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Miami: extra points

By Times Staff
Published September 1, 2006


ALL IN THE FAMILY

Freshman tailback Javarris James, cousin of NFL star and former Hurricanes great Edgerrin James has impressed coaches this summer with his abilities and work ethic. Coach Larry Coker has gone as far as to say Javarris is ahead of his cousin at this point in his career.

"There are really a lot of comparisons," Coker said. "He has kind of the same little step that Edgerrin has. At this stage in his career, and even Edgerrin told me this, 'He's better than I was.' He really attacks the defense better than Edgerrin did at this time. I see a lot of comparisons, similarities. He has great size, is physical, has a lot of confidence."

Despite having senior Tyrone Moss, junior Charlie Jones and sophomore Derron Thomas ahead of James on the depth chart, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect him to play sooner rather than later - possibly as soon as the season opener against Florida State.

"We'll wait and see how things progress," Coker said. "From what I've seen, he's really an exciting player. Let's put it this way - he has my attention in a positive way."

James was bothered by a bruised rotator cuff during practices but said he'll be ready whenever his number is called.

"I'm just going out there trying to make myself better," James said. "Whether I play or not is coach's decision. I just want to make sure that if he does call me, I want to be prepared.

I'm just waiting my turn."

QUOTABLE

"Kyle Wright is the best college quarterback I've been around." - Rich Olson, Miami's new offensive coordinator, who coached Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta in his first stint at Miami as well as Super Bowl XXXV winner Trent Dilfer at the college level.

BEST EVER?

Hurricanes senior strong safety Brandon Meriweather, below, is known for his ferocious hits on the field, but he's not afraid to talk big either.

At Miami's Media Day, Meriweather, who contemplated turning pro after last season, said of himself, free safety Kenny Phillips and Anthony Reddick - who missed all of last season with a knee injury, "I think the three of us (will) be the best safety combination to ever come through college football."

After thinking about it, Meriweather amended his statement slightly to add backups Willie Cooper and Lovon Ponder to his proclamation.

For his part, Meriweather said it wasn't easy to decide to return to Coral Gables for his senior season.

"It was very tough," Meriweather said. "I was broke for 21 years, so (I figured) why not be broke for 22."

 

MULTITASKING

What was a springtime experiment may well turn out to be a part-time job for punter Brian Monroe, who's been drawing raves for his work at receiver.

"He's got as much athletic ability as a lot of those guys," Wright said. "It's almost comical watching a punter out there. He's even changed his number (to 15 from 39)."

Monroe, a senior, played a bit of defensive back in high school at Palm Beach Gardens but had never lined up at receiver until this spring. In the spring game, he made one catch and narrowly missed a long spectacular catch along the sideline.

"I'm very confident right now," Monroe said. "I feel very comfortable with the playbook. I just need to keep learning the little stuff about route-running and things like that, and I think I could be pretty good."

Monroe averaged 39.8 yards a punt last year, but this year look for his name in the offensive stats as well. "He's done a good job," Coker said.

- MICHAEL SNYDER, Times correspondent