MONDAY, AUGUST 28, 2006
INSIDER: Join the JU Sports Network for an online chat to preview the Dolphins season opener
 Join the JU Sports Network for a chat about the Dolphins season opener against Gardner-Webb
Chat with JUDolphins.com editor Joel Lamp and the "Voice of the Dolphins" Barry Milligan on Wednesday at 3 p.m., as they preview the upcoming season and the Dolphins home opener against Gardner-Webb on Saturday. Feel free to post your questions early and they will be answered in order when the guest enter the chat room.

Robb Lusk (Plant City): 1. Offensively...what do you see as being a good ratio of pass/run offense this year? 2. How will the heavy road schedule affect the Dolphins this year? thanks.
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Thanks for a great first question Robb. I think we'll see more of a running attack this year than in years past due to the stable of talented running backs. Each of those guys has the ability to take it to the house on any given carry. The schedule is going to be tough, there is no doubt about it. Getting off to a good start this weekend would go a long way for the season.

John (Jacksonville): Is JU going to take black out of the uniforms and add the gold? Please bring back some of the pride and tradition by bringing back gold in the uniforms.
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: I think we are slowly taking the black out of the uniform and bringing the gold back in. There is the possibility for a complete set of new jerseys for next season - and the designs are setup for green and gold. John, this is something that we've looked at and want to bring back immediately.

Jacksonville: Can Senior cornerback Brian Flowers live up to the hype of being a shutdown DB?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: In talking with defensive coordinator Craig Hauser this week, the defense is going to be depending on Flowers a lot because of his talent and his experience. He is by far the most experienced player in the defensive backfield and with the committment by the defense to create more turnovers, he is going to be one of the players that has to make plays in order for us to be successful.

Orange Park: How strong are the safeties in the JU secondary?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: The safeties have developed nicely through fall camp. At free safety, Aaron Woods has done well and gained a lot of experience in starting toward the end of last season. The strong safeties have some big shoes to fill in the loss of Bernard Opoku, one of the best defensive players ever at JU. Look for a freshman - Jason Wood - to start. He started camp as a running back and started making plays right away and will start as a true freshman.

Ponte Vedra: Will All-Star reciever Nate Conner have a breakout game?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: I'm not too familiar with the Bulldogs special teams unit, but if they have watched any film from last season, they know that Conner is a threat on special teams. Nate has a great ability on punt returns to create something out of nothing - so Saturday could be his day. But, as I write this the rain is falling softly, so a slick track could make anything possible for Saturday.

Chris (Ft. Lauderdale): Can you speak about what you sense from the team/coaches in attitude/approach this year as opposed to years past? What things clearly seem to stand out to you? Thanks.
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: I think the coaching staff has really come together and put together a good plan to put this team in position to compete. Andy McLeod has done a good job in bringing the offense along - which is helped by having Chris Horton return as the starting QB. Coach Hauser's defense is going to be strong again - which it always is. I think the defensive coaches have done a great job of getting the right people in the right positions to not just make plays, but make big plays that will effect the outcome of the game.

Jim, Gainesville: What's up with the kicking and punting game? 4 Freshman any winners?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: This is the question on a lot of people's mind. The Dolphins may have found a gem in Donovan Curry. Curry won the job as punter and kicker after a consistent fall camp. Chris Smith, who has a stronger leg but was inconsistent on the placement kicks, will handle the kickoff chores.

Todd (Callahan): How do you expect Jacksonville to deal with or attack Gardner-Webb's offense? A friend tells me they whipped Southeast Louisiana a year or so ago, maybe back in 2004.
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: I think Gardner-Webb is a lot like Charleston Southern. They are going to want to pass first, pass second and then throw some more. The front four, led by Kiel Pierce and Ryan Young, will need to get into the backfield and throw their timing off. GWU has been very good over the past few seasons and will be a tough opponent for us in the season opener.

Jeff (Jacksonville): What will be the biggest changes between last year's team and this year's? Who are the biggest departures and the most promising additions?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: The biggest changes that I've seen is the maturity of the offense and the defense coming together as a whole. This year Chris Horton went into camp as the starter and there wasn't any question about it, so that has helped. Pat Rich, who will go down as one of the all-time greats at JU, has handled the mantle of leadership and helped get the younger players to understand and focus on each play. Defensively, we lost Brandon Torre and Bernard Opoku - two players that made a lot of plays in their careers. But in their place has come a more "team" idea of defense - you see guys swarming to the ball and making plays everywhere. The defense has worked really hard at creating turnovers and that will be key to our success throughout the season.

Mike H. (Jacksonville): How do you think the new alignment of the Pioneer League will affect the Dolphins chances of winning the league title this season? Go Fins!
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: First...I'm sorry for the delay, we had a power outage here on campus. We're back up and I'm going to answer the questions we have left as quickly as possible.

Great question here Mike. With the departure of Austin Peay, the PFL membership dropped to eight teams. Instead of sticking with the two division format, the league has gone with the round-robin format where everyone plays the other seven members.

That changes every school's thinking from gearing up to win three to four games to get to the PFL Championship game to where every game matters.

The road to the PFL title is now longer, but JU has prepared well for it having played most of the teams in the conference on an annual basis anyway.

The PFL is tough, with San Diego winning the Sports Network Mid-Major National Championship last year and placing five teams in the top 10 of the final rankings. That right there shows how tough it is to win the title.


Orange Park (2): The roster from GW looks like they are a young team. What can we expect from them Sat.?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: The one thing from GWU that you can expect is a lot of passes. They will line up 4-wide and fling it around the field without any conscience whatsoever.

I think you'll see a GWU team that is hungry and has some goals that they want to reach this year - namely winning the Big South title.


Carlos, Boca: How is the quarterback position shacking out this year? Do you think we will thought the ball a lot?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Here's the good news...Chris Horton is the starter at QB and really developed as the season went along. He put up two of the best passing performances in school history in the final three games and continues to improve each day.

Backing him up is a small problem as there isn't an experienced player in our offense as his backup. We are fortunate to have Jason Hohensee, a transfer from Robert Morris, in the No.2 spot. He's gotten a lot of snaps in practice and is developing well in the no-huddle system. Hohensee transferred in and was able to go through spring practice, so he's got the reps in if called upon to guide the offense.


DAELEN R. TAMPA: I HAVE NOTICED G00D PRESS ABOUT SOME OF THE SENIOR PLAYERS THIS YEAR AND WONDERED IF THESE PLAYERS ARE BEING LOOKED AT BY ANY PRO TEAMS?
Joel Lamp, JUDolphins.com Editor: Daelen's question will wrap up our first chat and I want to thank everyone for submitting their questions this week. We'll take next week off with the team before our Wednesday chat before the Southeast Louisiana game.

Daelen - right now, the pros aren't hitting the scouting trail as much as they will later in the year. Right now, I don't know of anyone that is being looked at, but that will change as the season gets going.

Last year, Bernard Opoku was getting mentioned but his stock really took off late in the season and his offseason workouts with NFL assistant coaches.

That's where the pros look at the most is the offseason workouts where they can take a player and break him down in a one-on-one environment.

Thanks again for the questions everyone and we'll see you again in two weeks!