Miami Offensive Preview
Quarterbacks: Interim head coach Jeff Stoutland hasn't announced his starting quarterback, as of Monday night. Junior Jacory Harris started the season after a solid 2009 campaign. He had big expectations in year two under offensive coordinator Mark Whipple. Unfortunately, Harris struggled to find consistency and was making too many mistakes for Miami to keep winning. A big hit from a Virginia defender knocked him to the sidelines for a few weeks.
That's when true freshman Stephen Morris took over. At 6-2 and 195, Morris provided a spark. He has a big arm and he's a quality athlete but still struggled to get a whole lot going for Miami's offense down the stretch. Both quarterbacks played against USF in the regular season finale.
Running Backs: The Canes are loaded with quality players and depth at this position. Damien Berry is the main guy. He finished 2009 as Miami's top running back and was averaging about 100 yards a game until the final few weeks of the season when he started getting banged up with some injuries. Freshman Lamar Miller is the most explosive one of the group and showed flashes of greatness at times. He's expected to be the next great running back here.
Mike James is a quality big back who can run, catch, and block pretty well. Graig Cooper, who was the team's leading rusher the past three seasons, will also see some carries in a limited role. Freshman Storm Johnson had a 73 yard touchdown run against USF and has shown flashes in practice. He'll likely see a few carries as well. Senior fullback Pat Hill is a bulldozer who rarely touches the ball.
Wide Receivers: Leonard Hankerson has been one of the best wide receivers in all of college football this season. The 6-2 senior has re-written the Miami record books at the position and he'll be thrown to often in this game. While he struggles with drops at times, he gets open and is very dangerous down in the redzone. Travis Benjamin is Miami's fastest receiver and is an excellent deep threat, who also struggles with drops at times.
Laron Byrd is a big target who does well in the redzone and over the middle. He's also a skilled blocker. Aldarius Johnson can play but lacks elite speed and plays a limited role. Keep an eye on 6-5 Tommy Streeter, who didn't play much under Randy Shannon but is considered an excellent deep threat because of his ability to go up and get the jump balls.
Tight Ends: Richard Gordon is the starter and is considered an excellent blocker. He really gets after it. However, he's not used much in the passing game. Backup Chase Ford is a 6-5 Juco transfer who saw plenty of action in both the passing game and as a blocker this season. The best pass-catching tight end on the team down the stretch was freshman Asante Cleveland. At 6-2, he has soft hands and will see some targets.
Offensive Line: This unit has been up and down all season. Orlando Franklin has been rock solid at left tackle, after playing guard his first three seasons as a Hurricane. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson is massive and was the nation's top recruit last year. He has a big time future and has played very well in his first year. Junior Tyler Horn has been solid at center. Right guard Brandon Washington was a first team All ACC pick in his first season as the starter. He's a 325-pound mauler inside. Harland Gunn on the left side has struggled with consistency but is a powerful player inside.