Sharpton stepping up

Darryl Sharpton was being counted upon as being one of the leaders of the Miami defense heading into the season and that role has been made even more important with the loss of junior Colin McCarthy. Sharpton is living up to it and having a good season for the Canes under second year linebackers coach Micheal Barrow.

When Colin McCarthy was lost for the season with a shoulder injury prior to the Florida State game, the defense looked to upperclassmen like Glenn Cook and Darryl Sharpton to provide a spark. Sure, true freshman Sean Spence is filling in quite nicely in McCarthy's absence but having guys like Sharpton and Cook around who know the defense so well has been a big plus. Sharpton has registered 15 tackles and one sack over the last two games and he and the rest of the defensive unit are coming off a strong performance against UCF on Saturday.

"It feels good to win," Sharpton said. "After getting two losses, this one feels great to get the bitter taste out of our mouths. Now we just gotta get back to the film, get with the coaches, and work on the scheme."

The Hurricanes went into the Florida State game two weeks ago with the nation's 7th best run defense. Then the Noles gashed that same defense for over 250 yards on the ground. Then, Sharpton and the rest of the defense came back and completely shut down UCF's running game on Saturday.

"Coach Young really helped us stop the run," he said. "We're still trying to polish that off."

One of the reasons for the improved run defense is that the Canes defended the QB run much better against UCF than they did against Christian Ponder and FSU the week before. Sharpton credits that to using a spy on the UCF signal-callers.

"We had the right call on the spy but still allowed some big runs this week as well," he said. "But the defense did great. We were struggling big time on third down and turned it around this week. We stopped them pretty much the whole game and the defense held up."

After opposing tight ends were having some success through the air early in the season, Sharpton and the UM defense have some a very nice job defending them. The tight ends at FSU and UCF have combined for just one catch for 10 yards. Sharpton, who now has 32 total tackles on the season, is a big part of that as he continues to improve his pass coverage skills.

After playing three straight home games in front of the locals, Sharpton believes the team will have no probelm getting motivated to go on the road against Duke this Saturday.

"I was just thinking about that," he said. "It's gonna be a change of pace. We get to put back on our business suits and ties and get back on the road."

Hopefully for Miami, Sharpton and the rest of the Miami defense will continue playing well in the coming weeks as the ACC schedule begins to heat up.


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