No one can predict how good (or bad) the Miami Hurricane football team will be this season. On paper, the Hurricanes should finish with a better record than last year (7-5) as they return 19 starters.
The real question regarding this year's 'Canes will be how the defense will improve over a horrible 2012 season in which they were ranked almost last (No. 116 out of 120 schools) in total defense.
If the defense can finish in the top 50 this upcoming season, the offense should be able to allow the Hurricanes to win at least nine or 10 games, if not more.
Here are five reasons why I believe the 'Canes will overachieve this upcoming season.
There is no sugar-coating how bad the 'Canes defensive line was last season. The unit was ranked No. 112 (out of 120) in rush defense and snagged a minuscule 13 sacks (No. 113) on the season.
It didn't matter who Coach Golden decided to play, no one could stop anyone all season long. The good news is that the line was young and inexperienced, allowing it to grow throughout the season.
The 'Canes coaching staff will have a lot of experienced, talented linemen to work with this season and I expect every defensive stat to improve.
If not, it will be another 7-5 season for Miami.
A lot of people believe that losing an offensive coordinator would hinder an offense the very next season. I am not one of them. In fact, I believe the departure of Jedd Fisch (Jacksonville Jaguars) will actually help the Hurricanes offense.
How? By hiring ex-Seminole offensive coordinator James Coley.
Yes, I know that Coley never called a play at Florida State (head coach Jimbo Fisher called the plays on game day), but he prepped the Seminoles during the week and should get a majority of the credit for improving the offense every year since being promoted in 2010.
This season, Coley will have so many weapons on offense to work with, and I honestly believe he will open up the offense even more than Fisch did when he was at Miami.
Coley is from the Miami area and is fully aware of the athletes he has on this team and should make them even better than they were last season.
When people think of the best offensive linemen in the country, Alabama, LSU, Ohio State and probably Texas A&M come to mind, and rightfully so as all those teams produce great linemen every single season.
I would add one more to that list—the Miami Hurricanes. The 'Canes return all five starters and an amazing amount of depth.
Of those five starters, four of them received All-ACC honors and the best lineman may be a backup sophomore Erick Flowers.
I personally believe the Hurricanes have not only the best offensive line in the ACC, but I would take this unit from top to bottom over any one in the country.
You can take D'Anthony Thomas, Todd Gurley, T.J. Yeldon and any other running back you want—I'll take Miami's Duke Johnson over any of them.
Call me what you want, but I honestly believe that Duke is the best running back in college football today.
He single-handedly carried the Hurricanes offense and special teams last season as a true freshman, gaining 2,060 all-purpose yards—most ever by a Miami freshman and second in school history.
Duke was honored on multiple All-American and All-ACC team's last year and only started five games the entire season.
If the defense plays well enough to allow the offense to play their typical pro-style set, Duke has a shot of breaking Willis McGahee's school record of 1,753 rushing yards.
The 2012 Miami Hurricanes finished the season scoring just over 31 points per game—ranking them No. 49 in the country. Not bad considering they scored just 16 total points against Notre Dame and Kansas State.
That won't happen this season—not even against the Florida Gators in Week 2.
This 'Canes offense will be explosive and it starts with quarterback Stephen Morris. Morris threw for 3,345 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. I would be surprised if he didn't surpass those numbers this season.
If the defense plays as bad as they did last year and Miami needs to rely on his arm, I think Morris throws for over 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Along with Morris, the offensive line is the best in the ACC, Duke Johnson is a beast in the backfield and the wide receivers could be the deepest in school history.
This offense could easily put up over 40 points per game and be the main reason why the Hurricanes win the ACC.
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