Well, it's finally here, people. The first weekly installment of the SOTU Mailbag. Will it succeed? Are our answers good? Will this even be worth it? WHO KNOWS! WE WANNA DO IT ANYWAY! WHEEEEE!
And with the honors of being the absolute first question asked and answered in this new thing, here's Noah Logan (found on Twitter at @DecidedByNoah), with a three part question spanning multiple Canes topics:
1) What do you think of the idea for the Miami Hurricanes to stop playing in Sun Life and move to where the Marlins play? Is there any realistic way this could happen?
2) What is the word on Curtis Porter's health? When he was healthy last season, (not often) his presence seemed to make a very noticeable presence.
3) Word has been extremely good on our WR corp this year. Is there any chance this group can be SCARY good with the addition of Stacey Coley and Derek Griffin? (Feel free to elaborate on what plans are for both of those players)
A1) The idea that Miami could play literally anywhere else will always be an intriguing one. Since they took the OB away from us, and decided to sign what seems like an infinity year long contract with SLS, we are sorta stuck. Marlins Stadium sounds like a good idea, but the only good aspects are the fact that it's newer and closer. You still have to deal with the infield, since I don't think that the baseball team is going anywhere. Bottom line is, the Canes likely aren't moving anywhere, at least not anytime soon.
A2) Early word is that Porter is at 100%, and doing really good work. His absence was a big reason that the Canes D-Line last year suffered, because with him in the lineup, they are very much a better squad. With him being a constant presence, and Luther Robinson seemingly having worked past his issues, the line stands to be a lot better. The X factor this year will be Olsen Pierre. There is a legit TON of word out of Coral Gables that he is in the best shape of his playing career, and has finally started to realize his potential. I think, and have been saying for a while now, that I think folks will be very surprised at line play this year.
A3) The WR group is ALREADY scary, even without Coley and Griffin. I won't go through all of the names, because we all know them already. With Morris being a senior, and garnering a ton of praise, there is no doubt that this Miami wide out corps has the potential to be one of the best in the country (if they can fix their drops.) Griffin, if he clears everything, could be a great addition, although he likely won't see the field in his first year. He can play either WR or TE, and the Canes are set at both positions. Stacy Coley WILL play, that is for sure. He will likely factor in the return game, but you will see him at wide receiver some. He is just that good of a talent.
Next up, we have Ryan Baehrle (found on Twitter at @RyanBaehrle) with a question about the Canes' secondary:
Sure, we have questions all over the D, but I don't hear anyone really talking about the lack of experience and depth in the secondary as an issue. Playing true freshmen at corner has always burned us (Brandon Harris vs. OU, Mike Rumph vs. Penn State, etc), and aside from Gunter, there's not a ton of experience there.
Yes, Howard should take a big step up. But let's say either one goes down. Artie Burns, Nate Dortch? I'm worried. Ditto for the safeties. I think Deon Bush is going to be a STUD, but I'm really concerned about what's down the line. Not good.... Make me feel better.
A) Perhaps there has not been as much talk about this as there should be. Although, your point applies more to the corner backs than it does the safeties. With the safeties, if Deon Bush or Rayshawn Jenkins goes down, there are older, experienced players that will be able to fill in. Sure, there is a drop of talent-wise, but it's not as dire a situation as the other.
At corner, Tracy Howard will be the leader, although Ladarius Gunter is not at all far behind. Both are primed for breakout seasons, and should anchor the back of the defense. As far as the guys behind them, Nate Dortch is a guy that the coaches like, but most fans aren't sold on him. This is likely due to no one seeing him play more than anything else. If you are going to pick out a CB on the team who likely won't make too much of an impact, it's Larry Hope. Between him, Dortch, and Antonio Crawford, he should be at the back. If either Howard or Gunter go down, it will definitely be something to worry about. However, Antonio Crawford and Dortch should be more than capable as backups, and depending on how well he acclimates during the Fall, Artie Burns should as well. Don't fret, young one, as CB injuries aren't all that common.
Thirdly, we have a Canes Hoops question from Kevin DiCalvo (@kev_dicalv) out of Plantation. He writes:
Because you guys extensively cover the Canes football team, and do a great job I must say, I would like more updates on the basketball team. I am a huge Canes basketball fan (season ticket holder for basketball and football of course) and I just feel like our Canes basketball team and program does not receive enough attention, especially now in the off season.
One major question of mine is what are the statuses regarding possible incoming transfers Donnavan Kirk and Sheldon McClellan? If we can get both of these guys, even just one, our program will be looking very bright.
Also, what about the team's recruiting? Any info or strong interests from any players?
A) Here's our resident hoops guru (well, one of 'em anyways. The top one.) Jerry with the answer:
First and foremost, thanks for the question. While I agree that 'Canes Hoops is traditionally under appreciated and deserving of more attention, I have to ask if you just recently discovered State of the U? Josh and I came aboard from a now defunct website called Category 6, that was dedicated (at first) solely to UM hoops.
Since joining forces with Lt Phillip Nolan and the rest of the crew at SOTU, we have done Q&A's with every single player on the roster (some available on video), previews and post games for every contest, editorials out the wazoo, full ACC position rankings, and a plethora of recruiting updates via our recruiting guru Charlie "Strauzer". Mid-season we added two great writers in Isaac "Poopy Pants" Koppel** and Juan Toribio to help complete our hoops starting 5. Feel free to check our archives on State of the U to catch anything you may have missed. As for your questions,
According to Scout, there are a few players Miami has yet offer who are from Miami. For instance:
Quinton Flowers, Raul Diaz, Frank Newman, Lamar Parker, and Kendrick Edwards.
I recognize that we can't offer every possible Miami area recruit, but when I consider depth at a position like WR, for instance, it seems that depth is lacking. Why not just offer virtually all quality prospects living in Miami three stars or better? They could play special teams. Last year, Texas A and M signed 7 WRs. They have a total of 15. We have 11. It just seems like Miami is preparing for scholarship penalties from the NCAA. WR isn't the only position where depth is lacking, such as defensive back and linebacker.
A) First of all, not to be that guy, but we have 12 wide receivers on the roster. Technically, not all of them will play, but if we are going to talk numbers, we at least should be on the same page. 12 on the roster, and 1 in Stacy Coley coming in, puts us at 13. That's 5 less than A&M, who actually has 18 listed on the roster (same deal applies, though, not all of those will actually play.) When you consider a wide receiver corps, and the fact that you likely will not see more than 5 or 6 receivers play during a given year, having even just 12 on a roster is perfectly acceptable. The Canes don't have any depth issues at that position. You are, however, correct on the fact that depth at LB and DB is a bit concerning.
As far as the Miami-area prospects you mentioned, and the ones that you didn't, there's no good, consistent answer. There are those far more able to get into the specifics of the individuals you had questions about, so I will give you the generic answers. Kids, from any area, may not get offers from the hometown schools for many reasons. Perceived off the field issues, not being skilled enough, the school not having room, etc. The fact is, though, that the last thing you want to do is just sling offers around to local kids hoping they sign in just to fill depth. Schools would much rather fill their charts with kids that might actually play, not with ones that won't (see Golden's 2012 class.) Every year there will be local kids that local fans want to see wear their favorite uniform, but they won't see it happen. It's just a fact of the game.
Our last question of this installment comes from our own Ricky Paoillo (@RCPcane49):
With FSU being a hated rival of ours, we as fans tend to quickly jump to discount them as being a quality team. So bias aside, what is your assessment of the Noles so far?
A) While it would completely Rixdiculous for me to try and pretend that I could be unbiased when it comes to discussing FSU, I'll go a bit wide left to try and answer your question. They will be good, but how good remains to be seen. They will be starting a brand new QB for the first time in a while, and they lost the guy (Coach Coley) who was largely responsible for transforming their previous two into NFL 1st round draft picks. Not only that, but a large portion of their coaching staff from last year exited wide right, which regardless of how good the new guys are, takes some time to get things back into sync. Regardless of all of this, their defense will still be very, very good, and that should be able to keep them in the close games, and help them win the ones they're supposed to win.
That does it for the first edition of the SOTU Mailbag. We hope you enjoyed it, and, if so, please send us your questions for next week on over to SOTUMailbag@gmail.com.
** - Not his real name. This is what happens when you act a fool on Twitter.