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Thurston Armbrister Turning Heads and Providing Leadership at LB for Miami Hurricanes Football

Miami's defense getting better and better, in no small part because of the play of #34.

Joel Auerbach

If you have caught any of the 'Canes first two contests, you've likely noticed #34 running around making HUGE plays all over the field for the Hurricanes.

The guy with the mogul sounding name, Thurston Armbrister, has been nothing short of potentate for UM's much improved defense.

Last season as a part time starter, Ambrister registered 33 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks.

This season he already has 3 sacks.

Ambrister came to UM as an undersized 190 pound LB who looked like he might be converted to S. But now he checks in as one of the bigger players at on the unit at 242 pounds, and also one of the faster players on the group checking in with a 4.6 40.

"I think he’s really learning to play the game now. He’s playing with leverage. He’s strong, so he’s able to play the point of attack. He’s in better condition, so he’s playing harder longer. He’s playing with really good burst and energy, and he’s making plays because of it. Strip-sack, sack, both of them were chase plays for him. I don’t know if he would have made that play a year ago. I think with this strength and this size, with the conditioning that he has and the sacrifices he made all summer, he’s doing that." - Miami Head Coach Al Golden on Thurston Armbrister

Armbrister has given ALL-ACC MLB Denzel Perryman a run for his money as the biggest impact player in a group that desperately needed another play maker.

The defense is more confident and together as a result.  The senior from Hollywood said the players notice the difference.

"We feel it.  We feel it as a unit. We get together and talk about it, that cohesiveness we have."

Added Golden,

"We thought if Thurston can improve as he has.... from his size, strength mental toughness....and he's playing as pass rusher now as well, that we would improve.  He's one of the big reasons why we are playing better (defensively)."

Additionally he has taken on a role of leadership and mentored young players.  Freshman OLB Darrion Owens recently praised Armbrister for his development.

"He really helped me catch on to the defense. He is my mentor."

Owens added,

"I have caught on fast because if I messed he is right on me.  He has come to my room at times and go over signals. He's really helped me get to where I am at."

Armbrister gave some insight into his motivation to teach as well,

"I just have to give it back. When I got here the older guys did it for me. Mike James and Jojo Nicolas, they gave it (the knowledge) to me. It's only right that I pass it along."

With Armbrister playing so well, and helping bring along young players, Miami fans have to hope that the days of porous defense that haunted them the past two seasons are now permanently a thing of the past.