Below are some questions the die hard fans at Canespace wanted me to answer. If you are not familiar with Canespace, check out the fantastic sports website immdiately. They have great tailgates, exclusive articles, terrific photos and great analysis from the best fans in the country.
1. What will happen at the TE position? Who will start, who will emerge as a player?
Miami has been known to produce some great tight ends over the last 15 years: Bubba Franks, Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen. I’m not ready to anoint junior college transfer Chase Ford into that mix but he is definitely a play maker. Ford has long strides and has drawn strong reviews in training camp from a usually tight lipped Randy Shannon. Richard Gordon is a good blocker but very slow for a pass catcher. Asante Cleveland has impressed too. Even Jermaine Johnson has suited up at tight end but strictly for blocking purposes. My gut tells me Ford will be the red zone target when it’s all said and done.
2. Who are the leaders on this team? Does the team have enough leadership to make it to the next level?
Like coach Shannon says, you can’t anoint someone a leader. Being a leader is an innate trait. You either command respect or you don’t. The leader to me is Jacory Harris. He is so calm and cool under pressure, there is never any sense of panic when you are around him. The quarterback is the most important position on the field and Harris has all the great qualities. On defense, I would say the leader is All-American Brandon Harris. Harris is always directing traffic on the defense and is the smartest player. He can read audibles well.
3. Off the field which players are the most approachable and social with UM students?
Best interview on the team is definitely linebacker Jordan Futch. He is a fan favorite. He is always playing video games with students outside the bookstore, he is saying hello and is very friendly and social. Before every interview he shakes your hand and looks you in the eye. He knows it’s a privilege, not a right to be a Miami Hurricane. Running back Mike James is also very eloquent, and smart as well. He is always smiling ear to ear.
4. Behind closed doors what do UM students say about Randy Shannon and the UM coaching staff?
Behind closed doors fans just want to see this team win. Every student cares about the football team whether they are a statistics junkie or someone who prefers to spend time in the chemistry lab. Bottom line is on game days, everyone is wearing an orange shirt and is at Sun Life Stadium. They care immensely about the program and want to win. Academic Progress Reports and Graduation Rates go in and out of the ears of students. The want wins. That’s it. That’s the only way the swagger will get back.
5. Which UM player do UM students mention most often as a difference maker and potential game changer?
Students point to Jacory Harris and Damien Berry as being saviors. Everyone loves Jacory. Jacory rushed the BankUnited Center court two years ago when Miami beat Wake Forest by 27 points. He’s a regular student believe it or not, but people idolize him and look up to him. His success will depend upon how far UM goes. Every student loves Damien Berry too. His father was a Hurricane so it’s in his blood to perform well. Berry willed Miami to victory at home vs. Duke last year after Miami trailed 13-10 at the half. The crowd chanted Berr-y Berr-y Berr-y.
Justin Antweil may be contacted at email@example.com.