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Dixon hospitalized, more from Day 5

One day into full pad workouts and somebody is already in the hospital. Senior defensive tackle Antonio Dixon was taken to HealthSouth Doctor's Hospital on UM's campus for dehydration Wednesday morning and has been admitted.

"We sent him to get some fluids in him," Shannon told reporters after practice.

UM spokesman Kerwin Lonzo said doctors are running some tests on Dixon.Antonio_dixon
"We'll keep you posted," Lonzo said. Dixon is the first player to be hospitalized that we know of this fall. Shannon said Tuesday the team has been practicing longer to get more reps for the younger players. Javarris James, Damien Berry, Lee Chambers and Joe Joseph are other guys who have been sidelined by the heat since practice began Saturday.

> Shannon told reporters freshman linebacker Gavin Hardin has been cleared to arrive at UM. Freshman safety CJ Holton was out at practice Wednesday, but didn't participate in contact drills again.

> Safety Anthony Reddick missed practice for the third straight day. Reddick missed the 2005 and 2007 seasons with injuries. Not a good sign.

> Shannon said he sent both of his kickers -- freshman Jake Wieclaw and Matt Bosher -- to kick off the infield dirt Wednesday morning at Dolphins Stadium. "Since the goalposts are up because Miami is playing Tampa Bay this weekend, we figured they could get some work that way," Shannon said.

Special teams coach Joe Pannunzio said he tries to send his kickers to kick off an infield dirt surface every third day at UM. "We'll probably send them once or twice more [to Dolphins Stadium]," Pannunzio said. "Either that or we'll just go for it on fourth down [Pannunzio joked]."

> Pannunzio went into deeper detail about the progress of the special teams, particularly the kickers, the guys working in the return game, the fliers and more.

Joe_pannunzio Pannunzio said freshman kicker Jake Wieclaw is "a very accurate kicker and getting better... his biggest issue is he's been kicking off a tee in high school... and it's a learning process for him. It's probably invaluable that he's been here since January."

Pannunzio said he's looking at all the skill players in the return game -- including all of the freshmen. "We're looking for somebody to get out there and give us some field position," Pannunzio said. "It doesn't matter what year their in."

Miami's search for a return man isn't the only spot in the special teams the Canes are trying to fill. Both long-snappers from last season -- John Rochford and Ross Abramson -- are gone. Pannunzio said Chris Ivory and walkon quarterback Jake Byrne are the two guys currently competing for the long-snapper duties.

As for the fliers -- the guys who go head-hunting on punt returns -- Pannunzio said "we should be good at that. We got Khalil Jones and Ryan Hill who have been my two guys for years."

> Regarding the tight ends, Pannunzio said he's excited -- especially about the three he says will play: Dedrick Epps, Chris Zellner and Richard Gordon. "They're a year older, a year smarter, a year stronger, a year faster and a year more mature," Pannunzio said. "They look like they're coming into their own so hopefully it will be a big year for them."

Pannunzio said he just doesn't have that all-around guy. He said Zellner is the better blocker and Epps is the better receiver. "With Gordon, I used to have to kick his ass to go to class," Pannunzio said. "But now all I have to do is push him a little. It's part of his maturity."

Pannunzio said he's been surprised by the play of Tervaris Johnson, who moved over from safety to tight end this summer. "He's better than I thought he would be and he's a guy you might see in there a little bit. He's got a big enough body and he's not afraid to put his face in there."

Pannunzio said it could prove to be tougher for redshirt freshman Daniel Adderley. "He's never had his hand on the ground, his facemask turned or his nose bloodied."

> Shannon said the team's first day in pads was very physical and focused on establishing the running game and focusing on playaction passing. Shannon once again pointed to Laron Byrd and Travis Benjamin as the standouts among the young receivers. "The other guys are doing well," Shannon said. "but those are two guys that are standing out right now."

> Shannon said he hasn't set a timetable as to when he'll be looking for separation among the quarterbacks. "We've got three scrimmages, so we got plenty of time," Shannon said. "That's why I'm not panicking and trying to rush things.

> Sophomore running back Shawnbrey McNeal said he's now weighing between 193 and 195 pounds. He came in as a freshman at 180 pounds. "Being JJ and Coop you learn a whole lot. It's not about just helping them. It's no hatred or down talk. Everyone has the same amount of respect for each other," McNeal said.

> I got a chance to speak to redshirt freshman receiver Jermaine McKenzie for about five minutes today and will have a feature on him later this week. McKenzie is obviously a kid who has endured a lot in his time at UM including the neck injury he suffered when he his car did several flips on I-75 with him at the wheel last fall which ended his freshman season. McKenzie didn't play in the spring because of high ankle sprain. But now he's back, bigger and stronger and competing with a talented crop of freshmen to get in the mix. Be sure to check out the story later this week.

DON'T FORGET TO... Listen to the audio uploaded from today's practice as well as the video interviews. I uploaded the feature on defensive end Adewale Ojomo this morning.