Barry Jackson's Miami Herald story on our Safeties part 5 of 5.

canefrank

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#1
Part five of a five-part series assessing every player on UM's defense:
With UM football practice opening in a month, safeties coach Ephraim Banda offers insight on his group:

▪ It’s difficult to find many — perhaps any — safety who played better last season than Jaquan Johnson.

“WHEN YOU LOOK AT JAQUAN’S STATS, GOING OFF STRAIGHT NUMBERS, HE HAD BETTER STATS THAN THE JIM THORPE AWARD WINNER, WHO WAS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE COUNTRY LAST YEAR,” BANDA SAID. “HIS TACKLES [96], INTERCEPTIONS [FOUR], IF YOU COMBINE INTERCEPTIONS AND FUMBLES [TWO RECOVERED, THREE FORCED], HE WAS ELITE.

“The biggest thing too about him is all the stuff he does in the game to help us get aligned and allow us to do things. What makes him the best safety in the country is his ability to erase mistakes. That's your number one job as a safety.”
So where could Johnson improve?

Banda uses this analogy: “It’s like a race car; one of those cars moves at extremely high speed; they are bringing that car to the garage and mess with a carburetor. It may only be a mile or two faster or run more efficiently longer, and that's what we're doing with Jaquan; let's come in and tinker with this thing and see where you can get better. There were countless things with Jaquan’s game I've addressed with him.

“Jaquan didn’t go through spring ball [because of conflicts with his class schedule]. He had only four or five practices. For a person who went through four or five practices, it's hard to have a good spring. He knows that hurt him and this camp is big for him. I would like to see him make more tackles for losses [three each of the past two years], would love to see him be more destructive in the backfield and see his number jump in that area in terms of takeaways and interceptions. He has to make all of the [big play opportunities], not some.”

▪ Sheldrick Redwine not only emerged from the spring in firm grasp of the starting safety job alongside Johnson, but he stretched his lead over Amari Carter and Robert Knowles.

“He ran away from these guys,” Banda said. “I let those guys know that. I let Redwine know that because we want him to know he's done a hell of a job. I am extremely hard on Sheldrick. He's a guy I coach different from the others. Sometimes he gets frustrated with me, but he knows now I am going to coach him hard and knows I love him. I am proud of him.

“He was better at looking at film [this spring], making more plays in practice. Sheldrick is a six-footer, he has the measurables everybody sees. I told him, ‘You should be better than Jaquan.’ I challenged him. He had three or four interceptions [in the spring, after two last season. A couple years ago,] he dropped those. We worked hard at that. We threw tennis type balls that are hard to track; that forces you to bring your hands together. His hands were an issue but have improved dramatically. I expect him to be an All-American and All-ACC.”

“Couple games we had to put Rob in the game where Red got hurt last year,” Banda said. “At the time, he hadn't played a lot on defense. We went with Rob in those situations, and he struggled a little but anyone would struggle. But he fought and tackled. You are going to make mistakes, but if you tackle, to coach [Manny] Diaz and I, that's all that matters. Rob has always been a good tackler.

“The biggest thing I wanted Rob to improve on was confidence and being calm and not being so wound up that he can't function the way he functions in practice. If you saw him in practice and games, you wouldn't see the same guy. Rob Knowles in practice is elite. Rob got the first high score of the spring.
"Rob has to take what he does on Greentree to Hard Rock. Right now, I put Rob ahead ahead of Amari. I told Amari that. Right now, Rob has done a better job.”

▪ As for Carter, Banda said: “Amari is extremely physical. He has proven to the locker-room his toughness and ability to strike, which is the number one thing in our room.

Now he has to stop making the small, little mistakes. He has to stop repeating mistakes. If he makes a mistake and corrects it, then great. But if he makes mistakes and makes it again, that's not what we're looking for.
"One big thing that happened in the spring game - I told him something and he went out there and didn't do it and it cost us a big long pass right before halftime. I told him I can’t put you in the game if I tell you what’s going to happen and you don’t do it and it looks like [freshman cornerbacl] DJ [Ivey] made a mistake and it wasn't - it was on you. He's learning he has to do it exactly what I want him to do. He wants to, he's just young.”
On the plus side, Carter “has excelled in the weight room, has really improved his speed and agility."

▪ Freshman Gurvan Hall, who was sidelined for the final two-thirds of spring with a knee injury, “is full go,” Banda said. “He has gone through summer workouts.”
Hall, Banda said, “he has a skill set that is what you expect to be at Miami. He is fast and physical and has great intuition, can diagnose the play, can power through plays and power through blocks. The biggest thing I saw in the first four or five practices is he knows football, but he understands the concepts. You would think all of them do but that's not true. Jaquan has that.

"Gurvan will play this year. All five will play. Gurvan has to play great for [special teams coach Todd Hartley] before he can ever play for coach me and coach Diaz.”

▪ Walk-on Colvin Alford, who played at Coral Reef, would be an option to be Miami’s sixth safety if UM needs one.
But as Banda said, "if the fifth best guy is a corner and we need him at safety, we will play him at safety.”
 
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#2
Been hearing a bunch about Sheldrick's improvements this spring, clearly many are noticing it. Maybe not a day 1 or 2 draft pick, but possibly a guy who can get 3rd-team all-ACC and be a 5th rounder. That's all you need for a nasty safety duo imo when the other half plays like an All-American.
 
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#4
Sheldrick Redwine not only emerged from the spring in firm grasp of the starting safety job alongside Johnson, but he stretched his lead over Amari Carter and Robert Knowles.

Thank the Lord.
 
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#5
Great article. Love how open Banda is with his players letting them know exactly where they stand and what holds them back from being elite.

That comment about knowing football you can tell he really favors Johnson and Hall basically they come ready made and how a Miami football player should be where all the other players have blemishes he has had to work on. That is his job but Miami need more of these high football IQ guys.

Some of those comments about carter and the spring game being told the play and what to do and doing the opposite is not good. You can hit like a train but if you have trust issue or are not football smart enough to grasp a football concept then you may be in trouble.
 

TC7D

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#6
Thank god Jaquan came back. We'd be in a world of hurt if he opted for the NFL.
 
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#7
Hell no to Knowles
Knowles looked lost on almost every play last year. Nerves can explain it but when your only compliment as a safety is at least he can tackle means you should probably not see the field. Gurvan is going to take his spot.
 
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#8
Wouldn't be surprised to see Gurvan pass everybody except Jaquan and Sheldrick before seasons end...

Surprised to hear about Amari making repetitive mental mistakes. Thought he performed very well toward the end of last season and was ready to take the next step.
 

Tee3000

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#9
I would like to see him make more tackles for losses [three each of the past two years], would love to see him be more destructive in the backfield
Wait...what? SMH...ok coach

and see his number jump in that area in terms of takeaways and interceptions. He has to make all of the [big play opportunities], not some.”
Excellent


Right now, I put Rob ahead ahead of Amari. I told Amari that. Right now, Rob has done a better job.”
FOH..Robert Knowles does not belong in Division 1 football. GTFOOH with you pet project coach.

▪ As for Carter, Banda said: “Amari is extremely physical. He has proven to the locker-room his toughness and ability to strike, which is the number one thing in our room.
Now he has to stop making the small, little mistakes. He has to stop repeating mistakes. If he makes a mistake and corrects it, then great. But if he makes mistakes and makes it again, that's not what we're looking for.
On the plus side, Carter “has excelled in the weight room, has really improved his speed and agility."
This is on you as a TEACHER coach. If he's proven this much to the locker room, excelled in the weight room, his speed and agility and he's still behind a stiff bc he knows more of the plays then imho he hasn't learned to trust you coach.... that's on YOU coach. Improve that relationship and watch the kid ball imho...
 
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brock

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#10
I dont want to see knowles on the field at all other than special teams
 
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#11
I always thought Amari should be a LB. I mean if he's not past Knowels at this point:eek:
 
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#14
I been waiting for Amari to become the guy opposite JJ. Guess it's not gonna happen. Kid came in out of HS built like an NFL safety, but if you don't know where to be/how to diagnose plays you can't start. Kind of disappointing
 

brock

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#15
I been waiting for Amari to become the guy opposite JJ. Guess it's not gonna happen. Kid came in out of HS built like an NFL safety, but if you don't know where to be/how to diagnose plays you can't start. Kind of disappointing
He was pretty solid as a freshman, I dont Understand this take. If he keeps having the same mistakes then that’s on coaching too
 

brock

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#18
Hell to the nah man!! Only way I want to see him on the field is in a UM polo as a GA.
Well damn lol, I cant Get the FSU game out of my head. We almost lost that game to FSU because of his play in the 4th
 
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#19
What a story to tell Tyrique Stevenson. Both starting safeties are leaving. If you are an early entree you are guaranteed to be in the rotation and may start from the get go.
 
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#20
I'll be in the minority, but good for Knowles. I'm sure the coaches and everybody in this fan base wanted him to transfer (including me). Showed some resiliency by sticking it out and trying to improve. That will go a long way in life! Can't wait to see Hall at 205 though smh! Should have some nice head hunters on Special teams.
 
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