Defensive Breakdown

What more could the defense do? It held the Florida State Seminoles to 173 total yards. The defense gave up 75 yards passing, two-thirds coming on slip screens to Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington. The defense gave up 98 yards rushing, most of them coming on draw plays.

The defense made redshirt freshman Drew Weatherford looked like a petrified puppy amongst pit bulls.

Then did the same thing to redshirt freshman Xavier Lee in the few plays he got, including one that saw the shotgun snap go right through his hands.

But still, the Miami Hurricanes lost to Florida State 10-7 at Doak Campbell Stadium Monday night in front of a national audience on ABC.

So FSU celebrated like it had just won the National Championship jumping into the stands with the fans following the game.

But one is still left to really wonder how good the ‘Canes defense really is because FSU's offense is still dreadfully bad and an 8 by 10 photo of the blind leading the blind.

Nonetheless, the ‘Canes defense looked dominant against the ‘Noles and we'll break down each unit of the defense in this disappointing loss.

Defensive Line

The defensive line dominated the Seminoles up front. They put constant pressure on Weatherford and made his life miserable in his first start.

Baraka Atkins and Orien Harris did a great job on the inside and limited the ‘Noles ground game.

Bryan Pata and Thomas Carroll did a good job around the edges including Pata stuffing a first and goal run from the one in the first quarter for no gain.

And the defensive line was the starting point for the biggest stuff job of the game when FSU gained possession on Miami's one-yard line midway through the third quarter following a blocked Brian Monroe punt.

The defensive line picked it up and swallowed up the FSU running game pushing the ‘Noles backward to the three-yard line and not allowing the ‘Noles to score when they missed a 26-yard field goal wide left.


Overall, the linebackers played very well, but one missed tackle by Tavares Gooden can be looked back upon as the tackle that wasn't made that may have actually cost the ‘Canes the game on defense.

Following a Kyle Wright interception, the ‘Noles had a third and six at the ‘Canes 25-yard line.

What looked like a stuffed running play turned into a 24-yard gain when Lorenzo Booker cut back and broke free, but not before breaking Gooden's tackle.

Booker was finally taken down at the one-yard line and two plays later fullback James Coleman trucked over Leon Williams and got into the end zone.

Williams had the chance to keep Coleman out as he met Coleman at the one-yard line, but couldn't hold him out as Coleman bowled over him.

But other than those two plays, there could be no complaints about the play the play of the linebackers and while it's hard to critique a defense that gave up only ten points and 173 total yards, the smallest thing becomes magnified.


The defensive backs were solid as a rock.

Even with the loss of Anthony Reddick who went down with a knee injury in the first quarter and missed the remainder of the game, the defensive backs gave up only three receptions to receivers and Marcus Maxey came up with an interception.

Kelly Jennings though dropped an easy interception at the FSU 30-yard line which could have given the ‘Canes a great scoring opportunity, but the defensive backs were virtually untouchable.

The defensive backs also helped a great deal against the run and true freshman Kenny Phillips laid Weatherford out on a blind side hit from a safety blitz.

The hit almost caused an interception as the potential pick went through Brandon Meriweather's hands.

Special Teams Coverage Units

Outside of the blocked punt of Brian Monroe in the third quarter when Lovon Ponder whiffed on a block that didn't come back to haunt the team, the ‘Canes special teams coverage units were very good.

Monroe did a good job on kickoff putting the ball through the end zone on both kickoffs leaving the ‘Noles with no return.

Monroe averaged 38.1 yards per punt and had a nice pooch punt that forced the ‘Noles to start a possession at their own four-yard line. He also had a long of 62 yards.

The coverage unit only gave up one return of note when Washington gained 20 yards on a return.

But unfortunately with as good as the ‘Canes defense was overall, a win didn't come out of it. Maybe they'll get another crack at these ‘Noles in the ACC title game in Jacksonville in December.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

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