Opponent Preview — Miami Hurricanes

Over the next five weeks, the Buffalo Sports News will preview Colorado's 2005 opponents. Inside, a look at the Miami Hurricanes.

Miami Hurricanes
at Miami • Sept. 24
Head Coach: Larry Coker (5th year)
2004 Record: 9-3, 5-3 ACC
Series Record: CU leads 5-2

Returning Offensive Statistical Leaders
Passing: Kyle Wright, 5-9-30, 0 INT, 0 TD
Rushing: Tyrone Moss, 98-427, 4.4 ypc, 6 TD
Receiving: Darnell Jenkins, 20-227, 11.4 ypr, 1 TD

Nine Miami underclassmen were picked in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft since 2002, leaving the 2004 squad in a rebuilding mode. That led to a disappointing 5-3 conference record and third-place finish in the team's first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Miami's No. 1 priority in the spring was to find a starting quarterback to replace the departed Brock Berlin. Following the spring game, Larry Coker handed the job to sophomore Kyle Wright, a former high school National Gatorade Player of the Year.

Wright is a big quarterback (6-5, 208) with decent mobility. He'll be throwing to a talented group of receivers, including speedster Sinorice Moss (brother of New York Jets' Santana Moss), and star-in-the-making Lance Leggett, a lanky 6-4 wide out who's being compared to a different Moss, Randy. Yet another Moss, Tyrone (no relation), looks to take over the tailback spot, after missing spring ball rehabbing from shoulder surgery. Moss, a junior, is a stocky runner (5-10, 221) with breakaway speed. Redshirt-freshman Derron Thomas will also get carries coming off an impressive spring.

Several Hurricane offensive linemen spent time on the sidelines with injuries during the spring, but four with at least eight games of starting experience return in the fall.

The Hurricanes return nine starters on defense from a 2004 squad that allowed 17 points per game. Where they hope to improve is in defending the run after opponents averaged 155 yards per game on the ground vs. the Hurricanes last fall.

Miami's defensive line looks to create pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Senior defensive end Thomas Carroll has 12.5 career sacks. Former Denver South player Calais Campbell had an excellent spring game, and will be in the rotation at defensive end for Miami as a redshirt-freshman.

The Hurricanes will field a deep and talented group of linebackers, led by Leon Williams in middle, who will likely be a Butkus Award finalist. High-profile 2004 recruit Willie Williams had a solid spring and will battle for a starting spot in August.

Senior safety Greg Threat returns after leading the ‘Canes in tackles in 2004 (136). Seniors Marcus Maxey and Kelly Jennings provide experience at corner.

Buffalo Outlook: South Florida will feel hot and humid for a Buffaloes team already used to the crisp fall Colorado air by Sept. 24. But the Buffs will need to come home from their date with the Hurricanes mentally toughened. It's the first game in a four-game gauntlet that includes the Big 12 Conference opener at Oklahoma State, at home vs. Texas A&M and a game at Texas.

BuffStampede Top Stories