Spring Update: Miami

Questions continue to exist at the quarterback position for the Miami Hurricanes under first-year coach Randy Shannon.

If fans hoped to get an idea of which quarterback -- senior Kyle Wright or junior Kirby Freeman -- might have the upper hand when Miami opens preseason practice in August, they came away from the spring game disappointed.

Neither Wright, who guided his offense to the day's only touchdown, nor Freeman made a particularly bold statement with their play throughout the spring. Both looked capable, but the real test will come in the fall.

Kyle Wright was 7-of-14 passing and threw for the game's only score when he found WR Sam Shields in the left corner of the end zone. Kirby Freeman was 8-of-19 for 117 yards and had a 41-yard completion, but he threw an interception on an underthrown ball on the next play.

Coach Randy Shannon has put a muzzle on both Wright and Freeman, and other players and assistants have been told not to comment on the quarterback duel, which the coach insists won't be decided, or at least announced, until the Tuesday before the September 1 opener against Marshall, but the first year head coach did say he was pleased with his skill positions.

Whether it is senior Kyle Wright or junior Kirby Freeman who emerges at quarterback, he will have plenty of weapons at his disposal.
"The running backs did a nice job with the addition of Cooper," said Shannon. "The receivers stepped up a little bit this spring as well. Lance Leggett started out the early part of spring did a great job before his injury. But we are real excited about our skill positions."

Defense once again looks to be the trademark of the Miami team.

Junior Calais Campbell showed in the spring he has the potential to garner national honors at defensive end, the linebacking corps is deep, and junior Kenny Phillips is an All-America candidate at safety.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Whether it is senior Kyle Wright or junior Kirby Freeman who emerges at quarterback, he will have plenty of weapons at his disposal. In addition to sophomore Javarris James at running back, freshman Graig Cooper, who spent last season in prep school after signing in February 2006, starred in the spring before missing the Orange-White game with a hand injury. Senior Charlie Jones, who started the first three games of 2006, also returns. Senior WR Darnell Jenkins, lost early in the year to a knee injury, is back at wideout along with senior Lance Leggett and sophomores Ryan Hill and Sam Shields. Four starters return in the offensive line. The big loss is TE Greg Olsen.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Junior DE Calais Campbell developed into a dominating performer with 10 1/2 sacks in 2006 and anchors the front along with a returning starter, senior DT Teraz McCray. Redshirt freshman DT Josh Holmes looks to be a prominent figure in the rotation. Senior LBs Glenn Cook and Tavares Gooden are returning starters, and sophomore Daryl Sharpton, who sat out the spring to recover from shoulder surgery, junior Spencer Adkins, and sophomore Colin McCarthy make linebacker a deep position. Even with the loss of Brandon Meriweather, the Hurricanes have three players who started at least nine games returning in the secondary headed by Kenny Phillips.

SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: Miami is in the market for both a punter and place-kicker with the departures of Brian Monroe and Jon Peattie. Redshirt freshman Matt Bosher could handle both responsibilities. The Hurricanes look set in the return game with such prospects as Bruce Johnson, Darnell Jenkins, Chavez Grant, and Ryan Hill available to handle both kickoffs and punts.

SPRING UPDATES: TB Graig Cooper -- Though a hand injury kept him out of the spring game, the freshman made a distinct impression in the spring and likely will go into the fall as the backup to sophomore Javarris James.

DT Josh Holmes -- Considered undersized at 6-2, 270, Holmes, a redshirt freshman, nevertheless was one of the standouts in the Orange-White game that saw the defense dominate. He looks to contend for a starting spot this fall.

S Anthony Reddick -- Junior S Anthony Reddick had knee surgery two weeks after the end of spring practice and could miss the 2007 season. There were reports that Reddick sustained the injury in a pickup basketball game, but the university did not confirm that. If he sits out, it will be the second time Reddick, who started six games as a true freshman in 2004, has missed a season because of injury. Reddick injured his knee in the 2005 opener against Florida State and missed the rest of the season. He missed two games to an ankle injury in 2006 and was suspended for four others for his part in the brawl in the Florida International game. He figured to start this season.

WORTH NOTING: New coach Randy Shannon won't have much of an opportunity to ease into the 2007 schedule as the Hurricanes non-conference schedule features two games against teams from the Big 12, including a road contest the second game of the year against Oklahoma and a home game two weeks later against Texas A&M. Miami also opens the 2007 season in the Orange Bowl against Marshall.

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