John Palermo Brings Experience to D-Line

Earlier this month, Larry Coker added two coaches to his staff to coach the defensive line. John Palermo (from Wisconsin) and Clint Hurtt (from FIU). Palermo has spent the last 15 years at Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez, who retired this past season, and brings plenty of experience to the staff.

Can you walk us through the process of being the defensive line coach at Miami?

"I was very fortunate to have interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then the next day on my way home, Coach Coker called me. We visted and he asked when I could come down to see him. I told him I would be there the next day. I came down to Miami and accepted the job. I withdrew from the Tampa Bay job and in all honesty I don't know whether or not I even had a shot at the Tampa Bay job. I am a college football coach and this really excited me."

What are fans going to see from the defensive line with you as the coach?

"There have been some pretty good defensive lines here and some pretty good football players. The one thing I was very fortunate to do when I was a younger coach was coach under Lou Holtz and learn the fundamentals. So I think you will see a fundamentally sound defensive line and a pretty physical line. And very hopeful the line will play hard every time the ball is snapped."

Your defensive linemen in recent years at Wisconsin were very successful individually at recording sacks, which has been a bit of downfall of the line at Miami as of late. Are sacks something that you stress?

"I don't preach sacks, sacks, sacks. I preach good pass rush lanes, good fundamentals, and the sacks will come. A hurry or any kind of disruption such as getting a hand up in the quarterback's face is just as valuable to you defensively as a sack. I think sometimes people put so much emphasis on sacking the quarterback that they don't get what they want. We just try to approach it by playing good, sound, fundamental football and things will eventually happen. It all ties together--the reason our ends record sacks is because our tackles have a good vertical push and push the quarterback out to the ends. So it is not just one person, it is a group and a unit working together."

How much do you know about the player personnel here at Miami?

"I know very little. I did have a chance to meet quite a bit of the players. I have looked at very little film as I was trying to get squared away on the hiring process here. Listening to coach Shannon, coach Walton, and coach Hurtt, there is some good, young talent here. There are some older players that obviously need to step it up. That is going to be Clint and I's responsibility to get the older guys to play their best football and get the younger guys to understand how important it is to work together as a unit and not just as individuals."

Randy Shannon has had one of the top defenses in the country since he has been the defensive coordinator at Miami. How much did you know of his work while at Wisconsin and had you met him before?

"I did not know Randy personally before I came here. I have always had a great deal of respect with how Miami has played defense. He has done an outstanding job and is a great communicator with the players. I think it all starts with that. He knows what he wants to do and knows how to do it. It is my job to fall in line with what he wants to accomplish. I told him the other day, 'you tell me what you want and that is what you are going to get'."

Christopher Stock is a Senior Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

Canes Time Top Stories