On Thursday your Miami Hurricanes will be on display for the first time this Spring when they conduct a public scrimmage at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
Lockhart, which is located just North of Commercial Boulevard and just West of I-95, has hosted the Hurricane Spring events in years past and is a convenient location for UM to reach out to many fans living in the 954 and 561 area codes.
Not only will fans have a chance to watch their team in action but will also have an opportunity to meet players during a 45 minute autograph session from 6-6:45 PM before the game which is scheduled to start at 7 PM. This is a great opportunity to meet the team in a casual and comfortable environment and get your favorite collectible items signed by your favorite players.
However, you should be advised that the time passes quickly and some lines can be long so we recommend you get there early which will enable you to get the signatures you covet and ensure that a good time is had by all.
We also recommend that your follow the Canespace rules when attending: (1) show up early; (2) stay until the end; (3) good things are bound to happen. Last year Cat5 and I had the pleasure of meeting both Don Bailey Jr. and Sam Shields Sr. in the parking lot after the game.
Both were generous enough with their time to sit and chat with us for a while about the individual players, coaches and prospects for the Hurricanes chances in 2009. Now both wear Canespace and if you are fortunate you might be so lucky this year as we look forward to the 2010 season.
Here are five keys to look for during the scrimmage:
1. Offensive Line: As any respectable Miami fan knows if Miami is to be successful in 2010 it will all start along the offensive line. The Canes lost both Tackels (Fox, Pipho) and their starting Center from the 2009 squad. Miami also signed between 5-7 offensive linmen in this year's recruiting class to provide much needed depth at the previously under-manned position. Opening holes for the strong stable of running backs and protecting "The Franchise" will fall on several new starters and underclassmen and determine just how far the Hurricanes will go this season. Look for many heated battles and many mistakes as the newbies learn their assignments while fighting for one of the five starting positions along the OL for 2010.
2. Defensive Line: This unit was decimated by injuries in 2009 and is looking for a healthy rebound in 2010. With greater depth, talent, experience and maturity we expect big things from the big dogs up front. And while big dawgs are nice, the real question is whether ther are any "bosses and hawgs" along the DL for Miami this year? Former Hurricane DT Warren Sapp said there was not a single dominant player on the DL for UM last year. Look for that to change in 2010 as Bailey, Forston, Robinson and Ojomo all try to be "That Guy" for the Hurricanes this season.
3. Running Back: You know the names but can you name the starter? Berry, James, Miller, Johnson, Chambers are all in the mix for the starting RB psotion for 2010. While all are likely to play this season, the logjam currently cluttering the UM backfield must eventually be broken and a starter named. Although that will not happen until the Fall, this Spring could go a long way to establishing a front runner (pun intended) at RB for the Hurricanes this season. Looking for controversy? Want to pick a blog fight? Look no further than the running back position at UM in 2010!
4. Cornerback: Who will start opposite 2009 star Brandon Harris for the Canes defense? Will DeMarcus Van Dyke finally blossom and take the next step in his development and become a physical, lock-down corner many thought he would be after starting as a true freshman? Or will Brandon McGee use his speed and physicality to unseat DVD as the starter? Who will be the third or slot CB? Chavez Grant, McGee and a quartet of freshmen including Kacy Rogers, Jeremy Davis, Keion Payne and Devont'a Davis will all compete for this role. Look for two of the four frosh to redshirt.
5. Quarterback: With the starting QB position wide open in 2010 look for true Freshman Stephen Morris to take the leading role at QB for the Hurricanes this season. Just kidding! It is obvious that Spencer Whipple, the son of Offensive Coordinator Mark Whipple, is a lock to start for Miami this year. Backing up will be last year's starter Jacory Harris, who after a sub-par 2009 campaign will ride the pine at UM in 2010. Now seriously, with J12 securely established as "The Franchise" at Miami, Morris, Whipple and last year's back-up AJ Highsmith will battle it out this Spring to see who will play second fiddle at QB for the Hurricanes in 2010.