Canes Convos: St. Louis finds footing at LT, Mahoney sees leader in sixth man battle

Canes Convos: St. Louis finds footing at LT, Mahoney sees leader in sixth man battle

Stefan Adams
Senior offensive tackle Tyree St. Louis has been UM’s starting right tackle for the better part of two seasons now, but with the opening at left tackle after Kc McDermott’s graduation, St. Louis has slid over to protect the QB’s blindside since the spring.

“A lot of offensive line is basically the same,” St. Louis said on the move. “We just go against different guys, and play a little bit different techniques and different hip movements. So the right tackle’s job is more like a run stopper. My right side, two and a half years, I was definitely a little bit more quicker, a little bit more easier using my right hip. And now flipping to the left side, I am just trying to get back into it a little bit more. I will be completely fine, just picking it up. I have had the last eight months to work on it, so I’ll be fine.”

As part of his transition to the left tackle position, St. Louis has been watching NFL film and attempting to model his game after a Pro Bowler. That lineman? Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith.

“Everyone has one specific lineman that they watch - whether it be just here on the offensive line at Miami or even some places at some other schools,” St. Louis said. “And the reason I pick him is because our height and size kind of match up. He is 6’5, I am 6’5. He is about 310 [pounds], I am a little bit heavier, 315.

“The main thing with him is that he is a technician. He definitely has all the athletic tricks that he could [use] to just play and do whatever he wants. But he doesn’t use any that. Everything by him is technique sound. I may not have the same athletic tricks that he has, but I am going to try and focus on being a true technician.”

As a senior with multiple years of starting experience, St. Louis is looked to as a leader on the offensive line by the younger players. This is a role he relishes, and St. Louis has found that in teaching the inexperienced guys, he cements concepts even more in his own mind.

“As a veteran, that is very important. To me, it has been really fun because all of our guys are very eager to learn,” St. Louis said. “We don’t really have any lazy offensive linemen, or guys that don’t care. And they try to talk to the veterans. And whether it be a left tackle or left guard, I am going to try and help all of the positions that I know best. My main thing is tackle, but if it is a guard or center, our offensive line, it’s all the same, so I am going to try and help everyone.

“It lets me help myself as well. Because it makes me learn things better as you try and teach it to somebody else. You learn things three times as much when you teach it to someone that may not have done it the last few years like you did, or it may not be as simple to them.”

The Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility officially opened on Friday and it was an occasion that St. Louis has been looking forward to for a long time.

“It has been amazing, I waited three and a half years for that,” St. Louis said. “It definitely [gives us] a big advantage. Most of us are from South Florida. And even the guys not from Florida, we’re fine with practicing in the heat. So being able to go inside and give some rest to your body and just be able to focus a little bit more, and then finishing the team plays outside, helps a lot.”

**Junior offensive guard Hayden Mahoney has been working with the first team offensive line since the end of spring and sees the unit really beginning to gel.

“The line is doing well,” Mahoney said. “The first unit did really well last scrimmage. We came together as a unit. Played very well. I think the twos played well. We just have to get the younger guys on board too. Once they get the playbook down, they’ll be able to play fast, then they are going to be good to go.”

Does he see the first unit being better at pass protection or run blocking?

“I would say we’re good in both,” Mahoney said. “We pick up stuff good with blitzes and pass pro, and with run blocking we’re very good as well.”

While the starting unit seems to be set for now, the battle for the sixth lineman role and first guy off the bench has been going on since the start of camp. Mahoney sees a leader emerging in that competition and feels he can play anywhere on the line.

“DJ Scaife has been playing consistent,” Mahoney said. “He has been playing well. Transitioning from guard to tackle, and then going back to guard when needed. He has been doing everything he has been asked. He has been doing well. I am happy for him.”

What kind of progress has he been seeing from the backup QB’s as a group?

“I think they are just getting more comfortable,” Mahoney said. “I think before, sometimes they would be hesitant back there with play calls and check downs, and all that. But now they are doing well. They are getting more comfortable in the pocket, making good reads and just learning from Malik [Rosier]. Malik has got the playbook down, and they are just learning from him.”

**Junior linebacker Zach McCloud has been splitting first team reps with Romeo Finley at the newly renamed striker linebacker position, but McCloud says it’s not much different than the SAM linebacker position he’s started at the past two seasons.

“For me there are a lot of similarities,” McCloud said. “They’re giving [the position] a new name, but it’s really just adding a couple of assignments on - a different look, I guess. But there a lot of similarities for me, so the transition hasn’t been rough at all.”

In addition to his new responsibilities, McCloud also has a new position coach in Jon Patke, who is coaching the strikers as the outside linebackers coach.

“I like his coaching style, I know that. We get along really well,” McCloud said on Patke. “He’s the one who’s been over me the whole time and we all learn a lot from him, being in his room. He’s always available for us to watch film with him extra. It’s not like we’re [just] here and then we leave and that’s all there is to it. We really have an opportunity to get better with him.

“He teaches you. You can have a ‘perfect play,’ but there is always something to learn from. There’s always something. Maybe you had the assignment right but your technique was wrong. You could’ve done 10 things out of 11 things right, but he’s going to get on you about the last thing. There’s no stopping the improvement.”

The team has now had two practices to feel out the newly opened IPF. What’s it been like practicing in the AC?

“We’re used to being out here in the heat all day, so being in there for a little bit, with a little bit of air conditioning, it’s kind of like we went somewhere to just go warm up inside,” McCloud said. “We’re still going hard inside, but the temperature is different. That’s really the only difference. We bring the same intensity.”

**Sophomore linebacker Bradley Jennings has mostly been working in a third team role behind upperclassmen Shaq Quarterman and Mike Smith at MLB, but has seen second team reps this fall as well.

“We have a good linebacker group,” Jennings said. “I do have upperclassmen ahead of me. They could leave [school early], but I still prepare every day because one of them could go down, anything could happen. I still prepare. If they leave, they leave and I’ll be ready. If they stay, they stay and I’ll be ready.

“They push you a lot because they’re upperclassmen – they want to see you do [well] just like them. You have the potential, they push you harder and we push them, too. It’s a good environment to work out with.”

It has been Quarterman in particular that has helped Jennings progress and develop the mental side of the game at inside linebacker.

“He’s been tutoring me since I got here,” Jennings said on Quarterman. “He helps me all the time when I need help. I sit by him in meeting rooms. It’s always good to have him right there by my side.”

The Canes will take on #25 LSU to start the season and Jennings is ready to see what the Tigers can bring to the table in the nationally televised tilt.

“It’s a good matchup,” Jennings said. “It’s always good to have good competition starting up early in the season to see where you’re at. I think it’s going to be a good game.”

Comments (8)

Good wrap-up of the post practice interviews Stefan! I’m really excited when I heard Tyree’s interview, he seems to have molded himself into the LT spot and we all should feel comfortable that he’s got Malik’s back in pass protection. It was also great to hear how well the OL is gelling and becoming a singular unit. If we can get consistent play out of our OL, in both pass protection and run blocking then it’s all on Rosier because the other area of concern will be shored up. I think he will too elevate his game this season making this a magical year.
I'm still sceptical about Mahoney. I hope he PROVES me wrong!
I am to some degree when it comes to go against top level D-linemen......The incoming freshmen have more overall talent. But what they need is only the coaching, playing time and in a some instances the S&C. But Mahoney is one of the few OL from the Golden era that has grown/developed.
I'm still sceptical about Mahoney. I hope he PROVES me wrong!

I don't have high expectations for run blocking. We're still gonna be inconsistent and depending on ripping off chunk runs. However, I think we will have more chunk runs than last year. As for pass-blocking, I think we will be very solid
Keep things in perspective guys. This OL is going against some beasts in practice daily. If they can do well there, then they should be okay on Saturdays.
Keep things in perspective guys. This OL is going against some beasts in practice daily. If they can do well there, then they should be okay on Saturdays.
I said this too. Our 2nd team DL is better than 9 of the 12 we'll see in the regular season. If our O-line can dominate them the way they just did in the scrimmage, look dafuq out!