A six-pack of University of Miami Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday:
▪ Bubba Bolden isn’t the only ballyhooed defensive player expected to make his 2019 season debut Saturday against Virginia Tech. UM says defensive tackle Nesta Silvera also is expected to play after missing the first four games with a foot injury sustained in August camp.
UM’s defensive tackles have played pretty well without him. But Silvera’s ceiling — along with Jon Ford’s — might be highest of any of the non-freshmen defensive tackles on the team, and the expectation is he will join Pat Bethel, Ford and Chigozie Nnoruka in the rotation.
Jordan Miller has been the fourth member of the tackle rotation in Silvera’s absence.
Defensive coordinator Blake Baker said Silvera has played very well in practice the past two weeks and that how much he plays Saturday will be determined during the course of the game.
“He’s a load inside, he brings a ton of energy besides the physical aspect of it,” Baker said.
Remember that Silvera was the nation’s ninth-ranked defensive tackle and 121st overall prospect (per Rivals.com) in the 2018 recruiting class.
Defensive end Greg Rousseau told WQAM that Silvera is “dying to get back on the field. He can’t wait.”
▪ Jaelan Phillips — the UCLA transfer who was among the nation’s top recruits in 2017 — was a linebacker at times with the Bruins, but the Hurricanes are listing him as a defensive end. He’s on UM’s campus, working his way back from injuries and preparing for play in 2020.
Coach Manny Diaz said Phillips cannot practice this season but “is working out. The biggest thing is he’s worked out his arms now. He’s not the same guy as when he showed up on campus. That and incorporate him into our locker room, onto campus, going to class. That’s where he’s been about this fall.”
With Scott Patchan and Trevon Hill in their final year of eligibility, Phillips (and obviously Rousseau and freshman Jahfari Harvey) likely will play a lot in 2020 -- whether Jonathan Garvin turns pro after this season or not.
▪ Safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator Ephraim Banda now has interesting options at safety, with Bubba Bolden joining Gurvan Hall, Rob Knowles and Amari Carter.
UM knew growing pains were inevitable with Hall because of youth. He lost his starting job to Rob Knowles for a week but his improved tackling in practice and against Central Michigan impressed coaches.
Banda reminded reporters that safeties Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine and cornerback Mike Jackson — all in the NFL — “were screwing it up too when they first jumped in there. But they had a lot of reps, were on the field a lot and wound up being one of the best if not the best secondary in the country.”
▪ Despite having three sacks in modest playing time, Rousseau continues to get the fourth-most snaps among UM’s defensive ends, behind Garvin, Patchan and Hill.
But Baker said Monday that “you’ll see more of a dose of Greg Rousseau. He played the most reps of the season last game. He’s continuing to get more comfortable with what we’re asking him to do, is continuing to produce. He’s really pushing Scott Patchan, pushing [Garvin]. And Trevon Hill is getting more comfortable in our scheme.”
Rousseau has playing defensive tackle on some passing downs and told WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline that the inside role is “a lot of fun. Whatever I can do to get on the field I’ll do.”
▪ UM has precarious depth at cornerback, with only five scholarship players. But if anything should happen to Trajan Bandy, D.J. Ivey or Al Blades Jr., Baker believes T’Cory Couch and Christian Williams are ready.
Couch “is continuing to do a good job, and Christian has probably shown more improvement than any of the freshmen in terms of a competitive edge,” Baker said. “He’s starting on our punt block team, plays press man on their gunner, is doing a great job. Still need to work on both of them understanding the fine points of our defense.”
▪ Quick stuff: Diaz confirmed linebacker De’Andre Wilder will never again play at UM because of a neck injury but is getting his degree at Miami… Diaz said one goal is to have “a two-deep with no dropoff. We have to develop that.”...ESPN assigned Mark Jones and Dusty Dvorak to Saturday’s Canes-Hokies game at 3:30 p.m.