Yesterday, we had the first installment of our 3 part roundtable discussion leading up to Saturday’s rivalry game between the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators. You can see that discussion here:
We pick up where we left off yesterday with the last 5 questions of our discussion. Don’t see predictions? Don’t worry. Those will be up tomorrow morning.
Here’s the rest of our Roundtable discussion:
Question 6: What about Florida concerns you heading into this game?
Cam Underwood: Florida’s defensive line is big and talented. Their CBs are pretty good, too. And they have talent and speed on offense. So there are things to make you believe they’ll win.
Marshall Thomas: A few things. For one, our offensive line play. They’re inexperienced, and that can definitely be the difference. Also Jarren not having enough confidence early in the game.
Matt Washington: Florida’s depth at wide receiver. With the exception of Trajan Bandy, the Hurricanes will be breaking in a new secondary. Contrasted against the Gators veteran receivers, it’ll be a trial by fire for UM’s young defensive backs.
Gaby Urrutia: You mentioned the continuity and familiarity of being in the third year of a program when Miami is heading into their first. There is no doubt about the fact that those guys know the playbooks inside and out, while Miami’s offense was just taught a complex offensive playbook and are more prone to mistakes.
Justin Dottavio: It’s a rookie coach, rookie QB, and new OC and DC. That’s a lot to walk into a neutral site / Florida leaning site game a week early on primetime. Everyone will be watching, can Diaz and Williams handle the pressure?
John Camera: Their continuity, their talent level being on-par with Miami’s and those wide receivers. The Canes’ DBs are gonna have their hands full with that ridiculously loaded group of wide outs.
John Michaels: Florida has really good WRs, a good group of RBs and a solid secondary. They also have an experience advantage at QB, but 1st games are always tough.
KappaCane: Florida has a lot of players from South Florida, and those kids are usually dogs that take over games. The Gators have tall receivers (all 9 on roster are 6ft and taller) and our DB’s are young and/or undersized in comparison, so look at this as an ongoing issue if the front seven isn’t able to pressure the QB.
Todd Forrest: Florida’s defense against a redshirt-freshman quarterback worries me. Florida also has a larger margin for error. If it comes down to a game-winning drive or a late-game rally, Florida’s experience at QB will be a huge advantage. On the flip side, it will not bode well for Miami if they’re playing from behind all night. With an inexperienced QB, things can, and will, turn south in a hurry. Just ask Bernie Kosar.
Carl Bleich: Florida’s pass rush is most concerning to me on Saturday. Additionally, I am concerned that Florida will control the clock on offense with its power running game and consistently be in 3rd and short situations against a tired defense.
John Reynolds: Florida’s defense, especially their secondary, concerns me greatly. Jarren Williams is making his first ever start, and while one can argue the Gators’ secondary is thin, their starters are some of the most talented in the country. On the other side of the ball, UF’s WRs will provide a test for a relatively inexperienced set of Hurricanes DBs, which is a cause for concern.
Dylan Goldman: Continuity. Florida has a third-year QB, retained it’s coaching staff, and overall is returning a lot of what made them really good last season. As I’ve already stated, this game is really early on in the season, and UF has a lot of what made it a 10-win team last season. While the Canes have a lot of questions to answer, the Gators really don’t have many questions to solve.
Candis McLean: My concerns going up against Florida would be my concerns going up against any team. The insertion of a new quarterback, how the players execute the new offense, and the play of the offensive line and a young secondary.
Kevin Fielder: The Gators defense concerns more than anything. It returns seven starters, including the aforementioned cornerback tandem of Wilson and Edwards. Zuniga is in for a strong year and the Gators scheme is good, real good. On offense, the Gators will be able to hit the ground running with returning weapons all over the field, such as Jefferson and Perine.
Dylan Sherry: Their offense. The Gators closed out of the 2018 season with a whopping of Michigan -- the only defense that rated better than Miami’s that season. Florida absolutely shredded the Wolverines, and that’s what scares me. If Florida’s offense comes out firing and efficient, I think it’ll be a long, sad day for Hurricane fans.
QUESTION 7: Which Florida player(s) are you concerned about heading into Saturday’s game?
Underwood: Kadarius Toney, Jabari Zuniga, and CJ Henderson. Toney has speed and shake on offense and while he’s not a polished receiver, letting him get the ball in space could present problems for the Canes defense. And Zuniga and Henderson are the best defenders on UF’s roster so they have my attention as well.
Thomas: The main Gator that scares me is Kadarius Toney, the very talented Florida receiver. Toney has incredible football speed, and the UF offense knows how to get him involved in the most dangerous ways possible on the field.
Washington: You have to know where WR Kadarius Toney is on every snap. Defensively, it starts with CB CJ Henderson. DL Jonathan Greenard is a former Louisville transfer that is expected to fill the role of BUCK vacated by Jachai Polite.
Urrutia: Everybody is going to say C.J. Henderson so I am going another route. Kadarius Toney is a Swiss Army knife for the Florida offense and has the ability to score any time the ball is in his hands. Knowing where he is on the field and containing him will be essential to winning.
Dottavio: I’m less concerned with Florida’s players and more concerned with what’s going on on Miami’s own sideline. If you take care of your business the other team shouldn’t matter (when you have the same level of talent).
Michaels: Jabari Zuniga is someone Miami better pay attention to, or he will wreck the offensive game plan. He had 45 tackles and 11 sacks last year, so Miami better chip, double or do whatever is necessary to keep him out of the backfield.
Camera: The receivers certainly, so I’ll go with the Gators no. 1 option; Van Jefferson. Stopping him will be a huge part of limiting the Gator’s offense.
Kappa: I’m not concerned about any Gator players, but on offense I expect running back Lamical Perine to get some yardage, (I can see him topping 100yds on 20+ carries) but nothing explosive. On defense, cornerback Chris (CJ) Henderson can be tough in coverage, and with a freshman quarterback playing in his first start that will be a player to be aware of.
Forrest: Lamical Perine. Very rarely is he tackled for a loss and he is capable of a big play, averaging approximately one 10-plus yard carry every six attempts. Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor led the nation in carries of 10-plus and he averaged a 10-yard run every five tries. If Miami is unable to hold Perine in check, they’re in trouble. The fact that he’s tough to bring down in the backfield also worries me since Miami thrives on TFL. In games where they failed to record 10-plus TFL, the Canes were 0-5 in 2018. In games they recorded 11-plus TFL, they were 7-0 (they had 10 TFL vs Wisconsin — the only loss with double-digit TFL).
Bleich: I think if I had to pick one player to be concerned about the most it would be CJ Henderson. It makes me feel better knowing he has to guard Jeff Thomas because I don’t think anybody in the country can guard Jeff Thomas one-on-one, but Henderson is by far their best player on defense.
Reynolds: Since I already mentioned them earlier, the Gators’ receivers give me cause for concern, especially Van Jefferson and Tyrie Cleveland. Each of them are dynamic playmakers who will be difficult to cover all night long. Miami’s front seven will have to help out the secondary and force errant throws from Feleipe Franks to help contain the Gators’ passing threat.
Goldman: Jabari Zuniga, Trevon Grimes, and Van Jefferson. Zuniga because he is a very good defensive end going against what is a shaky Miami offensive line. Grimes and Jefferson also worry me because they outside of Trajan Bandy, the Miami secondary is very young and inexperienced.
McLean: I’ll go Van Jefferson here since he led the team in receptions, yards, and TD catches last year. Defensively, it will be interesting to see our offensive line matchup against Grantham’s Buck LB. Right now that appears to be the Louisville transfer, who’s played under Grantham previously, Johnathan Greenard.
Fielder: To name a few guys who concern me: CJ Henderson, Marco Wilson, Kadarious Toney and Trevon Grimes. I’ve talked about the first two a lot, and for good reason. Toney is a do-it-all player, who Mullen and co. can put into a lot of different positions on the field. Grimes is a match-up NIGHTMARE at 6-foot-5, and will cause some issues with the inexperience Miami has at cornerback.
Sherry: Feleipe Franks of course. He and Lamical Perine seem like the biggest threats to our defense. They’ll be hard to keep in check, and I expect them to put heavy pressure on the defense.
QUESTION 8: Give me the reasons why Florida will beat Miami?
Underwood: Franks steps up and plays the best game of his career, the Gators’s defense confuses Jarren Williams and forces him into multiple turnovers, and Miami runs out of time for a comeback late in the 4th quarter.
Thomas: Miami has a new quarterback, new coaching staff, and the first game is always hard with all the factoring in. Plus, the Gators are in fact a top 10 team, so they’re obviously talented enough.
Washington: The Gators beat Miami if they overcome the questions surrounding their offensive line. Employing a balanced offense with enough success in the run to set up misdirections. A swarming Gators’ defense overwhelms a young Hurricanes’ offense that is still trying to get a firm grasp of Dan Enos’ system.
Urrutia: Florida will beat Miami because they have a strong defense that is going up against a brand new offense. Turnovers tell the story of opening games, as Manny Diaz mentioned, and any mistakes by Jarren Williams could flip the script of the game.
Dottavio: I think Florida can beat Miami because the Gators return their same head coach and QB. It’s worth a lot more than people will think. This isn’t Madden, it’s the real world.
Michaels: They won’t, but since you are making me answer that question, the only way they win is dominate on both lines of scrimmage, Florida wins the turnover battle and they limit Miami from doing much on offense. In that scenario I can see Florida walking out of Orlando with a victory.
Camera: Florida could be considered a better coached team because of the continuity among the players and coaches. While they lost a few very good defensive players and their best offensive lineman, they still have tons of talent around the roster. For two teams with similar levels of raw ability, having more continuity might be the tie breaker.
Kappa: Miami is young in the secondary, so I expect that the young guys will make some mistakes while trying to make impact plays (biting on a route, targeting, etc), so I have concern there that it may lead to scores. Similarly, Miami can’t afford an injury at the Linebacker position as we are extremely thin at the position.
Forrest: The Gators have way more experience at the most important position on the field. It’s asking too much of a QB making his first-ever start to knock off a top-10 rival away from home. Miami’s O-line has been a weak spot for the past several years which will only add to the difficulties Williams will face. If I were a Florida fan, I would feel very confident. However, being a rivalry game and the season opener (one week early, at that) I would be weary of becoming too overconfident. If both offenses fall flat, the advantage shifts to Miami. And anyone that watched those Miami-FSU openers from 2004-2006 know that offenses can easily be a step or two behind the defenses at this point in the season.
Bleich: Florida will beat Miami because the Hurricanes are young at quarterback, young at tackle and thin at linebacker and in the secondary. Dan Mullen will know this and can game plan ways to attack Miami’s weaknesses with athletes that are just as good as the Hurricanes have. Most teams on Miami’s schedule will not be able to do that this season.
Reynolds: Florida could beat Miami by overwhelming two young offensive tackles in the passing game and forcing a young quarterback in Jarren Williams into mistakes and errors caused due to inexperience. Offensively, if the Gators can take advantage of an inexperienced Miami secondary they could walk off the field victors on the 24th.
Goldman: Because Miami hasn’t played a meaningful game with Dan Enos’ offense. Jarren Williams hasn’t started a single college game. Florida has more continuity and has the edge at the moment.
McLean: If Florida beats Miami, it will be because of turnovers and forced mental mistakes. Another scenario I could see happening is the lack of composure from the quarterback spot. In a world where Jabari Zuniga and other players control the line of scrimmage, our offense being one-dimensional will not lead to a victory.
Fielder: Florida has all the tools to attack Miami’s inexperience and weaknesses. A strong pass rush can attack an offensive line that features Nelson and Campbell (who have four games of experience between them), a strong group of skill positions can attack the issues of depth the Hurricanes have at cornerback, and Feleipe Franks is capable for dominating any team on his day.
Sherry: a.) Fluidity b.) Continuity c.) Experience
Fluidity and continuity due to the disadvantage that the Hurricanes have. Experience due to the fact that Miami is breaking-in a brand new quarterback, as well as a new system. Running a new scheme is stressful for any team, but having to do it against a top-10 opponent is a whole different task.
QUESTION 9: Who needs to step up for Miami to win?
Underwood: Jarren Williams is the obvious answer, and he’ll need to have a strong game. Apart from him, I’m saying Jonathan Ford. A bit of a surprise, I know, but Miami will need to be especially strong at the point of attack to curtail Florida’s run game. That means Miami’s best DT is gonna have to play the best game of his young career.
Thomas: Jarren Williams, simple as that. Miami’s defense, I believe, will play well enough for the Hurricanes to win the game. If Jarren can play the way we need him to, and command that offense, Miami can pull it off.
Washington: Aside from Jarren Williams, you have to start with the offensive line. If this offense is meant to reach its full potential, they’ll need that group to buy some time. The receivers need to help out by not putting catchable throws on the grass. Miami’s secondary will need to grow up fast if this defense wants to be known as one of the most dominating units in the nation.
Urrutia: Jarren Williams needs to play big in order for Miami to win. I believe a clean, above average outing from the quarterback will allow Miami to win the game.
Dottavio: Manny Diaz, the specialists, Jarren Williams, the O-Line and hands of the WR’s. That’s a lot, but it’s the areas of concern in 2018, right? Mark Richt’s poor game planning and game day play calling, QB play, special teams play, the O-Line, and the WR’s with drops.
Michaels: It has to be Jarren Willams. I know he’s a RS Freshman making his 1st start, but this is what being a Miami QB is all about. He has to step up in a huge game and show his teammates that he can be the guy to lead them to a special season.
Camera: On offense, the offensive line as a whole. If Miami can’t run the ball and Jarren is under pressure all game, Miami will be crushed by a great Florida defense. On defense, Al Blades and D.J. Ivey will have their hands full defending the Gator’s bevy of talented, mature receivers.
Kappa: The entire Offensive Line needs to step up for Miami to have a legitimate chance at winning the game. Conversely, our Special Teams units (especially punt team) need to be consistent.
Forrest: The offensive line and defensive line. Protect the quarterback and get after the quarterback. Run the ball, stop the run. Someone will also need to make a big play early, whether its Dallas, Thomas, Brevin Jordan, a trick play, a kick return or a defensive score, finding a cheap touchdown would be monumental for either squad. Another important factor will be Bubba Baxa. If Miami gets a chance to put 3 points on the board, he has to come through. A late 14-6 deficit is very manageable. Whereas a 14-3 score in the fourth and Miami already has one foot in the grave.
Bleich: To be captain obvious here, Jarren Williams needs to step up for Miami to win. He can’t turn the ball over and he needs to make good decisions distributing the ball to Miami’s playmakers. Past Jarren, I think Miami’s new safeties need to step up and show they can cover as well as Sheldrick Redwine and Jaquan Johnson could. Florida knows Miami is breaking in two new starters at safety and will be looking to attack those spots.
Reynolds: On offense, the offensive line has to step-up for Miami to beat their hated in-state rival. There will not be a more important player for Miami on the field on Saturday than freshman starting LT Zion Nelson. On defense, the front seven has to step-up to help out a young secondary, if they can’t get pressure on the quarterback, it’ll be a long night for the ‘Canes.
Goldman: Deejay Dallas is critical. Miami will need to establish the running game to make life easier for Williams. Also, Jon Garvin and either one of DJ Ivey or Al Blades Jr are going to need to have big games. Franks needs to be pressured early in the game, and it’s likely he’ll try to target one of the young CB’s, so they need to prove they belong.
McLean: Undoubtedly, in order to win this week, Jarren Williams will have to step up. Florida has an interesting mix at CB. There will be opportunities for plays all over the filed. He’ll have to make the right reads and lead the team.
Fielder: On offense, Nelson and Campbell need to step up, and keep Williams up right. Jeff Thomas and Brevin Jordan need to be ready to blow the top off the defense when asked to. The Hurricanes also need to get big-time play out of the leaders on defense, as well as some of the secondary pieces who will be asked to contribute more this week (Finley, Couch, Blades Jr. to name a few). Also, Louis Hedley needs to punt well to keep the Gators out of good field position.
Sherry: The offensive line. The performance of the offensive dictates DeeJay Dallas’ running room, Jarren Williams’ time to throw. Both of those things will be vital to Miami’s success on offense -- which it will definitely need.
QUESTION 10: Give me the reasons why the Canes will beat the Gators
Underwood: Miami takes care of the football, utilizes the myriad skill position players on the roster effectively, harass and disrupt Franks and Florida’s offense, and create 2+ turnovers, bringing out Turnover Chain 3.0 and emotionally boosting the team along the way.
Thomas: The Miami front seven, and especially their defensive line. In my non-biased opinion, the Hurricanes have a top-5 DL in the entire nation. I also believe Feleipe Franks is going to struggle and throw 2-3 interceptions.
Washington: Dan Enos’ proves to be the UM’s most impactful addition from the offseason. The offensive line clicks, with Williams showcasing timing and chemistry on offense. The running game is able to rip off big gains against UF’s front-seven. For the Miami’s defense, they’re able to force the Gators to play behind the sticks with long third down conversions. Limiting penalties in game one will also be a point of emphasis.
Urrutia: Miami will beat the Gators because it feels like the Gators aren’t taking Miami seriously. They have players saying nobody on Miami is good and talking that talk and that’s the mentality that gets you blown out. Miami is going to come out with a massive chip on their shoulder and if the Gators come out flat, I could see Miami truly taking over the game.
Dottavio: I think Florida has the locker room / culture issues going on, that’s a major distraction. If Williams shows up he has great skill talent around him in Dallas, Harris, Lingard, Jordan, Mallory, Osborn, Thomas, Harley, etc. Then there’s the defense, Rousseau and Garvin plus the linebackers and Bandy... I’m excited.
Michaels: Miami has a lot of talent and a new found energy which Coach Diaz has brought in. I think many in the national media have already written off Miami for a number of reasons, but that is all based off 2018. Miami lost a lot of close games a year ago because of an archaic offense and QB roulette. QB is now set, the Canes are loaded with playmakers, and Miami’s defensive front 7 is going to make life miserable for Florida’s offense.
Camera: Jarren Williams looks calm, makes fewer mistakes than his UF counterpart and helps Miami score 24-30 points. The defense shuts down the run and tees off on Franks, limiting the Gators to less than 30 points.
Kappa: I firmly believe Miami needs to win 2 phases of the game (offense, defense, or special teams) to leave Orlando with a victory. If Miami can turn the ball over they increase their chances of a victory exponentially.
Forrest: Florida’s offensive line is shaky at best and Miami’s strength is its defensive front-seven. On the other side of the ball, Miami has more weapons at the skill positions and will dink and dunk down the field, letting its speedsters do the work while taking the pressure off Williams. As a result, the Canes will face fewer third and longs and will be less likely to throw one up for grabs. Miami wins the turnover battle, finds a big play touchdown and frustrates Franks into one too many mistakes.
Bleich: Miami will beat Florida because the Hurricanes established the running game with DeeJay Dallas and Cam’ron Harris and got Jarren Williams into a groove getting the ball to Miami’s playmakers. Keeping Florida’s defense off-balance will be important in this game to protect Miami’s young offensive tackles and Williams. On defense, Miami needs to force multiple turnovers and needs to frustrate Feleipe Franks with hurries and knockdowns without taking bad penalties.
Reynolds: The Miami defense is the way the ‘Canes could beat the Gators. If the defense can play as well as we all know they can, and the offense can take advantage of turnovers and good field position, the ‘Canes could shock the college football world on Saturday night.
Goldman: Florida is good but has some cracks that can be exposed. The defense can get pressure on Franks, thanks to UF’s inexperienced OL, and if UM wins the turnover battle, that would give them a good chance at winning.
McLean: Miami has the defensive edge in the game. Which means we’ll always be in a position to win, from a scoreboard standpoint, throughout the game. The playmakers at TE and WR will create some real mismatches during the game. The pass-rush will be dominant.
Fielder: The Hurricanes have one of the most talented rosters in college football, especially on defense. Even without Nesta Silvera, the Hurricanes pass rush has a lot of weapons to attack the Gators offensive line, which is their biggest issue on offense. The Hurricanes also have a warchest of offensive talents, including one of the most electrifying wide receivers in Jeff Thomas and one of the nation’s best tight end rooms with Mallory and Jordan, if these skill position guys are used properly, they can dominate a game.
Sherry: Due to the fact that history is on our side. The ‘Canes always get ‘up’ for games against UF, and I expect nothing less. I expect them to have the same energy that they had against Notre Dame in 2017. That, and a sufficient offense will be enough to beat this team. We’ve seen how fast and swarming Miami’s defense looks when they’re hyped up.
And just like that, the first 2 installments of our Miami-UF roundtable are finished. Hop int he comments and share your thoughts on things.
And get ready for the big one: predictions hit the site tomorrow morning.