Calais Campbell is one of five defensive ends who are expected to contribut this season. Thomas Carroll, Bryan Pata, Eric Moncur, and Javon Nanton are the other five.
The defensive line also features tackles Orien Harris, Baraka Atkins, and Kareem Brown.
"We are real deep along the defensive line," Campbell said. "We have a lot of players that could play for us this year. If an injury were to happen we would have players ready to step up. Coach Mark has been stressing to us to work on our technique."
The defense returns 14 of the 15 tacklers from a year ago. They are used to playing together and they look forward to improving on their 17.0 points allowed per game (13th in the nation).
"Everyone is playing well together as a team," Campbell said. "When someone messes up, there is someone else there to help out. We have bonded real well and we know what each other is doing. Our coaches want us to know the whole concept of the defense so you know where everyone is supposed to be at."
Campbell arrived on campus at 230 pounds and now he is up to 260 pounds. The added 30 pounds is very noticeable on the Denver, Colo. native.
"Coach Swasey is a terrific coach and I just worked out with him and my strength improved," Campbell said. "His philosophy is to put on weight, but remain the same speed or get faster. I just did what he wanted me to do and I ate a lot."
Campbell has played both left and right ends since he has been with the team. Currently he is the second-team left end behind Bryan Pata. Campbell played left end in high school and feels more comfortable there.
Last year Campbell redshirted and spent the time on the scout team improving his strength and his ability to stop the run.
"Over the year I have improved on my run-stopping ability," Campbell said. "Last year I was just known as a pass rusher. My goal was to improve against the run so the coaches would be more comfortable about putting me in the game. I worked a lot on my footwork and technique to prepare for the run."
At first glance, you would assume Campbell is on the basketball team because of his frame. While he would be an ideal power forward, he prefers football.
In fact Campbell holds the Colorado state record with 57 sacks in his career (he had 19 his senior year). He also averaged 22.7 points and 16.0 rebounds per game during his junior season on the basketball court.
His basketball skills have helped him on the football field especially with the timing of getting his hands up to knock down a pass--something he does on a consistent basis in practice.
Practice resumes today at 7:30 p.m. with a closed practice in the Orange Bowl.
"I am excited to start the season," Campbell said. "I just have to show the coaches I am ready to play especially because a lot of people think I am undersized. I want to show everyone that I can play."
Miami's first game is at Florida State on September 5.
"I know Florida State has a real good team up there. I am just excited and ready to play."
Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at email@example.com
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