Have you been seeing any separation in freshman yet in terms of how quickly they process?
“I’m extremely pleased with the group in general – very mature group. I think part of that is the leadership we’re getting from [Raphael] Kirby, Dallas [Crawford], Brad [Kaaya], and those guys…very focused. I don’t know if there’s separation, but they’re getting a lot of opportunities. I think you guys know me well enough by now to know that everybody gets opportunities to play at Miami. We don’t just say ‘Hey, this is a locked position.’ They’re getting opportunities, they’re getting a lot of reps, they’re getting on film. So, I think for us we got to see what happens Thursday, when the lights are on and who can react without the coaches.”
On Thursday’s scrimmage:
Same situation scrimmages that we normally do. We put them on different parts of the field and see if they can act accordingly. It’ll probably be 35-40 plays for each unit. It’ll be not quite a half.
On getting better on the turnover battle:
I think we started back in January and carried it into the spring and then into the summer. The time of possession is huge if our differential is positive there. We have to get the ball back on defense and keep it on offense and get into more third and manageables. We cant underestimate the importance of first and second down when talking about third down situations.
On how the team is gelling so well right now:
If we’re really sincere, the main thing is the football team and the commitment these young have made to each other. There are no tents right now. We have to stay in the bunker. There are no distractions right now. The positivity, the unity, we’re going to put all that to the test before we get out of camp.
How is the offensive line gelling and who’s standing out to you?
“That’s probably the thing that’s most exciting right now on our team. Tyree St. Louis and Tyler Gauthier, from the bottom, are squeezing up and then we’re getting some guys at the top that are really separating themselves and playing better. I think the biggest thing for me is the cohesion of the unit. The cohesion, the communication I think Nick [Linder] is a leader. I think Hunter Knighton has made a big difference in terms of his leadership. Kc [McDermott] and Trevor [Darling], as you guys can probably see them, are leaner and better conditioned. So, it’s a group that is getting challenged every day. It’s going to have a lot to prove on Thursday, but I like the unity and the cohesion and everybody covering people up and being on the right people.”
Can you talk a little bit about the defensive line and what you’ve seen from that group?
“Again, I would say the same thing there. Kendrick [Norton] and RJ [McIntosh] have really started to squeeze it from the bottom up and everybody knows. Everybody knows that they mean business. That’s one contributing factor and then you have the guys that have been here. Those first two layers are really competing and mixing it up. Again, it’s been a good battle up front. It’s been a good battle, it’s been good to see, and we are far from being settled on either side [as to] who the starters are, most particularly on defense. The number of groupings that we have put out there so far -- it’s fun to see.