Miami's defensive play since Al Golden took over the program following the 2010 season has been pretty poor. The numbers don't lie. Head coach Al Golden has defended defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio a lot in recent weeks and even talked on the radio yesterday about how he's happy with the way the defense is going.
Golden mentioned he was especially encouraged by how Miami's defense went from ranking 98th nationally in yards allowed last season to 15th this season.
Sure, that's a major jump but lets take a closer look at where Miami's opponents rank in total offense this season.
Arkansas State 22
Georgia Tech 23
Virginia Tech 94
North Carolina 48
Florida State 46
Without factoring in the Florida A&M (FCS opponent) game, in which Miami's defensive stats were excellent, the average opponent had a total offense ranking of 50th. That means Miami's schedule in terms of opposing offenses this season was very average, and not one opponent is in the Top 20. Those numbers were certainly aided by the fact that Miami played a very soft schedule in terms of opposing offenses this season.
Having said that, three defensive categories that Golden and Mark D'Onofrio have often talked about from day one are third down defense, redzone defense, and the ability to create turnovers. Lets take a closer look at those three areas.
The Hurricanes are currently ranked 56th in third down defense, 70th in redzone defense, and 30th in turnovers gained. That comes out to an average of 52 -- which makes Miami's defense look very average in the areas that Golden and his staff seem to put most emphasis on.
That is four years into his regime. That's while playing with five players (DE Anthony Chickillo, DT Olsen Pierre, MLB Denzel Perryman, OLB Thurston Armbrister, and CB Ladarius Gunter) who will likely be drafted in April.
Those numbers need to be better with that type of talent and experience on that side of the football, and it's a big reason why a lot of fans and former players have been critical of the defensive schemes UM has played with all season.