Miami Hurricanes DE depth means players don’t have to pace themselves

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 06: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 06: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche dominated the snaps at defensive end for the Miami Hurricanes in 2020 because of their elite play. Phillips was a second-team All-American and Roche earned third-team All-ACC. Manny Diaz stated last week without the high-profile edge rushers players don’t have to pace themselves in 2020.

The Hurricanes head coach highlighted how the increased depth Miami has at DE in 2020 will create opportunities for the Miami edge to be able to put out maximum effort on every play, The Miami Hurricanes will be led by Tennessee transfer DeAndre Johnson and sixth-year senior Zach McCloud at DE.

Behind Johnson and McCloud are Jahfari Harvey, Cameron Williams and Chantz Willams. Harvey and the two Williams were able to watch Phillips and Roche perform last year and learn from them. Now it’s their turn to contribute playing behind Johnson and McCloud. Phillips and Roche were dominant forces in 2020.

Phillips with 45 tackles and led Miami with 15.5 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks. Roche matched Phillips with 45 tackles and was second with 14.5 TFLs and 4.5 sacks. Miami finished 17th nationally averaging 2.73 sacks per game in 2020 finished with 30 total in 11 games. Diaz stated what to expect from the DEs in 2021.

"“Where last year you obviously had a high-profile guy like Jaelan, I’m not saying we don’t expect a guy to have a Jaelan type year we’ve had at defensive end with eight sacks every year for the last five years, I think we can come at people with our depth and really play hard and not have to pace ourselves,’’It was hard sometimes last year for Jaelan and Quincy with how much they had to play because of the inexperience of the defensive ends behind them.”"

Miami finished fourth nationally averaging 8.64 TFLs with a total of 95. Taking away what Phillips and Roche accomplished in 2020, the rest of the Hurricanes defense had 65 TFLs and 17.5 sacks. Striker Gilbert Frierson leads Miami returnees with nine TFLs. Bradley Jennings Jr. and Jared Harrison-Hunte lead returnees with three sacks.

Next. Miami DE DeAndre Johnson re-acclimated after missing most of spring. dark

Johnson and McCloud will add stability this season at DE. Phillips and Greg Rousseau with 15.5 sacks in 2019 had breakout seasons for Miami at DE. With the success Diaz had producing edge rushers throughout his career, the Hurricanes pass rush should continue to be one of the best nationally.