Thursday, August 5, 2010
Opening camp: Miami
By ESPN.com staff
Schedule: Practice starts at 8 a.m. Saturday’s 8 a.m. practice will be open to season-ticket holders and UM employees.
What’s new: Rick Petri takes over coaching what should be the deepest defensive line in Randy Shannon’s tenure. Petri has a reputation for developing some of the best linemen in college football, including former Canes Warren Sapp, Kevin Patrick, Kenny Holmes and Kenard Lang.
Sidelined: No players on the two-deep are expected to be missing, but running back Graig Cooper will be eased back into practices slowly and held out of the first scrimmage.
Key battle: Tight end. Richard Gordon is the only experienced player returning at the position, and he is more of a blocker. The Canes are looking for another receiving tight end like Jimmy Graham. Junior college transfer Chase Ford could help, and true freshmen Asante Cleveland, Andrew Tallman and Clive Walford will also compete for playing time.
New on the scene: TE Chase Ford. He came to Miami from Kilgore Junior College, where he led the Southwest Junior College Football Conference with 32 receptions and 545 receiving yards.
Breaking out: Redshirt freshman Lamar Miller. Miller has enough talent to separate himself from a crowded backfield. He was rated the No. 119 player in the ESPNU 150 class and the No. 12 running back in his class by ESPN.com. He led Dade County in rushing as a senior with 1,749 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Don’t forget about: Fullback Patrick Hill. He suffered a season-ending injury last year but earned a medical hardship waiver. Without him, the running game was limited, and the pass blocking struggled. Hill is an instrumental blocker whose health will make a difference this fall.
All eyes on: Quarterback Jacory Harris. The potential to throw for over 3,000 yards in a second straight season is there, but so is the potential for another boatload of interceptions. If Harris can cut down on his 17 turnovers and make better decisions (and also get better protection and more help from his receivers), Miami’s offense will flourish.
Quotable: “We’re a big offensive line. Not a fat offensive line. We’re huge. This is the first time we’ve been this big since I’ve been here, either as a player or as a coach.” -- Randy Shannon to the Palm Beach Post.