Hurricanes Roundup 8/24/04

Compiled from a variety of source throughout the day

- Legs are weary, arms tired, and the big boys on the line are banged up, but Miami's offense has shown spurts of productivity.

After three years of averaging 40-plus points and four years of pumping out more than 400 yards a game, the offense sputtered last season to less than 30 points and fewer than 400 yards.

Even though the offense hasn't been consistent, coach Larry Coker has seen encouraging signs. "We're definitely further along than a year ago this time," he said. "We're better on the offensive line. We're running the ball a lot better. ... The receivers coming back [with experience] makes a big difference."

Dan Werner, who took over from Rob Chudzinski as offensive coordinator, has promised a more vertical attack, and the Hurricanes have worked on it with what Werner labels "off-and-on" results.

Werner's offense is in place, but its execution isn't where he'd like it.

But he said receivers and tight ends are in the spots they're supposed to be according to the plays, which wasn't always the case last season as younger receivers struggled to learn.

"We're making the plays that we didn't make last year," Werner said.

"We put the pressure on them. We said we will call certain plays that you like, but you've got to make things happen. If you're not making plays well, go back to a more conservative style of offense."

The receivers have yet to play to their talent level. Roscoe Parrish and Ryan Moore have shown signs of game-breaking ability, but their injury-prone past has carried over, and that concerned the coaches.

If one goes down, Darnell Jenkins, a sophomore who has been one of the most consistent performers since spring, has stepped up and appears ready for a bigger role.

The tight ends seem set to do the same. Even with projected starter Kevin Everett sidelined with a hip flexor injury, that position has been notable.

In Everett's absence, redshirt freshman Greg Olson established himself as a future standout, and since spring Buck Ortega has made himself the favorite target of each of the quarterbacks.

"That is going to be a strong position for us," Coker said. "I've never been at any place where we've got that much quality at one position."

Werner said all three tight ends will be used in several ways, and that the playbook includes formations that will put all three on the field at the same time.

Miami has been so pleased with Everett, Olson and Ortega that the best blocking tight end, Brandon Sebald, was moved to interior line.

Two of the line's projected starters, right tackle Rashad Butler and left guard Tony Tella, are battling serious injuries.

Tella is bothered by back spasms and a knee injury. Butler suffered a slight fracture of his left ankle the first week of camp and could miss the Sept. 6 opener against Florida State.

To prepare for inevitable injuries, offensive line coach Art Kehoe has moved his linemen around since the spring with the plan of playing his top eight at varied spots.

The top eight are left tackle Eric Winston, Tella, center Joel Rodriguez, right guard Chris Myers and Butler, with Andrew Bain, Derrick Morse and Tyler McMeans as backups.

Butler's injury has Myers working at both right tackle and guard, with McMeans filling in for Myers.

When able to practice, Tella has worked at right tackle and left guard with Bain and Morse competing for playing time at left guard.

"We have really developed some depth along the offensive line," Kehoe said. "Randy Shannon's defense really whipped us last spring, and it was real frustrating for the young kids.

"You have seen them go through their first spring, and now they are half way through fall camp and you can see them start to understand."

- The University of Miami football team wrapped up two-a-day practices on Monday with an hour-and-a-half workout in full pads on the Greentree Practice Fields.

The Hurricanes practiced in shells for nearly two hours on Monday morning after a day off on Sunday.

"We gave them a day off and it took them about to the second practice today to come off that day off," Miami assistant head coach Art Kehoe said. "This morning's practice was really rough. It was a hot day out there, but we are getting better. The passing game is really starting to come around."

- Kehoe sees the Hurricanes' offense progressing throughout fall practice after a rough spring. With right tackle Rashad Butler still nursing an injured ankle, the depth of Miami's offensive line has become even more important.

"We have really developed some depth along the offensive line," Kehoe said. "Randy Shannon's defense really whipped us (the offense) last spring, and it was real frustrating for the young kids. You have seen them go through their first spring, and now they are half way through fall camp and you can see them start to understand."

The Hurricanes are scheduled for one practice on Tuesday beginning at 8:30 a.m. All Hurricanes' practices are closed to the public for the remainder of the year.

Miami opens the regular season on Monday night, Sept. 6 against Florida State in the Orange Bowl. For more ticket information visit or call 1-800-GO-CANES.

- Like early last season, the health of University of Miami's offensive line is starting to deteriorate -- though offensive line coach Art Kehoe hopes his tradition of practicing players at more than one position will compensate.

Tony Tella, who was moved from left guard to right tackle because of an injury to Rashad Butler, missed practice Monday because of back pain, Kehoe said. Tella, a 6-5, 298-pound junior, already had knee pain.

Right tackle Butler said the left ankle doctors originally thought was sprained Aug. 12 turned out to be a slight fracture. Doctors plan to remove the cast Monday, and Butler said he hopes to play in the Sept. 6 opener against Florida State. But taking into account the four or so days Butler said he will use to rehabilitate, the likelihood of him starting seems to grow more distant.

''He has been working his [behind] off on the bike and lifting and being at all the meetings,'' Kehoe said of Butler. ``So if we can have him [for FSU] even as a bonus, that would be nice.''

Monday, senior right guard Chris Myers moved to right tackle, with redshirt freshman Derrick Morse at left guard and 6-5, 337-pound junior college transfer Tyler McMeans at right guard. Kehoe said redshirt freshman Andrew Bain is pushing Morse. Also working at right tackle: redshirt freshman Cyrim Wimbs and converted 260-pound tight end Brandon Sebald.

''We've got enough experience and enough flexibility of guys playing different positions that we'll be fine,'' Kehoe said. ``We've really developed some depth here because [defensive coordinator] Randy [Shannon] whipped our [behinds] last spring, and it was real frustrating for the young kids. Now, they're starting to understand it.''

- Tight end Kevin Everett returned to practice after several days off because of a pulled hip . . . Coach Larry Coker left early in the afternoon with the freshmen for orientation . . . Offensive coordinator Dan Werner said Kyle Wright and Derrick Crudup have looked good. ''Derrick had a little bit of a sore shoulder, but I think a little rest probably helped that,'' he said after the morning practice session. ``He threw the ball well today.''

- Coker said the team will start concentrating on FSU toward the end of this week. ``But [now] this is us against us, trying to learn how to practice and for us to evaluate and see who our best players are.''

By The Source
Aug 24, 2004
© Copyright 2004-2005

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