With Ray Ray Armstrong returning from suspension, the Miami defense figured to get a boost for this week's game versus Virginia Tech. But with Al Golden's announcement that starting senior OLB Ramon Buchanan is out for the year after suffering a knee injury this past Saturday against Bethune Cookman, it appears as if the injury gods have taken an eye for an eye. Buchanan was injured early in the game during a play near the infield dirt that was still present for Saturday's game, and to that end, Golden had a forceful, if not puzzling response (per Tim Reynolds):
Golden on Buchanan and if infield played role: "Don't even go there. Please. I mean, that's ridiculous. He got hurt on grass, a noncontact injury. That's it. Please. Next question. Next question."
Now, that may be true. Plenty of non-contact injuries have happened on perfectly fine grass. And there isn't a history of major football injuries associated with Sun Life Stadium's infield, involving either the Hurricanes or the Dolphins. But if Buchanan was near or on the infield-- and if Golden shooed the question away so to not cause a stir-- it begs the question of why the Sun Life Stadium crew was not able to patch over the grass, when they have done so many, many times before.
As for Buchanan, he's not a star by any means, but on a Miami defense that is young, inexperienced, and has various players playing out of position, a solid senior starter was almost something to cherish. Buchanan will be replaced by a carousel of players looking to separate from the herd: senior Jordan Futch and freshman Denzel Perryman figure to get most of the looks, with sophomore Kelvin Cain reemerging from hiding and freshman Gionni Paul also likely in the mix. It's possible that Buchanan, who wasn't a huge hitter and didn't have a knack for game-changing plays, may not be missed. But it's also possible that he was more important than anyone realized.