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3 up, 3 down: on Miami Hurricanes Win-Total projections

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WE BACK!!!!!....or are we?

NCAA Football: Virginia at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

With the season about to be set upon us it’s that time of year the prognosticators come out of the wood work when it comes to college football. In this piece we’ll break down the question “will Miami win 10 games this season?” We’ll go with three reasons for “Yes, of course they will!!” and “No, have you watched them the last 10 seasons?!”

Yes, Miami will 10 games this year! 5 rangsss!

Brad Kaaya is leading the offense.

In Kaaya, Miami has a proven leader and great signal caller. I have to believe that one of the main reasons Coach Richt decided to come to Miami rather than take a season or two off from the game was because of the chance to work with Kaaya and mentor him and teach him to be a great pro at the next level in his system ( a la like a Mathew Stafford). With Kaaya’s natural talent that has been trending up the last two seasons and Mark Richt’s proven pro-style scheme, Miami is in good hands on the offensive side of the ball.

Miami has the best tight end group in the country, period.

This is really a “sum of its parts” type of group that, to be honest, should terrify opponents. Starting with the player who’s been on the scene longest, senior Stan Dobard. He’s a prototypical NFL sized blocking tight end. When he catches the ball he can rumble and bounce off defensive backs but his real money making talent is being plopped on the outside of the offensive line and pounding defensive ends and outside linebackers into submission in the run game. Being in the 6’5” 260+ range helps too. Next in line is Christopher Herndon is a “jack of all trades” type tight end. He can play a little fullback (blocking position behind the quarterback but in front of the running back) a little H back (a little offset in front of the running back to be able to pass catch or run block out of the backfield) split out in the slot as a wide receiver or along the end of the line like Stan. He can do it all and he’s a very smooth athlete. Then you have the best of the bunch, David Njoku who can be split outside or in the slot. He can block a little as well but when you have a talent who has a tight end body but freakish speed and catching ability, you use him to catch the damn ball. All three will be rotated in at all times and will create matchup nightmares for all defensive coordinators next season.

The “new coaching bump.”

What is this you ask? It’s pretty simple. We see it all the time in college football and occasionally in the pro game as well. A new coach takes over the previous regime’s personnel and has immediate success in the in column. Essentially the old players needed a new perspective and once they got their sights set correctly, they flourished immediately. This happened quite a lot last season but the two come to the forefront. First, we had Jim McElwain who took over a bland offense and made it explosive enough to grind through the SEC schedule going 7-1 and in his first season at the helm finished 10-4. Ironically enough, the other person who reached 10 wins in his first season was the man who beat McElwain in the bowl game and soundly I might add (41-7), Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines. In his first season taking over after the recently departed Brady Hoke, Harbaugh instilled a toughness at Michigan that hadn’t been seen since the early Lloyd Carr days. With a finally tuned run game and dominant defense the Wolverines finished the season 10-3 and have tons of momentum heading into 2017.

No, Miami will not win 10 games. Have you watched us the last 10+ seasons?

Overall depth is not there throughout the entire team.

Simply put, Mark Richt has a great QB, great group at tight end but besides that there’s average talent along the starting players but behind them? Whoah buddy. There are a lot of young players starting to get heavy burn at the linebacker spot, wide out position and also at the cornerback spots. These guys could all be great in the future but potentially starting freshmen all over the defense and offense is a recipe for disaster no matter how talented they are. Hell, Stacy Searels, the offensive line coach OPENLY STATED DURING AN INTERVIEW that Miami was in desperate need of offensive tackles. If a player were to want to come to Miami and was a good enough talent next season, said recruit could immediately get reps because Miami is so shorthanded at the position currently.

The defense could be fun to watch and also very scary at times.

I give coach Richt and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz credit, they’re going all in on a “havoc” style defense. Don’t be surprised next season to see Miami sending the house at any given time throughout a game. Not just once or twice, I’m talking about a lot. This will mean we’ll probably see lots of sacks and lots of tackles for loss on running downs. This will also mean if an assignment is blown in coverage the opponent could have a huge hole to take advantage of.

Al Golden’s defense was a bend but don’t break style. The scheme usually had players off the line and sitting back. All of your favorite terms of “read and react” were used throughout this offseason to villainize the scheme. What we’ll see moving forward is an aggression out of the defense we haven’t seen in a very long time. Will this lead to sacks and turnovers? Probably. Will this lead to huge chunk plays being given up? Probably.

The schedule in October isn’t scary just because of Halloween…

I’ve written about it before and I’ll print it again, here are the opponents Miami takes on in the month of October: @ Georgia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina, @ Virginia Tech on a Thursday and @ Notre Dame. Miami could lose all those games. You’re looking at the coastal champ from two season ago (GT), the coastal champ from last season (UNC) and perennially preseason ranked in the top 10 ND and FSU. Of course, VT is no sleeper either and playing in Blacksburg at night is never an easy task, especially on a Thursday night.

That’s the three up and three down. What are your thoughts Canes fans!? Hop in the comments below.