HEAD COACH: Randy Shannon 0-0 overall in first season at Miami.
RETURNING STARTERS: Offense: 9; Defense: 8.
KEY SIGNEES: RB Graig Cooper, DE Allen Bailey, WR Kayne Farquharson, OL Harland Gunn, QB Robert Marve, DB DeMarcus Van Dyke, DB Doug Wiggins, DL Chris Perry, DE Andewale Ojomo.
KEY LOSSES: TE Greg Olsen, LB Jon Beason, S Brandon Meriweather, K Jon Peattie, P Brian Monroe, DT Baraka Atkins.
OFFENSE: It's all well and good that there's a new head coach to breathe life back into the once dominant program. However, new head coach Randy Shannon is a defensive guy and it's the offense that needs the most help. Senior quarterback Kyle Wright has never lived up to the billing when he came out of high school as one of the top recruits in the nation. Also is the wings is junior quarterback Kirby Freeman, but both have struggled when given a chance to excel under new offensive coordinator Patrick Nix's offense. The tailback position appears to be loaded with Javarris James and newcomer Graig Cooper.
There's very little depth on the offensive line and despite the fact that many of the starters from last year return, it's still a group that has underachieved in previous seasons. There are still plenty of questions as to who the starting five will be and they probably won't be answered until fall camp due to a series of injuries across the entire front. The receiving corps is a bigger question as there doesn't seem to be a true marquee playmaker. Lance Leggett is the best of the bunch, but he hurt his knee running track in the spring. The Hurricanes have to rely on a ton of incoming freshmen here and that's generally not a good thing.
DEFENSE: While the offense has gone down the tubes in recent years, the defense has been pretty reliable and it's usual athletic and talented self. And with the return of eight starters, this looks to be the best part of the team, once again. The defensive front is anchored by star junior Calais Campbell, who had 10 sacks in his first season as a starter. Joining him up front is senior Teraz McCray, who returns as a starter, and freshman Josh Holmes, who could earn one of the other two starting spots. He's talented and has tons of potential. All three of the linebackers and four members of the secondary return from a year ago, but this is a group that struggled to stop the pass last year. Free safety Kenny Phillips is one of the more talented junior defenders in the nation. He is a legitimate All-American candidate. Either Lovon Ponder or the return of former starter Anthony Reddick, who returns from an ACL injury, will be the other safety, to form a scary backfield.
BY THE NUMBERS: 8 – The very low number of touchdowns thrown by starting quarterback Kyle Wright.
QB Kirby Freeman
DE Calais Campbell