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Miami’s Defensive Line is the Driving, Relentless Force Behind Their Success

The defensive line was one of the biggest areas of concern during the off-season, but is now Miami’s best unit.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Losing players like RJ McIntosh, Chad Thomas, and Kendrick Norton, alongside defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski raised some concern regarding how the corp would perform in 2018. Through 6 games this season however, the group has not only performed well, but has surpassed the success that last year’s D-line had.

In the season opener, the whole team struggled - including the defensive line. Aside from players like Jeff Thomas and Gerald Willis III having great games, concern plagued Miami as a whole. Now, with momentum, confidence, and a juggernaut defensive line, Miami is armed with the tools in order to win-out.

This season, the ‘Canes have amounted 72 tackles for loss, averaging 12 per game (source). The veteran Gerald Willis III has 12.5 TFLs, with Jonathan Garvin close behind with 11.5. Not to leave Joe Jackson out of the equation, who already has 5 sacks this season.

The numbers that Gerald Willis III has this season are remarkable; he’s matched RJ McIntosh’s TFL total from last season in just 6 games. He’s regarded as one of (if not) the defensive lineman in the country this year, and for good reason.

With that in mind, Miami already had one of the best defensive lines in the country talent wise, but what matters the most, is that they’ve consistently proven their talent on the field.

Defensive line coach Jess Simpson has done an incredible job with group, and hasn’t made us miss Kuligowski whatsoever. Raw-Freshman Tito Odenigbo is evidence of Simpson’s direction, as Odenigbo has developed into a solid contributor.

Historically, defense has always been the most exciting part of Miami football. The success that this defensive line has had is flat-out legendary, and is the leading force in the Canes’ defensive efficiency.


How Many TFLs Will Miami End the Season With?

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  • 24%
    (72 votes)
  • 58%
    (171 votes)
  • 16%
    (47 votes)
290 votes total Vote Now