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Nathaniel ‘Ray Ray’ Joseph Jr. Q&A: College Transition, Thoughts on New Offense and More

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Miami freshman wide receiver Nathaniel “Ray Ray” Joseph Jr. // LifeWallet Sports

LifeWallet Sports interviewed Miami freshman wide receiver Nathaniel Joseph Jr. at UM’s recent media day and discussed his transition to college and what he likes about offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson’s offense, among other topics.

Here are some lightly edited highlights from the conversation.

Chaney: How is this transition to college going for you?

Joseph: It’s been a smooth and kind of simple, easy process for me, honestly, because just being from South Florida, I’m used to the heat and then the hard work that these coaches in South Florida put us through. So, I mean, just coming here and being able to be in a more organized system and under control type of environment, it made it way more simple and easy for me. It’s been great for me.

Chaney: And what’s [Miami wide receivers coach Kevin Beard] like?

Joseph: He’s great. He helps me understand the little things … he helps you see what you need to work on and not what you’re good at. So, I mean, just being able to understand what I’m not so good at, and I’m able to work on it because he points it out, so just being able to have a guy that points out what you’re not so good at and helps you work on and helps you get better at it, he’s definitely a blessing to have as a receivers coach. 

Chaney: What are some of the things that he does that kind of set him apart from other coaches you’ve had in the past?

Joseph: That he can actually demonstrate what he [tells us]. His feet [are] crazy, like he’s still got it. So just being able to demonstrate it and show you [in] real-time, like you can sit there and watch him do exactly what he’s telling you to do, and then you try to go behind him and do it and you’re like, ‘Dang, it feels like I ain’t doing it right’ because he actually does it real good still at his age and him being older and being gone from the game for a while … Most coaches talk about how to do it because they can’t do it anymore, but he can still do it and demonstrate what he needs us to do. 

Chaney: What are some of the things you like about Coach Dawson and the offense that he’s putting in?

Joseph: He just tries to get everybody involved. It’s a pass-first type of offense, so he’s definitely throwing it around and just airing it out, basically stretching the defense and getting everybody involved. 

Chaney: I gotta ask, why Miami? I know you’re a South Florida guy, you’ve been here your whole life, just why the Hurricanes?

Joseph: Growing up a Hurricanes fan, I’m more than just a player on the team, I’m a fan too. Just growing up in Miami, why not put on for my city and why go elsewhere and play for somebody else? 

Chaney: What are you trying to prove [in] Year 1?

Joseph: I’ve always been having to prove my whole life because I was always undersized, so just being able to just go out there and play ball and even if it’s like special teams and stuff and getting little dinks and dunks here and there.

Chaney: Is there anything about college ball that kind of surprised you, that you weren’t expecting when you first got here to play spring ball?

Joseph: Guys are just smarter. I mean, the speed of the game is different, but I caught on to it fast, but it’s really more so that everybody’s smarter, so it’s bigger than just being able to play football because everybody’s talented now. There’s more sort of mental smartness, like in being able to have a plan, when you line up with a plan and know what you’re going to do when you’re going to do it because in high school you could just line up and run around, but now you got to really have a plan because the guy in front of you gotta plan on what he’s going to do, so you gotta have a plan about what you’re doing.

Chaney: What’s the overall vibe right now? [There are] a lot of new coaches [and] players, just what’s the vibe like right now?

Joseph: Oh, it’s been a family atmosphere. I mean, just even the little things like the team activities and stuff, just always being around each other. I hang out with these guys all the time on the weekend, just building the bond we’ve been building all the time. I mean, it’s crazy how great [we’ve come] together and meshing together. And like literally since I’ve been here, it’s just getting better and better and better.

Chaney: I wanted to ask about the class of 2023, the first full class of the Mario Cristobal era. It seems like y’all have just really gotten along. What makes this group so special?

Joseph: There are a lot of dogs in the group. I mean like, there’s talent everywhere you look, every name you call, like he’s a dog and he’s a great person off the field. So, I mean, just being able to have some of these guys that came here early, like my guy Emory over here, just being able to have him as a quarterback, I mean it’s crazy. But a lot of these guys, it’s just crazy just having those guys on the team. There are so many of us and we were all like highly recruited, so just all of us coming [to] one place to make one place better and greater than what it was, this is what we came to do and we want to do it.

Chaney: What stands out to you about Emory [Williams]?

Joseph: Outside of football, he’s a great guy. On the field, his arm is very talented. I mean, I love catching from him. We always get extra work in. I’m really comfortable with Emory. He’s the most comfortable quarterback I’m with, and I’m always with him, so me and him are real comfortable with each other. We [have] good chemistry. 

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