Yes, Marshall can put up a fight here with flawless execution of their system and catching the Miami Hurricanes looking ahead to Oklahoma a week from now. Here are some things to expect from the Thundering Herd if they pull the upset.
1. Attack the defense vertically
Look for Marshall to attempt to exploit a size mismatch in the vertical passing game. The Hurricanes will start cornerbacks freshman DeMarcus van Dyke (6-foot-1), junior Randy Phillips (6-foot). Also expect significant playing time by sophomore Chavez Grant (5-foot-11) in nickel situations when Marshall spreads the field. Marshall will open with three wide sets in an attempt to exploit a matchup on a linebacker with speed and against a defensive back with a size disadvantage.
Marshall 's trio includes of Junior College transfer Darius Passmore (6-foot-3), and senior Shawn Lauzon (6-foot-6) to provide the Herd with a mismatch to exploit on the outside. Also look for upperclassmen Emmanuel Spann (team teams best pass catcher from a year ago at wide receiver), Marcus Fitzgerald and youngster Courtney Edmunson to find green space and attack it.
2. Keep the ‘Canes honest
To exploit the defense, Marshall is going to need to keep Miami honest and to have them defend both run and pass and not to sell out their assignments via the blitz. To do this, expect early on, the Herd to attempt to establish a running game with junior Chubb Small
3. Attack line of scrimmage on defense
They are missing their next-level prospect at defensive end in Albert McClellan who is out for the year with a torn ACL. Despite that, expect the Herd to turn a once conservative defense into one that attempt to attack the line of scrimmage and make the Hurricane running backs turn to an east-west running style and collapse the pocket and make Hurricane quarterback Kirby Freeman to make quicker decisions.
4. A bold attempt to make Kirby Freeman beat them
Marshall will need to stop the Hurricanes running attack to have a chance and by doing that, they are going to tell the Miami Hurricanes to have their newly named starting quarterback beat them through the air.
5. Make Miami go the distance
Field position is the name of the game for Marshall . The Miami offense in the past few years has had issues going downfield to score, and expect Marshall to attempt to pin Miami deep in their own territory and ask them to go 80+ yards on scoring drives.
5 Things to Expect from the Miami Hurricanes - 9/1 v. Marshall
1. A full dose of the running game
Let's not beat around the bush here, the Miami Hurricanes' greatest asset on offense is running back Javarris James and there biggest home run hitter is fellow runner, freshman Graig Cooper. If you and I know this, I am sure we both can expect the Marshall coaching staff to know this. The problem is, they will have to stop them.
With that said, the bread and butter of some of the great Miami offenses was a dynamic running game, and with this new era of Hurricane football trying to regain those moments of greatness, expect them to go back to their modus operandi (m.o. for you guys not paying attention).
Expect the backs to get a bulk of the offensive snaps and both of them to have big games with multiple scores. Also look for the Hurricanes to work on the running game in 3rd and short situations – an area the Hurricanes haven't been very successful on in recent years toward the latter part of former head coach, Larry Coker's regime.
2. Attack, attack, attack the QB
This team has a storm brewing along the defensive front, and it comes by the name of "The Big Show" Calais Campbell. After putting two and two together last season by learning how to use his hands to shed blocks and to protect his body from being undercut, Campbell out together a fantastic second half of the season
Now, the attention is on him and expect him to receive focus all game long. The good in all this? The Hurricanes have a kid named Eric Moncur on the other side that excels in getting to the quarterback, especially in one-on-one matchups, so no quarterback is safe from the edge rushing by the Miami Hurricanes. Couple that with two interior pass rushers at defensive tackle in Dwayne Hendricks and Teraz McCray and a linebacker in Spencer Adkins that will also apply the heavy heat on the quarterback from outside in on a team that is replacing both bookend tackles means a lot of trouble for Herd quarterback Bernie Morris. Expect the Hurricanes to make the Herd turn the football over and shorten their field on scoring downs.
3. Stop the run
Turning an offense one dimensional has been a key to Hurricanes' defenses of the past, and expect this one to be no different. With active linebackers and safeties that are not afraid of creeping closer to the line of scrimmage to help in run support, expect the Hurricanes to do all they can to make Marshall pass to beat them and eliminate Marshall running back Chubb Small from putting the Herd in second and short situations.
4. Randy Shannon and the coaching staff to get a standing ovation by the end of the game
Yeah, it is Marshall , but in the past few seasons, even "gimme" games haven't been impressive wins for the Hurricanes. But, this is a new team with a new attitude. By the end of this game, you might then know, just a little sample of what Randy Shannon brings to this team as a head coach.
Expect to see Randy Shannon make good in-game decisions with his personnel and to let his coaches coach their aspect of the game – you know, what a head coach is supposed to do. Expect Shannon to keep his players motivated for 60 minutes of football – you know, what a head coach is supposed to do. And at the end, expect this team to be as pumped up and attacking as they were with 14:59 to go in the first quarter.
Also, expect this team to be more focused and more disciplined than in years past. This team has gone through a very rigorous off-season training routine that has focused on accountability, discipline, and assignment football. The coaching staff won't accept mistakes, and neither will the players.
5. An emotionally inspired entrance and performance
This is the final home opener in the Orange Bowl. Yes, it is a big deal. The players know it, the coaching staff knows it, and every single fan in the stadium is going to be aware of the aura that is surrounding this teams season.
Other than that little piece of inspiration we have the debut of a coach that bleeds orange and green. It is the re-debut of a fan favorite at quarterback that has the teams unwavering support.
Yeah, it is against Marshall , but this game is big. It is the first game of an era. When that big helmet starts a rockin' and Sebastian starts the rumbling for a C-A-N-E-S, CANES, and the smoke bellows out of helmet, this game is Chapter 1 of the Randy Shannon's Miami Hurricanes.
There maybe a few of the same old faces around, but this is a new team that is looking to make a statement. That statement is "The Miami Hurricanes are back"…there is a potential Category 5 brewing along Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables, this game versus Marshall is the first sign of it. Watch out.