Grading the Canes: Defense

Miami's defense played very well in the first half against North Carolina last Saturday but struggled slowing down the Tar Heel offense in the second half. Lets take a closer look at how each unit performed.

Defensive Line: C-
Eric Moncur, after missing the first game of the season and playing a limited role against Florida, has really started to come on strong lately. He started the North Carolina game and played pretty well. He finished the game with three tackles, one sack, and he pressured the quarterback on another play. Steven Wesley was active, collecting four tackles. Adewale Ojomo had one tackle and a pressure. Allen Bailey, who saw some action at defensive tackle in this game, had two tackles and a pressure. The four defensive ends combined for just three pressures and one sack on 24 pass plays for the Tar Heels so they weren't doing a real good job of applying pressure.

At tackle, the Canes used a four-man rotation. True freshman Micanor Regis played an increased role with Marcus Forston not being able to go. Dwayne Hendricks had three tackles, Antonio Dixon had three, and Regis had one. The tackles didn't generate any pressure on the quarterback and only totaled one play made behind the line of scrimmage. While North Carolina averaged only 2.7 yards per carry on 28 carries, the interior of the line was pushed around when it needed to be at its strongest -- especially when North Carolina was going in for their first two scores. On 56 total plays, the eight defensive linemen in the rotation were only able to register 17 tackles, two plays behind the line of scrimmage, one sack, and three hurries. While those aren't bad numbers, they're not too good either. It didn't help that the D-Line drew three offsides penalties (two of which were declined).

Linebackers: C
Glenn Cook continues playing very well in his final season as a Hurricane. He may have been Miami's most effective defensive player in this game. Cook led all Hurricanes with six tackles but he also did a tremendous job of filling holes from his Mike linebacker spot and did a real nice job of applying pressure on the quarterback, putting heat on the UNC signal-callers four times. While he might not be Ray Lewis or Jonathan Vilma out there, he played a very solid game for the Canes. Colin McCarthy finished the game with three tackles, 0.5 behind the line, and one pressure. Darryl Sharpton and Sean Spence each had one tackle in the game and each had a pressure on the quarterback, as did Spencer Adkins. While the defense gave up just 2.7 yards per carry in the game, the linebackers only accounted for 12 tackles and just 0.5 behind the line. They were most effective when bringing the heat, as they applied pressure every three times UNC threw the football.

Defensive Backs: D
North Carolina completed 13-of-24 passes in this game for 264 yards and two touchdowns and a lot of that was when they were picking on the UM secondary. Especially late in the game, the Hurricanes had a hard time slowing down UNC's talented group of receivers. They gave up two touchdowns in the final eight minutes of the game, had a pass intereference call, and most of the missed tackles on defense in this game came from guys in the secondary. The two biggest plays of the game were on the 74-yard touchdown midway through the 4th quarter. Bruce Johnson, who was picked on the most in this game, was late getting to the ball on that play but what happened to the deep safeties? Demarcus Van Dyke was picked on when UNC scored the go-ahead touchdown. Miami's safeties combined for eight tackles while of the 24 pass attempts, Miami made plays (pass breakups) on just two of them. It was their worst game of the young season and they'll be looking to rebound strong against the Noles this Saturday.

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