1) Offensive Line
- The biggest question coming into this season remains the same: "How will the offensive line hold up?" Yesterday, redshirt freshman Joe Brown spoke about how talented this unit is, but that work is still yet to be done. Today, Danny Isidora got a chance to speak. Isidora is the most experienced player on this line in terms of playing time, and he seems excited as to how versatile the line is.
"Coach Golden has a really good plan," said Isidora. "He just wants to rotate us and get us as versatile as possible. Alex Gall is pretty versatile, Hunter Knighton, me, Joe Brown. Versatility for us is just playing different positions, because with different positions come different assignments, and if you can play different positions then that's great for all of us."
Isidora does say there is need for improvement, especially in communication with the running backs so they can become "real solid." Other spots of improvement include footwork at the goal line and backed up.
2) Trayone Gray talks depth
- Sophomore Trayone Gray says he's been working extra time with Joseph Yearby, Gus Edwards and Mark Walton.
"We'll go out to the park on Sundays, Mondays, whenever we don't have practice to work on footwork." said Gray.
- With Duke Johnson simply carrying most of the load last year, Miami now has four backs that will, as a collective unit, try to match and beat that productivity.
"Duke's great, but we're trying to be great too," said Gray. "We got four good backs that can carry the load. We're just competing, pushing each other, filling the shoes for Duke. We just trying to eat."
- When asked about his style of play, Gray said he's kind of big, but it's his speed that sets him apart. He believes he's even faster than the supposed first team running back Joe Yearby. When I told Gus Edwards about that statement, he chuckled a bit, but didn't disagree.
"He has gotten a lot more open field opportunities than Yearby," said Edwards, "and he's making the best out of them."
-Edwards says he's been working on his hands a lot and that Al Golden has been putting the running backs in more passing opportunities.
- As for the fourth head of this deep unit, Mark Walton, Gray says he's come into camp acting like a veteran. He says that Walton asks a lot of questions and tries to get better every day.
"We taught him some things that he didn't learn in high school in terms of ball security and things like that," said Gray. "He knows the playbook well, and he never takes criticism badly. And when other guys mess up he holds them accountable too. Like a leader. He's already a leader. He ain't gonna bite his tongue, he's gonna speak up."
Gus Edwards spoke highly about the freshman from Booker T, saying he rarely sees him mess up.
3) Artie Burns talks Randy Melvin
- New Defensive Line Coach Randy Melvin has made an impact on the players. It didn't take long for him to make an impact on star cornerback Artie Burns.
"When we first got here we had a little meeting in the meeting room and he was sitting in my seat," said Burns. "I was like 'that's my seat,' and he said something crazy, I was like 'what?!" Burns kept explaining. "He was like 'they told me to sit down so I'm gonna sit my ass down.' I didn't know who he was, I heard that we got a new DL coach and I wanted to see him, and then he said that to me and I was like 'what's up?' But he's a real cool guy."
Burns said that Melvin has talked to him about different ways to position himself on defense, and that he really appreciates him.
- Burns also spoke about how players are getting more mentally prepared for the season in the film room.
"Last year we watched film, but not to be the best," said Burns. "This year we're really locking in on film and watching every little detail to make us better."
- Al Golden said that Braxton Berrios, Malcolm Lewis and Juwon Young will likely not play in Saturday's scrimmage.
- Tracy Howard said mentally and physically he's gotten a lot better. Mentally he says he's embraced every challenge, and with experience he's matured.
- Killian Freshmen:
- Deon Bush raved about how Jaquan Johnson is right in the mix of safeties fighting for a starting spot.
- Arite Burns said that the freshman CB that's impressed the most is Sheldrick Redwine, who he says will probably not red shirt this season.
- I asked Jelani Hamilton who benches and squats the most on the defense.
"Right now I bench the most on the D-Line," said Hamilton as Calvin Heurtelou looked at him in confusion. "Oh, alright, I'm sorry, out of the DE and DT's I bench the most, he's a nose tackle so he benches the most. But Ufomba Kamalu squats the most. He squats like in the 540's. That's who I always compete with in the weight room."