Pata, D-Line Tough Against the Run

CORAL GABLES – Five games into the season Miami has not allowed a team to run for 100 yards and is allowing just 63 yards a game on the ground, which ranks eighth in the country.

Against North Carolina on Saturday, the Tar Heels rushed for 58 yards on 28 carries. North Carolina came into the game averaging 123 rushing yards per game.

But the Miami defense prevailed.

"I was pleased with the run defense again as they had two really good backs (Ronnie McGill and Barrington Edwards)," Miami Coach Larry Coker said. "I think we did a really good job stopping them."

In addition to having a strong front four against the run, the Hurricanes have been involved the safeties against the run in addition to getting solid play from their linebackers.

Allowing just 63 rushing yard a game can be largely credited to DTs Bryan Pata and Teraz McCray.

Also deserving of credit is first-year defensive line coaches John Palermo and Clint Hurtt.

"With Clint Hurtt and John Palermo, these guys are getting very well-coached," Coker said. "We are at the point now where we are very well conditioned and can run pretty fast, but it is the little things that make a difference and that is what we are getting from our coaches."

Last year Miami allowed 118 rushing yards a game, which ranked 23rd in the country. In addition to having new coaches this year, the Hurricanes have benefited from a position change.

Pata was a defensive end his first three years at UM, but made the transition to defensive tackle before fall practices in August. So far, his play this season has been "outstanding" according to Coker.

On the season, Pata has eight tackles, three for a loss, and two sacks, which ties him for the team lead.

DE Calais Campbell has also been tough against the run and had a very productive day yesterday with six tackles, four for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble, and two pass breakups.

"He is kind of a sleeping giant," said Coker of his 6-foot-8 sophomore. "He works so hard, has such a great attitude, and is a smart kid that you just know that is going to get better and better.

"I'll put it this way, the teams that we play—when they see the tape they will do something about this guy."

DE Eric Moncur, the team's best defensive end this season, did not play against North Carolina due to a left knee injury.

"He may be back this week, but probably and hopefully for Duke (on Oct. 21)," Coker said.

JENKINS STILL OUT: Senior WR Darnell Jenkins has said he will have surgery on Monday on his right knee to repair his torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) although Coker did not want to confirm it on Sunday. Jenkins suffered the injury on Sept. 16 and has not played since. He could be out an extended period of time and potentially could apply for a medical redshirt so he would able to return for the 2007 season.

Christopher Stock can be reached stock@canestime.com

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