On Tuesday, the first two Miami players to speak to the media was quarterback D’Eriq King and linebacker Zach McCloud.
King was first, and was asked about Miami’s last scrimmage of fall camp, which was last Friday at Hard Rock Stadium.
“A bunch of guys made plays. I think we had a good day,” King said. King was one of those players who had a “good day,” on Friday, as he went 24-for-34 passing, threw for 330 yards and 6 touchdowns, and also rushed for 94 yards.
“I’ve seen a lot of guys make plays,” King went on to say. “There was still a bunch of stuff we needed to correct coming back during this week of practice, but it went really, really well.”
Then, when asked who the fastest player was on offense, King had two answers, senior wide receiver Mike Harley, and true freshman running back Jaylan Knighton, though King referred to him as “Rooster.”
“We have a lot of great players on offense, lot of guys that can make plays. It’s just about me getting those guys the ball and letting them do what they do. It’s very encouraging.”
With Miami’s first game of the season in two days, King talked about putting on a Hurricanes jersey for the first time.
“It’s a great feeling. Couple months ago, nobody thought we’d be playing. Playing for the University of Miami, lot of history behind the program, lot of great players put this uniform on, put this helmet on.” King said. “It’s an honor for me to go out there and play my first game.”
After King wrapped up, it was the senior McCloud’s turn to speak.
One of the first questions that McCloud was asked was on defensive end Jaelan Phillips, who sat out the 2019 season after transferring from UCLA.
“Every play, even after the whistle blows, he’s still sprinting. We all know what kind of athlete he is, but his effort is something else,” McCloud told us. Phillips has been one of the bright spots of the offseason, and will start at DE Thursday night against UAB, opposite Quincy Roche.
One of the biggest tasks for Miami’s defense against UAB will be shutting down the Blazers rushing attack, and the duo at RB of Spencer Brown and Jermaine Brown Jr. The two combined for 202 rushing yards last week against Central Arkansas.
UAB has a very good group of running backs.— Anthony Yero (@AnthonyYero1) September 4, 2020
Spencer Brown: 24 car, 127yds, 1 TD.
Jermaine Brown Jr.: 15 car, 75yds, 1 TD.
Lucious Stanley: 2 car, 14yds, 1 TD.
UAB leads Central Arkansas 45-21.
“Both really talented guys. I know they play hard. If you take the time to watch them play,” McCloud said. “Those are two guys that will give you as much trouble as anybody else, if not more. It’s an opening game for us. Tackling wins those games.”
McCloud was also asked about his fellow linebackers at Miami, Waynmon Steed and Bradley Jennings Jr. Both players have returned from several injuries during their careers at UM, and look to have a big role in 2020. Jennings was named the starting middle linebacker for the UAB game, while McCloud will start at weak-side.
“I think the leadership capabilities that he’s shown, you’ve got to commend him for being as tough as he is,” said the senior McCloud. “Him and Steed, they were diligent, stayed on top of their training.”
Entering his fifth and final year at Miami, McCloud says that it may differ from some years previous, but at the end of the day, it’s still football.
“I guess it’ll feel different, just cause I’m at a different position. It’s still the game that I love. I don’t expect it to be different on that end.”
McCloud spent the last 4 seasons alongside Michael Pinckney and Shaquille Quarterman, all 3 were part of the 2016 recruiting class. But even with those two guys gone to the NFL, McCloud doesn’t worry about the linebacker position at UM.
“We have playmaking linebackers at the University of Miami.”