Miami's New Middle Man?

Jon Beason (Hollywood, FL) received a medical redshirt for the 2003 season after he had season-ending shoulder surgery in September. He has been working hard in the off-season to get back on the field. Beason and the rest of the defense are ready for spring practices to begin.

Last year Beason began his freshman season as a safety and then was moved to fullback during two-a-days after injuries to Kyle Cobia and Talib Humphrey. Beason caught on quick to the position and would have earned more playing time until he had surgery. He hurt it during two-a-days, but played through the pain until after the Florida game when it bothered him too much.

Since then, Beason has been working hard in the weight room working out with his teammates getting ready for spring practices to start. At first he was planning on returning to safety, but he was recently moved to middle linebacker. A move he first was unsure about, but now he is ready for the challenge.

"It was a move that I really have to learn the ins and outs to get an edge. I thought about it real hard. I talked to some important people that I really trust, some high school coaches, some players on the team, my parents, and my brother."

He has a good understanding of his positive qualities that he brings to the football field and has an idea of what kind of linebacker he can become. One thing is for sure, he will play hard.

"The way I see it I'm not going to be a safety converted into a linebacker. I want to be a safety that plays linebacker. I want to utilize my athleticism, be quick to the ball, be able to cover tight ends and the running backs like a defensive back would as opposed to a linebacker. I think that will help me a lot, plus I am real aggressive. I see me being a Derrick Brooks type of a linebacker. A guy that can make plays and is fast to the ball. He's not a huge guy, but plays big."

Beason has gained 5-10 pounds for the position and is up to 220 pounds. He doesn't plan on stopping there and hopes to add more muscle for the fall.

"Now I am at linebacker and I have to get bigger to play it. I want to get to about 228 in the fall. If I get there in the fall there is no going back to safety."

Not only is Beason a great athlete with skills that will allow him to succeed at middle linebacker, but one of the things that the coaching staff saw was that he is a smart player who is capable of handling the duties of the position. Making the calls, the checks, and getting the guys lined up in the right spots are some of the things he will be responsible for. It is a task that he was not extremely excited for in the beginning, but now is excited about the responsibilities.

"At first I though that playing the Mike would be worse than the Sam or Will. Then I watched some tape on it and they set up for the Mike to be the guy. I am looking forward to it. Playing Mike is like playing the quarterback on offense. The way our scheme is setup, the Mike is the guy. I'll have my big boys up front to keep their guys off of me so I can make plays. Vilma had about 130 tackles and the next guy was D.J. who only had about 80. If I can do that, or get a lot of pass deflections or get a couple of interceptions for the season, it will help out our defense big time."

Being able to make the transition starts right now in the off-season. In the weight room, running, spring practices, watching game film, and learning from the coaches. Beason's off-season schedule is like a season in itself.

"I got an 8:00 class so the only time I can workout is 7:00. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday I am up at 6:00. On Wednesday I am up at 7:00. So I workout and then get dressed and showered before my 8:00 class. Then I have class from 8:00-12:00. Monday through Thursday I have a tutor at 1:00. When I was doing track, I would go to practice and then get home around 6:30-7:00. My days were pretty busy and my schedule was real full."

Just when you thought the days couldn't be any longer, the past two weeks Beason and his teammates have been going through running workouts in the mornings.

"These last couple of weeks have been tough because we have had more running workouts and we've been getting up at 5:00. We have seven-on-sevens now and I still get home around the same time."

At least he can see a positive with these workouts.

"I see myself getting better so its all for a purpose."

Hitting the weight room hard has been one of the few things Beason has been able to do since his shoulder surgery. He has doing well in the weight room: squat (395) and power clean (308). Beason is not able to bench yet, but is using the dumbbells instead.

"With me I have been hurt for so long. Football is hard. You have to practice to be on point. Some people think working out is hard, but I am just trying to take advantage of it Because while everyone else was getting better by practicing in the fall, I was getting worse because I had to heal. I am just trying to get to the same level as everyone else and then take it to the next level. I want to be on the top competing with the guys in the best shape."

With Roger McIntosh, Leon Williams, and Tavares Gooden as the likely starters Beason knows he will have to work hard to get into the lineup. Whether or not he plays a lot this year isn't the most important thing.

"Its not about who plays, its about having the best three guys out there so we have the best defense. We want to win games around here, that's it."

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

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