Up and coming sophomore Teraz McCray was explosive on the practice fields yesterday at the left defensive tackle spot. McCray seemed to be in the backfield on every run play during drills, something the coaches at Miami love about him.
McCray, a steadily improving defensive tackle, saw action in 11 games last year as a backup. Despite not starting, McCray recorded 18 tackles (four solo), five tackles for loss, four quarterback pressures, and two and half sacks. Not bad for a red shirt freshman.
This year he is competing for playing time with senior Orien Harris, and juniors Baraka Atkins and Kareem Brown. McCray, who will be a sophomore, is ready for the 2005 season and has set a goal for himself.
"I'm going to take my game to another level," McCray said.
With a shoulder injury to senior Orien Harris, McCray has been seeing increased time at the number one left defensive tackle spot. Even with Harris out, McCray doesn't see the tackle spot being taken by anyone anytime soon.
"I don't feel like it's an open tryout because certainly the coaches know what Orien can do," he said. "He's a three-year starter so there's no reason to think it's anyone's."
Despite not dressing in pads, Harris has been very active on the field, encouraging teammates and making sure no one is missing any assignments.
"We're sad for Orien, but he'll take care of himself quick," McCray said. "He's out there everyday encouraging us, telling us to get up and keep going."
As for himself, McCray is trying to get back in game form and concentrating on each practice to help improve on his goal.
"I want to make more plays," he said. "I want to show the coaches I can make the big plays."
McCray, whose 6-foot-0, 286-pound frame is slightly smaller than most, says he wants to get his weight to around 290-295 so that he can keep his speed and agility.
His stout frame along with good footwork provide excellent explosiveness along the line. Coaches also remark on his strong hands, which allow him to get into the backfield on running plays and drag ball carriers down.
"I'm just looking to improve overall," McCray said after practice. "I know the playbook and that stuff, I'm just working on becoming a better player."
McCray is one of four Hurricanes who graduated from Pompano Beach Ely in 2003. Running back Tyrone Moss and offensive linemen Cyrim Wimbs and Andrew Bain are the other three.
Bain believes McCray is having the best spring out of all of them.
"Teraz is doing real good," Bain said. "He is playing better than all of us right now. He is playing with a lot of fire and coming off the ball well. People can talk about his size if they want to, but he is making plays."
McCray Wants to Make More Plays
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