93 Days to Miami football: Pat Bethel 2018 season preview


Pat Bethel has a big opportunity in front of him with the Miami football team in 2018. Entering his Junior season Bethel is projected as a starter at defensive tackle.

Bethel finished the 2017 season 19th on the Miami football team in tackles. He was fourth in the rotation at defensive tackle last season. The departures of starters R.J. McIntosh and Kendrick Norton and primary backup Anthony Moten has created a lot of playing time on the interior of the defensive line in 2018.

Gerald Willis is locked into one of the starting positions up front. Bethel is going to be in a tight battle to keep his position as the starter. The Hurricanes will likely rotate four or five players at defensive tackle.

Bethel is likely to be challenged by Rising Sophomore Jon Ford, Freshman Nesta Silvera and Graduate Transfer Tito Odenigbo to start and get snaps in the rotation.

After not getting much playing time as a Freshman in 2016, Bethel had 18 tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and fumble recovery and one pass defended in 2017. Bethel played in all 13 games last season. He had six tackles in 11 games in 2016.

Bethel came to Miami as a consensus four-star defensive end in 2016. He was the 247th ranked player Nationally, the 14th best strongside defensive end and the 40th best player in Florida in the Class of 2016. He was switched to defensive end last season.

Bethel played 15 to 20 plays as a Sophomore at defensive tackle. That number figures to go up to 25 to 30 this year with the losses the Hurricanes had inside on the defensive line.

Bethel is one of many Miami football legacies currently on the roster. His father Randy played tight end for the Hurricanes from 1987-90. Pat Bethel chose Miami over several other prominent Power Five schools. He was a part of Mark Richt’s first signing class at Miami in 2016.

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  • Whoever does play the second defensive tackle spot next to Willis should have plenty of opportunities next to him. Willis is likely to be frequently double-teamed this season if he lives up to the hype.

    As we have been saying throughout the offseason and during part of the 2017 campaign, Richt has frequently spoken about Willis’ domination on the scout team in 2017 and during spring practice.

    The interior of the defensive line is going to be one of the keys to duplicating and/or improving on last season’s 10-3 record, ACC Coastal Division title, ACC Championship game appearance and Orange Bowl berth.

    The Miami defense struggled to defend the run early in the season. They allowed over four yards per carry in four of their first five games. The highest average they allowed on the ground over the final six games was 3.4 YPC.

    The defense had trouble containing opposing passing games over the final four games. They also allowed more points per game. The Hurricanes allowed Virginia, Pittsburgh, Clemson and Wisconsin to complete 71.6 percent of their attempts over the final four games. They also allowed 10 touchdown passes.

    The defense needs to continue to stop the run and do a better job defending the pass. Bethel and the rest of the interior of the defensive line will play a big role in that. Tying up the opposing offensive linemen to allow the pass rushes to get to the quarterback will be key.

    Next: What does DT Tito Odenigbo’s arrival mean for Miami football?

    Miami led the nation in sacks last season. They only had six in the last three games, all losses. Four of those came against Clemson in a 38-3 loss. McIntosh is the only player returning on Miami’s defensive line with a tackle for loss from last season. McIntosh had 12.6 TFLs in 2017. Someone is going to have to replace that.