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Miami's Freshmen Running Backs Learning The Value Of Patience

Jaylan Knighton and Donald Chaney, Jr., Are Adjusting Their Running Styles

Miami freshmen running backs Jaylan Knighton and Donald Chaney, Jr., have a saying that keeps them in the right place mentally. Hurricanes coaches gave it to them so they could learn patience. It’s “slow through, fast through.”

It turns out Knighton and Chaney, the likely backups to junior starter Cam’Ron Harris, were trying to “house” everything, or score on every run, after they had a measure of success in UM’s first fall scrimmage. That plan didn’t turn out well early in Miami’s second scrimmage.

Coach Manny Diaz, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and running backs coach Eric Hickson all told the youngsters they must learn to chill and let the play develop, then burst through the hole.

“With me and Rooster,” Chaney said, using Knighton’s nickname, “we try to go fast on everything and sometimes it hurts us, sometimes it helps us.”

Too often it was hurting.

Running the ball at the college level, it turns out, is as much art as science.

“When you get the ball you can’t just take off,” Knighton said. “You have to go through your steps so your o-linemen can get to their assignments. If you beat the o-line to their assignments the play won’t develop.”

That’s why it’s important for coaches to teach Chaney and Knighton about patience.

It’s not an easy lesson to learn, however.

“It’s real hard for us to slow down because…I’ve never seen anything like it in high school,” Chaney said. “In college the hole it opens and closes real fast. So if you don’t get there you’ve got to wait, you’ve got to look around, and we don’t really have time for that. So it’s like with me and Rooster we practice on it, we practice on it, we practice on it. Sometimes we make mistakes but when we see something we try to get there real fast, like really fast.”

Chaney and Knighton are making the adjustment as well as they can but it remains a work in progress.

“With that (second) scrimmage not being patient,” Knighton said, “I’d get there before the o-line and then I’d miss the hole and try to go outside trying to make a play.

“That’s what I was messing up with in the scrimmage, but over time I came and got patient and it’s working now.”