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August 23, 2014

UM names Kaaya QB; plus Dolphins 25, Dallas 20 as Moreno leads big ground attack; also Marino's token title, Hot Button Top 10 & more

1) It is MONDAY, AUGUST 25. NBC reported late last night that the Dolphin shave hired Dan Marino as a "special adviser." Hmm. Token title. Let's see if he has any real, meaningful involvement. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Pete Rose reinstatement poll, Giancarlo Stanton verdict & more. 3) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

DSM reminder: The Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls will be back for another season starting when the games start to count. Look for the first DSM poll on Sept. 7.

My game column, return of Random Evidence: Click on Running Start for my column off last night's Dolphins exhibition win. A lot didn't go right, but what did was the ground game and Knowshon Moreno in his preseason debut. Click on Random Evidence for the return from summer hiatus of our Sunday notes-column package.

1aa1abradkCANES NAME KAAYA STARTING QB: True freshman Brad Kaaya (pictured) has won the Hurricanes' starting quarterback job over fifth-year transfer Jake Heaps, UM announced today. The season opens Sept. 1 at Louisville. Kaaya obviously must perform well to keep it, with Heaps an experienced backup,senior Ryan Williams due back from an injury sometime around early-to-midseason, and redshirt-freshman Kevin Olsen also in the muddled mix.     

PS3: DOLPHINS 25, DALLAS 20: FINAL: Matt Moore led all three touchdown drives subbing for a less-than-impressive Ryan Tannehill, but the story for Miami last night was the arrival of the ground game led by the debut of Knowshon Moreno. The Fins rushed for an even 200 yards on the ground and Moreno's 64 on 10 carries led the way. I don't care how bad the Dallas defense is or that it's only August. That's impressive. ..... THIRD: Ex-Cane LaRon Byrd's 27-yard TD catch gave Dallas the lead back after Miami had taken it on a drive led by a 54-yard completion by backup Matt Moore. ..... HALF: Well, 173 yards of offense is a decently productive first half. Three points is not. Miami defense looking good and so is running game (17-93), led by Moreno (10-64), but too many drives stalling. ..... FIRST: A ground game! MIA 67 yards rushgin on 10 carries in 1Q. Knowshon Moreno (5-40) looking strong in his preseason debut. ..... Original post: Tonight's is the most interesting game of the Dolphins' preseason for a few reasons. 1aa1adalmiaIt's the first home game. The Cowboys are still a sexy opponent even if they are many years past their America's Team buzz. And, mostly, the third exhibition game traditionally is when we see the most of the first-team units, the actual team in an actual dress rehearsal, before the regular-season opener. Starters figure to play at least a half, and the staff spent time game-planning for Dallas specifically, so tonight should be the best gauge yet of what we'll be getting in the 2014 Dolphins. In turn we should see our clearest indication yet of what the new offense holds in store. Dallas' defense is expected to be quite bad this season, so if the offensive line, the running game or any other facet of Miami's O struggles tonight, that may be a particularly ominous sign. Knowshon Moreno will have a chance to establish himself and begin to prove whether he merits more carries than Lamar Miller.

TANNEHILL, MILLER ON 'BREAKOUT LIST: ESPN.com listed its Top 50 NFL breakout players, guys expected to make a big leap in 2014, and Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is ranked No. 2, trailing only Colts TE Dwayne Allen. One other Dolph on the list: RB Lamar Miller at No. 36.

NFL rookie odds and more: Johnny Manziel remains betting favorite to win offensive rookie of the year award at 11-2 odds despite starting season on bench. Next come Sammy Watkins and Brandin Cooks at 6-1, with Dolphins' Jarvis Landry tied for 15th at 28-1. Defensive rookie pick is Jadeveon Clowney at 3-1, then Khalil Mack at 13-2. Worst-record picks are Jaguars 3-1 and Raiders 7-2. Frontrunners for Super Bowl-winning division are NFC West at 11-4 and AFC West at 7-2.

Poll result: Strong support for Rose reinstatement: We asked and by nearly a 5-to-1 margin you voted for an end to Pete Rose's banishment from baseball and letting him on the Hall of Fame ballot, with 80.9 percent for reinstatement and 16.8% to keep the ban. Only 2.3% were undecided.

HOT BUTTON: TOP 10 THINGS SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our Random Evidence Sunday notes-column package returns today in print from summer hiatus (click here), but due to broad disinterest popular demand Hot Button continues as a Sunday feature of the blog. Hot Button means what's on our minds as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead:

1aa1ahotbutton1. Dolphins: Tannehill shaky, but Moreno shines: Miami beat Dallas 25-20 in last night's exhibition because Matt Moore was better than Ryan Tannehill, but the story was Knowshon Moreno's preseason debut sparking a 200-yard ground attack. The Fins running game. It's aliiiiive!   

2. UM football: Still no QB call as opener looms: At Saturday's annual Canesfest event, UM fans were treated to everything but a starting quarterback. With opener at Louisville a week from Monday, it still could be Jake Heaps or Brad Kaaya. Not a good sign if Al Golden asks you to borrow a coin.

3. Marlins: Stanton MVP shot is alive: Extra-innings loss in Colorado last night got nine-game road trip off to a Rockie start. Playoff hopes are on the far periphery, but the longer they stay alive, the likelier Giancarlo Stanton is to maybe win NL MVP.

4. Tennis: U.S. Open begins: Year's final tennis major starts with Serena Williams seeking her third straight title but an injury keeping Rafael Nadal from defending. "Thank you, Rafa. Get well slowly," said Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

5. Youth Baseball: LLWS championship day: Illinois vs. South Korea in today's Little League World Series title game, and I'll be rooting unabashedly for the all-black team from Chicago. OK nobody else will say it so I will: It's Soul vs. Seoul!

6. Dan Marino: Hired by Dolphins, sort of: Club's all-time great is now a "special advisor" to owner Stephen Ross. Apparently they wanted to give Marino a title that had a token feel and conveyed the idea that he'd be doing a lot of nothing but would be available for a phone consult once in a while.

7. Pete Rose: 25 years since banishment: It's been a quarter-century since Pete Rose 's lifetime ban from baseball for gambling. Not sure he's learned his lesson, though. I hear he's betting on his eventual reinstatement at 4-1 odds.

8. NBA: LeBron, Cavs add Love: The Kevin Love-to-Cleveland trade became official to make it a Cavs Big 3 of LeBron James, Love and Kyrie Irving. Isn't it funny how in 2010 one team getting all the talent seemed OK to Miami but now it seems so unfair!? 

9. Tennis: It's the Miami Open: Annual men's and women's pro tournament n Key Biscayne is now called, simply, the Miami Open. Can we keep it that way, please? That event has gone by more names than a career criminal.

10. NFL: Manziel's big week: Within one week Johnny Manziel showed his middle finger to an opponent, was passed over for Browns' starting job, then got sacked by Michael Sam, who mimicked his money sign. Don't know if Johnny Football will be great, but I know he won't be boring.

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