Practice Report: 10/18

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Hurricanes practiced for two hours today in light rain in preparation for Georgia Tech.

The team practiced for two hours earlier today beginning at 3:20 p.m. in preparation for their game against Georgia Tech on Saturday.

There is a chance the game will not be played due to Hurricane Wilma, which could hit the Miami area on Saturday. Miami athletic director Paul Dee said there is a possibility the game could be played a day earlier on Friday, October 21 or postponed until November 19, which would move up the Wake Forest game to November 12. A decision is expected to be made tomorrow around noon.

The game is schedule to start at 12:00 noon and will be covered nationally on ABC in various markets. For the areas not showing the game on ABC, it will be on ESPN. To Dee's knowledge, this is the first time this has happened.

"I was really pleased with today. We had a good practice today. Guys really ran around well. "We have a lot of work to do. This is a good football team we're going to play."

"We plan on playing Saturday. We're still a couple of days out, but the 'cone of concern' doesn't look very good. We're preparing as if we're playing Friday or Saturday and if it is an open date, then that is a bonus."

· Yesterday, head coach Larry Coker dismissed defensive line coach Greg Mark, who was in his 10th season as Miami's defensive line coach. The news was a shock to the players. Coker opened today's press conference with the following statement:

"Many may have questions about the situation on the coaching staff. I have made a change. But out of respect for privacy, it's an internal matter and I won't comment further. But I'll definitely comment on Georgia Tech."

Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon and strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey will be handling the defensive line coaching duties for the remainder of the season.

Coker commented on finding a replacement for Mark, "I'm not concerned about another coach until after the season. There will be plenty of people that want to come to Miami--that won't be a problem. What I do is, I always have a short list. I don't like for a job to be open. I'll have a short list of people I want to hire rather than what's out there."

· It was very evident that the defensive linemen did not have their usual energy and excitement during practice. It is a veteran group who has been around Coach Mark for a while now. It will be very interesting to see how the group progresses in practice throughout the week and in the upcoming game. Senior DE Thomas Carroll, who had a very good relationship with Coach Mark dating back to when he was recruited out of high school, would not comment on the situation after practice.

· QB Kyle Wright was held out of the majority of practice today, but did throw some passes to loosen up his right thumb, which is still a bit swollen. Wright believes it is only a matter of time and rehab before he is able to feel comfortable throwing the ball. "I'm fully confident that I'll be able to play," Wright said. "It's really just an issue of getting as much treatment as possible over the course of the next couple of days and really just sucking it up and dealing with the pain, which isn't a big deal. If I get the range of motion back and get my hand around the ball, I'll be fine."

· QB Kirby Freeman handled the duties as the first-string quarterback and made some nice throws when given the opportunity. Freeman is 12-for-21 passing this season with 175 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He has a 158.6 passer rating compared to Wright's 138.7.

· OL Eric Winston was one of 12 players named a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award, given to the nation's top lineman. "It was a goal of mine at the beginning of the season," Winston said. "Obviously the award is subjective a little bit, but it is something that I would love to have and love to accomplish."

· DE Thomas Carroll is back practicing at right end with DE Calais Campbell handling the left end duties. DE Eric Moncur could also be in the mix to start at right end.

· Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon does not talk about where the defense is ranked. Currently the Hurricanes are ranked first in total defense, 227 yards per game, and second in scoring defense, giving up 10.0 points per game. There are still five games left in the season and the jury is still out on the defense, who was performing well last season around this time. The first four games of the 2004 season they allowed just 216 yards and 6.5 points per game. The next three games the Hurricanes defense an average of 497 yards and 33 points per game.

· Two areas on the defense Shannon is not happy with is creating turnovers and allowing the big play. The defense has recorded 12 takeaways on the season, which ranks 55th in the country. TCU leads the country with 26 takeaways.

· WR Darnell Jenkins will be ready to play this week. Jenkins is running around well and making plays after suffering a high ankle sprain that kept him out of the last two games.

· CB Randy Phillips practiced today and is expected to be available to play on Saturday. Phillips is practicing with a knee brace on. "He is not all the way back, but he is close," Coker said. "We need to get him back, he is a good football player."

· DE Bryan Pata will not play against Georgia Tech. His MRI results were expected to be known later today. "I have not got an update on Bryan other than there will not be any surgery necessary, it will be rehabilitation," Coker said. "He is supposed to be out 2-4 weeks from when he got hurt, which would be now." Observation: Pata is probably going to do everything he can to be ready for Virginia Tech on November 5.

· LB Tavares Gooden is still out after recovering from shoulder surgery.

· LB Darryl Sharpton is not practicing due to a knee injury.

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

Wednesday, October 19, at 3:20 p.m.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com


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