Barry Jackson

UM eager to see what these two young defensive lineman can do

Miami Hurricanes defensive end Greg Rousseau - seen here rushing against teammate John Campbell in UM’s spring game - is back after missing most of last season with a fractured right ankle.
Miami Hurricanes defensive end Greg Rousseau - seen here rushing against teammate John Campbell in UM’s spring game - is back after missing most of last season with a fractured right ankle.

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Thursday:

▪ It will be interesting to see what the Canes get from redshirt freshman Jordan Miller, who will always be remembered as the high school player who enticed Miami to recruit him by sending coaches a highlight tape. UM took a chance, and he enters the season as the likely No. 4 tackle.

Miller, who has lost 20 pounds to drop to 315, has been repeatedly told by offensive line coach Butch Barry “to constantly move my feet. Big guys who can move their feet are disruptive.”

The key for Miller is playing well enough to make it difficult for Nesta Silvera to crack the lineup when he returns from foot surgery by October.

Pat Bethel, Jon Ford and Chigozie Nnoruka are UM’s top three defensive tackles entering the season.

▪ UM also is excited to see what redshirt freshman Greg Rousseau can do; he had multiple sacks in a recent scrimmage and had nine sacks in scrimmages in March/April 2018 before most of his freshman season was wiped out with an ankle injury.

Rousseau said Calais Campbell’s message to him, when the two met on campus earlier this year, was to “keep working and striving for greatness.”

Rousseau said Campbell is a “big guy with long arms. I’ve tried to model myself after guys like that.”

Rousseau also has solicited input from Atlanta Falcons and former UM defensive end Allen Bailey. Rousseau battled a back problem earlier in camp but is fine now.

So for now, these two redshirt freshmen - Miller and Rousseau - likely begin the year as the No. 4 defensive tackle and No. 4 defensive end, though Rousseau and No. 3 end Trevon Hill could easily be flip-flopped.

▪ Besides liking the talent on his defensive line, Manny Diaz pointed out, on WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline, that “this is a scheme that will lead the nation in tackles for loss or [finish] top 5 or top 10. Jon Ford, this is his time. He’s hard to block, a dynamic 4-3 defensive tackle that Miami has always been known for.”

▪ Even with Joe Jackson now in the NFL, Jon Garvin doesn’t believe teams can do any more to neutralize him.

“They already put two, three [blockers] on me last year,” he said. “They can’t put eight on me.”

Jackson, meanwhile, is thriving with the Cowboys.

After a scrimmage earlier this month, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said: “I was particularly impressed with Jackson, our defensive end from Miami. His style, if you will, is that he would run until every play stopped. He would run the ball down. And that’s the way he played at Miami, when we put these pads on and he did get to hit, he showed us the thing that we saw about him at Miami.”

▪ Barry, on his three new offensive line starters: Left tackle Zion Nelson “showed right away he’s a competitor and shows a lot of toughness. And continues to try to do what is asked of him. Good length and athleticism.”... Center Corey Gaynor is “smart, tough, dependable, starting to take pride and ownership in being a leader.” And right tackle John Campbell “has really improved since the spring, has versatility, can play guard and tackle.”

Tommy Kennedy, the Butler transfer who enrolled here hoping to be the starting left tackle, is now exclusively a backup interior player, Barry said.

▪ DeeJay Dallas, who had four fumbles and lost three of them last season, insists that won’t be a problem this season.

“I don’t think that’s an issue,” he said. “Just know that it was outside stuff that actually influenced those fumbles. My mind just really wasn’t in the game so that was that.”

Here’s my Thursday piece on new UM safety Bubba Bolden.