Click here to listen to QB Kyle Wright talk about today's practice
"I the the offense was a little bit tired today. I think we had too many mentals on offense today. We had a meeting last night on redzone offense and the first thing we talked about was foolish penalties. We had two today in 12 plays. That's something we really have to correct. Something I told them was to not let yourself be tired and we got to force through it."
· RB Javarris James had another strong performance in today's practice while Charlie Jones (hamstring) and Derron Thomas (groin) were held out again although their injuries are considered minor.
· P/WR Brian Monroe caught a long touchdown pass today from QB Kyle Wright and has "looked good at receiver" according to Coker. Coker was planning on making a decision on what to do with Monroe in the first 7-10 days of fall practice, but has said it might stretch it out to 12-13 days.
· WR Ryan Moore caught a touchdown pass today and is still working with the first unit although he will miss the first two games. Freshman Sam Shields did not score a touchdown after three straight days of getting to the the endzone.
· CB Randy Phillips had an interception today and knocked down a couple passes in team drills. Phillips has been exceptionally good in defending the deep pass and is developing into a strong cornerback. He remains the favorite to start at right cornerback in favor of Bruce Johnson and Carlos Armour.
· Offensive coordinator Rich Olson said the running backs will be involved in every pass play unless their protection responsibilities are needed.
"Protection is first for all of them," Olson said. "Obviously if you don't protect the quarterback with people running at him then you are going to have sacks. That has all been a conversation about last year. The backs protection responsibilities come first and if the quarterback decides not to throw the ball downfield, then he can check it off to the backs.
· TE Chris Zellner is an "invaluable and versatile football player" according to Olson. Zellner will be involved heavily in the new offense as an H-back--which is a combination between a fullback and a tight end. "He has good hands, he is a smart kid, and he is a tough kid," Olson added.
· One of the areas Olson would like to improve upon is the team's success on third downs. Last year the Hurricanes converted on 32 percent of their third downs, which is not at the level elite teams have it. In comparison UM opponents converted 30 percent of their third downs. The biggest enforced issue with this is to avoid sacks and big negative plays so they are not in bad situations. "It's hard enough to make 3rd-and-5," Olson said. "Every inch of the field is field position."
· DT Antonio Dixon is dealing with a minor hamstring injury according to Coker and will not rush him back on the field. When healthy, Dixon likely will be the team's fourth defensive tackle behind Kareem Brown, Bryan Pata, and Teraz McCray. Typcially UM likes to run a 3-man rotation at tackle so playing time could be hard to find as a sophomore.
· DT Luqman Abdallah benefits with the injuries to McCray and Dixon as he gets more reps in practice. Abdallah, like Dixon, will have a hard time finding meaningful playing time this season. Abdallah is a redshirt freshman who will be counted on in 2007 to be in the team's tackle rotation along with Dixon and McCray.
· DTs Kareem Brown and Chaz Washington left practice early today. Coker said Brown left due to being sick and Coker thinks its just a virus. Washington was holding his right wrist as he walked off.
· DE Calais Campbell is a starter after being one of the most productive defensive players in the spring. "He earned that spot and it was a very easy decision," Coker said.
· WR Sam Shields has a quiet, confidence about himself combined with the ability to listen and great talent. He will be an impact player at Miami and there is no reason to believe he won't produce in 2006.
· RB Tyrone Moss has looked good and is cutting well. "I think he is coming along pretty well," Coker said.
· OL Orlando Franklin still has not been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse. It was assumed by Franklin's high school coach that he would meet with NCAA officials today, but Coker said he would be "shocked" if that happened today and said it would likely happen in the next two weeks. He has already has been admitted to school.
Christopher Stock can be reached at email@example.com