A six-pack of UM notes on a Wednesday:
• Former players will be back on the sidelines for UM games this season.
Athletic director Blake James said Tuesday that while the new policy hasn’t been finalized, “current NFL roster players are one of the groups that will be allowed” on the sideline.
UM had banned former players from the sidelines for at least the past five years in the wake of NCAA sanctions stemming from the Nevin Shapiro case.
In recent years, several players have publicly lobbied to be invited back on the sidelines.
“We can’t have everybody,” UM coach Mark Richt said on WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline. “As long as they have behave on the sideline, [they] can come.”
• Defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski was non-committal about whether freshman defensive tackle Jon Ford will play Saturday against Bethune Cookman but likes his potential. Ford didn’t arrive until mid-August.
“I’m not sure about Saturday,” Kuligowski said. “He got here so late, was so far behind in terms of knowledge of what we want him to do, technique and conditioning. Almost an impossible task to come (that late) and expect to play. And I would be lying to you if I said he hasn’t come along a huge amount. He’s a guy that could definitely make an impact this year for us. I don’t know if I’m ready to say right now that he’s going to be the guy because he’s not competing with those top two units yet. But he’s a kid with a real bright future.”
• Kuligowski said starting defensive end Joe Jackson, who had 7.5 sacks as a freshman, “has become a better run player. It was something he needed to adjust to. He’s been good with his eyes, good with his feet and his hustle’s been great. We all know he’s very tough. He’s been a much, much improved run player. The Virginia Tech game last year to now, it’s night and day.”
• With at least six ends who are worthy of snaps (and seven if possible new tight end Scott Patchan remains on defense), Kuligowski said he will go into games with a plan about how many snaps each lineman will receive. But he will go with the hot hand late in games.
• What part of UM’s defense is most improved?
“The linebacker position,” linebacker Shaquille Quarterman said. “It’s really clear to see that last year we were just fresh little kids running around trying to function. This off-season we’ve really gotten smarter along with the help of coach (Manny) Diaz. I feel we’ve gotten way smarter as a group.”
UM wants to be top five in scoring defense and Quarterman said: “We really have to dominate. It’s not about winning by nine points. It’s about shutouts, that’s what we want to do [on defense] no matter who we’re facing. Every championship team I believe has a really good defense. You have to stop the other team from scoring. Scoring [on defense], takeaways - we want to be scavengers out there.”
• Allcanes Radio on 790 The Ticket will return for a seventh year from 7 to 9 p.m., beginning Wednesday. The show typically will air on Thursdays.
Wednesday night’s guests include Dan Morgan, Chris Myers and Santana Moss. Brian “The Beast” London will host with Harry Rothwell and procanes.com’s Platon Alexandrakis.
Meanwhile, WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline with Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey Jr. will air from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays this year.
Here’s my post today with Jon Gruden’s strong thoughts on Jay Cutler and the Dolphins. Twitter: @flasportsbuzz