Scouting the 'Canes

The Miami Hurricanes' defense has proven to be one of the nation's best over the past four years, helping earn BCS Bowl berths each season. Miami's total defense has ranked in the top seven in each of the past three years, while the pass defense (yards allowed) has not ranked lower than second (2001) and led the nation the last two seasons. FSU offensive lineman <b>Ron Lunford</b> is well aware of UM's talent. Click here for an update.

Florida State junior guard Ron Lunford could make his fourth career start in the Seminoles' season-opener at Miami next Monday.

Lunford continued to work with the first-team offense in Tuesday's practice, which was chased indoors due to rain. Lunford has replaced senior Bobby Meeks, who continues to recover from a high ankle sprain.

Lunford certainly knows what he's getting into when watching film of UM.

"They look awesome. Awesome," Lunford told TheTerritory following practice. "We are going to have a tough matchup ahead of us. But I feel like if we work hard, things will turn out good for us."

Of course, the good news is the Hurricanes' defense begins the 2004 season minus four first-round NFL draft picks -- Sean Taylor (5th overall,Redskins), Jonathan Vilma (12th overall, Jets), D.J. Williams (17th overall, Broncos) and Vince Wilfork (21st overall, Patriots).

The foursome accounted for 112 starts in their respective UM careers. The Hurricanes also lost cornerback Al Marshall (7th round, Jets), linebacker Darrell McClover (7th round, Bears) and senior strong safety Mo Sikes, all starters in 2003, that had a combined for another 50 career starts.

In all, Miami's defense enters the season minus seven starters and 162 career starts.

"Last year, I really thought they probably had the best defensive football team in the country and I think the draft bears that out," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said on Monday during a national conference call with the media.

"How many times do you play a team that has four first rounders just over there on defense. We noticed that people that beat them were people that intercepted their passes, or picked up fumbles and ran for touchdowns, it was not people that stuck the ball down their throats. We played that kind of game against them earlier in the year, turned the ball over, and they turned them into scores."

Miami has led the nation in pass defense in each of the past two years (2002 and 2003) and finished second in 2001. Over the past three years, the Hurricanes have allowed only 132.7 yards per game – the lowest per game total in the nation – while intercepting 56 passes.

UM's defense knows how to score as well.

Over the past two years, Miami has scored 21 touchdowns via non-offensive means. The Hurricanes scored at least one non-offensive touchdown in seven of their 12 games a year ago and 10 overall.

Lunford, meanwhile, says he's excited about the opportunity of possibly starting against the 'Canes.

We are coming together great. I am really looking forward to the season and playing with these guys," Lunford said.

"I am excited. What more can you ask for, with this game being this big. You are getting a chance to go out there and prove yourself. That's all you can ask for.I knew this day would come, so I just have to execute my assignments and help my team win. I feel like everything will fall into place for me.

Here's is UM's defensive depth chart.

LE Baraka Atkins (6-4, 263, Soph.)
Bryan Pata (6-4, 267, Soph.*)

LT Orien Harris (6-4, 301, Jr.)
Teraz McCray (6-0, 286, R-Fr.)

RT Santonio Thomas (6-4, 308, Sr.)
Kareem Brown (6-5, 301, Jr.)

RE Thomas Carroll (6-5, 230, Jr.)
Javon Nanton (6-3, 240, Jr.)

SLB Roger McIntosh (6-3, 237, Jr.)
Glenn Cook (6-1 222, R-Fr.)

MLB Leon Williams (6-4, 237, Jr.)
Jon Beason (6-1, 220, R-Fr.)

WLB Tavares Gooden (6-1, 220, Soph.*)
Romeo Davis (6-3, 215, Fr.)

LCB Kelly Jennings (6-0, 177, Jr.)
Marcus Maxey (6-3, 198, Jr.)
Devin Hester (5-11, 185, Soph.*)

RCBAntrel Rolle (6-1, 202, Sr.*)
Glenn Sharpe (5-11, 181, Jr.)

FS Brandon Meriweather (6-1, 184, Soph.)
Anthony Reddick (6-0, 188, Fr.*)

SS Greg Threat (6-2, 193, Jr.*)
Willie Cooper (6-1, 201, R-Fr.)

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