Blow to UM secondary?

University of Miami sophomore safety Greg Threat was carted off Greentree Field during practice Wednesday afternoon with what is believed to be a serious leg injury.

Threat left the premises an obvious discomfort although Hurricanes' coach Larry Coker said he didn't know about the injury.

"I don't know anything about it," said Coker, when asked about Threat's status. "I'm going to have to check with our staff."

Threat, who had an impressive freshman season with 16 tackles in 12 games, which included three starts, took over the starting spot at strong safety during the spring after last year's starter Maurice Sikes had off-season shoulder surgery.

Threat, who also saw extensive time on special teams last season, had been receiving a significant amount of practice time with the first-unit defense during the first three days.

Senior long-snapper Chris Harvey was ordered into the training room mid-way through practice by UM head athletic trainer Scott McGonagle after having his blood pressure taken on the field. Harvey did not return to the practice field, while Coker said he did not know anything about it.

IMPROVING: Coker said the team made significant progress after a two-hour practice in shorts and shoulder pads, signaling out the defense for their performance against the offensive line.

"The defense played pretty hard today, made some plays and I saw a lot of progress there," said Coker. "Offensively we need to get a little tougher up front on the offensive line, the defense is getting too much penetration. If we're as good as I think we can be on defense, then we will be a great team."

Coker also praised the special teams, including freshman punter Brian Monroe.

"Today he punted with some pressure and I though he did well," said Coker. "The punting coaches he worked with were really high on Monroe, and he hasn't disappointed me. He's a great athlete who played in the secondary and returned an interception in an all-star game (in high school)."

Monroe, who Coker has not ruled out as the starting punter this season, averaged 44.2 yards a punt and made five of seven field goal attempts as a senior last season at Palm Beach Gardens High.

Coker said that senior flanker Kevin Beard, expected to start opposite injured Jason Geathers, is playing well. Beard, who missed the spring recovering from knee surgery after tearing an ACL last season against Pittsburgh, had 23 receptions for 262 yards and four touchdowns in 2002.

"I think we need him a lot," said Coker. "I like the way he's playing. Kevin is the most experienced player he have at the position and has to shoulder the responsibility that comes with it."

NOTEWORTHY

Sophomore receiver Roscoe Parrish made a crowd-pleasing catch as he ran a slant and caught the seam of the defense. Freshman quarterback Kyle Wright also looked sharp during drills.

The Hurricanes practice Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

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