Welcome back to Canes football, fellow sufferers.
As we embark on yet another season sure to end in heartbreak, disaster and depression, it is time to rekindle a little write-up I have done for the past couple of seasons: The Dummy’s Guide to the 2014 Miami Hurricanes (COMPLETE WITH NEW UNIFORMS!!!!!).
Now, for those of you who AREN’T gluttons for punishment, you could probably just watch the .gif of the guy getting hit in the balls during the World Cup every Saturday this fall and spare yourself the agony of what promises to be another “rebuilding” year. For those people…and I must say, we all SHOULD be those people…stop reading now. Because this is a black hole. You do not come out once you go in. Seriously. Saturdays in the fall are lovely. There are SO many awesome things to do that AREN’T sitting on your couch and watching 12 hours of college football.
Now that I have properly disclaimed, the only people left should be the ones that HAVE to keep re-ripping open that scab on your knee that you got from diving for that softball that you knew was out of your reach but you had to go for anyway. You poor, silly, brave bastards.
Stephen Morris. Not really sure that is a bad thing.
Who’s the Starter?
Good question. You see, 5th year senior Ryan Williams was supposed to be the starter during the spring. However, he blew his ACL doing pretty much nothing. So now the competition is open. He is going to try to make it back for the Nebraska game, and he was never much of a runner anyway. However, something seems cruel and inhumane about sending a kid with a non-fully functional knee into Nebraska’s hell vortex of a stadium and asking him to win a football game.
That brings us to Jake Heaps, formerly of BYU and Kansas. He got beat out for his starting job at both schools. The list of QBs who transferred to 3 different FBS-programs and were even decent? Tom Savage. That’s it. So let me get this straight. Our backup plan is a kid who has failed at 2 different schools and whose BEST CASE SCENARIO is Tom Savage? Surely not, right?
Well, that seems to be the case. Redshirt Freshman Kevin Olsen, brother of Greg, was once labeled the “chosen one” but his suspension for last season’s bowl game, and now an indefinite suspension to start this season because of a failed drug test have pretty much sunk that boat, for the time being. Sidenote: Jameis Winston was charged with sexual assault and still played, Johnny Manziel was arrested his freshman year, Nick Marshall had weed in his car this offseason; this isn’t all over yet.
The wildcard here is Brad Kaaya, the best QB recruit we have brought in since Kyle Wright in terms of skillset…and yes, that just made me shiver a little bit. God damn it. Anyway, he is tall, smart, strong-armed, mature…and yet, he is still only 18. He would have to come in and absolutely shred it in fall camp to win the starting job. But hey, I’d be into it. He’s the guy I am rooting on.
The other freshman QB is named Malik Rosier. He is an athlete with a strong arm that I would like to see get a special set of plays near the goal line to make use of his legs. But other than that, not going to play this year.
What else should you know?
That about covers it. Not exactly the same sort of excitement as we had for Morris at this time last year. Which, ya know, is concerning, given the fact that this is the most important position on the field.
Maurice Hagens, the fullback. This hurts more than you think. I loved that guy. Also, Eduardo Clements. Great utility guy, great teammate, but won’t hurt much to lose him. Walter Tucker is apparently being worked at linebacker…he could be a fullback.
Who’s the starter?
Duke. Effing. Johnson.
Who are his backups?
Gus Edwards is getting good reviews. He has apparently gotten stronger and lowered his pad level. We shall see. Joe Yearby is the freshman phenom, and he gets compared to Duke. However, he missed the spring injured and isn’t exactly huge, so we shall see. The major X-Factor? True freshman Trayone “Chocolate” Gray. No one thought he would get in, but he is practicing with the team and tearing it up. If he lives up to the considerable hype, he is a big (6’2”, 215 lbs) back that can also be moved around as a receiver and Wildcat QB. Every year we seem to have a true freshman that emerges as a key piece of the offense. Two years ago it was Duke, last year it was Coley…this year it could be Gray.
Yeah, hasn’t been a great run of recruiting at the position. But help is apparently on the way!
It better be.
This was supposed to be a Q&A format.
Fine. What else?
Well, we pretty much know what we are getting from Duke. When healthy, he is the most explosive player in the country and the type of guy you can build an offense around. Unfortunately, he gets banged up a lot. He has added muscle to try and alleviate some of that, but what is really needed is a reliable side kick. Dallas Crawford was the closest thing we had last year, but he is a safety now. Edwards would be the ideal foil, given his hulking size, but he didn’t run confidently last season. Yearby could very easily assume the role with a strong fall, but again, size could be an issue. The battle for RB2 will be a storyline to follow in the fall.
Allen Hurns, the team’s leading receiver and MVP last season. He had the 3rd best statistical season for any Canes wideout ever. That is a lot of production to replace.
Who are the starters?
Well, the obvious candidates are Stacey Coley – who pairs with Duke to give Miami one of the most explosive combos in the nation – and Phillip Dorsett. Herb Waters has played heavy minutes in his career and will factor in, as will Malcolm Lewis, who looks to finally be fully healthy, and Rashawn Scott.
Any newcomers to watch?
Braxton Berrios could play from Day 1 as a slot receiver and return specialist – think Davon Bess but more explosive and actually able to catch, Phins fans; CROSS RACIAL PLAYER COMPARISON, BOOM!—if his knee is healthy following spring surgery. Tyre Brady is a man child in terms of physique and has gotten rave reviews during the summer, but is very raw. David Njoku is super athletic but, again, probably kind of raw. I imagine one of these guys will be battling sophomore D’Mauri Jones for playing time.
What is the most terrifying thing you can think of?
Ryan Moore, Lance Leggett, Sam Shields, Aldarious Johnson, Laron Byrd.
Those are all guys that had strong freshman years and looked like future stars, only to either plateau or…and this is scary…regress.
Stacey Coley is SO FUN to watch. I fall asleep every night praying that this fate is not his.
Asante Cleveland. Not losing sleep over this one.
Who is the starter?
Clive Walford. He’s not fast…but hey, at least he is SUPER slow!
Walford is the type that seems to just find a way to be super open all the time. Last season he got a little case of the dropsies, so what could have been a big year stalled out for him. Still, he was second on the team in receptions, and being able to get open in the passing game AND block in the running game is a nice skill set to have.
Any other names to know?
Yes! Beau Sandland did not have the type of impact many (including myself) thought he would, but he has been in the system for a year now and should make his presence known as the primary 2nd tight end, especially if Ryan Williams ends up playing. His main challenger will be Standish Dobard. Dobard is a bull in a china shop and he is an absolute mother f*cker…which is a compliment. The issue is his conditioning. Which means that the battle for snaps here will extend throughout the season.
Wait, their names are Beau, Clive and Standish?
Yes. On the weekends they play in a British Prog Rock band.
You actually expect me to read about the OLine?
Whatever. Who left?
Brandon Linder, the leader of the unit, is now a Jacksonville Jaguar. Jared Wheeler and Seantrel Henderson also departed, for the Buffalo Bills.
So who do we have?
The best player is Erick Flowers, a potential first round pick at left tackle. Jon Feliciano at left guard is a mauler and will play in the NFL. Shane McDermott is the center and the leader of the unit. Danny Isidora figures to start at right guard and the staff has loved his toughness since he got on campus 2 years ago. Taylor Gadbois is huge and is making a move at right tackle. The 2 big wild cards here are freshman studs Trevor Darling and Kc Mcdermott. Both could work their way into starting jobs in the fall, and regardless both figure to be key pieces in the rotation.
So what does all this mean?
The top 7 on our OLine is tough and talented. After that, there is a drop off. So, we need everyone to stay healthy, OR we need someone unexpected to make a move in the fall. Best bet is Alex Gall, a sophomore who looked mean and nasty in spot duty last year and has the body type to play any of the OLine positions.
Wait, before we start, answer me this: are we going to suck again?
Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe f yourself for interrupting me.
Starters Shayon Green and Curtis Porter, as well as top backups Luther Robinson and Justin Renfrow. Also, David Gilbert and Dwayne Hoilett, but they didn’t play much. All in all, this might be addition by subtraction. Getting rid of those guys will force a lot of talented younger players to pick up the slack.
Who are the starters?
Well, you can bank on Anthony Chickillo and Olsen Pierre being the two pillars of the line at the end spots. Ufomba Kamalu will rotate in with Pierre; he has apparently made strides. The nose guard, or 0 technique, will be manned by JUCO transfers Calvin Heurtelou and Mike Wyche. They both should represent an instant upgrade, with Wyche (who weighs 350 lbs) having the higher ceiling and Heurtelou figuring in as an “unmovable object”.
Now, this is where this position gets interesting (read: nerdy). The past two classes have seen an influx of players that can bring speed and athleticism to the line. For instance, true freshmen Chad Thomas and Anthony Moten could contribute from Day 1…Thomas as an every down end that can generate pass rush, even out of the 3-4 alignment (aka Chickillo except for fast), and Moten as a strongside end in the 3-4 that can stop the run and a 3 technique tackle in the 4-3 that can beat guards up the middle. Also, guys like Tyriq McCord, Al Quadin Muhammad, Trent Harris and Demetrious Jackson all figure to contribute at the “Jack” hybrid pass rush spot, as well as on the field all together in the nickel speed rush package.
Veterans looking to make a push up the depth chart include Earl Moore at tackle and Jelani Hamilton as an end. This position still isn’t back to where it needs to be, but finally we are starting to see talented depth
Seniors Jimmy Gaines, Tyrone Cornelius (had a truly epic final play for the Canes, getting ejected against Louisville) and Kelvin Cain. For the record, in my 1st draft of this, I completely forgot these 3 guys. That sums up their careers pretty well!
Also, in what has become an annual tradition, Alex Figueroa (projected starter) and Jawand Blue were kicked off the team for sexual battery. I don’t really want to go into it but the police report was pretty f*cked up. They join Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul and Gabe Terry as linebackers kicked off the team in the last year or so. Not great, Bob!
Who are the starters?
Well, the depth took a(nother) hit, but the starting group still looks solid.
Denzel Perryman is the best player on the defense and an absolute monster. He would fit in on any Hurricane team ever.
Raphael Kirby figures to fill one of the starting spots…he is incredibly talented but has to pull it all together.
Thurston Armbrister (he is in the same band as Beau, Standish and Clive) pretty much blows BUT he knows the playbook and his assignment and therefore will get reps. You don’t have to like it but you better get used to it.
Youngsters Jermaine Grace, Darrion Owens and Juwon Young have all gotten great reviews and will see time this season.
So who is going to step up after Perryman?
I really like Kirby and Grace’s potential for this season. Grace is really fast and instinctive…only issue is that he is a little light in the ass at 210 lbs. Same thing was said about guys like Sean Spence and Rohan Marley though, and they did juuuuust fine.
So this is a long way of saying we are screwed if Perryman gets hurt?
(/knocks on ALL the wood)
The A.J. Highsmith / Kacy Rodger safety combination graduated. Both good kids from good families. Haaaaaaaving said that, they both were awful and this counts as addition by subtraction. Also leaving are Nate Dortch and Larry Hope; both were special teamers.
Who are the starters?
This is probably the deepest position group on the team.
At safety, Dallas Crawford moves back to defense. He will compete with Deon Bush…who was great as a freshman and injured as a sophomore… the talented but inconsistent Rayshawn Jenkins, and the spring’s breakout star, Jamal Carter, for the two starting jobs. Crawford and Bush are both very physical, while Jenkins is the classic centerfielder... Carter is the full package.
Freshmen Kiy Hester and Marques Gayot have also both impressed early and could make noise in the fall.
At corner, the presumed starters are Tracy Howard, who seems to have become the stud we all hoped he would be, and LaDarius Gunter, who showed flashes of brilliance last season. Also competing for the starting jobs will be ultra-talented track star Artie Burns and Antonio Crawford.
So that’s it. Your RENEWED 2014-15 Miami Hurricanes.
I’m telling you, there’s still time to get out now.