The line: As happy as Miles was while discussing the basketball team, he was that unhappy when talking about his team’s offensive line on Tuesday.
“Soft, soft, way too soft,” he said, before turning his head toward the group as it walked by, raising his voice and continuing, “soft. SOFT.”
Miles said he thinks the players are too fat, which makes them tire too easy, which causes them to make mistakes.
The group features at least four new starters in the spring because of the graduations of A.J. Kaplan and Tim Wynn and injuries to Alex Stoehr and Michael Ivory. Miles said it’s too early to tell which players are on the first string because they are rotating in and out.
Line coach Harold Etheridge said returning players such as Taylor Evans and Davis Moore are doing OK, but are nowhere close to what’s needed. The coaches are trying to teach the new players new habits, which requires breaking the old habits.
Etheridge said everything from how far apart they line up, to their first steps to their pad level can be improved.
“There’s a long, long, long, long way to go,” Etheridge said.
Safeties: Miles said he is happy with the play of the safeties.
The group, coached by defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, features two new possible starters in Cloves Campbell and Bobby Baker. Both are new; Campbell is junior-college transfer and Baker transferred from UAB.
Minter said Campbell plays better close to the line, but has an ability to make plays during passing situations.
“He’s a physical presence,” Minter said. “He will come down hill and tackle. Excited about his versatility.”
Baker is still recovering from a knee injury that has limited him in practice, but he is doing well in film study and in some drills.
Minter said having Bryan Williams back is like having another new player. Williams, who will be a redshirt junior, suffered a season-ending back injury early last year. He had 13 tackles in three games.