CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The fifth day of #CanesCamp meant the first day in full pads for the Miami Hurricanes football team.
Head Coach Al Golden:
Who are some of the guys that stood out, either with their intensity or plays that they’ve made?
"We’re getting really good leadership. It’s a lot of the veterans right now. I think Deon Bush is [one of them]. Guys are drilling down on what they need to improve on and Deon’s a great example of that. He’s much more vocal, much more demonstrative. He has got really good command right now, so I’m really happy for him and the changes that he’s made. [Raphael] Kirby was really locked in yesterday and today, and he’s doing a really good job of leading. Tracy [Howard] has had a good mindset. On the offensive side, Brad [Kaaya]’s been doing really well with his command at the line of scrimmage. There’s others, but they have a good approach right now and everybody’s trying to fix a defect."
How does Joe Yearby complement Gus Edwards?
"I think that all four of [our running backs] are in the rotation. So, let’s say we get eight outside zones during the day, or inside zones, whatever it is, we’re trying to get each of them two. Irrespective of what line is in there, or what quarterback is in there, we’re just trying to make sure they get to see all of the different plays. Those guys are interchangeable right now and I think [Trayone Gray] is showing his maturity, his conditioning. He’s running harder and better. Mark [Walton] is really learning it, so I think from that standpoint we’re just going to let it run and see what happens in the next 12 days or so."
Talk about Dallas’ commitment on and off the field?
"I think that he’s the epitome of what we’re trying to help young people do. He’s in grad school, he’s got a degree, he’s part of the leadership council here at our school, he’s a leader on our team, he’s building a great resume and adding great experiences to that, and he’ll be equipped for whatever’s next. But right now, his focus is on doing everything that he needs to do every day to make sure that his teammates are doing what they need to do, and just being a leader. He’s very, very mature and having that in the locker room is refreshing."
Punter Justin Vogel
What have you done to strengthen your leg and have you had more success kicking it through the end zone?
"A lot of it for me, because I’m mostly a punter, is working on good contact and good form. I’m not sure exactly what [Michael] Badgley said, but I know that he has also gotten stronger and better with his kickoffs as well. But for me, it is just about getting good contact and really focusing on the point, because I already have a strong leg, I just got to utilize it all the way."
How much does it mean to you that you got scholarship and do you feel more a member of the team?
"I don’t feel more a member of the team, but it’s definitely a dream come true. I mean, it’s something that I’ve pushed for since coming out of high school – I’ve fought for it- and just playing last year was just amazing in itself, but then finally for Coach to say that he thinks I deserve a scholarship for it is even better. It’s like icing on the cake for a good season. Me and Badgley were both first-years last year and now we both have a season under our belts, and I think that we’ll do very well."
How has your friendship with Michael Badgley blossomed?
"We spend a lot of time together. Even when there are other meetings, we’re always hanging out together, working every day. Every practice we’re with each other. So, we’re definitely good friends. We get along well. There are no problems with any of the specialists in our group."
Offensive Lineman Hunter Wells
What’s the biggest thing that you want to see the line improve on during this camp?
"We need to run the ball. That’s what Miami Hurricanes football is all about. We’ve always been able to run the ball. We’ve been doing it [well] so far, but we really got to pick up our game and we got to punish the defenses."
Are any of the young guys sticking out so far?
"Tyree St. Louis and Tyler Gauthier. Gauthier’s a strong kid, and once he works on his fundamentals, he’s going to be unstoppable. Tyree St. Louis is just unnatural talent. He’s just great."
Cornerback Artie Burns
What do you have to do to take that next step?
"Study film, work on our technique day in and day out, and just keep on improving. We don’t take any days off."
On the team’s desire to win the ACC Championship
"Since The U came into the ACC, we haven’t won a championship. So, we want to be the first team around here to do that – put the U right back on the map. So, that would be a big accomplishment for us this year."
On what Rashawn Scott brings to the offense
"He’s explosive. He’s a big body. You don’t see a receiver every day that’s 210 [pounds] and 6’1". So, when I’m covering him, that gives me a good picture against any receiver."
Running Back Trayone Gray
What do you see so far out of Joe Yearby?
"He’s running more aggressively. He’s always been aggressive but he’s put on a little more weight. He’s running harder, picking up more blocks – he’s the same old Joe Yearby, just a little bit more weight."
How comfortable do you feel catching passes out of the backfield?
"I feel very comfortable. I played receiver in high school, so my hands are pretty good. Coming out of the backfield, I feel very comfortable."
Do you think that the four of you can make up for Duke Johnson’s loss?
"Yeah, we can make it. We’re a good group. We got a great running back group, great coaches. Coach Ice is doing a great job with us, Coach Coley doing good scheming, O-Line is blocking. We can take it up -- all four of us. We’re going to miss Duke, but we got to keep grinding, keep pushing forward."
Defensive Back Corn Elder
Does Lawrence Cager look like a guy who can make an immediate impact as a freshman?
"Oh, definitely. He’s made some great catches out there. He’s a big receiver, like you said, 6’5". He goes up to get the ball, he’s very athletic, and he’s doing very well."
Now that you are a veteran group, is there more cohesion especially when coverages break down?
"Oh yeah, definitely. We all know the defense pretty well. We’re all out there having fun. When someone messes up, we hold each other accountable and we know how to fix the changes. Back then, we’d mess up and we didn’t know what we did wrong but now, [if] we mess up, we’re not afraid to take the blame and correct it."
What’s Deon like playing corner in the nickel packages?
"He’s a safety that can play corner. He’s fast and he’s got good hips."
Running Back Joe Yearby
How vocal are you on the field and how does that help?
"If something isn’t going right, I’ll speak up and I’ll talk about it. [The team] needs a team leader, offensively, so I just try to step up and do what I got to do."
How is Gus Edwards’ style different from yours?
"We’re similar. He’s a lot bigger, but we both got the same cuts, same speed, so there isn’t too much of a difference."
Offensive Lineman Alex Gall
How is the line in general coming along? Which young kids might help out?
"The guy that I see coming along the most as a freshman is Tyree [St. Louis]. Tyree is a big kid, he’s so strong, and I think that he’s going to be the guy that’s going to push for the most reps as a freshman. He’s working in there with the first team, and he’s really learning and coming along quick. He’s just trying to learn. I know we’ve got three really solid tackles right now, so it’s going to be hard for him to push in there, but if there’s anybody that’s going to do it, it’s going to be him."
How are you physically now compared to last year?
"I’m good. Last year was a down year for me. It was hard being hurt all year, coming in and out with a back injury, but getting out of that, just being fresh and coming back loose, it’s great."
What makes Nick Linder so good at Center?
"He played center in high school for four years and he really understands the position. Not a lot of guys that come into college have played center. They’ve played other positions, because they’re the biggest guy on their line… but him being able to play that, and then him learning from his brother, and the guys we had last year, was really helpful. Coming from behind Shane [McDermott], and learning next to Shane at guard, and then moving into that center spot - he’s had a lot of knowledge and he knows the position really well."
On Jerome Washington
"Jerome is nice. He’s very versatile. He can catch. He can do whatever you need him to do."
Have you noticed the difference in terms of symmetry, the way you guys are having less breakdowns on coverage, and know the defense better?
"We all know everything now. We know the playbook like the back of our head. Any check we’ll make it like that *snaps fingers*. That’s why Coach is very happy with us. He knows that we grew up, we’re more mature."
What would you attribute the defense cutting down on giving up big plays from two years ago to last season to?
"Knowing the playbook. Probably football IQ, knowing what the offense is going to do before they do it, and Coach D making good calls – putting us in the right position."