Miami football 5 questions for first scrimmage Sunday

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Can the defensive line continue to provide elite pass rush without Greg Rousseau?

The Miami football program is in a good position to be able to replace the 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks produced by Greg Rousseau in 2019.

Rousseau decided to opt-out of the 2020 season due to long term health concerns. Miami added graduate transfer Quincy Roche and has redshirt junior Jaelan Phillips at defensive end.

Roche was graded at the top returning edge rusher in the country in 2020. While the anticipated tandem of Roche and Rousseau will not materialize, Phillips is equally as talented. Phillips was the top-ranked signee in 2017. The freakish athleticism Phillips brings at 6’5, 266 pounds provides Miami with an elite pass-rushing duo.

Roche had 19 TFLs and 13 sacks for Temple in 2019 and should command the primary attention from opposing offensive coordinators with Rousseau sitting out. Phillips should benefit from Roche likely seeing double teams. The program record of 52 sacks set during the 1989 season is still in jeopardy in 2020.

Miami had 46 sacks in 2019 but has an entirely new set of edge rushers in 2020. Redshirt freshman Jahfari Harvey has been lauded as another freak athlete who will bring pressure off the edge for Miami. Diaz and Co-defensive coordinators Blake Baker and Ephraim Banda will be able to rely on the front four to bring pressure.