2009 Miami Hurricanes Football Preview
2008 Record: (7-6, 4-4)
2008 Bowl: Emerald Bowl vs. California (L 17-24)
Offensive Coordinator: Mark Whipple
Defensive Coordinator: John Lovett
Returning Leaders for the 'Canes:
Other Key Returnees: WR Travis Benjamin, WR Thearon Collier, TE Dedrick Epps, OT Jason Fox, CB Chavez Grant, RB Javarris James, DT Joe Joseph, S JoJo Nicolas, DE Marcus Robinson, LB Darryl Sharpton, DE Steven Wesley
Key Losses: LB Glenn Cook, DT Dwayne Hendricks, QB Robert Marve, S Anthony Reddick, OT Chris Rutledge, C Xavier Shannon
Coach Randy Shannon had an extremely young team in 2008. Despite a roster full of underclassmen, Miami still had a successful campaign and reached a bowl game. Now it is time for this group to grow up and take the next step. The next step is for the Hurricanes to compete in the ACC and start thinking about a conference championship.
The offense was not great last year, but the potential for this unit to explode is enormous. Quarterback Robert Marve transferred and that leaves Jacory Harris as the lone experienced signal caller. Harris was the much more efficient quarterback last year, completing 60.8 percent of his passes and throwing just seven interceptions. Seven interceptions may sound like a lot, but Marve threw 13. Harris has the potential to thrive in new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple’s pro-style offense. But Harris needs his wide receivers to be a little more consistent. Travis Benjamin, Laron Byrd, Thearon Collier and Aldarius Johnson all had their moments as freshmen, but now they have to turn into consistent sophomores. If the passing game struggles, running back Graig Cooper will be called upon to carry the offense.
Like the rest of the offense, the line was pretty young last year too. The most experienced players, tackle Chris Rutledge and center Xavier Shannon, are gone and must be replaced. Finding players to fill those holes might be a problem and that could turn an intriguing offense into a disaster. The defense also returns eight starters and should be much improved. Linebacker Glenn Cook and safety Anthony Reddick were the top two tacklers last year and they are gone. There are plenty of players ready to step up, most notably linebackers Sean Spence and Darryl Sharpton. However, like the offense, the defense is a young group that simply has to be more consistent. If new defensive coordinator John Lovett can make this group grow up quickly and find a new leader or two, the Hurricanes defense will not rank 11 th in the conference in scoring defense.
The Bottom Line for the Hurricanes:
In the end it will all come down to how well Harris can play under center. Miami threw a heck of a lot of interceptions last season and managed to only pick off four of their own. That has to change if the Hurricanes want to take another step towards their old ways. If the skill players on both sides of the ball can start playing like upperclassmen, this will be a dangerous team on any given day. But they can also play like underclassmen just as easily and that means they could lose some games that they should not be losing.
By Joel Welser
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