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SOTU Mailbag - June 5th

Another installment of the SOTU mailbag addresses your questions about recruiting and more.

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Once and unkown, Canadian DT Neville Gallimore is now the #33 player in this class. Will he be a Cane?
Once and unkown, Canadian DT Neville Gallimore is now the #33 player in this class. Will he be a Cane?

No preamble this time. Let's get right to the questions:

Kinda sorta touched on this question (from Andrew, nonetheless) in the last SOTU Mailbag, but here is where we stand:

A late addition to the Mailbag, but something that bears discussing. DT Kendrick Norton (6'3", 305lbs) from Trinity Catholic in Jacksonville, FL just decommitted from Florida State on Wednesday afternoon.

He is from the same school as top CB recruit Kevin Toliver II and LB Jeffery Holland, another Cane target. Jacksonville is an area of the State that Miami hasn't traditionally or recently recruited very well, but with Norton's talent, the lack of DTs in Florida this year, and the glaring need for Miami to get players at this position, it stands to reason that Miami will make a serious run at Norton.

Q: What are the major position needs for Miami, other than defensive tackle, in 2015? - from Maurice Louis (Email)

Cornerback. We've brought in a lot of players with great talent and even higher potential at all other positions, DT notwithstanding. Just look at the class of 2014 on Defense:

  • Edge Rushers - Jackson, Harris, Thomas, Smith
  • LB - Owens, Young, McCray
  • S - Hester, Gayot
  • CB - Mayes
Easy to see that CB is the position where we need to bring in multiple players in this recruiting class.

Q: With the lack of talent both on the depth chart and in South Florida in general right now any chance of converting any players currently on roster or incoming to DT? - from @Larion (via email)
I don't see anybody converting to DT full time, especially since we're going to a 3-4 base defense which requires a 0 or 1 technique Nose Tackle. I think Chickillo will play inside some on passing downs, with Jelani Hamilton joining him on that duty (if he can get his stuff together to see the field more). Outside of that, I think we're gonna ride with what we've got and continue to try to throw numbers at the problem (bring in multiple players, even if they're not super elite recruits) and hope to hit it big.

Q: So we’re at 12 guys committed right now and camp season is here, by the time fall rolls around who are five more names you feel relatively confident could be a part of this class? - from Dana (email)

Here are my 5:
  1. Jaquan Johnson
  2. Tim Irvin
  3. Jason Strowbridge
  4. Dominic Sheppard
  5. (wildcard who gets offer and commits at a Camp)
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p><a href="">@TheStateOfTheU</a> If Kayaa or Olsen perform well the first couple wks of the season, does that mean Williams sits the season?</p>&mdash; Matt W (@caneseye22) <a href="">June 4, 2014</a></blockquote>
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We're going to play the best player available at this, and every, position. I would like to see us stick with Kaaya/Olsen if they're playing well early. But, if the staff believes Williams, coming back mid-season from his ACL recovery, gives us the best chance to win, then he'll play.

Best man plays. Plain and simple.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p><a href="">@TheStateOfTheU</a> If the defense can&#39;t get it together this season, do you think that it would be tempting to move back to the 4-3 base?</p>&mdash; Matt W (@caneseye22) <a href="">June 4, 2014</a></blockquote>
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This question, loaded as it is, depends on your definition of "can't get it together". Obviously it's relative, but we're basically going to assume you mean something like 500 yards and 40 points allowed...similar performances to the 2nd half of the 2013 season.

There are a couple of reasons that I say we would NOT abandon the 3-4 as base defense, even in the event of the performances you're alluding to:
1. This is the defense Al Golden wants to run. He ran it at Virginia. He ran it at Temple. We're running it now. People want to jump on D'Onofrio (which I agree with TO A POINT), but he's only implementing the paradigm of the head coach.
2. We have so clearly recruited players to fit this base 3-4 scheme. If we go back to a 4-3 or other base defensive scheme (which all other parts of the defense are built upon) then we will be stuck in the middle of a personnel transition (some 4-3 holdovers and some 3-4 newbies, but not a full group for either scheme).

More likely, if things go as hypothesized in this question, you'll see a change at the Defensive Coordinator position. That doesn't mean that we're abandoning the 3-4. Far from it. But, if the struggles are as glaring as they have been these past 2 years (when we admittedly were playing a lot of non-BCS level players 400+ snaps a year), then I believe Golden would finally have to let his good friend D'Onofrio seek employment elsewhere.

That's it for the mailbag. Thanks to everyone who submitted a question.