Miami Central HC Roland Smith Q & A

Miami Central HC Roland Smith Q & A

Peter Ariz
Peter Ariz
I had the opportunity to speak with Miami Central Head Coach Roland Smith, who is in is first season at the helm of the Rockets program. Smith played defensive back at the University of Miami and was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1991. The new Rockets Head Coach was also the former coach at Miami Northwestern and led the Bulls to a perfect season in 2006.

Q: Your program has been named the number one team in the country by a preseason poll. How do you make sure this accolade doesn’t get to your team’s head?
Smith: We’re just trying to focus on Miami Central. Like I told them, I know all the chatter is out there about these rankings and stuff like that, but it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. We have to make sure we are preparing on a daily basis and making sure we are perfecting our craft so we’re ready come game day.

Q: Talk about having to replace Telly Lockette and the job he did here.
Smith: He did just a tremendous job here. He also did a tremendous job with me as my offensive coordinator when I was at Northwestern and when the community came calling, and the principal, and the AD, and former coaches were asking about putting me back in I said ‘you know what, I have an opportunity to go back and coach with some coaches that have worked with me’. I put my foot forward and got the job and I was thankful for it.

Q: How much will you be changing the philosophies that Coach Lockette had in place and how much will stay the same?
Smith: Everything we did together when Coach Lockette was with me, him and the coaching staff continued that here. I was able to retain my offensive coordinator/assistant head coach Alexander Snipes and also my defensive coordinator Max Edwards who also worked with me. We ran the same things we did before that we do now at Miami Central.

Q: Who are some under-the-radar players you have going into the season?
Smith: I really think my quarterback Keith Reed is an under-the-radar type kid. He was a kid who was kind of held back last year because of the two studs in the backfield, but he’s going to do a tremendous job for us this year throwing the football and he’s going to open up our offense a little bit more because we are expecting a lot of 8-man fronts. Another prospect under-the-radar is our third-string tailback Malik Adams who has been behind Joe (Yearby) and Dalvin (Cook) for years and schools have been trying to get him to transfer, but he’s a Rocket at heart. He’s been working real hard and he’s going to do some tremendous things for us on the offensive side of the ball.

Q: Tell us about a couple of young guys who people will be talking about this season.
Smith: We are going to have a linebacker by the name of Donovan Thompson, number 44 and he will be a sophomore. He reminds me so much of Sean Spence when he was a sophomore and I tell him that all the time that I see it in him. He’s going to be a kid whose name is everywhere and everybody in the country will come in and recruit him. We also have Calvin Brewton, a defensive back who’s going to be a junior and transferred in from Columbus. He’s doing a tremendous job with the transition. We have some other kids, but those two stand out right now.

Q: You have two of the top running backs in the country in Dalvin Cook and Joseph Yearby. How do the coaches make sure both of them are getting the right amount of touches?
Smith: We do a tremendous job of managing their touches and making sure that one of them is in the slot if the other is at running back and we’ll do some different things where we have them in the backfield at the same time, so you don’t know which way we’re going to come at you.

Q: Do you ever hear Dalvin and D’Vante (Phillips) going back-and-forth with Trevor Darling and Joe about their college choices?
Smith: Not really. They talk about going to school with each other on a daily basis like ‘you should come to Miami, you should come to Florida,’ but once they get on the field it’s all love. They’re Rocket family first and foremost, but that’s always going to happen when you have kids committed to certain schools so it’s not over till it’s over. Signing day is a long time from now, but I’m glad a lot of the kids got their commitments out of the way so they can focus on the season.

Q: Dalvin told me he’s solid to UF, but that Miami is still on him extremely hard. Talk about what you’ve seen from the Miami staff in their recruitment of Dalvin.
Smith: Coach Hurlie Brown is doing a tremendous job saying ‘hey, I’ve got to get this guy to stay home’. He says he knows he has Joe and I want Joe, but I still need both of them and I want them to have the same careers at the University of Miami that they’re having at Miami Central. He’s not giving up, but they’ve just got to keep recruiting him like they’re doing because he committed early so we’ll see how it goes.

Q: With you having your ties to the Miami program, what have you seen from Coach Golden as far as recruiting the area?
Smith: He’s doing a tremendous job trying to reach out to the kids and the coaching staff in the community. He has the recruiting barbecue after the scrimmage where they invite some of the top recruits and things of that nature win the kids over and helps build a rapport with them.

Comments (11)

Smith was really pro Miami at Northwestern. Hope he will still steer players to us in the future.
Good to have another Cane Head Coach at talent rich HS. Hope Roland wears his ring to practice for the kids to see. He is from the glory days. Glad to see him back.
Roland caught a bad break with that Antwan Easterling situation. He took the rap for something that was pretty petty. Yeah he covered it up but he shouldnt have lost his job over it. Glad he was given a chance to restore his name in the Miami community.
Alot of these kids don't have the "dislike" for the gaytors many of us ol hardcore Canes have. During their formidable years the gaytors were the only team representing the State in a winning way. Always on tv and Tebow mania that we all have come to find out is probably worse than that big headed qb under Spurrier. As the 9th graders from here on will come to recognize The U as SoFl team that will all change. They will be rushing to commit when offered. When Lane and all those others come home and see the love these boys are getting they'll regret their decisions. A buddy of mine that played basketball for gaytors told me many of the SoFl guy that come to G'ville are the selfish ones that want to be the big cow in a small pasture.
pretty good coach, a canes feeder and his kids usually qualify. Thats all u can ask for at this point.....

Realize that whole central staff are the guys from when Sean Spence and crew were at NW.