Posted: 1:52 am Monday, October 7th, 2013
By Matt Porter
One stat that speaks to Miami’s struggling-to-stay-afloat start against Georgia Tech:
With two minutes gone in the second quarter, linebacker Denzel Perryman had 10 tackles. Miami had run six plays and possessed the ball for all of one minute, 59 seconds.
Perryman, however, was in condition, both mentally and physically, to handle it. Through five games, the 6-foot, 240-pound junior weakside linebacker leads Miami in tackles with 34 (1.5 for loss) and has three pass break-ups, a pair of quarterback hits and a forced fumble.
Miami has used plenty of second- and third-stringers in the early part of the season – 38 different players have recorded a tackle on defense – but Perryman, the only player on the Hurricanes’ roster who grew up in Coral Gables, has been a force when on the field.
He was seemingly everywhere in a 21-16 win over No. 12 Florida on Sept. 7, recording a game-high 13 tackles and forcing a fumble that led to Miami’s first touchdown.
Perryman finished with a game-high 11 tackles in the Hurricanes’ 45-30 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday, a win that moved them up to No. 13 in the Associated Press top 25 and continued their best start (5-0, 1-0 ACC) in nine seasons. Perryman is one of several players on Miami’s defense who has grown up and calmed down.
“He’s studying the game better,” UM coach Al Golden said on Sunday. “He’s practicing harder. He’s in better position. Physically, he’s stronger. He’s mentally tougher. Everything has improved.
“We’ve just got to keep moving forward, going in that direction. He’s starting to understand that when you put a lot of hard work in, the game becomes, you know, fun. The game becomes a little bit easier.”
Hear what Perryman had to say after Miami’s win on Saturday: