Miami players starting to take ownership

One of the biggest criticisms of Miami under former coach Randy Shannon was a lack of passion and emotion -- the kind of flat performances that were obvious in losses to rival Florida State and also South Florida.

While much of that starts at the top, at some point the players have to take ownership, and it seems as if some leaders are starting to emerge.

First-year coach Al Golden said he told the staff following Thursday’s practice that he thinks the team is making a lot of progress -- not just in adjusting to the new schemes, but with the attitude in which they’re executing them.

“That was as physical as we’ve been all spring right there,” Golden told reporters following Saturday’s 120-play scrimmage.

The defense was the highlight on Saturday, as James Gaines and Thomas Finnie grabbed the first two interceptions of the spring. Golden said quarterbacks Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris were “not as sharp as last week,” but he wanted to reserve further judgment until after he watched the tape. Each quarterback threw one interception.

Linebacker Jordan Futch said some of the players have been meeting at Erik Lichter’s house to get better prepared, and have even been making their own practice scripts.

“(We’re) not letting the coaches do everything, not just holding our hands out saying, ‘Oh, coach, what do we do? but taking initiative,” said Futch, who finished with six tackles, including two sacks. “As seniors, me and Sean (Spence) are really getting the guys to come along, and make sure they study their playbook and know their assignments.”