The Friday Stock Report: August 5th

There are only three days remaining until the team reports on August 9th. The summer is over and now the fun begins. The team begins practicing on August 10th at 3:30 p.m. The first day of practicing in full pads is August 14th. Practices are open to the public August 10th-20th

NEWS & NOTES

Head coach Larry Coker stated that running back Frank Gore was at least 90% healthy as of now and he expects him to be ready for the season opener against Florida State. That would be quite an accomplishment for Gore to get back and the key for fall practices will be how often he will be used. Last fall it was very typical for players recovering from injury to only practice once a day even during two-a-days. Look for Gore to do the same.

Although the Hurricanes signed four running backs in the spring, they will only have three for the season with Bobby Washington seeking to be released from his letter of intent. This assures Andrew Johnson of starting out fall practices as a running back and not as a cornerback. Johnson has stated that he will play wherever the team needs him.

Devin Hester has put in a lot of work in this summer as a cornerback especially late in the summer. He is gearing up for fall practices and trying to make himself the best football player he can become. If the coaching staff decides to move him from wide receiver to cornerback, then the transition will be easier since he has put some work in the summer. Assuming the coaches feel comfortable with what they have at receiver look for Hester to make the switch to corner.

One reason why Tony Tella has improved on the playing field was his improved work ethic in the classroom. He put a lot more time and effort into his class work this past season and his coaches believe this is one reason why he is ready to make the next step as a player. His contribution at left guard is essential with the other four spots appeared to be locked in.

Former quarterback and current tight end, Buck Ortega, has had an extremely productive off-season for the Hurricanes. Last year he spent a lot of time on special teams making a number of tackles on kickoff coverage, but this year he is looking to improve his role. Ortega has put on weight and is in the 230-pound range. He had a great spring and could see a number of passes his way this season as a reserve.

The lone Canadian on the team, Jonathan St. Pierre, joined the Hurricanes in January and will be entering his freshman season this fall. He hails from Quebec and has made a nice transition to the Hurricanes. The talent in Canada does not compare to the talent at area South Florida high schools, but he has appeared to have a strong grasp on what the coaches are trying to get him to do. It is an encouraging sign for a player trying to make the change to collegiate football and making a cultural change. In the spring he worked out as the team's long snapper and if he does not win the job in the fall he will likely redshirt this season.

According to Coker, there are still some freshmen in the process of getting admitting to the university. Some of them have small things that need to get sorted out like the correct high school graduation date. With freshmen reporting on Monday it is starting to get down to the wire.

Regardless if there are less than the maximum 85 players allowed under scholarship the Hurricanes will not bring in Josh Kerr (Strongsville, OH) or Cedric Hill (Valdosta, GA). Both players will defer enrollment and arrive on campus in December prior to the bowl game and will be freshmen beginning in the 2005 season.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com.

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