Hurricanes Roundup 8/18/04

- Randy Shannon's aggressive defense has flustered a number of offenses -- even the Hurricanes'.

Shannon, Miami's defensive coordinator, is routinely blitzing linebackers.

If he's not doing that he's dropping linemen into coverage or mixing zone and man-to-man coverages, keeping UM's quarterbacks off balance.

And receivers aren't open often because of the defensive backs' coverage skills.

All that has made the grading process hard for the offensive coaches, but these intense practices are helping the offense get ready for the Sept. 6 opener against Florida State.

The defenders "play so fast," receivers coach Curtis Johnson said. "And then when you finally adjust to the speed, you are dead tired and they are rotating in a new group.

"He's rotating in nine defensive linemen. Nine."

Coach Larry Coker said it is expected that defense will be ahead of the offense because schemes are intact while the offense is consistently working on new things.

"It's a little bit difficult because of the way we play on defense. What we go against we only see one time, against Florida State," Coker said. "We don't see it [often] in a game, so that makes it a little bit misleading.

"But by the same token, if we can protect and get open against our defense we'll have a good chance to get open against the people we play."

The defensive line had been Miami's most dominant group, carrying over its strong play since spring.

"I don't even talk about them much anymore because they've been so consistent. The first two units have been very, very special, and I think they are going to be a strong force to reckon with," Coker said.

"We can't block Orien Harris, and the ends are playing with a lot of speed."

- Willie Williams arrived at practice 90 minutes late because of what Coker called an "academic appointment."

Even though classes won't start until next week, Williams, who was accepted at Miami despite having his probation extended three years for misbehavior on recruiting trip to Gainesville in January, will have to fulfill certain academic and comportment requirements before he can get onto the field.

But UM coaches say he'll play as a freshman and expect the Parade All-American to become a standout linebacker.

"He's done some good stuff," linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves said. "He's what we expected him to be."

Even though he was projected as a weakside linebacker, Williams is working in the middle because of his instinctive style of play.

- The Hurricanes football team practiced for just over two hours in full pads at the Greentree Practice Facility on the University of Miami campus Tuesday afternoon. Seven Atlantic Coast Conference officials refereed during the practice.

"We had a single practice today," head coach Larry Coker said. "The intensity was good. The guys practiced pretty hard. It was good to see Frank Gore practicing well. All in all, I though it was a good day for our football team."

Hurricanes sophomore punter Brian Monroe has impressed coaches throughout fall workouts as he continues to improve on his consistency. "I have been really encouraged with the way Brian Monroe has punted the football," Coker said. "He is doing an excellent job, which is very encouraging and something we certainly needed to see."

Junior Buck Ortega is making a name for himself at tight end after spending his first three years with the Hurricanes moving from position to position.

"Buck had a good spring and offseason and has really had a good fall camp," Coker said. "Buck is one that tends to lose a lot of fluids, and we have to make sure and keep him hydrated. We have to keep him healthy, and keep his weight up.

"He (Buck) is going to be in them mix at tight end/H-back," Coker said. "There are three guys right now that are pretty good. We like all three of them, and he will definitely be one of those guys. He does a great job as a H-back."

The Hurricanes will hold their second two-a-day practice of the summer on Wednesday with practices scheduled 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday's workouts are open to the public.

Miami opens the regular season on Monday night, Sept. 6 against Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

- The walking boot on right tackle Rashad Butler's left ankle has been upgraded to a hard cast that starts below his knee. Butler sprained his ankle Thursday.

Tight end Kevin Everett (hip flexor) and left guard Tony Tella (knee) and receivers Roscoe Parrish (knee) and Ryan Moore (hamstring) were able to practice Tuesday but on a limited basis.

By The Source
Aug 18, 2004
© Copyright 2004-2005

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