If any unit on the Miami Hurricanes has played well through the first eight weeks of the college football season, it’s the defensive line.
The Hurricanes defensive front is performing at a +31.55% rate compared to the average power five defensive line, according to ESPN’s David Hale.
They are also the top team in the country when it comes to pressuring the quarterback.
#CFB Week 9: Top 5 Defenses - QB Pressure %— SportSource Analytics (@SportSourceA) October 23, 2019
1. #Miami …………...48.2%
2. #Temple ………...48.1%
3. #Oregon ………...47.6%
4. #Virginia ………...47.1%
5. #NotreDame …..46.6%
** Above percentage measures the % of dropbacks that the defense had a hurry, knockdown, or sack.
Miami has totaled 21 sacks on the year and are averaging three per game along with 7.6 tackles for loss.
A role player on the front, redshirt freshman Jordan Miller, met with the media following Wednesdays practice session and discussed the teams tackling woes and weeding out the type of people from the program that could contribute to this team collapsing after a 3-4 start rather than fighting and figuring out a way to turn the season around.
But perhaps his most interesting comments of the day came on a question regarding the trio of freshman defensive lineman that have not played much in 2019.
Jalar Holley, Jason Blissett Jr. and Jared Harrison-Hunte have been running with the scout team all year and have been giving the first-team offensive line trouble in practice.
“They’re progressing, they’re like our hype crew. You see them on the sidelines like coordinating like choir and stuff. I love them,” Miller said. “We call them the young bulls because they’re like bulls – they bully the o-line when they go against them. They take no remorse against the o-line, so they’re going to be great.”
Yes, Miller was referring to the first team offensive line when talking about the young bulls.
“They do well. Coach was telling them, he’s like, ‘Do well over there. You have to do well just don’t take it lightly and lollygag.’ He sees everything.” Miller said.
There are two ways to look at this: the Hurricanes have three very young and talented defensive tackles that are going to redshirt and be ready to go next year or you can look at how atrocious our offensive line has been that three young freshman have been able to beat them enough in practice for some of the older guys to take notice and speak on it publicly.
“We just take it one day at a time and learn from the older guys like Jon Ford, Pat Bethel, Nesta and everybody,” Blissett Jr. said during Media Day on Aug. 13. “They’ve been welcoming and just willing to teach us as much as they can and we have just been taking it one day at a time and just, you know, adjusting to the fast pace lifestyle and game play. But we’ve been enjoying the process a lot. And coach [Todd] Stroud, the GA’s (graduate assistants) and the older guys have made it easy for us to really feel like we’re welcomed and like we’re the future of Miami.”
The former four-star recruit out of Brooklyn, NY knows that the trio has a chance to lead this Hurricanes defense for years to come.
“With me, Jared and Jalar, with just the class we had this year, for years to come I think we can really dominate. As athletic as we are and just where we started off at, just as like a baseline, I think there’s only room for improvement from here,” Blissett Jr. said.
Holley, a 6’2 290 pound Georgia native, also feels that sense of responsibility to keep the standard of the Hurricanes defensive alive.
“Shaq and the rest of the older guys, they tell us we’re up next,” Holley said. “He already sees that were the future leaders of Miami and that role is a role that we’re willing to take on.”
The trio made their Miami debut against Bethune-Cookman on Sept. 14 and it has been the only game they have participated in. Blissett had a tackle for loss in the Hurricanes 63-0 victory.