Beason Ready to Tackle New Position

Jon Beason knew the Hurricanes needed some help at linebacker. So by the time defensive coordinator Randy Shannon approached him with a suggestion Beason had already made up his mind. "We lost a lot of guys so I kind of had a good idea they were going to ask me," said Beason.

"But I was ready to make the switch. I told (Coach) Coker that I don't care where I play. I just want to make some plays on the field and help our team win a lot of games."

And that's exactly what the Hurricanes are hoping for after getting Beason to move from safety to linebacker.

With the graduation of Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams putting the Hurricanes in dire need of LBs, Beason was quick to make the position switch. Now, Beason is being counted on as a key reserve in the Hurricanes' linebacking unit. Miami will have three new starting linebackers when they open the season against Florida State Sept. 6.

Beason, who has been backing up Leon Williams at middle linebacker, is thrilled to be in the mix, despite having no experience at the position before the start of spring practice.

"It's all new to me at this point, but the idea of just going out and putting a helmet on somebody really excites me,'" said Beason, out of Hollywood Chaminade. "It's the kind of position that you're involved in the game the whole time and that's something I've always dreamed of."

Coker is already impressed with work ethic shown by Beason.

"Jon's motor is always running. I really like his energy and effort," said Coker. "Obviously it's going to take him a while to learn everything that goes with playing the position, but he's such a good athlete he will get there eventually."

Beason arrived last fall as a wide-eyed freshman just looking to get on the field in any capacity. But after suffering a shoulder injury in the opener against Florida, Coker decided to switch Beason to running back. However, Beason didn't get much of a chance to play there after missing the final 11 games of the season. He finished the season with a carry for three yards in two games.

"Sometimes you have to go through some growing pains," said Beason. "I still have big ambitions here."

Apparently so. The former high school defensive back went from 206 to 221 pounds in the off-season in anticipation of the move. But it's not like he is venturing into foreign territory. In fact Beason rushed for 811 yards and 12 touchdowns, while making 75 tackles as a high school senior, proving that he might be able to play anywhere. Beason isn't intimated by the challenge of following players like Vilma and Williams.

"I'm not worried about the pressure of having to play there," said Beason. "Before Vilma and D.J. it was Dan Morgan, and before Morgan it was somebody else's job. I'm just worried about what I'm able to do on the field."

Beason will be joining a unit that includes starters Leon Williams, Roger McIntosh and Tavares Gooden. Among Beason's responsibilities at linebacker will be positioning the rest of the defense and making calls before each play. He can't wait.

"Being out here is exciting. I can't imagine what it's going to be like when the season starts," said Beason.

STRUGGLE

The Hurricanes got off to a slow start during Monday's 90-minute practice before finishing strong according to Coker.

"This was a little bit of a struggle today. I just think it took us a little while to get going," said Coker. "But it's early and we did get some things done." Coker did praise Orien Harris, Antrel Rolle and Greg Threat after watching a tape of Saturday's scrimmage. On offense, Coker signaled out Brock Berlin, Derrick Crudup and Tony Tella.

"Those guys are doing an outstanding job," said Coker.

OUT

Defensive end Bryan Pata, who was wearing a boot on his lower left leg, sat out with a high ankle sprain and Coker said he didn't know when Pata would return. However, Coker did say he was optimistic because it was the 'other' ankle that Pata injured. Pata had problems with a right ankle injury last season. After recording 26 tackles in 11 games last season, the sophomore entered camp with a chance of starting at right end. Reserve tight end Brandon Sebald said he would miss time with a separated shoulder. Sebald was injured in last Saturday's scrimmage after being tackled by Tanard Davis.

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