>> Saturday, June 27, 2009
At the beginning of the decade, Miami was blasting a path of destruction through college football. They had become an NFL breeding ground with players like Clinton Portis and Ed Reed leaving Miami to become NFL superstars. Then Butch Davis left town and the wheels began to fall off the wagon. The end of the Larry Coker era could be described as a disaster and Larry Shannon is the man trying to return the U to their glory days. Mediocrity has reigned supreme in Shannon's first two years, but they returned to a bowl game last year (loss to Cal 24-17) and hope to continue to improve this season. The improvement begins with new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.
Jacoy Harris is the undisputed quarterback this year after Robert Marve chose to transfer and he hopes to help establish an offense that can actually put points on the board. Offensive efficiency was a major struggle for the Canes last season and they hope a more mature Harris can help change that fate. Harris is a 6'4" quarterback with shiftiness in the pocket. He has the ability to become a bit time playmaker in this offense and help the Canes put points on the board against a mediocre ACC. Graig Cooper provides a solid rushing threat in the backfield (841 yards last season) and when he needs a blow, Javarris James will not cause any worry. Aldarius Johnson is a big time wide receiver on the outside and provides Harris with a solid target. Combine the skill position talent with a veteran offensive line and Miami has the pieces in place to develop a nice offense. Shannon has a new general on defense, as well.
John Lovett inherits a defense that was schizophrenic all season long in 2008. Lovett's defensive unit returns several talented players, including linebackers Sean Spence, Darryl Sharpton and Arthur Brown. The defensive line is stacked with talent and is lead by Marcus Robinson and Eric Moncour. The front seven shouldn't be a problem but the secondary has to improve and the improvement will be lead by the return of free safety Ryan Phillips. Phillips is an NFL prospect and should help relieve the shakiness in the defensive backfield. Expect a more explosive and improved unit under Lovett.
Although Miami's talent level has been considerably lower than usual, Larry Shannon is bringing the swagger back to Coral Gables. Shannon landed the 15th ranked recruiting class in the country (rivals.com) , including stud RBs Mike James and Lamar Miller. Both tailbacks are highly skilled and may be too talented to keep off the field. Shannon also landed one of the top athletes in the nation in Ray Ray Armstrong, A 6'4", 218 pound athlete that will have the ability to play several positions.
September 7th-@Florida State-Loss
September 17th-Georgia Tech-Loss
September 26th-@Virginia Tech-Loss
October 10th-Florida A&M-Win
October 31st-@Wake Forest-Loss
November 14th-@North Carolina-Loss
November 28th-@South Florida-Win
Season Projection: 6-6 (3-5)