Miami Hurricanes defense needs more 2022 turnovers

Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Hurricanes defense finished 119th with 11 forced turnovers in 2021. Pittsburgh was the only game last season that Miami forced multiple turnovers. A late James Williams interception at the Miami two-yardline turned away a potential Pittsburgh game-winning drive with 3:43 remaining.

Miami ran out the clock following the interception to earn the win. The Hurricanes lost the turnover battle in six games last season. In the game against North Carolina State, neither team had a turnover and Miami won the turnover battle five times. Miami has to force more turnovers in 2022.

Turnovers flip the field and provide momentum. Forcing turnovers can also help a team in third down and red zone defense. The interception by Williams against Pittsburgh came with Miami leading 38-34. In 2020, Miami finished 40th nationally producing 16 turnovers in 11 games. The Hurricanes played 12 games in 2021.

Miami finished 117th with three fumbles recoveries in 2021. The Hurricanes were 93rd with eight interceptions. When Mario Cristobal was hired upgrading play on the line of scrimmage overall and defensively more specifically was a stated goal in his introductory press conference. Miami added seven defensive transfers for 2022.

New Miami edge rusher Mitchell Agude had 14.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and six forced fumbles in two seasons at UCLA. Williams led Miami with two interceptions in 2021. No one on the Hurricanes had more than one forced fumble or fumble recovery. Miami has defensive backs who have created turnovers in the past.

Al Blades Jr. who switched from cornerback to safety has four career interceptions. CB D.J. Ivey has three career interceptions, but they all came in 2019. Blades has missed a lot of time the past two seasons with health issues and is projected to play behind Kamren Kinchens, Avantae Williams and James Williams at safety in 2022.

Former Dolphins Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Jason Taylor has joined the Miami staff as an analyst. Taylor had 46 forced fumbles, 29 recoveries and eight interceptions during a 15-year career. Taylor will work under co-defensive coordinators Kevin Steele and Charlie Strong as one of three defensive line coaches.

Next. Miami 2022 defensive success depends on LB play. dark

Rod Wright coaches the Miami DEs and Joe Salave’a the tackles. Salave’a and Wright also played in the NFL. Hopefully, Taylor can help teach the Miami edge rushers how to get in the backfield and create strip sacks. The Miami Hurricanes defense will be a lot better in 2022 if they can force turnovers.