Stroud, Rumph talk defense

Stefan Adams
8 min read
Defensive line coach Todd Stroud is part of a bevy of new UM position coaches heading into their first season with the Canes. While Stroud is still getting used to his new group, he sees no shortage of talent and competition among Miami’s defensive linemen.

“We have some good competition right now in camp going into the final week, going into the final scrimmage,” Stroud said. “We’ll have to see how it plays out, but we have a lot of guys competing right now and still trying to solidify themselves as back-ups or starters. It’s been a great camp. And like I said, competition breeds that, and the competition has been unbelievable. Their effort, their attitude…it’s been a great camp so far.”

The Canes have to replace one of their most productive defensive tackles in recent memory this season, as Gerald Willis and his 18 TFL are now off to the NFL. Both Jon Ford and Pat Bethel have been mainstays on the first team since spring, and Stroud likes what he’s seen from them this fall.

“Jon Ford has had an amazing camp,” Stroud said. “Obviously. he got hurt midway through the spring and missed about seven practices. He had a great summer. He really hasn’t missed a step in camp. Pat Bethel has been very solid too.”

Behind them was Nesta Silvera, but the sophomore interior lineman is out for 6-8 weeks with a foot injury. Stepping up in his place have been grad transfer Chigozie Nnoruka, reshirt freshman Jordan Miller, and UM’s three true freshmen DT’s.

“Gozie from UCLA, he is a dynamic player. He really is. He just has to continue to learn our system and learn our style of play and learn what we’re doing, but boy, he is coming along at a very fast rate,” Stroud said. “Really, not the surprise because he started doing it at the end of last spring, a guy who’s really having one of the best camps of all 19 guys is Jordan Miller. He is quicker, he’s stronger, he’s more fit, he has lost some body weight. You can really tell. The biggest difference in this bunch is the job that Coach Feeley has done with them. Not only the job physically, which is obvious – the job in between their ears. They’re tougher, they’re more dedicated. They kind of get it. Tip of the cap to him.

“The three freshmen that they signed last year have been phenomenal, in [Jason] Blissett, [Jared] Hunte and [Jalar] Holley. They’ve been phenomenal. We’re going to have some depth at that position for years to come with their athleticism and where they are right now.”

At end, Jon Garvin and Scott Patchan have been working with the ones, but grad transfer Trevon Hill is pushing the pair to claim a starting spot.

“Neo (Garvin) is probably from the end position, his work ethic and what he’s doing is almost next level stuff,” Stroud said. “Trevon Hill is getting it. He overcame a lot of academic stuff this summer, graduated from Virginia Tech and had to finish two classes, couldn’t get enrolled, and didn’t train in our system the entire summer so he’s playing his way into shape right now. He had a peak and then he hit rock bottom. It’s a conditioning issue so we’ll keep chopping wood with him. He’s going to be great.”

Although those upperclassmen have more than set the pace at defensive end, UM has no shortage of young talent at the spot. Redshirt freshman Gregory Rousseau and true freshman Jahfari Harvey have also made their fair share of standout plays as well.

“Greg factors into the equation,” Stroud said. “Greg’s been a little nicked up the past few days and when you have a little strain in your lower back and you’re 6-foot-8, it kind of limits what you can do as far as running, but he should be healthy by mid-week and get back in the hunt. He’s fine, he’s competing and is going hard… Jahfari, he might be as athletic as anybody on our football team. He really is. He has phenomenal speed, change of direction, all of the athleticism stuff - he’s got it all. He just has to fit in. Very talented kids.”

Interestingly enough, Stroud also mentioned that Miami was looking into the possibility of a 6th season for Patchan; the 5th year senior from IMG Academy missed most of his first three seasons at Miami with injuries.

**Although it’s true that the QB’s posted a 71% completion percentage in Miami’s first scrimmage, cornerback coach Mike Rumph was ultimately encouraged by the play of his group.

“I was really happy because besides defending the pass, we were very physical. I saw some guys tackle that I had never seen tackle before. The effort was there,” Rumph said. “I think that once we put the effort there and guys are understanding the scheme, I think that [completion] percentage will go down a little bit, so we really didn’t look at those numbers. But then we got our hands on the ball, about six interceptions and a couple fumble recoveries. So overall, they threw the ball and checked it down a good amount, but we did a good job of defending the deep ball and not allowing a lot of big plays.”

The key battle at CB this fall has been at #2 corner, with both sophomores Al Blades and DJ Ivey fighting for the right to start across from junior Trajan Bandy. So far, Blades has been winning that competition.

“I’m just trying to get the most competitive situation that I can between Al and DJ,” Rumph said. “All summer they were pretty consistent working out and training. But as far as every single element of just going to class, being on time, doing your treatment, Al is just a little more advanced with that and he had a good amount of leadership in the weight room and I put him out there just to push DJ a little more. But they both have been pretty consistent and battling back and forth and sometimes I change it up, but Al is the guy for now.”

Over the offseason, Miami brought in two highly-talented 4-star cornerbacks in Te’Cory Couch and Christian Williams, guys that Rumph sees playing an immediate role on the team.

“Both of those guys have been pretty consistent,” Rumph said. “Te’Cory has more of a workload through work at both nickel and corner. But he has been really natural with his hips and his change of direction and his tenacity with running to the ball, even shows some signs of tackling and that’s Te’Cory.

“Christian has done the same, just being a bigger corner, more physical, flat-line speed. I’m just getting him to play a little bit lower, not be so high, and continue to show us that physicality. Both corners need to be able to translate what they learn in the meeting room to the field and we do a lot of pressuring. This has been a tough week. What we are doing is, these kids got to be in that meeting room and in 30 minutes I expect them to come out and perfect it. And if they don’t, there is discipline. So we’ve been really hard on them this week and I’ve seen these freshmen fight through all that.”

Despite the true freshmen pushing him, redshirt freshman Nigel Bethel has held onto the #4 corner role behind Bandy, Blades, and Ivey.

“With his speed, he’s a tough kid,” Rumph said of Bethel. “I think he’ll be able to get in there and complete a fourth corner tackle assignment to help us be successful on third downs.”

On August 24th in the opener, the Canes will be matching up with a Florida Gators receiving corps that is known for their size and physicality. Even still, Rumph sees his group being able to give problems to any group of wideouts in the country.

"We've been able to go against smaller, quicker receivers, went against bigger receivers and Florida has great size on their end,” Rumph said. “But we are technicians, are going to do what we do. We don't change much and that's what makes us one of the top passing defenses in the country, that we can keep it simple and be technicians at what we do and just be up for the challenge."

Comments (46)

Loving the confidence the young dbs are showing too

I really think people discount just how much a defense can be aided by having a good offense( that can get out to quick, big leads) and better kicking game. Last year was such a hard slog on them in many ways. They were like the starting pitcher who would pitch a 4-hitter, give up 2 runs, but wasn't guaranteed of winning games.

Just getting 3 or 4 more 1st downs per half, can aid a defense throughout the year as you keep them off the field longer.

The strength of this unit is it's edge rushers, well, it's much easier to be one when you're up 24-7 in the 2nd half, as opposed to a 10-7 grinder in the 4th.

And these young ballhawks under the direction of the Rumph-shaker has me excited, long, lean, twitchy athletes from So. Florida. They'll be fine
Good Work @Stefan Adams! You really out here “mashing works” as we say in the Virgin Islands bro! All your insights are always rich! We’re gonna be alright this year. My hope is that these kids stay focused, hungry and balanced. Mainly, cuz we see how they plummeted after being ranked 2nd in the country. We seen the near heights in ‘17 and the plummeting last year. I hope the leadership of this staff, which most of them are tenured, keeps this young team honest and ready to feast on all things. Cane Tingz!
Seeing the transformation Corn made in just one season made me a believer in Rumph early.

I'm still there.

Some people love to rail on his recruiting because of what he missed, instead of focusing on the ballers he rolls out there every single Saturday.
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"Behind them was Nesta Silvera, but the sophomore interior lineman is out for 6-8 weeks with a foot injury."

If Nesta's injury was really caused by a fight, then Coach Diaz should seriously be considered giving him a "Red Shirt" for 2019.

No One is ABOVE the Greater Good of the TEAM.


You got to love Rumph’s confidence. I have been frustrated by some of the recruiting misses but overall the dude has delivered a talented group every year on the field and I expect even more this year. I just wish we had a couple more bodies at CB for depth purposes.
The defense is going to be beautiful to watch. That front 7 is unfair.

Side note: any good Canes bars in NYC/NJ? Moving opening weekend and I refuse to miss anything.
The defense is going to be beautiful to watch. That front 7 is unfair.

Side note: any good Canes bars in NYC/NJ? Moving opening weekend and I refuse to miss anything.

In NYC the Miami spot is Brother Jimmy's BBQ, right across the street from Madison Square Garden, watched a few Miami games before I had to cover the fights, there.

As for our defense, yeah, Im thinking 85 Bears on BALCO.
Yeah, I thought Coach Rumph said six in the video... It's surprising that no one else mentioned that our DBs had such a great scrimmage.

That definitely is something to be excited about. Sounds like they tackled well also.

I appreciate the fact that Coach Rumph gave the DB group their proper due because the reports left out a lot of pertinent information. Man, I'm wicked stoked.

Does anyone who was there know who the other DBs that accounted for the six picks were? And also, was it just six picks by the corner back group or does that include the picks by Gurvan as well? Coach Rumph wasn't really clear on that.

If I had to guess, the way he was so assertive in naming Bandy the number 1 guy on the corner back depth chart, he probably made some good plays. Did Bandy catch any picks?

And Al Blades sounds like a good student. I'm rooting for him to live up to and/or surpass his vision of his superhero. I know that's a special feeling for a kid. He probably caught at least one, if not two.

It still seems like he's trying to push Ivey to be a better young man on and off the field. Strain him for every ounce of his greatness like he's the Legendary Super Saiyan. If he can get back to what he was his last year at South Dade, we got another Artie out there. Did he catch any picks?

Did uhhh, did Romeo Finley or even Derrick Smith catch any? I know he was having a good week of camp before the scrimmage.
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