Practice Report: Aug 9

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Hurricanes practiced in shells for two hours in a five-hour window due to lightning in the area.

Practice started at 2:30 today and the team got in 45 minutes before the lightning sirens went off prompting the team to delay practice until 6:30 when they resumed play and finished up. It is important to get these practices in because they can't be made up once practice starts.

Head coach Larry Coker addressed his contract situation and stated that athletic director Paul Dee came by to talk to him and that everything has been completed verbally although nothing has been signed yet.

"This weather situation is really draining on everyone. We got a lot done this evening. It was nice to have to an overcast. Guys ran around good and competed well. We are a long ways away and we are early in the process."

"The quarterbacks were moving around pretty good, which is certainly a different threat than what we have had in the past."

"What I would like to do with this team is play a lot of players. I would like guys to play and help us win and not take a step back when they are in there."

· CB Tanard Davis, as reported, has rejoined the team and is wearing number 16. Freshman Bruce Johnson currently wears Davis's previous number 29 jersey. Davis, a 5-foot-10, cornerback from Southridge HS has one year of eligibility left and becomes the 84th scholarship player on the roster. He will compete for playing time primarily on special teams, but could be used at cornerback or even wide receiver if a spot were to open up due to injury.

· OL Derrick Morse played right guard on the first unit today due to an injury to Tony Tella. Morse is currently 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds and lost nearly 30 pounds from a year ago. He started six games a year ago at right guard as a freshman and will be valuable to the success of the offensive line this year.

· WR Darnell Jenkins was the top offensive player today scoring a deep touchdown early in practice against CB Devin Hester. Jenkins also showed excellent breakaway speed when he took a deep pass in the middle of the field later in practice and continue to run until he was tracked down by the secondary. Coker said his maturity level has changed by "light years" since he first arrived on campus.

· S Brandon Meriweather intercepted an errant pass by walk-on QB Matt Perrelli. Meriweather has been around the ball well this fall and could see his interception total increase from two in which he had a year ago.

· WR Ryan Moore made two great athletic catches today. On the first catch he came out of the backfield during a drill and made a one-handed catch while running away from the ball. He didn't lose steam upfield and controlled the ball well after the catch. On the second catch he caught a quick slant pass in front of Marcus Maxey despite good coverage by Maxey. The ball was thrown to his shoulders, but still managed to make the catch.

· QB Kyle Wright was threading passes during a during a drill into accuracy nets. He tagged all three into the center spot drawing a positive reaction from coach Werner. He made quite a few solid throws today to various receivers, but his best throw when he was flushed out to his left and threw across his body to find WR Lance Leggett on the sideline for a first down. One of the positives to be excited about Wright is his knowledge of the offense. During one play he noticed the defense, checked off, and then found WR Akieem Jolla for a quick eight-yard pass on an inside route.

· S Greg Threat made a number of plays in the secondary deflecting passes. He has been playing with the second-team alongside S Lovon Ponder and S Kenny Phillips.

· S Kenny Phillips picked off Freeman today on a pass in traffic. Phillips predicts he will lead the team in interceptions, but in order to do so he will need to be on the field. Right now Phillips is behind three safeties, but is ahead of Ponder in terms of talent.

· TE Greg Olsen had a few balls go through him today. However, Olsen looks a lot better than he did in the spring when he was practicing with a cast. He has great hands and will be used in a variety of different ways this season including being lined up at receiver.

· CB Bruce Johnson had a nice day breaking up a few passes. Johnson still has an uphill battle ahead of him in terms of avoiding a redshirt, but today was good progress. He is 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds with solid speed.

· FB Jerrell Mabry is big. He is listed at 6-foot-1 and 260 pounds. To put that in perspective, DT Baraka Atkins is listead at 265 pounds. Today Mabry had a tough time picking up coach Soldinger's directions in a various drill and still has a lot of 'high school moves' in him. However, he did bounce back with a nice catch during 11-on-11's.

· LB Leon Williams and LB Glenn Cook received most of the reps at nickel today. Williams has been doing well against the run this fall, but is still a step behind against the pass. Cook is filling in for injured LB Tavares Gooden.

· OL Tony Tella did not practice today due to a sprained ankle. He was wearing a hard cast while using crutches. Coker does not anticipate this injury to keep Tella out for a substantial amount of time, but it is hard to say.

· DE Bryan Pata practiced in the early afternoon, but was not back out there at night. Reportedly he had to take of "something physicially" and is expected to practice tomorrow morning.

· DT Teraz McCray, CB Carlos Armour, and CB Glenn Sharpe are still recovering from ACL injuries. Sharpe and Armour played catch on the sideline, but mainly just watched.

· 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 the operation last week and is expected to be out 10 days.

· LB Tavares Gooden did not practice in team drills due to a sore knee. He is being guarded a bit this fall, but will be ready for the season opener.

· LB Eric Houston has a pulled hamstring. This injury is not considered severe, but it isn't good for a player who is trying to play this season. Look for Houston to fall back on the depth chart and redshirt this season. He has not done much since fall practices began on Saturday.

· RB Andrew Johnson is practicing, but not participating in any contact drills. He appears to be running well and a return this season still remains questionable despite his prediction of playing.

Wednesday, August 10 at 8:30 a.m.

The practice is open to the public and is the first practice in pads.

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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