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Brooks talks breakout game, Blades still pushing for #2 corner role

Brooks talks breakout game, Blades still pushing for #2 corner role

Stefan Adams
Getting his first real playing time of his college career last week, freshman LB Sam Brooks shined against Bethune-Cookman, recording 5 tackles and a sack in just over a quarter of play.

For Brooks, it was a long-time coming, as playing football with ‘The U’ on the side of his helmet has been a dream of his for as long as he could remember. As a true freshman trying to learn everything he can from a trio of senior linebackers, Brooks said the group have been mentors to him even before he stepped foot on campus.

“Before I played for UM, I used to always see them and looked up to them, especially Shaq (Quarterman) - he doesn’t even know it,” Brooks said. “I was in high school, would go to the games, watch the linebackers. Now that I’m finally playing behind them, it’s a great experience for me. I can take a lot (from them). They’re four-year starters, so they know everything.”

Whether he earns a starting job in 2020 or not, it’s clear that Brooks will have a big role in the defense come next year. When asked if he feels pressure in trying to learn as much as he can for that responsibility, Brooks brushed the question off and intimated that he’ll be ready.

“Not really. Because I know I’ll reach that standard,” Brooks said. “For next year, I have to put on some more weight. As far as instincts about linebacker, I’m doing well. I have the speed, everything else, just have to put on about 20 more pounds.”

This weekend, the Canes will matchup against a Central Michigan offense trying to find it’s footing in a new scheme; CMU is averaging 373.3 yards per game, only 87th in the country. However, new head coach Jim McElwain is known for his diverse offensive schemes going back to his days as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, something that Brooks has noticed on tape.

“They have pretty different looking schemes, like to run a little spread, power - nothing we can’t handle,” Brooks said of CMU’s offense. “We just watched film with coach (Blake) Baker. I think we’ll get after them this week.”

Brooks also gave his take on local recruiting and how Manny Diaz is trying to reestablish UM as the dominant presence in South Florida.

“A lot of kids from down here can play at Miami, have the swag and stuff to play at Miami,” Brooks said. “But people from down south or even from Miami, they choose other schools for particular reasons, for family members, all that stuff. A lot of kids from Miami can play for the University of Miami. That’s one of coach Diaz’s standards, pulling a lot of Miami guys, which is good because there’s a lot of talent down here.”


**Sophomore CB Al Blades has been one of the more active members of the UM secondary so far in 2019, as he is fourth on the team in tackles with 10 through 3 games. As his role on the team has expanded substantially since his freshman year last season, Blades says that it’s important that he and everyone else hold the team accountable each day in practice.

“We come out every day and have a high standard out here,” Blades said. “Every day we critique ourselves to the hardest, correct what we can correct. We’re always focused on going up, always.”

Even though Blades started the opener, he has come off the bench the past 2 games in favor of his classmate, DJ Ivey. Despite that, Blades feels that the competition between the two is ongoing every day, and he recognizes the upside of the cornerback group Mike Rumph has assembled at UM.

“There’s a lot of competition between me and DJ, but we’re also trying to compete with Trajan as well,” said Blades. “We think of ourselves, all three of us, as first-round corners. But we think the same of Christian Williams and Te’Cory Couch as well. If we’re all pushing us to be the best, the best will come out of all of us.”

On account of the low numbers at cornerback this season, Williams and Couch have seen plenty of snaps so far and the freshmen are impressing Blades.

“I love the fact that they’re coachable,” Blades said. “They see the way the older guys listen, go out and try to build as leaders to the field. They observe, see how we work, learn and follow right along.”

Blades also gave his take on another freshman, QB Peyton Matocha. Although Matocha hasn’t seen the field yet, Blades has noticed a key difference in him compared to the other QB’s on the roster.

“I love him, love Peyton,” Blades said. “Peyton is young, is coming in with coach Dan Enos, doesn’t know anything else. He’s learning fresh off the bat, doesn’t have old stuff in his head like maybe older quarterbacks do. He’s humble, doesn’t talk a lot, just works.”

With the Canes beating an overmatched Bethune-Cookman last week for their first win, UM will now take on Central Michigan, another game perceived by many as an “easy” win for Miami. However, Blades feels these types of games add value to the team in certain ways and isn’t taking the Chippewas lightly.

“We’re not looking to the future, the paste, we’re focused on this week,” Blades said. “Every week we’re just trying to get better, lets us see what we need to get better at. If we are the best team we can be, nobody will be able to compete with us.”
 

Comments (27)

I hope every Shaq detractor on this site reads what Brooks said about Shaq. Players know better than fans and even coaches as to who on the team is bringing it. Brooks looks up to Shaq and that’s not happening if Shaq isn’t busting his ass, being a leader, and making plays. Because in the end in the locker room, no player will have respect if he doesn’t make plays.
This doesn’t mean Shaq is Michael Barrow, Ray Lewis or Dan Morgan, but he is legit. Let’s spend more time appreciating these hard working young men and less time focused on how they aren’t as good as we want them to be.
 
I hope every Shaq detractor on this site reads what Brooks said about Shaq. Players know better than fans and even coaches as to who on the team is bringing it. Brooks looks up to Shaq and that’s not happening if Shaq isn’t busting his ass, being a leader, and making plays. Because in the end in the locker room, no player will have respect if he doesn’t make plays.
This doesn’t mean Shaq is Michael Barrow, Ray Lewis or Dan Morgan, but he is legit. Let’s spend more time appreciating these hard working young men and less time focused on how they aren’t as good as we want them to be.

We wouldn’t have had one of the best defenses in the country the last 3 years without Shaq in the middle.
 
JHFC, is that what we're doing now? We calling 5 tackles against Bethune a "breakout game"?

Man, I know it's been rough around here for a few years, but is that how starved we really are for something positive?

AdmirableGargantuanAmericancrow-small.gif
Gf cheated on you again huh? Couldn't find a puppy to kick?
 
JHFC, is that what we're doing now? We calling 5 tackles against Bethune a "breakout game"?

Man, I know it's been rough around here for a few years, but is that how starved we really are for something positive?

AdmirableGargantuanAmericancrow-small.gif
Take a step back, clear your head and think about it again. Put aside for now the fact that Brooks had 5 tackles and 1 sack in just a quarter of football. Watch the tape again and what you will see is that Brooks stuck out like a sore thumb! The kid looked like he had been shot out of a cannon! People are excited for good reason. What Brooks looked like is what the entire Miami defense should look like. We need to make a concerted to get back to having that type of speed all over the defense.


There was also the fact that Brooks looked decisive and confident. He looked like he belonged out there which for a true freshman is no small feat. Many times a true freshman will look lost and tentative no matter how talented he may be. Brooks seems to have natural instincts and we can all see he has the speed. Brooks needs to keep learning the defense and continue getting reps in practice and more experience in games. IMO it would be foolish to redshirt Brooks since he is obviously going to be expected to spearhead the LB corps next year. I'm very much looking forward to watching Brooks earn more playing time as the season progresses.
 
The new miami my boy....its been like this for a long time my friend
Not sure what you're referencing. TNM is same as the old (recent past)? Or fans (new and old) trying to find silver-linings and reasons to stay positive about a passion they love but have no control over.
 
JHFC, is that what we're doing now? We calling 5 tackles against Bethune a "breakout game"?

Man, I know it's been rough around here for a few years, but is that how starved we really are for something positive?

AdmirableGargantuanAmericancrow-small.gif

First real action in college, it's a great opening to his career. It means he can find the ball and regardless of what we think of BC as a collegiate team, they would wipe the floor with any high school team in the nation.
 
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