You don’t get more veteran than 39 starts on the offensive line over four years entering this season. Yet, somehow, there’s still a question mark for some when it comes to DJ Scaife, who is slated to be the starting right tackle for the Miami Hurricanes if the season were to kick off today.
Part of that comes from Game 1 of 2021, when Scaife struggled badly against Alabama and star DE Will Anderson, getting pulled after allowing a sack on Miami’s second series. How bad was it for him in that game? Well, you’re not going to see a 1.7 percent pass blocking grade very often, but that’s what he got from Pro Football Focus for his 13 reps.
The next time Scaife started a game for Miami he was inside at guard, the same spot he started at the prior season.
Was that all a bit of a panic move last season? Maybe. But either way, Scaife has something to prove this year at tackle, and he did start games at right tackle in 2019, so it’s not like he hasn’t done it before.
“I went through it (against ‘Bama) went over it, swallowed it and spit it out already,” Scaife says. “I just don’t think about it. It’s in the past. Can’t think about the past. Have to think about the future, what’s happening today.”
And what’s happening today is Scaife has put on more muscle and added 30 pounds to his max bench.
“My numbers went up a lot, everything PR,” he says. “I’m very excited, this is my last (season). Have to go out with a bang.”
He adds “I just want to thank coach (Aaron) Feld. They pushed me through the limit, got me right. I feel like everybody got stronger. It was just following what they’re saying, just do everything they say and you get stronger.”
One of the offseason Miami strength training highlights involved two of Scaife’s line teammates, with Logan Sagapolu and Justice Oluwaseun each squatting 700 pounds.
“That makes me want to do more,” Scaife says. “That’s something I’ll never forget. That’s special to them. I saw the video. I was just like `Dang, bro.’ How they did it, they could have added more weight. It wasn’t fast, but it as powerful. They didn’t struggle with it at all, especially Justice.”
Scaife wants Miami’s strength gains on the line to help “set the tone” this fall.
“We have to start fast, be strong on the line,” he says. “I feel that’s a big deal.”
He thinks thanks to the strength gains that his OL teammates have their confidence high. And despite Scaife’s struggles against Alabama, there’s no reason he shouldn’t also enter this season with a lot of confidence. When he returned to the starting line he performed well last year, and he ended with a strong 78.7 overall offensive grade per Pro Football Focus. That included 88.0 in pass blocking and 74.2 in run blocking.
While Scaife is working mainly at right tackle this fall, he’s also cross-trained at guard and even left tackle.
So what’s he improved even more this offseason?
“I feel like on my pass blocking, my hand placement is better, my individual punching is better,” Scaife said. “I’m not ducking as much or leaning forward.”
Scaife says overall that the Miami OL this year is more physical and “is working,” adding “I like the aggressiveness we’ve got.”
“(Mario Cristobal) is with us a lot (in practices),” Scaife said. “I like his instruction a lot. It’s more details.”
What is Scaife’s personal mentality now on a daily basis?
“Be 1-0,” Scaife says. “Win one day at a time.”
-Asked about transfer DL arrival Akheem Mesidor, Scaife said, “He has great hands. He has a good start off the ball, very good motor. All our defensive ends have that.”