The Hurricanes are a team in need of some leadership to step up and become vocal about a recent run-in with mediocrity following its 33-27 loss to the Tar Heels of North Carolina.
Enter Kenny Phillip. The often soft-spoken defensive playmaker at safety, stepped in to fill that void Sunday during the team's weekly meeting. What followed was a passionate address urging his team mates to step up their games.
"It isn't me to say anything, but I found it necessary," Phillips said.
What Phillips told his team mates was a personal message that this team can't wait to be coached up, but needs to take responsibility for their own actions on the playing field.
"Basically, (I told them) don't worry about making mistakes," Phillips said. "Just go out there and play defense. It isn't really on the coaches and what they are calling, the play calling or the scheme, it is basically us not attacking or hustling. You can't coach that, that's on us."
Phillips has been known as a ‘lead by example' player. Not one who is vocal about his teams struggles. But when he talked to his team, he believed it was needed.
"Not really, they responded well, because they know I am not the type to say anything, so when I say something, they know its coming from the heart and them guys love me just like I love them. We are out there playing for each other."
He also believes the Hurricanes are in need of a vocal leader on the gridiron.
"They need a guy to get them going sometimes to look up to get them motivated, sometimes you need to pick up someone else, and I guess I got to be that guy."
How will Phillips do that?
"I just want to keep doing what I am doing right now, leading by example. Making plays and letting the guys feed off me."
On Tuesday, Randy Shannon addressed the team following practice. And what came from it was an inspiring speech about what it means to be a Miami Hurricane. Phillips was one of the players circling Shannon in the middle of the practice field and agreed with Shannon that ‘it is not acceptable to lose at the University of Miami!'
"He is right," Phillips said. "He has been around here for a long, long time. Losing is something that the University of Miami is not used to, going back to the days of Ed (Reed) and Dan (Morgan), it just isn't acceptable, man. I don't know if it the programs we came from, but we need to learn how to win. It is something we don't know how to do right now."
Phillips believes this is a turning point for this team, and they are improving.
"We are getting better each week. We are growing and everybody is learning how to play with cheddar and earn their chips with cheddar more, so, in the end, we'll all be happy."