Practice Report: Aug 7

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Hurricanes practiced for two hours in the morning with shorts on. It was extremely hot and it affected a lot of players.

Head coach Larry Coker got the crowd of about 75 people excited as well as the team when he tackled a tackling dummy when instructing the team how to do it right. Tony Tella followed up Coker's block with a similar one drawing a huge applause and laughter from the crowd.

"That was a good start for us. I really liked what I saw from the first day, but we have to keep moving forward. Normally we would come back in the afternoon and practice again."

"I was a little disappointed with the offense because the timing was not there. We looked a little tentative. I was disappointed because these weren't new plays. They were the same plays that we ran during the summer. But I told them after practice the intensity picks up now--it is not the summer."

"I think the energy level is important especially on defense as well as leadership. The enthusiasm is contagious."

· Former cornerback Tanard Davis is in the process of returning back to the team for a final season and thus would regain his scholarship. The process should finish up this week. He has wore number 29 in his career, but incoming freshman Bruce Johnson was awarded the number. There is a possibility that he would get his number back, but it is unlikely. Some open numbers that are possibilities are 36, 43, and 46.

· When added Davis would immediately be inserted into the fourth cornerback slot ahead of Rashaun Jones and Randy Phillips, but behind Kelly Jennings, Devin Hester, and Marcus Maxey. Last year Davis was all over the boards in terms of workout numbers and is an outstanding track performer.

· FS Anthony Reddick intercepted a Kyle Wright pass during 11-on-11's showing good ball pursuit and quickness. Reddick is destined to intercept more passes than he did a year ago especially since his only one should not have been ruled a catch.

· LB Glenn Cook got some work in with the first unit today at strongside with Gooden out with an injury. Cook was moving around very well against the run and will provide the team with much-needed depth this year.

· The defensive coaches were stressing the importance of staying with the football up until the play was over. Players were forced to run across the field to find the ball even on incompletions. At times the players were a bit slow getting to where the coaches wanted them. This has been stressed to the defensive line in the spring and has carried over in the fall. It will be interesting to see how well they catch on throughout August.

· LB Leon Williams was all over the place today. He showed outstanding pursuit in run defense getting to where he needs to be. When Williams is in the right spot offensive players have a hard time eluding the 6-foot-3, 238-pound Wililams. He is one of the harder hitters on the team and is expected to start at middle linebacker this season.

· RB Derron Thomas made a few great runs up the middle during the inside run drill. Thomas has great cutback ability and a burst through the line. He still remains the number two option behind of Tyrone Moss, but is expected to get some carries this year.

· The defensive line was explosive today against the sleds and in their individual workouts. Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon has consistently worked with this unit since the spring. If the unit can put together a solid season it will pay off in huge dividends in the overall success of the defense.

· CB Devin Hester has improved his size and strength. Today he was having no problems with Lance Leggett forcing him out of the play on a consistent basis. Hester has the unique ability to give up just enough space to make it look like his guy is open, but will jump the route. Look for Hester to lead the team in interceptions this year and once again be a force scoring touchdowns.

· TE Greg Olsen is practicing without a cast for the first time since last October. He made a nice catch today as the ball was behind him. The coaches feel he is the best tight end in the country.

· CB Kelly Jennings had another solid day of practice. His efforts often go unnoticed in practice because he rarely gives up any space and does not get thrown at very often. Today he broke up a pass across the middle of the field.

· LB Spencer Adkins has outstanding speed coming off the outside. He drew a lot of noise from his defensive teammates when he knocked over fullback Jerrell Mabry in a pass play. He stands just 5-foot-11, but weighs 235 pounds. He could be a valuable asset on special teams this year, but will have a hard time cracking the two-deep at linebacker.

· With only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster there is competition for the third spot on the depth chart. Trey Burklin (Charlotte, N.C.) was on the team a year ago and is getting the majority of the reps, however his position is not secure. Jorge Fernandez (Miami, Fla.) and Matt Perrelli (Jupiter, Fla.) are challenging Burklin for that third spot. Fernandez has been more impressive than Perrelli in the early going.

· 2004 graduate assistant coaches Clint Hurtt and Greg Laffere are at different schools this year. Hurtt is now at FIU and Laffere is at Illinois State.

· DT Teraz McCray, CB Carlos Armour, CB Glenn Sharpe, and RB Andrew Johnson are still recovering from ACL injuries. Johnson did participate in jogging drills, but the others were held out of everything.

· LB Roger McIntosh was again held out of practice due to recovering from an arthroscopic knee surgery to remove a bone chip in what Coker described as a "simple surgery". He had a small knee wrap on his right knee and walked with a noticable limp. He had the operation last week and is expected to be out 10 days.

· LB Tavares Gooden came late to practice and did not practice in team drills due to a sore knee according to Coker. He is being guarded a bit, but has not had surgery.

· QB Kirby Freeman was taken by ambulance to Doctor's Hospital for tests and observation following practice after he was overheated. He is expected to be fine.

· WR Darnell Jenkins dealt with leg cramps, which is typical for him. This is not serious, but it is someting to watch for throughout August. Jenkins is a 5-foot-10, 180-pound junior wide reciever who is the leading returner in receptions from 2004.

· WR Ryan Moore dealt with spasms related to the heat. Rest for Moore will help him prepare for tomorrow's practice.

Monday, August 8 at 8:30 a.m.

The practice is open to the public. It was originally scheduled for 3:30, but was rescheduled Sunday to assure they would be able to get a full practice in. More practices could be moved to the mornings, but there is no official word as of yet.

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


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