Hurricanes Roundup 8/17/04
By The Source
Aug 16, 2004

Compiled from a variety of sources throughout the day

- Lance Leggett can see an upside to being redshirted. He could use a year to put build on his 6-foot-4, 178-pound frame.

Miami wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson can see no downside to giving the freshman a chance to contribute right away.

"I never think redshirting. I don't want to redshirt the kid. He makes plays," Johnson said Monday. "I just think the kid makes plays. He is fast, and he's got a long stride. He runs like a gazelle. He looks like a young Randy Moss. I love to watch him run. He's like poetry in motion."

Johnson said Leggett still has a lot to learn about the offense.

"He's going to be on the field, when and where I don't know," he said.

Mike Barber, the former Houston Oilers tight end who coached Leggett at Grace Preparatory Academy, made a visit to the practice field Monday morning.

- Since Devin Hester arrived at the University of Miami last year, coach Larry Coker has wanted to get him on the field any way he could. It's looking more like cornerback could be Hester's spot.

On Monday, the first day of two-a-day practices, Hester made several impressive plays -- including his second interception in two days -- as Kelly Jennings and Glenn Sharpe rested.

''I just want to see him make plays, and I've been really pleased with him at corner,'' Coker said. ``Obviously, he's got great ability. He made an interception [Monday], but the [offense] also scored a touchdown. He needs a little more time.''

Hester caught only four passes for 116 yards as a freshman last season but excelled on special teams, averaging 28.7 yards a return, including a 97-yard touchdown against Florida.

On Monday, he blocked a punt during morning drills.

''I always looked at myself as the next Deion Sanders,'' said Hester, who played primarily at defensive back in high school. ``I'm a team player. If it comes down to us being short on receivers, then I wouldn't mind going back. But defense is what I really want to stick to.

``The first two weeks, I've just been trying to work on coming out of my breaks. The next thing is to keep working on my technique.''

- Junior Brandon Sebald practiced at right tackle for the second day, encouraging coaches that he may make the transition from tight end quick enough to become a strong contributor on the line.

The Hurricanes' depth at tight end, which includes Kevin Everett, Greg Olsen and Buck Ortega, has prompted Coker to question whether Sebald's blocking skills might be of value to the line.

"We want to look at Brandon on offensive line," Coker said after the morning practice.

"With four quality tight ends, there may be a position inside where he can help us. Brandon's one of the best blockers we have."

The 6-foot-2, 252-pound New Yorker practiced with the second offensive line Monday. Tight ends coach Mario Cristobal said Sebald has had "an immediate impact on the offensive line" and could end up starting if he continued to progress in practices and scrimmages.

- The Miami football team concluded its first day of two-a-day practices on Monday afternoon with a two-hour, full-pads session at the Greentree Practice Facility on the University of Miami campus.

"This was the first day of two-a-day practices," Head Coach Larry Coker said. "And I thought the guys pushed through it pretty well."

The Hurricanes practiced in shells for one-hour and 45 minutes in the morning under a hot South Florida sun to open their first of four two-a-day practices. UM got a break in the afternoon with overcast skies and considerably cooler temperatures

"We got a little bit of a break today with the overcast weather," Coker said. "It was a good day with a lot of situational things and third-down work. Again, we are still working on us, trying to get better as a football team fundamentally."

- Running back Frank Gore practiced twice on Monday, and his progress continues to encourage the Hurricanes' coaching staff.

Coker is also pleased with the squad's progress, but stressed that his Miami team isn't quite ready to step on the field and play a game.

"We are happy with our progress, but we are not ready to beat anybody," Coker said. We are too inconsistent on offense. We have too many penalties. We are protecting the ball better, but we have open receivers at times and are not making the plays. We have times where receivers should get open and don't get open. We had alignment problems this morning on defense, but we are getting the officials in here and those are some of the things that can and have to be corrected."

At the same time, Coker has seen many positives from his team early in fall practice.

"But, I really like where we are," Coker said. "I like our attitude, and I like our athleticism. To say this is where we should be at this point is probably accurate because we still have a number of days before we play a game."

- Offensive lineman Tony Tella, who has been hampered by a knee injury, returned to action in the afternoon. Lineman Rashad Butler remained out of action with a sprained ankle.

Everett, who has suffered from a hip flexor injury, participated in both sessions. Wide receivers Roscoe Parrish, who has had knee problems, and Ryan Moore, who had a quadriceps injury, practiced in the afternoon.

Tailback Kyle Cobia, who was excused from practice Sunday due to sickness, returned to the field.

- Randall Cunningham spoke to the team after the morning practice at Coker's request.

"I like to do that, to get different voices. You get tired of hearing me every day and the position coaches. It's just a good change-up," said Coker, who reported that the veteran NFL quarterback's ``inspirational" message was about effort.

- The Hurricanes have one practice scheduled for Tuesday, August 17, beginning at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday's workouts are open to the public.

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.

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