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Coach Speak: Diaz addresses state of the defense after practice

Coach Speak: Diaz addresses state of the defense after practice

Stefan Adams
In the first practice since the second scrimmage of fall camp, Manny Diaz broke down what he was seeing from his entire unit in Saturday's scrimmage.

“The ‘one’ unit [first string], for the most part, played like the ones," Diaz said. "The ‘twos,’ overall, played like the twos. The ‘threes’ definitely played like the threes. You wish, as a coach, the ‘twos’ would play more like ‘ones’, at times - and some of them do. But the collective of them all just gave up way too many big plays for our liking.

“The first group, it was all the usual suspects playing well – Jaquan Johnson and [Sheldrick] Redwine. One of the great things to come out of camp is the development of Jhavonte Dean. He had two interceptions and really played well on Saturday night. That should do wonders for his confidence. We were down a few guys, so it was an opportunity for some guys that might be ‘twos’ to play with the ‘ones,’ and they stepped up and rose to the challenge. We’d just like to have it where you get that feeling that you bring 22 guys into the game and not have a dropoff. We may not be there yet.”

Although usual #2 corner Trajan Bandy was held out today, Diaz is seeing the progress he wants to see out of Jhavonte Dean and Dean worked with the one’s along with Michael Jackson after nabbing two picks in the scrimmage.

“He’s doing a good job being physical at the point of attack,” Diaz said on Dean. “He has gotten a lot stronger through our strength staff. His coverage has not always been great. His coverage is really getting better, getting more consistent. A lot of it is just understanding the defense, and not just playing one coverage, but being able to rotate through the different calls.”

Senior DE Demetrius Jackson was also held out for a part of practice and junior DE Joe Jackson was on the third team today while sporting an elbow brace on his left elbow. Diaz said that Joe Jackson was okay and the brace was a protective measure, but declined to expand on the nature of either situation any further, saying if the training staff clears a player to practice, they will not hold them back.

“All that comes from the training room, not us,” Diaz said. “If they tell us they’re good to go, they get out there and go.”

On if they give veteran players a break or limit their reps for certain reasons (injury): “There’s no one that’s got the game figured out that they don’t need to come out here and get better,” Diaz said.

Ahead of both Jacksons at defensive end today was junior DE Scott Patchan, who was working with the first team along with Jon Garvin.

“He probably had his best scrimmage on Saturday, which was good to see,” Diaz said on Patchan. “Scott is always going to give you high effort. Toughness. Scott has been around so long that you think he’s an experienced guy, but he hasn’t played that much. At times, he’s really benefitting from all the ‘at bats’ he has gotten, now that he’s finally healthy. He just needs to go into a game and just play.”

DT Patrick Bethel continues to work with the one’s along with Gerald Willis, but Diaz said the defensive tackle competition is not decided yet and senior grad transfer Tito Odenigbo is making a push there.

“We’re not ready to say who is first yet,” Diaz said on the starting DT race. “We continue to be impressed with Tito, but that will probably be one of the final decisions we make. Pat Bethel continues to do everything Coach [Jess] Simpsons asks and has really been a solid guy. He’s a different guy than what he was a year ago.”

On sophomore starting DE Jon Garvin, who coaches have said is playing at a different level than a year ago: “The thing that stands out with Garvin is his maturity,” Diaz said. “For a young guy not resting on what he did a year ago - he’s a very mature kid, very serious about his craft. He’s really done a nice job of not being satisfied with his play of a year ago and really trying to become an every down guy.”

Diaz said Wednesday’s simulated game to prep for LSU will tell much of the story on who UM will feel comfortable rotating into the game against the Tigers on Sept. 2.

“We have to find out, will wait till Wednesday to say `Okay, here’s the guys that will really have access to the field against LSU,’” Diaz said. “The other ones (if they have to go in) we’ll all be watching with one eye closed.”

Having been known for a heavy rotation at many positions, Diaz said today that will continue this season, but the staff is still determining at what rate backups will see reps.

“Up front we have depth there, D tackle - you have to play eight up front. You can’t make it in a game without eight,” Diaz said. “The question now is the reps. Is it 50-50, 60-40, is it 80-20, is it sub only when necessary? That’s not even our calls. We say `that’s up to you to decide how much you play.’ Certainly linebacker we feel we have more depth than we’ve had, love our depth at inside linebacker. We have some young corners - the development of DJ Ivey and Al Blades in this training camp has really made us feel better about our corner situation. Rob Knowles (at safety), a different guy than he was a year ago, makes us feel better about our safety position along with Amari Carter and Gurvan Hall getting more action.”
 

Comments (42)

Good work, but a lot of work still needs to be done in bringing these guys along. We are getting there.
 
Yay, more Robert Knowles getting beat on 3rd down inside the 20..
 
We'll see Sept 2nd if this is orange tinted glasses stuff or reality. Let's hope the latter.
 
We keep hearing how much stronger everyone is. I'm interested to see if this stands true in the game vs LSU whose S&C coach is Tommy Moffitt.
 
We keep hearing how much stronger everyone is. I'm interested to see if this stands true in the game vs LSU whose S&C coach is Tommy Moffitt.

Tommy Moffitt is definitely one of the best in the business. If we still had Swasey I would be more worried about us getting destroyed at the point of attack. Jury is still out on Gus. We'll see September 2nd.
 
. You wish, as a coach, the ‘twos’ would play more like ‘ones’, at times - and some of them do. But the collective of them all just gave up way too many big plays for our liking


This statement is why you shouldnt take a year off recruiting a position because you feel good about the guys you signed the year before like we did at LB last year. Not the way to build elite depth
 
Not just Golden - the Shannon years, too - such as playing our punter at WR because of no depth - which is really a hard thing to accomplish for a school in the heart of WR country.

Probably couldn't go 2-deep during the Coker years at some positions, too - at least towards the end of his time when Butch's guys had left.

Crazy to think that a Miami team can’t go two deep across the board with talent on offense or defense. What a disaster Al Golden was.
 
. You wish, as a coach, the ‘twos’ would play more like ‘ones’, at times - and some of them do. But the collective of them all just gave up way too many big plays for our liking


This statement is why you shouldnt take a year off recruiting a position because you feel good about the guys you signed the year before like we did at LB last year. Not the way to build elite depth
True, but we all knew this was the case going into the season. I think outside of a few spots our starters are Miami caliber again, the main concern is that we are still a year away from that being the case in the two deep. The 2018 class will do wonders for that though.
 
So Diaz didn’t clarify much with Joe Jackson.. kinda vague. Why can’t our reporters ask better questions my goodness
 
Glad to hear Dean playing well. I think the secondary is at its best with Dean and Jackson at corners with Bandy as the slot corner.
 
If Tito is pushing for a starting position, then we are playing with house money. Coaches have said he's exceeded their expectations. Good news is we won't lose a step when the #3 DT enters the game (either Tito or Bethel) because that person is essentially a 3rd starter.
 
Crazy to think that a Miami team can’t go two deep across the board with talent on offense or defense. What a disaster Al Golden was.
There’s plenty of talent in that three deep. Don’t be hoodwinked by coach speak to the media. Any decent coach uses the media to motivate players and control fan expectations.

Rick’s 3 classes in. Time to stop blaming Folden and start expecting UM to be a regular ACC championship participant.
 

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