Practice Report: Aug. 16

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Hurricanes practiced for the 10th straight day this fall. "We had a very good practice today," head coach Larry Coker said.

Coker gave a pre-practice speech to the team before they broke up into position drills:

"I was firing them up. The magic words tend to wear off when you get hit in the mouth a few times and the humidity is about 95 percent so my magic words don't last very long and they better fire themselves up."

· Coker praised the pass protection today, which is an encouraging sign considering the team gave up 36 sacks last year. In comparison, they also recorded 36 sacks.

· RB Andrew Johnson earned praise from Coker today, which was good to hear on the third year player. According to defensive players, Johnson ran with more aggressiveness today and showed off his good speed breaking off some big runs.

· WR Khalil Jones continues to be working hard before and after practice. Today, Jones caught a nice pass on an underneath route for a 15-yard gain utilizing his speed. Jones is a 6-foot-2, 220-pound sophomore from Miami Northwestern HS.

· S Brandon Meriweather was back practicing today after missing three days with a knee bruise.

· OL A.J. Trump has a sprained right ankle and was in a walking boot today. It has been bothering him the last couple of days, but today was the first practice he missed. Trump has been a bright spot on the line thus far and figures to be the team's third-best guard behind Andrew Bain and Derrick Morse.

· LB Colin McCarthy had a nice interception today. With the defense in nickel facing a 5-receiver set, McCarthy dropped back into coverage and made a diving interception. "Thunder Dan" as his teammates refer to him, is currently the second-team strongside linebacker. It is unknown at this time if he will play this year or redshirt, but typcially if a freshman is in the 2-deep they will not redshirt.

· RBs Charlie Jones (hamstring) and Derron Thomas (groin and hip flexor) were limited again today. "It is not a big worry," Coker said. "I wish they were both healthy and in there, but they are not."

· Hamstring injuries have been extremely common this fall. Hamstrings are typcially injured when players are fatigued or during bursts of speed. The players affected can attribute their injuries to both factors especially fatigue because the guys have not had time off yet.

· WR Darnell Jenkins is expected to be the team's top returner heading into the Florida State game. Jenkins, a senior, has the most experience as a returner and the coaches are unlikely to go with an inexperienced player in a high profile game.

· DE Eric Moncur is doing a solid job this fall and appears to be solidifying the third defensive end position as he battles Courtney Harris on the depth chart. Moncur is a sophomroe and Harris isa redshirt freshman.

· DT Bryan Pata is making a smooth transition to tackle mainly due to his attitude and outlook on it. "He's adapted well and is doing a great job with it," Coker said. Pata believes that's where his NFL future is

· The team holds their third of four two-a-days tomorrow.

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com


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