Day 9: UM's Practice Report

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Practice No. 10 Saturday morning for the University of Miami football team saw the ‘Canes challenging each other to be better along with head coach Randy Shannon who wanted his players to be sharp coming off their first two-a-day Friday.

The Hurricanes worked for nearly 2 ½ hours on the Greentree Practice Fields taking more time working on 11-on-11 drills from third down blitz, inside run and red zone action.

The Hurricanes have another 8 a.m. practice session Sunday morning before holding the second two-a-day of camp on Monday.

‘Upperclassmen Continue to Lead
As has been the theme for much of camp, older more experienced players have taken the time to coach up the younger players. During last Saturday's Season Ticket Holder and UM Employee practice, there was a moment when redshirt junior safety JoJo Nicolas and junior cornerback Brandon Harris had freshman Kacy Rodgers on the sideline showing him how to read certain formations.

Today's practice saw senior linebacker Colin McCarthy taking his turn. McCarthy was approached by junior Jordan Futch, who needed some help understanding a defensive call to make sure he was doing his job properly. McCarthy, the most experienced player on the defense since coming in 2006 when head coach Randy Shannon was still coaching linebackers and serving as the defensive coordinator, explained to Futch where he needed to be.

McCarthy, who watched the 3rd Down Blitz drill from behind the defense like most of the coaches do, took it one more step further when he helped linebacker coach Micheal Barrow explain in more detail to the younger linebackers some of the calls during a break.

It's obvious this season that the juniors and seniors know how special of a season it could be for the ‘Canes. The senior leadership has been on point thus far this camp. Offensive tackle Orlando Franklin met with media members after practice Saturday and his message was it's their job to be a good example for the younger players.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself because I have to step up," Franklin said. "I've been here the longest, have the most snaps, have to do what I can to get better. I've been working hard at it, showing these young guys how to do it."

West Miramar Panthers Pay a Visit
For the second consecutive day, a member of the South Florida Youth Football League paid a visit to the Hurricanes' football practice. On Saturday, the West Miramar Panthers (90-pound division), under the direction of first-year head coach and former Hurricanes' football student-athlete Mike Rumph (1998-2002), stopped by and watched the ‘Canes. Afterwards, the ‘Canes signed posters and other paraphernalia for the Panthers.

Encouragement from All Around
From the sidelines, several Hurricanes players could be heard yelling at their teammates to keep hustling, well after plays had ended. The enthusiasm was for the ‘Canes to jog and keep hustling back to the line and to huddles after the play, and to continue to go full-steam at 100 percent from the start-to-end of practice.

Shannon Gets Into Action
Head coach Randy Shannon did more than deliver messages on Saturday. He got involved by showing players, especially on defense, where to be in several defensive schemes/packages. Shannon was seen on the field positioning players and enforcing his enthusiasm for players to remain focused through the play, and for the cornerbacks and safeties to come up and make hits against the run – both on the blocking receivers and fullbacks.

Defensive Highlights
§ Defensive back Cory Nelms had a breakup in early 9-on-9 action.
§ Olivier Vernon had good rushes and a sack on quarterback Stephen Morris.
§ Adewale Ojomo had a tackle-for-loss in early 9-on-9 play.
§ Linebacker Sean Spence forced and recovered a fumble.
§ Along the defensive line, Curtis Porter and Micanor Regis had good surges through the offensive line.
§ Ramon Buchanan and Andrew Smith were filling holes from their linebacker positions. Buchanan had an interception in 7-on-7 action.
§ Kacy Rogers and Buchanan combined for a tackle-for-loss.
§ JoJo Nicolas stayed with a play late and stripped the ball downfield.
§ Olivier Vernon was covering outside runs well early-on.
§ The linebacker and defensive back units were attacking the ball after catches, forcing fumbles with strips.
§ Marcus Forston and Ojomo were good early-on with rushes on the quarterback, surging through the offensive line.
§ Curtis Porter and Regis had good bursts through the line for tackles in the backfield.
§ The defensive line had good rush defense against right side of the offensive line late in practice.

Offensive Highlights
§ In early 9-on-9 play, the quarterbacks were finding open receivers in a variety of areas. Alonzo Highsmith hooked up with Aldarius Johnson for a long pass play of more than 40 yards. Highsmith was accurate in 7-on-7 action, finding several receivers and running backs with his reads.
§ Running back Storm Johnson had several long runs in his time on the field, finding and reading his blocks in 9-on-9 action.
§ Storm Johnson also broke away from several tackles.
§ Running back Damien Berry had a long run early in practice.
§ The offensive line was pulling in 11-on-11 play, allowing many clean runs by the running backs.
§ Jacory Harris hooked up with Mike James across the middle for a long touchdown.
§ Wide receiver Tommy Streeter had a huge downfield block on Devont'a Davis.
§ Offensive linemen Seantrel Henderson and Jared Wheeler were good along the right side with good protection of the quarterbacks.
§ The offensive line versus defensive line battle between Wheeler (offense) and Marcus Robinson (defense) was great action in team plays towards the end of practice.
§ Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Jermaine Johnson held his position and gave quarterback Spencer Whipple great protection in his time on the gridiron.
§ LaRon Byrd and Brandon Washington combined with blocks on a reverse that allowed a long run for Kendal Thompkins.

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