Holley working on hands and stance to see time as freshman

Holley working on hands and stance to see time as freshman

Stefan Adams
Miami Hurricanes freshman defensive tackle Jalar Holley is one of a few players coming to play at UM that is not originally from the state of Florida. The native Georgian has noticed a difference in the environment playing in South Florida, but is just glad to be playing college football at the end of the day.

“It’s fun, it’s a different environment – different from high school,” Holley told CIS at media day. “The intensity is way faster, the tempo is way up there.”

Along with fellow out of state freshmen DT’s Jason Blissett and Jared Harrison-Hunte, Holley has been given a crash course in what it means to be a Hurricane both on and off the field these past few months.

“I’ve actually felt real comfortable,” Holley said. “Being with the older guys and the two other young boys, we had to learn fast, but it’s just kind of amazing how quick we caught on to the Miami tradition.”

We know the Canes’ program has high standards on the field, but how do they instill their traditions of excellence off the field?

“Time management, learning to be at places on time, doing the right thing at all times, and knowing that everyone’s watching.”

When Holley originally signed with Miami in December 2018, Jess Simpson was still the DL coach in Coral Gables. Just a few months later, Simpson was gone and head coach Manny Diaz brought in Todd Stroud to replace him at the position, so Holley had to start from scratch in developing a relationship with his position coach all over again.

“Coach Stroud, he’s a humble guy, he’s a good person,” Holley said. “He’ll coach you and teach you more than he’ll yell at you. He’ll lead by example. Coach Stroud has been nothing but amazing, and he’s told the truth to all of us and never led us in the wrong path. He’s just trying to get us young guys caught up.”

In Miami’s first game of the season against UF, Holley did not see playing time and he has mainly worked with the 3rd team and the scout team this fall. What does Stroud tell him he needs to improve on to see the field as a freshman?

“I just need to improve my hands,” Holley said. “That’s really all I need to work on is my hands and my stance.”

Since Diaz took control of the defense over three years ago, Miami’s defensive line has become feared as one of the nation’s best units. Now that Holley and his fellow freshmen are on campus, Holley doesn’t see that changing, at least not under their watch.

“Our defensive tackle room is definitely strong, we’ve got some size and we definitely have speed,” Holley said. “Me, Jason, and Jared, coach Diaz says we’re very athletic and that we can definitely move. The older guys, they’ve definitely embraced that leadership role, and took us under their wing in a way. Our defensive line room, I’m not worried. We’ll be good for a couple years.”

Holley comes from a nationally-recognized high school football program in Buford that is no stranger to high expectations. That’s why he has lofty goals when it comes to his career at UM as well.

“My goals for me would be to lead the nation in sacks,” Holley said.

Comments (10)

Our DT position is stacked and the best talent is young. I got somebody among the freshman trio pushing for a starting job next season.
Love interviews like this. Great writeup.
I’m live the three freshmen DTs. We finally have some depth and class spacing across the DTs and DEs. Defense definitely starting to look like a BCS type team. Need offensive line to get there quickly.