MIAMI (CBSMiami) – From suspensions to injuries, the Miami Hurricanes defense has seen it all this season. Heading into Saturday's game against Georgia Tech, Miami has yet to have the same 11 defensive players on the field to start a game this season.
Yet still, the Hurricanes have managed to get off to a 2-1 start with a 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference record on the young season. But the trend of missing defenders will once again be a theme of this week's game against the Rambling Wreck.
The Canes will be without starting linebacker Denzel Perryman due to an injured ankle. Miami will have its fourth different starting defensive lineup this year and the 13th different set of defensive starters in the last 16 games.
"It's beyond unbelievable," head coach Al Golden said. "That's all I can say. It's beyond unbelievable. I appreciate all the young guys that are stepping up right now and playing a lot. They're competing. We've got to keep pushing them forward. But clearly, that's not normal.
So far this season, the Dolphins have put in 16 different defensive players in the starting lineup, which will grow by one this weekend with Perryman's replacement.
"It's not necessarily hard to believe," defensive back Brandon McGee said. "It's college football. It's football in general. Injuries occur. Some guys step up and they're able to make plays. The coaches will put the right guys that they see fit into the game."
But Miami does have some good news on the defensive line. The Canes' depth chart along the defensive line will have the same starters as last week. The Canes will need all of the lineman to play at the top of their game if they are to survive Georgia Tech's lethal spread option attack.
Georgia Tech has led the nation in rushing the last few years and has consistently exploited weaknesses in ACC opponents since head coach Paul Johnson brought his option attack to Atlanta. But Johnson's Jackets have had a tough go of it lately against The U.
Miami has won three straight games in the series with Tech and has outscored the Yellow Jackets 92-34.
Last season, Georgia Tech's prolific running game mustered just 134 rushing yards in the victory. Georgia Tech averaged nearly 332 rushing yards against the rest of its schedule.
"We're looking up at them in the conference standings, so it's a huge game for us," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "Miami has handled us fairly easily the last couple years. So we have to see if we can't put our big-boy pants on and play a little better against them."
Miami and Georgia Tech will play at Atlanta and will kickoff around 3:00 p.m. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.
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