Friday Stock Report: 9/2

The Hurricanes have one more practice prior to the 2005 season opener. Things are getting more and more interesting by the day.

WEEKLY PRACTICE RECAP
The team was once again plagued by bad weather or at least weather that affected their practices for the week. With lightining in the area on Thursday practice was cancelled, much to the chagrin of head coach Larry Coker. Coker called the weather issue ridiculous and the most frustrating thing he has dealt with in his 30-plus years of coaching. After numerous attempts to restart practice Coker stood all by himself with his arms crossed after the eventual last siren went off. He was the last person on the practice field and had the body language indicating extreme frustration.

LEON WILLIAMS
As some of you aleady know, I have predicted that Leon Williams will regain his starting role for Monday night in the season opener. Although Coker and his staff have not made a statement regarding this potential move, I believe he will be the guy they go with against Florida State. The reason why Williams was moved to the second-team was partly because of his groin injury although that is not the reason which was expressed to the media. Williams is in his fifth year and when put in a good situation, he could be very valuabe to this team. He excels against the run and if he gains confidence he could be very valuable to this defense. It will be interesting to see how it will shake out on Monday, but do not be suprised if Williams takes over in the middle for Romeo Davis.

HESTER'S INVOLVEMENT ON THE OFFENSE
If you follow college football you know about Devin Hester. You know about his top-notch speed, gamebreaking ability, ability to play both sides of the ball, his relationship with Deion Sanders, and his highlight reel plays. You also might know about his turf toe and struggles to take over the starting cornerback spot. Bottom line is this. When he is on the field, he has a chance to score a touchdown regardless of where he is on the field. He is expected to have an offensive package each week, but how much will he actually be used? You have to figure quite a bit more than last year especially if the team needs a spark. He will be used in various formations, but primarily ones in which he will get the ball soon. It would be nice to develop Hester as a decoy at the receiver position to open up potential for other players.

TWO CONCERNS HEADING INTO 2005 SEASON
With the 2005 season only days away there are two items of concern that will need to be addressed throughout the season in the team's quest for it's 6th national championship.

1.) The coaches need to be proactive as opposed to reactive in their decision-making processes especially dealing with personnel. There will be times (even as soon as Monday) in which the coaches must take a hard look at various situations such as playing players more or less based upon results and potential. One of the things they must do in evaluating these issues is to make decisions before they hurt the team or the ability to win games. If they see a move that needs to be made, they need to put away all biases and make the decision as soon as possible. If not, losses will occur. The same goes with offensive and defensive playcalling.

2.) Is this team too loose? Throughout fall practices the team displayed a very loose atmosphere, which consisted of dumping their head coach in an ice bucket, extended dance sessions at the beginning of stretching, or a lack of attention during drills. Before you read too much into it, this could be their identity for the 2005 season and if they turn it on during the games it doesn't matter. If this is the case and nothing they do in practice makes a difference on how they perform in games, then they must be who they are. It is just a cautious thing to pay attention to because not all teams (regardless of the sport) can be loose on the practice field and play well during the games. A lot will be known about the identity of the 2005 team on Monday.

OFFENSIVE STARS
Tyrone Moss, Derron Thomas, Ryan Moore, Sinorice Moss, Lance Leggett, Darnell Jenkins, and Greg Olsen are the team's top offensive players who are expected to score touchdowns for this team led by quarterback Kyle Wright. All of the players listed above have solid speed and gamebreaking ability, but which one will step up in 2005? Will Ryan Moore be the top offensive threat? Will Tyrone Moss run for 1,000 yards? Is Kyle Wright the next great UM quarterback? Hard to say with these individuals, but you have to like the eight guys listed about when going into a season. Tyrone Moss, Moore, Leggett, Olsen, and Wright were all considered one of the top players at their positions coming out of high school. This is their year to show what they can do.

SLEEPERS FOR BIG PLAYS AGAINST FSU
Monday Night Football against Florida State in Tallahassee in the season opener. There will be big plays being made by a number of individuals, but here are five players under the radar who could shine on the biggest stage of the season: CB Randy Phillips, LB Willie Williams, DE Calais Campbell, QB Kirby Freeman, and WR Akieem Jolla.

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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