Meriweather Comments on Defense

Safety Brandon Meriweather is once again expected to be a big contributor in 2005. He has always been known for possessing good ball skills, but this spring he is working on improving a different area of his game.

Brandon Meriweather, a junior safety, has participated sporadically in spring practices due to some health concerns, but was on the field for most of last week getting ready for the season.

"I'm a little tired right now," he said. "I'd probably put myself around 85%."

The Hurricanes were in pads last week, running at full speed and dishing out some hits on one another. Meriweather was glad to be in pads because it gave him the opportunity to start working on his fundamentals as far as tackling.

"That's my main goal for spring, better tackling," he said.

While Meriweather has his goals set, he has made plenty of tackles in his career as a Hurricane. In three seasons, he's played in 27 games and racked up 86 tackles with three interceptions.

Last year, Meriweather started most of Miami's games at the free safety position, however Meriweather is agile enough to bounce around to dime back and sometimes even nickel back. At 6-foot-1, 184 pounds, Meriweather plays all over the field due in large part to his tremendous closing speed. All of the aforementioned don't matter so much, however, to Meriweather.

"I want to get better as a team, as a unit," he said. "Offensively, defensively, special teams, the total package."

Meriweather has already seen some signs as far as overall team improvement early in the spring, mostly due, in large part, to the player's attitudes.

"We've got more people more dedicated," he said. "We got more people working a little harder, getting in their playbook more, people want to be here."

"Last year, we had people wanting to be here, but that was basically the seniors," Meriweather said. "Nobody wants to lose, but people had too much self-respect and wanted things to come to them, but now people are working for it."

In the secondary, Meriweather said the key to improvement was communication. The coaches have been stressing it every day and Meriweather feels that Miami's defensive backs will be fine, despite the loss of Antrel Rolle, as long as the communicate. They certainly have had their hands full this spring with receivers Ryan Moore and Lance Legget having great spring practices. Something Meriweather is actually happy with, despite popular belief.

"You go up against the best, you expect the best results," he said.

Meriweather has been improving by running some more sprints, doing some more push-ups, and studying his playbook a little more.

"Nothing too major as far as that's concerned. Physically, I'd like to be around 195 and run around a 4.3 [40-yrd dash]," he said.

Meriweather shows nothing but upside for the 2005 season. He ended the year with a brilliant performance in the Peach Bowl with seven tackles--three solo.

During the 2004 season, Meriweather recorded his first two tackles for loss, his first sack, and snagged two interceptions (up from one his freshman year). If he puts on a couple more pounds, look for Meriweather to be a hard hitter and a catalyst for the slightly younger Miami secondary.

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