Getting into a rhythm

Sophomore defensive end Allen Bailey is starting to make a big impact along the defensive front for the Hurricanes -- something this team could really use heading down the stretch.

Expectations were as big for sophomore Allen Bailey coming into this season as any other player on Miami's defense -- despite Bailey having never played the defensive end position. After a strong spring, those expectations got even higher. Unfortunately, they were tampered a bit when he suffered a summer injury that forced him to miss mostly all of fall camp.

After missing the season opener against Charleston Southern and playing a limited role against Florida, Bailey has really started coming on lately and is starting to show flashes of what people expected him to do before the injury. He's coming off a strong performance against UCF, a game in which he registered his first two sacks of the season. Bailey talked about where he's at.

"I feel good," Bailey said. "I'm doing fine. When I first came back, the Florida game felt fine. I was a little sore after the game but it never bothered me during the game. I missed the whole (fall camp). It was a six-week injury and I was never able to get into a rhythm (in the preseason)."

Bailey has 11 tackles in five games this season, four of them taking place behind the line of scrimmage. He's been getting good pressure on the quarterback, going back to the game against Texas A&M game when he pressured the opposing quarterback on four different plays.

Head coach Randy Shannon believes Bailey is starting to turn the corner, as he continues shaking off the rust from earlier in the season.

"He's just starting to get into the flow," Shannon said. "He missed camp. This is about the second game of the season for him because the first part he was just getting in shape. He's still a little rusty as far as learning what we're doing. He missed a lot of time. Sometimes he plays hesitant, but when he's not he goes full speed."

One of the interesting parts about the defense this year is how Bill Young has done a nice job of moving guys around, putting them in position to be successful. Because of that, Bailey has even seen time at defensive tackle lately.

"It's still a new position for him no matter how you call it," Shannon said of Bailey playing along the defensive line. "Sometimes on third down we put him inside at tackle. Sometimes he's at end. So he's kind of learning two things to get accustomed to."

Bailey and the rest of the defensive unit did a nice job of limiting UCF's offense on Saturday. He talked about that.

"We stepped up," Bailey said. "We held the offense to under 100 yards. We just wanted to finish the game. We (the front seven) played good run defense and the secondary did good. We got pressure (on the QB) and got upfield on third downs."

As Bailey continues making progress now that he's nearly completely healthy, the Canes will need him to continue being a difference maker along the defensive front -- something most people expected from Bailey coming into the season.


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