Coach Speak: Brown runs through offense, Patke talks depth at LB

Coach Speak: Brown runs through offense, Patke talks depth at LB

Stefan Adams
Miami offensive coordinator Thomas Brown is pleased with where the offense stands after the second scrimmage of fall camp and has been especially impressed with where starting QB Malik Rosier is mentally heading into LSU.

“I’m really happy where he is, happy with his mental development, where he’s leading this football team, this offense, the way he’s playing right now,” Brown said on Rosier.

And the mental gap is where Rosier has separated himself from his competition so far this fall, as guys like N’Kosi Perry, Cade Weldon, and Jarren Williams work to get themselves comfortable making all the reads in a Mark Richt offense.

“Well physical ability, there’s not a whole lot of gap between any of those guys,” Brown said on the QB’s as a whole. “They’re all different players, talented. Mentally, you can’t substitute experience and playing time. Malik has a lot more than anyone else does, really nobody else has experience. His knowledge of the offense, how he runs the offense, a little bit of a gap when it comes to that.”

What do the backup QB’s need to work on to continue to progress to Rosier’s level?

“In my opinion it’s been a lot of inconsistency,” Brown said. “There have been some guys that have had some really bright moments. They all have bright moments at times. It’s been too much up and down. At any position you don’t want to have that, but especially quarterback. I’d say the competition (for the No. 2 job) is still alive at that position.”

With all of the offensive skill talent at Miami this year, it’s Brown’s job to help devise gameplans that can spread the ball around and maximize the talent on offense in 2018. He said the offensive staff has discussed getting Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas on the field at the same time.

"We talked about that as a staff, and not just those guys,” Brown said on Homer and Dallas. “We are trying to get all the personnel we have in the best package possible to help this team win."

A guy who Brown praised last week as stepping up this fall has been Trayone Gray, who has made a big push to start seeing more reps, working as both the starting fullback and third string RB. Will Gray get more reps as the starting fullback or as the third team RB?

“Probably 50-50,” Brown said. “We’ll do a little of both with him. Pad level has always been his issue, he’s a stiffer hip dude. He’s obviously very big, very powerful. He’s better at it than he has been in the past - I think he can have a shot to be a short-yardage guy.”

The offensive line has taken a step forward this fall, as all five starters have been the same since the end of spring.

“They’re very talented,” Brown said on the O-Line. “We have more depth than we’ve normally had, especially at that position. We definitely have more depth on the O-Line than we have since we’ve been here.”

In the past, Mark Richt had mentioned DJ Scaife as the guy most likely to be the sixth man off the bench on the offensive line, but Brown says the battle is still open and Venzell Boulware is pushing Scaife for the role.

“Still kind of an open battle for the sixth guy coming in,” Brown said. “DJ Scaife has been good at times, Venzell Boulware has been really good at times. We’re still trying to figure out who is going to be in a spot to help us out.”

Brown also spent time breaking down what he’s been seeing from the freshmen offensive linemen so far.

On DJ Scaife: “He’s one of the more physical guys we have up front.”

On John Campbell, who started seeing second team reps this week: “He’s progressing well, has been inconsistent, up and down; normal freshman stuff. He’s going to help us in the future.”

On Cleveland Reed: “Maybe one of the strongest guys we have up front from a weight room standpoint. But just being able to get more reps, knowing what to do all the time (is an issue).”

Tomorrow, the Canes will run through a simulated game to prep for LSU in-lieu of a regular practice.

"We want to see progress from guys who have been on the border between scout team guys and can help us out," Brown said. "Want to see guys relax, cut it loose, just play."

**Although this is Jon Patke’s first season as an on-field position coach, he was technically part of Mark Richt’s original first staff at Miami. He was brought to Coral Gables along with safeties coach Ephraim Banda by defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who all came from Mississippi State together. He spent the last two years working as a quality control analyst with the inside linebackers at UM before officially being promoted to the outside linebackers coach in February.

“It’s good. Having a [position] room to yourself, getting to coach your own guys, getting them as a part of you,” Patke said. “I’m very comfortable in my position and know what is expected of me, from Coach Diaz and Coach Richt. But it has been good having my own room.”

Patke’s main responsibility is coaching the striker in UM’s defense. The striker is expected to be a little quicker than the traditional SAM linebacker and has the responsibility of covering the opponent’s slot receiver, as well as being physical enough to shed blocks and make plays around the line. Patke is loving the competition so far and says Romeo Finley and Zach McCloud are beginning to stand out from the rest.

“In the striker room, especially, I’ve got Romeo [Finley] that I brought over and he’s learning from Zach [McCloud] and has really come a long way in this fall camp. He has had a great fall camp.

“Derrick Smith is coming down from the safeties room and learning from Zach, learning more terminology and how we speak in the linebacker room.”

On the inside linebackers, Patke says: “You’ve got [Waynmon] Steed and BJ Jennings mainly backing up three older guys in Shaq, Pinckney and Mike Smith. Those guys, they’re really learning from those three older guys and guys with a lot of game experience.”

Despite having experienced returning starters at linebacker, both Patke and Diaz, who coaches the inside linebackers, have spent fall camp trying to build the depth behind the starters.

“There’s enough reps to go around, because we did roll ‘threes’ [third string] all camp,” Patke said. “So a lot of those guys did get a lot of reps. You try to limit Shaq [Quarterman] and [Michael] Pinckney later on in camp, whereas the other guys can get some reps. But it’s hard. It’s competition.

“You look back at the great Miami teams, they were three deep. When they were competing against each other, they were getting a lot of great competition and pushed themselves a little bit further. And it’s great to learn from some of those [older] guys, guys that have been three-year starters. They’re sitting there in the same meeting room, picking their brains, listening to how they’re coached and how they talk. It’s really good for those young guys.”

A staple of Diaz’s defenses at UM so far have included plenty of rotation to keep guys fresh, and that was especially true at linebacker, as Mike Smith, Charles Perry, and the since transferred Darrion Owens all saw plenty of time as backups last year. The plan is the same this season and UM’s two deep will all see plenty of reps.

“We want to roll as many as we can without a drop-off,” Patke said. “If you’ve got two-deep without a drop-off, we want to play them, because fresh bodies are live bodies. They can run around better when they’re fresh. Fresh legs.”

Comments (13)

Week 2, 3, and 4 are going to be really important. We need to get the young guys reps for the meat of the schedule.

Scaife, Campbell, Reed, Ivey, Frierson, Blades, Rosseau, Silvera, Williams, Mallory, Brevin. And hopefully the #2 QB whoever it is.
Week 2, 3, and 4 are going to be really important. We need to get the young guys reps for the meat of the schedule.

Scaife, Campbell, Reed, Ivey, Frierson, Blades, Rosseau, Silvera, Williams, Mallory, Brevin. And hopefully the #2 QB whoever it is.

QB #2 especially
Stop pussyfooting around and move D. Smith back to safety.
Week 2, 3, and 4 are going to be really important. We need to get the young guys reps for the meat of the schedule.

Scaife, Campbell, Reed, Ivey, Frierson, Blades, Rosseau, Silvera, Williams, Mallory, Brevin. And hopefully the #2 QB whoever it is.

I'm still trying to see the 6 foot 220 pound Gurvan Hall. At least that's what I think I saw.
This year every time I read one of these "Coaches Speaks" , I get anxious for the start of the season.
Dont like the rotating LBs bit.
Me either, it’s fine for one or 2 series in a game but that’s it. You don’t see many other programs rotating their backers like that.
Yeah not a big fan of rotating our LB’s especially with going to the new Striker position. Let them get some continuity by playing together for most of the game, unless they’re gassed or whenever we’re up big. Patke sounds knowledgeable and I think he’s really helped the guys out by having a full-time position coach to work with them.
Homer and Dallas on the field at the same time....

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And by the end of the year I could even see some formations with Homer, Lo and Dallas out there at the same time with the latter two moving around and lining up in the slot as Rosier has alluded to in the past.

Would cause a lot of confusion for the opposing LBs and miss matches galore. So much speed to cover.