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The Connect (Morning Edition): Darius Smith is "The Plug", Aldarius Goes to the Beach


Defensive tackle Darius Smith— a transfer from Lackawanna Junior College— has earned himself a nickname: "The Plug". We'll assume that it's because he weighs 360 pounds, and not because he's secretly an international drug dealer. Of course, when it comes to college football, and especially the city of Miami, you can never be too sure. We'll keep our eyes peeled for Tubbs and Crockett (VERY cool reference, I know). Regardless of his off the field dealings, Smith will have one task as a Cane, where the defensive tackle position was more or less a gaping hole last year: be fat and stationary. He should be able to get it down.

Manny has a post on Aldarius Johnson— Miami's forgotten man— and it's some pretty heavy stuff. Aldarius came into UM as the highest ranked wide receiver recruit amongst a large group of highly ranked recruits at that position, and if we can all force ourselves to remember the dawn of the Patrick Nix Era, he had a productive freshman year at UM, leading the team in receiving and generally showing what seemed to be an advanced connection with Jacory Harris. The last two years have been have been injury-filled and almost totally unproductive; in 2010 he only caught multiple passes in two games, one of which was against FAMU, and his last touchdown came all the way back in 2009 against Wake Forest, which was also the last time he had over even 50 yards in a game. Johnson, he told Manny, has a clear motivation for his 2011 season: his kids.

The future of his children -- 3-year old son Aldarius Jr. and 2-year old daughter Aldaria -- has given him a new perspective, and plenty of motivation to make a new name for himself in 2011.

"I sat back this summer thinking 'Do I want to let my kids down?'," Johnson said Monday before UM's third practice of the fall.

"I come out [to practice] and that's all I think about. How am I going to [help] my kids live better when they get older? They help me through the day when I'm hurting, tired, frustrated. So, I just come out and do what I got to do. It ain't for me. It's for my team, my family and most of all my kids."

He also, after overhearing Andre Johnson, started to work out on the beach, where he was watched by the faithful eye of... his mother! Clearly Aldarius has put in work, and if he can stay healthy, the wide receiver position is clearly wide open.

UM coaches have created something called "The Soft Tape," a collection of video clips of players making shitty tackles and/or generally shying away from contact. If I had ever played football, I would've been prominently featured on a "soft tape". Miami players do not want to show up on "The Soft Tape". "The Soft Tape" also sounds like an indie rock band.

Jeremy Lewis has been moved from defensive tackle to offensive guard \(o_O)/.