Don't adjust your screens! Yesterday, less than a week after Miami lost starting senior OLB Ramon Buchanan for the season to a knee injury, starting DT Marcus Forston blew his knee out in practice and will also be out for the remainder of the season. The Miami defense was already struggling mightily this season, having given up an average of 202 rushing yards a game, which is good for 104th in the entire country, and third worst amongst BCS teams. And that was with Forston, the most talented lineman on the team, on the field for all but one game.
Without him, the Canes, who were supermodel-thin at defensive tackle to begin with, might be on their way to having the worst defense in the entire BCS.
As it stands now, Micanor Reigs -- who has been Miami's best lineman this season -- will remain as one of the starting defensive tackles. Beside him will be Adewale Ojomo, who was converted from defensive end even before this injury. Ojomo was one of Miami's better defensive ends, but he has basically no experience inside and weighs less than 275 pounds. Backing them up will be Darius Smith, who has played some this year and has size, but who is still in his first season of FBS football, as well as freshmen Jalen Grimble and Olsen Pierre. Those latter two are talented, but only a select few freshmen linemen can really make an impact in their first years, and Miami needs to hope that it only has to use them sparingly.
The end result is that no less than six Miami underclassmen will be seeing major time on defense in Blacksburg this weekend. Yes, Sean Spence and Ray Ray Armstrong and Regis and Ojomo will be out there, but there's no mistaking it: rebuilding is here.