'The U' shall rise again 

March, 29, 2010
The vibe around the Miami football program is much different than it was a couple of years ago. The Canes look -- and seem -- like a legit powerhouse program again.

I was out at practice Friday and everywhere you looked they had freakish athletes. At receiver, there is 6-foot-4, 225-pound LaRon Byrd, 6-3, 215-pound Leonard Hankerson and 6-5, 210-pound Tommy Streeter. Each casts an imposing shadow, and all three move like cornerbacks. Travis Benjamin, the fastest of a UM receiving crew that goes seven deep, showed how dynamic he was in UM's spring game, catching six passes for 171 yards, producing one huge play after another.

There is also a deep stable of explosive tailbacks, evoking visions of the Clinton Portis/Willis McGahee days. The D-line, rocked by injury in 2009, is loaded again, led by uber freak Allen Bailey, a chiseled 285-pound defensive end with 4.6 speed. The secondary also can match up athletically with any receiver corps.

Even the area that has been the Canes' Achilles' heel the past few years -- the O-line -- looks good. Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Jermaine Johnson, a nimble 6-6, 322-pound former prep basketball star, is just one of a batch of lean up-and-comers who had insiders raving.