Hurricanes Hard to Figure

We know the Miami Hurricane football team coming to Gainesville Saturday night will be a lot faster than the guys from Hawaii we saw last week. But I don't think we know whole lot else. Miami is about as much of a mystery team as any that's been to The Swamp in years.

We do know that the ‘Canes brought in a superb recruiting class for 2008, a 31-member group that ranked third in the nation. Obviously that talent was desperately needed since 18 of those players saw action in their season opener against Charleston Southern.

Miami won that game 52-7, but Charleston Southern is, simply one of the worst teams in the nation. Want proof? Last year they lost to Hawaii 66-10, Liberty 52-10, Coastal Carolina 41-2 and Wofford 52-24. So just how impressive could Miami's performance have been?

The ‘Canes are planning to start redshirt freshman Robert Marve at quarterback, but he didn't play against Charleston Southern due to a suspension. In his place true rookie Jacory Harris from noted prep power Miami Northwestern led the ‘Canes to victory. He was solid, hitting 16-of-22 for 190 yards and a score, but more importantly didn't turn the ball over. Both quarterbacks are expected to play.

Miami's best position is running back where Javarris James and Graig Cooper are very capable players. James is the main man, while Cooper picked up a touchdown on a punt return opening day. The real key for this game for the Gators will be to keep James and Cooper from making plays and force to young QB to do something.

Defensively, Miami is lacking up front, which seems so strange when you think of their history on the defensive line. They do have an excellent group of linebackers in Colin McCarthy, Glenn Cook, Darryl Sharpton and Spencer Adkins. The secondary has a lot of experience and should be a solid test for Florida's receivers who pretty much coasted through the Hawaii game while the running game did all the work.

Florida is a huge favorite in this game, and that should scare people considering the Gators haven't beaten the ‘Canes since I had dark hair. The Gators are clearly a better team with more proven performers in just about every area, but the early part of this game will be an important time to establish that. There are a lot of good things about playing against an extremely young team, but one bad thing is that they are generally fearless and very confident (often unjustifiably). If the Gators don't establish superiority early, the folks from Coral Gables might throw a scare into 90,000-plus Saturday night.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski


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