Hey, Eric again from Saturday Sound Offs. We'll take a peek at the Miami Hurricanes.
Another year, another disappointing shocker. Miami really let down a bunch of people who projected big things for them (cough, Gator Bowl for me, cough). Now Randy Shannon is in year two of trying to rebuild the program, will he get things headed in the right direction?
THE OFFENSE: This side of the ball needs the most help. The QB position is a little thin with, well, how do I put it lightly, well, there's no Bernie Kosar in this group. Robert Marve has the most "experience" being in his third season at Miami, but Jacory Harris is athletic enough to see some field time if Marve doesn't pick it up early on. Javarris James could break out as one of the better backs in the ACC and Miami will need him to in order to reach that level Miami is used to. James suffered through a downer kind of season. He lacks breakaway ability, but he's a great north-and-south runner. Of course, Graig Cooper should have a big year as the co-starter in Miami's backfield. The WRs have all of the measureables, but they have struggled in the past and that was evidenced by Miami's 108th ranked passing offense. Sam Shields is the speediest of the group with the most potential and he's only a junior so there's still some upside left in the tank. Khalil Jones brings some veteran experience to the table and had a nice spring. Aldarius Johnson is a true freshman who could find his way into the rotation with relative ease. Randy Shannon will be looking for anything to spark the offense and this Andre Johnson-reincarnated specimen could cash that check. Perhaps his presence could step up the play of the other receivers hoping their spot in the starting lineup doesn't get usurped by this ultra-athletic guy. Dedrick Epps and Richard Gordon create one of those "good problems to have" when deciding which one will start. They're both really athletic for TEs and they each can catch. Jason Fox and Reggie Youngblood at OT will be rocks on the offensive line. They should really have solid years and Joel Figueroa combining with Orlando Franklin should become top-shelf lineman with a year of playing time. A little bit of nepotism at C? Nah, Xavier Shannon, Randy's son, is a guy with a lot of potential.
THE DEFENSE: All Bill Young has to do is make room for this defense to grow as a unit and he'll be hailed as one of the best things to ever happen to Miami. Miami didn't live up to expectations defensively with only a ranking of 33rd in the nation. The scoring defense was 52nd. Eric Moncur is the kind of guy that NFL scouts pay attention to Miami football games for. Moncur will be a lock for the first day in next April's draft. DT Antonio Dixon is a senior and he'll come through this year for Miami unlike years past. Allen Bailey is a big guy at DE and he's the kind of athlete that the Miami faithful are used to reloading on defense. The Hurricanes will welcome back Glenn Cook to the LB corps now that he's healthy. He's a sixth-year senior with next-level ability. Colin McCarthy has really shone through with his breakthrough game coming against Texas A&M last year. Sean Spence and Arthur Brown are much hyped recruits who will contribute right away and will more than likely become the next great Miami LBs. The pass defense ranked 35th in the country which is solid, but there are some worries in the secondary. Anthony Reddick will be filling for Kenny Phillips. Hopefully Reddick will have a big year, he's certainly capable of doing so. DeMarcus Van Dyke and Bruce Johnson will be decent enough at the CB spot. Basically, this is a Cane defense with enough talent to rank in the top 30 of the nation.
Aug. 28 Charleston Southern
Sept. 6 at Florida
Sept. 20 at Texas A&M
Sept. 27 North Carolina
Oct. 4 Florida State
Oct. 11 UCF
Oct. 18 at Duke
Oct. 25 Wake Forest
Nov. 1 at Virginia
Nov. 13 Virginia Tech
Nov. 20 at Georgia Tech
Nov. 29 at NC State
There have been harder schedules. Whichever QB gets the nod (most likely Marve), he'll be able to get his feet wet against Charleston Southern before the Florida rivalry is renewed. They also have to face Texas A&M on a revenge trip for the Aggies at Kyle Field. Even though there are more than a few winnable games, it'll be difficult to get to eight victories with this.
Don't Even Think About It:
Ehhhhh.....Maybe....: @ Florida, Virginia Tech
Good/Probable Shot At It: Charleston Southern, @ Texas A&M, North Carolina, Florida State, UCF, @ Duke, Wake Forest, @ Virginia, @ GT, @ NC State
THE OUTLOOK: Miami plays a lot of tossups this year and, come on, they are rebuilding after all. I think many prognosticators get caught up in the name brand of Miami when they project Gator Bowls and whatnot, and I'll try to avoid that this year. Yes, there's talent, but this staff is still getting the hang of things and the players, for one reason or another, aren't playing up to whatever Scout or Rivals thinks of them. There's definitely a problem going on for them and Florida State, but maybe Shannon does have this previously sinking ship heading in the right direction. Don't expect big things from this team on the rebound, but look for them to be a solid all-around football team and wind up in a decent bowl game.
BOWL GAME?: Music City Bowl
A reminder, you can check out all of the "2-a-Days" (individual team previews) at Saturday Sound Offs.