Practice Report: 8/15 Morning

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Hurricanes practiced in pads today after a day off yesterday.

Today was the first day practice was not open to the public. The media is only allowed to watch the first 30 minutes and the last 15 minutes of practice so a complete practice analysis is not feasible.

"Yesterday was a day off for us and we evaluated the scrimmage film. It was a really good scrimmage for us from the standpoint that we did some good things on offense and defense, but we need to get better on both sides."

"Both quarterbacks, as expected, played well. Nobody just jumped off the charts. The guys we thought would play well did, which they seem to do. We would like a lot of the younger players an opportunity to play"

"Today the defense had a lot of opportunities with turnovers. Offensively we have to protect the ball a lot better."

"We have three weeks from tonight before our first game. We can't let this week slide by--it has to be a productive time."

"I think we have a good practice tempo with good leadership out here. Guys know how to practice. This is a tough week for us since we do have three weeks before the game, which seems like three years for these guys. I think we have a good mix of older and younger guys. The younger guys are talented and are here for a reason."

· LB Romeo Davis replaced LB Leon Williams as the first-team middle linebacker. Davis is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound sophomore from Northwestern High who had a productive first week of practice concluding with a solid performance in Saturday's scrimmage. "To say Romeo has come along way from a year ago, I can't really say that, but he is better as he should be," Coker said. No other shuffling at linebacker is expected to be made.

· Although Davis has currently replaced Williams in the middle and Coker stated no other shuffling is expected to be made, but don't be surprised if someone else takes over in the middle. LB Jon Beason would be a perfect candidate at MLB with his knowledge of the game, leadership, and ability to make plays. If Beason takes over in the middle and LB Roger McIntosh and LB Tavares Gooden are still bothered with injuries, look for LB Willie Williams to get a shot with the first unit.

· LB Leon Williams did not meet expectations provided by the coaches and was not performing at a level they need from the mike position. "It is disappointing that we are not better at that positon," Coker said.

· S Kenny Phillips recorded two inteceptions today in the final 15 minutes of practice. "He will get your attention in a hurry," Coker said. On the first interception the ball was heaved up downfield by QB Kirby Freeman and Phillipes leaped and caught the ball at the top of his jump. The second interception came on a drop by a receiver. When Coker was asked if he knows enough about the defense to play in the opener, he responded by saying, "he will know enough in three weeks at 8:06 p.m.".

· CB Randy Phillips also recorded two interceptions in the final 15 minutes of practice. Phillips made great reads on the ball downfield where he was able to face the quarterback like when he is at his natural position of safety. Phillips is still learning proper cornerback techniques, but is expected to develop into a solid player in his career. "He is not intimidated by anything, he just plays," Coker said. Phillips is also expected to contribute this season either on the defense or on special teams.

· S Brandon Meriweather started the interception party picking off a pass after a receiver bobbled the ball. Meriweather has done a nice job of being around the ball and is a guy who can intercept passes when given the opportunity. He still continues to be a leader on the field with plenty of energy.

· S Greg Threat knocked the ball out of TE Buck Ortega's hands causing a fumble and S Anthony Reddick scooped up the fumble returning it for a 20-yard touchdown.

· OL Anthony Wollschlager was with the first unit line again today at center replacing OL Tyrone Byrd. According to offensive line coach Art Kehoe, Wollschlager is ahead of Byrd mentally, but Byrd is ahead physically.

· OL A.J. Trump appears to be the closest true freshman along the line to be playing this season. He has played all three spots along the offensive line in his high school career and is beginning to work on his snaps before and after practice for a possible move to center. Currently Trump is playing guard.

· CB Bruce Johnson was originally expected to redshirt, but it appears he has played himself into a role on this team. Johnson could be used on special teams and even on the defense during nickel and dime sets.

· RB Tyrone Moss is the starting running back, but RB Derron Thomas and RB Charlie Jones are expected to receive carries as well. Moss is the most powerful back out of the group, Thomas is the speed back, and Jones is a little bit of a mix of both. · OL Andrew Bain is the starting right guard with OL Tony Tella and OL Derrick Morse out with injuries. He has prepared himself to play with a good off-season.

· OL Derrick Morse will not play in the season opener against Florida State on September 5 due to a shoulder sprain. Morse was in a shoulder harness and although Coker does not believe he will need surgery.

· DE Thomas Carroll did not practice due to an illness. He came in for practice, received medication, and was sent home.

· DT Antonio Dixon is practicing on a limited basis due to a knee injury he suffered last week. He should be back by the end of the week.

· OL Tony Tella is not expected to return to practice anytime soon with a high ankle sprain. When Coker was asked when he expects him back, he responded, "who knows, we'll see, when he is back, he is back". Tella does not appear to be on his way back anytime soon as he deals with a high ankle sprain he suffered on August 8. Tella has told Kehoe he will be ready to play in the opener.

· LB Roger McIntosh is not practicing due to recovering from an arthroscopic knee surgery to remove a bone chip. He was originally said to come back sometime this week, but it appears very unlikely. There is no certainty that he will be ready for the season opener.

· LB Tavares Gooden did not particpate in contact drills today and is still bothered by a knee injury. He will be worked into practices later this week. He expects to be in the lineup September 5.

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

· OL Alex Pou had off-season shoulder surgery and has been held out of contact drills this fall. He expects to be back in 1-2 weeks.

· LB Eric Houston is still bothered by a pulled hamstring although appears to be running well.

· DT Teraz McCray, CB Carlos Armour, and CB Glenn Sharpe are not practicing and are still recovering from ACL injuries.

Monday, August 15 at 3:30 p.m.

Practices are now closed to the public.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

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