Biggest question for each Miami football defensive position

Sep 10, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 10, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Led by defensive coordinator Lance Guidry the Miami football program has a lot of new faces on defense on the 2023 roster. Six early enrollees and four transfers new to the Miami defense participated in spring practice. The Hurricanes also have two new position coaches on defense.

Derek Nicholson takes over for Charlie Strong as the new linebackers coach and Jason Taylor was elevated from a defensive analyst to edge rusher and defensive ends coach. Miami has remade the interior of its defensive line and cornerback depth charts. How the two deep play out will be a story to watch in August training camp.

Nicholson comes to Miami from Louisville via Cincinnati. The stint with the Bearcats was short-lived. Nicholson followed former Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield to Cincinnati after the 2022 season but flipped to Miami after Mario Cristobal offered him the LB coaching job.

Taylor is the only big-name assistant on the Miami staff this season after the 2022 All-Star staff did not meet expectations. Nicholson will have a mix of incoming freshmen, returnees and transfers to work with. There will also be several new DL entering the 2023 season. Miami added three DL transfers.

Miami Football DL: Can DT Leonard Taylor reach another level?

Expectations were high when the Miami football program signed former five-star Palmetto star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor. In two seasons Taylor has 45 tackles, 19.0 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, one interception and one pass defended. Taylor was honorable mention All-ACC in 2022. Miami needs him to exceed that in 2023.

Can linebacker Francisco Mauigoa live up to projections?

The Miami football program added 6’3 and 230-pound Francisco Mauigoa to improve production and size at LB. Mauigoa had a breakout season for Washington State in 2022 with 60 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks, one interception that went 95 yards for a touchdown, one pass defended, one fumble recovery and three forced fumbles.

Who will start at cornerback?

The Miami football program has to replace starting outside CBs D.J. Ivey and Tyrique Stevenson in 2023. Te’Cory Couch returns as the starting slot CB. Miami added depth and experience through the transfer portal with Davonte Brown, Jaden Davis and Jaidus Richard. Darryl Porter Jr. returns at CB. Those four should compete to start.

The Miami defense was wildly inconsistent last season. Miami finished 66th in total defense allowing 375.2 total yards per game in 2022. The Hurricanes had three games allowing less than 300 total yards in 2022 and five allowing 400 or more. Miami was 2-1 allowing less than 300 yards and 0-5 allowing more than 400 yards.

Next. Biggest Miami question mark at each offensive position. dark

The Miami defense let down the team far too often in 2022. Miami was 97th nationally in 2022 allowing 16 plays of 40 yards or more. Guidry will install a more aggressive-style defense than Miami played in 2022. Cutting down on allowing big plays will go a long way toward not allowing more than 400 yards in a game in 2023.