If I were to have told you, Miami's defense would have given up almost 1500 yards in three games you would have probably cancelled your subscription thinking I was crazy. The fact of the matter is they have given up 1,473 yards in the last three outings combined. Mobile quarterbacks have made this defense vulnerable recently. Charlie Whitehurst has enough mobility to be effective against the Hurricanes man coverage. Teams have been able to get the Hurricane defense playing with their backs to the ball and hurt them.
The defensive front has great size and athletic ability. Orien Harris appears to be the next great defensive lineman for Miami. When you look at this unit, it is really hard to understand how third string tailback Chad Scott busted out for 175 yards rushing last week. Santonio Thomas, Baraka Atkins, and Thomas Carroll round out the starting front four. Once again, they present another tough test for the Tigers offensive line, but have been explioted over the last few weeks.
Linebacker is the area where the NFL has finally caught up to the Hurricanes. There is no question they miss Jonathon Vilma and DJ Williams here. Leon Williams and Roger McIntosh are extremely talented, but have been burnt by play action. How the front four handles Clemson's running game could cure the play action problems. Tavares Gooden rounds out the trio. If the linebacker struggles, continue it could open some possibilities for the Tigers.
Antrel Rolle is as good a defensive back you will find anywhere in the country. Miami is not afraid to bring him on a blitz either. He is used very similiar to Justin Miller. Kelly Jennings plays the corner opposite of Rolle. Greg Threat and Brandon Merriweather have continued the tradition of great play from the safeties at Miami. Both of these are very physical safeties. They have very similiar styles compared to Jamaal Fudge and Travis Pugh. It will be interesting to see how the Tigers attack this secondary. Devin Hester will see time at corner behind Rolle. Hester will play corner in the nickel formation and Rolle will shift to the nickelback. Rolle is a good cover corner, but most likely projects to be a safety in the NFL.