Despite a disappointing end to the season, the Hurricanes still have a chance to make a statement to end their season. Miami is given the rare chance to end their season with another home game in a very prestigious bowl game. I am going to highlight 5 things that all Hurricane fans should be watching when Miami takes on Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl.
1. Will the Hurricanes show up?
This is something we became accustomed to during the Shannon and Golden eras. The Hurricanes rarely showed up for meaningless bowl games at the end of the season and time after time would get embarrassed on National Television. Last year Mark Richt proved that he can get a team ready to play in a postseason bowl as Miami took down West Virginia easily to win the Russel Athletic Bowl. While this may not seem like a huge deal, it set up the momentum Miami had at the beginning of the season.
Now some of you may wonder, how is it possible that Miami won’t show up to a game at their own stadium? It is easy to mail it in once you fall short of your main goal, especially in the brutal fashion that Miami did. I think it is important for Miami to be competitive in this game and show up for their final home game of the season. It will give the returning players confidence for next season, and the fans hope, that this season is something to build on for the future.
2. Malik Rosier
While Malik Rosier has been our starter all season, and he lead Miami to 10 straight wins, including some late game heroics, his starting job is not guaranteed for next season. Now obviously I can’t speak for Mark Richt and his staff, but if Rosier does not show any improvement with his throwing in this bowl game, his time as Miami’s starter may be over. Rosier proved that he can get a great Miami team into the conversation, but his inconsistent play puts too much pressure on the defense to be elite for 60 minutes. If Malik cannot show that he can improve his game and hit open receivers, Richt and the staff might look to N’Kosi Perry and any possible incoming freshman to help Miami take that next step into the playoffs.
3. The WR’s
With Berrios graduating at the end of the season, and Ahmonn Richards coming off a knee surgery, the Hurricanes are going to need someone from the WR group to step up next year. With Richards sitting out the bowl game, Jeff Thomas, Mike Harely, and Lawrence Cager will be seeing plenty of playing time during the bowl game. All three have shown some flashes of what they can do, but for the most part the inconsistent play from this group has hindered the Miami offense. With a few weeks to prepare for the game, it would be encouraging for one of these guys to really step up and take on the Alpha receiver role while Richards is on the sideline. I really think Jeff Thomas has the best chance to do this as he can abuse the slow Wisconsin defense in space as Ohio State did.
4. The Dallas-Cat? The Wild-Dallas? Go Deejay, That’s my Deejay?
Call it what you want, but it works! There were a lot of questions about where Deejay Dallas would fit into this team as he was viewed as a jack-of-all trades. He has had most of his success as a running back, scoring two touchdowns against Notre Dame. He has even lined up a few time at WR, but where he seems the most dangerous is running the Wildcat. Deejay Dallas is your typical OW (Offensive Weapon) and no matter where he gets the ball, he can make something happen. It is pretty clear that he seems comfortable as a former QB making decisions with the ball in his hands. While this may just be a gimmick and you cannot run an entire offense using this, it’s something I would love to see used early in the bowl game and it should become a staple of the offense next season.
5. Senior Day Part 2
The Miami Hurricane seniors get a rare chance to play a second senior day game in front of their home crowd, and I expect them to put on a show. This senior class has been through a lot being coached by Al Golden for multiple years, and were the foundation of the rebuild that Mark Richt took over. These are some of the best Canes this program has ever seen, from Chad Thomas to Braxton Berrios, all guys that will be remembered for a long time. They have had huge moments for the program and have built a new culture from the old ways that the incoming classes can learn from. This will be the last time we get to see these guys play in Orange and Green, and it is our duty as fans to go out and give them a proper send off.
Anything else you are looking forward to? Any name suggestions for the Deejay Dallas Wildcat? Comment below !