OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE
The Miami Way under coach Mark Richt is simple: Our players are faster and bigger and stronger than your players, so we're going to let our players play. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. With the Hurricanes' talent at their skill positions, a team like Duke has no business competing against them, but last year the Blue Devils made adjustments and the game was tight until the end. You'd like to see Richt and the staff make more adjustments too.... There's a lot of explosiveness on offense. Quarterback Malik Rosier is not an elite runner, but he's good and he can hurt you on draws, zone reads and designed quarterback runs. He makes big plays in critical moments.... They've got big-time playmakers on the perimeter. AHMMON RICHARDS broke Michael Irvin's freshman receiving record at the school; when he missed the end of last season with a left-knee injury, you saw how important he was. He's healthy now and easily one of the top receivers in the country.... Defensively, they're small, scrappy and they're going to blitz from all over the field in their 4--3 set. The defense will keep them in games; if their offense puts it together, this team can go far.
BY THE NUMBERS
Turnovers forced by the Miami D last season, third most in the country.
Years it had been, before last season, since the Hurricanes had won 10 games.
In his first two years Mark Richt led Miami to its first bowl win in a decade, then its first 10-win season since 2003. The U is officially back.
[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]
During the Canes' 10--0 start last season, their gold Turnover Chain—worn on the sideline by a player who created a turnover—became college football's biggest fashion statement. But the defense faltered over the final four games, allowing 124 points and intercepting just one pass. All-ACC linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney will try to revive the D's playmaking mojo, but the biggest boost will come from tackle GERALD WILLIS III, who took last year off for personal issues. A former five-star recruit who transferred from Florida after his freshman year, Willis is a difference maker who will help the D become fearsome again.
SUN., SEPT. 2
LSU [KEY MATCHUP]
THURS., SEPT. 27
FLORIDA STATE (18) [BIGGEST GAME][SI RANKINGS]
FRI., OCT. 26
@ BOSTON COLLEGE
@ GEORGIA TECH
@ VIRGINIA TECH [KEY MATCHUP]