« Virginia Tech thoughts | Main | Canes control destiny now »

CoachSpeak: Shannon, Haith talk Friday

BANKUNITED CENTER -- Just got through a double-header of press conferences for football coach Randy Shannon and men's basketball coach Frank Haith here at The U and wanted to pass along what was talked about. We'll start with the guy who is coming off a big win Thursday night in front of a national TV audience...

Randy_shannon2> Shannon was obviously happy with his team's fifth consecutive win, especially with how the defense and special teams played. But Shannon said the goal this week in preparing for Georgia Tech is to learn how to "seal the deal." Shannon said he was frustrated Miami couldn't punch the ball into the end zone while in the red zone and settled for field goals. He also wasn't happen with Graig Cooper's fumble and Kayne Farquharson's drop. He said there are lessons to be learned. "We got to capitalize when we get those chances," Shannon said. "We got to seal the deal and not wait until the fourth quarter to make those plays. We're not getting hat extra push in the red zone. And we need to."

> What Shannon liked most in reviewing film was how Miami cut down on the number of penalties it drew two weeks ago against Virginia. The Hurricanes were flagged one time for 10 yards Thursday night -- a 10-yard illegal block penalty, which cost the Canes good field position.

But overall, Shannon liked the fact Miami was able to win the field position battle and praised kicker Matt Bosher for getting great hangtime on his punts and kickoffs, allowing the special teams unit -- led by Sam Shields -- to get down field and not allow for big returns. "It was probably his best performance in terms of all three phases," Shannon said of his kicker. "Our plan was for him to kick it up, let it hang and let our two fliers -- Sam and Ryan [Hill] to get there." Shannon pointed out freshman Ramon Buchanon had an opportunity to block a punt and didn't.

> Shannon said Shields big hit on the kickoff after Miami scored to make it 10-7 got the team excited and the crowd excited and gave Miami momentum.

> Shannon said one of the biggest keys to the game was winning the time of possession battle -- especially in the second half. Miami had the ball for 18 minutes in the second half -- including 10 in the third quarter. "Everybody talks points, points, points," Shannon said. "But sometimes, holding on the football is just as important. Bud Foster is one of the best coordinators in the nation. We knew if we could hold onto the football and keep their offense off the field, it was just as effective."

> Shannon was happy with the play of his defensive line, which produced six sacks and was led by freshman Marcus Robinson's three-sack performance. But as good as the line played, Shannon said he saw a few other blown opportunities for sacks and big plays.

"Allen Bailey missed a sack and Marcus had a few mistakes where he was out of position," Shannon said. "But I like what we're doing. It was a great game to see [Robinson] come around. But he wouldn't have had that type of a night if not for the guys inside. Coach [Clint] Hurtt pointed out how guys were not reacting to run pass like they should. We just did a better job recognizing that. Another guy who deserves some praise is Josh Holmes. He's been very active on the inside."

> Shannon said the only way Bailey will move to defensive tackle permanently is if he were to put on more weight. Right now, Bailey is only playing at the tackle spot in bandit formations.

> Shannon also had high praise for left tackle Reggie Youngblood, who stepped in and started for Jason Fox at left tackle. Shannon said Youngblood did a good job picking up the blitz. Miami rotated four guys at tackle -- Chris Rutledge, Matt Pipho and Tyrone Byrd rotated in at right tackle and a few snaps on the left side. Shannon said he doesn't know if Fox will be back for Georgia Tech this week.

> The other injured guy to follow this week is receiver Travis Benjamin, whom Shannon said was "nicked." It appears Rutledge, who was injured Thursday but returned to action, is "fine."

> Shannon talked a little about Georgia Tech and the challenge Miami faces next week. The key he said to stopping the Yellow Jackets option running game is stopping their fullback. "It's going to be difficult," Shannon admitted. "We got to play assignment football."


Frank_haith> As expected, Haith told us Friday starting point guard Lance Hurdle will not play in Saturday's home opener against Florida Southern. He still hasn't practiced at full-speed since suffering an ankle injury the first week of practice. Haith said there is no guarantee Hurdle will play in next week's Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. "He's a couple days away," Haith said. "But for a guy like him, whose wheels are so important to how he plays, you got to take time to make sure its right. I don't think we'll see Lance at 100 percent for awhile."

> Sophomore Eddie Rios will get the start in place of Hurdle alongside Jack McClinton, James Dews, Dwayne Collins and Jimmy Graham. Haith said Rios has had a really great week of practice and is hoping he takes advantage of his opportunity.

> Saturday night's opponent Florida Southern is in Division II. But Haith warns the Moccasins won't be a pushover, not with 7-foot center Rashaad Singleton, a transfer from Georgia in the lineup. Miami beat Florida Southern last year 104-61 last year.

> Haith said he's excited about his two new post players including Cyrus McGowan, who led UM in scoring in their two exhibitions. Haith said he was pleased with the play of redshirt freshman center Julian Gamble as well as Miami's defensive effort in the preseason. The Canes are trying to create more turnovers this season and trap teams. What Shannon didn't like in the preseason were the turnovers Miami had.

> Haith said he's hoping to use freshman DeQuan Jones in a Jimmy Graham type fashion -- energy off the bench. He said Jones (6-6, 217) has the physical tools to block shots, rebound, score and create steals, but needs to work on his positioning. "He's a freshman and it takes time. I hope our fans understand that because he's going to be special."