeping at least one undrafted defensive tackle; Anthony Johnson is the front-runner, but Kemal Johnson and Garrison Smith are still in the mix.

### Gilislee's move to IR leaves Daniel Thomas and Damien Williams competing for the No. 3 running back job.

### Lynch said the back injury happened this past summer and he kept thinking doctors would clear him to play. But doctors didn't feel he was ready, and thus, his season ends in late August.



The best news so far in Dolphins training camp? No season-ending injuries.

But reasons for consternation, or at least mild irritation, have emerged less than two weeks before the Patriots visit Sun Life Stadium on Sept. 7. Among them:

The starting offense has played with neither the pace nor productivity that everybody hoped.

Because of injuries, Miami is already on its third kicker.

And injuries have complicated several roster decisions.

Though the running game was very good Saturday, coach Joe Philbin on Monday bemoaned the first-team offense’s inability to score more than three points in six possessions against Dallas.

“Our offensive first group has to score more points,” he said.

When offensive coordinator Bill Lazor arrived from Philadelphia, numerous players noted in May and June that the team was practicing at a faster pace, not quite at the breakneck speed that the Eagles played with under Chip Kelly to begin last season, but quicker than Miami's attack under Mike Sherman.

But Miami’s offense hasn’t been up-tempo all that much recently, to the point that Philbin and Lazor “talked on the sidelines a couple times that we thought we could have been pushing the pace a little faster [Saturday],” Philbin said. “It’s something that has to get a little quicker.”

Mike Wallace agrees: "You feel like you’re going fast,” Wallace said, “and then you realize you aren’t going that fast, and by that time, it’s time to come out. [But] we will play faster once the season starts, when we have a concrete game plan. We will definitely be playing faster in a week and a half.”

Quarterback Matt Moore said the offense is “definitely not as fast as [Philadelphia] was doing it. When [Lazor] sees he’s ready to use [high-tempo offense], he will.”

And Lamar Miller said “we have to get in good condition so tempo can be much faster.”

Philbin was non-committal about how much no-huddle the Dolphins will use --- they haven’t done a lot of it in preseason games --- but Ryan Tannehill has done generally good work in no-huddle situations his first two seasons.

Also Monday, Wallace again was put in the uncomfortable position of having to explain why he and Tannehill can’t consistently connect on deep balls.

“Until we hit it, people have a right to ask that question,” Wallace said. “And it’s not going to be one time. We have to continually do it everyday.  “[Overall], we’re doing pretty well. The deep ball was the only thing we didn’t hit [Saturday against Dallas]. We have to hit that… I’ve got to get better.”

Wallace dropped four intermediate passes from Tannehill during Monday’s practice but also caught at least three and worked with Tannehill on routes after practice.

Meanwhile, other issues bear monitoring:

### Kickers Caleb Sturgis (groin) and John Potter (hip) remain sidelined, and the Dolphins released Potter moments ago.

Newly signed Jake Rogers, who has played for several teams but never kicked in a regular-season game, missed from 44 yards during Monday’s practice but hit field goals from 41, 44 and 49 yards.  The Dolphins hope Sturgis will be healthy for the opener.

But if Sturgis isn't healthy, and if Rogers flops, other free agent options include Jay Feely (cut by Arizona today), Rib Bironas, Rian Lindell, Garrett Hartley, David Akers and Neil Rackers.

### Besides the kickers, a few other players battling for roster spots have health issues, making roster decisions more difficult.

Among them: running back Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and defensive tackle A.J. Francis (knee) remain out; tight end Brett Brackett missed practice with a knee issue; and tight end Arthur Lynch (back) remains limited.

The Dolphins are unlikely to cut Lynch, a fifth-round pick, but could put him on injured reserve if they continue to have concerns about a back injury that happened this summer. Lynch has participated in some practice drills but hasn’t been cleared to participate in 11-on-11 work or play in games.

Lynch said he has been held out for precautionary reasons and hopes to be cleared to play Thursday against St. Louis at Sun Life Stadium. “I am healthy enough to do things,” he said. “I fully intend to play in games.”

Would Lynch object if the Dolphins put him on IR? "That's up to Dennis Hickey," he said. "My body is healing."

Francis is considered Miami’s fourth-best defensive tackle but has been unable to do anything on-field in three weeks.

While Gillislee was still on the bicycle Monday, Daniel Thomas returned to practice from a hamstring injury that has kept him out of all three preseason games.

Asked if Thomas needs to play well Thursday to keep his job, Philbin said: “It is important for his sake, our sake, to get him out on the field. We want to see what he can do.”

### Guard Billy Turner was wearing a walking boot on his left foot and will miss multiple practices. Defensive end Terrence Fede (knee) also remains out. Both rookies are expected to be on the 53-man roster… David Arkin replaced Turner as the backup left guard….

Linebacker Koa Misi (shoulder) and receiver Marcus Thigpen (hamstring) returned to practice… Linebacker Philip Wheeler practiced with his right thumb in a small cast, and safety Walt Aikens practiced with his left hand in a protective wrap. The Dolphins originally announced Wheeler would miss multiple practices, but Wheeler changed his mind.

### The Dolphins signed defensive tackle Cory Grissom, a former standout at South Florida who spent last season on injured reserve for the Patriots.

### Dan Marino, who joined the Dolphins as a special advisor on Sunday, visited Philbin in his office Monday. Marino’s job “will be something that evolves over time,” Philbin said. “He’s going to contribute to the organization in a lot of different areas.”


### How will UM replace No. 3 tight end Beau Sandland, who has left the program? Al Golden said on his WQAM show that Jake O'Donnell and freshman Christopher Herndon will compete for time behind Clive Walford and Standish Dobard. H-back Ronald Regula will also be in the mix, Golden said.

### Golden said two players who have gone under the radar are defensive tackle Courtel Jenkins and freshman safety Marques Gayot.

The starting quarterback job is settled but several starting jobs remain in question a week before the Louisville opener. Among them:

### The linebacker spot alongside Denzel Perryman and Raphael Kirby (when Miami plays a 4-3). Darrion Owens has impressed in recent days and was taking first-team reps ahead of Thurston Armbrister on Monday. But this battle is too close to call.

### Starting cornerback jobs. Ladarius Gunter and Corn Elder lined up with the starters on Monday, according to Canesport.com. But Tracy Howard and Artie Burns (who were with the second team) and Antonio Crawford are pushing them. UM has five very good cornerbacks and all should play Monday.

### Defensive end spot opposite Anthony Chickillo when Miami plays a 4-3. Al Quadin-Muhammad has lined up with the first team in the past week, with Tyriq McCord behind him (and Chad Thomas behind Chickillo). Trent Harris, who played with the starters early in camp, was with the third team on Monday.

### Defensive tackle: Calvin Heurteleou is holding off Courtel Jenkins and Earl Moore the job opposite Olsen Pierre. Michael Wyche, with the fourth team, continues to work on conditioning but should be able to contribute at some point, Mark D'Onofrio has said.

### Right tackle: Freshman KC McDermott remains with the first team, ahead of Taylor Gadbois, who lost ground during the summer.

### Punter: Walk-on Justin Vogel, the transfer from Florida, appears the favorite over Ricky Carroll. 

August 24, 2014

Kaaya news fallout; Details on ESPN's new documentary about UM football; Dolphins, Canes, Heat/Beasley, Marlins

The Sunday buzz column is below. First, a few thoughts and tidbits on freshman Brad Kaaya being named UM's starting QB this afternoon:

### Sensible move for this staff to go with its quarterback of the future right away instead of investing a year in a stopgap option (Jake Heaps) who had the nation's fifth-worst rating and third-worst completion percentage last year.

If you had a senior who was a proven, established winner, then starting him ahead of the freshman would be justified. But that was not the case here.

Most importantly, Kaaya was UM's best quarterback in the past month and coaches believe he gives them the best chance to win Labor Day night in Louisville.

### Offensive cordinator James Coley said Kaaya began to distance himself from Heaps eight days ago. Al Golden said he made the decision today. 

With Kaaya, "it went from flashes to 'I can see it' to 'He's the guy,' Coley said. "He got stronger and stronger and stronger with command and his passing percentage got better as camp went on, which is crazy. The kid acts like he's 30, watches a lot of film."

### Coley said Kaaya has made a "big-time" improvement in pre-snaps reads, which was an area that Heaps excels at.

### Asked what gave him the edge over Heaps, Coley said: "He can see the field." (He then added Heaps can do that too.) Being "6-4 helps. He's got spatial awareness."

### Coley said the offense won't be conversative because a freshman is starting. "You've got to let him play. I don't want to build a crutch for anybody. Conservative deal? I don't see it that way."

### Asked how Kaaya is similar to FSU's Jameis Winston, Coley said: "Their confidence is very similar."

### Coley said when he saw Kaaya in high school, he thought "this kid is cool, calm, collected" and wondered "when he gets here, what's he going to do when he sees that speed."

Coley said he got his answer quickly. "When we got out here the first couple days, I said, 'Hold on. This guy is pretty special.' The speed did not affect him at all."

### Linebacker Denzel Perryman said he tried to rattle Kaaya this summer and "I couldn't rattle him for nothing. He's poised."

### Coley said Kaaya's arm strength is "very good."

### Phillip Dorsett said Kaaya is usually the first guy to show up for practice and "has been playing his butt off. He's a calm, cool, collected guy. He's going to be able to handle it." He said Kaaya has good arc on his deep ball.




No, director Billy Corben assures, the much-anticipated ESPN sequel to the “U” documentary will not evolve into The Nevin Shapiro Show.

“This is not what the movie is about,” Corben said, as he and producer Alfred Spellman craft another two-hour film about the University of Miami football program, set to air sometime this winter.

“Make no mistake, [the Shapiro saga] will be in there, but the focus is on the 2001 team.”

Even so, UM declined to participate, just as it did for the first film, which debuted in 2009 and drew the most viewers (2.3 million) ever for an ESPN documentary to that point.

This time around, UM denied their request to speak with president Donna Shalala, coach Al Golden, offensive line coach Art Kehoe and strength and conditioning coach Andrew Swasey.

“This is not a surprise to me but perhaps not the wisest strategy,” Corben said. “I’m never shocked but always disappointed by UM. They’re perpetually in damage control mode. Nobody wants to see the documentary the administration wants you to see. People want to see the unauthorized story.”

Corben said UM tried to obstruct the process during the first movie “but the consternation they needlessly caused us last time was a positive for us. I was shocked the last time how they treated us.”

Corben wanted to speak with Shapiro, but inmates in federal prisons are not permitted to do on-camera interviews, Corben said.

Shapiro couldn’t speak by phone with Corben because he said Shapiro’s phone and email privileges were revoked.

“There is some very compelling new information we’ve received to offer something new to the Shapiro narrative,” Corben said, declining to detail the information because he understandably wants to use it in the movie. “We have received a lot of insights that shed light on previous allegations or refute prior allegations. Not new allegations but new information that we’ve received on the record.”     

Corben assures that none of the new information could result in a new NCAA investigation.

Several players agreed to discuss the Shapiro scandal, on camera, and Corben and Spellman are deciding how much of that to incorporate. We hear former safety Randy Phillips spoke candidly, on-camera, about the perks Shapiro gave players.

“For some, it was a sensitive subject,” Corben said. “Some were outright cool talking about it. Some brought it up themselves.”

Corben and Spellman interviewed close to 30 people. Among them: Ed Reed, Bryant McKinnie, DJ Williams, Jonathan Vilma, Phillip Buchanon, Santana Moss and Sinorice Moss.

The documentary begins where the last one left off, in 1992.

“It’s not a dissimilar arc to the first movie – the rise and fall [of the program],” Corben said. “The bulk of the story is coming out of the Pell Grant scandal, the NCAA sanctions of 1995, the SI cover story of 1995 and what Butch Davis did.

“You have this down-on-its-luck team experiencing a lot of issues, and in comes Butch Davis and he builds it even better than years before. Those 2000, 2001 and 2002, what should have been three consecutive national championships, that’s the primary focus.

“They had 17 first-round picks and nearly 40 players from a single roster that ended up in the NFL; 2001 is not only greatest college team of all time but probably the greatest NFL team ever assembled. The idea that after the devastating sanctions of the early-to-mid 90s, the idea you could not only rebuild the program to former glory, but surpass that, is a measure of hope for the future.”

That aspect of the story held personal meaning for Corben, who was a UM freshman in 1996.

Though Corben and ESPN share editorial control, he said the network has not pushed him to include more about the Shapiro scandal.

Corben originally planned to incorporate the 2001 team into the first documentary but realized there would not be enough time to fit that into a two-hour film. Corben pitched ESPN on a sequel in 2010 and 2011, before doing another critically-acclaimed and highly-rated movie for ESPN (Broke, about athletes squandering money).

“I gave up any hope we would do [the sequel],” he said. “Then, very early this year, the opportunity came from them. I said, ‘Hell, Yeah.’”

The name of the film has not been determined.

Bono would be pissed if we called it U2,” Corben said. “At the moment, The U Part 2 is the working title. Names are above my pay grade. The [original movie] was entitled Hurricane Season. ESPN said, ‘Why don’t we call it the U?’”

### A 90-minute documentary about UM football, which was co-directed by former Hurricanes fullback Najeh Davenport and is entirely separate from the Corben/Spellman film, focuses on the resurrection of the program in the mid-1990s through the early 2000s and will debut at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the O Cinema Wynwood ($50 admission, limited tickets) and be shown again to the public at 5 p.m. Sept. 1 at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ in South Miami ($25 admission), hours before the UM-Louisville opener.

The U Reloaded: Rise for Five also is available for $20 on DVD. See theureloaded.com for more information.


### We’ve all heard questions about why these UM coaches do certain things the way they do. Addressing a few of them:

Many, including former UM receiver Randal Hill, are puzzled why UM has its entire offense often look to the sideline seconds before the play is run. (No matter how many times this happens, it's always a strange visual.)

The thinking there is UM wants to see how the defense lines up, and that offensive coordinator James Coley is in better position than the quarterback is to change the play. But Coley’s approach isn’t unusual; Steve Spurrier was one of the first to do it.

Former players also have criticized the fact that UM’s defensive line isn’t often set before the snap –-- which is sometimes the result of coordinator Mark D’Onofrio having the defensive ends flip positions before plays. But as one former Canes standout said, it makes the defense look like a fire drill and sometimes leaves open gaps.

So why does D’Onofrio do this? “We’re trying not to tip our hand as far as who the fourth rusher is,” he said.

Some have asked why UM doesn’t allow its defensive backs to play more press man instead of zone. Former Canes and NFL cornerback Duane Starks said “something has to change” to allow UM’s defensive backs to “disrupt routes instead of playing so far off. They have guys that can do that.”

Ladarius Gunter said he sometimes lobbies D’Onofrio to play more press man. But D’Onofrio said: “We played more man-to-man last year than previous two years. And our man-to-man is press.”

### The Dolphins could use another stretch-the-field tight end to complement Charles Clay. So why not re-sign Dustin Keller?

“Dustin needs a little more time” after last August’s gruesome knee injury, agent Eugene Parker said. The Dolphins haven’t inquired about him recently.

Jermichael Finley, about whom Miami made an inquiry earlier this offseason, hasn’t been cleared medically to play after a neck injury, according to his representation.

Perhaps Harold Hoskins eventually becomes another stretch-the-field threat --- if he makes the team. He had an impressive 27-yard TD catch Saturday.

### Please see the last post for Dolphins-Cowboys postscripts, notes, quotes and thoughts.

### One veteran NBA scout said Michael Beasley is a far better player than journeyman Shawne Williams and questioned the Heat for signing Williams to guaranteed money. So why hasn’t the Heat tried to re-sign Beasley when it could use his offense?

A person with direct knowledge cited several reasons for the Heat's lack of interest: Inconsistency, lack of trust in his defense (and ability to execute the Heat's defensive system), and maturity/focus issues, which are still a concern even though he improved somewhat in that regard last season.

I would give Beasley another shot at the minimum; he ranked in the top 52 in points-per-48 minutes last season and the Heat might regret not having his offense this season if Dwyane Wade or Danny Granger is injured. Beasley would have interest in returning if the Heat calls.

But essentially, this comes down to lack of trust by the Heat coaching staff after working with Beasley for nine months. It spoke volumes that the Heat instead prefered a player (Williams) who has had just one good NBA season (2010-11 for the Knicks) and spent much of last season in the Developmental League.

The Heat has told Beasley it has not closed the door on a return, though Miami never really tells any free agent that it has ruled out a return. But Miami hasn’t made an offer to him, either, and it appears barring a change of heart that the Heat has moved on, having given Beasley's jersey number to Williams. The Lakers recently auditioned Beasley.

### A reminder, as we noted last month, that the Heat's 2015 No. 1 draft pick that was originally sent to Cleveland and ended up with Philadelphia in the three-team Kevin Love trade is top-10 protected for Miami in 2015 and 2016 but unprotected in 2017. Miami traded that pick to Cleveland in 2010 in the sign-and-trade for LeBron James.

### Though the Marlins were criticized by some for giving up 2013 first-rounder Colin Moran in the Houston trade, a team source said Moran had slow feet, low energy and “wasn’t what we expected,” to the point he was nicknamed The Sloth.

The deal has worked out well so far: Right-hander Jarred Cosart, under team control through 2019, has been very good.

Kike Hernandez (.323 in Triple A this season) could develop into an Emilio Bonifacio-type backup, with a chance to be a starting second baseman if he can hit well enough. Speedy outfielder Austin Wates is hitting .217 at Triple A New Orleans, but was better at Triple A Oklahoma City (.299) before the trade.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz... Please see the last post for a lot more Dolphins chatter.

August 23, 2014

Marino hired; Postscripts, notes, quotes, thoughts from Dolphins' preseason win against Dallas

Postscripts from the Dolphins’ 25-20 win against Dallas at Sun Life Stadium on a night Miami outgained the Cowboys, 491 to 251:

### Can confirm NBC's report late tonight that Dan Marino will be named a special advisor to owner Stephen Ross and team president Tom Garfinkel next week. The sides have been working for months on creating a job for Marino.

### So how exactly does the Dolphins’ first-team offense muster just three points in five possessions (excluding an end-of-first-half kneel down) against a dismal Dallas defense that ranked 32nd last season and lost two of its best players from that unit?

Don’t blame the running game, which was excellent (200 yards for the night on 35 carries; 5.7 per carry if you don't have your calculator).

Knowshon Moreno was splendid in his Dolphins debut, hitting holes quickly and decisively and closing with 64 yards on 10 carries. Lamar Miller added 34 yards on 7 carries.

Ryan Tannehill’s first drive ended in a 26-yard John Potter field goal after a third down completion to Rishard Matthews was short of a first down. But the first-team offense couldn't generate any more points the rest of the night.

Here’s how the four other Tannehill-led possessions were ultimately undone:

### Dion Sims fumbled trying to get extra yardage after a third-down catch, and Moreno inexplicably failed to pounce on it despite being in position to do so. Barry Church recovered for Dallas.

### Bruce Carter jumped in front of Sims and nearly intercepted a third-down pass, ending Miami's third possession.

### Brian Hartline dropped a very catchable third-down pass, but the drive was extended because of a Dallas penalty on the Miami punt, which was blocked because of a missed assignment by Rishard Matthews.

But Tannehill subsequently overthrew Mike Wallace on a deep route. (This is a recording). CBS-4 analyst Nat Moore blamed Wallace, saying he stopped running as hard as he could because he couldn’t locate the ball.

“The lights and location, it didn’t quite hook up,” Joe Philbin said.

But Tannehill said there was miscommunication on the play and blamed himself.

That possession ended when two Dallas pass-rushers descended nearly untouched on Tannehill, forcing an incompletion. A mixup involving Samson Satele was partly to blame for that.

### Tannehill’s fifth and final drive, to begin the third quarter, ended with a Tyler Patmon interception in the red zone on a poorly thrown ball to Hartline. That drive had been sustained by a three-yard run by Damien Williams on a fourth and one.

### Tannehill’s final numbers: 12 for 21, 119 yards, no touchdowns, one pick and a poor 57.4 rating.

“I thought Ryan played well overall,” Philbin said, oddly enough. “They played cover 2 on that particular interception. I thought he managed the game well, was seeing things well.”

### Aside from the gaffe involving Satele, the first-team offensive line was sharp. Shelley Smith got the majority of the first-team snaps at right guard and blocked efficiently in the running game.

Dallas Thomas was beaten in pass protection on one of his first-half snaps, forcing Tannehill to rush a throw.

### Matt Moore threw a nine-yard pick-six to Patmon on a horrible pass to Armon Binns but was otherwise effective, closing 12 for 19 for 173 yards with one TD (a 27-yarder to Harold Hoskins), one pick and an 88.3 rating.

### More from Philbin: “Our guys made some plays in the fourth quarter…. We moved the football well but when you turn the ball over close to the red zone and in the red zone, it’s difficult. We were minus three in the turnover margin and still won the game. That doesn’t happen very often... [Moreno] ran the ball well, broke a couple tackles. Vision was good.”

### With Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee both sidelined with hamstring injuries, Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa both excelled in their bid for roster spots.

Williams finished with 33 yards on seven carries, a one-yard touchdown and a two-point conversion.

Darkwa had 71 yards on six carries and a one-yard TD run with 1:45 left, accounting for the final points of the night.

### The other D. Williams, receiver Damian Williams, made a case for a roster spot by catching a 57-yard pass from Moore.

Williams, very much on the bubble, could stick in a couple of ways: as the sixth receiver, if Miami keeps that many, or as the fifth receiver if the Dolphins trade Matthews.

### The Dolphins unveiled a package in which Miller and Moreno played together, with Miller motioning out to receiver. "There are possibilities there, part of the package," Philbin said.

### Hoskins, who led all tight ends in touchdown receptions at Marshall last season, made a terrific effort to get into the end zone on his 27-yard score from Moore. It was a more impressive reception that departed Michael Egnew ever made during his two years here.

Hoskins, at the very least, should be on the practice squad and still has a chance to make the 53-man roster.

### Koa Misi sat out with a shoulder injury, but WFOR reported the injury isn’t serious. Philbin, typically, declined to give details about the injury.

Jason Trusnik started at middle linebacker. Jordan Tripp again impressed with a couple of impressive plays, just as he did last week.

Philip Wheeler, as usual, whiffed on a couple of tackles, and committed a third-down penalty that would have given the Cowboys a first down if Dallas hadn’t already converted it. But he did have a tackle for loss. Weeeee! But Dannell Ellerbe played well, which was encouraging.

### The defensive line was generally quite good in the first half. Cam Wake had two sacks and Olivier Vernon one.

The Dolphins held DeMarco Murray to 18 yards on six carries, and limited Tony Romo to a 68.5 rating (10 for 18, 87 yards, no touchdowns or picks).

### Holding Dallas to six first half points was commendable, considering the explosiveness of the Cowboys' offense.

### John Potter suffered a hip flexor injury, leaving the Dolphins without a kicker for much of the night. Philbin said he doesn’t know the status of Potter or Caleb Sturgis, who missed the game with a groin injury.

The Dolphins likely will need to add a kicker in the next day or so, and one name worth considering is undrafted Washington State rookie Andrew Furney, who kicked a 51-yard field goal in the Jets’ preseason opener but was cut this weekend because he wasn’t going to beat out Nick Folk. Furney kicked a 60-yard field goal in college.

### Final receiver numbers of note: Wallace 6 for 67; Williams with the one catch for 54; Ryan Spadola 1 catch for 27 yards (on the game-winning drive), Hoskins 1 for 27; Darkwa 3 for 25; Hartline 3 for 25; Landry 2 for 20; Charles Clay 1 for 18; Miller 2 for 3.

### Jamar Taylor was beaten for a 27-yard TD by ex-UM receiver Laron Byrd but also made a couple of good plays in coverage.

Will Davis began the night as a the No. 3 corner and likely will keep that spot. He gave up a first-down completion to Dez Bryant on a 4th and 3 but was solid otherwise.

### Marcus Thigpen sat out with a hamstring injury, but Landry didn't exactly seize the return job in his absence. He fumbled one punt (Miami recovered) and gained 26 yards on his three punts returns. His two kickoff returns netted 42 yards.

Please check back Sunday for the Sunday buzz column, with Dolphins, Canes, Heat and Marlins... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

August 22, 2014

A Thursday night/Saturday fall planner: A look at this season's college football TV schedule

Wondering how to plan your Saturdays this fall? Here’s a look at what already has been determined about this season’s college football TV schedule, with many more games to be added a week or two in advance:

Saturday, Aug. 23

Sam Houston State at Eastern Washington, ESPN, 3:30

Wednesday, Aug. 27

Abilene Christian at Georgia State, ESPNU, 7

Thursday, Aug. 28

Texas A&M at South Carolina, SEC, 6

Eastern Illinois at Minnesota, BTN, 7

Wake Forest at Louisiana-Monroe, ESPNU, 7

Idaho State at Utah, Pac-12, 7:30

Tulane at Tulsa, CBS Sports Net, 8

Boise State vs. Mississippi in Atlanta, ESPN, 8

Temple at Vanderbilt, SEC, 9:15

Rutgers at Washington State, Fox Sports 1, 10 p.m.

Weber State at Arizona State, Pac-12, 10:30


Friday, Aug. 29

Brigham Young at Connecticut, ESPN, 7

Jacksonville State at Michigan State, BTN, 7:30

Bowling Green at Western Kentucky, CBS Sports Net, 7:30

Colorado vs. Colorado State in Denver, Fox Sports 1, 9

UT-San Antonio at Houston, ESPNU, 9

UNLV at Arizona, ESPN, 10:30


Saturday, Aug. 30

Central Florida vs. Penn State in Dublin, Ireland, ESPN2, 8:30 a.m.

Northern Iowa at Iowa or Youngstown State-Illinois, BTN, noon

Ohio State vs. Navy in Baltimore, CBS Sports Net, noon

UCLA at Virginia, ESPN, noon

Appalachian State at Michigan, ESPN2, noon

Western Michigan at Purdue, ESPNU, noon

North Dakota State at Iowa State, Fox Sports 1, noon

Tennessee-Martin at Kentucky, SEC, noon

California at Northwestern OR West Virginia-Alabama in Atlanta (regional), ABC, 3:30

Rice at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30

Florida Atlantic at Nebraska, BTN, 3:30

South Dakota State at Missouri, ESPNU, 3:30

William & Mary at Virginia Tech, ESPNews, 3:30

Arkansas at Auburn, SEC, 4

Clemson at Georgia, ESPN, 5:30

Idaho at Florida, ESPNU, 7

Central Arkansas at Texas Tech, FSN, 7

Samford at TCU, FSN, 7

Fresno State at Southern California, Fox, 7:30

Southern Miss at Mississippi State, SEC, 7:30

Oklahoma State vs. Florida State in Arlington, Texas, ABC, 8

Washington at Hawaii, CBS Sports Net, 8

N.C. Central at East Carolina, ESPNews, 8

LSU vs. Wisconsin in Houston, ESPN, 9

South Dakota at Oregon, Pac-12, 10:30


Sunday, Aug. 31

North Carolina A&T vs. Alabama A&M in Orlando, ESPN, 11:45 a.m.

Utah State at Tennessee, SEC, 7

Southern Methodist at Baylor, Fox Sports 1, 7:30

Monday, Sept. 1

Miami at Louisville, ESPN, 8


Thursday, Sept. 4

Arizona at Texas-San Antonio, Fox Sports 1, 8

GrandValley State (Mich.) at Azusa (Calif.) Pacific, CBS Sports Net, 9


Friday, Sept. 5

Pittsburgh at Boston College, ESPN, 7

Washington State at Nevada, ESPN, 10:30


Saturday, Sept. 6

Akron at Penn State, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 (TBA), noon

Oklahoma at Tulsa, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 (TBA), noon

Missouri at Toledo, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 (TBA), noon

Buffalo at Army, CBS Sports Net, noon

McNeese State at Nebraska, ESPNU, noon

Central Michigan at Purdue, ESPNews, noon

SMU at North Texas, FSN, noon

Kansas State at Iowa State, Fox Sports 1, noon

Florida Atlantic at Alabama, SEC, noon

Southern California at Stanford, ABC, 3:30

Maryland at South Florida, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Ball State at Iowa, ESPN2, 3:30

Ohio at Kentucky, ESPNU, 3:30

Missouri State at Oklahoma State, FSN, 3:30

Georgia Tech at Tulane, ESPNews, 4

Eastern Michigan at Florida, SEC, 4

Mississippi at Vanderbilt, ESPN, 4:30

Michigan State at Oregon, Fox, 6:30

Northwestern State at Baylor, FSN, 6:30

Arizona State at New Mexico, CBS Sports Net, 7

East Carolina at South Carolina, ESPN2/ESPNU, 7

San Jose State at Auburn, ESPN2/ESPNU, 7

Brigham Young at Texas, Fox Sports 1, 7:30

Michigan at Notre Dame, NBC, 7:30

Virginia Tech at Ohio State, ESPN, 8

San Diego State at North Carolina, ESPNews, 8

Memphis at UCLA, Pac-12, 10

Colorado State at Boise State, ESPN2, 10:15

Air Force at Wyoming, ESPNU, 10:15

OregonState at Hawaii, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

Texas Tech at Texas-El Paso, Fox Sports 1, 11


Thursday, Sept. 11

Louisiana Tech at North Texas, CBS Sports Net, 8

Houston at Brigham Young, ESPN, 9


Friday, Sept. 12

Toledo at Cincinnati, ESPNU, 7

Baylor at Buffalo, ESPN, 8


Saturday, Sept. 13

Boise State at Connecticut, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, noon

East Carolina at Virginia Tech, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, noon

Kent State at Ohio State, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, noon

West Virginia at Maryland, BTN, noon

Ohio at Marshall, CBS Sports Net, noon

Indiana at Bowling Green, ESPNU or ESPNews, noon

Syracuse at Central Michigan, ESPNU or ESPNews, noon

Pittsburgh at Florida International, Fox Sports 1, noon

Massachusetts at Vanderbilt, FSN, noon

Central Florida at Missouri, SEC, noon

Wyoming at Oregon, Pac-12, 2

Arkansas at Texas Tech, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 3:30

Iowa State at Iowa, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 3:30

Miami (Ohio) at Michigan, BTN, 3:3

Georgia at South Carolina, CBS, 3:30

N.C.State at South Florida, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Arkansas State at Miami, ESPNU, 3:30

Mississippi State at South Alabama, ESPNews, 4

Illinois at Washington, Fox, 4

Minnesota at TCU, Fox Sports 1, 4

Louisiana-Lafayette at Mississippi, SEC, 4

Army at Stanford, Pac-12, 5

Southern Miss at Alabama, ESPN2, 6

WakeForest at Utah State, CBS Sports Net, 7

Louisiana-Monroe at LSU, ESPNU, 7

Texas-San Antonio at OklahomaState, FSN, 7

Purdue vs. Notre Dame in Indianapolis, NBC, 7:30

Kentucky at Florida, SEC, 7:30

Southern California at Boston College, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Tennessee at Oklahoma, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Penn State at Rutgers, BTN, 8

Navy at Texas State, ESPNews, 8

UCLA vs. Texas in Arlington, Texas, Fox, 8

Portland State at Washington State, Pac-12, 8

Rice at Texas A&M, ESPN2, 9

Arizona State at Colorado, ESPNU, 10

Nebraska at Fresno State, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

Nevada at Arizona, Pac-12, 11


Thursday, Sept. 18

Auburn at Kansas State, ESPN, 7:30

Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Alabama State, ESPNU, 7:30

Southeastern Oklahoma at Henderson State (Ark.), CBS Sports Net, 8


Friday, Sept. 19

Connecticut at South Florida, ESPN/ESPN2, 8


Saturday, Sept. 20

Troy at Georgia, SEC, noon

Rutgers at Navy, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Miami at Nebraska, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Louisiana Lafayette at Boise State, CBS Sports Net, 10:30

Louisville at Florida International, Fox Sports 1 or FSN, TBA


Thursday, Sept. 25

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State, ESPN, 7:30

Appalachian State at Georgia Southern, ESPNU, 7:30

Missouri Western at Lindenwood (Mo.), CBS Sports Net, 8

UCLA at Arizona State, Fox Sports 1, 10


Friday, Sept. 26

Fresno State at New Mexico, ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion, Fox Sports 1, 8


Saturday, Sept. 27

Iowa at Purdue, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 or BTN, noon

Western Kentucky at Navy, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Cincinnati at Ohio State, BTN, 6

Boise State at Air Force, CBS Sports Net, 7

Illinois at Nebraska, BTN, 9

Nevada at San Jose State, CBS Sports Net, 10:30


Thursday, Oct. 2

Central Florida at Houston, ESPN, 7

Florida Atlantic at Florida International, FSN, 7

Alabama State at Alcorn State, ESPNU, 7:30

Benedict (S.C.) at Miles (Ala.), CBS Sports Net, 8

Arizona at Oregon, ESPN, 10:30


Friday, Oct. 3

Lafayette at Fordham, CBS Sports Net, 6:30

Louisville at Syracuse, ESPN, 7

San Diego State at Fresno State, CBS Sports Net, 10

Utah State at Brigham Young, ESPN, 10:15


Saturday, Oct. 4

Ball State at Army, CBS Sports Net, noon

Navy at Air Force, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Stanford at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30

Michigan at Rutgers, BTN, 7

Nebraska at Michigan State, ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Boise State at Nevada, CBS Sports Net, 10:30


Thursday, Oct. 9

Brigham Young at Central Florida, ESPN, 7:30

Minnesota State-Mankato at Winona (Minn.) State, CBS Sports Net, 8


Friday, Oct. 10

San Diego State at New Mexico, ESPNU, 9:30

Fresno State at UNLV, CBS Sports Net, 10


Saturday, Oct. 11

Rice at Army, CBS Sports Net, noon

VMI at Navy, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

North Carolina at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30

William & Mary at New Hampshire, NBC Sports Net, 3:30

Penn State at Michigan, ESPN/ESPN2, 7

Colorado State at Nevada, CBS Sports Net, 10:30


Tuesday, Oct. 14

Louisiana-Lafayette at Texas State, ESPN2, 8


Thursday, Oct. 16

Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh, ESPN, 7:30

Colorado Mines at Fort Lewis (Colo.), CBS Sports Net, 8

Utah at Oregon State, Fox Sports 1, 10


Friday, Oct. 17

Fresno State at Boise State, ESPN, 8

Temple at Houston, ESPNU, 9


Saturday, Oct. 18

Rutgers at Ohio State, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/BTN, 3:30

Utah State at Colorado State, CBS Sports Net, 7

Nebraska at Northwestern, BTN, 7:30

Hawaii at San Diego State, CBS Sports Net, 10:30


Tuesday, Oct. 21

Arkansas State at Louisiana-Lafayette, ESPN2, 8


Thursday, Oct. 23

Connecticut at East Carolina, ESPNU, 7

Miami at Virginia Tech, ESPN, 7:30


Friday, Oct. 24

South Florida at Cincinnati, ESPN/ESPN2, 7

Troy at South Alabama, ESPNU, 7:30

Brigham Young at Boise State, ESPN/ESPN2, 9

Oregon vs. California in Santa Clara, Calif., Fox Sports 1, 10


Saturday, Oct. 25

Minnesota at Illinois, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 or BTN, noon

San Jose State at Navy, CBS Sports Net, 1

Ohio State at Penn State, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 8


Thursday, Oct. 30

Florida State at Louisville, ESPN, 7:30

Troy at Georgia Southern, ESPNU, 7:30

St. Joseph's (Ind.) at Indianapolis, CBS Sports Net, 8


Friday, Oct. 31

Cincinnati at Tulane, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Tulsa at Memphis, ESPN/ESPNU, 8


Saturday, Nov. 1

Air Force at Army, CBS, 11:30 a.m.

Wisconsin at Rutgers, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/BTN, noon

Indiana at Michigan, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/BTN, 3:30

Florida vs. Georgia in Jacksonville, CBS, 3:30

Brigham Young at Middle Tennessee, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Colorado State at San Jose State, CBS Sports Net, 7

Illinois at Ohio State, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2, 8

Notre Dame vs. Navy in Landover, Md., CBS, 8

San Diego State at Nevada, CBS Sports Net, 10:30


Tuesday, Nov. 4

Bowling Green at Akron, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Toledo at Kent State, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8


Wednesday, Nov. 5

Buffalo at Ohio, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Northern Illinois at Ball State, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8


Thursday, Nov. 6

Clemson at Wake Forest, ESPN, 7:30


Friday, Nov. 7

Fordham at Bucknell, CBS Sports Net, 6:30

Memphis at Temple, ESPNU, 7:30

Utah State at Wyoming, ESPN2, 8


Saturday, Nov. 8

Connecticut vs. Army in Bronx, N.Y., CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Boise State at New Mexico, CBS Sports Net, 7

Ohio State at Michigan State, ABC, 8

San Jose State at Fresno State, CBS Sports Net, 10:30


Tuesday, Nov. 11

Toledo at Northern Illinois, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Akon at Buffalo, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8


Wednesday, Nov. 12

Ball State at Massachusetts, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Kent State at Bowling Green, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8


Thursday, Nov. 13

East Carolina at Cincinnati, ESPN2, 7

Southern Miss at Texas-San Antonio, CBS Sports Net, 8

California at Southern California, ESPN, 9


Friday, Nov. 14

Tulsa at Central Florida, ESPN2, 8


Saturday, Nov. 15

Army at Western Kentucky, CBS Sports Net, noon

James Madison at Richmond, NBC Sports Net, 12:30

Northwestern at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30

Georgia Southern at Navy, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Michigan State at Maryland, BTN, 8


Wednesday, Nov. 19

Bowling Green at Toledo, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8

Kent State at Buffalo, ESPN2/ESPNU, 8


Thursday, Nov. 20

Kansas State at West Virginia, Fox Sports 1, 7

North Carolina at Duke, ESPN, 7:30

Arkansas State at Texas State, ESPNU, 9:30


Friday, Nov. 21

Texas-El Paso at Rice, Fox Sports 1, 8

Air Force at San Diego State, CBS Sports Net, 9:30

San Jose State at Utah State, ESPN2, 9:30


Saturday, Nov. 22

Fordham at Army, CBS Sports Net, noon

Louisville at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30

New Hampshire at Maine, NBC Sports Net, 3:30

Richmond at William & Mary, NBC Sports Net, 7:30


Thursday, Nov. 27

TCU at Texas, Fox Sports 1, 7:30


Friday, Nov. 28

Western Kentucky at Marshall, Fox Sports 1, noon

Arkansas at Missouri, CBS, 2:30

Stanford at UCLA, ABC, 3:30

Colorado State at Air Force, CBS Sports Net, 3:30

Arizona State at Arizona, Fox, 3:30

Virginia at Virginia Tech, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU, TBA


Saturday, Nov. 29

Rice at Louisiana Tech, CBS Sports Net, noon

Grambling vs. Southern in New Orleans, NBC, 2

San Jose State at San Diego State, CBS Sports Net, 3:30


Thursday, Dec. 4

Central Florida at East Carolina, ESPN/ESPNU, 7:30


Friday, Dec. 5

MAC championship in Detroit, ESPN2, 7

Pac-12 championship in Santa Clara, Calif., Fox, 9


Saturday, Dec. 6

SEC championship in Atlanta, CBS, 4

ACC championship in Charlotte, ABC/ESPN, 7:45 or 8

Big Ten championship in Indianapolis, Fox, 8

Mountain West championship, CBS, 10

C-USA championship, ESPN/ESPN2, TBA

SWAC championship in Houston, ESPN network, TBA


Saturday, Dec. 13

Army vs. Navy in Baltimore, CBS, 3


### Couple other notes: The new Miami Beach Bowl at Marlins Park, matching BYU or an at-large team against the American Athletic champ, will be at 2 p.m. on Dec. 22, and the Boca Raton Bowl at FAU (MAC vs. Conference USA) is slotted for 6 p.m. Dec. 23….

The Orange Bowl (featuring an ACC or at-large team against a Big Ten or SEC team or Notre Dame) is scheduled for Dec. 31 at 8:30.

The two national semifinals (Rose and Sugar) will be played at 5 and 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 1, with the winners playing the championship game Jan. 12 in Arlington, Tx.