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Thursday, March 21, 2013
Canes having fun at spring ball

By Heather Dinich

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- It was “Throwback Thursday” at Miami, a chance to blast some old-school Vanilla Ice during warm-ups of the Canes’ sixth spring practice.

The Hurricanes are having fun this spring -- so much so that you’d never know any NCAA-related mess is still hanging around by watching drills. The players are spirited, they’re competitive (every now and then a little fight breaks out, but that’s a good thing), and they look like they could be a very good team this year. Lots of young talent from 2012 has matured, many of the players -- particularly on defense -- look bigger and stronger.

One small change this spring has made a big difference, as coach Al Golden has also taken over the title of special teams coordinator.

“I’ve always been involved with it,” Golden said. “Special teams is something I take a lot of pride and delight in, so that’s not a chore.”

It’s also a big bonus for linebackers coach Micheal Barrow, who no longer has the extra task.

“Mike has more time to focus on the linebackers, focus on the nickel package, focus on his area of recruiting, and ultimately to focus on his family,” Golden said. “I have no problem doing it. Micheal is still helping, as are all of the assistant coaches -- everybody has a piece of it. It’s a collective effort as opposed to lying on the shoulders of one guy.”

One other practice note from today, Seantrel Henderson was held out of practice on Thursday “so he can take care of a couple of academic things that are really important to him.” Henderson will be back Saturday. No big deal. Golden said if the team was practicing this afternoon, Henderson would be there.

I took a few videos for you of practice this morning, one of defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio working with the defensive linemen on a pass deflection drill, and another of Barrow working the defensive linemen. If you paid attention to the Canes last year, you know that's a group that needs some work, but I also talked to DE Anthony Chickillo, and he said they're looking better already.