Some UM, Marlins, Heat and Dolphins notes on a Saturday afternoon:
• I was at the Dolphins' well-run high school media day today (near their Davie facility at Nova Southeastern) and I'll have a lot of nuggets in the coming days. Among those:
One of UM's targets, Columbus cornerback Trajan Bandy, said UM is unquestionably his front-runner and he wants to meet with Mark Richt in the next couple of weeks. Bandy is a high-priority for UM at a need position; he is rated the No. 12 cornerback and the 128th-best player overall in the 2017 class. He also has been considering South Carolina and TCU.
Another player who has UM as his front-runner: Carol City linebacker De'Andre Wilder, though some in his family would like to see him go away for college.
Check back in the coming days for more.
• Meanwhile, at UM, offensive line coach Stacy Searels was the assistant made available to the media today and echoed the same theme he expressed from the spring: UM needs better depth on its line.
"We're thin," he said. "We're thin right now. If you don't have Nick Linder and Sunny Odogwu, we'd be paper-thin." So far, Odogwu has been running with the starters at right tackle, ahead of Tyree St. Louis.
• The Adrian Colbert/Sheldrick Redwine battle to start opposite Corn Elder should be super-competitive. "He's taking on a leadership role," Redwine said of Colbert. "He's been getting our young guys right, getting everybody right." If Colbert starts on the boundary, Redwine has a chance to be the first-team nickel.
Considering cornerback has been a concern, this was encouraging from Mark Richt today: "The defensive backs played, I thought, exceptionally well, with the ball in the air. There were some outstanding balls in the air that were broken up, and some really good-looking picks. I couldn't even tell you who got them, because I'm going to the next play. I'm not looking at the [jersey] number to see who got it. Overall, I thought the defensive backs really had a nice day with the ball in the air, and competing physically too.”
• Left guard KC McDermott explained why the offensive line will be better:
"You guys could see last year and obviously a lot of fans saw last year and made it well known that we did not look like a fit offensive line," McDermott said. "I can admit it, I was 320 pounds, was really bad, did not look good at all. Once coach Richt came in here and hired a nutritionist (Kyle Bellamy) we really realized how important it was to take care of our body. We all took a nutrition class during the spring, really understood what it really meant to take care of our bodies. And what we've done as an offensive line, we've looked out for each other - eat the right things, we've gone to the grocery store [Trader Joe's and Publix] together to make sure we're buying the right foods to eat, right snacks to eat during the day. It's improved - you can see in our body types. Our body fat has gone down, our muscle has gone up and that was the whole focus of the offseason was to make sure we maintain our weights but our body fat goes down and our muscular mass goes up."
• The Marlins bolstered their bullpen today by acquiring lefty Hunter Cervenka from Atlanta for two prospects: infielder Anfernee Seymour and left-handed pitcher Michael Mader.
Cervenka, in his first big-league season, has been effective, with a 1-0 record and 3.18 ERA in 50 games.
He has allowed only 20 hits in 34 innings but also has walked 23 while striking out 35. He is holding batters to a .175 average, 10th among National League relievers. And left-handed hitters are batting just .145 off him.
"Both are legitimate prospects," ESPN analyst and former Nationals GM Jim Bowden said. "Seymour has stolen 76 bases over his first 193 professional games. [The] Marlins are making strong effort to get to post-season but paying a price from farm system to do it."
Seymour was batting 2.52 with 31 steals at low-level Class A Greensboro. Mader was 7-6 with a 3.50 ERA as a starter at high-level Class A Jupiter.
• The Marlins had to go to the last resort of putting David Phelps back in their rotation (and he pitched well Friday night in Colorado) because Jose Urena bombed in his last start and Justin Nicolino has allowed 14 runs in his last 16 innings at Triple A. Don’t bemoan trading Jarred Cosart, though; he walked six in 3 1/3 in his first Padres start.
• Look for the Marlins to be awarded first-round World Baseball Classic games in 2017.
• According to an associate, the Heat is among teams that very much appeal to Sacramento forward Rudy Gay, who has been available in trades. But Miami likely lacks the tradable assets to acquire him if it wanted to and his $14.2 million player option for 2017-18 is worrisome. Players signed this month in free agency cannot be traded until Dec. 15.
• According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Packers will become the first team to give a workout to former UM star tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., who is trying to make a comeback. Winslow's camp hoped the Dolphins would be willing to look at him, but Miami apparently hasn't been to this point.
Winslow, 33, hasn't played since catching 31 passes for the Jets in 2013.
• Jakeem Grant's hands and ability to catch the ball have drawn criticism from at least one local media member, but Adam Gase says this has not been an issue.
"He’s been great as far as consistently catching the ball," Gase said. "I know he keeps working on that. I love the fact that he can catch every ball in practice (and) I always see him trying to catch balls (after practice). He’ll try to hit the jugs machine. He’s constantly working which, when you get a rookie player in there, you hope every guy is like that. That they don’t feel like they’ve arrived. They’re thinking ‘Okay, how can I make sure that I’m on this roster when we hit Seattle.’ So I feel like he’s really pushing himself and he’s trying to do extra all the time."
Grant had nine dropped passes at Texas Tech last season but caught 90 for 1268 yards.
FROM EARLIER SATURDAY
Two quick things before our Olympic TV primer:
1) If you are here for on-field news, please click here for 20 Dolphins nuggets from Friday (and come back Saturday afternoon for more on-field news on our teams).
2) Please click here for full listings showing what channel to find everything at the Olympics over the first week of the Games.
OLYMPICS TV PRIMER
Every Olympics on NBC inevitably establishes a new record for volume and breadth of coverage, and this year’s numbers for the Rio Games are both staggering and unprecedented: 6755 hours over 11 platforms.
And more good news: Most of the prime time programming on NBC will be live, though the Opening Ceremony will be on one-hour delay.
Of those 6755 hours, 4500 will be available on NBCOlympics.com for authenticated pay TV subscribers. The remaining 2200-plus hours will be available on NBC, seven cable networks and two specialty channels.
“If my memory is correct, in Atlanta [at the 1996 Summer Games], there were about 170, 175 hours of coverage, and we thought that was a heck of a lot and so did America!” said Bob Costas, who will be hosting a prime-time Olympics show for the record 11th time.
As usual, NBC will mix competition with tear-jerking athlete profiles.
“There was a time when there was some validity to the critique that some of the athlete profiles were a bit over the top -- too much hearts and flowers, too many violin strings,” Costas said. “ I think at one time [former NBC Sports chairman] Dick Ebersol, after we kind of saw the light, joked that we have now taken asthma off the list of potentially fatal diseases.
“But when you watch these athlete profiles, you'll see that the vast majority of them are designed just to familiarize you with these athletes. A lot of them are quirky. A lot of them are funny. A lot of them are designed to give you a better idea of what he or she is about.”
A primer on what to expect:
• NBC’s 260.5 hours of coverage begins with the Opening Ceremonies on Friday and will include heavy doses of swimming, gymnastics, track and field, diving, beach volleyball, volleyball, and the men’s and women’s basketball finals. Those are the Olympics that typically draw the most eyeballs.
On most days, NBC will air coverage from 8 p.m. to midnight, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 12:35 a.m. to 1:35 a.m., with a replay from 1:35 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.
• NBC Sports Net will air 330 hours, with 16 hours on most days (8 a.m. to midnight). At least 20 sports will be showcased, including a lot of U.S. women’s soccer and men’s and women’s basketball.
• Bravo offers 94.5 hours of tennis-dominated fare. For each of the first five days, Bravo will televise Olympic tennis for more than 12 hours, from 9:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. The final four days will each feature eight hours of coverage, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• CNBC’s 42 hours feature elimination-round basketball and volleyball, plus archery, beach volleyball, cycling, rugby, water polo, wrestling and others sports. CNBC’s coverage will air from 5 to 8 p.m. weekdays, after the network’s financial programming ends.
• MSNBC will carry 78.5 hours, including men’s basketball, beach volleyball, rugby, soccer, volleyball, and water polo, among other sports. On 10 of the 15 days, MSNBC will air Olympic programming from noon to 5 p.m.
• USA Network has 110.5 hours of programming, mostly from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, with a focus on men’s basketball, beach volleyball, cycling, rowing, synchronized swimming, volleyball, water polo and more.
• With golf returning to the Olympics for the first time in more than a century, Golf Channel will carry 115 hours, including the men’s tournament (Aug. 11-14) and the women’s tournament (Aug. 17).
• Telemundo and NBC Universo will present 273.5 hours, the most extensive Olympic coverage in the history of U.S. Spanish-language television, and 100 hours more than London in 2012. Among the highlights: coverage of the Mexican men’s soccer team, which will be defending the gold medal it won at the 2012 Olympics.
Both networks will weave in features focusing on Olympic athletes from Latin America and the United States. Famed soccer announcer Andres Cantor will be among NBC’s hosts.
• NBC will offer specialty channels for basketball and soccer, with 779 hours of content. They will be available through cable, satellite and telco providers.
• NBC’s streaming digital coverage will so be comprehensive, NBC executive Gary Zenkel said, that “we expect consumption of the Olympics to soar throughout that period on both our Web and mobile apps. These are optimized for viewing. So whether it's the core fan of a sport, it's there every second.
“If you like tennis, you can watch three courts at one time. And then if you're just away from your television and you want to catch what's on NBCSN, it's there as well. It still amazes me that 6,700 hours is right here if you have a cable subscription. We will put all of the video streaming mobilely on the NBC Sports app.”
Brian Roberts, CEO of NBC parent company Comcast, noted that “there will be up to 41 live streams, every athlete every moment that you'll be able to choose from.”
• What’s more, NBC will distribute “4K Ultra HD” coverage to cable, satellite, telco providers, and other partners. The 83 hours will be made available on one-day delay and will include 4K UHD footage from the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, swimming, track and field, basketball, the men’s soccer final, and judo. It promises ultra-high resolution that is roughly four times that of current HD.
• Comcast’s Roberts said delivering more than 6700 hours is “a laboratory for what's the future of television. And so we looked at the 6,700 hours not with trepidation but with excitement. …It's like watching every NFL football game since 2008. It's kind of impossible to do in 17 days.”
Several notable changes to NBC’s lineup:
• Mike Tirico, who left ESPN earlier this summer, will one of NBC’s afternoon hosts, along with Al Michaels and Dan Patrick.
• Ryan Seacrest, host of Fox’s American Idol, will be permitted to work for NBC as its late-night Olympic host. He was a special correspondent for NBC at the 2012 Olympics. Mary Carrillo, NBC’s late-night host in 2012, will serve as a correspondent on these Olympics.
• Nastia Liukin replaces Elfi Schlegel as the co-gymnastics analyst, with Tim Daggett, alongside Al Trautwig. Schlegel was quite capable, but adding Liukin (a 2008 Olympic gold medalist) appears an attempt to become more contemporary.
OTHER ANNOUNCING ASSIGNMENTS
Marv Albert (on loan from TNT) and Doug Collins (on loan from ABC/ESPN) will call the men’s basketball gold medal game…. Former star skaters Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, who served up colorful, light-hearted reports and played off each other delightfully well at the 2012 Games, will again serve as correspondents…. Former Olympians Apollo Ohno and Tanith White and golf analyst David Feherty also will be NBC correspondents in Rio.