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I’m Sold Again On The Hurricanes Optimism

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They’ve pulled me back in, I have high hopes for the Canes in 2020

Miami v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

If you’ve been reading my articles on here for the past couple years, or have followed me on social media, you know that I’m one of the rare Hurricanes fans that is honest when it comes to Miami. I say what I truly feel, and sometimes that may come off as being negative, though I see it as being realistic.

However, every now and again, a feeling of optimism takes over, and I'm once again filled with hope about our beloved Hurricanes. Over the past few months, I've made several predictions about the upcoming 2020 season for the Canes. Coming off an embarrassing disaster of a season in 2019, I swore to myself I wouldn’t predict a positive year in 2020. At first, I was saying 7-5. Then, once we got D’Eriq King, I went up to 8-4 and sometimes I say 9-3. Today, I'm pleased to announce that I'm sticking with a 9-3 prediction for Miami.

Now, a lot of people will be saying how they’re predicting 10 or 11 wins, but I'm not there. I know what this program has been in the last 15 years, and I know that 9 wins in 2020 will do wonders for UM. Adding on to that, if the Hurricanes can pull off a 9-3 regular season, and then add a 10th victory in their bowl game, this program will be on the right track once again, and I think it’s going to happen.

I know we can talk all about how this program only has struggled immensely over the last 15 years, but you really have to understand how different this Miami team is from past squads. This isn’t the 2019 Hurricanes, Dan Enos isn’t calling plays, and we don’t have another debate over the starting quarterback.

First and foremost, the Hurricanes have Rhett Lashlee, the new offensive coordinator who I think will go down as one of the most important hires in the last 20 years for Miami. His style of offense is one that we’ve been begging for, and it’s proven when it comes to moving the football and putting points on the board.

I know his offensive stats from SMU last year have been repeated over and over again, but 41.8 PPG 489.8 YPG in 2019, and also averaging 79.8 plays ran per game just needs to be mentioned whenever necessary. Now I know that Miami’s offensive line is a big question mark, but Lashlee’s system will improve that with a mobile quarterback like King and getting the ball out of his hands quicker.

Speaking of our QB, where do I even begin when it comes to D’Eriq King? When Lincoln Riley says that there aren’t five quarterbacks in the country better than D’Eriq King, that has me reason to be excited. We haven’t had a quarterback like this in general since Brad Kaaya, and we haven’t had a dual-threat quarterback like King in the history of Miami football. When you throw for 36 touchdowns and rush for 14 more in one season, you know you have a game changer at quarterback.

With a quarterback like King now behind center, it’ll just open up more opportunities for the other playmakers on offense for Miami. Running back Cam’Ron Harris now will have his QB take some of the load off of him, which will set him free. Wide receiver Dee Wiggins now has someone who can throw him deep passes. Tight end Brevin Jordan will now be properly utilized, and will be fed the football every week, proving why he’s arguably the best TE in the country.

These South Florida speedsters and athletic players on offense have been waiting for UM to have a system like this, and it’s here. Rhett Lashlee understands that Mark Pope has the potential to be great and needs the ball throughout the game. Lashlee knows how to use Will Mallory’s athleticism and Mike Harley’s speed.

Then on the defensive side of the ball, Miami already has perhaps the best d-line in all of college football. Just at DE, the Hurricanes have Gregory Rousseau and Quincy Roche, who combined for 28.5 sacks, 38.5 TFLs, and 103 total tackles in 2019. Throw in a now eligible Jaelan Phillps, and the Canes pass-rush will be near the tops in the nation.

Miami’s defensive ends are enough to convince you that this is a potentially great defense, but the Hurricanes have several others on that side of the ball that will help carry UM. When you look at defensive tackle, many Canes fans, myself included, believe that 2020 is the year that Nesta Jade Silvera starts to become the player we all thought he would be when he came out of high school.

At safety, Bubba Bolden will be healthy for the start of the season, and he’s a player who I've said since he came to Miami last year, that he has Sunday talent. Even in the few games he played for Miami in 2019, Bolden’s impact was immediate and clear. Now, pair him with a more experienced Gurvan Hall, and the Hurricanes may have their next great duo at safety.

You also have an experienced fifth-year senior at linebacker with Zach McCloud, who I think emerges as a true star on the Canes defense and a leader for the whole time. At cornerback, another player I have breaking out is Al Blades Jr., having a full year of starting under his belt, he’ll anchor down the Miami secondary.

To add on to all that, Miami has a kicker this season as well, after landing transfer Jose Borregales, who brings a reputation of accurate field goals with him, something that the Hurricanes were clearly without in 2019.

Then, when discussing projections, we obviously have to talk about and factor in Miami’s schedule in 2020. If you haven’t noticed by now, the Hurricanes schedule this year is pretty soft to say the least, and when you consider all the talent that Miami has, paired with a dangerous offensive system, there’s no reason, AT ALL, Manny Diaz can’t win at least 9 games.

For now, I see Miami’s three losses coming at Michigan State, at home against UNC and then in Blacksburg against Va Tech. I think the game with the Tar Heels is a toss-up, and I'm much more concerned about playing the Hokies in November. Outside of those three games however, the Hurricanes have more talent and should come out on top against the other nine teams on the schedule.

More than anything, I really just trust the direction that Miami is going in right now, and I'm optimistic about the long-term future, which is something I’ve never really been confident in saying as a Canes fans. I love the addition of Lashlee, as well as assistant coaches like Garin Justice and Rob Likens. They just seem to bring a different vibe and energy that has been missing from Miami for a long time, and I'm ready to see that translate into wins in 2020.

I know that Miami fans say this every off-season, but I'm not predicting a national championship, I’m not even saying that the Canes will win the ACC Coastal. What I am saying, is that a 9-3 season is what I'm feeling for Miami in 2020, it feels good and sounds right, now go make it happen.