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13 MIAMI

Aug. 05, 1995
Aug. 05, 1995

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Aug. 5, 1995

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Scouting Reports

13 MIAMI

Miami Hurricanes, role models. It doesn't exactly roll off the
tongue, does it? But if new coach Butch Davis has his way,
Miami's image will soon change from haven for loud-mouthed thugs
to bastion of virtue and discipline. "I want people to look at
us as leaders, as people who have a tremendous amount of
character and pride," says Davis. But consider what Davis, a
15-year assistant under Jimmy Johnson for Oklahoma State, Miami
and the Dallas Cowboys, has inherited from Dennis Erickson: In
addition to potential NCAA sanctions for Pell Grant fraud,
pay-for-play and drug-testing improprieties, Davis has taken on
a team whose lack of social discipline is matched only by its
lack of physical conditioning. "We have some players who are
enormously fat," Davis told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
this spring. "And we've got a lot of other guys who are just
flat out-of-shape."

This is an article from the Aug. 5, 1995 issue

But things are already changing in Coral Gables. Players have
been seen hustling to the huddle and doing their stretching
exercises in focused silence. "There used to be laughing,
goofing around," says punter Mike Crissy. "Not anymore."

After an 18-yard TD run in a spring scrimmage, wide receiver
Trent Jones quietly laid the ball on the ground and jogged
promptly to the sideline, as if he played for Penn State or
something. After another score, fullback Kevin Brinkworth
declined to rip off his helmet and prance.

Just as excessive celebration will not be tolerated, brushes
with the law will no longer be brushed off. Already Davis has
suspended tight end Syii Tucker indefinitely for marijuana use
and linebacker James Burgess for two games after he was arrested
for assaulting a police officer during a dance-club altercation.

Of course, there are some image problems that just won't go
away, like rapper Luther Campbell, the Hurricane booster who
threatened to "tell all" to the NCAA if senior Ryan Collins was
not named the starting quarterback. Though Collins won't remind
anyone of Bernie Kosar or even Frank Costa, he does have the
job, presumably on the basis of his experience and performance.

Collins may not be asked to throw as often as his predecessors
did. Davis has installed a two-back offense, which is good news
for slashing junior tailback Danyell Ferguson, who will get to
run behind a fullback--senior Derrick Harris--for the first time
in his Hurricane career. The offensive line, anchored once again
by junior center K.C. Jones, should be quicker than last year's
with the additions of junior J Ina at right tackle and sophomore
Kerlin Blais at left.

When he does need to go downfield, Collins will have at his
disposal such fine receivers as Trent Jones, Jammi German and
Yatil Green, a 6'3" 195-pounder with 4.3 speed. Green welcomes
questions about his first name. "It means excellence," he says.
In what language would that be, Yatil? "My language," he says.
"I made it up."

Last year's top-rated defense lost six starters, including
tackles Warren Sapp and Pat Riley, both NFL draftees. Big East
Rookie of the Year Kennard Lang is back at defensive end, but
junior corner Carlos Jones is the only returning starter in the
secondary.

Chances are that in this year of flux the Hurricanes won't be
contending for much beyond the Big East crown. All other
titles--whether Baddest on the Block, Citizens of the Year or
National Champs--will land elsewhere.

--Kelli Anderson

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER Ferguson will lead a tamer group of Hurricanes in '95. [Danyell Ferguson]

THE DATA BOX

Head coach: Butch Davis
Career college record: 0-0
First year at Miami

1994 RECORD: 10-2
Big East record: 7-0 (first)

W Georgia Southern 56-0
W at Arizona State 47-10
L Washington 38-20
W at Rutgers 24-3
W Florida State 34-20
W at West Virginia 38-6
W Virginia Tech 24-3
W at Syracuse 27-6
W Pittsburgh 17-12
W at Temple 38-14
W Boston College 23-7
L Nebraska 24-17 (Orange Bowl)

Final '94 ranking: 6 AP, 6 CNN/USA Today

Lettermen lost: 20
Lettermen returning: 48
Returning starters, offense: 5
Returning starters, defense: 5

KEY GAMES:
Sept. 2 at UCLA
Oct. 7 at Florida State
Nov. 11 at Boston College