Losing Owens is a tough break for UM

Darrion Owens left the FAU game Friday night with a knee injury. Al Golden has confirmed that Owens did suffer a season-ending knee injury. CanesTime's Mike Bakas explains what that means for Owens and the Hurricane defense.

Darrion Owens was a big get for the Hurricanes when they signed him from the Jacksonville area in their 2014 recruiting class. He enrolled early so he went through spring football with the team last year.

Owens made an impact right away, playing in all 12 games as a true freshman. He finished the season with 23 tackles and showed a bright future at times.

Owens had a strong spring this year and then entered fall camp as a co-starter with Tyriq McCord at the strongside linebacker position. The two both enjoyed strong training camps but Owens won the starting job for the season opener against Bethune Cookman. He had two tackles, including one for a loss, in that game. McCord edged out Owens for the start against FAU and it was expected that both players would go back and forth all season.

Now, that job belongs solely to McCord because of the injury to Owens, which hurts Miami's defense.

Aside from the five freshmen who don't seem ready to make an impact on defense yet, the Canes have just four true outside linebackers. McCord and Jermaine Grace are the starters. Marques Gayot is the other one and the former safety is still probably a year away from being able to physically make an impact.

Owens is one of the most talented players on Miami's defense and despite being just a sophomore he was probably one of the seven or eight best players on that side of the ball. Not only does Miami lose that for the rest of the season but they now must try replacing him with a freshman like Terry McCray or Michael Smith. Neither of those players, who both came in the same class as Owens, are in his league so there will be a big dropoff in ability from that position behind McCord.

Owens will likely apply for a medical redshirt this season, which means there's a good chance he'll start the 2016 season as a redshirt sophomore.

McCord, who is better at rushing the passer from the defensive end spot, now has big shoes to fill as a full-time starter at a position that he's new at.

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