CORAL GABLES — When the Hurricanes are winning, as they have been, the jobs of its marketing and public relations departments get a lot easier.
No other school in America can do what Miami did Tuesday.
The program invited Ed Reed, arguably the best safety of all time, to speak to the team. And Reed wasn’t there to give a canned motivational speech, either.
He sat in on the safeties’ meeting, and offered his thoughts on how Miami can slow down Notre Dame, which has what Mark Richt (and the stats) consider the top-rated rushing attack in the country. The Irish’s running back, Josh Adams, is a Heisman Trophy contender, and quarterback Brandon Wimbush is a major threat on the ground.
The Hurricanes, who have struggled at times to stop the run, should benefit greatly anything Reed, a future Hall of Famer, can teach them.
“It’s amazing,” said safety Jaquan Johnson, a junior. “Guys like that that come back and give their knowledge and expertise on what they see, and what they think we could do better — that’s why you come to UM. You have guys like that, Hall of Famers, coming out to watch you practice.”
Johnson said Reed was “watching the film with us, telling us little keys on what he’s seeing with the running backs and the receivers and things like that.”
Reed, who retired in 2015, spoke to recruits at UM’s Paradise Camp last summer and has “attended a couple practices,” linebacker Zach McCloud said. Reed said last summer he was eager to help whenever Mark Richt asked him.
“When he speaks, our guys will be on the edge of their seats,” said Richt, who named Reed an honorary captain. He’ll attend the game and will be honored, as Reggie Wayne was last week.
UM safeties coach Ephraim Banda has done a fine job with his group, which has seen Johnson grow into a nationally elite player — he was named ACC defensive back of the week for his work against Virginia Tech, and has a team-high 58 tackles and two interceptions — and converted cornerback Sheldrick Redwine become a capable starter (four pass break-ups, two interceptions). But he probably didn’t mind having Reed helping out.
“You would think it would be more pressure,” Johnson said. “But it’s actually a relief. You have so many people who want you to win and do good. I think it’s a stress-reliever to have someone come back and want us to win so bad they’ll watch us practice.”
Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, who played for Richt at Georgia, was impressed.
“I’ve been at a couple different programs across the country,” he said. “No one has ever come back as much as Miami football players. A lot of guys talk about it … but who has Ed Reed show up to their practice and come to their meeting room?”
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