Bryant's Passion is on Defense

James Bryant enters his third season as a Hurricane after playing in 23 games--the most by anyone in the 2004 signing class.

"I think I made a sacrifice with my family by coming down here and they really couldn't come here to watch my games. I wasn't around my family and I am very family oriented. So I think I made a sacrifice by coming down here to play on this defense. Last year I got away from what I really came down here to do by going to the offensive side of the ball and helping out the team. Now I am back where I came down here for." --James Bryant on making the switch back to linebacker, April 5, 2006

The Hurricanes practiced yesterday before taking the day off today.

"I think we came out a bit lackadaisical on defense and offense too. When you come out lazy you do stupid stuff," Bryant said. "But then we got after it and that is the best part of spring practice. When I came down here on my visit during the spring one of the things I liked was watching guys get after it."

Bryant didn't get as many reps as he normally gets, but he "has to move on and look forward to Friday's practice".

This spring Bryant (6-3/240) switched positions from fullback back to linebacer as he prepares for his third season at Miami.

"The first time I got pads on I had to get my first headache and then after that I have been rolling," James said.

On the last scrimmage, April 1, Bryant said he had 12 tackles, four for a loss, and one sack while playing in 25 plays.

The production he displayed was one of the best ratios on the team.

"I wasn't surprised with the way I played, but I was very pleased with my performance," Bryant said. "My ratio was 2 to 1 so if I'm not making a play on this play, I'm making it the next play."

Bryant played linebacker for the Canes in 2004, but was moved to fullback for the 2005 season. Now he is headed back to linebacker and has adjusted very well.

"I don't think it was a hard adjustment at all," Bryant said. "I am doing what I have been doing my whole life. It is like riding a bike and you can't forget it."

Currently Bryant is the third-team middle linebacker behind Glenn Cook and Darryl Sharpton. Being in the middle is something he enjoys.

"I like being able to have some sort of control by being able to go sideline to sideline," said Bryant. "When you get stuck on the outside you have to work that much harder to make plays based on the offensive scheme, which isn't hard for me, but I like being in the middle."

The coaches have gave Bryant positive feedback with his performances this spring.

"They say I am doing better every day, but there are still some things I need to work on. If I make my corrections then it will be going the way I want it to."

Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon is now the linebackers coach at Miami, which excites Bryant.

"He brings intensity," Bryant said. "I see him as what I might be in the future as a defensive guru and somebody with a lot of energy who knows the game really well. He is someone that is going to bring pressure on the offense every time you step out on the field."

Bryant's goal for the remainder of the off-season and heading into the fall is to start in the season opener against Florida State on September 4.

"When we step on the field against Florida State I want to be the main guy," Bryant said.

The Canes return to the practice field tomorrow for their 10th practice of the spring, which concludes on April 15.

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


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