Miami football has to improve turnover margin in 2021

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 11: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 11: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

After finishing 43rd with a 0.36 per game advantage in turnover margin, the Miami football program has to improve in 2021. The Hurricanes have been at their best under Manny Diaz as a head coach and defensive coordinator when they are forcing turnovers on defense and limiting them on offense.

That is an obvious way to win, but Diaz has emphasized his defenses forcing turnovers throughout his career as a coordinator. Diaz returning to running the Miami defense in 2021 is expected to become more aggressive. Miami produced 16 turnovers in 11 games in 2020 with seven interceptions and 16 fumble recoveries.

That comes out to 1.45 fumble recoveries and 0.636 interceptions per game. In 2020, Miami had 12 turnovers on offense. The turnovers by the Miami offense were equally distributed with six lost fumbles and six interceptions. Incumbent Miami QB D’Eriq King was responsible for five of those six interceptions.

Defensive end Jaelan Phillips who had one interception in 2020 is the only player not returning who had a pick for Miami last season. Quincy Roche who started opposite Phillips had three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles in 2020 is the only other Miami football player lost on defense responsible for a turnover.

Safety Bubba Bolden who had four forced fumble and an interception in 2020 is the most prolific returnee on the Miami defense in turnovers responsible for last season. Bolden can take his game to another level in 2021. A borderline projected first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Bolden can have a breakout season in 2021.

In their first season under Diaz as head coach in 2019, Miami finished 46th in turnover margin with 20 forced and 17 lost. Diaz was the Miami defensive coordinator from 2016-18. The Miami defense forced 25 turnovers in 2018 which tied for 16th nationally.

Miami had 25 turnovers in 2018 which cannot be blamed on Diaz. Miami is expected to return to a more aggressive defense with Diaz calling plays in 2021. The defense getting up the field and into opposing backfields should help Miami create more turnovers.

The Hurricanes were always among the leaders nationally in sacks and tackles for loss with Diaz running the defense. The Miami football program finished fourth nationally with 8.64 tackles for loss in 2020 and 17th in sacks with 3.25 per game.

Losing Phillips and Roche makeup two of the three starters Miami lost from 2020 with tight end Brevin Jordan. Phillips and Roche combined for 30 TFLs and 12.5 sacks in 2020. Miami returns 65 TFLs and 13.5 sacks from 2020.

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Zach McCloud moving from linebacker to DE and the addition of DeAndre Johnson from Tennessee who is moving from LB in the Volunteers 3-4 to DE in the 4-3 will led the Miami edge rushers in 2021. Diaz calling plays should lead to more turnovers in 2021.