Manny Diaz released the Miami Hurricanes’ depth chart for the Week 0 showdown against the No. 8 Florida Gators in Orlando on Saturday October 24th—with things pretty much going as expected.
The full list is below, but some quick thoughts before diving in:
— Common knowledge that Jarren Williams has locked down the starting role, but to date no second-string quarterback has been named between Tate Martell and N’Kosi Perry. There have been rumblings of Martell moving to wide receiver, but can’t see that happening until (1) Williams has fully locked down the job for the season or (2) Martell winds up in the third slot behind Perry.
Curious to see if offensive coordinator Dan Enos works Martell into Saturday night’s game plan at any point; goal line or short-yardage situations, etc.
— Only two running backs are currently listed on the depth chart; DeeJay Dallas and Cam’Ron Harris as his back-up. Strange to not see a third name there; be it Lorenzo Lingard (who is working his way back from injury and was recently cleared), Robert Burns—or even fullback Realus George.
Understandable that coaches might not want to push Lingard this soon in the season—having torn his MCL in practice last October—but curious who winds up in that third spot as the Canes realistically won’t stay two-deep at running back come Saturday.
— K.J. Osborn, Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley are the three go-starting receivers, with Brevin Jordan locking down the tight end position. Williams will have some weapons at his disposal, barring the line can do their job protecting and buying time. (Side note; still incredible that Thomas worked his way back into the fold after parting ways with Miami late in 2018. His return was such a fortunate offensive bounce.)
— True freshman Zion Nelson locked down the left tackle position, while r-freshman John Campbell earned tremendous praise throughout camp, en route to being named starting right tackle. Have to love a head coach walking the walk in regards to saying he’d put the best guys out there—and then doing so. Thinking back to past regimes where “experience” won out on the depth chart over “talent”—it’s refreshing to see competition and rising to the occasion as deciding factors.
— Scott Patchan got the nod as one of the starting defensive ends, but have to believe Virginia Tech transfer Trevon Hill is going to see his fair share of snaps Saturday night and will eventually be ‘the guy’ at that position. Shoulder surgery last season sidelined Hill—as did his issues with Hokies head coach Justin Fuente, but all signs point to Hill being ready to go on what is already an upperclassman-heavy defensive line.
— Neither Al Blades Jr. or DJ Ivey have locked down a starting cornerback slot—opposite of Trajan Bandy, who is good to go on the other side. Both Blades and Ivey have had strong camps—while Blades has also been named captain for that group several times during camp. The sophomore was also thrust into a starting role in last year’s opener against LSU when Bandy was ejected for targeting early in the first quarter; so that could provide a slight advantage experience-wise come Saturday.
— Seeing the name Lou Hedley at punter is so comforting when having flashback to Miami’s special teams woes last fall. Field position was a disaster against the Tigers last September in Dallas. Here’s hoping Hedley’s presence gives the Canes a distinct advantage that wasn’t an option last year at this time.
— Last but not lease, thrilled to see starters, speedsters and next-level guys like Thomas, Osborn and Dallas on both punt and kick returns. Vintage Miami teams always put their best guys on special teams, but again, somewhere over the past decade-plus there seemed to be more second-string guys returning punts.
Diaz explained in today’s presser the distinct scoring advantage special teams has with a wide open field, opposed to guys lining up with 1st-and-10. Would love to see this decision rewarded Week 0 with one of these guys doing something special, in a season-opener where both offenses will play it somewhat safe early, as they get their feet wet.
Tate Martell -or- N’Kosi Perry
Michael Irvin II
Al Blades -or- DJ Ivey
Kickoffs / Field Goals