Miami football: 2001 defense made great by offensive mindset

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The 2001 Miami football team is the greatest in college football history. The Hurricanes offensive mindset on defense led to 48 takeaways and seven defensive touchdowns in a National Championship season.

The 2001 Miami Football team had a roster that the sport had never seen and has not come close to being duplicated since. It’s conceivable that the only team that could have won the national championship other than the Hurricanes that season was their second string.

The Miami offense was exceptional with players like Quarterback Ken Dorsey, tight end Jeremy Shockey, left tackle Bryant McKinnie, wide receiver Andre Johnson and a four-deep running back corps of Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, Frank Gore and Jarrett Payton.

The Hurricanes defense had to bail the offense out a few times in 2001. The defense for the 2001 Miami football team was anchored by safety Ed Reed and a deep secondary and a pair of all-American linebackers in Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams.

The ability of the Miami defense to create points amped the pressure on opposing offenses. The Hurricane led the nation allowing 9.4 PPG in 2001. The defense’s ability to score at a clip or more than 30 percent of what the offense allowed was likely unprecedented.

The Athletic recently examined the phenomenon of historical defenses who were able to create turnovers. Aptly, the article began with the 2001 Miami defense. The Athletic asked what made UM’s 2001 defense great.

"“The goal? To discover the secret to becoming a defense that is great at generating turnovers. What are the common traits, the best practices that make a defense great in this specific statistical category?”"

Reed, Vilma and Williams received most of the publicity from the 2001 Miami defense. Philip Buchanon was also a star on the 2001 Miami football team. Buchanon was the 17th pick in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. That was seven spots before Reed was selected by Baltimore.