Miami Football: Depth Chart Analysis, Complete 2014 Preview and Predictions

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Miami Football: Depth Chart Analysis, Complete 2014 Preview and Predictions
Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Game preparations will soon return for the Miami Hurricanes, signaling the beginning of the long-awaited college football regular season.

While those final days slowly pass, it's time for a complete preview of the 2014 'Canes.

From offensive and defensive depth charts to spotlighting a potential X-factor and new uniforms, everything you need to know about Miami is included.

And, of course, a preview wouldn't be finished without a careful look through the schedule capped by a season prediction.

 

Coaches

2014 Miami Coaching Staff
Title Name Years on Team
Head Coach/Special Teams Al Golden 4
Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach James Coley 2
Defensive Coordinator Mark D'Onofrio 4
Running Backs Coach Tim "Ice" Harris 1
Wide Receivers Coach Brennan Carroll 4
Tight Ends Coach Larry Scott 2
Offensive Line Coach Art Kehoe 30 (4)
Defensive Line Coach Jethro Franklin 4
Linebackers Coach Hurlie Brown 2
Defensive Backs Coach Paul Williams 4

hurricanesports.com

Head coach Al Golden is entering his fourth season at the school, sporting a 22-15 overall record with one shared division title.

Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio and defensive line coach Jethro Franklin, who Golden brought from Temple, are under the most scrutiny following lackluster performances up front in recent years. 

Upon arrival at "The U," Golden rehired longtime Miami assistant Art Kehoe to join wide receivers coach Brennan Carroll and defensive backs coach Paul Williams. Kehoe is a fireball, Carroll has proved himself as an excellent recruiter and Williams has been the defense's best coach.

Linebackers coach Hurlie Brown spent 2013 teaching the running backs but recently switched to linebackers to cover for Micheal Barrow's sudden resignation. Tim "Ice" Harris, best known for three state championships at nearby Booker T. Washington High School, stepped in for Brown.

Tight ends coach Larry Scott was snagged from South Florida last season, rounding out the coaching staff.

 

What to Watch For on Offense

2014 Miami Offensive Depth Chart
Position 1st String 2nd String 3rd String
QB Brad Kaaya Jake Heaps Kevin Olsen
RB Duke Johnson Joe Yearby Gus Edwards
FB Ronald Regula Walter Tucker
WR Phillip Dorsett Stacy Coley Braxton Berrios
WR Malcolm Lewis Herb Waters Tyre Brady
TE Standish Dobard Clive Walford Beau Sandland
C Shane McDermott Alex Gall Nick Linder
OG Hunter Wells Jon Feliciano
OG Danny Isidora Alex Gall Joe Brown
OT Ereck Flowers Kc McDermott
OT Trevor Darling Taylor Gadbois Sunny Odogwu
K Matt Goudis Michael Badgley Jonathan Semerene
PR/KR Stacy Coley Braxton Berrios Artie Burns

hurricanesports.com

Note: Depth chart will be updated when a new one is released prior to season opener.

 

The 'Canes run a fast-paced, run-first attack, which offensive coordinator James Coley calls "tempro."

Miami is loaded at its skill positions, so the quarterbacks must distribute the ball effectively and efficiently. Granted, that's often easier said than done.

Nevertheless, the Hurricanes passing game must have a renewed focus on using the middle of the field—a place two-year starter Stephen Morris essentially avoided last year. Initially, either graduate transfer Jake Heaps or true freshman Brad Kaaya will be under center.

Once-anticipated starter Ryan Williams is set to return from an ACL injury sometime in September, likely meaning the senior either takes over for Heaps or becomes Kaaya's backup.

Credit: 247Sports
Duke Johnson

If All-ACC running back Duke Johnson avoids injury, he is one of the best in college football. Complemented by promising freshman Joe Yearby and powerful sophomore Gus Edwards, Miami's backfield is in good shape.

Led by sophomore and rising national star Stacy Coley, the 'Canes have solid wide receivers. Though not All-American-caliber this season, upperclassmen Phillip Dorsett, Rashawn Scott and Herb Waters are joined by youngsters Malcolm Lewis and Braxton Berrios.

Behind Stacy Coley, which receiver should Miami be most excited about in 2014?

Submit Vote vote to see results

Since Golden took over, Miami has been searching for more production from its tight ends. Senior and returning starter Clive Walford was impactful in 2013, but bigger things are expected from pass-catcher Beau Sandland and run-blocker Standish Dobard.

Up front, left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Jon Feliciano and center Shane McDermott are each superb. The right side of the O-line and overall depth of the unit are topics worth monitoring because the offense is extremely reliant on winning battles in the trenches.

Kicker Matt Goudis returns for his junior season after setting a Miami single-season record for most consecutive extra points made (57). He also converted on 13 field-goal attempts, knocking home a long of 49 yards.

Notable True Freshmen: QB Brad Kaaya, RB Joe Yearby, WR Braxton Berrios, OL Kc McDermott, OL Trevor Darling

 

What to Watch For on Defense

2014 Miami Defensive Depth Chart
Position 1st String 2nd String 3rd String
DE Anthony Chickillo Chad Thomas Jelani Hamilton
DT Calvin Heurtelou Earl Moore
DT Olsen Pierre Ufomba Kamalu
DE Trent Harris Tyriq McCord Al-Quadin Muhammad
OLB Raphael Kirby Jermaine Grace Nantambu-Akil Fentress
MLB Denzel Perryman Juwon Young Walter Tucker
OLB Thurston Armbrister Darrion Owens
CB Tracy Howard Corn Elder
CB Ladarius Gunter Antonio Crawford Artie Burns
SS Dallas Crawford Marques Gayot Hugo Delephena Jr.
FS Deon Bush Jamal Carter
P Justin Vogel Ricky Carroll

hurricanesports.com

Note: Depth chart will be updated when a new one is released prior to season opener.

 

Depending on the situation, the Hurricanes employ both the 4-3 and 3-4 as well as the nickel defense.

Last season, Miami allowed a particularly awful 211 offensive plays of 10-plus yards—the ninth-worst mark in the nation. And that doesn't happen without a good number of missed tackles, which has consistently plagued the 'Canes.

Credit: 247Sports
Al-Quadin Muhammad

Anthony Chickillo and Al-Quadin Muhammad are expected to earn the starting defensive end positions, while Tyriq McCord and Chad Thomas are key third-down edge-rushers. Olsen Pierre, Calvin Heurtelou, Ufomba Kamalu, Earl Moore and Michael Wyche are important pieces at tackle.

Behind senior and top NFL prospect Denzel Perryman, the linebacking corps is well-off depth-wise. Thurston Armbrister is the most game-ready player because of his 10 career starts, followed by Raphael Kirby, Jermaine Grace and Darrion Owens.

Cornerbacks Tracy Howard, Ladarius Gunter, Artie Burns, Antonio Crawford and Corn Elder will see plenty of action, especially as the utilization of three-receiver formations continues trending upward.

"It's a demanding position," Golden said, per Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post. "We play a lot [of cornerbacks]. They're fighting for the starting job, but all those guys are going to play a lot, no question."

Overall, though the safeties are relatively inexperienced, the unit is deep enough to handle the loss of starter Rayshawn Jenkins to injury. Deon Bush, Jamal Carter and Dallas Crawford are the top three at the position and will contribute the most.

The team must replace punter and sixth-round draft pick Pat O'Donnell, who demolished a school record amassing 47.1 yards per punt. Transfer Justin Vogel and senior Ricky Carroll are competing for that spot, which took an indisputable hit.

Notable True Freshmen: DE Chad Thomas, DE Trent Harris, LB Darrion Owens, S Marques Gayot

 

Injury News

Miami Injuries
Player Name Injury Expected Return Date
Ryan Williams ACL Approx. Sept. 20
Rashawn Scott Collarbone Approx. Sept. 27
Rayshawn Jenkins Back Surgery Out for Season

Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Ryan Williams left the 'Canes in Kevin Olsen's hands at quarterback before Heaps and Kaaya outperformed the redshirt freshman in fall camp. The senior's health is the underlying storyline for the first month of the year, because his return plays a major factor in who will lead Miami through its conference slate.

Rashawn Scott, who hurt his shoulder making a diving catch in the 2013 season opener, suffered an "exotic injury" to his collarbone that will sideline him for a few weeks. The Hurricanes' strongest overall unit is at wide receiver, so Miami is eager for Scott's return but need not rush him back.

Considering Rayshawn Jenkins accounted for 46 tackles, five pass breakups and three interceptions last year, the safety is an unfortunate loss for the defense. In addition to Dallas Crawford and Marques Gayot stepping up at the position, Deon Bush and Jamal Carter must help carry the burden in Jenkins' absence.

 

X-Factor

USA TODAY Sports

Malcolm Lewis made his presence felt in his collegiate debut in 2012, catching four passes for 42 yards and a touchdown. Since then, he has suffered a terrible ankle injury and underwent groin surgery.

But now, the redshirt sophomore is finally healthy and ready to shine.

Defenses must lock onto Johnson and Coley while keeping another eye on the speedy Dorsett, so the 'Canes need someone else to step up every week.

Via screens, drags, quick hitches or other short routes, Lewis can destroy teams with yards after the catch. Additionally, he complements Dorsett's straight-line speed and Coley's reliability in the intermediate range.

Lewis is a crucial factor in keeping the Miami quarterbacks focused on being distributors, not playmakers.

Runners-Up: DT Calvin Heurtelou, DT Michael Wyche

 

2014 Schedule

Miami 2014 Schedule
Date Opponent Location
Sept. 1 Louisville Louisville, Ky.
Sept. 6 Florida A&M Miami Gardens, Fla.
Sept. 13 Arkansas State Miami Gardens, Fla.
Sept. 20 Nebraska Lincoln, Neb.
Sept. 27 Duke Miami Gardens, Fla.
Oct. 4 Georgia Tech Atlanta, Ga.
Oct. 11 Cincinnati Miami Gardens, Fla.
Oct. 18 BYE
Oct. 23 Virginia Tech .Blacksburg, Va.
Nov. 1 North Carolina Miami Gardens, Fla.
Nov. 8 BYE
Nov. 15 Florida State Miami Gardens, Fla.
Nov. 22 Virginia Charlottesville, Va.
Nov. 29 Pittsburgh Miami Gardens, Fla.

hurricanesports.com

 

Make-or-Break Games

Since the Coastal Division is simply a scattered mess, five conference victories is the lowest realistic mark for Miami to contend for a berth in the ACC Championship Game.

The Hurricanes' meeting with Louisville sets the tone for 2014, and an early-season conference loss would be immensely difficult to overcome.

Overall, Miami has four swing games—Louisville, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech—and three must-win contests in Georgia Tech, Virginia and Pittsburgh.

Florida State is a likely loss, so the 'Canes need at least two of their swing games and each victory against the lower-tier teams.

 

New Uniforms

Miami revealed new Nike uniforms in April, showcasing four jerseys, four sets of pants and three helmets. The uniforms are called Stormtrooper, Surge, Juice and Smoke.

On the shoulder of each jersey is an ibisthe school's current mascot and secondary logo about 10 years ago.

Additionally, the 'Canes will be lacing up black cleats on top of black socksa classic look Miami fans loved to see return.

 

Prediction

Duke Johnson, Ereck Flowers and Denzel Perryman are selected to the All-ACC First Team, with Joe Feliciano and Tracy Howard on the following tier as second-teamers. Coley, the elder McDermott, Wyatt Chickillo and Deon Bush earn third-team distinction, while a few others are named honorable mentions.

Looking at the schedule, a 10-2 record during the regular season accompanied by a 7-1 mark in the ACC is the absolute best-case scenario for Miami.

How do you think Miami will fare in 2014?

Submit Vote vote to see results

But sorry, folks, that ain't happenin'. Above-average talent fills this team, but it's a matter of everything meshing together properly—something that has eluded the 'Canes for 10 years.

On paper, the offense should average around 400 yards and 27 points per game, and that would have tallied seven wins last season.

Assisted by an improved defense, closing the year 8-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play is the most realistic result for the 2014 Hurricanes. With that being said, five ACC wins is not a death sentence because the Coastal Division is so weak.

Ultimately, I won't back down from the recent game-by-game predictions: Miami finishes 9-3 (6-2) and shares the division crown.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com.

Follow Bleacher Report college football writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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