John Rochford Q&A

Center John Rochford (Linwood, NJ) worked hard this past season on the scout team going up against the first team defense and he considered being redshirted the best thing for him. He is working hard in the weight room to get ready for spring practices and the 2004 season.

How did last season go for you personally?

Last season was a great experience for me. I was real excited about coming here. I came in and wanted to try to make an impact on the team. I got redshirted this year, which was probably the best thing for me. I just tried to help out as much as I could on scout team. It was a great experience for me on the scout team getting to go up against the first team defense every day. It really helped me not next season and I will be ready to step up.

How tough was it to adjust to not playing in games this year as a redshirted player?

It was a little tough. It is tough sometimes just to stand on the sidelines and watch. Sometimes you arent even in uniform. You really want to be a part of the team, but you just got to do what you can for the team and that your time will come and not to get too over anxious.

Who are some guys that were really tough to go up against on the first team defense?

The defense was unbelievable this year so all of the guys were tough. I went up against Vince Wilfork every day and he was real tough to block. Orien Harris is another player that was really tough to block. Our linebackers were outstanding with D.J. Williams, Jonathan Vilma and all of those guys. They really practice hard too. I got a game-like experience every practice going up against them.

How did you do with reading the defense, picking up blitzes and stunts?

With being on the scout team we run the other team's offense so it's not like our offense. But you still pick up on some things. You pick up the way players move around and the type of defense that they are in and what linebackers are blitzing. By the end of the year I was able to read defenses a little bit better and I knew what the defensive linemen were going to do. Sometimes I could pick up if they were going to run a game or a stunt. It was a big help.

What were some things that you improved upon over the year?

Probably the biggest thing was mental toughness. I worked on flexibility a lot so I got a lot more flexible. That is important as an offensive linemen and I still need to get more flexible. I also improved on my strength and speed. We still worked out four days a week and when you are a redshirt you life pretty hard because you are not playing in any games. So I got a lot stronger and a lot faster. I just got a better mindset with everything. I am real excited about next season and hopefully I'll get a chance to play.

How excited are you for spring practices to get going?

I am real excited. I think everybody around here is fired up. Everyone is working real hard in the last couple weeks. Coach Swasey has had us in the weight room four days a week and then we come in on our own with seven-on-sevens. The offensive linemen go off together and do their offensive linemen drills. Everybody is real excited and I know I am real excited about spring football this year.

What is your height/weight at right now and where do you want to play at next year?

Right now I am 6-3 290. I want to be between 280-290 next year and 285 is probably my best playing weight that I can play at so I need to lose about five pounds.

What is your weekly routine like right now?

We got workouts four days a week. I work out at 7:00 in the mornings. Derrick Morse and I are lifting partners so we really push each other in the weight room. That is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. And then on Monday we will come in and watch a little bit of film. On Wednesday we will do the same thing. On Saturdays that is when we have seven-on-sevens and offensive line drills.

What is your relationship like with Morse?

Oh we are best friends. I met him on my visit when I came here and we knew we wanted to be roommates when we got here. We are really great friends and we will probably be roommates for the rest of the time here at Miami.

How did you adjust from the transition of coming to Miami from New Jersey?

I think I did pretty good with it. It was pretty tough at first getting used to the heat. I really enjoy myself down here. It is a great time with a great atmosphere. I am at a great university with a lot of great people around me. The guys always look out for me. I love all of my teammates. They are great guys. Everybody on this team is really tight-knit and everybody has each other's backs. It's real comforting.

Who are some young players that you think could have a breakout season in 2004?

Hopefully Derrick and I will come in, step up and play really well if we get called upon for the opportunity to play good. There are some other guys like Bryan Pata who was a freshman last year at defensive end. I think he is going to be outstanding. Hopefully Kyle Wright, I think he is a great player too. I think he can help us at quarterback, but I also think Brock is going to come out and have a great year this year too. Some wide receivers like Darnell Jenkins and Devin Hester. Those guys are extraordinary athletes and we haven't even seen what they can do yet. It is going to be real exciting.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

Canes Time Top Stories