DE coach Rod Wright discusses Miami football mental toughness

Nov 27, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports /

New Miami defensive ends coach Rod Wright spoke to Hurricanes play-by-play announcer Joe Zagacki after practice on Thursday and discussed developing the mental toughness of the players. The Miami football team is expected to be more physical and tougher under head coach Mario Cristobal and his staff.

Wright was hired by Cristobal from Texas-San Antonio where he was the Roadrunners’ co-defensive coordinator and line coach. Wright spent three seasons at UTSA. Five NFL players were coached by Wright according to his UTSA webpage. Wright is one of three Miami defensive line coaches with NFL experience.

Wright played three seasons with the Dolphins where he was a teammate of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jason Taylor who is now a Hurricanes’ defensive analyst. Former NFL defensive tackle Joe Salave’a is now the Miami interior DL coach. The combination of those three should help Miami players in the mental aspect of football.

The veteran DL coaches have an experienced group to work with. Wright will work with transfers Mitchell Agude from UCLA and Akheem Mesidor from West Virginia plus Miami returnees Jahfari Harvey and Chantz Williams. Those four need to be mentors to the younger Miami players. Wright discussed the process with Zagacki.

"“You got to be mentally tough to play this game. You’re not going to feel like doing it every single day and that’s where we come in. We got to push these guys and then our leaders got to be guys that push and echo what we’re saying as coaches and they respond they allow us to be pushed.There are times that we got to run out there with them and pick them up and keep their mind right but they have responded.”"

Cristobal has discussed the importance of consistency in everything the players do. Wright expressed the importance of experience for the players being mentally tough on fourth down and using their technique to succeed. Wright praised the selflessness of the Miami football players and wanting the team to succeed.

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The importance of mental toughness with discipline was also mentioned by Wright. Wright also mentioned that he is learning from Taylor and co-defensive coordinators Kevin Steele and Charlie Strong. The passion Taylor has for the Miami players was praised by Wright. Wright finished by stressing the importance of consistency.