ESPN.com’s Bruce Feldman and Ivan Maisel both had some recent comments on the Miami Hurricanes regarding offseason changes and players poised to make some moves come fall.
Maisel’s piece “Forward Thinking” discussed five teams poised to improve this upcoming season, based on last year’s record and returning starters. Maisel had Miami ranked #1 regarding squads that are “poised to take a big step forward.”
1. Miami — The Hurricanes, 7-6 last season, have generated all kinds of hype for next fall. Coach Randy Shannon has nurtured a very young team through two mediocre seasons. Now 17 starters return (if you count punter/kicker Matt Bosher twice, which we do).
There’s no longer any doubt about who will play quarterback. Jacory Harris is there. Robert Marve is not. If there’s a question about newcomers at the U, it’s the coaching staff. Mark Whipple, who will run the offense, may be the best coordinator hire of the college football offseason. John Lovett will run the defense. In other words, the table is set. The question, as it has been for five years, is whether the Hurricanes will arrive.
As for Feldman, he lists were “Top 10 Newcomers To Remember” and “Intreguing New Assistant Coaches”, where Miami’s Vaughn Telemaque and the new offensive coordinator received some praise:
– Vaughn Telemaque, Miami, safety: The Canes have produced more superstar safeties than any program in the country during the past 20 years. Maybe this Southern California product will be the next one.
Already UM people have compared Telemaque’s playmaking skills to Ed Reed’s. That’s pretty big talk, although sources close to the program say the redshirt freshman is off to a superb start in the first two weeks of spring ball. He might be exactly what the Canes were lacking last season when they managed a paltry four picks. That’s less than half the number of INTs Telemaque made during his senior season (nine) at fabled Long Beach Poly High.
– Mark Whipple, Miami, offensive coordinator: What used to be one of the most explosive offenses in college football has fizzled in recent years. The Canes have rotated schemes and coaches far too often, going from Rob Chudzinski at the start of the decade to Dan Werner to Rich Olson to Patrick Nix as UM drifted into a downward spiral. The shuffling only hindered the development of the Canes QBs. Former all-everything recruit Kyle Wright went from leading the ACC in TD passes as a sophomore to regressing with each subsequent season.
Whipple comes from the NFL with the blessing of many, including protégé Ben Roethlisberger. His new project is sophomore Jacory Harris, who is a bright kid and should do well under Whipple. Miami’s stable of speedy young receivers will help. Whipple is preaching for Harris to make his reads quicker and to exploit mismatches. Still, Miami opens with the most brutal four-game swing of any program in the last generation. It’ll be a big test to develop some confidence against the likes of Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Georgia Tech. There is no tune-up game in the bunch.