Hurricanes
Hurricanes Roundup 8/25/04
By The Source
Aug 24, 2004

- Hurricanes freshman linebacker Willie Williams underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a lateral collateral ligament in his right knee. He will begin rehabilitation immediately and will be re-evaluated in 8-12 weeks.

The athroscopic surgery was performed Wednesday by Dr. John Uribe at Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables.

Williams, a Parade All-American recruit who made national headlines for his off-the-field indiscretions as a juvenile, suffered the injury near the end of Tuesday's practice after getting his right leg caught in a pile of players.

The injury initially was said to be just a sprain, but an MRI taken Tuesday disclosed more.

Typically, according to a doctor familiar with the procedure, William's type of rehabilitation can sideline a player for three to four months.

Williams, whose admission to Miami came under a great deal of controversy after his probation was extended three years for misbehavior on recruiting trip to Gainesville in January, was slotted as the third-team middle linebacker in fall camp. But his combination of strength, speed and agility was enabling him to steadily work his way up the depth chart.

Initially, UM's prize signee of the 2004 recruiting class was projected as a weakside linebacker, but UM coaches saw his superior talent and opted to teach him how to play the hardest linebacker spot because of his instinctive style of play.

It is unclear exactly how long the injury will sideline him, but Williams wasn't expected to play early this season anyway.

The terms of his enrollment stipulated that he didn't have clearance to play until he had successfully met unspecified academic and comportment requirements.

Coach Larry Coker has never specified how long he would be benched, but it was likely the Miami Carol City product will miss up to four games awaiting the results of his mid-term performance.

- Senior offensive lineman Joel Rodriguez was one of 37 centers named to the watch list for the Dave Rimington Trophy, which is given annually to the nation's top center. Former UM standout Brett Romberg, Rodriguez's predecessor, won the award in 2002.

- When Miami defensive line coach Greg Mark was asked if there was anybody in his unit who appeared ready for a breakout season, he said his answer depends on what day he's watching practice.

There are several standout performers to choose from.

A year after entering the 2003 season perceived as the Hurricanes' weakness, the depth and quality of talent on the defensive line has turned into the biggest strength. Evidence of this has been the pressure the line, which accounted for 26 of UM's 37 sacks last season, has put on the offense since spring.

"They practice hard and play hard because the competition's pretty stiff," said coach Larry Coker, who said he believes this unit has the potential to be better than the 2002 squad that featured six players now in the NFL.

The line's strength is its depth. Offensive line coach Art Kehoe, whose unit goes up against them every day, said the second-teamers are as good as the first.

Other than defensive tackle Orien Harris, nobody is locked into a starting spot.

"We're going to rotate in guys and let them eat," Mark said, referring to his plan of bringing in a different player every two or three series.

The strategy is to let eight players share the repetitions in games.

Mark envisions giving each player in his rotation 20 snaps, then staying with the "hot hand" at the end of the game.

Javon Nanton, a junior who had a team-high eight sacks last season, has bulked up to 240 pounds and is no longer a situational pass rusher. His versatility has enabled him to surpass junior Thomas Carroll (51 tackles, five sacks) as the starting right end.

Baraka Atkins, the other starting end, has been steady, similar to his play last season when he started 12 games.

But Coker has consistently praised the development of sophomore Bryan Pata, who had 26 tackles and four sacks last season as a freshman.

"It's good to stay under the radar because then they won't be ready for you," said Atkins, a sophomore.

Senior Santonio Thomas is the starter next to Harris on the inside, but Mark said he's been guarded a bit this fall because of his injury-plagued past.

The goal is to get Thomas, a former standout at Glades Central, into the season healthy with the hope that he can live up to the talent level that he has shown in spurts.

According to Mark, the backup defensive tackles, sophomore Kareem Brown and redshirt freshman Teraz McCray, have shown signs they are ready to handle a larger role, and will be part of UM's inside rotation.

- The University of Miami football team completed its last practice prior to classes starting on Wednesday with a hour-and-40-minute workout in full pads on the Greentree Practice Fields Tuesday morning. All players will have the day off on Wednesday in order to attend the first day of classes.

"We have put a real important emphasis on school and we have made sure everyone has their books," said Hurricanes head coach Larry Coker. "Tomorrow is the first day of class, and I told the players I want them to be on time, be prepared and be respectful."

So far this fall, Coker has been impressed with what he has seen from his team on the football field. According to Coker, the players have been working hard both on the field and in the weightroom, which should pay off come game time.

"I feel very good about the team," Coker said. "The attitude has been great, and I like our athleticism. I think we are ahead of where we were a year ago."

Toward the end of practice, the Hurricanes were able to work out some of their younger players, which Coker mentioned was good for both the team's and the players' futures.

"We got a chance to work some young players at the end of practice today," Coker said. "We don't want to forget about them, because they are our future and some of those guys will be playing before the season is over."

Coker also commented on the inspired play of his tight ends so far this fall, including Kevin Everett and Greg Olsen.

"This is the best group of tight ends I have ever been around," Coker said. "They are outstanding. Everett and Olsen are tough and are tremendously hard workers."

- Tailback Frank Gore was held out of Tuesday's practice to give his surgically repaired knees time to rest.

Offensive lineman Tony Tella (back and knee) sat out Tuesday's practice.

- The Hurricanes will not practice on Wednesday so that the players can focus on attending the first day of classes. Practice will resume at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. All Hurricanes' practices are closed to the public for the remainder of the year.

Tickets are still available for the season opener on Sept. 6 against Florida State. They are available as part of the FSU Pack, which includes tickets for the Miami-Louisville game on Thursday night, October 14. Tickets for the two games are $75 per pack. Fans can purchase single-game tickets and season tickets by calling (305) 284-CANES in Miami-Dade or (800) GO-CANES outside of Miami-Dade, or on the Internet at hurricanesports.com.

- 10 Questions about the Hurricanes by Omar Kelly (Sun-Sentinel.com)

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- Q. Hi, Susan! It seems like every year the Hurricanes have 2-3 players that are good enough to break through the depth chart as freshmen. I know that it's probably still early because true freshmen haven't participated in many practices, but do you know if any kids from the incoming class will be able to get significant playing time?
T. White, Orlando, FL 8/15/04

A. Let's see... Willie Williams, Lance Leggett, at least one of the new running backs -- Charlie Jones or Andrew Johnson, probably at least one DB... I'll have to check on some of the others, too... I'm too tired now (it's very late) to think about it intensely, but I'll get back to this tomorrow...
Susan Miller Degnan 8/16/04

Q. Susan,First off,Love your Corner. Coach Werner has said he looks to throw down field more. Has that been evident in practice? Which Reciever do you think will be the leader at this position? Thanks
CaneCrazy, Benton Harbor, MI 8/14/04

A. I think they'll go long to Darnell Jenkins -- he is incredibly fast. Ryan Moore will be the all-around go-to guy. Roscoe Parrish's recurring right-knee problems are a major concern. Roscoe is so agile and quick and can make things happen.
Susan Miller Degnan 8/15/04

Q. Hi Susan I just wanted to know how is the team doing so far and who do you see standing out for us this season. I read Larry Coker was pleased with the play of the quarterbacks so far, so does that mean that Brock Berlin and CO. are ready for the Florda State Seminoles. Also, Ive heard Devin Hester has been moved to the defensive backfield is this true or just a rumor? Thanks!!
T-Boy, Miami, Fl 8/13/04

A. From the way he's excelling in practice, I'd say Devin Hester has himself a new position -- cornerback. I think the defensive line is great, the offensive line also is real good, though I'd be concerned with recent injuries to Tony Tella and Rashad Butler. The linebackers have great talent, but need to get some playing experience together. Cornerback Rolle and safety Greg Threat are terrific, Brandon Merriweather has improved and we'll see how Kelly Jennings does with all the balls coming his way. The receivers are still somewhat of a question mark, though Ryan Moore and Darnell Jenkins are both real good. Parrish is a playmaking talent, but I think his knee could hinder him again. The others are talented, but need to prove themselves. Now that Tyrone Moss's shoulder is ailing, that's a big concern. UM needs Frank Gore to step up big-time, which he seems to be doing.
Susan Miller Degnan 8/15/04

Q. Hello Susan, I just want to say thanks for the great work you are doing for us CANES funs...hmm.. and I very nearly went to FSU!..Can we win it all again this year?
Kwame, Burtonsville 8/13/04

A. If Brock has a good year, the offense starts scoring touchdowns from the red zone and there aren't major injuries to major players, yes. The defense should be very, very good. The jury is still out on the offense, in my opinion.
Susan Miller Degnan 8/15/04

Q. Hello Susan, I have not heard anything about quaterback Kirby Freeman...I didn't see his name on the list of recruits who reported monday. Can you explain what's his situation...is he on campus?
cane1228, North Haledon, NJ 8/13/04


A. Hi there, N.J. Kirby is in camp. He was here for spring practice, in fact. He is practicing with the rest of them, but for now will likely redshirt. Three quarterbacks is enough for now. But he will travel to games, just in case...
Susan Miller Degnan 8/15/04

Q. OK Susan..I will agree with you..Game experience is very important. But let's remember Coach Cokers' practices are as close to game suituation as you can get...he includes clocks, and crowd noises. Although it's not the actual game..it's pretty close and you can surely measure and come to a conclusion about your talent just as the players can learn each others tendencies. I can tell you from experience, Practices are WAY harder than the actual game. Moving on, My question is about the QB situation..How is Crudup looking..and does he stand a chance? Seems as though everyone has written him off.
McIntosh Fan, Killeen, Texas 8/12/04

A. Crudup looks real good at times and not very good at times. Kyle Wright has a sharp, explosive arm, but it seems like he has been overthrowing his receivers a lot in practice. I don't think the coaches have written off Crudup, but they do realize that Wright is the future. It should be an interesting scenario. I just think they can't afford to ignore Wright too much. However, I think that if something happened to Brock the first game, they'd put in Derrick first as the backup. Just my guess. A lot will depend on the next couple of weeks. Everything changes daily. Keep that in mind.
Susan Miller Degnan 8/15/04

Q. Susan, good work on pre season coverage. Why are there only eleven games this season, instead of twelve like most others? Did this schedule problem have to do with the jump to the ACC? We (the fans) could use another game.
ADP, Miami 8/11/04

A. No. There's a reason. The 12 regular-season games are only allowed during calendar years when there's an extra weekend available in a specified time slot designated by the NCAA. At least I'm pretty sure that's the rule. It doesn't happen again, I believe, until 2008, when UM plays UF again at a neutral site. That was a good question.
Susan Miller Degnan 8/12/04

Q. HI SUSAN,GREAT Q&A; CORNER,ARE THERE REALLY AS MANY EX-HURRICANE ATH. ON THE SIDELINES OF MIAMI'S BIG HOME GAMES(FLA ST)?THANKS
RON(CANESPEED), DAYTONA BEACH,FLA. 8/10/04

A. Ron, I don't totally understand your question. As many as what? Sorry. Ask me it again in another way.
Susan Miller Degnan 8/12/04

Q. Did RB Andrew Johnson actually show-up since he had committed to miami?
orlando, Oklahoma city, Oklahoma 8/10/04

A. Yes, he's in camp.
Susan Miller Degnan 8/12/04

Q. Hi Susan! This is my first time writing the forum. I am in the military and I would like to thank you for keeping us Canes fanes in touch. My question is, with all the new changes in recruiting and treatment of recruits placed by the NCAA, how would this effect the Canes in the recruiting process?
Navy Man, Jacksonville, fl 8/10/04

A. If all schools are treated equally, it won't hurt UM. In fact, UM is lucky being near a major airport. The Canes don't have to worry about flying recruits on special private flights. I just don't think it's going to make that much of a difference either way. We'll see.
Susan Miller Degnan 8/12/04

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