1994 Redux.....SoCal's Miami Hurricanes Preview and FSU game prediction
In 1991 Miami featured an explosive passing game and a dominant, record setting defense while claiming the national title after blanking Dr. Tom's Huskers 22-0 in the Orange Bowl. In 1992 Miami again went undefeated, albeit losing in shocking fashion to the underdog Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl. 1993 was a down year for the Miami program, with its offense at its weakest point in several years, being supplemented however by a very solid defense. In 1994, a rebirth of sorts occured when Miami reached the Orange Bowl and squared off in a 12 round hardly fought heavyweight bout with National Champion Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. That year, Miami's offense was just ok, but their Defense was awesome, powered by the nation's best defensive line.
Fast Forward: As fate would have it, a decade later, Miami's 2001, 2002 and 2003 teams have been eerily similar to their numerical counterparts from the early 90s with a national title coming in 2001, an undefeated season followed by a shocking and painful defeat in the title game to an underdog in 2002 and a 2003 team carried by a powerful defense but lacking the offensive spark necessary to reach the title game. Will 2004 be 1994 redux?
In a word, very likely yes.
Miami's strength is at Defensive Line. Like the lines of 1994, 2001 and 1986, this is easily the nation's deepest, most fearsome and talented. Junior DT Orien Harris leads the Unit. The "Orien Express" is both a run stuffing and pocket collapsing DT and generally a beast that according to many inside the Miami program was better than Vince Wilfork. Offensive Line Coach Art Kehoe sadly mused that Miami's OL couldnt get much work done in the spring as Harris almost singlehandly and repeatedly blew up Miami's G-C-G combination. This is a top 10 pick in my view. Joining Harris is Senior DT Santonio Thomas. Thomas was a top high school prospect who has suffered numerous injuries during his UM tenure but is a good run stuffer and a very solid player. Backups Kareem Brown and lightly recruited Teraz McCray do an excellent job of getting underneath OL and being difficult to block. On the outside, Miami returns the Big East sack leader, Javon Nanton who led the conference with 16 sacks as a FRESHMAN last year. Big East First Team DE, Baraka Atkins, a DE that can rush the passer and destroy the run also returns. Atkins is a future first mid to high first round prospect, most likely in the 2006 draft. Emerging DT/DE Bryan Pata was South Florida's best as a prep in 2002 and made a huge impact as a true freshman in 2003 and will push for starting time on the inside. This Defensive Line will overwhelm virtually every 2004 opponent and is the unquestioned strength of the team.
Last edited by SoCalBronco; 08-31-2004 at 10:55 PM..