Improvement to be tested at annual spring game

Tommy Streeter at the 2009 Miami Hurricanes Football vs Wisconsin Champs Sports Bowl in January. Photo by JC Ridley; Courtesy Kerwin Lonzo
Tommy Streeter at the 2009 Miami Hurricanes Football vs Wisconsin Champs Sports Bowl in January. Photo by JC Ridley; Courtesy Kerwin Lonzo

The University of Miami football team has many questions to answer as they jump into the pivotal 2010 season, the final year of fourth-year head coach Randy Shannon’s contract.

The  coaching staff will have the opportunity to see just how far the team has progressed in the 14 spring practices at the annual spring game Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Traz Powell Stadium.

“[The players] do some things in the run game, show some flashes in the pass game. They keep getting better every day and every week.” Shannon said.

Even with the coaching staff’s reassurances, concerns still loom. Sophomore Jacory Harris is out as he nurses a sore right thumb, the offensive line lost 60 percent of its starters from last year, and issues still surround how physical this team is on defense. The one positive is the wide receiver rotation. The Canes have a plethora of talent with blazing speed and great hands led by the core four: junior Leonard Hankerson, sophomores LaRon Byrd, Travis Benjamin and Aldarius Johnson and the diamond in the rough, red shirt freshman Tommy Streeter.

Streeter was one of the prized recruits out of Miami Northwestern but was plagued with injuries his first year as he red shirted in 2008 with a wrist injury.

Last year, Streeter was patient and seldom saw action. He finished with only five catches on the season, but none was bigger than his 47-yard haul on a go route in the Champs Sports Bowl that ignited the offense for a comeback initially.

“I always had confidence in myself,” the 6-foot-5, 209-pound Streeter said. “I was always just waiting on the opportunity. I didn’t know I was fast.”

Shannon was very terse when evaluating Streeter’s progression, but Streeter is currently fifth in the depth chart.

“He just needs to keep improving, just like everyone else,” Shannon said.

Streeter likes what he has seen from the three quarterbacks so far.

“[Freshman Stephen Morris] has a real fluid motion and is real strong in the pocket,” Streeter said of the early enrollee from Monsignor Pace.

Streeter had similar remarks for freshman A.J. Highsmith.

“He has been here longer, so with his presence in the pocket, he feels comfortable being able to sit there and take a blitz and still deliver the ball on time,” Streeter said.

But the lanky Streeter had the biggest raves for offensive coordinator Mark Whipple’s son, walk-on quarterback Spencer Whipple.

“A lot of times when [the ball] is coming it reminds me of the movie Little Giants. It’s like a toilet roll just coming at you with pretty spin on it.”

Streeter looks to build an even stronger bond with his quarterbacks and show the coaching staff that he is ready to translate his talents in big game situations like on Saturday.

Justin Antweil may be contacted at