The statistics haven’t been pretty for the Hurricanes defense this season, but coordinator Mark D’Onofrio said Wednesday it’s all a matter of perspective when it comes to measuring growth.
“At the end of the day, when you evaluate it, it was four big plays [we gave up to Georgia Tech],” said D’Onofrio, whose defense gave up 419 yards and 36 points Saturday and now ranks 109th against the run, 89th in pass efficiency defense, 98th in total defense and 95th in scoring defense. “You’re talking four plays that went for 190 yards. The other 62 plays went for 225 yards. So, for 62 plays in that game — or 97 percent of that game — we gave up 3.7 yards per play.
“The last four series we didn’t give up any points. I think the last 25 minutes of the game we gave up 80 yards. We had a great first quarter, rocky second quarter and first five minutes of the third quarter because of big plays. But the execution was at a high percentage the rest of the way.”
• D’Onofrio said defensive ends Anthony Chickillo and Shayon Green “were special” against Georgia Tech. “The first part of their jobs was to make sure the linebackers were clean. We had the six linebackers combine for 42 tackles — solo and unassisted,” D’Onofrio said.
• True freshman linebacker Raphael Kirby, injured in camp, continues taking “some reps” at middle linebacker in practice, according to D’Onofrio, and could play this weekend.
Denzel Perryman Gionni Paul
UM coach Al Golden would not indicate any leaders in the position battles at either offensive tackle spots. Ereck Flowers and Ben Jones are currently listed as co-starters at right tackle, and Malcolm Bunche and Seantrel Henderson are fighting for reps at left tackle.