Versatility could be key for Canes secondary
The defensive back position was viewed as a potential weakness for the 2016 Miami Hurricanes prior to fall camp, but it seems like that could end up being far from the case – and versatility could be the name of the game.
The emergence of grad transfer cornerback Adrian Colbert as a legitimate starting boundary cornerback has opened up the option of Corn Elder sliding inside to nickel corner with Sheldrick Redwine holding down the other outside corner spot.
As a two-way athlete in high school, Elder relishes the opportunity to be around the ball more than normal as a nickel back.
“You kinda get to see a lot of different looks at nickel. You’re usually covering slots or running backs, but I think you get more action there.”
Not only are the corners giving Miami defensive coaches more options, but safeties coach Ephraim Banda said that JaQuan Johnson and Rayshawn Jenkins have both been working at the nickel spot, as well as Jamal Carter at nickel and dime.
“What’s great is they’ve all logged games. They’ve all ran across the white lines with people screaming and yelling and that’s important when you’re playing nickel and dime,” Banda said.
“If I’m not mistaken, the last staff had J-Rock (Jamal Carter) play it a little bit. JaQuan has played a little dime before too.”
Miami’s first-year safeties coach explained that although Rayshawn Jenkins and Jamal Carter might be the starting safeties on paper, the sophomore Johnson should be considered a first unit player.
“Like I’ve said before, JaQuan is a starter,” Banda said. “If that game calls for nickel, it may be Jenks or JaQuan. We’re going to work them. Corn (Elder) is working that spot too. We are going to put our best players on the field.”
Malek Young has emerged over the last week or so. Young is receiving more reps with Ryan Mayes still hampering a left shoulder injury.
**Two young players have made progress recently, according to Banda – Freshman Cedrick Wright and redshirt freshman Robert Knowles.
“Ced is doing a good job. What I like about Ced and a lot of the guys you see – the young players down here love football. In recruiting, that’s what I saw in Ced and that’s what I see throughout this tri-county area,” Banda said.
“Those are the type of kids that we love. We love kids with urgency who are tough. I’ll fix the M.A.s (missed assignments), I’ll fix the technique.”
Knowles redshirted last season and seems to be in the mix for playing time at safety.
“I’m really proud of Rob. He’s a young man that’s got to work really hard at everything and I respect hard work – everyone respects hard work,” said Banda. “Rob is the epitome of that.”
“He’s still a freshman on the field, but he will go to work and you love that,” he added.