Miami football: 2001 defense made great by offensive mindset

Miami football
Miami football /
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Buchanon spoke to the Athletic about what made the 2001 Miami defense so adept at forcing turnovers.

"“We had the mindset of being offensive defensive players. We wanted to make plays. We wanted to score touchdowns. From the way we hung around each other, the way we trained in the offseason, the way we watched film, the way we communicated on the field…every aspect across the board was about making plays. “I was about making plays…At Miami, we had a lot of hungry guys who wanted to make plays. It was really about the guys we had. Maybe it was just me, but I felt like making a play was the best thing in the world. If you make a play, you get recognized. The coaches emphasized it, but I think we took it really seriously on our own.”"

Reed and Buchanon were three-quarters of a Miami secondary that were selected in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft. The third was Mike Rumph. Rumph is currently the cornerbacks’ coach for the Miami football program. The Hurricanes defense dominated opponents and the national rankings in 2001.

Miami Hurricanes Football
Miami Hurricanes Football /

Miami Hurricanes Football

The Hurricanes led the nation in four different defensive categories in 2001, were in the top two in nine categories and in the top six in 12. Those numbers in this age of parity and video game offenses are nearly inconceivable. The talent the Hurricanes had on defense would be equally as difficult to match.

Miami had several game-changing plays throughout the 2001 season. The three most memorable games that the defense changed were regular season games against Boston College and Virginia Tech and the Rose Bowl victory that clinched the national championship against Nebraska.

The victory in Chestnut Hill produced one of the most iconic plays in Miami football history. Leading 12-7 with under a minute remaining Boston College drove deep into Mami territory. Defensive end Matt Walters incepted Eagles QB Brian St. Pierre. Reed ripped the ball out of Walters’ hands.