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August 18, 1998

CORAL GABLES, FL– Practicing in pads for the first time the Universityof Miami Hurricanes continued two-a-days with a pair of two hour workoutstoday at the Greentree Practice Field in Coral Gables.

Head Coach Butch Davis was pleased with the team’s effort. “Theplayers came out today and worked extremely hard. Every practicethey’re getting better and making big improvements.”
Following the morning session, Davis applauded the efforts ofthe defensive front seven and attributed their success to the Hurricanes’off-season conditioning program.

“The off-season conditioning program is really paying off for our players,” commented Davis. “The defensive front seven has taken a whole newattitude. They’re more aggressive and stronger at the point of attack,and are playing in a real frenzy.

“By the same token our offensive line is digging in and playing veryphysical; however, the defensive line sets the tempo and attitude for theteam. If they’re tough, nasty warriors, playing hard, they’ll definitelymake the offensive line better.”

The afternoon practice was spent working on the inside run, blitzing,and in position groups, before concluding with the 11-on-11 drills.

Offensive guard Richard Mercier sat out the afternoon practice aftertwisting his left knee during the morning workout. Mercier underwentreconstructive surgery on the same knee forcing him to miss the 1997 season.Safety Al Blades was also held out of the afternoon session as a precautionarymeasure. Blades also was sidelined for the entire ’97 season followingreconstructive knee surgery.

“Richard aggravated scar tissue,” commented Davis. “It is notan uncommon occurrence. His knee is structurally sound and we expecthim to return to practice within a few days. We are being cautiouswith both he and Al. They are returning from major surgery and weneed to make sure they are healthy and able to compete this season.”

Schedule of Upcoming Events
* August 22, CanesFest (scrimmage), 9:00 a.m., Orange Bowl Stadium,Miami.
* August 26, CanesFest-Broward (practice), 6:00 p.m., Lockhart Stadium,Ft. Lauderdale.