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Miami Hurricanes Football: Post practice interviews 8/2

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Here’s what several members of the Canes had to say today

LB Shaq Quarterman (55), LB Jamie Gordinier (52) and S Romeo Finley (30) at day 2 of Canes Camp
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The Miami Hurricanes held their 2nd day of fall practice on Wednesday. Here are some interviews from the post-practice media session.

DC Manny Diaz

On the confidence of the Hurricanes’ defense going into Year 2 under his guidance…

“Their confidence, I think, comes from their preparation. True confidence comes from preparation. I think they feel like they’ve worked hard in the offseason, which they have. The only downside is that all the people we compete against, they worked hard in the offseason as well. We do remind them that they’re not special because they’re working hard. That’s just the standard.”

On linebacker Shaquille Quarterman’s comments about every starting job being up for grabs…

“As a coach, you’re always blessed to have a guy like Shaq. The package of not only what he is on the field, but what he is off the field – the type of person he is – you could argue that if they were all like Shaq, you really wouldn’t need coaches. You could tell the bus drivers to drive them to the game. You appreciate when you have guys like that, but you also understand that you have a real duty to be at your best as a coach, because you want to take them, still, to reach maybe a height that they don’t even know that they have in them. That’s kind of what you feel as a coach, that you’ve got to get this guy to really a special place.”

On the thought process behind Quarterman losing 15 pounds in the offseason…

“I think that was a self-evaluation. I think he felt, when he watched himself last year, that at times he was sluggish. Those guys all understood what the season was like. When you think about October, when we played three games in 12 days or whatever it was, and they were probably still in the high school mentality - where size and weight is everything - to the college mentality, where quickness, change of direction, speed, power is really what the game is about. So really, I think that understanding of what it takes to succeed at the college game.”

On the team’s depth at defensive tackle, given the announcement Gerald Willis III has taken a leave of absence…

“The one thing that does have me is excited is the way Pat Bethel continues to work. We even have a guy like [Anthony] Moten who has made plays in games. I think if you’re sitting around bemoaning who your fifth defensive tackle is, that’s something that people stop having sympathy with you for. At the same time, I think we know that things happen during the course of the season and those guys may be called on. That’s the fun thing about coaching defense – Coach Kool [Craig Kuligowski] is spending as much time with guy number six or seven at defensive end or tackle as he is guy number one or two.”

LB Shaquille Quarterman

On Wednesday’s practice…

“Today was a really good practice for both sides of the ball. We did a lot of competing, probably on a higher level than we did last year at this time. We have a lot of guys coming back and that leads to higher efficiency.”

On young players who have stood out…

Amari Carter, he’s doing a good job. I like Jon Garvin. He’s breaking hard. Even DJ [Johnson], who just got here, he’s working hard. Everyone is putting in the work, but these guys are definitely trying to earn a spot and some respect.”

On what keeps him “hungry”…

“We haven’t really accomplished anything. We want a ring. Until we get that, we haven’t really done anything. Not some Russell Athletic Bowl, we are trying to go to something way bigger than that.”

On assuming a leadership role…

“I am just trying to lead by example. I can’t be slacking and then getting on the younger guy. It doesn’t work like that. I have to push myself to the best of my abilities. Instead of breaking down a younger guy – or even an older guy – because it’s hot out here, I just lift them up, explaining to them that we are all working hard out here in the heat and it is going to build great results come a couple of seasons from now.”

DE Trent Harris

On the defensive line depth…

“It’s a lot different. We haven’t had it like this at Miami since I have been here. The practices are a lot more competitive now. We have three or four guys at D-end that can all play right now. Every day we are all out here competing and making each other better. It’s going to be a good camp.”

On defensive coordinator Manny Diaz…

“He’s the same guy every day. A great coach. You know, he’s always getting on us. He wants us to be not just good football players, but good men, and I’m excited to be at camp with him.”

On what makes it easy or hard having Manny Diaz as a coach…

“He has a standard that he wants us to play at and meeting that standard, you’ve got to push yourself,” Harris said. “That’s what makes us better. It’s him pushing us and he does a great job of explaining the defense.”

LB Zach McCloud

On improving on an impressive first year…

“We can get a whole lot better. After watching all the games from last year, we see a lot of missed opportunities and things that are easy to fix as well as things that are not as easy to fix. That’s why we have this period – to get better at all those things and see what we can do during the season.”

On the competition on defense…

“We all push each other. Coach [Manny Diaz] told us yesterday, ‘If you go to the league, you have to take another man’s job to be able to have your own job.’ It’s the same thing here.”

On being back on the field for camp…

“It’s fun because that’s what we came out here for. It’s good to be back on the field doing wat we came here to do. It’s different on defense because we have some new freshmen linebackers and other freshmen players, so everyone is just trying to get in the mix of things.”

DE Demetrius Jackson

On what it’s like performing in the heat during camp…

“You get used to it, you know? No way to explain it, I mean it’s Day 2. Just the summer grinding, you know, it’s hot out here, humid, so you just have to push through it.”

On how they’re splitting up the reps now at defensive end…

“It’s really no problem for me, you know, as an older guy. A lot of the younger guys, they don’t know the system and they’re going to learn it. But it’s going to be like it’ll be like how it is probably in the game, you know, keep everybody fresh and stuff like that.”

On his expectations for himself this season…

“Just to be the best defensive unit that we can be, you know, the best team. You know, I gotta say it’s not about me. I’m an older guy. It’s about these guys to the left and the right, the guy behind me. Everybody’s just got to play well because anything could happen during the season and you’re the next guy up. Just to be the best defensive unit.”

On how good this defensive line can be…

Great. Good is not in our vocabulary this year. We are trying to be great at what we’re going at every day. In the meetings out here, we can be as great as we want to be and that’s up to us.”

That’s it for the videos. More recaps coming later today.

Go Canes