CORAL GABLES -- Redshirt freshman Shane McDermott, a U.S. Army All-American out of high school, spent all of last season on the scout team.
But after impressing coach Al Golden this summer (and a back injury to tackle Seantrel Henderson that has had a ripple effect on the offensive line), McDermott could end up playing a lot more than anticipated, perhaps even starting at center.
"There's a reason I signed with the University of Miami - because I want to start for the University of Miami," said McDermott, who has bulked up from 265 to 295 in one season.
"I just kept working, not worrying about what [Tyler Horn's] doing. Me working hard will make Tyler better, my team better. Either Tyler's going to get better or I'm going to beat Tyler out. That's how championship teams are born, from competition."
McDermott says he's taken the mindset that "it's my job to lose."
"I told myself, `Listen, I just have to keep on working, keep on doing what I'm doing - waking up early, studying the playbook more, keep on pushing.' I know all that hard work will pay off."
McDermott said former offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland saw him as "a true center," but current coach Art Kehoe, "thinks I can play guard and center." McDermott took his first snaps at guard in college during the spring game, but has experience playing all over the offensive line in high school.
"It's really cool not having to make all the line calls - it's nice because that's mostly where I played [guard] in high school," McDermott said. "It's a nice comfort zone."
McDermott said he maxed out at 360 pounds in the bench last year and benches 400. In the squat he pushes 465 pounds, and he is up to 286 pounds from 275 in the power clean.
> McDermott's roommate during the season will be sophomore offensive lineman Brandon Linder. The two are very much into fishing and caught 26 lobsters last week during mini-season here in South Florida.
"We used a bully net with spotlights," McDermott said. "We caught 17 in the morning and when the sun came up we dove for another nine. We split it up. Me and a couple guys ate it at the house. We have fish fries on the offensive line every week. Every week we have a fish fry out our house."
> Of tackle Seantrel Henderson's upcoming back surgery, McDermott said, "It's sad to hear about that, really was a blow to us. But I know Seantrel will be back and working hard as soon as he's ready to do that. We have other people that just have to step up." McDermott said Henderson, who was out at practice watching Saturday, is "encouraging us and everything. His attitude toward it is great."
FUTCH HAS EYES SET ON MIDDLE LINEBACKER JOB: Most of Jordan Futch's career at the University of Miami has been marred by tragedy (the death of his brother) or injury (he played in only 5 games each season as a freshman and sophomore).
But now that he's a senior, the 6-4, 240-pound linebacker is ready to put that all behind him and have a season to remember.
"I want to be the University of Miami's starting middle linebacker. I want to help this team win and with guys like Sean [Spence] and [Ramon] Buchanan next to me and coaches like [defensive coordinator Mark] D'Onofrio and [linebackers coach Micheal Barrow], there's no reason I can't be successful," said Futch, who will compete with sophomore James Gaines, incoming freshman Gionni Paul and sophomore Kelvin Cain for the starting middle linebacker job.
"I think everybody has a chip on their shoulder, especially me. I think that's something I learned from Ray Lewis [when he spoke to us a few months ago]. He always played with a chip on his shoulder. My chip is real heavy. So, I'm ready to get this monkey off my back and ball out."
Futch has 12 career tackles -- six last year after playing in 12 games, mostly on special teams. He shined brightly in the first of three team scrimmages last spring, leading the team with nine tackles and two sacks. He had six tackles and two sacks in the second scrimmage, including a big hit on former tailback Storm Johnson.
"Competition is fierce. Jimmy Gaines isn't going to lay down. He's a great kid and he's going to push me to be the best," Futch said.
MORE INTERVIEWS FROM SATURDAY'S FIRST PRACTICE (FILMED BY HURRICANESPORTS.COM)