DL Coach Greg Mark Q&A

Defensive line coach Greg Mark enters his 10th season at Miami. Orien Harris, Baraka Atkins, Bryan Pata, and Thomas Carroll return to lead this unit up front.

How has the defense looked thus far?

We have done some good things, but we just have to keep pushing. We still have a lot of techniques to learn, how to practice, the tempo we need to get into--there is still a lot of work to be done.

What are your thoughts the defensive line's performance in the first week?

We are in the same boat--we have done some good things early. Overall, we still have a lot of work to do. We have to keep everyone healthy to get that work done.

Are quarterback hurries as important as sacks?

Without a doubt. Hitting the quarterback or making him throw off his back foot cause turnovers. Throughout a game it can take a toll on the quarterback. That is our goal, sacks will come. Obviously we love sacks and they are valued, but for the most part we are trying to harass the quarterback.

Orien Harris is one of the leaders on the team, what does he mean to this group of guys?

Orien has been here five years and knows the system. He is a tremendous athlete and player. He has a great heart and is competitive. I think he sums up what this defense is going to be about. He has all-out passion and is one of the characters on this team. He is the kind of guy that everyone would want as a teammate.

What are your thoughts on his season last year?

I think expectations might have been a little high from everybody. There are some things he could improve upon, but that does not mean he struggled. I think it was a learning experience for him and I think he will take that experience last year and put it to good use.

Bryan Pata appears poised for a breakout season in 2005, what are your thoughts on Pata's expected contributions?

I hope so. I think he has put himself in the position for a good year starting with the Peach Bowl. I think he has been a productive player for us, but I think he is ready to be a dominant player. But we'll see.

How valuable is Baraka Atkins to the line with his versatility?

He is another guy that you love to have on your team because he will do whatever you ask him to do. We put him in a position to play tackle and he took it head-on. He didn't say anything about it and has a lot of respect for the team. From that standpoint he is valuable to us.

How are the freshmen tackles doing thus far--Joe Joseph, Antonio Dixon, and Luqman Abdallah?

They look like freshmen. They are still spinning a little bit and still learning the defense. It is a little foreign to them as far as the tempo of our practices. Every step they take, they are learning something. That is why freshmen come in and aren't as efficient or taking over starting roles from veterans until they get the chance to learn.

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

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