The Miami Hurricanes took back to the practice fields this morning after resting Sunday from Saturday's 60-play scrimmage. The final tune up of camp was cut short due to weather but afterwards the biggest news is the naming of true freshman safety standout Deon Bush as a co-starter after practically going unnamed by coaches when discussing which players have stood out during camp, even among the freshmen.
Bush is currently pushing junior Kacy Rodgers who had held the position down since the end of the spring. Rodgers rose to his starting post because of strong play but also because of the departure Ray Ray Armstrong.
"I really don't feel like it's pressure," said Bush during Cane's media day when asked about big expectations that he and other incoming freshmen may have to go out and do well immediately.
"I'm just trying to get better every day, work hard and play for my teammates. I remember the glory days, I grew up a huge UM fan. It's just something that the freshmen class has been working hard to get back to."
Bush, who has a brother who plays college football at Purdue, comes from a long linage of college athletes. According to Purdue University, Bush's father Gary, played football at Mississippi Valley State with Jerry Rice, while his mother, Michele, played college basketball at Miami and North Carolina Central. Bush also has a cousin who played wide receiver at Western Michigan.
For Bush, having grown up a fan of Miami, playing early will be something that will truly mean a lot.
"It's a dream come true to run through the smoke, it's something that I always wanted to do."
Head coach Al Golden likes what he's seen out of Bush thus far and made his most extensive comments on the true freshmen today before practice.
"Deon Bush is a competitor. Deon Bush has fought through training camp, he's very bright. He gives us incredible value on special teams. He's a four teamer on special teams, he plays all four. He's competing real hard at the safety spot right now."
While Bush is a bright spot, Golden did call for more leadership in a very blunt way today from his defense. He's desiring more leadership to mirror what Mike James, Brandon Linder and Stephen Morris bring to the offense.
He wants second year players Anthony Chickillo, Denzel Perryman and junior Shayon Green to all show more leadership. Green leads in spurts, according to Golden but is a bit more quiet and the head coach is asking him be a more vocal leader on defense.
For Golden and his staff, players are still competing and jobs still hang in the balance even though the post scrimmage depth chart is said to probably be it heading into Boston College. That's because, overall as a staff, they have a sense of who will start and contribute on special teams on September 1st. This is where they wanted to be at the end of scrimmage two as a staff.
"We've made a lot of decisions over the last 24 hours, obviously a lot of positions are still open and we're still competing, but clearly we know who we're working with at this time."
The most uncertainty still rests on the defensive side of the ball. Luther Robinson battled to beat out Darius Smith at defensive tackle and though he spent more time lately in a black, championship jersey, Tracy Howard didn't get a starting position at corner. Instead, that spot went to Ladarius Gunter who had it before spring ball began.
The focus of uncertainty right now is not on the line however, it's in the defensive backfield.
"You can look at the secondary right now and I don't know which way we want to go."
Golden also expressed concerns about feelings of entitlement and publicly talked about not liking having "too many" one-on-one meetings with players who feel like they should be higher on the depth chart.
"We just need guys to be resilient and fight. The depth chart changes, and they feel it. Sometimes a guy thinks he's entitled to a position or that's his spot and the reality is you've got to fight for it everyday. One thing these young guys have taught us is that, they're willing to compete every day and we need everybody in the building doing the same thing."
Last year Golden was quoted as saying "the spots belong to the University of Miami," and it appears that way with 12 freshmen on the post scrimmage two depth chart, the new era of Hurricane football is underway.
On Seantreal Henderson's chances of playing against Boston College: "It would be hard. He's 20 practices behind right now."
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