Miami Hurricanes Football: Five Keys to their First ACC Title
In this slideshow, I will layout five keys to the Miami Hurricanes finally capturing their first ever ACC title, and thus putting the college football world on notice that "The U" is back.
After a campaign last season of reaching 9 wins and getting as high as #8 in the BCS rankings after beating Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma in a four week span, The Hurricanes are finally ready to compete and challenge for their first ever ACC division and conference championships.
Jacory Harris: A Darkhorse Heisman Candidate?
The trigger man at the quarterback position: Jacory Harris, pictured above is the key that makes Miami's offense go. He displays a coolness and a play making ability that hasn't been seen in Coral Gables since Ken Dorsey's heyday in the beginning of the 2000s. He has the ability to buy time with his feet, and get out of trouble, and at the same time potentially be able to make a throw anywhere on the field.
If there was anything Harris needs to improve on going into 2010, it would be his somewhat mediocre decision-making as he led the country in interceptions with 17.
The Miami Hurricanes will go as far as Jacory "J12" Harris will take them, and he will be a major factor in an ACC Championship run.
Defense Must Hold Up in Big Games
The 'Canes defense has had some dominant years, such as in 2001 when they allowed only 117 points during the season, and 9.75 points per game. The defense led the nation in scoring defense, pass defense, and turnover margin. Additionally, the Hurricanes' defense scored eight touchdowns that season.
This version of the 'Canes defense doesn't have the stars such as Ed Reed or Jonathon Vilma, but they have shown potential to be great (see games vs. FSU, GT and OU) but then the potential to be awful is also there (see games vs. VT, UNC) The key for the defense is to play with increased discipline.
Led by DBs Vaughn Telemaque and Brandon Harris, and with the infusion of talent such as Latwan Anderson, the defense also has to get more pressure on the QB after not being very good last campaign at pressuring QBs as FSU's Christian Ponder and GT's Josh Nesbitt were able to make some plays under pressure late in games.
'Canes MUST Not Be Intimidated by Inferior Teams
The Hurricanes are a proud program, and have the success to back it up. But, in recent times they have shown a tendency to become intimidated by inferior conference teams such as the North Carolina Tar Heels, led by former coach Butch Davis.
North Carolina has been a proverbial thorn in Miami's side for years, with the latest setback coming last season in Chapel Hill by a decision of 33-24 after a multi-interception game by Jacory Harris and a poor showing by the other offensive skill positions. Miami must regain the ability to start strong and keep their foot in teams' throats in order to reclaim the killer instinct required to compete with college football's elite.
Revenge: Rematch of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl National Title Game
Former Buckeyes RB Maurice Clarett being brought down by a Miami defender during a short run. Clarett's TD in overtime was the difference as Miami failed to score after four attempts from the red zone.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Quite possibly the biggest game on the college football landscape, the rematch of the Hurricanes and Buckeyes, the first meeting since the 2003 BCS Fiesta Bowl National Championship game, where the Buckeyes won on a OT touchdown after a late pass interference call that was the topic of alot of controversy in the months afterward.
Ohio State, led by QB Terrelle Pryor will look to score early and often with his veteran offense, and look to force the 'Canes to keep up.
Miami's gameplan defensively will most likely be to pressure Pryor and try to stop anything deep. The 'Canes are led defensively by Ray Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque with alot of youth on deck, most notably led by 5-star recruit Latwan Anderson.
The winner of this game will go a long way toward establishing themselves in their conference and in the national title picture and also will settle some bad blood between the two schools since the fiasco in 2003.