College Football Preview: The 2015 Miami Hurricanes
Miami Hurricanes Preview
2014 Record: 6-7 (78th of 128) Lost Independence Bowl 24-21 vs. South Carolina
Odds to Win National Championship: +16500 See the Latest Odds
Overview: For the first time since the Randy Shannon days, the Miami Hurricanes have reached back-to-back bowl games and are starting to move into the right direction. Now, Miami fans are hoping Al Golden can get the program to that next level, which includes winning a bowl game for the first time since 2006 and putting the school in position for its first ACC title.
Offense: Brad Kaaya enters his second season as quarterback for the Canes, as he completed 58.5 percent of his passes for 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions as a freshman. Kaaya was inconsistent, but he had six touchdowns and three picks in his last four games, proving he started to mature late. The concerns are at the other positions, as Kaaya will have more on his plate without Duke Johnson and Phillip Dorsett to lean on. The Hurricanes also have just one returning starter along the offensive line. Joseph Yearby will take over as lead back after averaging nearly six yards per carry as a freshman and Gus Edwards had six touchdowns on 61 carries. Stacy Coley is a playmaker at wide receiver but has to be more consistent and Herb Waters will see a bigger workload. The Canes still have offensive firepower but far less household starpower from a year ago.
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Defense: Beleive it or not, but the Hurricanes were ranked 14th in total defense last season. I love Miami’s secondary with Artie Burns, Deon Bush and Corn Elder holding down the fort, as all those guys are playmakers and will set the tone. Jermaine Grace was second on the team in tackles and Tyriq McCord is a versatile player who can put pressure on the quarterback. Also, Ufomba Kamalu is one of the more underrated defensive lineman in the ACC. My main concern with this unit is a matter of who brings the toughness and that attitude now that Denzel Perryman is gone. While this unit may not have that experienced tough guy just yet, the Canes defense still has a chance to be above-average.
Special Teams: Michael Badgley returns at kicker after making 77.8 percent of his kicks on 18 attempts. Justin Vogel returns at punter after averaging 42.8 yards on 52 attempts.
Overall: For the first time in a while, the Hurricanes have a quarterback they can rely on and help mask some of their weaknesses. And while this team overall is still fairly young, there’s a lot of talent and potential to be a sleeper in the ACC. I could see things going either way for this team this season. For Golden’s sake, Miami better start to show more progress or there could be a coaching change.