FSU/Miami Breakdown By Position

With the Miami/Florida State showndown three weeks away, Charles Fishbein breaks down each position between the new ACC conference rivals and he adds his opinion on who has the advantage.

Quarterback- Rix vs. Berlin- I know what both players can do and right now Rix has a lead over Berlin . There are those that say Berlin has beaten Florida State two times. If you look at what the Miami starting quarterback did in those two games, he had very little impact in either game. Actually his two interceptions against the Seminoles in the 2nd half of the game in Doak let the Noles back into the game. Berlin still forces the football into double coverage. With Rix it's all about which one will show up. The one against Florida , Colorado and parts on the Notre Dame game or the one against Clemson and Miami . If Rix plays like he did in the Colorado game, the Seminoles easily win the September 6th contest.

Running Backs-  With Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington, the Noles have a slight edge over the Canes. Miami has more talent from one to five. Gore is not a 100% but he looks pretty good right now and Tyrone Moss is solid. The young bucks Andrew Johnson and Charlie Jones most likely wont play in the Florida State game so they wont have much if any of an impact at all. The match up of Booker and Washington on Miami linebackers should have Seminole fans optimistic. 

 Wide Receivers- If Crophonso Thorpe is 100% healthy; he will be the best receiver on the field. He is the game breaker that could be the difference maker in this game. Who will step up on the other side of him will be key. The talent is there with Thorpe, Stovall, Davis and Robinson. From top to bottom the Noles have more talent than the Canes. I would give the edge to Miami 's top two receivers in Ryan Moore and Darnell Jenkins. Those two would be a solid 1-2 punch. Akeem Jolla is the wildcard. After that there is a big drop off at receiver for UM.

Tight Ends- If Greg Olsen plays, the Canes will not miss a beat at tight end. He has very good hands and is Miami best route runner at the position. Buck Ortega is a move the chains type guy. Kevin Everett looks the part but does not play it. He has questionable hands and negates his speed by slowing down to try and catch passes. He is either feast or famine. In most years, I would not bring up our tight ends but Donnie Carter and Matt Henshaw are both solid. Henshaw had touchdowns against Miami and Florida to end last season. Miami has the edge because they use their tight ends and we don't.

Offensive Line- Right now with five returning starters Florida State has a slight edge. Castillo, Meeks (or Lunford), Meinrod, Barron and Willis are a solid starting five. Add in Henderson, Lunford and Frady who have all started and the Noles have a solid eight offensive line.    Miami has Tony Tella, Rashad Butler, Eric Winston, Chris Myers and Joel Rodriguez. Outside of Winston they don't have a stud among the group. They work well together but they won't overpower you in the running game. The one difference this year is Miami offense line average less than 300 pounds. They are lighter and quicker this year than in 02-03. If any of the five starters goes down Miami could struggle somewhat. Kehoe always has his guys ready to play but this is a line he may have problems with at times this year. Let's hope it's against Florida State .

Defensive Line- If there is one area Miami has a nice edge it's along the defensive line. They have four real nice starters on the defensive front line. Orien Harris is solid and backup Kareem Brown would start for most teams in college football this year. Baraka Atkins and Bryan Pata are real solid as well. Depth is also not an issue. Florida State has some question marks at defensive tackle. How will Travis Johnson play? He and Santonio Thomas are both similar in that they have shown flashes of being really good but neither have lived up to their hype. Johnson is a better pass rusher while Thomas is stronger against the run. How good can Dickson and Bunkley be? We will find out real quick. Eric Moore, KamerionWimbley and Chauncey Davis have the talent but have yet to do it consistently like Miami .

Linebackers- If Miami starts Leon Williams at middle linebacker they will have problems with teams in the ACC especially the Noles. He can stop the run but I can't see him hanging with backs like Booker or Washington outside the tackles. John Beason is a much better prospect and has only played the position for less than a year. Tav Gooden has nice speed but is a bit undersized. Rocky McIntosh will be their top linebacker. As for the backups outside of Willie Williams, who won't play, they have some question marks. If either McIntosh or Gooden go down, they will struggle somewhat. On the other side Ernie Sims and AJ. Nicholson are going to be one of the best pair of linebackers in college football. Add in Buster Davis and Sam McGrew in the middle and watch out. Ray Piquion looked great in the spring game and provides great depth. Add in Marcello Church and you have a solid two deep at the linebacker position. Not too many teams could roll out Wright, Timmons, Gallon and Thaxton as their 3rd and 4th team players.

Defensive Back- I will break it off into two groups, cornerbacks and safeties. Right now I give the edge at cornerback to the Canes. Antrel Rolle is a stud. He has looked great the two times I have seen him practice. Kelly Jennings is also real solid. After those two guys, there is a drop off. Devin Hester will be a stud but not in week one. Glenn Sharpe is still struggling from a knee injury sustained last year. Rolle and Jennings will be tough to beat. For the Noles at cornerback Bryant McFadden could really step up into the elite category this year. Like Rolle he has good size, speed and he is very physical. Talent has not the problem for McFadden but health has been. Leroy Smith is a solid starter on the other side. Antonio Cromartie has more upside than any cornerback on either side of the ball. JR. Bryant and Trevor Ford could start for many colleges this year.

Now to the safety position.... Pat Watkins, B.J. Ward and Jerome Carter vs. Greg Threat and Brandon Merriweather. For Miami Threat is real solid but I am not sold on Merriweather. He lacks size and his talent is not on par with past players at UM. Personally I think he will be a liability. As for FSU Watkins has the most talent of any safety on the field. Ward has physical talent but he lacks something. I have not figured it out yet but he is solid at best. Jerome Carter came on strong at the end of last year and in the spring game. He could have a breakthrough season. I would give the Noles the advantage at safety safeties but the Canes have better starting cornerbacks right now.

Special Teams- Until Florida State make a kick, Miami has the edge.


Nole Digest Top Stories