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Does Miami miss Greg Rousseau?

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Transfers Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche have filled in admirably for Rousseau

Miami Hurricanes’ Greg Rousseau: ‘We’re going to do big things this year’
Former University of Miami defensive lineman Greg Rousseau wears the turnover chain during Miami’s 2019 victory over Central Michigan at Hard Rock Stadium.
Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Does Miami miss Greg Rousseau?

The question seems preposterous, given Rousseau’s unique ability and his 15.5 sacks in limited starting duty during the 2019 season.

If Miami could push a button and add Rousseau back to its 2020 defensive line, it surely would.

But through three games, over 25 percent of the regular season, has there been any moment that has caused you to think that Miami is deeply missing Rousseau?

Any moment that has prompted you to think, “man, the Hurricanes really need Greg Rousseau right now”?

The job that Temple transfer Quincy Roche and UCLA transfer Jaelan Phillips have done filling in for Rousseau makes the answer to those questions no for me.

The pressure that Roche and Phillips have been able to create off the edge in three games (two-and-a-half for Phillips) has been significant and very similar to what Rousseau created during the 2019 season.

Roche is tied for the team lead in sacks with two and also has 5.5 tackles for a loss. Phillips has an interception and two tackles for a loss.

The transfers’ ability to consistently bring pressure off the edge in passing situations has helped fill the gap left by Rousseau, who opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the NFL Draft amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Redshirt freshmen Jahfari Harvey and Cameron Williams have been more than serviceable in relief of Roche and Phillips as well.

It’s strange to say that losing a surefire 2021 first round draft pick has not set back Miami thus far, but it is a testament to the job that Manny Diaz has done in building depth at the defensive end position through the transfer portal and high school recruiting.

Defensive end is by far Miami’s deepest position on the team and likely the only one where the Hurricanes could have afforded to lose a player of Rousseau’s caliber and not see a drastic drop.

Miami’s toughest test of the season comes this Saturday when it travels to play top-ranked Clemson. Having a player of Rousseau’s caliber would be great to throw at Clemson’s elite offensive line, but the Hurricanes obviously won’t have that luxury.

But don’t discount Miami’s remaining defensive ends and their chance to help the Hurricanes control the line of scrimmage against Clemson.

If their effort winds up being what it has been in the first three games, Miami will have a good chance to pressure Trevor Lawrence on Saturday night, even without Rousseau.