CORAL GABLES -- At 6-2, 280 pounds Jalen Grimble came to Miami physically prepared to do battle in the trenches as a true freshman.
"When I first got here, we were doing one-on-ones and I went up against [All-ACC offensive lineman] Brandon Washington. I will just say it didn't go as planned," said Grimble, who admitted he was put on his backside by the 6-4, 320-pound junior.
"Here they teach you to use your inside hand. I wasn't taught that in high school. Over there, it's go get the quarterback.
"I wouldn't say it is [tougher in college], but it is a lot different. The playbook is bigger. The guy next to you is just as good as you. That is where your technique comes into play. Whatever the coaches tell you, you have to do it and if you don't, there is a chance you will not succeed. Coming from high school to college was a big jump, but I have adjusted."
The Hurricanes certainly hope so. In an ideal situation, UM wouldn't need to rely on a true freshman to serve as a backup in his first game in college. But because of suspensions and injuries on the defensive line, Grimble is one four freshmen listed on the Canes' second team. He is currently listed behind junior college transfer Darius Smith at defensive tackle.
Although Grimble has played both end and tackle since arriving at UM, he's been focused more at tackle lately. And he feels prepared to wage war in the middle.
"D-line is d-line," Grimble said. "If you put me on the d-line anywhere I will play it. Here, I move back and forth. It just depends what personnel we are in."
One might imagine the big stage of playing on ESPN Monday night would make a true freshman a little uneasy. But Grimble had plenty of experience playing on national television when he was at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High.
"You can block the cameras out and the crowd out," Grimble said. "In high school I played several games on TV. Football is football to me."
Grimble said he is confident that he and the rest of the freshmen can contribute Monday night and help fill the big void left by seven suspended starters.
"All I can say is you'll have to wait and see on Monday," Grimble said. "As far as I know, my team will be fully prepared. But Sept. 5 will be the real test."