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UM Football 101: Here's How Safeties Communicate With the Defense

UM Safeties Coach Ephraim Banda, Safety Amari Carter Talk About Being 'Visually Vocal'

Throughout the season you’ll see Miami safeties Gurvan Hall Jr., Bubba Bolden and Amari Carter communicating pre-snap with their fellow defenders by giving hand signals. It’s how the safeties get the defense aligned.

“We’ve pretty much got our own little secret codes,” Hall said.

Ephraim Banda, Miami’s co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach, calls that being “visually vocal.”

It’s one of the keys to playing the position. Banda is amazingly detailed and informative in the above video when he talks about the responsibilities of Miami’s safeties.

“In a game you’re not going to be able to speak, or them to hear you,” Banda said. “So you need to be visually vocal with your communication, using your hands, using your signals, pre-snap, to communicate to a defensive back, to a linebacker, to whoever, even us to them. You’ve got to be visually vocal.”

Most likely, Hall and Bolden will serve as starters this year. But Carter will see time, too.

“I feel really good about those first three,” Banda said. “They’ve done a great job in the summer. They’ve done a good job through training camp. I thought Bubba and Gurvan had really good training camps. Obviously, Amari is ‘Mr. Steady’ and has done a great job being a professional throughout the pandemic and time off of really being a pro.”

As well as Banda does explaining why communication is important for Miami’s safeties, watch Carter in the video below explain the process of how Miami’s safeties read a defense and then communicate.

Both Hall and Carter said Miami’s new up-tempo offense, under the direction of coordinator Rhett Lashlee and quarterback D’Eriq King, poses difficult pre-snap challenges.

But as long as they can identify what’s going on and communicate that to the rest of the defense they’re off to a good start.

“You’ve got to be able to communicate,” Banda said. “And you’ve also got to be able to see the whole picture and understand what you’re seeing. And you can’t understand what you’re seeing if you never really took the time in the film room to really learn those things so you can get out there and actually communicate the right things.”