FSU-Miami Preview: FSU Passing VS. UM's Secondary

With the departure of the Seminoles' top three wide receivers from a season ago in Craphonso Thorpe, Chauncey Stovall and Dominic Robinson, returning veteran wide receivers Chris Davis and Willie Reid will have a lot of pressure on their shoulder pads come Monday night while they work with an inexperienced quarterback in Drew Weatherford and go up against a talented Miami secondary.

Despite the loss of Antrel Rolle to the NFL, the Hurricanes boast one of the nation's premier playmakers - albeit most widely known for his standout special teams play - in Devin Hester. The speedy Cane has been hampered by a case of turf toe, however, but at the moment it appears as though he will be ready for the opener. And while he is not penciled as the starter (senior Marcus Maxey has that honor at the right cornerback spot), Hester is expected to contribute extensive minutes.

Also suffering from a minor injury is starting safety Brandon Meriweather, who has been unable to do much running in recent practices due to a sore hamstring. His status, for the game seems unclear but his back up, Greg Threat, is the Canes' returning tackler from a season ago.

Helping matters for the Noles, will be the seemingly increased wide receiver production that was present in the Tribe's final two scrimmages this preseason. With Davis and Reid holding down the top two spots, several youngsters – namely Kenny O'Neal, Richard Goodman, Rod Owens and Greg Carr – displayed inspired play that could boost them into opportunities for significant minutes.

Highly touted freshman Fred Rouse struggled a bit to get acclimated to the college game also came into his own towards the end of two-a-day practices. Add in a rising sophomore playmaker in De'Cody Fagg and the Seminole passing attack has an excellent shot at combating a Miami defense that – overall – returns nine starters.

"Overall, the biggest thing is their defense," head coach Bobby Bowden said in regards to what most concerns him about Monday's showdown. "They have nine of those guys (starters) back and that's the same group that stopped us cold last year. That's the starting place and everything else is pretty equal."


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