Spring Game News & Notes

The Miami Hurricanes will hold their annual spring game today at 10 a.m. at the Orange Bowl. First-year head coach Randy Shannon has added a new format to the game with teams being split up into two squads—orange and white—instead of the offense vs. defense format, which was done for years.

Randy Shannon thinks the format will benefit the team.

"Making it more competitive, make it a game-like situation, and have guys root for each other," said Shannon on the reasons for the change. "I think it will be really fun for the guys. They will be rooting for each other and they will be pointing fingers."

In addition to bragging rights, the winner of the game will get to eat lunch first on Saturday.

With spring practices coming to an end, Shannon reflected on what has been his biggest challenge during his first spring session.

"You can't please everybody," Shannon said. "That has been the biggest challenge. You can't please everybody so you just do what you feel is best and you move on. Some people don't like what you are doing, but if you if you can go home at night and sleep comfortably then you are doing the best thing that you can do.

"Fans, critics, this group, that group, somebody is going to be upset with you in life. Everyone faces it, you just have to deal with it."

QUARTERBACK BATTLE

Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman will get a chance to lead their squads to a victory on Saturday (complete rosters can be viewed HERE).

Wright will have WRs Sam Shields and Ryan Hill; RBs Charlie Jones and Derron Thomas; and TE Chris Zellner to work with on the orange team.

Freeman will have WR Khalil Jones; RBs Javarris James, Kylan Robinson, and James Bryant; and TEs DajLeon Farr and Chris Zellner with him on the white team.

When asked what Shannon would like to see from his quarterbacks, he replied:

"Nothing. Just to be themselves. Nothing else. They need to make this scrimmage like it is Miami against Florida State. This is your 11 guys on offense and this is your 11 guys on defense. Play. Let's see who can win games that way. We are going to develop a team chemistry here and tomorrow we will really see what happens and see how they are going to get it done."

INJURIES

Fans will have to wait until the fall to get to see freshman RB Graig Cooper in action. Cooper will not play in the spring game and is out with a broken finger.

Other notable players who are also out of the spring game are: WR Lance Leggett, WR Darnell Jenkins, OL Jason Fox, OL Derrick Morse, LB Darryl Sharpton, LB Romeo Davis, CB Glenn Sharpe, and CB Bruce Johnson.

JOHNSON AT ALUMNI DAY

Former UM coach Jimmy Johnson was amongst those in attendance during Friday's practice. Johnson, who coached Shannon in college and in the NFL, met up with Shannon.

"We always talk about old times and what we are doing, things like that," Shannon said. "He was kind of funny he told me, ‘You wanted to be in this business and now you into it now.' But he is always complimentary of what I am doing and has been supportive ever since I started coaching."

UM president Donna Shalala, athletic director Paul Dee, and four recruits—Justin Thompson, Marcus Forston, Antonio Harper, and Sean Spence—were also at Friday's practice.

TEAM GIVEN DAY OFF

Shannon elected to give the team a day off on Thursday.

"Just to give them a break, throw them a bone," Shannon said on the reason. "Instead of five days this week, we went four."

The team was allowed to practice 15 teams this spring, but with the day off they are only going to have 14 practices.

MUCK CITY

In a recent article featured in ESPN the Magazine, the author talks about youngsters growing up in the Muck City area of Florida (Belle Glade, Pahokee, and South Bay) and chasing rabbits out of the sugarcane fields to earn money thus helping them get faster.

The Muck City area is home to a number of professional football players including Fred Taylor, Anquan Boldin, and Eric Moore.

Randy Phillips, a junior cornerback, is from Belle Glade and starred at Glades Central High School before UM.

"I always wanted to try it, but I never did," said Phillips on chasing the rabbits. "Kids didn't do it to get faster, they did it to make money."

Phillips will be joined this fall by Glades Central standout Damien Berry, who signed with UM in February.

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com


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