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 State Seminoles. 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.
Here’s the rest of our Roundtable discussion:
QUESTION 6: What have you seen from Miami that makes you think the Canes will win against FSU?
Cam Underwood: I’ve seen the defense continue to be the high level unit we’ve known it to be since Manny Diaz came to Miami 5 years ago. I’ve seen the offensive line take a BIG step forward. I’ve seen multiple running backs flash elite talent. I’ve seen the passing game come alive. I’ve seen the OC take information from early in the game, make adjustments, and put points on the board. I’ve seen big hits, takeaways, long touchdowns, and longer filed goals. I’ve seen a lot. And I LIKE IT.
Marshall Thomas: An explosive offense, first and foremost. The fact that Rhett Lashlee has this offense clicking with D’Eriq King, tells me everything I need to know that Miami can comfortably beat FSU.
Justin Dottavio: As John Madden once said, something about turkey legs and scoring more than the other team. Lashlee and King have this offense cooking. Add in talent like Harris, Knighton, Jordan and the O keeps rolling.
John Michaels: Everything. Miami has a very good offense for the 1st time in 18 years. The defense, though giving uo yards, made the stops needed to win vs Louisville. Miami should feast on a mediocre FSU offensive line, and D’Eriq King should put up points in bunches against the Seminoles defense.
Craig T. Smith: What haven’t I seen? Our QB1 vs. their QB1. Fresh, all-conference-level RBs subbed into the game for Miami. Miami’s deep and talented DL vs. FSU’s OL. Bubba Bolden vs. anyone. Miami OC Rhett Lashlee vs. FSU DC Adam Fuller. Our special teams (still feels amazing to say). And so on, and so on...
Roman Marciante: An offense that proved it could run against a good rush defense week one and then followed that up with an air parade going over 300 yards passing with three touchdowns. Defensively I think the greater challenge was the Louisville offense. They were a scrappy team that posed its own set of problems with way more speed from the skill positions. Numbers prove it too. Louisville is first in the ACC offensively in terms of total yards. FSU is 12/13.
Carl Bleich: You can make a strong argument that Miami has proven itself to be far better than Florida State on offense and special teams thus far in this young season. Miami could easily have three touchdowns by halftime in this game. The Hurricanes should roll to victory behind a stout offensive performance and elite special teams play.
Candis McLean: I think the team will win because of the stability at QB and the play calling I’ve seen on offense. I’ve also seen our ability to overcome mistakes, a trait that was not a part of our makeup in recent years. We’ve had good plays called back because of penalties and still scored on those drives. The team seems to be buying in and the talent is in position to do damage.
Jake Marcus: The Canes have been impressing on all fronts - but the common retort is that “it’s been against UAB and Louisville.” Unfortunately, I think FSU is in the same echelon as UAB and Louisville and they will come out firing similarly in primetime action at Hard Rock (especially because there’s some familiarity with the night light from last week).
John Reynolds: The offensive improvement over the first two weeks of the season has been amazing for Miami. The Hurricanes went from one of the worst offenses in the Power 5 last season to being an offense that is exciting and plays to Miami’s strengths. Feeling like we can consistently score points is a good reason to feel confident heading into Saturday.
QUESTION 7: What have you seen from Miami that makes you think the Canes will lose against FSU?
Underwood: I’ve seen some negative run plays. I’ve seen receivers drop passes they should have caught. I’ve seen Miami rotate a bit too much on defense during key situations. So some, but not a lot. Well, and I’ve also seen the recent tanking by Miami — last year, the year before — so that’s something that I can’t fully ignore, either.
Thomas: There’s little things, like receivers dropping passes or missed tackles, but the only thing that really concerns me about this game is that it’s a rivalry, and anything can happen.
Dottavio: Everything that has happened from 2004-2019, minus 2017 and that Jacory season that wasn’t that crappy at first but then fell apart.
Smith: Not this season (so far), but the 2019 trip-over-the-starting-line-and-fall-on-their-face happenings are still fresh in my mind. They all happened on Diaz’s watch. He HAS to have his team ready to play from the opening whistle. That’s the only way you give FSU a chance; a slow start. Stumble your way to a 0-0 end of the first quarter score, and it’s game on.
Michaels: It is Miami/FSU. It is one of the most hotly contested rivalry games that normally comes down to the end. Miami barely escaped in 2018 when they were supposed to have a easy win, so Miami has to play like their hair is on fire and bury FSU early.
Marciante: I am not even buying this rivalry nonsense this year. Miami fixed what it needed to fix for the past decade. It FINALLY got a modern offense and joined the rest of the college football arm’s race. (shameless plug) The only thing that could potentially lead to an FSU victory is Miami turnovers and the Cane’s coaches collectively taking too much valium before the game and falling asleep at the wheel.
Bleich: Miami has not been great defensively this season. That said, Florida State was putrid on offense against Georgia Tech so this might not matter. But if FSU used the bye week to figure some things out on offense, I can see a scenario where Miami’s defense, specifically the back seven, lets it down and Florida State scores enough points to win. I don’t think that is very probable however.
McLean: I want to say, that I’m aware of the uncalled holding in the Louisville game. So I know that’s a huge factor in what I’m about to say. The rush defense has me raising my eyebrows a little. Javian Hawkins ran for 164 yards against us. I don’t think FSU will have to patience, with us scoring, to stick to the run game and test us.
Marcus: I haven’t seen anything this season that would lead me to believe Miami will lose against FSU. If they don’t improve on areas that were brought into question during the first two weeks, then that may not bode well for future games. But, even if the areas they struggled in the first two weeks don’t pick it up (i.e. dropped passes, poor secondary) I don’t envision they will lose. It would take implosion of other problems that have haunted Miami in past years (i.e. playing flat when favored, reversion of the OL’s flaws) to squander this rivalry game.
Reynolds: Miami’s defense struggled more last week than they have in almost any other game since Manny Diaz arrived as defensive coordinator in 2016. That concerns me heading into this game. FSU really struggled on offense in their first game of the season, but they still have some weapons and Mike Norvell’s scheme can be hard to play against. Good, disciplined, and improved defensive football will be really important on Saturday.
QUESTION 8: Who needs to step up for Miami to win?
Underwood: I say it every year, but everyone. This game is different, and we need to act like it. Every player. Every coach. Every off-field support staffer. Every student trainer. Everyone. Every single person associated with this program needs to step up. Because this is Florida State week and that’s what it takes to win. Period.
Thomas: D’Eriq King is my first answer. Your quarterback has to be playing well in a rivalry game, to give you any shot to win. Other than that, EVERYONE. This is Florida State, there’s no time to have an off game or an off day, there’s no excuses.
Dottavio: Anyone who catches the ball not named Brevin Jordan on O. Patke’s return scheme. And the linebackers.
Smith: The defensive line will do their part. Miami’s DBs HAVE to prevent the long bomb that can flip the game in one play. They are key for UM on defense. Offensively, aside from the obvious King, I think being able to establish the run against Marvin Wilson and a talented FSU defensive front will be paramount, so it’s back on you DJ Scaife and Jarrid Wilson to keep serving as a pair of bulldozers over on the right side of the line.
Michaels: The secondary. For as much as FSU will struggle on offense Tamorrion Terry is a difference maker at WR when he is given the ball. Miami must account for him, and tackle well when he has the ball in his hands.
Marciante: In order to have a dominating performance the defensive line needs to regain its form from last year. Linebackers need to hit their gaps a little better this week and the secondary needs to be less spinning top and a little bit more ball hawk. So basically I am saying its the defenses turn to step up this week.
Bleich: The wide receivers. Miami needs fewer drops and more yards after the catch from Mike Harley, Mark Pope, Dee Wiggins and whoever else is rotating in against Florida State. This has arguably been the weakest position group on the team through two games and it is time for this group to step it up.
McLean: The secondary needs step up. I’m aware that the young receivers have made mental errors so far but good QB play always elevates that. The corners, outside of Al Blades Jr., needs to play better. As much as we question FSU as a team right now, they still have great weapons on offense.
Marcus: The WRs and Secondary. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this roundtable, I expect one or two WRs to breakout after a rough week filled with drops. If King can display trust in all of his weapons and develop a rhythm across the spread formation, then it will be a huge steppingstone in preparation for Clemson and the remainder of the season. As to the secondary, there have been glimpses of positivity but nothing close to where they need to be, especially after all of the chunk plays allowed in the first two weeks. A huge part of the gameplan should be negating FSU’s lead receiver, Tamorrion Terry.
Reynolds: The secondary needs to have a good game on Saturday. Al Blades has played really well so far this season, but outside of him things have been up and down for Miami’s defensive backs. On offense the wide receivers have to limit drops and the offensive line needs to show that they really have improved this season.
QUESTION 9: What about Florida State concerns you heading into this game?
Underwood: Other than the fact that they’re Florida State, not much. They have some star power — Tamorrion Terry, Marvin Wilson, Joshua Kaindoh, Hamsah Nasrildeen — and that’s something to watch. But from the opener and the general state of their program from recruiting to multiple transfer portal defections already THIS YEAR, there’s not much about FSU that concerns me, to be perfectly honest.
Thomas: Is it too cocky of me to say nothing about FSU concerns me? They have playmakers like Tamorrion Terry, but our d-line will put pressure on James Blackman, I don't have any real concerns.
Dottavio: They have nothing to lose. Head coach is out. 0-1 and lost to GT. They might pull out all the stops. Dillingham likes trick plays.
Smith: This will be one of those “Super Bowl” type games for them. They have absolutely nothing to lose, and they have been disregarded as an afterthought for two weeks. If that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will.
Michaels: It is still Miami vs FSU. Miami dominated last year, but you would have to go all the way back to 2001 for the last time Miami really whooped up on the Noles. Miami better not take FSU lightly or they will find themselves in serious trouble. FSU still has talented player like Terry and Marvin Wilson who could absolutely start fot eh Canes.
Marciante: Does Renegade come on road trips? Will he fall over again? Who takes on that liability if he does that at Hard Rock stadium? Can we please have a legal team on standby in case this happens? I want to avoid any unnecessary litigation if we can help it. (And keep the FSU band home under applied social distance laws please and thank you)
Bleich: “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.” James Baldwin’s famous quote is prophetic here. Florida State has absolutely nothing to lose. The Seminoles will be emptying out the playbook coming off a bye week and throwing everything they have at Miami. FSU will do a ton of things Miami has not seen on film and the Hurricanes may need to make in-game adjustments, an area which has not been great in the Diaz era.
McLean: I think it’s a mental thing for me. Our team is confident and 2-0. They’re playing a team that’s 0-1 and looked bad in their opening game. I don’t know id the success gets to them. There’s a huge spotlight on them for the second week in a row, with a primetime matchup. We’ll see who shines and who sinks under it.
Marcus: Strictly the intangible factors: 0-1 start, rivalry game, trying not to get embarrassed on prime time during College Gameday, lack of a coach, etc. FSU has singular players that are phenomenal, but are in such disarray and lack any cohesion to really scare me at all. For example, I could envision a gameplan where the front defensive line led by DT Marvin Wilson is able to force King to make turnovers by throwing towards Asante Samuel Jr. Or, I could see WR Tamorrion Terry breaking loose on a big play or two. But, beyond individual units succeeding, I cannot see the Noles keeping it together, mistake-free, for four quarters.
Reynolds: Everyone has mentioned the intangible factors and mental factors playing into this game, and I have repeatedly in both parts of this roundtable. Mental mistakes caused by bad preparation due to overconfidence have harmed Miami for several years and caused them to lose games they shouldn’t. FSU will be motivated for a rivalry game that everyone is counting them out in, they’ll pull out all the stops to win, they have nothing to lose. Miami has to be prepared for this game, they can’t make the same mistakes as they’ve made in the last several years. Along with that, FSU’s defensive front concerns me, I think the offensive line will have to play well for Miami and give D’Eriq King time to throw.
QUESTION 10: Which Florida State player(s) are you concerned about heading into Saturday’s game?
Underwood: I just listed the names, but WR Tamorrion Terry, DT Marvin Wilson, DE Joshua Kaindoh, and S Hamsah Nasrildeen. Those are the quartet of top level players on the roster, and those are the players who could turn the tie in the Noles’ favor.
Thomas: Tamorrion Terry at wide receiver. He’s an incredible talent, and our cornerbacks have been shaky to start the season.
Dottavio: Asante Samuel Jr., Marvin Wilson, some surprise player on O that Miami forgets to cover.
Smith: Tamorrion Terry, Asante Samuel, Jr., and Marvin Wilson. Terry is concerning down the field, obviously, as Miami has let some big plays slip by to both UAB and Louisville this year.
Michaels: Asante Samuel Jr, Marvin Wilson and Tamorrion Terry. These are highly decorated players that want nothing more than to knock off Miami and get FSU back on the right track.
Marciante: The kid who went to St. Thomas. Obviously Asante is coming back home and anytime you have a kid who carries a chip on their shoulder they play with an edge. He had a couple picks in week one, he is a bright spot on that team.
Bleich: Marvin Wilson. Maybe it’s just PTSD at this point, but I am still not sold we are going to continue to see “solid” play from Miami’s offensive line. Wilson is an high NFL Draft pick next season who will get push up the middle for the Seminoles. Miami’s offensive line had to deal with talented outside rushers from UAB but has not faced a player of Wilson’s caliber on the inside. Jakai Clark, Corey Gaynor and DJ Scaife Jr. will need to work hard to block Wilson wherever he lines up on the inside.
McLean: Tamorrion Terry, is concerning for me. In the two games we’ve play, the playmaker for both teams had quality games (Chatarius Atwell for Louisville and Myron Mitchell for UAB). We’ll have to prove we an subdue a dynamic mismatch in this game.
Marcus: WR Tamorrion Terry and CB Asante Samuel, Jr. were two of the brightest spots in week one as Terry caught 6 passes for 52 yards and Samuel had a nation-leading two picks - which he returned for 74 yards - as well as 2 pass deflections. DTs Marvin Wilson and Robert Cooper could also disrupt the rhythm of King and the spectacular Canes’ backfield.
Reynolds: Tamorrion Terry is a tremendous player at WR who can legitimately score every time he gets the ball. He’ll be a huge part of FSU’s offensive plan this week and Miami has to limit his production. Asante Samuel, Jr. is a great defensive back who could give the Hurricanes some trouble on offense, especially if he can help keep Miami’s wide receivers covered long enough for the pass rush to get home.
2 parts of our roundtable down. Hop in the comments and give us your takes on the questions and scenarios. And don’t you worry: it’s prediction time tomorrow.