Leading By Example

Cornerback Antrel Rolle flirted with the idea to leave Miami for the NFL, but decided to return to school for his senior season. Rolle will be one of the best cornerbacks in the country in 2004 and will be counted on to be a leader on the Hurricane defense.

Spring practices began on March 23 and Rolle along with his teammates have been working extremely hard. Rolle is excited about the team's progress so far this spring especially the defense that returns just four starters.

"Things are going pretty good. Everyone is just trying to get back into playing shape. On defense everyone is running around flying to the ball. A lot of us are new out there and it is the first time working together as a unit and it is the first time we are actually playing together on the field. Everything has been going pretty good."

Rolle has been especially impressed with the intensity of the team's spring practices.

"I love the intensity on both sides of the ball. Everybody on offense and defense is working hard out there. There is a lot of sportsmanship on both sides."

Gone from the secondary are Sean Taylor, Maurice Sikes, and Alfonso Marshall. Rolle is the only starter remaining although Kelly Jennings started at cornerback in 2002.

"It is not weird for me at all. There are some guys that I have played with before that are gone, but I knew that I wasn't going to play with the same group of guys my whole career here. It is my job now to get everyone in shape and prepare the guys for practicing for a game. Actually being on the field has been helpful for a lot of these guys."

Being a leader is something that Rolle has adjusted to. He is generally a cool, calm individual with a loud game.

"I feel comfortable being a leader, but I don't lead by words. I lead by example. I am not too much into a lot of words. I let my play do the talking."

In the spring Rolle has been working on little things to improve his game. Regardless of how good a player is they always strive to get better.

"I feel pretty good out here. Right now I am not too focused on the game. I am just trying to get my technique down. I am just working on things that I have been told I need to work on like my ball skills. That is basically what I am trying to do. I'm also trying to make sure all of the guys are lined up where they need to be because I have been here for a while now. "

Defensive backs, Brandon Meriweather, Greg Threat, Terrell Walden, Tanard Davis, Travarous Bain, Willie Cooper, and Marcus Maxey all are relatively inexperienced. So far Rolle has been impressed with their development.

"Our young defensive backs have been great. There are a few things that they still need to work on like concepts, but that comes with experience and playing time. Once they get that they will be fine, they are great athletes."

The best trait for young players is their ability and willingness to be coached. Luckily for the Hurricanes these guys want to get better.

"The thing I like the most about them is that they are eager to learn. They want to learn. That is what I like the most. They don't fuss or bicker about things out there. When you tell them something they are like ‘ok' and they try to do it. They try their hardest to correct it. That is what we need. We don't need any big heads or people thinking they are bigger than the group. I try to be one of the guys. That is my job is to lead by example."

Rolle is enjoying being a leader and is enjoying spring practices.

"I am having a lot of fun out here. This is what I came back for."

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

Canes Time Top Stories