Hurricanes camp opened yesterday. Some thoughts on the team this year...
1. This is a talented but very young team. 50 of the 82-83 guys are freshman or sophomores. This last recruiting class looks like one of the very best in years but it will take a little while to gel. There are about a half dozen guys from that class that should be eventually in the NFL. Youth plus a difficult schedule means the record will be similar to last year.
2. Miami will be anchored defensively by true sophomores Anthony Chickillo (DE) and Denzel Perryman (MLB). I expect both to be All-ACC even though they are young players. DT depth is much better than recently, but there are massive question marks about the DE spot opposite Chickillo. If he goes down, it will be difficult to get pressure from the front four. SLB Ramon Buchanon is a solid player and is healthy after an ACL injury last year. The third LB spot is a question mark. The secondary will probably be lead by a true freshman this year...albeit a very special one. Expect Tracy Howard to start from Day One and enter the NFL after 3 years. Good run defender S Ray Ray Armstrong was dismissed from the team. Kacy Rodgers and Vaughn Telemaque will start at safety. This is not a great starting unit, but if true freshman Deon Bush develops quickly he could see playing time. Miami has alot of depth of CB, but it is all very young.
3. Miami's offense will revolve around its strong offensive line, featuring standouts Malcolm Bunche, Shane McDermott and Seantrel Henderson. The latter is expected to be a high NFL draft pick but has always been inconsistent and has work ethic issues. Freshman Ereck Flowers could see time. RB Mike James is the lead weapon here. He's a jackhammer, but lacked burst last year. We'll see if he has it this year. Miami's TE's are unproven. Miami lost top WRs Tommy Streeter and Travis Benjamin to the draft last year, but brought in a ton of highly regarded HS prospects and a stud JUCO transfer to compliment Rashawn Scott, Allen Hurns and Philip Dorsett. This group is young but has a ton of speed. True freshman RB Duke Johnson is the most celebrated RB prospect Miami has acquired in several years and has been compared to Clinton Portis for his speed, vision and shiftiness. He'll see the field early and often. QB Stephen Morris has a live arm arm and great mobility, but he is inconsistent as a decision maker. We'll see if another season with Jedd Fisch helps his development.
At Boston College- W. Miami got pushed around by BC last year, physically. I doubt that happens again, with the emphasis on strength training this offseason, which has had great results so far in lifting and bench improvements. Miami has too much skill for BC, especially with the departure of Luke Kuechly to the NFL and one of their backs.
At Kansas StateL. Last year I underestimated the skill level and resiliency of Kansas State and Collin Klein. Klein showed a TON of a heart in KSU's 28-24 win at Miami and former Cane Arthur Brown had a great game as well for the Wildcats who went on to have a great season. Miami's very talented freshman and sophomores will learn a tough lesson in Manhattan.
Bethune-CookmanW. Cupcake opponent. Easy win.
At Georgia TechTossup.. Last year, defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio put together a masterful plan against Paul Johnson's vaunted option attack and Miami has very good speed in its front seven to stretch the option out, but the Jackets are very tough to beat in Atlanta. Game could go either way.
NC StateW. Miami should be able to put together a solid win at home against NC State.
*Notre Dame (*game played in Chicago)- LChicago is hardly a "neutral field" for a Notre Dame-Miami game, although the venue really doesnt matter. Notre Dame's depth and experience on defense will overwhelm Miami.
UNC- W. The Heels are beginning a period of decline and Miami will take them down at home. Giovanni Bernard will probably have a good game, though.
Florida StateL. The Noles are the best team on the schedule this year, even with star CB Greg Reid being recently kicked off their team. FSU is loaded defensively and should be ACC Champs. They have an outside chance to be in the national title game, although I have doubts about their coaching staff's work on game days. Miami outplayed them in a close loss in Tallahassee last year despite a huge talent disadvantage, which was a hopeful sign. However, this year's FSU team is even better and they will prevail in Miami.
Virginia Tech- Tossup. Miami played a great game in Blacksburg in last year's razor thin loss and having this game late in the season will help to get the true freshman studs some experience early on. This will be a tough test, but given that it is at home, it could go either way.
At VirginiaL. The Cavaliers return a strong team that did great work last year. Winning at Virginia will be too steep a climb to ask of Golden's young Hurricanes.
South FloridaW. This was a close game last year. I expect by this point in the season, Miami will be much better than early on due to the development of the freshman and sophomores. They should be able to hold off USF again, albeit not by alot.
At DukeW. Should be an easy win.
ITS A PLAYOFF HOCKEY NIGHT IN PITTSBURGH!
Last edited by SoCalBronco; 08-04-2012 at 11:48 AM..