Miami was solid under Mark Richt. 9-4, 10-3, 7-6. That’s a good start to something, but after shotty quarterback play and Richt reportedly being pressured by administration to shake up his staff (including his son) Richt shockingly retired. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who had agreed to become head coach at Temple, backed out and took the head coaching job here.
The upside is here again, and this is probably a top-20 team on paper, but if they can’t figure out the quarterback situation, the talent around probably won’t matter.
The quarterback spot was a disaster last year. Neither N’Kosi Perry or Malik Rosier were even average for a P5 QB. Rosier threw more picks than touchdowns, and Perry barely completed half his passes.
Perry is back, but his chances of winning the job seem low with highly touted freshman Jarren Williams and Ohio State transfer Tate Martell challenging. The receiving corps should be great with Jeff Thomas (16.1 YPC) back and KJ Osborn (16.8 YPC) transferring from Buffalo. Being Miami, a ton of blue chips add depth between Jeremiah Payton, Mark Pope, and Brian Hightower. TE Brevin Jordan was a 2nd-team all-conference player as a freshman.
The run game has a couple of talented sophomores between Cam’Ron Harris (5.9 YPC) and Lorenzo Lingard (8.0!) The line loses pretty much everyone, but Miami recruits so well that they have guys that can plug and play at an ACC level. The talent is obviously there for a great year, but the offensive line and QB play will determine whether or not the offense makes a big jump.
The turnover chain became a bit of a meme in 2017, but the Miami defense was even better last year, let’s just say there is a reason Manny Diaz got the head coaching job.
This will be one of the most talented Ds in the country, but they will be pretty young due to some departures. End Jonathan Garvin, who had 5.5 sacks and 11.5 TFL last year, and corner Trajan Bandy (eight PBUs, three INTs) are two awesome returning pieces, all three linebackers return in a senior trio led by Shaq Quarterman (six sacks, eight TFL). Michael Pickney and Rome Finley combined for 3.5 sacks and 11.5 TFL. In the back, just one starter returns, Bandy.
Some transfers join the team: Chigozie Nnoruka from UCLA at tackle, Trevon Hill from VT at end and Bubba Bolden from USC at free safety. There is a hell of a lot of upside on this defense, and they should be great again.
Miami was a hell of a lot better than their record indicated last year. If they had just a serviceable QB they were probably a top-15 quality team otherwise, in large part due to the all-world defense. They have top-15 talent again but again they need to get solid play from the QB spot to execute on that. I have faith in Tate Martell to do so, and this is my pick to win the Coastal.
|Date||Opponent||opp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|24-Aug||vs. Florida (orlando, fl)||8||-5.6|
|7-Sep||at North Carolina||62||4.7|
|2-Nov||at Florida State||34||0.8|
|23-Nov||vs. FIU (miami, fl)||83||7.7|
Average Projected Record: 8.7 wins, 3.3 losses (5.8 wins, 2.2 losses)