Pass rush needs young players to step up

The Hurricanes enter the UCF game registering only nine sacks over five games and with the news that Eric Moncur is out for the season, the Hurricanes will look to their young linemen to step up and provide the much needed pass rush. Read on to find out what one of those ends is saying.

Third down defense and front four pressure, those are the two areas on defense that have humbled a Miami defense that impressed against the Florida Gators only four games ago. The Hurricanes (2-3) enter Saturday's game with Central Florida (3:45pm EST, ESPNU) totaling only nine sacks over five games this season and allowing opponents to convert on third downs on half of all attempts.

Head coach Randy Shannon and his staff have stressed that aspect of the game all week long in practice and now they'll be able to put it to the test against UCF (2-3).

"It has been a hard week of practice," Hurricanes DE Adewale Ojomo said. "The coaches are getting every ounce of energy out of us. They've been stressing getting off the field. So, you'll see in the game a big improvement on third and long situations."

Ojomo, 6-foot-3 240 pounds, enters the game with only nine tackles and a half-sack, and feels it is going to be on him to step up his game to generate the pass rush the Hurricanes desperately need.

"(There is) No pressure, I came here to be a starter," Ojomo said. "A guy to make plays in tough situations. I came here to be that guy, that playmaker. I can't rely on anyone else."

The Hurricanes enter the game down a man on the front four. Shannon announced earlier in the week DE Eric Moncur along with two other players will be out for the rest of the season, which leaves a hole up front on defense with the void of Moncur. While Moncur didn't start this season due to injury, he provided the Hurricanes with up to 25 plays per game from the defensive end position.

"Since Eric has been down the younger guys just have to step up," Ojomo said. "(Moncur was a) great leaders on the field, we need (him), but our four defensive ends are all starters. Those guys could all start, so all of them bring the same qualities."

Ojomo says the team will miss Moncur's experience.

"Experience is the best teacher, so I go to (him) a lot. He tells me everything from pass rush moves to fundamentals and the scheme of the game, recognizing what the offense is doing to you, how to watch film, what to click on when you go on there. He has been there for me, for everything."

With the coaches, media, and the team stressing getting off the field, Ojomo feels the pressure to step up the pass rush. However, the most pressure to step up comes from himself.

"You never know when ts your last play," Ojomo said. "You might get hurt or leave for the NFL. If you allow yourself to make mistakes and allow time to mature, you are going to be behind the totem poll. You never know what can happen. You just have to play every play like its yout last game. That is my mentality. It makes it much harder, but you know what it takes to get to the next level. They won't take average. It takes a lot."

With UCF next on the schedule, Ojomo knows how important it is for the Hurricanes to step up and not take them for granted.

"We aren't taking this team for granted. Players step up against us. To win this game for them would be important. When they go on to the NFL, they want to establish the University of Central Florida. Guys will step up."

So, what does Ojomo see on the UCF offensive line?

"Their offensive line is average. I didn't see anything amazing. They'll come out and play a good game just because a lot of guys get excited to play us."

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