Any experienced football coach will tell you, the best friend of any young QB is a good, reliable tight end.
6'4 258 pound Clive Walford has been quite the security blanket this season for freshman QB Brad Kaaya.
Walford may still drop a pass here or there, but for the most part he is hauling in the routine, and the spectacular in 2014.
Does it get any prettier than the snag below?
This weekend against North Carolina, he had a career best 89 yards on 6 catches along with two scores, including that pretty catch above.
Walford is the first Miami tight end to record two touchdowns in the same game since Greg Olsen did so against Temple on Oct. 15, 2005.
For the season the senior from Belle Glade, Fl has a team leading 29 catches for 395 yards, and is tied with Phillip Dorsett for the most TD receptions on the 'Canes, with 6.
Named to the preseason Mackey Award watch list, Walford is on pace for his best season in each of category.
In addition he has also improved dramatically in his blocking and running after the catch.
"You can see it on the film, he's finishing blocks very well," observed Miami Head Coach Al Golden.
"I think him and Stan (Dobard) and (Walter) Tucker have been very unselfish in this stretch of running the ball. And the other area where Clive is really showing success is with his run after catch. He's making people miss and as a big guy if he can continue to add that element, he can go to another level."
In the video below, take a look at how Walford sets the edge for Duke Johnson's 90 yard TD run, by completely turning #15 on UNC and holding his block until Johnson gets to the second level.
Walford's blocking might not show up in the box score, but it is one of many big reasons why UM is so improved over the last two games.
If Miami is to defeat Florida State in two weeks they will need another complete game from their talented tight end.
Additional notes from this morning's call
- Coach Golden could not provide any additional insight into the status of injured LT Ereck Flowers. He seemed more optimistic about reserve OL Alex Gall, saying he hoped he'd be back for FSU. No update yet on RB Gus Edwards either, who left Saturday's contest in the first half with what looked like an ankle injury.
- The most common phrase AG used to describe his improved defense was "unselfish" noting that they did a great job in particular of "setting the edge" and in "gap integrity" against UNC's dangerous offense this past weekend.
- Golden also singled out Jon Feliciano and Shane McDermott on the their play saying both were "playing the best football of their careers." He also noted that Danny Isidora is improving, Nick Linder "was no longer a freshman," and that Trevor Darling showed "great technique" in his first start.