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Ford takes next step, Ivey battles for starting job

Ford takes next step, Ivey battles for starting job

Stefan Adams
Junior defensive tackle Jon Ford has been one notable standout during Miami’s spring practices, running with the first team defense for the majority of camp and looking like he’s finally taken that next step that UM has been hoping to see from him.

“I’m just coming to practice every day, executing hard and having my brothers push me,” Ford said. “I’m going hard every day. I’m real comfortable.”

Ford credits losing 15 pounds since the season ended and focusing on flexibility training in the off-season for his improved play so far this spring.

“I feel a big difference with my breathing and my wind, feel better,” Ford said.

New defensive line coach Todd Stroud has come in to replace Jess Simpson, and Ford feels as if he’s fit right into what Miami wants to do on defense.

“He’s a good man,” Ford said. “Everything he teaches us is real basic but is real good stuff.”

Stroud’s motto?

“Use your hands, get up the field, make plays in the backfield,” Ford says.


**Sophomore corner DJ Ivey had two goals coming into the spring.

“Get better,” Ivey said. “Compete.”

After a season where he mostly played in spot duty, Ivey has been one of UM’s top 3 corners this spring and is pushing Al Blades for a starting job.

“I have to play my role and compete,” Ivey said.

Like most freshmen, Ivey’s body was still getting used to college level strength and conditioning throughout 2018. Now, he feels much stronger after playing last season at around 180 pounds.

“My body changed a lot,” Ivey said. “I’m up to 193 right now, I feel good.”

Have his coverage skills improved at all?

“I feel I’ve gotten better since the past year.”

Miami is thin at the corner position this spring with only four bodies, but UM is expecting two true freshmen in Te’Cory Couch and Christian Williams to enroll during the summer. Ivey said the current corner group is in contact with the future Canes, making sure they are prepared to see the field right away.

“We talk to them every now and then, go over the playbook,” Ivey said. “They can come in and play.”

According to Ivey, cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph challenges them almost every day to win a championship like the past greats did at Miami.

“He says if you all want it, you have to go get it - it’s up to us,” Ivey said.


**Sophomore safety Gurvan Hall says his main priorities this spring has been to add muscle to his frame and continue learning the playbook. Hall has pushed his weight up to 196 pounds this off-season, up from about 185 in 2018.

“I’ve gained like 10 pounds,” Hall said. “I’m more physical, setting edges, that’s the main thing.”

As expected, the defense hasn’t changed at all for Miami and in his second year, Hall is getting more comfortable in the scheme.

“We just have to keep urgency to the ball, tackling, everyone in their playbook,” Hall said.

Although Miami had tremendous success with their stop unit in 2018, Hall feels the key to maintaining that level of play is getting everyone on the same page with the scheme.

“Everyone has to learn the playbook, make sure you lock it down,” Hall said.

How has it been different defending the new offense that Dan Enos has brought to Miami?

“It’s challenging us,” Hall said. “Last year, it was a simple offense. Now, we get a lot of motion. That’s helping us. We have to move, rotate.”


**Freshman DE Jahfari Harvey has been on campus for only three months, but is already starting to build a strong relationship with the rest of the defensive end group.

“I feel like the older guys are putting me under their wing,” Harvey said. “Jon Garvin, Scott Patchan, Greg Rousseau, Pat Joyner--if I need anything I can ask them and they’ll help me out.”

The biggest adjustment for Harvey in coming to play at the college level?

“I feel like time management is the biggest change because you have practice, workouts, study hall, or class—just a whole lot of things going on so you have to manage your time and you can’t get lost," Harvey said.

Harvey has seemed to adjust well, as he has spent the majority of his time on the second team this spring. Another difference he’s noticed is the size and speed of the O-Linemen he’s been going up against.

“It’s a little different,” Harvey said. “They’re bigger, a lot of them are quicker with their feet, so I feel my bend helps a lot getting around that edge.”

The Canes don’t expect much to change on defense despite the addition of new DC Blake Baker and Harvey doesn’t seem to mind at all.

“I love it because coach Baker is real dynamic and we’re attacking a lot," Harvey said. "Everything has been pin your ears back and go.”

Even though Harvey signed with Jess Simpson expected to be his position coach, he feels new DL coach Todd Stroud is a good fit at Miami.

“I like coach Stroud, he’s a good man," Harvey said. "He’s taught me a lot already with my hands and technique.”
 

Comments (24)

How has it been different defending the new offense that Dan Enos has brought to Miami?

“It’s challenging us,” Hall said. “Last year, it was a simple offense. Now, we get a lot of motion. That’s helping us. We have to move, rotate.”

We've been beating this horse about how much a defense is forced to think due to motion...when players answer like this it's going to continue giving us ammo until the end of 2019 lol.
 
Till now Ivey hasn’t shown enough toughness to get in there and mex it up when tackling. Too much finesse, more dog. He’s my breakout candidate. His technique is advanced for his stage now
 
Till now Ivey hasn’t shown enough toughness to get in there and mex it up when tackling. Too much finesse, more dog. He’s my breakout candidate. His technique is advanced for his stage now


He lacks confidence at times. He gets beat and let that get to his head a lot.

He’s a beast to me but he has to realize it
 
Glad to see Ford coming on strong. We've got some real talent at the DT position.
 
Excellent stuff! This group has a chance to be special.

Harvey seems wise beyond his years.

GO CANES!!
 
He lacks confidence at times. He gets beat and let that get to his head a lot.

He’s a beast to me but he has to realize it

Yep, best character trait for a db is having amnesia. Cause any cb will get beat no matter how good you are.
 
We've been beating this horse about how much a defense is forced to think due to motion...when players answer like this it's going to continue giving us ammo until the end of 2019 lol.

So thats why BC went up and down the field on them last year.....cause the offense never did it in practice.
 
If -- big if -- Ford really is living up to his promise (Kul called him the best DT he saw in that class), then we are smoking on the DL. That stout interior NT is the one thing we're missing, with Garvin, Hill, Patch and Rousseau delivering an elite pass rush on the outside, and several "plus" 3-techs. I highly doubt we can replace Willis and Jackson in 2019. But the combined line plus the 4 senior LBs could be just as special or more so as a unit.
 
**Sophomore safety Gurvan Hall says his main priorities this spring has been to add muscle to his frame and continue learning the playbook. Hall has pushed his weight up to 196 pounds this off-season, up from about 185 in 2018.
Yet the UM roster had him at 200 last season. Measurable's on rosters are fake news.
 
Dam I forgot about Pat Joyner. Is he still playing DE?
 
If -- big if -- Ford really is living up to his promise (Kul called him the best DT he saw in that class), then we are smoking on the DL. That stout interior NT is the one thing we're missing, with Garvin, Hill, Patch and Rousseau delivering an elite pass rush on the outside, and several "plus" 3-techs. I highly doubt we can replace Willis and Jackson in 2019. But the combined line plus the 4 senior LBs could be just as special or more so as a unit.
Finding two Safeties to give us 75% of what Redwine/Johnson provided and a couple DTs to give us 2/3 of what Gerald Willis produced would help us keep the defense relatively on par with last season.

The DEs will likely have better production. The LBs should be more consistent merely by seniority and contract year. I think the Corners can produce at about the same level. I expected the defense to take a step back.

But, who knows. Maybe a couple DTs and Safeties surprise us. You know where I stand on Gurvan Hall. Need Bolden or someone to be able to consistently fill the alley and play in space.
 
Finding two Safeties to give us 75% of what Redwine/Johnson provided and a couple DTs to give us 2/3 of what Gerald Willis produced would help us keep the defense relatively on par with last season.

The DEs will likely have better production. The LBs should be more consistent merely by seniority and contract year. I think the Corners can produce at about the same level. I expected the defense to take a step back.

But, who knows. Maybe a couple DTs and Safeties surprise us. You know where I stand on Gurvan Hall. Need Bolden or someone to be able to consistently fill the alley and play in space.
i feel like the DTs will be overall just as good or a little bit worse than last year, not because somebody will be as good as Willis, but due to the fact that I think there want be as much as a drop off when the 2nd and 3rd strings get in the game. Bethel, Ford, Nesta, and Chigoze, who looked pretty good at UCLA when they ran a 4-3. If the reports from spring practice on the DTs are legit we will be fairly surprise. The striker and LB position should be better. Not gonna lie though I'm worried about the secondary, even though I know they are talented.
 
Finding two Safeties to give us 75% of what Redwine/Johnson provided and a couple DTs to give us 2/3 of what Gerald Willis produced would help us keep the defense relatively on par with last season.

The DEs will likely have better production. The LBs should be more consistent merely by seniority and contract year. I think the Corners can produce at about the same level. I expected the defense to take a step back.

But, who knows. Maybe a couple DTs and Safeties surprise us. You know where I stand on Gurvan Hall. Need Bolden or someone to be able to consistently fill the alley and play in space.
The drop in defence next season will be offset by having a competent offence.
 
Finding two Safeties to give us 75% of what Redwine/Johnson provided and a couple DTs to give us 2/3 of what Gerald Willis produced would help us keep the defense relatively on par with last season.

The DEs will likely have better production. The LBs should be more consistent merely by seniority and contract year. I think the Corners can produce at about the same level. I expected the defense to take a step back.

But, who knows. Maybe a couple DTs and Safeties surprise us. You know where I stand on Gurvan Hall. Need Bolden or someone to be able to consistently fill the alley and play in space.

Am I they only one who thinks defense needs to get better than last year? I think it dangerous to assume that better offense is all we need. As much as offense and ST stunk last year, the defense, while the best unit was not good enough either. I think we had like four one possession losses - defense, offense or ST can win a game like those.
 
Am I they only one who thinks defense needs to get better than last year? I think it dangerous to assume that better offense is all we need. As much as offense and ST stunk last year, the defense, while the best unit was not good enough either. I think we had like four one possession losses - defense, offense or ST can win a game like those.
Doubt we're going to see much improvement in the top defensive metrics.

We were #3 overall in yards per play. That's about as elite as it gets for that statistic.

When you put it in the context of how long teams had the ball against us (#75 in the nation in opponent TOP) and marry that with #4 in the nation in opponents' 3rd down conversions per game (less than 4 a game!) and #1 overall in 3rd down conversion percentage (26.5%), you have tip your cap to Diaz's adjustment in 3rd down calls and Gerald Willis' ability (and a secondary tip of cap to the DEs) to consistently create havoc.

People say we should have been a shutdown defense all year at all times in all scenarios. Fine. We weren't the old canes playing against I-form or pro-style teams that could completely control games with just the defense. Easier said than done in modern football and when you're playing without an offense to help or perhaps the worst special teams I've ever seen.
 
Doubt we're going to see much improvement in the top defensive metrics.

We were #3 overall in yards per play. That's about as elite as it gets for that statistic.

When you put it in the context of how long teams had the ball against us (#75 in the nation in opponent TOP) and marry that with #4 in the nation in opponents' 3rd down conversions per game (less than 4 a game!) and #1 overall in 3rd down conversion percentage (26.5%), you have tip your cap to Diaz's adjustment in 3rd down calls and Gerald Willis' ability (and a secondary tip of cap to the DEs) to consistently create havoc.

People say we should have been a shutdown defense all year at all times in all scenarios. Fine. We weren't the old canes playing against I-form or pro-style teams that could completely control games with just the defense. Easier said than done in modern football and when you're playing without an offense to help or perhaps the worst special teams I've ever seen.

Agreed. Our offense and punting consistently put our defense in tough positions.
 
Imagine our defense last year with a semi-competent offense and a punter that averaged more than 5 yards a kick?

Sure would be nice to help those dudes out a little this year since they will be missing some key pieces from last year
 

2022 Commits

WR
6'2"
185
Nashville, TN
OLB
6'1"
195
Miami, FL
CB
6'0"
160
Lexington, MS
QB
6'4"
205
Valdosta, GA
CB
6'1"
175
Fort Myers, FL
S
6'1"
170
Orlando, FL
WR
6'1"
185
Mandeville, LA
MLB
6'1"
210
Manvel, TX
OT
6'7"
275
Sandersville, GA

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