The Miami Hurricanes special teams was one of the only bright spots from last season. Kicker Andres Borregales was named All-ACC Honorable Mention in his sophomore campaign and senior punter Lou Hedley was a First-Team All-ACC selection. Big Lou’s booming punts and personality will be missed. However, there is optimism with his replacement. The return game should continue to be solid and provide the Canes offense with some much-needed wins in the field position battle.
Borregales returns for his junior season with what should be increased expectations. He was good last year, but some timely missed kicks left Miami fans wanting a little more from their placekicker. Let’s hope another offseason has given Borregales a little more leg strength. More importantly, let’s hope his clutch gene has increased. Making four field goals against a bad Virginia team is great and all, but a game-winner against Texas A&M or Florida State is what Canes fans are looking for.
I love that the Canes went back to Australia for their punting needs. Freshman Dylan Joyce follows Lou Hedley from halfway across the world to his new home in Coral Gables. Joyce is going to wear #94 for the 2023 season, Hedley’s number. That takes confidence. I like it. Hopefully #94 will be the number for Aussie-born Canes punters for the next 10-15 years. Joyce didn’t see any game action last season. Miami fans have to have hope and faith Coach Cristobal and his staff found the right guy to replace the best punter the Canes have had in years.
Traveled across the world to ink a punter for this signing class - safe to say we've got an pipeline going strong.— Miami Hurricanes Football (@CanesFootball) December 21, 2022
Welcome to The U, Dylan Joyce!
Gone from last season’s kickoff returns is wide receiver Key’Shawn Smith and his 21 returns for 640 yards and a touchdown. Smith provided some excitement and overall solid field position with his 30.5 yard per return average. Returning wideouts Brashard Smith and Jacolby George will probably take the reins from their former, faster teammate. Personally, I’d like to see Donald Cheney Jr. get back there for some kickoff returns. Assuming he is healthy, his speed and dynamic running ability could pump some life into the return game.
Wide receivers Xavier Restrepo and the aforementioned Jacolby George should play big roles in Miami’s punt return game in 2023. George finished last season with five returns for 71 yards, for a 14.2 yards per return average. Restrepo only had one return for 0 yards last season before he was injured. With Restrepo’s “sure hands” reputation, I have to figure he will get plenty of chances in September.
The Miami Hurricanes kicking game should be a bright spot again for the 2023 season. As for the return game, we’ll see. It would be nice for a couple guys to step up so it’s not an assembly line of small, athletic wide receivers getting 12 yards per return, but not making any game-changing plays. That said, a couple game-winning kicks by Borregales would make Canes fans forget about a lot.