Defensive Backs Eager to Compete in Scrimmage
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Football camp is about opportunity.
It’s an opportunity for a team to come together and get ready for the upcoming season, a chance for newcomers to learn and veterans to improve and an opportunity to compete and earn roles as a team makes its final preparations for the games to come.
This Saturday will be an opportunity for every member of the Miami Hurricanes to impress the coaching staff, as the Canes will hold their second scrimmage of fall camp.
One player looking to make some noise is sophomore defensive back Malek Young. A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Young came on strong late in his freshman season, earning starts in the final four games of the season. The speedy defensive back finished the year with 23 total tackles and an interception, but it was his development as a player that helped him earn the starting job in the final four games.
“The first five games I didn’t start and [watching film] now I see why I didn’t start and why a certain corner started,” Young said. I’m only getting better. The coaches are being hard on us but the reason why they are hard is because they know what we are capable of doing.”
Young has developed into a ball hawk at corner, seemingly snaring an interception in every practice and scrimmage. Sheldrick Redwine, who played cornerback with Young a year ago, has seen a lot of growth in the talented defensive back.
“He stepped his game up to another level since coming to UM,” Redwine said of Young. “He’s been a ball hawk since practices started. He’s breaking better and got faster and bigger thanks to the weightlifting staff. I see big growth in his game.”
Like Young, Redwine will look to have a big day in the scrimmage. A corner in his first two seasons at Miami, Redwine moved to safety in the spring and he knows this Saturday is another change to prove that he is one of the top safeties on the team.
“We have to make the most of our opportunities,” Redwine said. “We shouldn’t rush anything, take everything one play at a time and take everyone accountable at this point. When the plays come, we just have to take our opportunity, we can’t miss anything.”
Young believes the entire team is excited for the opportunity to compete and show what they can do, but he also knows he and his fellow defensive players will need to prove to their coaches that they play the aggressive and competitive style that a Hurricanes defense embodies.
“[Scrimmages] are important so that we show what we know and what we can do,” Young said. ‘Basically to install this feeling that we don’t make critical errors and mental mistakes. We can have technical errors – and we can always fix those – but we have to show coach that we can compete, we can run to the ball and be urgent. That’s what coaches like to see.”
Miami safeties coach Ephraim Banda and his fellow defensive coaches will be looking to see who shows they’re ready to contribute and they feel Saturday’s scrimmage will help determine a lot of roles on the defense.
“Everything is in now,” Banda said. “So now what you should see is techniques start to drop, [mental errors] should start to drop, true habits should start to show. We should see whose habit is to really run to the ball, who really is that inside. For this scrimmage that is what we are looking for – those techniques, those mental errors to drop, because now we are stacking reps on reps, at this point. This is a lot like the NFL preseason. The first one is big time, right? The second and third one are big time, as well. The fourth one? It’s important, but a lot of decisions are made. This one right here, a lot of decisions will be made and a lot of young guys are going to play. It’s a big-, big-time scrimmage, much like the last couple in the preseason in the NFL.”
Miami opens the season at home on Sept. 2 against Bethune-Cookman. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m., ET. Click here for ticket information.