Practice Report: August 19th

The Miami Hurricanes held a two-hour practice today after their first scrimmage the day before. The offense is continuing to improve each day and so are the young guys. On Friday, the team will hold their final day of open practices to the public at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

HEAD COACH LARRY COKER

The team practiced for two hours in full pads today.

"I think the offense was sharper today," Coker said. "We are starting to get better on offense, and that is very encouraging. Our young guys did not get much of an opportunity yesterday in the scrimmage so we gave them about seven or eight plays today. I think it was definitely good for them. The scrimmage yesterday was good for us. I think we are going to learn a lot from it. I think some guys are really starting to stand out like Jon Beason. Kyle Wright is getting better without question which is encouraging."

WEATHER REPORT

Temperature: 85°F
Humidity: 74%
Heat Index: 92°F
Wind: 7 mph
Cloud Cover: Mostly Cloudy

QUARTERBACKS

Kyle Wright was the most impressive quarterback today and has been for the last week. Today his most impressive throw came on the five-yard line. The defense sent heavy pressure towards his way, but he remained calm in the pocket and delivered a perfect pass in the back of the end zone near the goalpost caught by Sinorice Moss. It is special when you see quarterbacks with the ability to throw touch passes, slow passes if you will, in times when they are rushed and everything else is going full speed.

Earlier in practice Wright delivered a strike to Roscoe Parrish 25 yards downfield and Parrish was able to split the safeties for a large gain after the catch. The very next play he found Sinorice Moss deep followed by a nice pass to fullback Talib Humphrey.

"I just think practice has given him a chance to get better," Coker said. "He's older and has been here for a year, and he is beginning to get comfortable in the system."

Brock Berlin also remained calm under pressure when the blitz was on. He found Lance Leggett on a quick slant, the easiest timing route to beat a blitz, and Lance was able to pick up a large gain after the catch.

Kirby Freeman continues to be one of the best players on the field when the fourth unit is given ample snaps to make a difference. Today he was able to lead the offense down the field picking up a good chunk of yardage along the way.

RUNNING BACKS

The running backs had a good day today.

"The running backs are really starting to get in sync," Coker said. "Especially those top two or three guys, and I include Quadtrine Hill in that, also. He has had an excellent fall camp. They really are starting to get in sync with the linemen."

Frank Gore put on some moves today and has improved each day with his ability and confidence to make hard cuts. His instincts are starting to take over when he has the ball and his speed is getting there.

Charlie Jones was the best freshman today with a number of good, hard-nosed runs. One thing he does not mind is taking a hit. He is able to break outside with his speed and take on the linebackers—something young freshmen tend to shy away from.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Roscoe Parrish looked good today running crisp routes and making catches. He did take some time in the middle of practice to put ice on his leg. It is a frustrating time for Parrish as he is not able to shake off the pain from the knee.

Ryan Moore was held out of contact drills again today which is starting to hinder on his ability to improve as a player. Moore was a top recruit out of Dr. Phillips high school in 2002, but has dealt with injuries causing him to miss a lot of practice time leading up to the season. He did not participate in spring drills in 2003 and was limited in the fall session. During the 2003 season he had a bothersome shoulder that required surgery after the season. Because of the surgery he did not participate in spring practices this year. Now, he is missing practices because he reportedly has a sore hamstring. Already a solid player, but one could imagine where he would be if he had been healthy and getting needed reps in practice.

Sinorice Moss had another solid day and he is starting to put together a string of good practices together. He caught a touchdown today from Wright in the back of the end zone showing good concentration through traffic. He is still running great routes and has great hands. One very encouraging thing to see from Moss today was the time he took to instruct one of the walk-on receivers, who is about the same size, in between each play when the third and fourth string players had their mini-scrimmage. As a coach you like to see your guys helping out the younger guys and staying interesting in what is going on, when in reality most of those guys wont see the field this year. With the nagging injuries to the top receivers Moss is trying to get in the mix for playing time and become a go-to receiver when needed.

TIGHT ENDS

With Kevin Everett out of practice again today Greg Olsen took full advantage. In what could be the surprise of fall practices Olsen made some very nice receptions again today

"He has been very impressive," Coker said. "He is physical, runs good routes, tough, and catches the ball extremely well. He is an excellent blocker. He is a redshirt freshman and you just don't see doing the things he is doing. He is advanced for his age."

The coaches did expect this from Olsen, but probably not necessarily this soon.

"I had high expectations of him and he has not disappointed us," said Coker.

On the day after walk-on Kurt Stange put a big hit on Willie Williams causing uproar by the crowd and teammates cheering him on, Stange was the one that got it today. He was hit up high today by Williams and a defensive back causing a bloody nose. Earlier, Stange made a reception and was being held up by defensive back Joe Tolliver when Williams finished off Stange with a big tackle. Coincidence?

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

Top unit
LT: Winston LG: Morse C: Rodriguez – RG: Myers – RT: Tella

Tony Tella was moved from left guard to right tackle—a position he played last year before making the transition to left guard in the spring. For right now it looks like this will be the place for him because the coaches do not feel comfortable with Cyrim Wimbs playing at a high level. Wimbs, only a redshirt freshman, had his fair share of struggles this fall trying to keep up with the defensive line.

"We had talked about it before and this is the time to do it," Coker said. "What is the exact combination we will have there—we don't need to decide that today or this week. Definitely Tony is able to play there."

"I think the offensive line got better today," said senior Chris Myers. "I think we have made a complete 180 from where we were in the spring. We are a totally different offensive line—the running game and the passing game, you name it. Coach Kehoe not switching guys around all spring made that bond stronger. It continued through the summer and into the fall until some guys got hurt. I think as a whole we have major depth. The twos and the threes did well today being able to move the ball."

Myers has a tough battle with Orien Harris each day and they both enjoy the competition.

"Orien Harris and I have been going against each other for three years now," Myers said. "We talk about it all the time that if we played each other in a real game we would be dogging each other in the first quarter. We both have the same type of attitude and we work hard on every single play. I think I am coming along good."

Myers has put on about 15 pounds since last season and is adjusting to his body's capabilities.

"I am learning to use my technique a lot better," Myers said. "In the past I have relied on my athletic ability, but I have put on some more weight since last year and I think I can hold my own a lot better now."

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Kareem Brown is ready to step in as the third defensive tackle when his number is called.

"I feel like I am doing pretty good," Brown said. "I am in the role to spell Orien Harris or Santonio Thomas if they get tired. I will help the team any way I can."

He was happy with how the defense played today.

"We had a good practice today," Brown said. "It was a little overshadowed by the weather, but we kept a good tempo and the defense was flying around."

Gaining experience a season ago will help him this year.

"I was able to learn the speed of the game and the feel of the game," Brown said. "I was able to play against Florida State and it will help me out in the long run."

Reserve linemen Alton Wright and Vegas Franklin made some nice plays today. Wright is behind four other ends for playing time, but got after it today. He showed good speed to the outside and pursuit of the quarterback. He is one of those guys that looks ready to play some football the second he gets into his stance. Franklin redshirted last season and is still learning what it takes to play at Miami. He made some very good moves on the outside today and even though he didn't make a spectacular play he showed good technique with his hands.

LINEBACKERS

Leon Williams made a nice tackle against the run today drawing praise from the coaching staff.

"There you go Leon," one coach yelled. "Look at that--Leon is in on every play."

So you start to think if maybe he has turned the corner in the coaches' mind, but then the second unit comes in with Jon Beason in the middle. Immediately he makes an impact recording a great tackle. His persistence to the ball is amazing for a young player and is becoming a smart football player picking up on the little things.

He drew an even bigger praise from the coaches in practice.

After practice, Coker praised Beason again.

Day after day Beason makes plays and it has been no secret Leon is jeopardy of losing his starting position—the coaches have made that abundantly clear. If the team opened up tomorrow Leon would be the starter. Luckily for Jon, they still have two weeks until the game.

James Bryant is beginning to make a splash with the third unit. One thing you like to see from a young linebacker is that they are always around the ball. Bryant has consistently been around the ball—particularly on run plays.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Marcus Maxey has been right up on guys all fall and doesn't look to stop anytime soon.

"He is really making strides at cornerback," Coker said. "We know he can play safety and he has corner skills. He had done a great job of tackling and his corner skills are good. He has Antrel on one side and will probably get a lot more action on the other side. He is going to have to hold up. I am really encouraged with him."

Maxey along with Glenn Sharpe are competing for the starting right corner position currently held by Kelly Jennings. Jennings is recovering from knee surgery and is slowly getting his game back.

"Nobody gives him a lot of notoriety," Coker said. "Don't try and beat him out. The guy has great speed. He is smart, tough, and he will be hard to beat out. We have guys that will try and put pressure on him, but he is a good football player.

Tanard Davis had a solid spring, but appears to be lost in the shuffle at cornerback this fall. Today he had a golden opportunity to record an interception, but was unable to make the catch. Davis is a tough player and will continue to work hard. Today he spent a lot of time defending the gunners in punt formation. Travarous Bain was on the other side.

Devin Hester blocked a field goal today.

INJURY REPORT

TE Kevin Everett was held out again today with reportedly a hip flexor. He has also complained about sore shoulders.
Status: Day-to-day

WR Ryan Moore continues to be guarded with a hamstring injury.
Status: Day-to-day

OL Rashad Butler reportedly sprained his left ankle on August 12th and has not practiced since then. Currently he is in a full cast with crutches. There is a chance he will not be ready for the opener on September 6th.
Status: Unknown

OL Brandon Sebald limped off today with an apparent leg injury.
Status: Unknown

CB Terrell Walden is not participating in fall practices due to a torn ACL he suffered during the spring. It is unlikely he will play this season.
Status: Out two to five months

NEXT PRACTICE

Friday, August 20th, 8:30 a.m.& 3:30 p.m – They are the final practices open to the public this fall.

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

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