Every Friday night this summer, members of the football team
would don black T-shirts and, in the words of senior quarterback
Ryan Clement, "try and look big" as they accompanied police
through some of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods. The
weekly ride-alongs were part of Canes on Patrol, a
community-service project meant to repair the team's outlaw
image. And while Canes on Patrol may sound at first like a Just
Say No program brought to you by the Medellin cartel, Miami fans
can take heart. In contrast to the summer of '96, when five
Miami players were arrested on felony charges, Hurricanes spent
the summer of '97 exclusively in the front seat of patrol cars.
One of the CoPs, in fact, was Jammi German, the talented but
troubled receiver whose fortunes might well dictate those of the
offense this fall. Two seasons ago German led Miami with 41
catches for 730 yards, but he missed all of '96 after tearing
the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and being
suspended by coach Butch Davis for nine games for his role in
instigating an on-campus brawl. (He pleaded no contest to
burglary and battery charges and was sentenced to two years'
probation and 200 hours of community service.)
"If people are going to judge me by one incident, then those
people don't know me," says German. "I just want to go out and
have fun this year. Right now I'm feeling like a kid in a candy
Clement seems equally excited to have his primary receiver back
in action. "I feel as comfortable with Jammi as I've ever felt
about anybody," says Clement, a third-year starter who completed
60.3% of his passes for 2,257 yards last season.
Try as he might, though, German still wears the mark of 'Cane in
the eyes of many. A trial continued until Sept. 10 of two
Miami-based agents charged with "committing unlicensed athletic
agent activity," a third-degree felony, and misdemeanor charges
of conspiracy to commit perjury will likely reveal whether
German misled NCAA investigators about a December 1995 limo ride
he took with two teammates that was allegedly paid for by one of
the agents. If the NCAA finds inconsistencies between German's
court testimony and what he told its investigators, he could
face suspension, which would weaken a receiving corps already
depleted by Yatil Green's departure to the NFL.
Green was one of four Miami juniors who moved on to the
professional ranks after last season. The others were part of a
defense that has only three starters back. Left to fill the gaps
are youngsters like starting right tackle Damione Lewis, a
redshirt freshman, who needs to develop in a hurry.
As for the offense, leading rusher Dyral McMillan (565 yards
last season) is No. 1 on the depth chart at tailback for now,
but talented sophomore Edgerrin James, with his 446 yards and
6.3-yards- per-rush average in '96, could win the job in
preseason practice. Either one will have the luxury of running
behind a solid line that has three starters back.
If the Hurricanes can pull off an upset or two, they might
fulfill German's dream of winning the national championship on
Jan. 2 in the Orange Bowl. That's a bit of a long shot, but
until this summer, so was the prospect of Miami football players
riding around in police cars helping keep their city free of
COLOR PHOTO: DAMIAN STROHMEYER A LINE THAT HAS THREE RETURNING STARTERS WILL CLEAR THE WAY FOR MCMILLAN [Dyral McMillan]
76.6 Winning percentage by the Hurricanes in the four seasons
since they lost the '92 national title game to Alabama. Miami's
winning percentage over the previous four years was 91.7.
TWO GAMES TO WATCH
OCT. 4 AT FLORIDA STATE Coach Butch Davis hasn't beaten the
Seminoles in his two years with the Hurricanes.
NOV. 8 AT VIRGINIA TECH Another team that Davis has never
beaten. With the Hokies down this season, a road win is
essential for Miami's Big East hopes.
Passing Ryan Clement Sr. 164 comp., 272 att.,
2,257 yds., 19 TDs
Rushing Dyral McMillan Jr. 565 yds., 4 TDs
Receiving Magic Benton Jr. 38 catches, 547 yds., 4 TDs
Tackles DE Denny Fortney Sr. 50
Interceptions CB Duane Starks Sr. 3