The college football season is less than a month old, but the defenses of the Miami Hurricanes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish are both full of injury-related holes. With their October 6 match-up less than three weeks away, both teams have multiple defensive starters facing uncertain health.
Canes LB Denzel Perryman left Saturday's Bethune-Cookman game early on, and was seen wearing a protective boot on the sidelines during the second half. Perryman is the team's second-leading tackler with 16 (3 for loss).
UM coach Al Golden was evasive when asked about Perryman on Sunday, saying he "went down for an MRI or X-ray or something." The Canes have already lost starting LB Ramon Buchanan for the season earlier this month to a right knee injury.
Perryman isn't the only ailing member of the Canes' defense. Long snapper Sean McNally left the Bethune-Cookman game in the first quarter, while backup safety Andrew Swasey was seen on crutches on the Canes' sideline. Miami announced Monday that McNally will undergo season-ending surgery. On the plus side for UM, starting safety Vaughn Telemaque could be back on the field when the Canes face Georgia Tech on Saturday (Golden said he is "hopeful").
The Canes need all the help on defense they can muster. Miami opponents are averaging 463 yards a game, and the only ranked foe UM has faced (Kansas State) gashed Miami for 52 points on 498 yards of total offense.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame announced Sunday that starting safety Jamoris Slaughter will miss the rest of the season after tearing an Achilles tendon on Saturday. Sophomore Matthias Farley is expected to start when the Irish host 18th-ranked Michigan on Saturday.
"You lose a Jamoris Slaughter, you're losing an A player," Irish coach Brian Kelly said Sunday. "Matthias is certainly not at the level yet of a Jamoris Slaughter. He's got to continue to develop, but we have a lot of confidence and trust in him. He'll be getting a lot of work back there."
Notre Dame's defense is certainly in better shape than Miami's judging from early action. On Saturday, the Irish held then-no. 10 Michigan State to 237 yards in a 20-3 victory, the school's first over a top-ten team in 2005.
The Canes defense will get an opportunity to show improvement this weekend when it faces the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets. Their triple-option attack is averaging 374 rushing yards a game, third in the nation.