Hurricanes put on pads, begin hitting during practice

Tuesday’s spring practice lacked unexpected surprises or major injuries, but the full-contact drills provided entertainment for the reporters and privileged guests in attendance.

Both the offensive and defensive units suited up in pads and football pants, as opposed to the shorts and jerseys worn a week ago. The Hurricanes simulated goal-line situations and worked on running and short passing plays with light tackling.

The highlight of the afternoon was the offensive line drills, which featured Offensive Line Coach Art Kehoe jokingly taunting players as they attempted to run through tires. Center Joel Rodriguez decided to dive headfirst under the tires, much to the chagrin of Kehoe.

Head Coach Larry Coker said that he liked what he saw from the unit as a whole.

“The first-team offensive line is doing really well,” Coker said. “I really like what I have seen from those guys. Obviously they are getting better. A guy who really stands out as a backup right now is Andrew Bain. He’ll be an awfully good football player.”

There could be a mini-fullback controversy for the Hurricanes, as both Talib Humphrey and Kyle Cobia have had success since Quad Hill was moved to the tailback position for the second consecutive spring.

“Both [Kyle Cobia and Talib Humphrey] will get looks, and we see both as starters,” Coker said. “Both have looked very good, but they need to stay healthy. That has been the key for both of those guys, because they are good but they have had their share of injuries.”

There were no substantial casualties for the ‘Canes, but wide receiver Roscoe Parrish sat out with a sprained ankle, which could keep him out of action for the entire spring.

Despite Parrish’s ankle problems and injuries from last season, Coker said he was not concerned with the 5’9″ speedster’s ability to perform when the season starts.

“With Roscoe, you know what you are getting,” he said. “We don’t need to beat on him a lot. We know we have a good player there. We will make his injury a positive by giving other players more looks.”

One of those players benefiting from Parrish’s injury is sophomore Darnell Jenkins, who has worked with each quarterback throughout the week.

Jenkins said that he is much improved from last year and hopes to be a major factor in the offensive game plan.

“I feel good,” Jenkins said. “I am getting a lot of reps and I am becoming better. I am getting into better shape and feeling more comfortable about the position I am at.”

Running back Tyrone Moss, who was demoted from the starting spot last week by Running Backs Coach Don Soldinger, was in good spirits after practice. Moss was sick during the first week of practice, which may have affected his performance.

“I was surprised [about being demoted], but it was no big deal to me,” Moss said. “When I come out here I try to make the best of it. I am not the type of guy who holds his head down.”

The Hurricanes will be practicing Friday night at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

Eric Kalis can be contacted at