Mirabal said he's liked what he's seen from Johansson so far this spring, and he's like the grittiness brought by the Herd's Swedish import, as well as the rest of the line.
"They tough it out, without me having to tell them anything," he said. "So I have a tough group and I'm appreciative of it."
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WHEN OTHERS talk about Mirabal as a coach, they mention his passion for coaching as much as his expertise. Yet when he shows that passion, he doesn't let the flame burn out of control. Some of the credit, he said, goes to not only being a South Florida high school coach for more than a decade, but to being a high school history and government teacher as well.
"I pride myself on being a teacher," he said. "I'm very enthusiastic, but I'm more of a positive enthusiasm than a negative enthusiasm. I'll criticize and critique their technique and their footwork, but not them as human beings.
"To me," he added. "That's not what it's about. They're out there trying. When they miss a block, they didn't do that stuff on purpose."
It can initially be startling to see Mirabal, who stands 5-foot-5, mentor college offensive linemen like 6-7 Corey Tenney or 6-8 Jordan Jeffries who tower over him. Mirabal said it's always been that way, so he doesn't know any better. But when players hear the lessons he teaches, they don't pay attention to stature.
"Once you open your mouth and start teaching, and they see the stuff that you're teaching them works on the field, all of a sudden you start reeling them in," he said.
"I tell people all the time, I've seen a lot of men deliver babies, but I haven't seen one man have a child."
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MARSHALL IS asking fans coming to Saturday morning's practice, scheduled to start at 9:15, to enter Joan C. Edwards stadium through Gate D and sit on the east side of the stadium as construction continues on the press box.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.