Michael Rumph, former Cane cornerback and current cornerbacks coach, has mentioned, along with everyone else, the 4.3-second, 40-yard speed of recent transfer Jhavonte Dean.
But being fast and playing fast are two different things, Rumph has pointed out on various occasions.
Dean, a South Dade High graduate who arrived at UM this summer from Blinn College and was rated the No.1 junior college cornerback, told us Monday on media day, when asked how fast he is, “4.3 — 4.3 speed.’’
When was the last time you were actually timed? “In May,’’ said Dean of the hand-timed result.
What’s the fastest you’ve ever run in your life?
“My freshman year I think I ran a 4.30 and 4.29, so they just leveled it out.’’
Will you be on the track team?
“Yes, I talked to Coach [Mark Richt] and he said if we have a good football season that he’ll allow the players to run track. I would run the 100, the 400 and probably the 4-by-100 [relay].’’
How does that help in football?
“Direction, acceleration, speed burst, things like that.’’
Rumph was on WQAM-560 Tuesday morning and was asked by Joe Rose if his group was “that fast.’’
Said Rumph: “They’re extremely fast. The thing about it is these kids get trained on how to run the 40-yard dash. You got a kid that can get trained and he can run a 4.3 and in the game he might be a 4.5 or 4.4. My job is to get those guys to play extremely fast. I already know the tricks of the trade of ‘Oh, I’m a 4.3 guy.’ As long as you can get your hands on someone and you can run to the ball and tackle, I don’t care about your speed. I wasn’t a 4.3 guy but I got it done my way.’’
Rumph was asked if he’s worried about everyone patting the defense on the back too much.
“We kind of treat the defense as if they’re never doing enough,’’ Rumph said. “We always set this high standard. Some days they come off the field and they feel proud of themselves. And then we go in the meeting and beat them up and tell them, ‘That’s not good enough.’’’
And of course, what would a day be without an update on the quarterback race, as seen very clearly by the defensive backs coaches.
So Mike, you have about as good a view of these vaunted wide receivers as anyone on the field. How good are these young wide receivers really?
“Extremely good,’’ Rumph told Rose. “The thing I like the most is we go against them every single day. Mike Harley is extremely quick and fast. He’s going to give the ACC headaches man. If those cornerbacks and the secondary aren’t ready for that speed, it’s going to jump out at them. .. And Jeff Thomas as well. Those two additions add that little wiggle, that quick throw-and-go-80 or that deep ball on the sideline or through the middle of the field. They create that threat for us.
“And then we’ve got some possession guys — [Lawrence] Cager, [Darrell] Langham, guys that can go up and get the football and are 6-4, 6-5. And we have Ahmmon Richards who can freakin’ fly. DeeJay Dallas is doing a good job, too.
“We try to give them hell as best we can, but it makes us so good. Once the games start, a good amount of that is not going to be as tough for us because what we see everyday in practice. It’s a constant competition out there.’’
So, Mike, who’s going to start at quarterback and how’s this group looking overall?
“I think Malik Rosier is doing a good job. He’s the vet.. But I think [Evan] Shirreffs is neck-and-neck with him. Shirreffs is right there because he has that leadership ability, throws a good ball, showed some toughness in those scrimmages when we were live and were able to hit him. He bounced right back and threw the ball even better.
“And N’Kosi Perry is doing a great job, too. He has a young, strong arm, extremely strong arm. He loves the deep ball and makes some plays that are incredible. But I think the game is going to have to slow down for him. We’re throwing a lot at him as a defense. Once the game slows down I think throughout the season there are going to be some times where we’re probably going to need him to step up and play, if not start.
“But right now, I like Malik. He’s been a lot more safe with the ball and not turning the ball over and making good decisions.’’