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Canes Convos: Quarterman on run defense, Willis talks game prep on a short week

Canes Convos: Quarterman on run defense, Willis talks game prep on a short week

Stefan Adams
As the player on the team with the most career starts (29), linebacker Shaq Quarterman is no ordinary junior. The veteran has seen his game progress each year and, this season, he feels his unit is at the top of their game.

“I think we are playing way better than we ever have,” Quarterman said on the LB’s. “The first two years… just getting used to coach Manny [Diaz] and the defense. Sophomore year still getting it going, to now, we are the vets on the defense. The run game is our responsibility. So, we take pride in that.”

The Canes are 5th in the nation in stopping the run, holding opponents to 78.8 yards per game on the ground, an improvement from 41st in the country (146.1 ypg) a year ago.

“That is the plan, to get better every year,” Quarterman said on the run defense. “We had a lot of guys leave, but we had a lot of guys step up. And with great coaching and guys really taking heed to what the coaches are saying and buying in, I think we have gotten better than we were last year.”

What about the defense is different from last season?

“The overall defense – just playing as a team,” Quarterman said. “From top-down, everybody winning their one-on-ones. Just doing their part, so that we can be a complete and total defense.”

Miami begins ACC play this week, facing off against UNC on Thursday night in what will have to be a short week of prep for the team. However, Quarterman already got a head start on studying the Tar Heels, beginning his film breakdowns the same night the FIU game ended.

“The challenge is really just staying focused, you know,” said Quarterman. “Short week, you really don’t have an extra day to get everything down pat or take your time how we usually do. We came right in today – how we usually begin treatment right now, or things like that – but we are in here working right now. We also have to work that much harder to get everything down pat for a Thursday game.”

What has he seen so far from what the Tar Heels will bring to the table?

“A very good team. They recently just beat Pitt, and they have a lot of good athletes,” Quarterman said. “Don’t let anybody steer you wrong about that. They have a very good offense, very talented backs. You know, they have the players around, and when they start clicking they can be very dangerous.

“They do a good job of seeing where the weaknesses are. They do what they do very well. That’s one thing for sure. They get out on the perimeter, and they have the athletes to do it. And that is really the biggest thing.”


**Miami was constantly behind the line of scrimmage and added 11 TFL last week vs. FIU on to their FBS-leading total. Senior DT Gerald Willis was a big part of that, recording 3 TFL, upping his personal count to 10 TFL in 2018.

“We set our standards to a higher standard from last year,” Willis said. “We won’t accept the same goals we set last year. We’re going to continue to rack up those TFLs [tackles for loss]… We want the whole nation to know that you can’t run the ball on us. It’s going to take a lot to run the ball on us. We just want to keep that number of being number one in the nation.”

Much has been made of this week’s matchup against UNC being played on a short week, and Willis said there’s a reason for that.

“It’s tough. This is my first time ever doing something like this. It’s really tough,” Willis said on the short week. “You just have to stay healthy. That’s the main objective, stay healthy and get in your playbook every night.”

How has he been taking care of his body during the shortened recovery time?

“Cold tub, hot tub. Stretching. Hurdles,” Willis said. “Living in the training room until it’s time to go to class.”

Seven UNC players, who were suspended for 30 percent of the season after selling their team-issued sneakers, will return to the team this week and be eligible to play against UM on Thursday. Miami doesn’t know exactly how they will be fit into the Tar Heels’ lineup and effect the gameplan, however, Willis isn’t worried, as UNC runs the same style of offense as last season.

“We watched some film from last year on them with RJ [McIntosh] and those guys,” Willis said. “They’re running the same type of stuff and the same type of scheme, so we’re just ready to line up and get ready for the play call.

“They have big offensive linemen. They’re big. When they try and double team you, they do double teams really well. That just means we have to come off the ball and stay low. They’re a good O-line. This is really just our second day to get prepared for them, so there’s a lot more to do.”


**Sophomore safety Amari Carter made the first start of his career on Saturday against FIU, recording a tackle and one PBU.

“It felt natural,” Carter said. “It’s what we’ve been preparing for, coming out on the field and practicing. I just had to stick to what I’ve been doing and just stick in with the No. 1's and it went well.”

What was his mindset going into the game against the Panthers?

“Just run to the ball and be urgent in everything I do and just make the tackle when my number is called,” Carter said. “I step on the field every day with that mindset. As a whole, the defense and every position on the field did what they had to do. All I could do was give them back what they give the whole team.”

UM head coach Mark Richt praised Carter’s play against FIU, saying he's both the nicest and meanest person.

“I know what he meant,” Carter said. “Just me, every day, when I see someone, I greet them. I’m a cool person. That’s what he was talking about. The mean part, that’s on the field.”

Carter’s classmate, QB N’Kosi Perry, relived starting QB Malik Rosier early in the first quarter against FIU and led UM to victory last week.

“He did really well. I thought he did really well,” Carter said on Perry. “I talked to him and just told him ‘If you keep seeing the passes, keep throwing it.’ That’s what he did. He did a really good job at that… He’s coming out here every day, getting better, but that’s with everyone. Malik [Rosier] comes out here and gets better and so does he.”

The entire Hurricanes’ secondary prides themselves on believing that they will be the toughest secondary the UM QB’s will face all year.

“Our job is to give them the toughest look they’re going to see throughout the whole season,” said Carter. “I think they do a good job of that in practice every day.”

The lone freshman in the safety group is Gurvan Hall, and he saw the most extended action of his career against FIU, making a huge hit that drew a reaction from the home crowd. As a known big-hitter himself, Carter was impressed.

“He made the whole crowd rise to their feet and that’s something we pride ourselves on,” Carter said of Hall’s hit. “As DBs, you want to get the ball and you want to make the hit. He’s doing that.”

Miami opens ACC play this week with the divisional opponent Tar Heels and Carter admits winning those conference games are just a little more important.

“They have guys on their team that can get the job done and so do we,” Carter said. “We’re going to line up and just play ball… We’re going to attack every game the same, but when you have ACC against ACC, you want to come out there every single play and capitalize off it and come out every game and make a statement for the rest of the season.”


**Although Miami’s defense looked the best its been in a while last week against FIU, senior corner Michael Jackson still wants to see more from the unit as the level of competition improves.

“We only have played four games,” Jackson said. “So, if we really want a test, then we are going to have to see after this weekend and weeks to come.”

With UM sitting as the #5 ranked run defense in the country, Jackson gives credit to his teammates on the front line for making most of the stops and said it makes his job easier.

“That’s G [Gerald Willis] and all them boys up front,” Jackson said. “As a corner, you love that. Because you know they are going to handle that run. If anything gets out there, it is rare. You just tackle.”

What has Jackson seen on tape from the Tar Heels on this shortened week?

“Just that people underestimate them,” Jackson said on UNC. “Like last night, I watched as much film as I could and slept in. It is a short week so you have to prepare. Get as much sleep as you possibly can, watch as much film. No matter if it is just five minutes walking to class. Just try to watch as much as you can because it is a short week.”

With the game scheduled for 8 pm on Thursday night, Jackson admits everyone gets a little bit more amped playing under the lights.

“They are going to come out and play,” Jackson said on UNC. “It’s a Thursday night game. It’s underneath the lights. We are the only teams on [television] in college football. They are going to be ready to play… The crowd is always the ‘X-factor’. Because right now it’s practice, there is no crowd. You still have to be able to play and focus in, but the crowd separates the game from practice.”
 

Comments (25)

We sure are patting ourselves on the back for stopping Toledo and FIU's running game. In before UNC runs all over us. SMH.

Mike Jackson should worry more about not giving up deep passes. Half of teams passing yardage are coming from throwing deep on him.
 
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We sure are patting on selfs on the back for stopping Toledo and FIU's running game. In before UNC runs all over us. SMH.

Mike Jackson should worry more about not giving up deep passes. Half of teams passing yardage are coming from throwing deep on him.
So you're predicting UNC is gonna roll us? I got money says you're wrong
 
So you're predicting UNC is gonna roll us? I got money says you're wrong

I'm saying I wouldn't be shocked if they run well against us. Every time we start patting ourselves in the back about pass, run, or some other defensive stat ranking it gets carved up later. Remember when everyone was singing with joy about our pass defense mid-way through the season last year? Then what happen? UVa, Pitt, Clemson, and Wisconsin torn it the f*ck up with average to below average QBs.
 
I'm saying I wouldn't be shocked if they run well against us. Every time we start patting ourselves in the back about pass, run, or some other defensive stat ranking it gets carved up later. Remember when everyone was singing with joy about our pass defense mid-way through the season last year? Then what happen? UVa, Pitt, Clemson, and Wisconsin torn it the f*ck up with average to below average QBs.

No you predicted UNC to run all over this. Thanks for the analysis.
 
I'm saying I wouldn't be shocked if they run well against us. Every time we start patting ourselves in the back about pass, run, or some other defensive stat ranking it gets carved up later. Remember when everyone was singing with joy about our pass defense mid-way through the season last year? Then what happen? UVa, Pitt, Clemson, and Wisconsin torn it the f*ck up with average to below average QBs.

I don't know how stout our run D really is but we held up pretty good against LSU besides that one 50 yard TD. And they are pretty run heavy. Overall our D has played lights out which will give them confidence going into these next 2 games.

And it never hurts when you have a potential All American at DT. He makes everyones job easier and makes everyone look better.
 
I'm saying I wouldn't be shocked if they run well against us. Every time we start patting ourselves in the back about pass, run, or some other defensive stat ranking it gets carved up later. Remember when everyone was singing with joy about our pass defense mid-way through the season last year? Then what happen? UVa, Pitt, Clemson, and Wisconsin torn it the f*ck up with average to below average QBs.

So never celebrate accomplishments in season. Got it.
 
Damn, every team we play according to our coaches and players are "a great team with great players." From Savannah State to FIU...Lmao
 
I don't know how stout our run D really is but we held up pretty good against LSU besides that one 50 yard TD. And they are pretty run heavy. Overall our D has played lights out which will give them confidence going into these next 2 games.

And it never hurts when you have a potential All American at DT. He makes everyones job easier and makes everyone look better.

At first I thought that but after I looked at the game LSU got rushing yards they needed to. When things got uncomfortable for LSU they picked up 4-5 yards on the ground.. when they were just trying to just run the clock they would lose yards which help the average.

UNC ran for almost 200 yards last year (176) against us and damn near their entire O-line was hurt and they had a 3 string QB in the game so we should of known they were going to be run heavy and they still found success running the ball.
 
UNC's offense is considered to be worse than FIU's according to S&P+. This will not be a huge test in that regard, but it will be concerning if we suck.

As for us praising the competition, that's good. It keeps you focused - look what happened to the vikings overlooking the bills. You want to say they are good and that you will whip their ass.
 
We sure are patting ourselves on the back for stopping Toledo and FIU's running game. In before UNC runs all over us. SMH.

Mike Jackson should worry more about not giving up deep passes. Half of teams passing yardage are coming from throwing deep on him.

Completely MADE UP
 
Michael Jackson is locking **** down as always

Shaq is having his best year so far

and Willis is one of the best DTs we've ever had at this school
 
Michael Jackson is locking **** down as always

Shaq is having his best year so far

and Willis is one of the best DTs we've ever had at this school

Agree. MJ has gotten caught slipping a few times but it has been "Mikes Island" for the year so far. He just doesn't have any picks so people assume he is taking a step back. He is DEFINITELY having a better year then preseason All Acc first team CB Levonta "5* hype machine but getting burnt on the regular" Taylor.
 
Your Welcome.

215 yards rushing.


You're a sad case man.

You are seriously more excited about being right than you are about the dominant win.

You could've saved this convo for Tuesday.

Smfh.
 
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