Practice Report: 8/16

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Hurricanes held their 12th practice of the fall today.

The team returned to the practiced field at 8:30 a.m. after a two-a-day practice yesterday. The media is only allowed to watch the first 30 minutes and the last 15 minutes of practice.

"A lot of guys are a little sore, but that is to be expected at this time in camp. I thought we did some good things today. We got some things done today like our 4-minute offense."

"I think we understand hydration a little bit more in dealing with the heat. Practicing once a day makes a lot of difference. If we practiced twice today it would probably be more of a factor. I think we are in great shape. I don't care what kind of condition you are in, these guys don't have any body fat and that makes a big difference in terms of cramping up and dehydration."

"We are practicing a lot of people right now. And we will continue to do that for a few more days at least."

· The team will begin preparing for Florida State 10 days before the game, which would be on August 26. Currently they are working on some things for the game, but not a complete gameplan just yet. The teams know about each other very well as both teams have recruited a lot of the same players.

· LB Tavares Gooden returned to practice today and was participating in full contact drills. Gooden replaced LB Willie Cooper as the second-team strongside linebacker behind LB Glenn Cook. Last year Gooden finished third on the team in tackles and expects to improve those numbers tremendously this year.

· DT Orien Harris and DT Baraka Atkins were unblockable today according to Coker. Both players are extremely important this year in run defense. Atkins is replacing the graduating Santonio Thomas, who recorded only one solo tackle last season. Harris is looking to improve on his 1.5 sacks in 2004.

· DT Antonio Dixon was also back today after suffering a knee injury last week. Coker expects Dixon to help the team this year, which would eliminate a possible redshirt. Both Dixon and DT Joe Joseph are two freshmen that are expected to play this year and provide depth at the tackle position.

· LB Leon Williams was not practicing at the end of practice and when Coker asked about a possible injury, he said, "I don't know that and I didn't see that. Again I'm paying attention to the guys out there going. But I will get a report on that after practice."

· LB Darryl Sharpton was the second-team MLB with Williams on the sidelines. Sharpton has been making a number of plays this fall and looked good today making stops against the run. He is a guy that made a number of plays in high school and the coaches project to be an excellent player in his career. Look for Sharpton to play on special teams this season.

· SS Brandon Meriweather also was not practicing at the end of practice, but it was not because of an injury according to Coker, "No, he's fine. Again, there may be a reason he was pulled out of practice and I will find out that reason."

· SS Greg Threat filled in for Meriweather on the first team. Threat, the team's leading tackler in 2004, has been primarily playing on the second-team this fall. He has been in on nickel situation moving Meriweather to the nickel back position.

· QB Kyle Wright was one of the top finishers during conidtioning drills at the end of practice. It is an extremely positive sign to see the starting quarterback lead his team in drills during tough times when players are tired and dealing with extreme heat. Wright also helped out the equipment guys after practice when he assisted in pushing a heavy cart after a dozen of his teammates looked on while commenting to the equipment guys on how to do it right, but it was Kyle--the furthest away from the cart--that stepped up. Don't underestimate the little things.

· OL Derrick Morse was quoted in the Naples News that he was injured due to a "cheap shot" by DE Thomas Carroll. Coker responded by saying, "He was not cheap-shotted, that is not the case at all. What happenend was, he fell down on his shoulder, case-closed. Football is a physical game, there are a lot of bumps and bruises, there is contact, and it is just one of those things."

· Coker also denied speculation that Carroll missed yesterday's practice due to a suspension from the incident and that he was indeed sick. Coker also added, "Carroll is not a cheap shot guy. He is a class act and did not cheap shot anybody."

· OL Derrick Morse was quoted in the Naples News that he fractured his shoulder and will be out 6-8 weeks. He is expected to find out this week if he needs surgery. Coker told the media yesterday that it was a sprain and when asked if Morse's statement was accurate, he responded, "Well if that is what he said, that is what he said. I'm not going to get into the specifics of an injury."

· OL Tony Tella is not expected to return to practice anytime soon 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.

· RB Andrew Johnson is practicing, but not participating in any contact drills due to recovering from an ACL injury he suffered in December.

· OL Alex Pou had off-season shoulder surgery and has been held out of contact drills this fall. He could return to the field at the end of this week.

· LB Eric Houston is still bothered by a pulled hamstring although appears to be running well. He has not been practicing in contact drills.

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

Wednesday, August 17 at 8:30 a.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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