Tag:Mike James
Posted on: April 19, 2011 4:51 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 5:44 pm
  •  
 

Miami's depth chart shuffle not a shock

Posted by Chip Patterson

With Miami's spring game in the books, Al Golden and the Hurricanes coaching staff released their final post-spring depth chart on Monday. Then, a few hours later, they made a few last-minute changes and released another. Many fans and critics have taken to speculation as to what the many changes and final results might mean for Miami heading into the summer break. One item that has been particularly headline-worthy is the lack of a starting quarterback.

That "controversy" should come as no surprise considering the attitude that Golden has brought to the Hurricanes since arriving in December.

If there is one thing that has jumped out from following the Hurricanes' spring practice it has been Golden's love for competition. One of his first goals after observing the Hurricanes was to increase the speed and toughness during Miami practices. He constantly is asking for more of the Hurricanes, but has shown he is not afraid to compliment/promote a deserving player.

Take the running back position, for example. Lamar Miller, Mike James, and Storm Johnson have been shuffled all spring in the multiple depth charts. When one player brought his best stuff and did something that deserved recognition, they found themselves atop the depth chart. In Saturday's spring game, Miller exploded with a 166 yard, three touchdown performance to lead the Orange team in a 30-17 victory over the Green team. When the depth chart was edited and re-released for the final time until the fall, Miller found himself standing alone as the first-string running back.

At the quarterback position, the coaching staff entered the weekend hoping that one player would emerge the way that Miller did.

"We’re continuing to let them compete and at the end of spring we’ll see where they’re at," offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said of Harris and Morris earlier this spring. "But right now I see good things from both guys, and they’ve got to continue to compete and step up and show who wants to be the leader and No. 1 guy."

But when spring workouts came to a close neither Harris nor Morris had done enough to convince the coaches that they were THE choice at starting quarterback.

Morris certainly got the better of the spring game, completing 14 of 22 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Morris did throw one interception to 2nd team all-ACC linebacker Sean Spence, which was returned for a touchdown. But the performance still outshone Harris' 18-for-30, 149 yard performance with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Morris and Harris combined for 24 interceptions last season, and there has not been enough improvement in the spring for Golden to award the starting job to either quarterback. So just as he promised, Golden will let the players compete until someone has stepped up and earned the job.

But the quarterback indecision becomes even less of an issue when you realize how many different places on the depth chart the Hurricanes have a similar issue. Middle linebacker, right tackle, tight end, wide receiver are all positions still in open competition, and while Golden has identified starters at the cornerback position - all signs point to possible mix-ups before September's kickoff.

Different coaches have their own quirks about how to do deal with personnel, particularly in the offseason. Maybe this is just Golden's style. He has entered a situation of predictability and wiped the slate clean. There is a new formula being written at Miami, we just have to wait until the fall to see how well it works.
Posted on: April 14, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 1:39 pm
 

ACC Spring Game Watch (April 16)

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Saturday, nearly half of the ACC will wrap up their spring practice with an annual spring game. Some teams will engage in game-like scenarios in front of thousands of onlookers, while other teams will engage in a more “drill-centric” display for their eager fans. Regardless of the setup, there are always pertinent questions to be answered whenever a team takes the field competitively. Here are your things to watch in the ACC spring games on April 16.

Boston College - 1 p.m. Alumni Stadium
Judging by the statistics and observations from the last two scrimmages, new offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers has been dialing up the passing attack for all three of his quarterbacks. The play of Chase Rettig (the starter for now), Mike Marscovetra , and Dave Shinskie has been spotty; with different signal-callers shining at different times. Once the season has Montel Harris is expected to be the foundation of the Eagles’ offense, but the ACC’s second-leading rusher in 2010 has remained quiet this spring. Boston College’s spring game will be made up of situational drills, so it will be difficult to judge much from the play in the trenches. Keep an eye on the Boston College secondary, as the Eagles look to improve their passing defense that gave up over 226 yards per game a season ago.

UPDATE - We will be streaming the Boston College spring game LIVE.  You can watch it HERE on Saturday.

Florida State - 4 p.m. Doak Campbell Stadium
Despite all the hype and anticipation, head coach Jimbo Fisher has been frequently frustrated with Florida State’s effort and attention to detail during scrimmages. When asked about his thoughts on last Saturday’s scrimmage, Fisher felt the Seminoles still have “a long way to go." E.J. Manuel in a jersey will be nothing new for FSU fans, but it will be his first spring game after missing the last two due to injury. It will be intersting to see if the Seminoles tighten up on a bigger stage or continue the small mistakes that have been frustrating their coach. Also, this is the only ACC spring game receiving national coverage (ESPN3) so you might as well sneak a peek since you can.

Miami - 12:00 p.m. Lockhart Stadium
New head coach Al Golden has made it a point to change several aspects of Miami’s preparation since taking over back in December. On Saturday fans will get to see the results of Golden’s first offseason and spring practices. Golden has kept the depth chart in constant rotation since the beginning of spring practice, encouraging open competition at nearly every single position. Despite the exciting improvements on the defensive end, Hurricanes fans will likely have their eyes set on the skill positions in the backfield on Saturday. Miami boasts a loaded running back corps of Mike James , Storm Johnson , and Lamar Miller ; who should all receive significant opportunities on Saturday. Also, Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris will get to go head-to-head in the “fantasy-style” scrimmage between two rosters picked by fans. Miami held a charity auction for the right to pick the teams in the spring game, and two Miami alumnus made their selections earlier this week. With no first-team or second-team alignment, the game should be ripe for some outstanding plays on both sides of the ball.

N.C. State - 1 p.m. Carter-Finley Stadium
Head coach Tom O’Brien prefers to focus on improving as individuals during spring practice. Instead of focusing on elaborate scheme’s or sets, the Wolfpack have spent their spring workouts with a focus on fundamentals. With many key positions to fill, that makes Saturday’s spring game particularly interesting on an individual level. New starting quarterback Mike Glennon has shown his chops to the Wolfpack fans during spring games, but he will be throwing the ball to fresh crop of wide receivers. Also with Mustafa Greene undergoing foot surgery, Saturday should be an opportunity for the now-healthy Brandon Barnes to make an impression on the coaching staff. Also keep an eye on the secondary, where this staff is notorious for swapping personnel.

Wake Forest - 1 p.m. BB&T Field
Last season Wake Forest’s inexperience burned them on both sides of the ball. The good news for the Demon Deacons is that 17 of those starters will get a chance to prove themselves again in 2011. The number one thing to watch out of Winston-Salem will be signs of improvement from all the underclassmen. From quarterback Tanner Price to a (rising) sophomore-laden secondary, Wake needs to get better all over the field. With the coaching staff jumble sparked by Brad Lambert’s departure, look for more individual improvement as the team has yet to dive into much heavy scheming this spring.


Posted on: November 25, 2010 7:12 pm
 

Miami down one RB for USF

Posted by Chip Patterson

With the uncertainty of Miami's quarterback situation, the Hurricanes will likely be looking for help from their running game in their season finale against South Florida.   The Hurricanes use a three running back rotation pretty consistently, and their rushing attack is among the best in the ACC.  That committee will be missing their third piece on Saturday with Mike James being listed as out on Miami's injury report.  According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, James has been suffering from an undisclosed illness this week and will not go against the Bulls.

The injury report did not provide any further clarification to the status of starting quarterback Jacory Harris.  Head coach Randy Shannon has been predictably ambiguous about the situation, naming Harris the starter only "if he's ready."  However, sources are reporting that freshman Stephen Morris will continue to start for the Hurricanes, a fact that is not sitting well with Harris.  With a shaky quarterback situation and having finished conference play, Miami will lean on the efforts of running backs Lamar Miller and Damien Berry to avoid being upset by the Bulls in the season finale.          
Posted on: November 14, 2010 12:52 am
Edited on: November 14, 2010 12:57 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Nov. 13)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1.  Seminole redemption is sweet - Wow. What a finish for Florida State. After getting bullied around the field for three quarters, a Florida State interception completely turned all of the momentum in Tallahassee. Clemson was completely dictating the game thanks to the play of Jamie Harper, who finished the game with 143 yards rushing and 54 yards receiving. But as Florida State's defense continued to keep the Tigers out of the end zone in the second half, the offense could not get anything going. Finally, quarterback E.J. Manuel started taking over in the fourth quarter thanks to a potent option attack that delivered the first touchdown drive of the game. But nothing was sweeter than the redemption for kicker Dustin Hopkins. Hopkins missed a game-winning field goal at home a week ago against North Carolina, but absolutely crushed his 55-yard attempt against Clemson as time expired.

2. Clarity will not come this week in the Atlantic - A week ago, the ACC Atlantic Division got flipped upside down with Maryland, Florida State, and N.C. State all dropping games when they had an opportunity to seize the lead in the standings. On Saturday, all three squads shared the same fate again, though this one had a happier ending for the contenders. But with none of the three teams losing, the division is still up for grabs between the Seminoles, Wolfpack, and Terrapins. The team with the most control over the situation is Maryland, who plays the Seminoles and Wolfpack at home for their final two games of the season. N.C. State owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Florida State, so the Seminoles will need help from the Terrapins and/or North Carolina in order avoid losing the division to the Wolfpack.

3. A strong running game will ease the pressure on a young QB - With Jacory Harris out due to the concussion suffered against Virginia, Miami turned to freshman quarterback Stephen Morris once again to lead the Hurricanes. The greatest thing a young quarterback can have is a good running game, and Morris benefited from one of the best on Saturday. Damien Berry and Lamar Miller both missed practice at the beginning of the week, but showed no signs of being slowed against the Yellow Jackets. Berry, Miller and Mike James combined for 218 yards on 36 rushes to lead Miami in the 35-10 win.

4. All VT does is win - Most of the nation tried to throw away the Hokies after a widely-publicized 0-2 start. But all Frank Beamer has done since joining the ACC is dominate in conference play, and that doesn't appear to be stopping anytime soon. Since joining the conference in 2004, Virginia Tech has a 45-11 conference record with three conference championships on the mantle. The Hokies have matured and gotten stronger as the season has progressed, and despite dealing with injury issues on both sides of the ball, played one of their most complete games of the season against North Carolina. At 6-0, Virginia Tech has nearly clinched their fourth division title. They still need to defeat Miami in Coral Gables to clinch it, but the win in Chapel Hill may have been enough to lock it up eventually.

5. Yates exposed by Hokies secondary - After being the subject of much criticism for the last two seasons, senior quarterback T.J. Yates entered Saturday's game in the midst of one of strongest statistical seasons in recent history at North Carolina. Yates has also been etching himself into Tar Heels history, setting a school record with 439 passing yards against Florida State last week, the first North Carolina win in Tallahassee. Yates also became the school's career leader for pass completions against Virginia Tech. But it was a few of those incompletions that spoiled Yates' strong statistical start. Entering the game with 15 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, Yates failed to throw a touchdown and tossed four interceptions against the Hokies. One game does not spoil Yates strong 2010 campaign, but it was a credit to the Hokies defense that refused to let North Carolina receivers get open downfield. Only three of Yates' 18 completions were to wide receivers, with the senior being forced to check down virtually all day against the stiff Virginia Tech defense.

Posted on: November 3, 2010 6:03 pm
 

Miami won't have Damien Berry either

Posted by Tom Fornelli

So when you've already made the announcement that you'll be starting a freshman at quarterback in this week's game thanks to the concussion suffered by your starter, odds are that you're going to want to lean a bit more on your ground game.  Which is probably what Randy Shannon had been hoping to do to help out Stephen Morris against Maryland when he fills in for Jacory Harris. 

Which is a pretty solid plan to have, if it weren't for one small problem.  That running back you were hoping to lean on a bit more this week?  Well, he can't play either.  After practice on Wednesday Shannon said that Damien Berry will miss this week's game as well, saying that he's been banged up for the last few weeks.

“You  just can’t keep going and going and going. It gets tough on him,” Shannon said. “We’re not going to make it get worse than what he is when he’s already kind of nicked up. We’ve got backs right now, so the numbers are OK.”

The 'Canes do have other backs, and Lamar Miller and Mike James will have to team up to account for Berry's absence.  Berry had a bad game against Virginia, but had rushed for 100 yards in Miami's previous four games, and leads the team with 690 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Posted on: October 5, 2010 10:56 am
Edited on: October 5, 2010 11:01 am
 

Miami dealing with shake ups at RB

Posted by Chip Patterson

With their 30-21 victory over Clemson on Saturday, the Miami Hurricanes will finally return home after a brutal three game road swing against the Tigers, Pittsburgh, and the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes.  Only falling 36-24 to the Buckeyes, the Hurricanes return home 3-1, No. 13 in the AP Poll, and 1st place in the Coastal Division.  But they are also returning home a little banged up at the running back position.  

Senior running back Graig Cooper has not played since re-injuring his new in the season opener, with the rushing duties being handled primarily by senior Damien Berry and freshman Lamar Miller.  Miller has seen his workload increase in the last two weeks, but an injured shoulder may keep him out of Miami's in-state showdown with Florida State.

Miller was wearing a a large ice pack on his shoulder following the Clemson game, and was not on the field when practice began on Tuesday.  He later joined the team, but was wearing a green, non-contact jersey.  Miller's limited action in practice suggests that he may sit against Florida State, unless his shoulder sees rapid improvement as the week progresses.

If Miller sits his carries will likely be picked up by sophomore Mike James, who had his most productive game of the season against Clemson.  Susan Miller Degan of the Miami Herald also suggests that Miller's absence might lead to the first appearance of Storm Johnson, a true freshman who enrolled in January and has been impressing the coaching staff since Spring Practice.

For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or subscribe to our RSS Feed.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com