April 6, 2006

Making their point: System pushes UM's defense

Every Saturday during the spring, the Hurricanes scrimmage.

And, later that weekend, coaches break down the film and assign points to defensive players who made big plays -- from sacks and interceptions to tackles in the backfield to fumble recoveries. Negative points are assessed for such things as a player getting blown off the line of scrimmage.

For example, you would get three points for a tackle behind the line, but would have points deducted if you don't sprint to the ball on a particular play.

It's the third year of this "points" system, and it's gotten the attention of players.

"It pushes everybody to work harder," linebacker Tavares Gooden said. "Who starts is whoever has the most points in the total at the end of the spring, whoever has the best point ratio. It's whoever wants it.

"Everything's fair, everything's even. It's a competitive thing. You have the defensive linemen fighting to be on the top. Everybody wants to be on top of the ratio board."

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