Grant: We still have high expectations

Chavez Grant is one of the captains of the Miami Hurricanes defense. The junior defensive back spoke to the media on a variety of topics. Read on to see what Grant had to say.

The team is heading into another hostile environment this weekend at Texas A&M. Do you think the last game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium helped you prepare for this weekend at Kyle Field?
"Yeah, of course. I think it helped us a lot especially with the young guys. It got those guys some experience in that kind of atmosphere and let them get a feeling of how loud it is an dhow much more important communication is. I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to another big game."

How do you think the defensive backs will bounce back off the tough fourth quarter performance at Florida two weeks ago?
"We're going to bounce back. When you play DB, any time you get beat, everyone is going to see it. A D-lineman gets pancaked and no one is going to see it because it's all in the mix. Being a DB, we always say we're naked out there. We got beat a few times but we made some big plays. We're going to bounce back and we're looking for a better game this week. We're just trying to get better. We're going to make mistakes. We've just got to correct them and move on."

What caused the struggles in that fourth quarter? Was it mental or physical errors?
"It's never physical. I think we're just as physically talented as any team in the country. Sometimes, you just slip up mentally. You get a little tired, a little fatigued. Sometimes you lose focus. Sometimes, when one guy is out of place, you try to make up for it and then you're out of place and things get discombobulated. We watch it on film and the coach it watch it on film. We've just got to correct the mistakes and get better."

Last season, you guys were able to keep Texas A&M in check. What have you seen that's different in their team this year?
"We haven't watched a lot of film on them yet but the coaches have seen a lot of film on them. From what I've seen, we don't see much difference. We're just going out there and we're going to try to beat them like we did last year. They haven't put any fear in our hearts and we don't expect to put fear in their hearts. We're just going to go play hard and try to have the same result as last year."

After the first two games, do you feel like the ACC Championship is within this team's reach?
"Of course we feel like that. We felt like that before the first game. I think it does a lot more for the young guys to come in and see that we can play with a team like Florida. For the first three quarters it was 9-3. They're supposed to have one of the most explosive offenses in the country and I think we held them in check pretty good. I think that builds a lot of confidence for our team and for our coaches. It's just a little reassurance to see that we can play with the number 5 team in the country."

You had a bye week this past weekend. We're you able to watch any other teams in the conference?
"Yeah. Any time you play football, you're going to watch football. It just comes natural. You're going to watch ESPN all day and stuff like that. We see any team play and we feel like we can play with them not just ACC teams. We have seen teams around the conference that are playing we'll but we feel like we're playing well. When that time comes for us to play, it's going to be a great game."

Coach Shannon has emphasized the need to create turnovers. What have you guys been doing to help create turnovers?
"We've been emphasizing that from the get go. We haven't had a turnover yet. We really have to emphasize that to get the offense in a better position to score and just get some momentum going. We really have to focus on that whether it's interceptions or fumbles or whatever. Turnovers on downs are good but we want to make big plays and try to kill the morale of their offense."

Sean Spence has made a big impression in the first two games. What makes him so successful?
"He just has a natural knack for the game. He's smart and he knows the defense. He's kind of undersized but he's always in the right place at the right time. Of course he's going to make mistakes but everyone does. He just has a knack for the game and he ha sa nose for the ball. It's amazing some of the things he does."

What is it about those undersized guys that helps them overcome all the people doubting them?
"I think it's because they play with a little chip on their shoulder. Like for me, people say I'm too slow and too small. My main thing is to go out and prove them wrong. I think Sean has a sense of that. He wants to prove people wrong and show them that it's not all about size. It's about playing a game."

Who is the most physically gifted receiver on this team?
"It could be Leonard (Hankerson) or maybe Sam (Shields) or it could be LaRon Byrd. They all have different things that they tap into when they need to. Sma will tap into his speed and his quickness when he needs to. Kayne Farquharson will tap into his jumping ability. LaRon Byrd will tap into his strength and Leonard will do the same thing."

How competitive is it between the wide receivers?
"Every play they're trying to beat you. It doesn't matter who you go against. Travis Benjamin will try to run past you with his phenomenal speed. Sometimes, Khalil Jones will try to push you down because he's so strong. You can sense that those guys are competing but at the same time, they're talking to each other on the sidelines. They're talking a lot. They're coaching each other up but at the same time they're competing."

Did it surprise you that they struggled to get open against Florida?
"Yeah it surprised me a little bit but I feel like it might have been more Florida's scheme against our offense than our guys' ability to get open. We know they can get open. This week, I've been doing a lot of press on those guys so they can get better coming off the press. I try to get better to make them better so when it comes game time it will be a lot easier for them."

Is there teamwork between the wide receivers and defensive backs when it comes to trying to improve?
"Yeah, of course. With Sam, if you want to work on covering a speedy guy, you cover him. If you want to work on covering a strong guy who runs great routes, you cover LaRon Byrd of Leonard Hankerson. If you want to cover somebody who can jump and catch a fade, you cover Kayne Farquharson. Those guys are so versatile that you can pick any of them and hone your skills."

Do you think there is a true number one receiver on this team?
"No. There's too many of them that can make plays at any time. Travis Benjamin can get the ball and go. Sam can do the same. Kayne and Leonard too. There's just so many of them that can break a big play that we can't just pick one and say this is our go to guy."

What stood out the most for you from last year's game against Texas A&M?
"I think it was just the great energy we came out with. We jumped on them hard at the beginning. The defense did a great job on them and before we knew it, it was like a blow out."

They have two quarterbacks that may play. What do you know about them?
"Jerrod Johnson is more of an athletic quarterback and (Stephen) McGee is more of a pocket passer. He can move around a little bit but we think that Jerrod Johnson is the more mobile guy and McGee is the better passer."

Texas A&M is known for their "12th Man" tradition. How important is it to take the crowd out of the game?
"Yeah, it's like that in any game. You want to take the crowd out and silence them because the offense and the other team feeds off the crowd. We just want to jump on them fast, silence the crowd and kill the morale."

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