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Aug. 13, 2007

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – – The Miami Hurricanes football team practiced twice at the Greentree Practice Fields Monday as UM completed its 10th day of preseason practice.

“We flew around a little bit,” UM head coach Randy Shannon said after the morning session. “We backed off a little bit in terms of the time that we were on the field. The guys did a lot of good things. We had a bunch of situational stuff, some two-minute stuff and third-down situations.”

The Hurricanes donned shells for a short morning workout, before wearing full pads for the afternoon practice.

Shannon also commented on the running backs thus far this season. “Javarris James has been doing fine,” he said. “It’s competition. You’ve got Graig Cooper. Derron Thomas has been picking it up a little bit. Charlie Jones got a little nicked and Thomas picked it up because he knows this is his opportunity.”Miami will practice once Tuesday at 7:50 a.m. in preparation for its second closed scrimmage of the preseason, which will be Wednesday morning.

Tight End Competition Going Strong

Shannon said he is pleased with the progress at the tight end position. Four players are in competition for a starting job: junior DajLeon Farr, sophomore Richard Gordon, sophomore Dedrick Epps and junior Chris Zellner. “All of them can run and catch,” Shannon said. “They’re big and they can block. So we’re kind of excited by what they’re doing right now. Everyone on this team has talent. Once you try to make one guy, `the guy,’ that guy’s going to get tired. So you better make sure you have another guy to come in and step up. I remember the time we had Mondriel Fulcher and Bubba Franks. Both of them were splitting time, but both were great players because each of them was getting maybe 35 plays apiece instead of 65. When you have that kind of rotation, it can wear a defense down. They have a lot of talent.”

Injury Notes
Junior tight end Chris Zellner missed practice on Monday. “He’s injured,” Shannon said. “He should be back within two to three days.” Defensive tackles Teraz McCray and Josh Holmes also continued to be limited. “They’re coming back off injury,” Shannon said. “It’s minor, nothing major. With them out, it gets other guys reps. So now, when those guys get reps, you make your team better. As long as they come back sometime this week, we’ll be fine. They’ll get 10, maybe 15 days of practice in before the first game, and that’s plenty.”

Depth May be Key in 2007
Miami played a lot of freshman in 2006. One year later, those players are seasoned veterans in Shannon’s eyes. “There are a lot of guys coming back that played a lot of game situations, even though they’re young in age,” Shannon said. “When you have that, you feel kind of confident in what you can get done. They’re competing, because they know if you don’t compete the next guy will take your position. It’s nothing personal with this team. It’s all about competing and being the best you can be.”

New Hurricane in the Family
Miami assistant equipment manager Gary Collins returned to practice Monday and received a lot of congratulations. Gary and his wife, Carla, an assistant director for sports marketing at UM, recently had their first child. Jackson Young Collins was born at 2:07 a.m. Saturday. He weighed in at seven pounds, 11 ounces and was 20 inches long.

19 Days Until First Game
Hurricanes fans can purchase single-game tickets, a four-game Mega-Plan or season tickets through the month of August. Single-game tickets are $47 each, while the Mega-Plan, which includes a reserved ticket to the Texas A&M game and three other home games of choice, is $160 per pack ($7 savings per ticket ). Season tickets start as low as $190, which is only $27 per game. Tickets can be purchased at www.hurricanesports.com or by calling (305) 284-CANES in Miami-Dade or (800) GO-CANES outside of Miami-Dade. The Hurricanes open the season on September 1 against Marshall in the Orange Bowl.