The location of the Canes first open scrimmage of the spring was a reminder that while Joe-Pro-Dolph-Shark-Sun Life Stadium is beautiful and modern, with amazing amenities and big replay boards, it is not The U’s stadium.
Most schools take it for granted that they can do all of this stuff on campus, we on the other hand have memorized the directions to several different stadiums. I’m absolutely an expert on the southern portion of Florida’s Turnpike by now.
So there we all were, a good 3,000 of us at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale for the Canes’ first open scrimmage of spring. I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t expecting much but here are a few things I came away with:
1. Our running backs are fast. For them to have the success that they did, with a piecemeal offensive line, bodes very well for our running game come fall. I’m not going to start handing out the Doak Walker Award to our entire fleet of backs, but I’m pretty sure these guys will be great work horses when the season comes around. Remember, Damien Berry didn’t even practice due to a nicked hamstring, leaving it to Storm Johnson, Lamar Miller and Mike James, who all did a great job.
2. The quarterbacks left a bit to be desired, but again, we were watching inexperienced back ups, not starter Jacory Harris. A.J. Highsmith had a nice run on a naked boot that got a score but Stephen Morris looks like the high school senior that in reality he really is. I won’t go as far as saying he’s a project, but it’s clear he shouldn’t see the field next year unless a calamity happens.
3. The defensive line, especially the tackles played well. I really saw a bunch of guys with great motors, getting up field, fighting off blocks and making plays. Andrew Smith had a great night with three sacks while Allen Bailey, Adewale Ojomo, Tyrone Cornelius and Micanor Regis all got on the scoring sheet with sacks. Pretty impressive performance overall.
4. I wasn’t too happy with the center quarterback exchange issues. I think both mishaps came from freshman Shane McDermott, which is understandable seeing as though he still has his prom ahead of him, but it’s the one thing that has to happen on every offensive play. It needs to be right.
5. I was getting giddy fantasizing about Vaughn Telemaque and Ray Ray Armstrong being in the same defensive backfield. Vaughn had a great scrimmage with a nice pick. Ray Ray did ok too, however, should both these guys peak at the same time, look out.
Otherwise, it was practice. You really can’t walk away and make any kind of bold statements about this year’s Canes. Any member of the media or fan, that is predicting “big things” or “horrible things” based on the scrimmage needs to come back to reality. A lot of time between now and fall.
Scrimmage stats for those interested:
Storm Johnson – 10 carries, 104 yards, 1 TD
Lamar Miller – 7 carries, 63 yards, 2 TD
Mike James – 12 carries, 18 yards, 1 TD
A.J. Highsmith – 7-for-11, 94 yards, 1TD, 3 INT
Spencer Whipple – 7-for-9 , 75 yards
Stephen Morris – 0-for-3
Aldarius Johnson – 3 catches, 45 yards
Leonard Hankerson – 2 catches, 35 yards
Storm Johnson- 2 catches, 14 yards
Travis Benjamin – 2 catches, 8 yards, TD
Billy Sanders – 1 catch, 17 yards
Kendal Thompkins – 1 catch, 16 yards
Davon Johnson – 1 catch, 14 yard
Tommy Streeter – 1 catch, 14 yards
Lamar Miller – 1 catch, 6 yards
Jake Wieclaw – 2-for-2 field goals (33 yards, 27 yards)
Highsmith – 8-yd TD pass to Benjamin
Miller – 44-yd TD run
Highsmith – 13-yd TD run
S.Johnson – 6-yd TD run
James – 1-yd TD Run
Miller – 5-yd TD run
Andrew Smith – 3 Sacks
Vaughn Telemaque – 2 INT
Nathan Gholston – 1 INT
Micanor Regis – 1 Sack
Tyrone Cornelius – 1 Sack
Adewale Ojomo – 1 Sack
Allen Bailey – 1 Sack
Ray Ray Armstrong – Fumble Recovered
Parting Thoughts …I always go back and forth on whether to vent about media issues to the public. Do you guys really care if we get access or not? With spring break here and the players away from the Hecht for a while, it would have been nice to be able to talk to a few guys after the scrimmage. We only got Coach Shannon. I’ve always believed the players are great ambassadors for the U. Randy and his staff spend so much time making sure these kids have great character, let them display it.
… Speaking of Coach Shannon, an online petition has popped up urging the university to sign him already. While, as a member of the media, I don’t think it’s in my best interest to sign it, I can say that I really believe this is the most important issue right now facing The U’s athletic department. I made the case in my last blog that Randy deserves market value. I still believe that. I can’t sign, you can. Click here to do so.
… I’m really stoked (man having used that word since ’93, I think) about the Canes basketball team’s post-season run here. I really thought they would get pummeled by Wake, playing in Greensboro. All of the Haith Haters out there really irk me. The amount of uphill climbs this guy has to make is about the same as an Everest climber. I could on for page after page with the stories I’ve heard about how hard it really is for Haith to have success here. Our bitching and lack of attendance don’t help, either.
I really think Haith is a good coach. Could he use another brainiac “Stan Jones” type of assistant? Of course, but he has done enough day in day out to be here next year. No doubt in my mind.
… Props to Amy Deem and the entire track team staff at UM for signing up Latwan Anderson. What? You say he’s going to play football? I’ll believe it when I see it (wink, wink).
Actually props to the entire U staff, especially Compliance for finding a way for Latwan to come play. A situation like this shows there’s a greater purpose everyone is striving for. This situation seems eerily similar to that of Santana Moss who came in the same way. If Anderson turns out to be anything like Santana, I’m down. Remember.. “Big time players step up in big games.”
That will do it for me. I’m sure you’ll hear from me next week. In the mean time, feel free to engage in the verbal battle with me via the spanking brand new e-mail address.
Brian “The Beast” London is one of the foremost insiders on all things Miami Hurricanes. He was on the Canes broadcast crew for more than a decade. He hosts a daily online radio show on www.SoFloRadio.com.