INSIDER: Expectations Are High As Canes Open In Spotlight

The Beast
August 31, 2018 - 3:15 pm

It has been eight long months since the Miami Hurricanes played a football game. The season is finally upon us, and what a way to kick things off in Arlington, Texas, against a perennial power program in LSU.  Last season was a resurgence for the Hurricanes as they won the Coastal Division of the ACC, and played in the conference championship for the first time. After a 10-0 start, they soared to as high as number two in the rankings. Behind blowout home victories versus Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, Miami put the college football world on notice that Mark Richt had his team back in the championship mix.

Unfortunately, injuries and experience caught up with Miami as they dropped their final three games. Overall the season was a success, but left all wanting more in the future. Well, the future has arrived with a nationally televised game on Labor Day weekend. The Canes have 13 returning starters and a talented group of recruits, and are poised to seize the top spot in their division for years to come.

Much maligned quarterback, Malik Rosier, will get the nod opening night, and I expect a great year from him. He accounted for 31 touchdowns last year, and has more options and more command of the offense. I believe this is his team.

Malik will need help and he will get it with the most depth Miami has had at receiver in years. Running backs Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas can take one to the house at any time, and newcomer Lorenzo  Lingard will shine soon enough. Two concerns would be if an injury hits the offensive line and lack of experience at tight end, where two true freshman will see the majority of the snaps. Defensively, it's all about the Turnover Chain. The more times we see it, the better. The Canes failed to create havoc and turnovers during their losing streak, and the secondary gave up big play after big play. We shall see if that was just a bad stretch, or if opposing offensive coordinators figured out Manny Diaz's defensive schemes. They have future pros on every level of the defense, but the defensive line, and particularly, senior Gerald Willis is someone who can help make them one of the best in the country. We will find out early if he is engaged and ready to put together a huge year. Special Teams will be solid with speed and quickness across the board. One thing to note is true freshman kicker Bubba Baxa and how he handles that job.

There is no warm up or preseason game. It's LSU right out of the gate. My expectations for this year are raised after what they were able to put together last year. Win the Coastal, beat Florida State at home, and get to 10 wins. If you do that, you most likely will get another crack at Clemson in the title game, and we shall see if Miami has closed that gap. But nothing would put a jolt into this year than a win in game one.

It's been a long time since Miami has had a top ten ranking and a high profile game to start the year. Those are usually reserved for teams ready to do big things. Here's to that happening this season.

Go Canes!

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