Shannon: Shields can't slack off

Spring football begins tomorrow for Miami and if the Hurricanes are to have a successful season offensively, having a reliable playmaker like Sam Shields would go a long way towards making sure that happens. Read on to see what Shannon is saying about Shields and the other receivers.

Sam Shields has been hot and cold during his Miami career. Heading into his junior season, Shields has often looked like a real difference maker on the field and other times he's been suspended or in the coach's doghouse. Shields is the most productive receiver the Hurricanes have coming back this season and it's time for him to really step it up.

"Sam can't slack off and take it easy one day," head coach Randy Shannon said. "He's gotta be hungry and aggressive. He knows my mentality -- we'll play the best players."

Shields will be hoping to lock down a starting spot this spring but one thing's for sure -- he'll have plenty of competition.

"Coach (Aubrey) Hill is doing a good job with those guys (getting them prepared for spring)," he said. "Aldarius (Johnson) is on campus now. (Jermaine) McKenzie is ready to go -- 100 percent, no injuries."

The additions of McKenzie and Johnson are huge because they give the Hurricanes some good height at the position. Johnson was a five-star player at Miami Northwestern High in 2007 and figures to play a key role for the Hurricanes in 2008. The same goes for McKenzie, who missed all of 2007 because of a car accident he was in last summer. Shannon said he was ready to play as a true freshman last season before the accident.

"Both of them (McKenzie and Robert Marve) would have played," he said. "We were going into the season with Marve and McKenzie with the same approach as Hankerson and (other true freshmen who played)."

McKenzie and Johnson will provide competition for the players coming back with experience from last season.

"Sam, Khalil (Jones), Kayne (Farquharson), Leonard (Hankerson), Ryan (Hill), they all know there are guys behind them that can push them."

The Hurricanes will welcome several more receivers to the team in the fall but until then, it'll be interesting to watch the competition from this group of players over the next month or so.

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