Miami Impressed By AState Defense

What the Arkansas State defense has done in its first two games has not gone unnoticed in south Florida.

“On the defensive side, top 20 in a lot of different categories,' said Miami coach Al Golden. "I think they’re third in turnovers and sixth in sacks. Everything starts up the middle. Safeties are all veterans, all starters, very active, very good tacklers. [Qushan] Lee - all the accolades precede him as we enter the game, and now you can see why. Body like Denzel [Perryman], strong physical inside yet fast enough to run on perimeter.

"I really like what they’re doing in front. Dexter Blackmon is really strong, doing a good job for them. Just a good, active defense. I think eight returning starters. It’s going to be a great challenge for us. They went into Knoxville and gave [Tennessee] everything they could handle."

Miami running back Duke Jones is also impressed with Lee.

"It is a very aggressive defense,'' he said. "It starts with the guy in the middle, number 48 the linebacker. He is a big-time player, makes plays for the defense. He is the guy the defense revolves around. "The secondary plays a lot of press coverage and they have a lot of physical guys. It is going to be a tough ball game." The Red Wolves (1-1) are coming off a 34-19 loss at Tennessee on Saturday. Lee missed part of that game while playing with a rib injury. Starting safety Chris Humes is also out.

"It’s not like it’s a team that’s playing nickel versus 11, that’s their base," said Golden. "They’re very similar to North Carolina in that respect. If that’s your base - like it was for Florida State or North Carolina a year ago - you protect your nickel with your fronts.

"You allow that player the ability to run freely as much as you can and use his attributes – his speed, his knowledge, his ability to play man - or have a faster guy on the field for breaking on the ball, perimeter throws, things of that nature. I do expect that. Whether that will be or not, we don’t know, but we’ll see. Every game is a different checkerboard.”

They play the Hurricanes (1-1) Saturday afternoon at 2:30. The game will be televised by ESPNU.