4/1 Scrimmage Report: Defense

CORAL GABLES -- In the first open practice to the public, which was open to season-ticker holders, the fans may have gotten a taste of what the University of Miami will be bringing to the table when the 2006 season begins in September.

The team scrimmaged in the second part of the practice after conducting drills earlier in the practice. As usual, the defense dominated the scrimmage, something that is historically commonplace, but with a new offensive coordinator, was even more expected.

The defense definitely seemed to know where many of the plays were going by their read and react time to each snap, but there were a few players that definitely made the most of their opportunity while out on the field.

While starting safety Brandon Meriweather missed the practice and will be out for the remainder of the spring after undergoing shoulder surgery, a number of defensive backs got the opportunity to showcase. That was also the case at linebacker with Willie Williams out with the flu.

A couple of back ups definitely made the most of their time including redshirt freshman Daryl Sharpton who coach Larry Coker had a great deal of praise for and sophomore cornerback Carlos Armour who had two interceptions on the day.

Sharpton, in particular, seemed to be in the backfield a lot making big plays taking down running backs. His aggressive style of play is something the ‘Canes sorely need at middle linebacker. He clearly showed a nose for the ball during the scrimmage.

"Daryl Sharpton has the chance to be outstanding," Coker said. "He's a redshirt freshman. He's an attacking football player."

Armour was also quite impressive on the edges.

At 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Armour has great size and strength together with some great speed, but confidence in his knee will more than likely be the thing that he has to develop again after coming off of ACL surgery on his right knee last year.

Saturday's scrimmage was truly the most people he's played in front of since he's been at Miami and he made the most of it.

He had a nice interception on a slant pass midway through the scrimmage and during red zone drills, he intercepted Kyle Wright's fade pass attempt to Darnell Jenkins in the end zone.

Making a good read on the ball, he attacked the ball rather than waiting for it to come to him.

"Carlos had a couple of nice plays," Coker said. "Losing two corners we need to find what we have at corner."

Said Armour, "It started off a little rusty for me, but I kind of redeemed myself towards the end. Overall, I think I graded out. Coach was telling me what routes to watch and expect. I just played to my techniques and they were there for me. Great catch for me."

Also grabbing praise from Coker was junior linebacker Jon Beason who Coker has in the past said was one of Miami's best defensive player last season.

Beason was constantly in the mix and made some real nice hits. He made a crunching stop of running back Andrew Johnson early in the scrimmage.

He also read a bootleg attempt by Kirby Freeman real well. Not being able to hit the quarterbacks, he didn't lay Freeman out, but had that been an opposing quarterback, there's not doubt Beason would have split him open.

"What can you say about Jon Beason," Coker said. "He's a beast. He's all over the field making plays."

Armour also talked about the competition everyday in the defensive backfield, an area that will be wide open with Kelly Jennings and Marcus Maxey's graduation.

"The competition is good," Armour said. "It's always competitive everyday out here. You come and look for opportunities to improve and get better. You have to stay humble and stay hungry. Nothing is guaranteed. You have to stay focused, grind and compete every day."

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at rudy@canestime.com

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