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Mark D'Onofrio talks Canes defensive woes, bump and run coverage, patience

CORAL GABLES -- UM defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio has plenty of reasons to be frustrated. After putting together a stellar defense at Temple that ranked among the best in the country, his first five games with the Hurricanes haven't had many highlights. Saturday's 38-35 loss to Virginia Tech was especially disheartening considering UM racked up 519 yards on offense against one of the country's top-ranked defense.

Tuesday, D'Onofrio met with reporters for about six minutes and tried to explain what is going on with UM's defense that now ranks 82nd in total defense (402 yards per game), 50th in scoring defense (23.6 points per game), 97th versus the run (196.2 yards per game) and 38th versus the pass (205.80 yards per game).

Q: You have had a lot of injuries obviously at defensive tackle what are you doing to try and patch things up in the middle of the defense?

A: "Doing whatever we can do. Losing Marcus [Forston] really hurt us. Fortunately we'd been playing [Adewale] Ojomo there the week before. So it wasn't a big transition going in and then Ojomo got hurt. So that wasn't good. But just like all the other games whatever happens, happened. We're going to be better for it.

"We had a chance to win the game. All we really needed to do was make one play. Make a play on third down. Make a play in the red zone. Make a play on fourth down. At one other point in the game and we win the game. That's what we're striving. It's always hard to see. I know who were playing. I know who were playing with. I know what they're capable of, who is getting better, who is not. We did a lot of things better the other day. It was certain amount of minutes in the game where we gave up free plays. We gave up some big strikes and we gave up touchdowns at the end of each half. You're talking about seven minutes in the game where we gave up 28 points. We just have to eliminate those key times when you make those critical errors."

Q: Are you not getting enough pressure on the opposing quarterback?

A: "Right now it's a unit. When we're giving up some plays and we're not coming up with stops its generally not somebody doing their job. We all got to do better. We got to keep coaching them up. We got to try and put them in the best defenses we can. And players have to respond and do their job. I wouldn't put it all on the defensive line, by any means."

Q: Coach Golden said Sunday the team will probably have to score 30 points a game for you guys to win. How do you take that as the defensive coordinator?

A: "The defenses we had at Temple, it was the other way around. We would win games 14-10 or would lose games 10-7 or 7-3. From our standpoint it was always we're going to outplay the other team's defense. The situation we're in right now, there's no excuses. All I can say is the guys have been resilient. They just practiced their rear ends off. They're doing everything we've asked them to do. We've played 28 guys on defense this year. We have 28 guys in the two deep that have all played in 5 games. 28 guys. We're going to be better for that. I'm not losing my patience. I want to win now. I want to win this week. I didn't like the way I felt after the game. We're moving our team forward. We're not just sitting here losing with 12 guys playing in the game, 13 guys playing in the game. What are you going to do when the next guy goes down? Guys are going down and we're having guys ready to play. We'll just keep going."

Q: It seems like your defense is pretty basic. You are rushing four and playing off at cornerback. Is scheme limited because of personnel?

A: "A lot of it is everything. We're not running everything we have in our package. What we did at Temple was over a 5-year period. My last three years there I had five senior starters and then six senior starters. So there's a buildup. Right now, we haven't been able to hit that buildup. We never really have had the same lineup. You plug three guys in. Even third down last week, we had four new guys on a third down package. Forston got hurt. Ojomo got hurt. Ray Ray [Armstrong] came back. We moved JoJo Nicolas to corner so you're talking about four new guys playing on third down. It is what it is. We'll be better for it. I have to be committed."

"Everybody says play bump and run. We play bump and run and we give up a 60-yard touchdown pass. The four plays preceding that where we were bump and we had enough guys in the box we stopped them for small gains. They hit us on a play they shouldn't have hit on us in post coverage. Again, it all depends on down and distance and it all depends on the point the game. "At the end of the game we had a four point lead, so bump and run, why would I want to do that and give up an easy touchdown? I needed somebody to make a play. At the end of the day we need to make a play. We let them off the hook a couple of times, let them out of the pocket. We had a chance to sack them on the backside and didn't do it. That's what we're looking for, for someone to make the play, not make it a one-on-one game."

Q: Are you expecting to see better play from Ray-Ray Armstrong at North Carolina?

A: "I hope so. That's the expectation on all those guys. He made some plays in the game he needs to correct. We keep coaching him up. He has a good attitude."

Q: Can you talk about North Carolina's offense?

A: "They're a good football team. They have that big, big physical offensive line. Big tight ends, multiple backs, a quarterback that is really efficient, two wide receivers that have caught a lot of balls. I don't know if you can really hone in one area. This is a really good football team and a big challenge for us. We're excited to go play them. I think they're a really good team and have excellent personnel on offense."


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i think in time the d will be a lot better. coming into the season the d tackle position was a big concern for us as well as line backer and corners. with that said i would like to see some more zone blitz and corner blits. with the speed we have st corners we should play more bump and run though, especially on 3rd and short or 4 and short. if anything play the young players and let them get the expierence.

how bout play bump and run with safety help when teams line up with a 2 WR set...not a soft zone...we play bump and run when teams run a 3 or 4 WR set...no safety help...get burned...

I'm just disappointed that we haven't pitched 5 perfect shutouts. I expect nothing less than perfection from our defense, especially with so many young and injured players. Va Tech should have been a 59-0 Canes victory and I expect at least a 70-0 shutout at North Carolina and FSU.

LOL The way so many fans seem critical of our defense, you'd think they honestly expect the above. Mark said it right that over several years you build to a unit that has the veteran starters in a system that absolutely works. We will get there. Again, we have been extremely competitive in EVERY game versus some pretty stacked odds against us. We need to gut this out, focus on the positives, pray for NCAA mercy, and remember that Miami was in this SAME exact spot back in the mid-late 90s before reemerging to win a title in 2001 (and I would still argue 2002 over Ohio State LOL).

Canes coaches, players, and fans....do not lose your moxie! Remember how Miami used to look beaten and done and then stage the most miraculous 4th quarter comebacks you've ever seen (leading to Miami starting the four-finger motion heading into the fourth)??? That's where we are right now and when we roar back into the national spotlight, suddenly all the haters will be eating green and orange crow. Al Golden WILL bring a resurgence. The question now is only how long it takes.


[]_[] GO CANES []_[]

28 guys on defense in 5 games is not good...how can guys get into the flow of a game if the come out every other down? I understand d lineman to catch a breather but our LB's, CB's and Safety's should be consistent so that they mesh together as the game goes on...

DB's need to be playing man to man. They all for the most part have the speed to do so. Brandon McGee runs a 4.29 and Lee Chambers is a RB turned DB and runs a 4.3.. These guys are capable of keeping up with some of the fastest guys in college but they play off of everyone with more cushion that is ever necessary.

If they switch to man coverage then PYG will drop considerably. I wanna see some Finnie in there too. Kid is hungry as hell and has excellent speed. Can't wait for Dallas Crawford. What the hell ever happened to Keion Payne(st.thomas) and Kacy Rogers(Tx)???

Stop talking about Temple. Nothing you did at Temple matters. Get better and do it fast. Take a look in the mirror, if guys aren't playing the way you want that is on you D'Onofrio. The staff is responsible for getting the team ready and making adjustments which you have done none of this season

I think it is a little too early to tell if D'Onofrio is good. Clearly Miami is lacking players on the D-Line. Middle linebacker and the secondary have issues as well. I have seen players several times in the wrong position. I'm not sure if this is due to coaching or if the players just aren't very good. The cushion that the DBs are giving could be because they are giving up huge plays in practice. I think they were playing man-to-man on that 60 yard TD pass. Ray Ray was completely out of position on that play as well. It's also hard to play man coverage when the D-line gets no pressure on the QB. Let's see if the defense improves over the course of this year and next year before judging D'Onofrio.

Not saying coach D is at fault, but someone should introduce the concept of what an interception is and what one looks like.

The Dc is not using the talent to the best of its abilities. The QB sneak saw everybody keying on the VT RB, and what happened top MLB and SS help. The MLB probably got blocked or caught up in the moving flow, but Ray ray should had least been there to slow matters.

That was just a BAD defensive call, knowing that U only got but so much pressure up front. There have been no adjustments on the defensive side and that is coaching.

College football is alot like pro 'in' that to be a great defense, u have to have faith 'in' ur shutdown corners to rush the passer and be a strong d. And we don't have those corners. Not one. Look at lsu, Alabama, etc...look at us 'in' 2001 and 02....it's just the way it is.

IT ISN'T ABOUT THE X'S AND O'S. IT IS ABOUT THE LARRY'S AND JOE'S. REMEMBER THAT! Until we get the horses in house to compete for the KY Derby we are going to be regular. Offense is good because of the "LARRY"S AND JOE'S!" Or Lamar's, Tommy's, Allen's, Travis's Etc...

CUECANE hit the nail on the head

So coach D just said bump n run doesn't work and fans on here are still saying well lets use the bump n run. I didn't know this site had so many coaches writing on it.

Can all of the fans please stop. Stop with the arm chair QBing. We are not at practice we don't know whats going on, we are depleted on the defensive side of the ball. Please enough with the suggestions and comments about how this is unacceptable that the defense is playing so poorly. What is unacceptable is all of the second guessing and constant bickering at a proven defensive coordinator who is working with very little.

U got some LB's that are good, but again it's comes around to player development. Cain is good and could probably go as DE. Gaines is good.

The DB's I simply cannot figure. They are out of position on every play and I cannot tell if they are in man or zone coverage. That, to a degree, is coaching. They are too far off the ball in run and pass situations, and are vulnerable to the long pass.

I think Spence is going to have to start communicating with defense a little more because the DC isn't.

I like your new coach. He wears a Tie. That is rare these days. I do however hope TECH hangs him by that TIE in a few weeks.

CUECANE Coach D is sewing a quilt everytime he gets ready and draws up plays... read again his answers and THINK before posting...Give me HEALTHY players with good next man up mentality, and TIME to put a group together and then we would see what the D is about...right now with all the "U" has suffered we are still keeping games close without the chance of a developed unit...name 1 other team that has had the replacements, injuries, suspensions, etc. and still we are in all our games until the last play...Give Coach D some credit...if guys aren't playing the way he wants where does he go for the replacements?..he plugs 4 new guys in on a third down package but He CANNOT run the full package because we DO NOT have the personnel....Look in the mirror CueCane and ask if I was the D Coach what would I do?..then your "Get better and do it fast " is way off..this is a process..hold your horses be supportive and let these Coaches do their thing..Be a 'Cane.
The 'Canes will win: patience...we all love to win as I know you do...

@ TheWhat, this Defensive Coordinator will not get any better players than what he has now. There's no time like the present, this is the U, we build off what we have and this guy came in with a loaded gun and can't even get a shot off. These suggestions are necessary because obviously the staff doesn't know how to coach against better teams, he's bringing in this weak scheme that he had at temple, where he faced cake walk teams. He keeps talking about coaching up the players but they're not even preparing these guys for the NFL, since when do cornerbacks play 10 yards off in the NFL? My suggestion, Laron Byrd should be a safety, Ray Ray strong LB, Marcus Robinson at MLB with Perryman as the backup, Dyron Dye should go back to DE, McGee should be free safety and Jojo as our shutdown corner, also Streeter should be our TE (he's as big as Winslow was when he came to the U). Golden needs to stop blaming the players so much and get on "his boy, the D'Onofrio" and stop letting him off the hook. Just like Golden needs to stop letting Jeff Fischer off the hook with the two minute drills, Maryland, Kansas State and Virginia Tech looked horrible.

VT,s defensive backs were all over our recievers for the most part, quit playing a soft zone, the other team is going to score anyway the way we are playing right now. Go for broke and hopefully our Offense can kep playing at this level. Im not going to mention names but there are a couple of defensive players who are not taking care of their job and trying to be the star of the game.

Got 2-4?

Get ready, cause it's coming!

I actually like Al Golden though. He uses Pert Plus before he heads out onto the field.

Hey GAtech fans, remember what happened in YOUR HOUSE last year?? ? Oh yea we destroyed you. I was there and your fans were all gone be the end of the 3rd. Miami will destroy tech. LAMAR MILLER FOR HEISMAN

Just as much as I'm blaming Al Golden's staff for the weak play of our defense, I blame Randy Shannon's staff too. These players have the skill sets, it all comes down to the coaches. Golden was talking about he can't wait to get started like he was going to UCF, USF or somebody, he came to the U and looks as lost as a tourist in Miami Gardens trying to get to South Beach. Bottom line we're getting out coached every game, these guys are getting paid too much to be losing games like we have this year.

People on this site telling the coaches what to do are really clueless. Thank goodness you guys aren't coaches or UM would have no chance in any game. UF and FSU are having the same problems as UM, with better personnel. Do any of you people have kids? Do your 18 and 19 year olds do what you tell them to do. Young players are not good listeners and have all the answers. That applies to football just like it does in life.


Good article. Seems the injuries are the main issue.

BINGO.. Good stuff rboud.. Call me crazy but i think we are getting better. Look out UNC

To Bob, who wants interceptions: that's pretty hard to do when the closest defender to a WR is 5-8 yards away. Let's hope for better down the road.

Jeezus, you people are miserable, Anthony, are you serious that they wont get better players than what they have now. The only good player on this defense is Spence, and maybe some of the younger guys like Chik, and Perryman that are green right now. The what, you hit it on the head brother, too many armchair coaches on here, Bump with Mcgee and Williams, yea I think Donofrio knows what hes doing, you people are crazy, they need to recruit thats all, period!!

Jeezus, you people are miserable, Anthony, are you serious that they wont get better players than what they have now. The only good player on this defense is Spence, and maybe some of the younger guys like Chik, and Perryman that are green right now. The what, you hit it on the head brother, too many armchair coaches on here, Bump with Mcgee and Williams, yea I think Donofrio knows what hes doing, you people are crazy, they need to recruit thats all, period!!

can Manny or Susan find out from the coaches what happened to jeremy lewis. this is a 310lbs DT and i havent heard the coaches mention about switching him back to the D

I love how everyone is a Scouting Talent Now. LOL
Don't quit your Day job because you don't know anything about football. LOL Sad Sad Sad.

canesallltheway, there is no bump and run any long. The DB is allowed one touch within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Another contact is illegal contact and a penalty. Second they just don't have the athletes to play an aggressive defense in the defensive backfield.

Anthony what planet have you been coaching. You have to have players to have a good defensive unit. The Canes players are too young and too hurt to have a good unit. No matter how much you coach a player, if he doesn't have talent he won't play well.

We have a ways to go with the players on the roster; especially the defense. As coach D stated, someone (anyone) has to make a play when it counts. Over the past three years, I have waited for someone on our defense to make a play when it counts (game on the line); as it happened this past weekend, no one did. Anyone who wants to be a star should be able to deliver a "star's effort". With that being said, we have no stars on this team and therefore, it will take 11 players getting to the ball, filling gaps, and playing sound football. I yern for the Ed Reeds, Taylors, Buchannons, Starks, Lewis', Beasons, Sapps, Kennedys, and the likes; they were stars who not only gave a star's effort, but played team ball. At UNC, it will take someone to make a play on defense to win the game. This game will be much like VT where our O will score many points, but the D will need to hold on to win it. The team word this week should be "Make a Play when it Counts." Period.

Jortiz, I'm pretty sure that all of these freshman (whether redshirt or true freshman) were already committed to the U by Shannon before Golden got there, to include incoming RB from Norland Randy 'Duke' Johnson. Golden was the one that brought in Mike Williams from Wake Forest, all of these games could've been won if the D'Onofrio knew how to make adjustments. If you watched the games, it took until the 4th quarter for the coordinator to make an adjustments on the bubble screen Maryland used, Kansas State ate us up with their QB by 'ground', and Virginia Tech QB looked like an all american against us but the week prior couldn't do anything against clemson. Look at the defensive schemes he's calling, if our cornerbacks aren't that great, shouldn't he be sending the dogs at the QB then, we have barely blitzed the QB the entire season. Whoever thinks we're getting better, wait until this weekend when we play a real offense in North Carolina. Them have a legit, QB, RB, offensive line and WRs who can make plays. They're going to give our defense trouble if D'Onofrio doesn't send them boys after the QB, the only way I see the us winning is if the offense scores at least 40+

I've never read such clueless posts in my life,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Anthony, canesallltheway.

Marland should have been a lose but with all of missing personnel, but KState and VTech, wins. Put us at 4-1 on the year. Players dont listen, they are still kids, and kids sometime do not listen to authority figures, and who know, maybe the coaches really do not want to come down to hard on these kids. Think about it, once the season is over, and let say the NCAA just gave the U a 4 year bowl ban, banned from national TV, and a reduction in scholarship, and the current players can trasnfer without sitting out a year with their new school. Lookup Sentrel Henderson, he did it after USC was put on probabtion. So just think about, it has to be somewhere in the minds of the coaches,,pissed these players off, and they are gone. What then?

Ok Michael, can't wait to see your posts after the North Carolina game, and please don't change your name to avoid me telling you "I told you so" and how many points the offense will have to put up to win the game. To the only thing you've said that I agree with "Canes all the way", but the DC is still suspect.

Anthony is spot on with many of his comments. There is nothing I read in Coach D's comments that filled me with confidence. We all know where the weaknesses are on defense but the key to winning on D is NOT to play passive ass football. Be aggressive and if you get burnt, so be it. We have the offense to keep up with any team we face the rest of the season.

Bump and run with over the top satefy help is what we have always played at the U and this coach needs to figure that out ASAP. Do not make excuses about not being able to run the full package. Hell, that may be part of the problem here; a system that's too complicated!

The formula is simple. Rush the 4 linemen but have them use stunts with a LB or safety coming on a blitz. Have the corners man up and force the receiver to the boundary. Only the middle will be open and if the QB has time he hits a TE or checkdown to the RB. That's when the other LB and safety must come up to make a play. But if the QB has all day to make reads and throw 5-7yd outs, then our D stays on the field too long and we get scored on anyway!

So in a nutshell Coach D, we'd rather you be aggressive and we lose than play our ass off on offense and lose because of your passive, protect the corners defense.

If you don't want players making excuses then you can't make excuses. If want them to make a play, put them in a position to make a play. How the hell can any corner, experienced or rookie have any chance to make a play on a ball when he's 7yds of the line of scrimmage?

How can any LB make a play when he's falling back off the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball rather than filling the A gap? I'm not calling for Coach's headset but it needs to get rattled a bit by the head man! Need to see some differences this weekend!

Go Canes!

One issue the Canes face is every Cane
expects to end up in the NFl.Much of there
tackling looks like there trying to avoid
injuries rather than bringing the runner down.
At Temple,the chances of going to the NFL
would be less than if at the U.

Anthony, you said in one of your previous comments that this staff will not be able to bring in better talent than what they have now. And I disagree, I think they have very good talent on the Offensive side of the ball and they will continue to be able to recruit talent like that. But dont tell me that they wont recruit better talent on Defense than what they have now. Because what they have now is not very good aside from a few. And Williams was a transfer, who was a 5th year senior that probably couldnt start at Wake Forest but hes starting here, need I say more. Finnie needs to see more time, and I wouldnt be surprised if hes starting by the end of the year. And yea I did watch the game, and I saw Donofrio bring the house in the first quarter a few times in the first half and nobody came within three yards of that qb. And yes they did play bump and on the first play after we score they hit a 60 yard td pass. Same thing with Maryland, they play bump with Mcgee and the guy gets toasted for 52 yard gain that practically put the nail in the coffin im that game. They lack players period on defense but that will change with time. I believe these coaches are working theit butts off and like Golden said they are starting to get it, and I believe they will get this win on Saturday, it feels sort of like the 98 season.

canesallltheway, there is no bump and run any long. The DB is allowed one touch within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Another contact is illegal contact and a penalty. Second they just don't have the athletes to play an aggressive defense in the defensive backfield.

say what? there is no bump and run any longer?? ok o_0 ... well lets continue to play 8 yards off of the receiver so that the QB can play pitch and catch all the way down the field...smh...the guy missed 2 passes...one drop and one rushed bc of pressure...if we do that against UNC, their QB will also look ALL PRO

Anthony: My exact sentiments. 4-8 best I can see. Anybody knows that adjustments are made in no matter the sport.


Keith Brown

"Purdue was a good visit and it was really nice up there. They have been on me from the beginning, they have a strong academic program there, and I think I could play a lot up there," said Keith Brown.
The Boilermakers made a strong impression on Brown, but was it like the one Clemson made in September?

"I liked Clemson a lot too when I was up there and I am definitely still looking at them. They have a lot of things I like and I had a good trip there like I did to Purdue."

So what now for the Miami (FL) Norland linebacker who is considered a soft verbal commitment to Miami?

"I am just going to get the remainder of my official visits in, take a couple of unofficial visits, and then make up my mind before I graduate in December.

"I have been talking to Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nebraska, Florida State, and South Florida a lot lately. I know I will take unofficial visits Florida and USF.

"I do not have anymore official visits set up yet, but I am thinking about Illinois, Nebraska, and Georgia right now. I am totally sure on those yet."

The four-star on Scout says there is still a chance that he sticks with the Hurricanes.

"The sanctions on Miami have really pushed me to take these visits, look around, and just make sure of my decision," he said. "I could still go there or I could go somewhere else. I would say it is about 50-50 right now.

"I am just going to keep visiting schools, continue to talk things over with my parents and my coaches, and then make my decision.

"I have to do a lot of things quickly because I am graduating early, but I know I will get

Has anyone noticed the lack of block kicks, both punts and field goals/extra points? We used to be great at that! It would of been great when VT was at like 4th and 30. Is it still possible?

I really only picked up one thing from all the stuff Coach Mark D'Onofrio said and that was 5 years down the road he had a stellar defense in Temple. May be I am reading in to it the wrong way, but I hope that means this coaching staff is willing to cash in on the Gold Mine of talent that south Florida has of talent even if it means they have to wait 5 years down the road.

It might be wishful thinking to think that Golden and his staff out last any probation or sanctions that the NCAA places on Miami for the errors that the previous staff committed, but I don't want to lose this coaching staff. This is some of the best coaching that we have seen in years here at Miami.

No matter where coach Golden decides to coach next year I can say that as of now we haven't stopped playing football like we did when Coker and Shannon were coaching. There are no such things as moral victories when we lose, but even when we lose it has not been a blow out.

The Maryland loss was a lot closer than scoreboard thanks to a pick six to end the game. The Kansas State game and the Virginia Tech game were both one play away from earning the win.

The bottom line is Coach Golden is perfect for the University of Miami and if given time then The U will also turn out to be perfect for Coach Golden and his staff. Simply put, his staff is one of the few that I am aware of that can keep in-state talent in the state of Florida. What a monster that would be 5 years from now if just 15 of the states best talent decided each year to play at The University of Miami.

2 more wins??
Simple question:
How much better is VT and KSU than we are??
They are 9+/- win teams.
You have to start at 6 wins, worse case. 7 probable.


if you blitz you will get burned on the big plays by isolating the secondary. If you get burned on big plays, everyone will come on here and say why do we keep giving up big plays, stop blitzing and help out the secondary. Fact is the defense is depleted and we don't have top notch players at any but one or two positions.
The most important thing people need to look at right now is how the team is performing. Are they improving in terms of their fight, their desire, their team play. Look for the intangibles. I see a team that refuses to go down and according to coach Golden, players that stood up and spoke out during half time. How often has that happend. Leaders are developing and accountability is developing. I believe we can win every game here on out. But right now even more important that then Wins or Losses is the culture that coach G is trying to instill. When he corrects that aspect, you will see plenty of W's and very few L's. It all starts with culture. If you don't believe me look at Florida State. Top notch players on their team, ranked 5th to start the season and they are among the most penalized teams in the country. Not only that but after losing to Oklahoma looks like the team just gave up on the season. How do you lose to Wake Forest? Jimbo may have recruited really well but he may have not changed the weak, selfish culture that has been pervasive in Miami and Florida State for the last few years.

The what, Amen Brother, couldnt of said it better myself. Finally some common sense on here.

Everything is still possible with time. This isn't Burger King guys; its not your way right away. Its the coaches way or the highway. Will someone please get a grip on reality here? We have talent on D but its young. The upper class D we have is on crutches. If all ya'll have the answers go suit up, let's see what ya got! If you don't want to hear lip when you get to work on Monday or in some of your cases, pre-school, then don't run your lip during the week. Its the same old garbage I heard in 97 then in 00,01,and 02 its all praises. Back the team up or pull for the Gators; personally it doesn't matter.

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