FSU 2015 Season Preview: Miami

We continue our season preview series with the Miami Hurricanes.

We continue our season preview series with the Miami Hurricanes. Miami finished the season with a 6-7 record and lost their last four games of the season including Florida State. This was the second straight year the Hurricanes collapsed after losing to the Seminoles.

What made this game even more heartbreaking for Miami is that they had the game well in control in the second quarter leading 23-7. Florida State charged back behind Miami native Dalvin Cook’s three rushing touchdowns and won 30-26.

Schedule


Schedule

Win Shares

Sep. 5 Bethune Cookman

1

Sep. 12 At FAU

.95

Sep. 19 Nebraska

.5

Oct. 1 At Cincinnati

.65

Oct. 8 At Florida State

.2

Oct. 15 Virginia Tech

.4

Oct. 24 Clemson

.3

Oct. 31 At Duke

.5

Nov. 7 UVA

.7

Nov. 14 At UNC

.5

Nov. 21 Georgia Tech

.3

Nov. 27 At Pitt

.5

Overall

6.5

Miami has a very easy first two games before they host Nebraska. The Huskers dominated Miami last season and won comfortably, but they lost their star running back and head coach Bo Pelini. Nebraska starts a very rough six game stretch where they have to play Florida State and Duke on the road, and Clemson and Virginia Tech at home.

Miami will need to beat the teams they should and take at least two of the the 50-50 games if they want to go bowling for the third straight year. Head coach Al Golden’s seat is already hot and if he doesn’t produce more than our win shares suggest Miami will then he will likely be out of a job.


Offense


Projected Starters


Quarterback

Brad Kaaya

Running Back

Joe Yearby

Wide Receiver

Herb Waters

Wide Receiver

Stacy Coley

Wide Receiver

Braxton Berrios

Tight End

Standish Dobard

Left Tackle

K.C. McDermott

Left Guard

Hunter Wells

Center

Nick Linder

Right Guard

Danny Isidora

Right Tackle

Trevor Darling

Key Players


QB Brad Kaaya: Kaaya was one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC last season as a true freshman and projects to be even better this season. He will have to deal with the losses of Phillip Dorsett, a first round draft pick, and Clive Walford, a third round draft pick. He will need for Stacy Coley to return to form and some of the younger receivers to step up around him.

WR Stacy Coley: A former five-star receiver who chose Miami over FSU, Coley disappeared last year. He finished with just 23 receptions for 184 yards on the season. With the losses described above Coley will have to step up this season.

RB Joseph Yearby: Yearby will have the tough task of replacing Duke Johnson at running back. Yearby had a very good freshman season behind Johnson with 86 carries for 509 yards, but the question is how well he can do as the feature back behind a shaky offensive line. The best guess is that he will be a bit more consistent than Johnson but without producing the kind of explosive plays UM fans are used to seeing from that position.


Question Marks


The Offensive Line: Only one starting offensive lineman returns from an offensive line unit that wasn’t especially good last season. McDermott and Darling are both very talented young players so in time they should be in good shape, but there are still question marks at the other three positions.


Overall: Offense


Miami’s offense has firepower at the skill positions and quarterback, but they will only go as far as the rebuilt offensive line will take them. The loss of Johnson will be difficult to deal with as well. He ran for 1,652 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, which is 728 more yards than everyone else on the Miami roster combined.

That will put quite a bit of pressure on sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya. Kaaya’s top three receivers from last season, Dorsett, Johnson, and Walford, are all now in the NFL. He targeted those three 49.5-percent of the time last season according to Bill Connelly. Kaaya will have to trust more in his young receivers and, with the loss of Johnson, put the team on his shoulders and lead them.


Defense


Projected Starters


Defensive End

Chad Thomas

Defensive Tackle

Ufomba Kamalu

Defensive Tackle

Calvin Heurtelou

Defensive End

Al-Quadin Muhammad

Outside Linebacker

Tyriq McCord

Middle Linebacker

Raphael Kirby

Outside Linebacker

Jermaine Grace

Corner

Corn Elder

Strong Safety

Deon Bush

Free Safety

Rayshawn Jenkins

Corner

Artie Burns

Key Players

DE Chad Thomas: Thomas is one of the few five star prospects on the Miami roster and is expected to take over a starting role this season. Thomas has the ability to be one of the top pass rushers in the ACC and Miami will need him to live up to that potential very soon.

CB Artie Burns: Burns is the top player in the Miami secondary and is expected to be one of the top cornerbacks in the ACC this season. He has elite speed and athleticism, and will be a tough challenge for any wide receiver.

Question Marks


The Front Seven: Miami’s defensive line has been downright bad over the past few seasons and with the loss of Ambrister and Perryman the linebackers are now under the microscope. They will be helped out by a fairly good secondary, but no matter how good a secondary is they can’t cover forever.


Overall: Defense


Defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio has been on the hotseat for a while, and the target on his back won’t get any smaller this year. His defense improved last season, but losing four starters in the front seven, including their top linebacker and leader Denzel Perryman, it will be tough for them to keep improving. With the lack of elite talent in the front seven it’s going to be tough for the Hurricanes to put enough pressure on the quarterback to help their fairly talented secondary.


Special Teams


Projected Starters


Kicker

Michael Badgley

Punter

Justin Vogel

Punt Returner

Stacy Coley

Kick Returner

Stacy Coley

Braxton Berrios

How They Match Up With FSU


The Florida State-Miami game is fairly early in the season and is always a tough matchup for each team. The last few years have been especially tough for the Hurricanes and they’ve fallen apart after those losses. Miami is saying all the right things in the preseason about how they’re not going to let the Florida State game define their season again, but that’ll be tough to do considering how competitive this rivalry is for the players.

Miami has problems on both lines and that will cause problems for any team. They haven’t recruited well enough over the past few years to make up for the losses they have suffered. The Florida State defense should be able to shut the Miami offense down and dominate the trenches with the talent gap they have and if they can put pressure on Kaaya and force him into making errors it could be a long night for the young quarterback.

On Defense there are a lot of unknowns. Florida State is replacing quite a bit on offense, but the Seminoles have recruited better than every team in the country not named Alabama over the last few years and will have a distinct talent advantage. Everett Golson will likely be settled in at quarterback for the Seminoles at this time and will cause issues with his feet as well as his arm.

The Seminoles have won five straight games in the series and they should make it six this season with their third straight win in Tallahassee.


Wayne’s Prediction: 34-24 (Win Probability: 80%)

Jason’s Prediction: Even though they haven’t beaten FSU in six years, Miami has played the Noles closer than expected in each of those years. I think that probably holds true again in 2015, though I think this is the game in which Golson finally establishes himself as the leader of the offense as FSU wins a hard-fought game in Tallahassee. I’ve got FSU winning 31–24 (Win Probability: 70%)

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