Eye on the U

UM linebacker Shaq Quarterman said full contact helps everyone

UM linebacker Shaq Quarterman talks to reporters on April 11, 2017
UM linebacker Shaq Quarterman talks to reporters on April 11, 2017 Susan Miller Degnan

If it means tackling his own quarterback or going to sleep earlier, whatever it takes to be great is what Shaq Quarterman is willing to do.

“Like coach has said, ‘When we are really urgent, we are really good,’ Quarterman said after spring practice No. 10 on Tuesday. “So everybody has to focus on coming out, getting the crust out of their eyes and getting ready to practice, getting ready to be better every day. Because being great is being good every day. So, we can’t take any days off because you don’t feel like getting out of bed.’’

Quarterman, a rising sophomore who finished second on the team last season with 84 tackles, a team-best eight quarterback hurries and ranked third with 10 tackles for loss, said last Saturday’s live scrimmage, in which quarterbacks could be tackled, was valuable for both the offense and the defense.

“Very enticing,’’ he said, when asked if it were enticing to be able to go after the signal callers. “It was very, very exciting. It tested them just as it tested us. We had to learn how to stay in coverage when they scrambled and they had to learn how to scramble. It was a good measuring stick for us.”

Quarterman noted that the linebackers did well “as a unit’’ Saturday, and praised early enrollee true freshman Bradley Jennings, Jr., for, despite not knowing “all the materials in the playbook,’’ running around making plays and being confident. He also praised defensive end Jon Garvin for “a nice sack, real technical with the hands.

“We did good for the first scrimmage.’’

Added Quarterman: “For all the time we have been practicing for that scrimmage, I wanted everybody to come out and show what they have worked on. Whether it be working on bags, pass rush, anything that they have been working on, I just wanted to see it transfer to the scrimmage.”

Quarterman lauded rising junior safety Jaquan “Quan’’ Johnson, defensive end Chad Thomas and tackle Kendrick Norton as leaders.

“Those guys right there, they really keep it going from top to bottom,’’ he said.

UM continues practice Saturday with its second scrimmage, closed to the media and general public.