What goes with the Miami Hurricanes more than mediocrity, ruthless abandon, and a careless lack of respect to the game of football and institutional learning? How about an NCAA Investigation of the generation that has lasted for the better part of a decade. As mentioned earlier by the great Mali Buckeye, with the help of the great Yahoo! Sports staff, the season is in jeopardy for who was considered the first test on the schedule for the Ohio State Buckeyes. This preview will be a little bit different than the others, simply because it is unclear what the plan of the staff and university will be for the projected 12 starters that are linked to this horrific example of why there needs to be change in college football.
A new era of football begins under former Temple Owl head coach Al Golden this season, but the same old darkness and swirling whirlwind hangs over a program that just can’t ever seem to clean things up and get over the hump of mediocre to elite.
Record – 7-6 (5-3), Loss to Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl
Home Field – Sun Life Stadium (75,192 Capacity) is on of only three stadiums across the country that host a MLB and NFL team. This site is the home of the Orange Bowl as well every season. A very versitile park , but one that might not be enjoyed as much by Hurricanes fans and other fans of the Miami Dolphins and Florida Marlins.
Head Coach – Al Golden, First Year – It’s now starting to become a bit more clear why the Hurricanes struck out swinging this off-season on some of the big names searching for head coaching jobs . Without a doubt Miami is a solid land, but after Jon Gruden backed out of the gig before it was even offered to him (Thanks ESPN) the Hurricanes went looking for someone that had the ideals and ability to turn around a team that has continued to fail exceeding expectations.Insert Al Golden. After taking over a program in Temple that had become a national laughing stock, Golden turned around a horrendous defense within two years and cranked up the recruiting level. It took a few years, but after a 9-3 season in 2009 and a 8-4 mark in 2010, Golden made his mark in the college football community. Finally, after pulling his name out of consideration for gigs at Cincinnati and Tennessee in 2009, Golden found his way to Florida this off-season.
WR Leonard Hankerson – One of the best statistical receivers in school history, Hankerson is the first receiver in school history to have 2,000 yards receiving in a career and 1,000 yards in a season. The first team All-ACC playmaker was named the team MVP after a the season, and was a big voice in the locker room. The team captain of last year was drafted in the third round of the NFL draft by the Washington Redskins. His big play ability will be missed as the top target for Jacory Harris the last two season.
RB Damien Berry – The second team All-ACC running back continued to improve throughout the season, and was the only running back in the conference to run for 100+ yards for a period of four straight games. His 899 yards on the season were impressive, but with the talent returning to the field at the position, he shouldn’t be missed. Berry recently was signed by the Baltimore Ravens and is hoping to make their roster out of the pre-season.
CB Brandon Harris – A pure talent in the secondary, Harris was put into the mix as a freshman and continued to develop into a nice NFL prospect. Drafted by the Houston Texans in the NFL draft as a junior, Harris leaves the program in a pretty big hole at cornerback. His instincts on the field will be missed the most.
DE Allen Bailey – The team leader in sacks, losing Bailey will be tough because of his raw consistency. A three year starter, Bailey’s game tape might not impress from last season, but he was a major part of the pass rush and aggravating offenses up front. Bailey was a third round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in the recent draft.
Facing Allegations -
There is still no determination on how the Miami will handle the use of players who have been listed in the latest Nevin Shapiro mishap. Did I say mishap? I meant bombshell that is prostitution, abortion, partying, NBA playoff tickets, and almost anything else you can think of. Twelve players that have been projected as starters could be sitting out. Here’s a bit more about those players. Links with these player names bring you their specific involvement with Nevin Shapiro put together by the hard working people at Yahoo! Sports
QB Jacory Harris – Harris has been a disappointment throughout his career as the starting quarterback of the Hurricanes. He is currently in a battle with Sophomore Stephen Morris to see who will start the season. Harris is known for making big plays and following them up with poor decision making. It’s not a secure thing that Harris would be playing on Saturday even without his involvement with Shapiro.
SS Ray-Ray Armstrong – Armstrong had a solid season working his way into the lineup last season and earning second team All-ACC. Coming off the bench most of the season, Armstrong earned 79 tackles and three interceptions. Armstrong was slated to start at strong safety after starter JoJo Nicolas moved to the cornerback position.
WR Travis Benjamin – A true talent in NFL scouts eyes who earned the starting spot last season. Benjamin is slated to be the starting and lead receiver this season. A special teams returner and a 4.3 time in the 40. This was supposed to be the breakout year for Benjamin, but only time will tell if he will get that opportunity. He led the team in yards per catch (17.3) and had 793 yards receiving.
LB Sean Spence – Just recently head coach Al Golden said that Spence is one of the most underrated players on his team and in the ACC. Slated to be a first round pick after a solid senior season, Spence has been a three year starter and even had an impact as a freshman. Shapiro said that Spence was one of the regulars at his mansion. Spence had 17 tackles for loss last season, which led the team.
DT Marcus Fortson – He has been considered a top tier talent since being a freshman and coming off a redshirt season, the thought coming into the year was that this was the season that Fortson propels himself to the top. Of his 37 tackles last season, 12 were for loss.
FS Vaughn Telemaque – Considered by many as the next Sean Taylor or Ed Reed, Telemaque had a quietly successful season with the Hurricanes. With 54 tackles, three interceptions, and three fumble recoveries, Telemaque was a big part of the defense last season. His involvement with Shapiro was minimal, but his loss during the season would be monstrous.
DE Dyron Dye – In his red-shirt season Dye made some impressions with a bit of playing time on the line. He should see increased playing time if he sees the field.
WR Aldarius Johnson – Over 700 yards amassed on the field in three seasons. The senior is expected to earn a starting spot this upcoming season. He was fourth on the team in 2010 in receiving yards.
DB JoJo Nicolas – The starting strong safety moved to corner to start the season to fill the void after three starters graduated from the program. Worked his way into the starting lineup last season at strong safety, and is expected to be a defensive presence in the secondary.
DE Oliver Vernon – Second on the teams as a sophomore in sacks, Vernon is expected to have a blowout season as a junior in 2011. Vernon brings athleticism to the table that almost instantly creates mismatches on the field. He gets to the quarterback with ease at times.
DE Adewale Ojomo – One of the four experienced and productive defensive ends, Ojomo is a fine rotation player, and is slated as one of the starters at end for the 2011 season.
It’s so hard to predict what is upcoming for this school, but It’s not pretty. With the talent on the field it would of been hard to record anything better than a .500 season. Is Al Golden the answer? Maybe in the future, but as of now with all this surrounding the program, I don’t see things turning around anytime soon.
Before the allegations, I thought this team could compete against the top in the ACC and sweep every non-conference game outside of Ohio State.
Now I think they’ll be lucky to compete with Duke, Virginia, and the doldrums of the ACC.
Who wouldn’t want to be in Miami for a weekend game… Check out TiqIQ for available seats (I’m guessing there will be a lot available).