Practice Notes, 8/17

University of Miami head coach Larry Coker said after practice Friday that Vilma currently holds an edge over Howard Clark for the starting middle linebacker spot.

"Jon is really making strides and making a nice move," Coker said. "Jon is such a smart player and so understanding of our defense, he is just making a lot of plays for us."

Vilma, out of Coral Gables High, had slipped on the Hurricanes depth chart after missing most of spring practice with a knee injury. Vilma had two seperate surgeries performed to his left meniscus in a little over a month after jet ski accident.

Since his return to the practice field a week ago, Vilma has been alternating at middle linebacker with junior Howard Clark. After being limited to just one practice the first few days, Vilma has been taking part in both sessions since Monday. Vilma recorded 38 tackles as a freshman last season in a reverse role behind current Carolina Panthers linebacker Dan Morgan.

With Clark standing by his side after practice, Vilma was informed of Coker's comment that he had the advantage over Clark at this point. Vilma said it was 'good' to know, but that he would continue to work just as hard.

"It really doesn't matter who starts," Vilma said.

Coker also confirmed that sophomore linebacker D. J. Williams has the inside track to a starting job when the Hurricanes take the field for their Sept. 1 opener against Penn State.

The question was posed to Coker if Williams had a grip at weak side linebacker. The first-year coach did not hesitate.

"You're exactly right," Coker said.


Redshirt freshman defensive end John Square missed practice for the second straight day. But his absence from Greentree Field had nothing to do with an injury, as previously reported. Square will be a new father anytime now as his wife was taken to the hospital early Friday................Cornelius Green (turf toe) and Jamaal Green (knee) also missed practice Friday. Cornelius Green will be held out of several more practices. Jamaal Green could be back Sunday.......The Hurricanes will hold a scrimmage Saturday at 9:45 a.m. in the Orange Bowl. Coker said he would be looking at improving the red zone offense, working on field goal and extra points.

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