The Beast : The Storm Is Over

(For your listening pleasure as you read this piece.)

It was announced Tuesday night that Storm Johnson is moving on.

I’d received a bunch of questions on this topic the past several weeks and if you followed No. 1 on Twitter, you knew something was up. Yes there were rumors that Storm was one of the players that would be suspended early September and there were rumors of his involvement in on campus infractions.

There are other rumors as well, but they’re not worth going into as nothing is coming from the source and most of what’s being told is coming from fans out-of-the-know on message boards or social networking sites. In order for me to report it, I need to hear it from a few credible sources and since everything out there right now comes in the form of unconfirmed reports, the prudent thing to do is to not go into detail.

In all honesty, I don’t really care what he did and as of this morning, in searching the Miami-Dade Country criminal record data base, there’s no record of a ‘Westleigh Storm Johnson’ being arrested. Being that nothing illegal seems to have taken place, I’ve developed the following opinion.

It’s my understanding that coaches informed Storm it’d be in his best interest to find a new place to play. In all of this, the thing that keeps getting ignored is that Storm, exciting as he was to watch during spring practice, wasn’t doing it consistently enough to move past the number three spot on the depth chart.

When I asked Al Golden specifically about Storm near the end of spring practice, he chuckled and went on to say that while the third-string back was a good runner, he needed to stop fumbling and to work on his blocking or he’d have a tough time getting on the field.

I understand that a lot of fans don’t want to hear that, but that’s coming from the head coach who watches these kids consistently, day in and day out.

As fans, we see flashes of greatness and immediately want to move a kid up the depth chart and to give him more reps. We tend to forget that the sample size coaches have of a player’s work is much greater than ours.

I think it’s safe to say that based on a perceived clean record, had Storm Johnson done the things coaches asked him to do on the field, he wouldn’t be leaving the University of Miami. Like others, he’d have to serve his suspension, but if he was doing his job, playing time would’ve been waiting upon his return. Man up, be patient, work through the issues and get back out there. But that didn’t happen, for whatever reason.

Take into account that most players who transfer out of Miami drift off into a black hole, never to be heard from again. That’s not saying that Storm can’t be an exception, but in most cases it means that if you can’t hack it at ‘The U’ – for whatever reason – you aren’t going to make it somewhere else.

One of my colleagues pointed out to me that Graig Cooper had fumble problems but salvaged his career. While there’s some truth to that, I don’t recall stories about Coop struggling to get it right in practice. Coaches will give you chance after chance if you get it right in practice, but if you can’t do it with several reps amongst the comfort of your teammates and a win or loss not at stake, why should anyone trust that the light will go on come game time?

Miami needs at least three backs entering fall as someone always gets hurt in the backfield. Lamar Miller and Mike James are up to task and behind them the Canes have Darion Hall and freshman Kevin Grooms. Former running backs Lee Chambers and Eduardo Clements have since moved to corner, but either could be brought back over to offense if need be. The Canes will be all right in the backfield, even ‘after the Storm’.

IN OTHER NEWS : I had a chance to spent a lot of time with the Canes baseball team and head coach Jim Morris on Wednesday. For those who have spent some time with Coach Morris, you know this man has some stories to tell – most of which can’t be told here.

One thing I found interesting, in regards to the scholarship situation – Coach Morris has never awarded a full scholarship to any player at Miami. For those who aren’t aware, the NCAA only allows each program 11.7 scholarships for baseball, meaning, 99.9% of the time players have to split scholarships.

Coach Morris told me that he lets parents know that if they aren’t prepared to pay for their son, one way or another, to attend the University of Miami, to move on. ‘The U’ costs about $50K a year to attended, while we’re talking about under $20K a year to attend either the University of Florida or Florida State. For those critical of how Miami has recruited as of late, take this into consideration when thinking of Coach Morris and staff going after the same guys the Gators and Noles are going after.

Even with four championships to UF and FSU’s zero, the talent pool isn’t as big as you think when factoring finances into the equation. Some families simply aren’t going to take out the loans required to send their kids through private school when a less expensive state school option presents itself.

Think about it – not even the great Pat Burrell had a full ride – which makes what “3” has done that much more impressive.

When taking all that into account, it doesn’t excuse that this team hasn’t lived up to expectations this year, but it puts things into perspective. Miami will reach the post-season for the 39th straight season and Coach Morris has 800+ wins at UM. The man deserves more praise, not more grief.

I know college baseball isn’t the sexiest topic, but it’d be nice to tune into one of the four sports stations in town, at least hearing a mention of Miami baseball. For all the program directors and producers out there, if you want to book Coach Golden and new basketball coach Jim Larranaga, you have to give baseball some love, too. No current coach in this town ha the record and resume Coach Morris has. That’s a fact.

Also, thanks to assistant SID for baseball Bryan Harvey for joining me on last night’s edition of allCanes Radio. We wend HARD CORE college baseball for a while and it was a good listen. We also talked with Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post, who talked about Storm, almost-transfer Tate Forcier, Seantrel Henderson and more. For those who missed it, check it out as it was a good one.

Last but not least, enjoy this weekend’s Santana Moss autograph session at allCanes on Saturday. For those who can’t make it and want something signed, call Harry at 800.226.4247 and he’ll get you squared away. 8x10s are available online, as well – a white road jersey pic and an old school home orange. (Photos will be added to the site soon. Stay tuned.)