In the third installment of our "Five Questions" series of feature articles with local media reps we are excited to have the opportunity to talk to "The New Guy" on the Miami Hurricanes beat: Michael Casagrande from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He will be joining us LIVE tonight to chat with Miami Hurricane fans for the first time.
It has been a busy five years or so at the Sentinel as the UM post has seen a parade of reporters pass through their ranks trying to satisfy the demanding and sometimes difficult University of Miami fan base. Casagrande took over the UM beat at the Sentinel from Steve Gorten, who had replaced Shandel Richardson, who had replaced Omar Kelly.
Since his arrival in June of this year from Alabama with a fresh perspective and what must have been a couple of cases of Red Bull, Casagrande has been nothing short of outstanding. He has been dominating the 'Canes coverage by tearing it up on the blog and providing excellent content on the Sentinel's other on-line media applications.
His blog is here: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/um-hurricanes/miami-hurricanes-blog/
Here are our Five Questions with Michael "Big House" Casagrande at the Sun-Sentinel:
Canespace: Since arriving in South Florida and your new position at the Sun Sentinel what has surprised you most about the area in general, the University of Miami and the football team itself?
Casagrande: The pace of the city is an adjustment. It's the slowest, fast place on earth. (Does that make sense?) I enjoy the culture and the spirit of this place. I'm a big fan of New Orleans because it's unlike any other city in the country. Miami goes in that category, too. I've lived in several different places, but none compares to this place.
Canespace: The Legends of the Fall selection process is an annual ritual at Canespace. The bloggers select one player on offense and one on defense that they think will have a spectacular, break-out or legendary season each year. This year the most selected players were of course QB Stephen Morris and LB Denzel Perryman. Apart from those two obvious selections which two players do you think will show up and show out this season? In addition please also select one freshman player and one coach who you think will be difference makers for UM in 2012?
Casagrande: It's an interesting question. I'll be quite interested, after watching 15 minutes of practice every morning, who can play in a real game. I'm looking forward to seeing what Allen Hurns can do. He looks like a serious receiver. I'm also looking forward to seeing Mike James perform when the spotlight is on him. He's easily one of the most personable, friendly athletes I've ever dealt with. Though I'm not a homer, I wouldn't be disappointed if he turned into a star. With the freshmen, I'm going to cop out. Of course it's easy to say Duke Johnson. But I'm saying it. My first year covering Alabama was Trent Richardson's freshman season. He was a star from the very beginning and the running back position lends itself to making a more seamless transition than maybe a cornerback or offensive lineman. That said, it looks like he has to improve his pass blocking -- a skill Richardson had right from the beginning.
Canespace: OK, finally it is time to put you on the spot in year one of your coverage of the Miami Hurricanes for the Sun Sentinel. I need your overall season record prediction for this season? Just give it to us straight!