#22 Miami (FL) Football 2016 Preview

Miami Hurricanes
Overall Rank: #22
#5 ACC
It is a new era in Coral Gables as former quarterback Mark Richt has returned home to coach the University of Miami Hurricanes. Richt, despite his detractors within the Georgia Bulldog fan base, had a very successful 15-year stint but towards the end things might have gotten a bit stale in Athens. Thus, after being let go by Georgia, Richt was not out of coaching for long as the Hurricanes snapped him up very quickly. At the end of the day this has the feel of a coaching change that will benefit all involved as Richt should be revitalized as the new head boss of Miami.
2015 Record: 8-5, 5-3
2015 Bowl: Sun Bowl vs. Washington State (L 14-20)
Coach: Mark Richt (0-0 at Miami, 146-51 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Thomas Brown
Defensive Coordinator: Manny Diaz
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Joseph Yearby, RB, 1,002 yards
Passing: Brad Kaaya, QB, 3,238 yards
Receiving: Stacy Coley, WR, 689 yards
Tackles: Jermaine Grace, LB, 79
Sacks: Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE, 5.0
Interceptions: Rayshawn Jenkins, S, 3
Other Key Returnees: RB Mark Walton, RB Gus Edwards, TE David Njoku, OL Daniel Isidora, LB Juwon Young, LB Trent Harris, S Jamal Carter, K Michael Badgley, P Justin Vogel
Key Losses: WR Rashawn Scott, WR Herb Waters, LB Raphael Kirby, CB Artie Burns, S Deon Bush, DT Ufomba Kamalu
Brad Kaaya is back at quarterback and should work very well with Coach Richt as he will return to playcalling on offense and coaching quarterbacks. Kaaya has NFL caliber talent, but he can’t do it all and will need the help from the running game. He will get it with Joseph Yearby, who ran for just over 1,000 yards last season. Defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, who is one of the best in the business, has a very talented stable of defensive linemen that have early-round NFL draft pick type potential. Al-Quadin Muhammad had five sacks and, along with Chad Thomas, will create very nice bookend defensive ends. Jermaine Grace is a senior who is another fast playmaker that should be able to break 100 tackles under a more aggressive attacking defensive mindset from new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.
Part of the reason why Mark Richt is now the new head coach at Miami is that this program under Al Golden did not recruit a deep, balanced roster. Thus, if the Hurricanes get crushed with injuries they will struggle to win only seven games or so. Also, the offensive line is not where it needs to be right now heading into fall camp as they had plenty of protection issues all spring long. The lack of consistency in the running game last season was also a byproduct of the offensive line not performing at a high enough level. Defensively, the secondary is an area to keep an eye on as senior Corn Elder is the only battle tested player in that unit. Elder is also going to have to continue to make a big impact on special teams in the return game in the event that the offense has issues moving the football while learning a new offensive system.
The Bottom Line:
With all coaching changes there will be moments during the season where things don’t go smoothly. It just simply happens no matter how much of an upgrade that Coach Richt will end up being. A trip to Appalachian State in week three will be a tricky one for Miami, but it is a game they should find a way to win by 7-13 points as long as they take care of the football. Florida State visits on October 8th in a game where the Hurricanes have to play well to set the tone for this rivalry to get back to becoming relevant on a national stage. Also, a two-game road trip to Virginia Tech and Notre Dame in late October will be a giant test of the depth and mental toughness of this Hurricanes program. The ability to keep Brad Kaaya in one piece all season long will be vital in order for Miami to finally get to an ACC Championship game this season. Look for a more consistent level of play from Miami as they get to around nine wins, but the foundation will be laid for a very bright future in Coral Gables.
Projected Bowl: Music City Bowl
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 119.1 (117th in nation, 13th in conference)
Passing Offense: 277.4 (29, 2)
Total Offense: 396.5 (68, 7)
Scoring Offense: 27.8 (71, 10)
Rushing Defense: 200.6 (101, 13)
Pass Defense: 204.2 (38, 9)
Total Defense: 404.8 (69, 11)
Scoring Defense: 28.2 (77, 12)
Turnover Margin: 0.85 (10, 1)
Sacks: 2.00 (70, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 1.46 (33, 5)
Madness 2016 Recruit Rankings:
#86 Sam Bruce
#106 Shaquille Quarterman
#117 Jack Allison
#150 Patrick Bethel
#154 Joseph Jackson
#159 Dionte Mullins
#202 Ahmmon Richards