College football is supposed to be fun. I know the internet and social media construct have sucked a lot of the fun out of being a fan but we have to enjoy the ride that is the 2019 season. For the Hurricanes fans- we get The New Miami. Manny Diaz is the head football coach, Dan Enos is here to fix the offense, Jarren Williams is the starting quarterback, Michael Pinckney and Shaquille Quarterman are back, and so is college football.
Hopefully the 100 greatest plays in ‘Canes history has gotten you excited for another season of Miami Hurricanes football, and don’t forget to keep your finger on the FanPulse. The Hurricanes and Gators will kickoff the entire college football season, the 150th in history, at Camping World Stadium on August 24th on ESPN.
Let’s score some points, for once
Jarren Williams. Williams will have a lot of exciting weapons around him. Just look at the running back room (Rank the roster RB’s) where there’s the versatile Deejay Dallas, five-star Lorenzo Lingard, plus highly regarded backs in Cam’Ron Harris and Robert Burns. The wide receivers are talented but unproven. If potential meets reality Jeff Thomas, KJ Osborn, Mark Pope, Brian Hightower and Mike Harley have speed to burn- they just have to catch the damn ball (Rank the roster WR’s).
The tight end room is Miami’s most talented position on the field. The ‘Canes have future NFL draft picks in Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory plus much improved legacy player Michael Irvin II (Rank the roster TE’s). The offensive line is the big question mark as Corey Gaynor takes over at center and it looks like Navaughn Donaldson and DJ Scaife have locked down the guard spots. From there it’s about who starts at the tackle positions between freshman Zion Nelson, Kai-Leon Herbert, and John Campbell (Offensive Line preview).
Of course there are the backup quarterbacks. I’m still excited to see if Miami can go full Taysom Hill with Tate Martell, and if N’Kosi Perry can stay focused on being the backup quarterback (Jarren Williams named starter).
Hit some bodeeee
The ‘Canes 2019 defense has a chance to be really nasty. The linebacker trio is back in Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinckney, and Zach McCloud. All three have had plenty of rub for four seasons in Coral Gables (rank the roster LB’s). There’s also striker Romeo Finley playing a hybrid role. The defensive backs are extremely talented in Al Blades Jr, Trajan Bandy, Amari Carter, Gurvan Hall, Bubba Bolden as well as young bucks in DJ Ivey, Christian Williams and Nigel Bethel Jr.
The defensive line lacks interior depth at tackle with Nesta Silvera out, but the talent is still there. Jonathan Garvin should be an All-ACC caliber player in 2019, and he’s joined by Gregory Rousseau, Scott Patchan, and Trevon Hill. Inside there’s John Ford, Pat Bethel, and Jordan Miller who can all make plays but have to live up to their potential (Rank the roster DE’s).
For almost two decades I’ve tried to tell my players that I want them to be the kids who I would let date my daughter... until the whistle blows. Once we’re between those white lines it’s time to not be nice. This defense has guys who ain’t that nice between the lines.
Road trips are fun
College football is more interesting than the NFL because of the campus feel, the band and cheerleaders, the variety of schemes (although that’s slimming down now) and the personalities. Miami has big personalities in Michael Pinckney and punter Louis Hedley. Even if Hedley is half as good as his hype he’ll be a fun part of Miami football this season. Of course there’s Manny Diaz who has proven to be slightly unpredictable, David Feeley is a wild man, and Corey Gaynor has a mean streak we’re excited to see in the fall.
But the ACC itself has an opportunity to be fun in 2019. The conference has been down, but it’s not out. Mack Brown is back in Chapel Hill and Miami travels up north to face the Tar Heels. It’s a beautiful town and campus well worth a road trip. I recommend Mama Dip’s Kitchen (408 W Rosemary St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516).
Durham isn’t a bad road trip, either. There’s Tobacco Road in Durham which over looks the Durham Bulls Park and the city (280 S. Mangum St. Durham, NC 27701) and It’s A Southern Thing (605 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701). And of course in Orlando, FL there is The Hideaway (516 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL 32803) which is a Miami Dolphins bar with great quesadillas and teriyaki merlot wings.
Miami should win the ACC Coastal and return to Charlotte, NC to face Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Maybe the turnout won’t be as strong as in 2017, but it will still be fun to see Miami back in the spotlight and Top 25 of college football.
College football is fun
Then there are the other personalities around college football. The ACC Network kicks off and has already found better coverage than the Pac-12 Network. The ACC Network will open up with Georgia Tech at Clemson for the start of the Geoff Collins era. It’ll be interesting to see how well the ACC Network does in year one. Of course there’s College GameDay, podcasts like Podcast Ain’t Played Nobody and The Solid Verbal, and the Twitter world. I also have some great ideas for the ACC Network programming, of course.
You can learn a lot, too. Think about the Twitter-elite who break down the X’s and O’s of the season as it continues on. Alex Kirshner, Richard Johnson, SOTU (duh), and Chris B Brown. You also have deep dives from Spread Offense, and Match Quarters. The artists formerly known as SB Nation’s college football main page are now called Banner Society (@BannerSociety) and they’re worth a follow, too.
Then you have Mike Leach doing belly flops, Mike Gundy’s mullet, Willie Taggart’s hot seat, Graham Harrell at USC, former ‘Cane Mario Cristobal at Oregon, Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence, Kirby Smart vs. Nick Saban. The 2019 season has the chance to be really fun and special, and hey, at least Urban Meyer is gone, right?