Confident and Healthy

Bryan Pata was one of seven true freshmen last season to see action and was one of only two freshmen defensive players to play. He battled through a number of injuries including an ankle injury that bothered him nearly all season. Now in his sophomore season he is completely healthy and confident in his abilities.

Bryan Pata, a defensive end from Miami Central, admitted it was tough staying confident last year after dealing with the injuries.

"I feel real good right now because last year I was going through it all," Pata said. "At times I was doubting myself coming into this season wondering if I was going to get hurt again. We are in fifth game right now and I haven't had any injuries. I feel real confident about myself right now."

Pata has seen his playing time increase week-to-week including last week against Georgia Tech. His playing time has been increasing because of his comfort level and his performance on the practice field.

"I feel more comfortable out there," Pata said. "It is different this year than last year. Right now I am running through each things in practice. As games go by I learn new things."

The defensive line has caused their opponents fits all season. They have been productive in stopping the run and providing a steady pass rush. Although they are putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback, their sack totals are not where they would like. Pata is taking advantage of the time he is on the field.

"There have been a lot of game plans switching around," Pata said. "Right now I am mainly in there on pass rushing downs. I feel I am handle the run well so I have to concentrate on getting more reps. We all can play the run and we all can play the pass. Whoever gets tired we just have to rotate in for them."

One reason why the defensive line has been so successful is how well they push each other. They are also quick to help one another and get along very well.

"We are real close," Pata said. "We are like brothers. If we make a mistake, we correct each other each day whether it is practice or game time. We are just one. It doesn't matter who is first or second team. We aren't complaining about reps. We just go out there and make plays."

Defensive line coach Greg Mark pushes the guys to get the most out of them. Last spring the line performed very well, but Mark was quick to point out they still need to improve. Pata enjoys Mark's coaching style and knows it is best for the team.

"He is a guy that screams and yells at us to get us going, but it is not a way that is disrespectful," Pata said. "He does it to make us better each day. He reminds us the small things we need to do like getting off of blocks. We compete each day."

The third-ranked Hurricanes host 17th-ranked Louisville on Thursday, October 14 at the Orange Bowl in front of a national television audience on ESPN.

"To me they have a basic offense," Pata said. "When we watch film the offensive line concentrates on one-on-one blocks. They don't do a lot of double-teams and combo blocks. They run a lot of leads, tosses, and power-O's—it is just a basic offense. It is not a confusing offense that will confuse our defense and cause us to be lost."

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

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