Jahmile Addae first met Rich Rodriguez as a high school senior in Tampa, Fla. The current UA head coach recruited Addae to West Virginia and planned on redshirting the defensive back his freshman season.

Instead, Addae was forced into action in the team’s seventh game of the season against No. 1 Miami in 2001. Current UTSA coach Larry Coker was in his first year as head coach of the Hurricanes and led his team to a national title.

On the way, they beat Rodriguez and Addae 45-3. After serving as a defensive graduate assistant at Michigan and West Virginia with Rodriguez and two seasons as the running backs coach at Cincinnati, Addae rejoined Rodriguez’s staff before this season as the operations coordinator.

We talked to him about his first collegiate game against Coker and Miami in 2001.

On playing the No. 1 team in the country: “Being a Florida guy, it was a surreal day. Watching some of the things that program did, it was almost a dream come true. Being thrown into the fire is always a little unsettling and doing it against the No. 1 team in the country was definitely an experience you don’t forget. It set me up for the rest of my career. Once you get through it, nothing else should bother you. It went just as fast as it came.”

On the week leading up to the game: “I didn’t know I was going to start. I was playing scout team running back. It shows you how quick it happened. On Tuesday, I knew there was a possibility I’d be traveling, but I didn’t have much time to really prepare. It worked out as a positive. I don’t know if I would have showed up for the team bus had I known.”

On returning to work with Rodriguez and several of his former assistant coaches: “This is my crew. They are the reason I’ve had success on and off the field. Coach (Jeff) Casteel was the defensive coordinator, and he gave me my first job as a graduate assistant at West Virginia. Coach (Calvin) Magee was like my dad away from home. He recruited me and took me under his wing at West Virginia and helped me in my pro career. Rod Smith was there when I was a young coach and really mentored me. Coach (Bill) Kirelawich was my academic adviser as a player and used to punish me for missing class. And I was a part of Coach Rodriguez’s first class at West Virginia. These guys are very special to me.”