Football, Sports

Canes defense animated for season opener

The Miami Hurricanes will be without sophomore linebacker Michael Pinckney for the first half of the 2017 season opener against Bethune-Cookman Sept. 2. Pinckney will be serving a suspension for a targeting penalty received in the second half of last season’s Russell Athletic Bowl win against West Virginia.

“We’re going to start the game with Zach McCloud, Shaq Quarterman and Mike Smith [at linebacker],” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz told reporters after practice Friday. “After we get [Pinckney] in the second half, we’ll roll out a lot of guys.”

As one of three starting freshmen linebackers in 2016, Pinckney totaled an impressive 61 tackles, 2.5 sacks and an interception. Smith, who will temporarily be taking Pinckney’s starting spot, is a redshirt junior who has seen limited playing time in the past but played snaps in all 13 games last season.

While the Canes’ return their entire front seven, there is not nearly as much experience in the secondary. Not one of the defensive backs has been a consistent starter in the past, but Diaz is confident.

“I think Rob Knowles has really come on,” Diaz said. “I think with him and [Sheldrick] Redwine and Jaquan [Johnson], they’ve jumped their noses out in front.”

Diaz also commended sophomore Romeo Finley and freshman Amari Carter. Neither is currently in the starting lineup, but both should see action in the season opener.

Miami might also open up an extra starting spot for a nickel coverage position – a third cornerback consistently on the field.

“We’re in the midst of that discussion right now of how much nickel we want to play,” Diaz said. “It depends on the personnel of the teams we play.”

Regardless of schemes and strategy, Diaz and his defense are already looking toward their first opponent of 2017.

“Honestly, we have run our course through training camp,” Diaz said. “We need to play a game. You need that game accountability to make that next jump. We’re ready to go play somebody.”

“On Saturday we’ll see something different,” said junior defensive back Jhavonte Dean, a transfer from Blinn College. “Everybody seems to be excited. Coach Diaz, coach Rumph – they do a good job at installing the defense that you all see on game day, so we should be ready as a unit.”

The Canes’ defense has a chance to be dominant in 2017 following a successful 2016 campaign in which it finished ranked first in the ACC Coastal Division and 23rd in the nation.

August 27, 2017

Reporters

Austin Pert


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Miami Hurricanes may have found their future quarterback. Tate Martell, a former four-star recru ...

At 7:27 p.m Tuesday, University of Miami football coach Manny Diaz tweeted a GIF of a swirling Hurri ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday: ▪ As Miami awaits decisions from its potential 2019 qua ...

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Monday night: ▪ FIU has decided that its Nov. 23 football game agains ...

Dewan Hernandez hit another NCAA roadblock on Monday, but the University of Miami forward will take ...

Gisela Vega, the former associate director of LGBTQA Initiatives at Florida International University ...

With new “personas” allowing for a more personalized mobile experience, the redesigned University of ...

Teams of scholars will use U-LINK grants to examine ways to reduce opportunity gaps and biases in mu ...

The film launches the 2019 film series for the UM Libraries Cuban Heritage Collection. ...

Here’s a go-to list of dates you should keep an eye on throughout the semester, along with some tidb ...

University of Miami head women's volleyball coach Jose "Keno" Gandara announced Monda ...

The University of Miami football program has hired Dan Enos as its offensive coordinator and quarter ...

University of Miami Athletics announced Monday that it will host its fifth annual Celebration of Wom ...

After a weekend bye, the Miami women's basketball team resumes action Thursday evening at 7 p.m ...

Pictures from the No. 17 Miami women's tennis team's season-opening action in the Miami Sp ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.