The Miami Hurricanes completed their first spring practice and game under new head coach Al Golden. Many were ready for Randy Shannon to leave, and are looking to Golden to come in and put the Hurricanes back on the winning track.
Even after completing the first Spring Practice period, some of the same questions remain for the Hurricanes.
Who is the starting quarterback? Who is going to take over and be the man at middle linebacker? These were questions left when Randy Shannon departed, and for now they still exist under coach Al Golden.
With the post spring depth chart being released, we can now get an idea of what the Hurricanes will look like with Al Golden at the helm next season.
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#12 Jacory Harris 6-4 195 Sr. OR #17 Stephen Morris 6-2 210 Soph.
#16 Spencer Whipple 6-2 205 Sr.
Jacory Harris is still atop the depth chart, but the important thing here is the use of the word “or” which means that it’s still an undecided race between him and Stephen Morris.
People keep wondering how Jacory continues to keep himself in the mix with the lack of results on the field, and it simply looks like lack of any true competition.
Morris looked good at times last season, but has not stepped up enough to distinguish himself as the clear-cut starter.
#6 Lamar Miller 5-11 212 Soph.
#5 Mike James 5-11 222 Jr.
#1 Storm Johnson 6-0 216 Soph.
This was a bit of a shocker going into the Spring; it looked like Storm Johnson had a solid lock on the starting job, but Lamar Miller and Mike James both passed him to move him to third.
Everyone knew that Lamar Miller had the talent to be the starter, but the fact that Mike James passed Johnson was a bit of a surprise as well.
I guess all those fans who thought Storm should have been starting last year were proven wrong, as he is now third on the depth chart.
This is a good thing for the Hurricanes, though, as any one of these running backs is a game breaker at any time.
Left Wide Receiver
#2 Laron Byrd 6-4 220 Sr.
#8 Tommy Streeter 6-5 215 Jr.
Right Wide Receiver
#3 Travis Benjamin 5-10 175 Sr.
#80 Allen Hurns 6-3 185 Soph. OR 83 Kendal Thompkins 5-10 182 Jr.
Really no surprises here except some expected Tommy Streeter to make a strong push at a starting job, and it was no surprise that Benjamin was going to start on the other side.
Benjamin is also listed as the starter on kick and punt returns as usual, so expect that to be his biggest area of impact.
#86 Blake Ayles 6-5 265 Sr.
OR #43 John Calhoun 6-3 250 Sr.
OR #9 Chase Ford 6-6 245 Sr.
OR #46 Clive Walford 6-4 245 Fr.-R
OR #84 Cory White 6-6 275 Soph.
One of the deepest positions on this team all of a sudden, and after all of that hype last season Chase Ford is stuck in a battle for the starting spot.
There are a lot of "or" listed here because Blake Ayles was a USC transfer and is still learning the system.
He only has one year of eligibility left, so the Hurricanes are hoping that he or Ford can live up to the billing.
#79 Malcolm Bunche 6-7 320 Fr.-R
#77 Seantrel Henderson 6-8 345 Soph.
Seantrel Henderson is not in the starting lineup; it is a wonder if this is more of a teaching point for Golden or if Bunche actually beat him out for the job.
It probably has more to do with the fact that Henderson was injured for a portion of the Spring, and he is rumored to already be suspended for the season opener against Maryland.
#78 Jermaine Johnson 6-6 320 Soph. OR #55 Ben Jones 6-5 310 Jr.
A definite toss up at this spot; will either one of these players end up being better than Orlando Franklin?
It should not be very difficult. Franklin was a decent enough blocker, but his penalties killed a lot of drives last season.
#66 Harland Gunn 6-2 310 Sr.
#65 Brandon Linder 6-6 310 Soph.
Harland Gunn has been solid and consistent on the offensive line for the Hurricanes, and it is no surprise he maintained the starting role at this spot.
Gunn is expected to have another solid year for the team, and barring injury should be consistent enough in the middle to make this line one of the best in the ACC.
#63 Tyler Horn 6-4 305 Sr.
#62 Shane McDermott 6-4 290 Fr.-R
Tyler Horn is consistent and McDermott is a solid backup at this position; if Horn can build on his season from last year, this line should be very good.
#72 Brandon Washington 6-4 320 Jr.
#75 Jared Wheeler 6-5 315 Soph.
Brandon Washington is one of the best offensive linemen in the ACC coming into the 2011 season; there was no way he was going to lose this position.
#35 Olivier Vernon 6-4 265 Jr.
#48 Andrew Smith 6-3 250 Sr.
#97 Adewale Ojomo 6-4 270 Sr.
#56 Marcus Robinson 6-1 255 Sr.
This is another strong position for the Hurricanes; with Vernon and Ojomo starting and two good backups, the Hurricanes pass rush should improve even with the loss of Allen Bailey. Vernon and Ojomo have a good motor to get to the ball, and both play hard on every down.
This is probably the position on the team that has the most experience overall, and even when Marcus Robinson comes in, there is not a huge drop off.
#99 Marcus Forston 6-3 300 Jr.
#93 Luther Robinson 6-3 295 Soph.
#54 Micanor Regis 6-3 305 Sr.
#96 Curtis Porter 6-1 300 Jr.
Micanor Regis has put up a few decent games in his career, but Marcus Forston has only been serviceable. Forston has been plagued by injuries over the years and needs to finally have that breakout season and be a dominant force in the middle.
This is a key position for the Hurricanes and they need Forston and Regis to come up big because of the undersized linebacker corps behind them.
Strong Side Linebacker
#31 Sean Spence 6-0 224 Sr.
#58 Jordan Futch 6-3 235 Sr.
#58 Jordan Futch 6-3 235 Sr.
#59 James Gaines 6-3 220 Soph.
#45 Ramon Buchanan 6-1 222 Sr.
#41 Travis Williams 6-3 215 Fr.-R
It looks like the Hurricanes still have questions in the middle as Jordan Futch nor James Gaines have impressed the coaches enough to obtain a firm grasp on the position.
Both are slightly undersized for the middle linebacker spot, but that’s all the Hurricanes have going for them.
Sean Spence was a lock as the starter on the strong side and Ramon Buchanan luckily was reinstated by coach Golden and retained his starting spot on the weak side.
At this rate the Hurricanes run defense may struggle against teams that have big offensive lines. None of the Hurricanes linebackers weigh over 240 pounds, so they will definitely need to be on the same page as a unit.
#29 JoJo Nicolas 6-1 200 Sr.
#20 Thomas Finnie 5-10 170 Fr.
#32 Lee Chambers 5-10 185 Sr.
#21 Brandon McGee 6-0 190 Jr.
This is a new crop of cornerbacks, some of whom are converted from other positions.
This is definitely one of the weakest spots on the team on paper, and the fact that Brandon McGee is not starting is puzzling, since he appeared in a lot of games for the Hurricanes last season.
The fact that freshman Thomas Finnie is second on the depth chart at left cornerback shows just how skilled of a player he is.
#26 Ray-Ray Armstrong 6-4 215 Jr.
#23 Eduardo Clements 5-9 195 Soph.
#11 Alonzo Highsmith 6-0 195 Jr.
#7 Vaughn Telemaque 6-2 200 Jr.
#22 Kacy Rodgers 6-2 200 Soph. OR #28 Andrew Swasey 5-10 195 Jr.
The is probably the strongest position on the team; Ray-Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque were not going to lose their starting jobs either.
Al Golden started the spring with Armstrong down the depth chart as a motivation ploy, and it seemed to work, as he had a good spring practice.