Happy to Contribute

Buck Ortega arrived in 2001 as a quarterback from Gulliver Academy after leading his team to the Florida Class 2A state championship. Last season Ortega was one of the top players on special teams — something he thoroughly enjoys.

Buck Ortega is one of those guys that just loves to play the game of football. In his career at Miami he has played quarterback, linebacker, tight end, and h-back. However, most of his playing time is accounted for on special teams.

"I am just happy to be out there and contribute in any way possible," says Ortega.

This year Ortega, a tight end, is excited about the special teams units with Devin Hester and Darnell Jenkins returning kicks while Roscoe Parrish, Antrel Rolle, and Hester share the punt returning duties.

"I think we are going to be great this year on special teams," Ortega said. "We didn't get many opportunities to return kicks against Florida State. I think we are going to be great and we have showed a lot of speed."

That was evident in the Louisiana Tech game as Hester returned two punts for touchdowns to help Miami to a 48-0 blowout win.

Ortega also raves about the defense the ‘Canes have played early on this season. In the first two games of the season, Miami has been suffocating on defense, allowing less than 200 total yards in each contest.

"They are very explosive," Ortega said. "They are incredible. "The defense is so tough and very comfortable out there. In overtime (against FSU) it was a done deal. We knew we were going to move the ball with our offense too."

Ortega has not recorded a reception this season, but his tight end peers Kevin Everett and Greg Olsen have combined for 10 catches and 148 yards. The unit has had a superb off-season making a lot of progress.

"We see it every day at practice," Ortega said. "Everyone is encouraging out there. We are great friends off the field. We are real close."

Although Ortega does not have a reception yet, he is looking forward to his opportunity to produce. He is ready to step up and make a play when called upon and is ready for the challenge.

"You don't get excited out there and think ‘are they going to throw me the ball?'" Ortega said. "I look at it like I hope they do throw me the ball."

New tight ends coach Mario Cristobal has established a good relationship with the players especially the tight ends unit.

"He is a great coach," Ortega said. "He is very technical and helps us with everything. He is excited as can be at practice and watching films. He is just an up-beat guy and you can talk to him about anything. He thinks not only about football, but asks about how things are going personally."

Canes Time Top Stories