Junior wide receiver Ryan Moore caught 44 passes for 637 yards and three touchdowns as freshman. Look for all of those numbers to improve this year, as Moore becomes the go-to receiver for Kyle Wright. One of the reasons to expect Moore to rebound from his 9-catch season from a year ago is his improved work during practice. Throughout his career at Miami he has not been known as a guy who consistently gets it done during practice, but this year things are different.
GROWING PAINS FOR WRIGHT?
Yes and no. Expect Wright to put up good numbers this year especially with yards, however he will find himself in a tough position at some point during the season when things aren't going his way. That is when you will find out if Kyle Wright has what it takes to get this team its sixth national championship, that is when you will find out if Wright is the next great quarterback at Miami. He has mentioned this before, but great quarterbacks will find a way to lead his team down the field on the final drive after throwing two interceptions earlier in the game.
CANES FANS WILL ENJOY FREEMAN'S STYLE
6th NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Coker is letting the team know they are serious about winning the national championship this year. He is putting pressure on his team to perform at a high level and expects them to compete for playing time. Although there are a number of guys returning the coaches have made it a point not to let them be comfortable with their positions on the team. That is why Coker has mixed things up a bit, but the key is to get the most out of them. If he challenges them too much and the staff is too hard on the guys, then the players will be playing and practicing afraid to make mistakes. Whether or not this style will work with this group is hard to say, but that is why Larry Coker has been chosen as the head coach at Miami.
The team has been very loose this fall, almost too loose according to some players on the team. It is amazing to see the group of strong personalities and fun individuals on the team. Remember, loose is not a bad thing as long as the job gets done on Saturdays. One player, in particular, wanted to caution the team about being too loose with only two weeks before the season opener against Florida State. The mood is expected to tighten up, but it will be interesting to see how things progress throughout the course of the season.
Kenny Phillips is not only the star of the freshman class, but is one of the stars on the team thus far in the fall. He made a spectacular diving interception earlier today at practice and still leads the team in interceptions during fall practices. Phillips is the second-team free safety right now and was paired up with SS Greg Threat for a while, until Brandon Meriweather went down with an injury. Threat, who also is banged up, but is practicing—unlike a lot of his teammates, moved up to the first team. However, watching Threat and Phillips practice together only makes you think about their potential during games. Although Meriweather and Anthony Reddick are more vocal, it would be great to see Threat and Phillips in the starting lineup together. Phillips has yet to show what he can do against the run, but after watching him four times during his senior season, I'm comfortable in standing behind his abilities. If he is on the field enough, he just might lead the team in interceptions.
WIN OR LOSE WITH THESE 3 LINEBACKERS FOR 2005
With the shake up at middle linebacker earlier this week and Tavares Gooden returning from injury, the linebacker situation appears to be in a flux, but not if you go with these three linebackers in 2005: WLB Tavares Gooden, MLB Jon Beason, and SLB Roger McIntosh. Here's why:
Tavares Gooden, Junior
Gooden possess outstanding speed and ball pursuit along with ideal size, 6-foot-2, 220-pounds at the weakside position. Allowing him to blitz from the weakside at times would create problems for the offensive line/running backs and possess natural pass rushing skills after playing defensive end in high school. He can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time and wants/expects to make a lot of tackles this year.
Beason (pictured right) is a leader and his personality commands a lot of respect. He also knows the game. In fact, he is more comfortable about his knowledge of the defense than his overall playing ability. Not a bad thing considered he comes in at 6-feet tall and 225 pounds. He is a strong tackler who makes good defensive reads. The former safety also can intercept passes, which he has done this fall. His only drawback is taking his knowledge from the meeting room onto the playing field—that comes with experience. Beason is interested in the idea of coaching after his playing days are over. Starting at middle linebacker would be a good start to his coaching plans.
Roger McIntosh, Senior
McIntosh is just a beast. He runs, hits, and possesses outstanding athletic ability in a 6-foot-2, 230-pound frame. He runs like a running back, but hits like a lineman. He is great at the strongside spot because of his ability to drop pass and cover the tight end. His outstanding athletic ability allows him to stay with his guy as well as provide run support.
One of the best things about this combination is they can all run as well as wrap up on tackles—two things you need in an ideal linebacker.
NFL DRAFT 2006
There have been a number of NFL scouts at practice in the first two weeks, which sparks the interest of who are they looking at? The team has 17 seniors and about six other guys who could enter the draft early if they have strong years in 2005. Eric Winston is the top senior prospect, but a number of guys have already impressed scouts. The 1987 team featured the most NFL draft picks in one draft by a particular Hurricane squad, when they had 12 selected in the 1988 draft headlined by Bennie Blades and Michael Irvin. The 1988 featured 12 rounds. The most draft picks in a 7-round draft are 11 by the 2001 team. This year's team could challenge that mark.
SCOUT.COM AND FOX
CanesTime is in the Scout.com network and there was big news with Scout earlier this month. Scout Media Inc., which operates a network of more than 200 sports websites and 47 of the most widely read local sports magazines in the U.S., was acquired in a multimillion-dollar deal by Fox Interactive Media. The deal is expected to great for Scout, it's members, and everyone involved. One of the improvements you will see is more television/radio time for the individual websites.
Earlier this week, I appeared as a call-in guest on Sports Talk Live—a live TV show on Sun Sports, which is owned by Fox and is a regional sports network. These are the kind of things that are expected to come up more often with the Fox acquisition. Stay tuned for more updates with the progress of CanesTime.
Click HERE for link to Fox/Scout Announcement
Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org