The Miami Hurricanes’ defense is among the best in the country. Ranking at or near the top of several statistics and advanced metrics, Manny Diaz’s group of defenders is a fearsome force to be reckoned with.
Probably the most overlooked member of the starting 11 (or 12 if you count STRIKER as its own position) of the Canes’ Defense is junior DT Pat Bethel. A 4-star recruit from Vero Beach (FL) in the class of 2016, Bethel is a Miami legacy — his father Randy played TE at Miami from 1988 to 1990, winning a National Championship with the Canes in 1989 — who has developed into a steady and solid player up front for the Canes.
During the 2018 regular season, Bethel had 21 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 2 sacks, and a PBU/deflection. Bethel started most of Miami’s 12 games, and played a huge number of snaps next to star DT Gerald Willis III.
Against a run-heavy team such as Wisconsin, the play of the defense line in general, and each member specifically, will be key. While he may rotate out of the game in favor of Tito Odenigbo or Jon Ford from time to time, Bethel’s play holding the point of attack and/or penetrating into the backfield (or cleaning up a broken play that Willis or another DL has created) will be of the utmost importance for the Canes.
A solid stat line for Bethel in this game would be 2 tackles and a TFL. He’s not the numerical star of the team, so anything beyond that would be huge for Miami. It would likely mean that the TFL numbers and disruption overall would be at a high level, and hopefully stifle Wisconsin’s offense (as was seen for a portion of last year’s Orange Bowl against the Badgers until things took a turn).
No, he’s not the first name you think of when discussing Miami’s stellar defensive line, but Pat Bethel is an important player, and Miami needs him to match or exceed his level of play when the Canes meet the Badgers in Yankee Stadium on December 27th.