ACC: Xavier Shannon

Miami spring wrap-up

May, 7, 2009
5/07/09
9:25
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Miami Hurricanes

2008 overall record: 7-6

2008 conference record: 4-4

Returning starters: Offense: 8, defense: 8, kicker/punter: 2

Top returners: QB Jacory Harris, OT Jason Fox, WR Aldarius Johnson, WR Travis Benjamin, RB Graig Cooper, RB Javarris James, LB Sean Spence, LB Darryl Sharpton, CB Chavez Grant, K/P Matt Bosher, DE Allen Bailey

Key losses: QB Robert Marve, OT Chris Rutledge, C Xavier Shannon, LB Glenn Cook, S Anthony Reddick

2007 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Graig Cooper* (888 yards)

Passing: Robert Marve (1,293 yards)

Receiving: Aldarius Johnson* (332 yards)

Tackles: Glenn Cook (76)

Sacks: Allen Bailey* (5)

Interceptions: Sean Spence*, Brandon Harris*, Bruce Johnson, Eric Moncur (1 each)


2009 Schedule

Sept. 7 at Florida State
Sept. 17 Georgia Tech
Sept. 26 at Virginia Tech
Oct. 3 Oklahoma
Oct. 10 Florida A&M
Oct. 17 at Central Florida
Oct. 24 Clemson
Oct. 31 at Wake Forest
Nov. 7 Virginia
Nov. 14 at North Carolina
Nov. 21 Duke
Nov. 28 at South Florida

Spring answers

1. Temporary answer. Miami coach Randy Shannon said Taylor Cook earned the backup quarterback job -- for now. Cook beat Cannon Smith for the job this spring, and Shannon said that if the season started today, it would be Cook's job. A.J. Highsmith will join the competition, though, this summer.

2. You've got to coordinate. New offensive coordinator Mark Whipple wasted no time in implementing his new system, the players and staff were very receptive to it. Defensive coordinator John Lovett was also well received, even though it was the players' third coordinator in as many seasons.

3. Position change. Sam Shields' move from wide receiver to cornerback proved to be a good one. Shields showed he can not only provide some depth, but also possibly challenge for a starting job. He'll definitely work hyis way into the rotation, and the staff needs more consistent play from the secondary.

Fall questions

1. From hoops to helmets. Former forward Jimmy Graham has reportedly said he will join the football team this fall as a tight end, and it's a position that can use some help, especially with the knee injury to Dedrick Epps. But how much will Graham be able to help considering he hasn't played the sport since high school?

2. Tweaks to the o-line. Matt Pipho will be the new starter at right tackle, and the staff is eager to see how he handles that role. A.J. Trump moved from right guard to center, and Joel Figueroa took over at right guard.

3. Depth at linebacker. It's a patchwork effort, as several young players who were defensive backs last season were moved to linebacker (C.J. Holton, Ramon Buchanan), and Colin McCarthy didn't practice all spring but will be back. Arthur Brown is in the mix in the middle with Darryl Sharpton, and Sean Spence proved himself as a freshman, but depth is a concern.

Miami's recruiting needs

January, 15, 2009
1/15/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

If there's one thing Miami doesn't have any problem doing, it's recruiting, and this year is no exception. Seven of its 19 current commitments are ranked among the ESPN 150, and the Canes currently have the No. 7 class in the nation.

With 37 true and redshirt freshmen on the 2008 roster, Miami was one of the youngest teams in the conference. The most pressing need is on the offensive line, where the Canes got four commitments and are still recruiting more.

Miami will need to bring in a center as Xavier Shannon was a senior, and his backup, A.J. Trump, who was also the starting right guard, will be a senior this season. The right tackle position will also be a need as starter Chris Rutledge and his backup, Reggie Youngblood, were both seniors. Starting left tackle Jason Fox will also be a senior this year.

The secondary is another area of concern as the Canes will lose two starters and Lavon Ponder, Anthony Reddick's backup, was also a senior. Miami will also lose experience at linebacker with the graduation of four players on the two-deep, including leading tackler Glenn Cook. Defensive tackle is another position that will lose veterans this year and next.

The staff would also like to bring in one or two more tight ends, two receivers, a quarterback to help with the depth after the transfer of Robert Marve, and three running backs.

ACC's internal affairs: Week 12

November, 12, 2008
11/12/08
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

FLORIDA STATE: The Seminoles are expecting a similar defense from the one they saw in their loss to Wake Forest, but the Noles are more confident in their offensive line and running game this time around. Coach Bobby Bowden said tackles B.J. Raji and Ron Brace are probably the best they'll play to date, and his task will be to "mix the running game in there." Bowden said BC has a different defensive alignment than Wake, but the zone is similar. "We have to execute," Bowden said. "A team like that gives you things. You can have a little hook out there but you better not miss it. We must protect the passer and then execute and then get a running game going where they can't just tee off on the passer."

WAKE FOREST: Placekicker Sam Swank likely won't play again, and coach Jim Grobe is still trying to further integrate the I-formation with the spread offense, so the defense will once again be heavily relied upon this weekend at NC State. In the first half of the season, Wake was spending three-fourths of its practices on throwing the ball, blitz pickup, reads for the quarterbacks and route concepts for the receivers. Now, Grobe said, they're "probably 50/50 or 60/40 run-pass, which I think has helped us on Saturday, because we have the ability to do more than one thing." Running back Josh Adams, who has missed the past two games with a sprained ankle, is likely to return on Saturday.

MARYLAND: After allowing the Hokies a school-record rushing performance last week, the Terps made some changes to their defensive line in order to give their rushing defense a boost, and it starts inside. Travis Ivey will start at defensive tackle in place of Jeremy Navarre, who has been moved to defensive end, and redshirt freshman Dion Armstrong will start at nose tackle in place of Olugbemi Otulaja, who has started every game this season. Navarre, who started every game at defensive tackle, leads all ACC defensive linemen with 5.3 tackles per game. Mack Frost, who started five games at end this season but hasn't completely healed from knee surgery last year, is his backup.

VIRGINIA TECH: Things have been coming together for the Hokies on offense and special teams lately. Overshadowed by the record-setting success of tailback Darren Evans, true freshman Dyrell Roberts has also shown big-play capabilities for the Hokies. The former tailback turned receiver has found his niche as a return man. Roberts has 10 catches for 158 yards, but is averaging 26.9 yards per return -- ninth-best in the country. He has had returns of 55 and 54 yards in the past two games. Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring has also said he'd like to continue to use the "Wild Turkey" formation, with 280-pound tight end Greg Boone rushing out of the shotgun formation, but wants to make sure he only confuses defenses, and not his own players.

MIAMI: The Hurricanes spent their bye week focusing on special teams, but a consistent key to beating the Hokies has been a high-scoring game. Miami is 11-2 against Virginia Tech when it has scored 20 or more points against the Hokies. The Hurricanes lead the ACC in scoring offense with 30.4 points per game in ACC games. The Hurricanes could be without injured left tackle Jason Fox, though, and that could obviously hurt. Starting in his place would be senior Reggie Youngblood. Fox has started 22 straight games, and he and Xavier Shannon are the only two players on offense who have started every game this season.

ACC in the morning: NCSU edition

August, 26, 2008
8/26/08
7:26
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Yes, Russell Wilson was named NC State's starting quarterback, but he knows there's more to life than football games. Baseball games, too. His father is still in the hospital after suffering a stroke this summer.

There is still a season opener to be played, though, and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier took a few people by surprise on Monday when he announced running back Taylor Rank will start against the Wolfpack instead of senior Mike Davis.

There shouldn't be any more surprises coming out of Coral Gables this week.

No Robert Marve? No problem. Jacory Harris is a "rock star." Michael Cunningham says Randy Shannon's poor timing is just that, and won't affect the team. So far, he's right.

Shannon wasn't thrilled with the idea of his son, Xavier, joining the football team. And now that Xavier Shannon is a Hurricane, there's no favoritism -- or much talking about football -- going on.

Florida State's running game looked good in its final scrimmage, but the quarterbacks? Still looking for consistency. If the Noles are going to have a good season, the offense is going to have to play well for more than "a minute and a half." It might help if everyone who is supposed to be there was actually cleared to play.

UNC's game against McNeese State is a sell-out, but will the Tar Heels put on a season-long show for their fans? When asked for specifics about his kicking game, Butch Davis decided to punt. It looks like Jay Wooten and Casey Barth will get things done together.

I'm not the only one who thinks Clemson can actually git 'er done this year. Ron Morris points out plenty of reasons why Tommy Bowden should have a breakout season. Of course, there's always that question about the offensive line, but better to be concerned about your backups than your starters, no?

It's never good when a headline starts off with "Despite being tied to an academic scandal ..." but hey, Virginia defensive coordinator Bob Pruett is still "having a lot of fun."

As for offensive coordinators, I told you this guy was good.

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