– For those who don’t know, we in the media don’t get to see much of practice. We see some punting, kicking, and a few light position drills the guys do to warm up before they stretch, but even with limited access, one thing I’ve noticed this season; the tempo is crazy fast. The coaches are sprinting from drill to drill while players are moving so fast they might as well be teleporting. It’s a welcomed sight to see regarding Miami football.
– This staff has their stuff together, that’s for sure. It all stems from the ultra-organized nature of Al Golden and a byproduct of that is uncanny roster management. When you think about the combination of transfers (Mike Williams from Wake Forest, Blake Ayles from Southern Cal and JUCO transfer Dalton Botts), plus the influx of freshmen ready to make an immediate impact (Anthony Chickillo and Thomas Finnie), it’s nothing short of amazing. Defensive backs coach Paul Williams told me that Coach Golden’s ability to fill out the travel squad is unlike anyone else out there. Golden has many ties to the Bill Belichick / Scott Pioli coaching (management) tree and it shows.
– Another obvious visible difference is in the positive reinforcement department. Whereas former head coach Randy Shannon always seemed to have half the squad in his doghouse, this staff is all about building guys up in effort to get the most out of them. The best example of this psychology are the “Concentration Cards” — index cards that position coaches hand out to every player daily, giving each of them three thoughts for the day. It’s a constant reminder that on a daily basis these coaches are seeking new ways to help players get better on every level.
– After one week it’s easy to say that the practices have been stellar, there’s team unity, guys are in great condition and coaches are all saying / doing the right things. Everything looks and feels really good, but fact remains that a game is yet to be played. I think over the long-term all of this stuff is what will help the Hurricanes get back on top – but the most important ingredient will always be developed talent. Intangibles can only get you so far. Coaching tactics on and off the field will only do so much. In the end, it’s eighty-five guys on scholarship that are your biggest difference-maker.
For now, enjoy camp. In the coming weeks we’ll learn who the starting quarterback will be, which freshmen are slated to make an immediate impact and who will get the start at middle linebacker. It will be an exciting few weeks, but the real fireworks kick off Labor Day night in College Park.
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES : MIami sent out a release last week stating that the Canes would wear orange jerseys / white pants at home and all whites on the road. Not true. Evidently no one checked with the head coach before making that statement public. It was announced today that the standard home uniform will indeed be orange jerseys / white pants, but road uniforms will be the vintage white jerseys / orange pants, while other colors and combinations may be worn in special circumstances.
… I’ve been told by a few former players that they haven’t been allowed at practice, while Tony Chickillo, ‘Second Generation Cane’ and father of Anthony, was also left out. I asked Coach Golden about this today, tho which he replied, “we’re pretty locked down”. Golden implied that training camp would be closed but that things might open a bit for former players during the season. From day one, I can tell you that no one has been at practice unless they’ve worked at UM. There’s been a group of boosters that have been at every Miami practice for decades not in attendance this week.
… Warren Sapp randomly showed up today and was allowed to watch, which I found odd. I was told that if former players contacted Coach Golden directly, or his operations man Tom Deahn beforehand, they would be allowed in. Sapp contacted coach and therefore was allowed to watch today’s practice. At least that’s what I was told. Regardless, I’ll never understand how paranoia equates to wins.
… the team will scrimmage next on Sunday afternoon and there’s no media availability before, during or after. From there Monday is an off day, so you won’t hear anything about Sunday’s scrimmage from anyone other than the in-house folks at HurricaneSports.com until Tuesday, so hang in there.
… just a heads up for those wanting scoop on the new guys; freshmen will not be made available to the media for the entire training camp.
… I think Matt Shodell from CaneSport and I have been the only two media members that have been at every single practice thus far. Do we get a prize? Didn’t think so.
… lastly, check out last night’s edition of allCanes Radio if you missed it. The first half hour was a breakdown of the quarterback competition, with interviews from both Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris, but from there you got thirty unfiltered minutes with our friend Platon from ProCanes.com and former UM offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rasouli, which turned out even better than expected. Take a listen to the back and forth, as well as Sherko’s request for the retiring of a certain number.
Be sure to tune in every week for the of summer and all season long, streamed live at allCanes.com or through the allCanes iPhone app. Should you miss the live show, always dig into the archives for the latest and greatest.