4. How will the back seven on the Miami defense hold up?
We’ll get to the defensive line — or at least the defensive ends — in a bit but the short of that situation is that they should be a dominant force in the trenches. That’s not really up for debate considering what we’ve seen from those guys. What’s in question, though, is the back seven of the Miami defense.
The linebacker group might be the most concerning part of the back seven on defense. Last year’s unit was comprised of highly experienced and gifted players who helped the Hurricanes thrive on that side of the ball. Now, only Zach McCloud is the returning starter. He’ll be asked to lead at that spot, which will be wholly necessary because the other linebacker spots are undecided and, no matter who takes up the roles, unproven.
As for the secondary, the defensive back group will have to contend with the loss of Trajan Bandy, who was the leader of that unit last season, and Robert Knowles. In doing so, AL Blades will be thrust into the spotlight and, while he’s flashed, he’ll need to prove his worth as a lockdown player. Gurvan Hall Jr. will also be asked to come into a bigger role and perform.
Because of the strength of the defensive line, there will be some pressure taken off of the linebackers and defensive backs. Having said that, for Miami’s defense to be as good as it has been in recent years, the Hurricanes need some largely untested players to be breakout stars in the back seven.