20 Miami - Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com
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20 Miami

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OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

There was a huge difference in Miami's discipline last season. The year before, things got a little bit out of hand with the penalties. Last year they saw fewer flags—and they played much more physical. They've always been able to recruit well. [Top 15 class coming in.] Everybody's waiting to see those high recruiting rankings come to fruition on the field. This could be the year.

[Miami's linebackers] can run. They play sideline to sideline, and they're physical. It's a good combination, and to see those guys play at the level they did, as young as they were [three freshman starters: Zach McCloud, Michael Pinckney and Shaquille Quarterman], was A) impressive and B) scary. Up front, sometimes you get guys that can rush the passer but are not as good against the run. I felt like their D-ends [senior Chad Thomas and junior Demetrius Jackson] were as good against the run and could move. They're big and physical inside.

[Senior wide receiver] BRAXTON BERRIOS has talent, and he can make plays. He has the ability to be explosive in space, so he's a guy that you definitely have to be concerned about. [Sophomore wide receiver] Ahmmon Richards does a nice job of competing for balls. He made a lot of plays and competitive catches that really stood out to me.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

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THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % (99TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT (19TH)

COMPLETION % (29TH)

YARDS PER CARRY (58TH)

SACKS ALLOWED (51ST)

TURNOVERS LOST (2ND)

POINTS PER DRIVE (49TH)

YARDS PER PLAY (25TH)

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % ALLOWED (53RD)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT ALLOWED (12TH)

COMPLETION % ALLOWED (66TH)

YARDS PER CARRY ALLOWED (17TH)

SACKS (22ND)

TURNOVERS GAINED (67TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE ALLOWED (20TH)

YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED (9TH)

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RATING

42

Miami's toughest test comes early, when it meets rival Florida State in Tallahassee (9/16). The Hurricanes can lose to the Seminoles and still win the ACC Coastal. Beating Notre Dame at home (11/11) could give them a marquee win heading toward the conference championship game.

THE PLAYER TO KNOW

Two-time FCS All-America cornerback DEE DELANEY announced his transfer to Miami from The Citadel in late February. He has the size (6'1", 193 pounds), athleticism and instincts to lock down wide receivers and make QBs pay for throwing the ball in his direction (six interceptions, eight pass break-ups in 2016). The Hurricanes' front seven should rank among the ACC's best this season, but their secondary could be a weak spot. If the line can bring the heat, it will buy Delaney some time to adjust in a tougher conference with bigger, faster players. Once he gets comfortable, he should elevate Miami's D from great to outstanding.