• Attention: Register today to view CanesInSight Ad-Free for 7 days.

Spring Cleaning: Defense

Spring Cleaning: Defense

Stefan Adams
Yesterday, we unleashed and cleaned out everything we’ve been hearing on spring practice about the offense, which can be found *here*, and today is all about how defense is looking heading into the summer months.


Defensive End

What want to hear
: That Gregory Rousseau picked up right where he left off.

What we’re hearing: Rousseau’s gotten praise from every coach/teammate in interviews, every source, etc., the highest being a source saying he’s got the length, hands, and get-off to be a top 5 NFL draft pick. Another said he is the best DE the defensive staff has seen in four years at Miami, and that he is better than Joe Jackson and Jon Garvin at this same stage. I’m told he is even more hungry in 2019 considering his expected breakout last year was stolen from him. Lost in the commotion around Rousseau is the standout spring Scott Patchan just had. He hasn’t missed a beat moving to the first team in his senior season.

Jon Garvin continues to do Jon Garvin things and there’s not much more to say about him. The staff knew how talented Jahfari Harvey was coming in as an early enrollee, but one team source says that some did not expect him to be this ready to play right away. Harvey is commanding playing time right now, has put on 10 pounds since his arrival, and is a sure bet to see the field in 2019. His play gave the coaches confidence in moving Patrick Joyner back to LB.

What it means: The emergence of Harvey solidified the group at DE, and gives the coaches 4 guys they can trust in games. And that’s without grad transfer Trevon Hill even on campus yet. Assuming everyone stays healthy, this crew will challenge the linebackers for the best position on the defense.


Defensive Tackle

What we want to hear
: That one (or two) players have improved enough to help replace Gerald Willis.

What we’re hearing: The breakout player of the entire spring may have been Jon Ford, who is really starting to put his physical talent all together. At least one team source feels he is ready to dominate in 2019 and it was unfortunate to see him go down midway through spring.

Have no fear, because Nesta Silvera stepped right in and was pointed to as UM’s most disruptive interior player after Ford went out by multiple sources. If you watched the spring game, then you already know that Silvera was bullying his opponents out there and showing his fiery demeanor. He’s going to play a huge role on this team and one source expects him to eventually lock down a starting role.

Pat Bethel was a steady presence on the line and he is a coaches’ favorite: he works till the whistle, doesn’t take plays off, and always knows his assignment. There’s a good chance he is eventually transitioned into a super sub role as Ford and Silvera keep progressing, but there is always room for guys like Bethel on your team.

Jordan Miller has shown a lot of potential as a massive space-eater that is still flexible and quick in his movements. The staff is confident that he will continue to make strides towards becoming an impact player in the next few years and he is expected to contribute in a bit role this season.

Tyreic Martin has finally got some mentions for the first time in his fourth season at UM, but he’s pretty set as the #5 guy right now.

What it means: Miami opened spring with the huge question mark of how they would replace Gerald Willis, and by the end, they got a resounding answer. Ford and Silvera really stepped up, and Bethel has been a solid veteran presence. Add in the potential of Miller, and incoming grad transfer Chigozie Nnoruka, and DT feels like it’s in a better spot than where we started the spring.


Linebacker/Striker

What we want to hear
: That the second unit is starting to form some depth-like substance.

What we’re hearing: Nothing new on Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney at MIKE and WILL; both are still very good and are leading the defense on and off the field. The noise has come from behind them, where BJ Jennings looks set to handle Mike Smith’s utility man role from last season and the staff believes he proved he deserves reps this fall after heading out with a groin injury late in camp. Patrick Joyner moved here from DE for the last week of spring and impressed in the spring game, leading the team in tackles. He looks like he could end up sticking at LB long-term, but needs to cut some weight.

Both Waynmon Steed (knee) and De’Andre Wilder (neck) have uncertain timetables for return but are unlikely to play this year barring a surprise.

At striker linebacker, Romeo Finley is much more comfortable in the hybrid striker role than at traditional safety and the game is slowing down for him a bit. A team source expects him to build on his breakout junior season and really make a name for himself in the ACC this season. A big spring surprise here was Gilbert Frierson, and he got a lot of love from coaches in interviews as well. One source says Frierson is the complete package at the spot and has been exactly what the coaches are looking for, being quick enough to cover slot receivers while being physical enough to shed blocks and make tackles at the line. He still needs to put on more weight but he is well on his way to playing time in 2019.

Zach McCloud missed the entire spring recovering from wrist surgery but is expected to be a full participant this fall.

What it means: The injuries at LB really took their toll by the end of spring, but it was a pleasant surprise to see Jennings and Joyner get good reviews. They’ll be pushed for their backup roles by Sam Brooks and Avery Huff’s arrival in the summer. Frierson really has a chance to be an impact player in a year and it will be exciting to watch his trajectory this season. Miami’s top 4 at linebacker are arguably the most experienced and talented in the ACC.


Cornerback

What we want to hear
: That someone has taken a hold of the second corner spot.

What we’re hearing: Trajan Bandy has assumed the #1 spot and keeps proving why he’s likely to play on Sundays. He’s not a prototypical #1 corner at 5’9”, but he’s well-built, uses advanced technique to play bigger than his size, and has the type of versatility where he can play both outside and inside when needed.

The real battle is going on for #2 cornerback, and most feel that it is DJ Ivey that has a slight lead there. Mike Rumph recently compared Ivey to himself in an interview, never a bad thing for a young player looking to earn a starting role. Ivey uses his length well and plays physically, two attributes that Rumph wants to see from his corners. Team sources feel Ivey could have an All-ACC type season if he stays healthy. Blades is close behind, but is making more mistakes out there right now. Regardless, both will play a ton this season and have bright futures at UM. Bethel looks like he could get reps if needed, but he’s still clearly behind Ivey and Blades.

What it means: Bandy has been an invaluable presence to a young corner group and has really led by example in bringing along Blades, Ivey, and Bethel. The overall numbers just aren’t where they need to be at this spot though, and Rumph is already telling summer enrollees Christian Williams and Te’Cory Couch to be ready to play.


Safety

What we want to hear
: That Miami has someone to keep Bubba Bolden’s seat warm.

What we’re hearing: Gurvan Hall was a guy that excited people in the program this spring, and that showed as he finished as a starter along with Robert Knowles. Hall is the type of rangy safety on the back end that the staff is looking for and he isn’t afraid to lower the boom as well. The book on Knowles is well written at this point: A team source says he practices well but struggles to stay mentally focused on game day.

Amari Carter continues to push Hall and Knowles here, and he was getting a lot of praise early on in interviews from the staff, but was sidelined with injury most of the spring until the last week of camp and finished with the second unit. Carter is another hard-hitter that Miami is hoping can excel in this defense, but UM is worried that his deficiencies in space will hold him back.

Derrick Smith also missed most of camp with injury and really could have used the extra reps in transitioning back to safety. James Murphy showed in the spring game he’s not just a special teams guy, picking off a pass and forcing a fumble.

What it means: Replacing the type of duo that was Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine won’t be easy, but it’s encouraging that an elite talent like Hall is beginning to rise to the top. We would have liked to see this unit stay healthy, start to string together good days, and build depth, so it was disappointing that it didn’t happen. Bolden is going to have every chance to come in this summer and take Knowles’ spot from Day 1.
 

Comments (75)

The least of our concerns.

Injuries hurt us badly this Spring.

Looking forward to new additions from the Portal and our Summer entry recruits...they can add more needed depth to an already good unit
 
Yesterday, we unleashed and cleaned out everything we’ve been hearing on spring practice about the offense, which can be found *here*, and today is all about how defense is looking heading into the summer months.


Defensive End

What want to hear
: That Gregory Rousseau picked up right where he left off.

What we’re hearing: Rousseau’s gotten praise from every coach/teammate in interviews, every source, etc., the highest being a source saying he’s got the length, hands, and get-off to be a top 5 NFL draft pick. Another said he is the best DE the defensive staff has seen in four years at Miami, and that he is better than Joe Jackson and Jon Garvin at this same stage. I’m told he is even more hungry in 2019 considering his expected breakout last year was stolen from him. Lost in the commotion around Rousseau is the standout spring Scott Patchan just had. He hasn’t missed a beat moving to the first team in his senior season.

Jon Garvin continues to do Jon Garvin things and there’s not much more to say about him. The staff knew how talented Jahfari Harvey was coming in as an early enrollee, but one team source says that some did not expect him to be this ready to play right away. Harvey is commanding playing time right now, has put on 10 pounds since his arrival, and is a sure bet to see the field in 2019. His play gave the coaches confidence in moving Patrick Joyner back to LB.

What it means: The emergence of Harvey solidified the group at DE, and gives the coaches 4 guys they can trust in games. And that’s without grad transfer Trevon Hill even on campus yet. Assuming everyone stays healthy, this crew will challenge the linebackers for the best position on the defense.


Defensive Tackle

What we want to hear
: That one (or two) players have improved enough to help replace Gerald Willis.

What we’re hearing: The breakout player of the entire spring may have been Jon Ford, who is really starting to put his physical talent all together. At least one team source feels he is ready to dominate in 2019 and it was unfortunate to see him go down midway through spring.

Have no fear, because Nesta Silvera stepped right in and was pointed to as UM’s most disruptive interior player after Ford went out by multiple sources. If you watched the spring game, then you already know that Silvera was bullying his opponents out there and showing his fiery demeanor. He’s going to play a huge role on this team and one source expects him to eventually lock down a starting role.

Pat Bethel was a steady presence on the line and he is a coaches’ favorite: he works till the whistle, doesn’t take plays off, and always knows his assignment. There’s a good chance he is eventually transitioned into a super sub role as Ford and Silvera keep progressing, but there is always room for guys like Bethel on your team.

Jordan Miller has shown a lot of potential as a massive space-eater that is still flexible and quick in his movements. The staff is confident that he will continue to make strides towards becoming an impact player in the next few years and he is expected to contribute in a bit role this season.

Tyreic Martin has finally got some mentions for the first time in his fourth season at UM, but he’s pretty set as the #5 guy right now.

What it means: Miami opened spring with the huge question mark of how they would replace Gerald Willis, and by the end, they got a resounding answer. Ford and Silvera really stepped up, and Bethel has been a solid veteran presence. Add in the potential of Miller, and incoming grad transfer Chigozie Nnoruka, and DT feels like it’s in a better spot than where we started the spring.


Linebacker/Striker

What we want to hear
: That the second unit is starting to form some depth-like substance.

What we’re hearing: Nothing new on Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney at MIKE and WILL; both are still very good and are leading the defense on and off the field. The noise has come from behind them, where BJ Jennings looks set to handle Mike Smith’s utility man role from last season and the staff believes he proved he deserves reps this fall after heading out with a groin injury late in camp. Patrick Joyner moved here from DE for the last week of spring and impressed in the spring game, leading the team in tackles. He looks like he could end up sticking at LB long-term, but needs to cut some weight.

Both Waynmon Steed (knee) and De’Andre Wilder (neck) have uncertain timetables for return but are unlikely to play this year barring a surprise.

At striker linebacker, Romeo Finley is much more comfortable in the hybrid striker role than at traditional safety and the game is slowing down for him a bit. A team source expects him to build on his breakout junior season and really make a name for himself in the ACC this season. A big spring surprise here was Gilbert Frierson, and he got a lot of love from coaches in interviews as well. One source says Frierson is the complete package at the spot and has been exactly what the coaches are looking for, being quick enough to cover slot receivers while being physical enough to shed blocks and make tackles at the line. He still needs to put on more weight but he is well on his way to playing time in 2019.

Zach McCloud missed the entire spring recovering from wrist surgery but is expected to be a full participant this fall.

What it means: The injuries at LB really took their toll by the end of spring, but it was a pleasant surprise to see Jennings and Joyner get good reviews. They’ll be pushed for their backup roles by Sam Brooks and Avery Huff’s arrival in the summer. Frierson really has a chance to be an impact player in a year and it will be exciting to watch his trajectory this season. Miami’s top 4 at linebacker are arguably the most experienced and talented in the ACC.


Cornerback

What we want to hear
: That someone has taken a hold of the second corner spot.

What we’re hearing: Trajan Bandy has assumed the #1 spot and keeps proving why he’s likely to play on Sundays. He’s not a prototypical #1 corner at 5’9”, but he’s well-built, uses advanced technique to play bigger than his size, and has the type of versatility where he can play both outside and inside when needed.

The real battle is going on for #2 cornerback, and most feel that it is DJ Ivey that has a slight lead there. Mike Rumph recently compared Ivey to himself in an interview, never a bad thing for a young player looking to earn a starting role. Ivey uses his length well and plays physically, two attributes that Rumph wants to see from his corners. Team sources feel Ivey could have an All-ACC type season if he stays healthy. Blades is close behind, but is making more mistakes out there right now. Regardless, both will play a ton this season and have bright futures at UM. Bethel looks like he could get reps if needed, but he’s still clearly behind Ivey and Blades.

What it means: Bandy has been an invaluable presence to a young corner group and has really led by example in bringing along Blades, Ivey, and Bethel. The overall numbers just aren’t where they need to be at this spot though, and Rumph is already telling summer enrollees Christian Williams and Te’Cory Couch to be ready to play.


Safety

What we want to hear
: That Miami has someone to keep Bubba Bolden’s seat warm.

What we’re hearing: Gurvan Hall was a guy that excited people in the program this spring, and that showed as he finished as a starter along with Robert Knowles. Hall is the type of rangy safety on the back end that the staff is looking for and he isn’t afraid to lower the boom as well. The book on Knowles is well written at this point: A team source says he practices well but struggles to stay mentally focused on game day.

Amari Carter continues to push Hall and Knowles here, and he was getting a lot of praise early on in interviews from the staff, but was sidelined with injury most of the spring until the last week of camp and finished with the second unit. Carter is another hard-hitter that Miami is hoping can excel in this defense, but UM is worried that his deficiencies in space will hold him back.

Derrick Smith also missed most of camp with injury and really could have used the extra reps in transitioning back to safety. James Murphy showed in the spring game he’s not just a special teams guy, picking off a pass and forcing a fumble.

What it means: Replacing the type of duo that was Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine won’t be easy, but it’s encouraging that an elite talent like Hall is beginning to rise to the top. We would have liked to see this unit stay healthy, start to string together good days, and build depth, so it was disappointing that it didn’t happen. Bolden is going to have every chance to come in this summer and take Knowles’ spot from Day 1.
Excellent overview Stefan! Thank you for your efforts one more time!!
 
The least of our concerns.

Injuries hurt us badly this Spring.

Looking forward to new additions from the Portal and our Summer entry recruits...they can add more needed depth to an already good unit

I believe we should see an uptick in transfer activity before camp as some players may not vibe with new coaches, or got passed up in spring may be looking for greener pasture, the issue would be getting the waiver for this year with a shortened time frame and I dont know many grad transfer kids coming this late.

I can also see a lot of schools doing what the canes did at QB, essentially saying everyone might start to keep everyone committed. Kind of what Enos/Saban did last year with Hurts/Tua. They convinced Hurts to stay and that the reps would be split but anyone watching games realized Hurts was a very valuable backup and they gave him a few series to pacify him.
 
Funny also that most posters assumed a Hall-Carter duo but looks like we should be praying for a Hall-Bolden duo if Carter is struggling in space.

Man I want to see Rousseau do it when the lights come on. No more practice All American talk about this guy. That's HIGH praise for someone to say he is a top 5 pick waiting to happen. I need to see this this year or its all just hype.

I don't think our D takes a step back and if they do it will be minor. The first team D has to give you reason for optimism this year especially a DT duo of Ford-Silvera.
 
so instead of the DL position taking a step back, it looks like the secondary will determine whether the defense takes a step back or go forward. We will just have to see, hopefully some of these guys know their weakness and work on them during the break.

Though Frierson is doing amazing at striker rn, I would have like the coaches to have moved him to Safety and move either Carter or D Smith to striker. I just think that would have made more sense; compared to Carter and D Smith, Frierson ability in space is a lot better than both of them and then you wouldn't have to worry as much about Carter's trouble in space.
 
Last edited:
D
It's not homerism if I say that I think this D will really begin to bully teams this year. Praying the O is competent enough to get the ball to playmakers. This team has enough talent to make a NY6 bowl.
 
This defense will be a top 5 unit. I'd take our defensive ends over anyone in the country. We are legit 5 deep with Garvin, Patchan, Rousseau, Hill, and Harvey. At DT I know guys we will be relying on have limited experience but I don't think we will see much of a drop off from last year if any. LB it's a money season for these guys and we just need to stay healthy. CB I'm slightly concerned about - our best corner is 5'9 and the rest of the guys are unproven. We need Christian Williams to be ready to play. At safety, I feel good about the unit. Once Bubba Bolden gets on campus, this might be our second most talented unit on defense. Gurvan and Bubba is a spooky.
 
This is a top 5 defense if healthy

DE 1 - Jon Garvin

DE 2 - Scott Patchan or Trevon Hill or Greg Rousseau

DT 1 - Jon Ford

DT 2 - Nesta

ILB - Shaq

WLB - Pinkney

Striker - Finley

CB 1 - Bandy

CB 2 - Ivey

FS - Gurvan Hall

SS - Bolden


Takeaways -

- We have the best DEs in the country, hands down
- Sounds like Nesta and Ford are ready to eat, and plenty of depth behind (Bethel, Chigozie, Miller, 3 Freshman, etc.)
- LB depth is worrisome but with the addition of the Striker position I think we'll be good.
- Love hearing that Ivey and Blades have progressed, but numbers are still a little light at CB
- Need Bolden to come in and take the other safety spot
 
it will be interesting to see how rigidly defined the positions are on this defense. if hall, bolden, finley, carter, frierson, smith are all seeing snaps in different combinations and being moved around the field does it really matter who is technically playing safety vs who is technically playing striker?

i would consider finley, bolden, carter and frierson to be front 7 players along w/ the LB and DL, and our depth and talent there seems like the clear best in the ACC after clemson. to me our weak spots right now are deep safety behind hall and depth at cornerback because those positions can't really be experimented with like the safety/OLB/striker position.
 
The least of our concerns.

Injuries hurt us badly this Spring.

Looking forward to new additions from the Portal and our Summer entry recruits...they can add more needed depth to an already good unit
Yes, injuries hurt us (no pun intended), but none of them were season ending injuries meaning all will be ready for Fall camp. We are in great shape. I just hope we an get thru Fall camp without any setbacks.
 
Last edited:
This DL is going to eat come the fourth quarter of every game. As long as our safeties are capable of avoiding complete breakdowns in coverage I’m thinking 24+ points allowed is going to be a very rare sight
 

2022 Commits

WR
6'2"
185
Nashville, TN
CB
6'0"
160
Lexington, MS
QB
6'4"
205
Valdosta, GA
CB
6'1"
175
Fort Myers, FL
CB
6'2"
180
Alabaster, AL
WR
6'1"
185
Mandeville, LA
MLB
6'1"
210
Manvel, TX
OT
6'7"
275
Sandersville, GA

Latest Predictions

by ajone228
High
by Canedog
Medium
by Canedog
Certain
by Umbra
Medium
by Canes2082
High
09/04 @
ALA
09/11 vs
APP
09/18 vs
MSU
09/25 vs
CCSU
09/30 vs
UVA
10/16 @
UNC
10/23 vs
NCST
10/30 @
PITT
11/06 vs
GT
11/13 @
FSU
11/20 vs
VT
11/27 @
DUKE
Top