With his final game at Hard Rock Stadium set for Saturday, senior LB Shaq Quarterman didn’t rule out shedding some tears during the Senior Day festivities.
“You can’t ever be prepared for something like that, taking the next step after committing four years of your life to something very precious to you,” Quarterman said. “I haven’t really thought about it but I have a feeling how it’s going to go down.”
In recent Miami history, Quarterman was one of the few players that reasonably could have been drafted if he left early as a junior, but decided to stay for his senior season. As for the juniors on this year’s team, Quarterman says he hopes they will think long and hard about their decisions.
“I hope they step back and consider all options. I know in this day in college football, it seems like it’s such a good thing to leave early when in all actuality that’s not always the best case for everybody,” Quarterman said. “I want them to understand there is a lot of good to coming back and graduating, raising your draft stock, as well as the stock of the team. If you get guys coming back, you’re not only having that senior class you want but also the ‘Big Brother’ program going on continuously. Guys leaving their junior year, you lose that and it does affect the program.”
With both Quarterman and fellow Mike Pinckney gone after the season, the Canes will need some of the younger talent at linebacker to step up in 2020.
“With all the injuries we’ve had in the linebacker room, when they come back it’s going to be different,” Quarterman said. “I think the fans will be happy, the program will be blessed to have everybody back. I think linebacker will again be a force to be reckoned with for the Miami Hurricanes.”
With 5-3 Louisville coming to town this weekend, Quarterman is focused on shutting down the Cardinals’ offense and making sure he finishes his final season strong.
“I’ve been focused on preparing for Louisville... I want to finish as strong as possible,” Quarterman said. “I don’t look at stats after the game, people have to tell me because I want to look at the film and know I left it all out there. For the last couple of games, that’s all I’ve been trying to do, not saving myself at all, putting it on the line for my teammates. Off the field, I’m ready to graduate.
“I want to finish off strong on and off the field, be labeled as one of the household name Canes. That’s really the big thing.”
Head coach Manny Diaz said earlier in the week that Quarterman began playing his best football sometime around the Georgia Tech game.
“I looked at myself, at my career up to that point this season, knew I was playing okay, but it wasn’t right for me,” Quarterman said. “I wasn’t doing enough. So, I started cutting out a couple of things so I could fully focus on just preparing to the max.
“It’s all about preparation. Failure to prepare, it shows on film.”
**With 3 games left to play, senior striker Romeo Finley is still holding onto the team’s preseason goal to win the Coastal division.
“We know there’s still a chance for us to get to Charlotte,” Finley said. “The Coastal, how crazy it is - there’s still some scenarios. We win out, a couple of teams lose, we’re in. That is amazing because that’s our ultimate goal and there’s still a chance… We’re trying to stack these wins - we’re preparing hard.”
Finley’s final season hasn’t gone quite as expected, but he’s still optimistic about finishing the year strong.
“We’re a couple of plays from being undefeated,” Finley said. “Nothing’s changed, we’re just practicing harder, playing harder, fixing what we did wrong.”
At 5-4, Miami is on the verge of qualifying for a bowl game, something that Finley feels is important for the time being, but also for the future of the program.
“It’s more practice for the younger guys and another game for us, “Finley said. “We’ll go out and play, have fun, enjoy the experience. The experience is the best part.”
As Senior Day approaches vs. Louisville on Saturday, Finley admits he’s reminisced on his time at Miami.
“It will mean a lot, time flies. My dad is coming down, that’s going to be his first home game,” Finley said. “We want to go out with a bang, have been practicing hard, working hard.”
With Finley gone next season, Gilbert Frierson is in line to replace him at striker in 2020.
“He’s come along really well,” Finley said of Frierson. “He’s smart. At the beginning of the season, he wasn’t getting a lot of burn and was fading a little bit - now when he gets in, he’s making plays. The future is bright for him. He has 2-3 years at this position, can really excel. This position - you want more speed on the field, which is good for him.”
I noticed that Scott Patchan wasn't in the pic of all the Seniors that's been floating around online. Is that dude coming back for his 18th season? Seems like he's been here since the 01 Natl championship season.