Hurricanes Roundup 8/20/04
By The Source
Aug 20, 2004

- Miami head coach Larry Coker praised the improvement of his offense on Thursday following a two-hour, full-pads workout at the Greentree Practice Fields.

"I think the offense was sharper," Coker said. "We are starting to get better on offense, and that is very encouraging. The running backs are really starting to get in sync, especially those top two or three guys, and I include Quadtrine Hill in that, also. He has had an excellent fall camp. They really are starting to get in sync with the linemen.

"Hopefully, we can keep our linemen intact and healthy so we can get a solid group that can get a lot of work in together and get better."

The Hurricanes focused on getting younger players snaps in a short scrimmage at the end of practices.

"We ended not getting the young players as many opportunities as we wanted yesterday," Coker said. "We wanted to get at least seven or eight plays on video for them. I think that will be good for them. The scrimmage yesterday (Aug. 18) was good for us. I think we are going to learn a lot from it about where this team is going. I think some guys really started to stand out, like Jon Beason and Kyle Wright."

- Wright, a redshirt freshman from Danville, Calif., is showing improvement every day for the Hurricanes and impressing the coaching staff. "I just think practice has given him a chance to get better," Coker said. "He's older and has been here for a year, and he is beginning to get comfortable in the system."

- Marcus Maxey is in the midst of making the transition from safety to cornerback for the Hurricanes, but it doesn't mean that he can't teach others a thing or two.

During an 11-on-11 drill Wednesday afternoon, Maxey lined up against wide receiver Lance Leggett and stifled the promising true freshman with exceptional coverage on a perfectly placed pass from quarterback Brock Berlin along the right sideline.

"He's like my little brother -- I try to make him as good as he can be, because he's got a lot of heart and he's tough," Maxey said after practice. "He kinda reminds me of myself. Every time I line up against him, I talk a little trash to him. I tell him `I'm going to get you, man.'

"No matter what, we're going to make each other better. He's a freshman and I'm an older guy, so I've got to show him the way."

The junior, from Navasota, Texas, credits teammates Antrel Rolle and Kelly Jennings, defensive coordinator Randy Shannon and defensive backs coach Tim Walton for helping him make the transition to corner.

Coach Larry Coker called Maxey's progress a pleasant surprise.

"We know he can play safety, but he has corner skills," Coker said. "He's done a great job of tackling and his coverage skills are good. ...

"If he's at corner, he's going to need to be, because he's got Antrel on one side, so he's going to get a lot more action on the other side. So he's going to have to hold up."

- Brandon Sebald, who has earned praise since moving from tight end to practice at right guard, suffered an ankle injury during practice. The 6-foot-6 junior was unable to put weight on his left ankle after it was wrapped and left practice on a cart.

- The coaching staff has moved Tony Tella to right tackle to get some work in with Rashad Butler out with a sprained ankle. Tella, who normally plays Left Guard, has also been plagued by a sore knee.

"We've talked about this before, and this is the time we need to do it, to actually give him some time there," Coker said. "What exact combination we'll have there, we don't need to decide that today or this week."

Coker said Tella could start the season if Rashad Butler hasn't recovered from his ankle injury.

- Oceanside (Calif.) High School quarterback Derek Shaw verbally committed to UM. The 6-4 Shaw, a senior, passed for 24 touchdowns and over 2,000 yards last year.

Coker, not allowed to discuss verbal commitments, did point out the Hurricanes' obvious need to sign a quarterback.

"We've got to have one -- we have four and we're going to lose two, we know that," Coker said. "So, we definitely have to get a quarterback, and obviously we're going to get the best available."

- The Hurricanes are scheduled to practice twice on Friday, with the morning workout beginning at 8:30 a.m. and the afternoon session starting at 3:30 p.m. Friday's workouts are the final practices open to the public this year.

- The Atlantic Coast Conference selected Jacksonville's Alltel Stadium on Thursday to host the ACC Football Championship Game in 2005 and 2006.

"I hope we get a chance to be there," quipped Coker. "That is a great stadium and a great city for bowl games and festivities of that type. I think it is great from the standpoint of a warm weather climate and it is great for our fans."

- 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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