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Salomon: Canes Offense Looks to Be More Explosive This Season

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Despite losing players at key positions this year's version of the Miami Hurricanes offensive football team should be better than the one that lost to Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl. With the infusion of talent from this past season's recruiting haul, and the experience gained by valuable underclassmen, this could be a very exciting year for the Hurricanes. This might be Al Golden's best team to date.

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This morning was different.  I had an extra bounce in my step.  I could feel a breeze walking out to my car.  The drive-thru breakfast even tasted better.  There was something very different about today.  I could feel it immediately upon waking up.  Today was going to be a special day.

Today is the day that the 2014 Miami Hurricanes begin camp and start their quest for an ACC Championship. Despite being unsettled at the quarterback position, the Canes enter this campaign with a wealth of talent on offense and most importantly, a healthy Duke Johnson.

This is the time of year that all teams start with a clean slate and all teams are equal in the standings.  I am more excited to see this team on the field than I have in recent years.  I can not wait for the kickoff against Louisville and see the Hurricanes welcome the Cardinals to the ACC with a home loss.

In my opinion, Jake Heaps will be the starter at quarterback, at least until Ryan Williams returns from his injury. Heaps has been getting a bad rap from his stints at BYU and Kansas.  However, if Kansas or BYU had Johnson and Joseph Yearby in the backfield and Stacey Coley, Phillip Dorsett and Herb Waters as its wide receivers, Heaps might have competed for a Heisman Trophy.

This is a kid that has Grade A talent, but played on inferior teams that had no talent around him.  Charlie Weis, head coach for Kansas, got excited when about a dozen spectators showed up for Kansas' spring game.  That should tell you what Heaps had to look forward to.  He could not get out of Kansas quick enough.

When Heaps thought about coming to Miami, he should have clicked his heels twice and said, "There's no place like Miami."  In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy could not wait to get back to Kansas.  Heaps could not wait to get the first plane out and come to Miami for its sunshine, great education, and of course, explosive offensive weapons.

Should Heaps not be the player that I think he is, Brad Kaaya will be waiting in the wings.  He will be the next man up.  I do not believe that Kevin Olsen will ever take a regular season snap for Miami.  His recent suspension shows that he is not a leader.  The starting quarterback for a major college program does not allegedly fail drug tests and win the admiration and support of his teammates and coaches.  With Kaaya and Malik Rosier in the fold and others verbally committed to this program in the future, Olsen could one mistake from being sent packing.

However, Heaps should be formidable at least until Williams returns from his injury.  Heaps was a top player coming out of high school and now has top talent surrounding him.  This could be just what the doctor ordered for Coach Al Golden and his high-octane offense.  Many indications indicate that Heaps has more talent than most other quarterbacks that have attended Miami in the last ten years.

As Duke Johnson goes, so goes the UM offense.  El Duque is back from a horrible leg injury that he suffered against Florida State last season and he is capable of leading this team to the promise land when healthy.  He will compete for the Heisman this season and he will show the country that Miami is capable of scoring touchdowns from anywhere on the field.  His pairing with Yearby will give Miami a 1-2 punch that will be very difficult to stop.

"He's doing great.  He has an edge about him, he has a focus about him that he continued and grew since the spring," Golden said. "{It is} a physical, more durable, stronger version of Duke Johnson, but faster.....I'm excited about the edge he brings tot his training camp."

The wide receiving corps, despite losing Allen Hurns to the NFL, is powerful in its own right. Coley is back and he has shown flashes of brilliance and can take a short pass and turn it into a 70-yard touchdown as he displayed against Pittsburgh at the end of the regular season.  His prowess in the return game will make him even more dangerous.

With a healthy Dorsett picking up where he left off before the injury that he sustained at North Carolina, he adds outside speed and hands that will be tough for opponents to match.  Waters will more than likely be the third receiver and he could be a number one on many other college programs.  He showed everyone last season what he is made of and can be counted on again this season to score touchdowns.

"Those two have emerged as leaders in the wide receiver group. I don't know how you would characterize their summers anything but awesome," Golden said of Dorsett and Waters. "Faster than they have ever been, stronger. I'm very excited about the progress that they have made."