Jarett Garner And Shaka Heyward Zoom On Miami’s Visit
Duke wide receiver Jarett Garner and linebacker Shaka Heyward met with the media Tuesday morning in anticipation of Saturday’s hastily planned game against Miami.
Of course, the discussion revolved around the unusual turn of events that led to this matchup in Miami.
“You just have to flip the switch,” said Garner. “We knew we had an idea on Sunday that some things would change, but we just didn’t know our opponents.”
Heyward added that the players hadn’t actually started working on the Seminoles.
“It wasn’t too big a deal.”
If the move wasn’t a big deal, tackling the ninth-placed hurricanes is a big deal.
Garner says the offense comes into play with an understanding that it must stay on the field and end possessions with points.
“We’re staying out on the field giving our offensive time to rest because Miami has a big offensive and they’re going to be causing our defense problems. We just need to assemble drives, earn points, be able to compete and fight with their defenses. That’s what they’re proud of, with the sales chain and all that. We just have to take pride in staying out in the field. . . Run scoring campaigns throughout the game. “
After Garner raised the question of the much-touted sales chain, he deftly turned and said the offense didn’t really talk about it and it certainly wasn’t a big deal. However, reducing sales is a big deal, an ongoing focus in practice, albeit one that has clearly not been adequately addressed.
My words, not his. But the numbers don’t lie. Duke’s 30 sales lead the NCAA. It won’t be a good sign if we see the sales chain on Saturday night.
Garner is a sophomore who missed the final season after knee surgery and is still working off some rust. It has proven to be Duke’s best deep threat, averaging 21.1 meters per reception, with two points.
But that’s an average with only 13 receptions. Garner had a touchdown against Georgia Tech last week but also had a couple of drops, one in the end zone. Turning those drops into large chunks is a short-term key to pissing Miami off this week and a long-term key to making Garner an elite recipient.
Garner owns the drops.
“I’m just proud of not dropping the ball. I gave myself a little bit of it in the last game, just these drops. I should be able to do these pieces. Those balls that came to me that I couldn’t make are with me. At the end of the day I wash that down and look forward to it. . . to a better week. ”
Garner names trust and concentration as topics.
“You have to trust yourself at the end of the day.”
After Garner and Company put points on the board, the Duke defense must stop in Miami against an elite offensive.
How does that happen
Back to the basics, says Heyward.
“That’s the whole defense. Everyone has to come together, fill in their gaps. When everyone is at work, we are at our best. The running game was difficult for us in the last two games. . . . but we’ll get that straight this week. “
Control of Miami’s star quarterback D’Eriq King?
“We do everything we are trained to do. . . . Let everything go with everything we have and do plays when they come to us. “
With Rocky Shelton still in the COVID-19 log, the linebacker contingent consists of Heyward, Redshirt newbie Sayyid Stevens, and true newbies Dorian Mausi and Christian Hood.
Mausi got the start against Georgia Tech and numbers to nod again. He has a lot of potential but not a lot of experience, and he struggled in Atlanta, often chasing too much and being torn out of position.
Heyward says he looks after the young people and expects something better.
“Let the guys know that there is always a next piece, you can always get better. Look at the positive side of things rather than the negative side of things. They come with great energy anyway. You already have the attitude that you want to get better, want to learn. “
Duke beat Miami in 2018 and 2019. Garner says Duke can take some of those wins, but only so much.
“We have played Miami for the past two years and we have beaten them for the past two years. . . We know what to do, we know what we did to them last year. We have that in mind. But it’s a new year, a new team, so we’ll just focus on the Miami this year at this point. They are top 10 in the nation. . . . So we’re just trying to go in there, make a game plan for them, and put together a scheme that will be able to make a profit. “