Spring Practice Report - 3/30/04

The Hurricanes had their sixth spring practice today at Greentree Practice Fields. Today was a typical Miami spring day with the temperature in the 80's. Once again coach Larry Coker was impressed with the defensive line unit.

Coach Larry Coker

"It was a good day today. We are still having trouble with the defensive lineman especially with the pass rush. I think the offense had a real nice day today. They were more efficient than they have been. They did a nice job running the ball. I think the receivers caught the ball well especially Devin Hester and Akieem Jolla."

"The first unit offensive line is doing real well. I like what I see with those guys. Obviously they are getting better, but we need to develop some other guys. A guy that has stood out so far that is a backup right now is Andrew Bain. He is going to be an awfully good football player. Anthony Wollschlager is coming along well along with Cyrim Wimbs. We have some players there that I think are going to be good, but they just need some work."

"At the beginning of spring practice we try to get the best players on the field that we know. We felt that Tony Tella was one of those players and we wanted to take a look at him playing guard. I think he has found a home there. I have been very pleased with how that has gone. Rashad Butler has also done a good job, but just needs to get stronger. Butler is a smart player that has a good technique."

"When Greg Threat played he did a great job for us playing in some big games last year. I think the thing you see from him is that he practices hard. He runs to the football and tackles well. He does all of the little things well that the great players do."

"The thing that has been disappointing for Kyle Wright is that we have had some mismatches being thin at running back and wide receiver. We really haven't given him as much as we would have liked to from a protection standpoint. We have our third offensive line going up against an Eric Moncur and a Bryan Pata. We have a mismatch there, which is unfair to Kyle. The opportunities he has had, he has done very well."

Offensive Lineman Rashad Butler

"I think right now things are going great. The first unit offensive line has been gelling together. We really haven't skipped a beat from last year. People ask if we can be as good as we were last year, but I think we will be better. Everything is going great. Even the young guys are learning. I think I have been doing good so far. Every day I come out here and try to get better. Today I think I took a little step back, but everybody has their ups and downs. The biggest thing I have to work on is staying low. My hand placement, my punch, speed, and kick are doing well."

Wide Receiver Darnell Jenkins

"Things are going well. I feel comfortable out there. I am fighting for a starting position and I am healthy. I carried over what I was doing from seven-on-sevens to practices and things have been going well. The quarterbacks feel comfortable getting me the ball and I have matured. The biggest thing I have improved on is my releases and ability to get the ball. So far the wide receiver unit has been a bit banged up, but the rest of us that arent hurt just have to step it up."

Running Back Tyrone Moss

"I am feeling much better after my sickness on the first day. We have been running the ball lately. Quadtrine Hill is a great guy. It is different to see him at running back, because I haven't seen him there since high school. He is a good player, very smart and knows the game. With him at running back I think it helps out our unit as a whole. I think there is always room to get better. Frank Gore is a motivator. He is out there helping us saying ‘you should have done this, you should have done that.' He is like a coach out there actually."

Notes:

* Brandon Meriweather recorded his team-leading second interception of the spring on a Brock Berlin pass during a short yardage formation. Meriweather has great ball skills and the ability to make big plays. A five-interception season is not out of the question for the former Apopka standout.

* In the scrimmage on Saturday, Derrick Crudup found Darnell Jenkins for a 45-yard touchdown on a bomb route. Jenkins has improved his ability to catch the deep pass and will be a viable threat for the Hurricanes in 2004.

* Kyle Cobia had a lot of nice runs finding seams in the defense both inside the tackles and running off-tackle. Both Cobia and Talib Humphrey figure to be in the fullback mix in the fall. Both players are number-one caliber fullbacks and when healthy will be a solid duo.

* After struggling catching the ball yesterday Kevin Everett rebounded to make some catches today. Everett is competing with Greg Olsen and Buck Ortega for the starting tight end position. Brandon Sebald is another player fighting for time, but his shoulder injury has been a setback.

* Jonathan St. Pierre is now wearing jersey number 60 as opposed to number 62 when he started spring practices. The Quebec-native enrolled at Miami in January and has been working out as a possible long snapper.

Did not practice due to injuries

Frank Gore – ACL
Glenn Sharpe – ACL
Thomas Carroll – Shoulder
Ryan Moore – Recovering from shoulder surgery
Bryan Pata – Sprained Ankle
Brandon Sebald – Separated Shoulder
Roscoe Parrish – Ankle

Next Practice: Thursday, April 1, 3:30 PM, Greentree Practice Fields

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