Five Things to Watch in Fall Camp

Players reported for fall camp today, and they will begin camp with their first practice on Thursday. Lets take a look at five key things to watch for over the next few weeks of practice.

1. Who will emerge as Brad Kaaya's primary backup? Everyone knows how important Kaaya will be to the overall success of the team this year. Most college football teams don't have good backup quarterback situations but Miami's is pretty bad. All four players behind Kaaya on the depth chart heading into fall camp were lightly recruited so there's no stud prospect in the group who's expected to push Kaaya for playing time. Plus, the only player with any game experience is a walkon. Someone needs to emerge from this group, and it's very difficult to tell who it will be and how effective he'll be at it.

2. How will the breakdown at running back look? A lot of people assume Gus Edwards will take over the starting job left by Duke Johnson. Al Golden has singled Edwards out a few times this summer as someone the coaches are excited about. However, he's a running back and they typically don't change a whole lot from year to year. In terms of being able to replace Johnson, he's not the answer. He's not a difference maker. The closest thing to that is Joe Yearby - or perhaps even Mark Walton. Yearby, however, has game experience and should emerge as the team's top back heading into the season.

3. Which wide receiver will most effectively replace Phillip Dorsett? No one on the current roster has the speed and deep threat ability that Dorsett had. He was a big reason why Kaaya connected on so many passes down the field as a freshman last season. Stacy Coley is the closest thing Miami has to being able to stretch the field like that, and he was very ineffective with Kaaya last season. Miami needs that to change in a big way because he's the most talented and potentially dangerous receiver on the roster.

4. How much improved will the nose tackle position be on defense? Calvin Heurtelou was a Junior College transfer who played beyond his expectations last season. If he is fully recovered from an injury that kept him out of spring, he should be even better this season. Add in a more experienced Mike Wyche and Courtel Jenkins and the nose tackle position looks worlds better than it did this time last year. That is a very important position in any defense, especially the one Mark D'Onofrio and his staff run here.

5. How effectively will Raphael Kirby replace Denzel Perryman at middle linebacker? Perryman was one of the most productive linebackers in school history. While he won't go down as being known as one of the best ever because of the poor teams he played on, he was outstanding here last season and it would be difficult for anyone to replace him. Plus, he did it while playing behind a defensive line that wasn't terribly effective. Kirby steps in with lots of experience (even though it's been on the outside) and a better line in front of him. He should be ready to have a solid season and come close to Perryman's production numbers in 2015.


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