Hurricanes Roundup 8/13/04
By The Source
Aug 13, 2004
-Quadtrine Hill has discovered he's the type of person who wants the two birds in the bush rather than the one in his hand.
The former Piper High School standout, a two-year starter at fullback for the Miami Hurricanes, has relinquished his spot to pursue his dream of playing tailback. Hill knows his decision is a gamble, but it's a risk he believes is worth the rewards.
"I've always been a tailback, my whole life. I've always proven myself at every obstacle people have put in my way," said Hill, a junior who was recruited to Miami as a tailback after rushing for 1,356 yards and 20 touchdowns his senior season. "I wasn't fast enough at one point. I wasn't big enough at one point. I just prove them wrong."
Even though full pads don't come out until Saturday, running backs coach Don Soldinger said none of Miami's tailbacks are running harder or putting forth more effort than Hill, the son of former Miami Dolphin Eddie Hill. But Hill knows the odds are stacked against him.
Former Pompano Ely standout Tyrone Moss, who rushed for 511 yards and five touchdowns last season, is projected as the starter. Junior Frank Gore, UM's most experienced and instinctive runner, will be pushing Moss for the starting spot once he's fully recovered from his second ACL injury. And three true freshmen -- Charlie Jones, Andrew Johnson and Derron Thomas -- are vying for the last spot in the tailback-by-committee platoon Soldinger intends on using.
Soldinger said he doesn't have time to waste this fall. Hill's play will factor into whether coaches move him back to the position at which he's started 18 games.
"At fullback, he's the No. 1 in my book. Who's better than he is? He played two seasons there. That's a lot of football games, but he wants to be a tailback and I'll give him a shot. But he's got to do it and do it fast," Soldinger said. "He thinks he's a tailback, and that's probably what he is, a tough tailback. But is he off the charts as a runner? He's got to show me that."
In practices the past two years, Hill estimates he'd carry the ball three times every two days, "at most." And in games, the fullback's been even more of an afterthought. Hill had one carry for 4 yards last year, and the season before that, as Willis McGahee's lead blocker, he gained 16 yards on six carries, scoring one touchdown.
He's occasionally been a threat catching the ball out of the backfield. He averaged 19.3 yards per catch as a redshirt freshman, but his productivity dropped to 5.9 yards per catch last season.
Hill said his lack of involvement in the offense made it easy to relinquish his starting spot. The way he sees it, even UM's third-string tailback touches the ball more than he did.
"I like to be involved in the game," Hill said. "At fullback, you get to make big differences by making big blocks, key blocks and smart plays. But I just like the feel of having the ball in my hands."
Junior receiver Roscoe Parrish sat out Thursday's practice after having his troublesome right knee drained earlier in the day. Parrish said the knee, which has been scoped twice since last fall, swelled up on him after Wednesday's session.
If Parrish continues to be held back by knee issues, sophomore receiver Darnell Jenkins will become the starter.
Starting right tackle Rashad Butler sprained his left ankle when a defensive lineman rolled up on his leg during 11-on-11 drills. Former Ely standout Cyrim Wimbs was elevated to the first team to replace Butler and responded by having one of his best practices. ...
-The intensity picked up Thursday afternoon at the Greentree Practice Facility, as the Miami Hurricanes football team went through their third workout of the 2004 season.
The two-hour practice took place in shells, which consists of lighter shoulder pads, helmets and shorts.
"The intensity picked up a little bit today," head coach Larry Coker said. "It was the first day in partial pads, what we call shells. We are still learning how to practice. We have a lot of young guys, and that is something we have to do everyday and improve on everyday. I think today we took a step forward."
The heat played a factor again on Thursday, but the Miami coaching staff had a close eye on the situation.
"I think you have to push through, but there is a fine line," Coker said. "We take breaks, we have water out on the field, and we weigh-in and weigh-out ... we take all of the precautions. Still, it is hot and humid and guys without much body fat tend to cramp up. Not many big linemen cramp up that much, but those 170-pound, 180-pound wide receivers with no body fat will cramp up."
The Hurricanes' backup quarterbacks, Derrick Crudup and Kyle Wright, also impressed Coker on Thursday.
"I have been really pleased with both Kyle Wright and Derrick Crudup," Coker said. "Derrick looks more poised, more comfortable and confident, and Kyle Wright sees an opportunity to play. I have been really encouraged with both of those guys."
The Hurricanes will return to the practice field at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
-A number of Hurricanes weren't able to finish practice because of muscle cramps, and a number of them -- Ryan Moore, Sinorice Moss, Lance Leggett -- were prominent receivers. Also affected was fullback Talib Humphrey.
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