It is that time of the year again.
The moment has come when I double click the folder on my desktop computer labeled football charts.
Media days have come to an end leading me to write my annual college football previews beginning with the University of Miami Hurricanes.
Let’s skip the salad and get to the meat and potatoes. Hurricanes coach Mark Richt is not ready to name a favorite in the race for starting quarterback.
The most important position in the sport vacated by Brad Kaaya is an open race between redshirt junior Malik Rosier, redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs and freshmen N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon. Richt is giving them a fair chance to compete. You can flip a coin and pick Rosier or Shirreffs to be under center against Bethune-Cookman.
The Hurricanes began last season on the outside looking in the top 25, but finished 9-4 including five wins in a row and their first bowl victory in a decade finishing number 23 in the final Coaches Poll. Preseason polls have the Hurricanes ranked as high as number 18 in the nation.
Miami has talent on both sides of the ball that will overshadow their lack of experience at the quarterback position. Two-time FCS All-American cornerback Dee Delaney is a huge addition (6’1’’, 193 lbs) to the already talented Miami defense. Delaney transferred from The Citadel, and his athleticism and eye for the ball will help lock down the opposing team’s top receiver in a talented ACC. The secondary is still weak however the front seven led by linebackers Shaq Quarterman, Mike Pinckney and Zach McCloud will bring the storm.
Offensively there is no excuse for the newly-named starting quarterback as he has the benefit of weapons and experience. Senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios is ice cool leading this offense with his talent in the open field and leadership. Ahmmon Richards exploded on the scene breaking Michael Irvin’s freshman receiving record earning him freshman All-American honors. Scouts will have the binoculars locked on Richards. In addition, the running game is in good hands with junior running back Mark Walton leading the ground attack, but don’t sleep on Travis Homer who will have his moment on the ground and on specials teams.
The Hurricanes were picked to win the ACC Coastal Division this season, which they have never accomplished since joining the conference. Quarterback is a gray area. They have amazing players at every position. Miami’s eye test is an early road game Sept. 16 in Tallahassee where Florida State will be waiting. A loss will not hurt them however a potential ACC championship rematch will be pivotal. Notre Dame at home is a must win in November. Three losses is a push to get them in the ACC title game, but their strength of schedule is what can make or break them since they don’t play Clemson and Louisville.