MY THOUGHTSThings have gone pretty well at practice although it is without a doubt a very awkward situation with the coaching staff.
Larry Coker is coaching the bowl game and Randy Shannon will be the defensive coordinator. Coker wants to coach the game and Shannon wants Coker to do so as well, however it is just odd to have someone on the staff replacing a fired coach.
Mario Cristobal left UM to be the head coach at FIU, but he is allowed to coach the bowl game if he wants to. And he hasn't decided yet, which isn't surprising considering how long it took for him to decide to leave UM. Having him coach the bowl game might be a good idea if UM did not have the incident they had with FIU earlier this season and if they did not play FIU next season. Otherwise it is a terrible decision and it is up to Coker, who really could care less about next year. Obviously Cristobal has a good relationship with his linemen and it might sound like a good idea, but it is just time to move on. Let Cristobal worry about FIU, who finished 0-12 this past season.
Tim Walton is expected to be the defensive coordinator next season under Shannon and has already received a public endorsement from Coker, who hired him in 2004.
So let's look at this for a second. The team finished 6-6 and Coker gets fired, although three of his assistants receive promotions (assuming Walton is the defensive coordinator next year). Odd.
Moving on…offensive coordinator Rich Olson left UM to go to Arizona State for a similar position.
Todd Berry, a former head coach who has already said he's not worried about opportunities in the future, will take over for Olson as the offensive coordinator in the bowl game and will be in the booth as he implements some new things in the offense. When asked if Berry would be on the sideline like Olson, he said he wasn't smart enough to do that.
(Insert joke here)
Clint Hurtt appears to be safe at UM as he brings intensity and fire to the coaching staff, a similar trait of Shannon's.
The status of John Palermo, Joe Pannunzio, and Marquis Mosely is uncertain at this time although one could make a case for them staying or going.
As you could see this is quite interesting as who is staying and who is leaving. For many reasons, the bowl game can't come soon enough and finally put closure on this disappointing season.
FOOTBALL NEWS & NOTES• WR Darnell Jenkins is contemplating leaving for the NFL Draft after this season as opposed to applying for a medical redshirt, which he is not able to do until after the bowl game. In a recent interview with CanesTime.com, Jenkins revealed that he might leave. Click here to read the article.
• Earlier this week, I was able to speak with WR Ryan Moore for about 45 minutes after practice after everyone else had left as we discussed a number of topics including growing up, his senior year, his career, his August incident, his family, etc. While this conversation was off the record, there will be an article on CanesTime next week with information from a formal interview. Moore is hoping to get an opportunity from an NFL team to show that he can play and that the things he has been through are behind him.
• TE Greg Olsen and LB Jon Beason have not officially announced their intentions for the NFL Draft, but look for both of them to make a decision to forego their senior seasons with a decision after the bowl game.
• RB Tyrone Moss and DE Baraka Atkins are headed to the East-West Shrine Game in Houston on Jan. 20. Both players had productive careers at UM although they were upstaged by younger players this season. Regardless of how their senior seasons went, they will get an opportunity at the next level and will be in somebody's camp.
• DT Kareem Brown and S Brandon Meriweather are headed to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on Jan. 27. Both were All-ACC second- team selections. Brown is the nation's leader in sacks amongst defensive tackles and Meriweather showed his versatility by playing a lot of snaps at cornerback this year.
• QB Kyle Wright got his cast off yesterday and expects to be throwing again by February. Wright expects to be 100 percent by spring practices and win the starting job once again. Not only has he had to deal with not playing the last three games, but he has had to answer questions about a possible quarterback controversy.
• QB Kirby Freeman is not afraid to speak his mind and not afraid to say things that might cause a few eyebrows to rise. Freeman has always felt he was good enough to be the starting quarterback and now he has his opportunity. Freeman has one more chance to show that he deserves to be the team's starting quarterback in 2007 and a win over Nevada would help his case.
• S Kenny Phillips is back and will play in the bowl game assuming he doesn't have any setbacks in Boise. With a strong performance in the bowl game, Phillips could vault himself into a lot of preseason attention heading into his junior season in 2007.
• FB James Bryant was suspended for the third time this season for a violation of team policy. He also missed the first two games of the season as well as the Duke game after his role in the FIU brawl. Bryant, a junior, has played in 32 games as a Hurricane registering eight tackles and eight rushing yards while catching five passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
• RB Andrew Johnson has been granted a release to transfer. Johnson, a junior, rushed for 172 yards and one touchdown on 35 carries in his three-year career at UM.
• WR Kayne Farquharson signed his letter of intent with UM earlier this week in South Miami. If he is as good as he says he is, UM fans will be very excited to watch this self-proclaimed "loud-mouth juco kid".
• K Jon Peattie ranks 32nd on the NCAA's all-time scoring list with 334 career points. Peattie, who has been the team's kicker for 49 straight games, has hit 64-of-91 field goals in his career (70.3 percent) and 142-of-147 extra points (97 percent). This season Peattie has hit two 50-plus-yard field goals including a 55-yarder against Virginia Tech.
• OL Jason Fox was not able to participate in every drill during this past week as he recovers from a dislocated elbow he suffered on Nov. 18. He does expect to play in the bowl game.
• There is a strong possibility the team will return to black shoes and black socks next season under coach Shannon, which is something the players want. It seems like a good time to get new jerseys with a new coach and it has been three years with this model. And if they do get new jerseys, it's time to get rid of the skin-tight, wet suit style jerseys. Now if only the NCAA would allow players to wear dark visors as opposed to the less-than-impressive clear visors.
BASKETBALL NEWSIt was reported in a recent article on Scout.com that Alabama 6-foot-8 freshman Avery Jukes (Duluth, Ga.) is transferring and would like to explore the possibilities of going to Miami or Auburn. Jukes is a guy that I have seen play high school basketball during a road trip and I like his game. He's an explosive strong forward in the post and can knock down his free throws and block shots. Jukes has played in just three games this season for Alabama. He would benefit the Hurricanes, but at this time it does not appear UM would be a possibility for Jukes.
Christopher Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org