Practice Report: 8/27

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Hurricanes practiced for two hours after a day off due to Hurricane Katrina.

After a day off yesterday due to Hurricane Katrina the team practiced in shells for two hours beginning at 2:20 p.m.

The practice featured a lot of game-type situations with the 1st and 2nd team offense/defense against the scout team offense/defense.

"We had a lot of situations today and did a lot of learning. We missed yesterday so it was good to get back on the field today. Some guys were a little bit rusty. This was good for us and we get to do this a couple of times before the game."

"I better like where our team is. We are not going to put any one on the waiver wire. I think our guys really want to play well. I do like that trait and I think we are ahead of where we were ahead a year ago at this time--without question."

· Since the team missed practice yesterday they would be able to make the practice up on a different date. The team does not have a scheduled practice on Wednesday, August 31, which could be a make-up day.

· With a number of players dealing with injuries, starting positions appear to be working themselves out: CB Marcus Maxey, SS Greg Threat, OL Andrew Bain, OL Anthony Wollschlager, and LB Romeo Davis all appear to be starters in the season opener.

· QB Kirby Freeman has impressed the coaching staff enough that when Coker was asked if Kirby could play in the season opener he responded, "sure he could play, we better have him ready to play".

· OL Tony Tella and LB Roger McIntosh returned to practice and participated on the second team at their respective positions. Both were involved and it was a good time to get the guys back on a light day.

· QB Kyle Wright is throwing the ball with a lot of velocity right now and is doing a good job of planting his back foot when the throws the ball. Today Wright was threading passes down the seam of a token defense to the tight end for 20+ yard gains, which is good news for TE Greg Olsen who appears to be ready to handle a number of Wright passes this season.

· SS Greg Threat has taken advantage of the opportunity to play on the first unit after SS Brandon Meriweather went down with a hamstring injury. Threat is making plays and is doing a good job against the pass—an area he wanted to improve upon this season. Threat is playing alongside FS Anthony Reddick on the first unit.

· DT Baraka Atkins recorded an interception on the first defensive series of the day when he picked off a QB Matt Perrelli pass and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown. Atkins, a two-year starter, has been impressing his teammates, particularly on the defensive line, with his speed at the tackle position.

· LB Tavares Gooden and LB Romeo Davis have been the nickel linebackers on the first unit. Both players possess good range sideline-to-sideline and can keep up with even the most athletic tight ends. Gooden is currently the first-team strongside linebacker and Davis is the first-team middle linebacker.

· DE Javon Nanton appears ready to put his 2004 season behind him and put together a solid 2005 season. Nanton led the team in sacks with eight in 2003 (four in one game) and after adding weight in the off-season to become more of an every down end, he had three last season, but to his credit he was second on the team with 10 quarterback hurries. After off-season shoulder surgery, Nanton finds himself in the defensive end rotation with DE Thomas Carroll, DE Bryan Pata, DE Calais Campbell, and DE Eric Moncur.

· RB Tyrone Moss did a good job of running hard through the halls during a walk through offense. Moss is exceptional between the tackles and has outstanding natural vision. This season is his season to show what he can do and after dropping nearly 15 pounds from a year ago, he appears ready to take over. redshirted.

· OL Tyrone Byrd returned to practice today due to an undisclosed medical condition. "He is doing better and it was a good day to get him back in the swing of things," Coker said. redshirted.

· A number of players on the team were without power due to Hurricane Katrina, which left nearly 1.5 million people in South Florida without power. There was power at the practice complex and some guys decided to stick around. According to Coker, none of the players suffered any injuries or damages during the hurricane.

· CB Devin Hester did some light running on special teams, but did not participate on the defense today. Hester is still dealing with a turf toe, but there should not be any doubt he will play in the season opener despite missing practices.

· SS Brandon Meriweather still is not able to do a lot of running around due to a hamstring injury and would need to get back soon if he wants to start in the season opener.

· OL Derrick Morse has a fracured shoulder. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

· RB Andrew Johnson is still recovering from an ACL injury he suffered last December. Johnson could be cleared to practice within a month, but it is still unsure whether or not he will play this season or redshirt and come back next year as a sophomore.

· DT Teraz McCray, CB Glenn Sharpe, and CB Carlos Armour are not practicing and are still recovering from ACL injuries. All three will miss the 2005 season.

Sunday, August 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Orange Bowl.

Practice is closed to the media.

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

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