5. Depth Behind Mark Walton
Mark Walton was named the cover athlete for Athlon Sports’ Miami Hurricane season preview, and is expected to be a stabilizing force for the Miami offense. Walton is set to take the large majority of carries as a workhorse out of the backfield, but beyond Travis Homer, the depth at running back has admittedly scared Miami coaches. With freshman Robert Burns and redshirt junior Trayone Gray both coming off of injuries, Mark Richt went as far as tweeting about their need for a graduate transfer.
Still looking for a graduate transfer RB! U Family!— Mark Richt (@MarkRicht) May 12, 2017
It’s an issue Miami coaches haven’t even attempted to keep behind closed doors, and heading into the season, it is a major concern in the back of every fan’s mind.
4. Competition on the Offensive Line
After a season filled with inconsistent play on the offensive line, ‘Canes fans are excited about an infusion of talent in the trenches. After experiencing limited depth last season with an inability to house a large rotation, offensive line coach Stacy Searels reeled in three 4 star and two 3 star lineman up front. Add transfer George Brown Jr. to the mix, and Miami has a total of six new offensive linemen in 2017. The strength in numbers approach brings forth competition Miami hasn’t had at greentree practice fields in years, and drives an expectation towards increased production next season. While the newcomers are bringing inexperience to the position, their ability to push the starters will be a pivotal storyline throughout fall camp.
3. Can transfers Dee Delaney and Jhavonte Dean stabilize an inexperienced cornerback group?
With little experience behind Corn Elder, the cornerback position was one of Miami’s largest question marks entering 2016. Once Adrian Colbert and Malek Young hit the field, however, all questions were answered, with Mike Rumph’s first season as cornerbacks coach going down as a success. But while the cornerback play last season bodes well for Miami’s future, the ‘Canes are surrounded by much of the same questions entering 2017. Although Malek Young returns, Miami loses seniors Corn Elder and Adrian Colbert, thrusting JUCO transfer Jhavonte Dean and graduate transfer Dee Delaney into significant roles. After Christopher Henderson and Brian Edwards spurned Miami for Florida on signing day this past February, even more pressure was placed on the top of Miami’s depth chart. With a front seven that returns every starter, the Hurricanes defensive potential may lie in the hands of Miami’s health and production in the secondary.
2. Can the Front Seven Carry Miami Through Growing Pains?
Miami’s front seven will be what the entire defense is predicated upon in 2017. If the Hurricanes’ pass rushers take the next step and consistently wreak havoc, then the secondary’s production will rise as well. If they don’t bring consistent pressure, however, the strain on the defensive backfield will be challenging for the ‘Canes inexperienced secondary. On the offensive side of the ball Miami will also be playing an inexperienced starter at quarterback, placing even more pressure on the defense to carry games. Later in the season, Miami’s inexperience will turn into experience, but with Florida State looming in week 3, the front seven will play a large part in preventing Miami from digging themselves into an early season hole.
1. Who will take the field as Miami’s starting quarterback this fall?
It is the obvious storyline that has stolen headlines from the moment Brad Kaaya announced his intentions to leave for the NFL, and will continue to surround the program until the fall. The competitors are well documented at this point in the offseason, with Malik Rosier and Evan Sheriffs battling it out in the Spring and N’Kosi Perry competing this summer. Perry is currently experiencing his first week on campus as a ‘Cane, and has as good a chance as any other quarterback to win the job. As is the case with any football team, the fan’s eyes will be on the quarterback position in 2017, and the competition will continue to grasp attention heading into the fall. While the team’s success may not entirely rely on how well Miami’s quarterback performs, the right starter can be the difference between conference title contention and a second or third tier bowl game.
Where will Miami be ranked at the end of 2017?
This poll is closed