Miami Preview 2006
Miami Hurricanes
Posted Jul 31, 2006

He has a 54-10 record after five years and didn't win a national title last year at a place that national titles are expected and demanded, so he should be on the hot seat, right?

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

Larry Coker? No, he has a 53-9 record with one national title. Pete Carroll is 54-10 with one national title (keep your AP banter to yourself).

Everyone take their Ritalin; last season really wasn't that bad for Miami. It wasn't a disaster, it wasn't one of the most disappointing seasons ever, and it wasn't a signal that the Miami football program should start making initial inquiries to see if there's an opening in the Sun Belt.

Here's Miami's philosophical problem with the national title or bust attitude. If you don't win the national championship, or even play in the national championship game, then does a 40-3 loss to LSU in the Peach Bowl really mean anything in the grander scheme of things? The 35-3 loss to Tennessee in the 1986 Sugar Bowl was far more disappointing and a far bigger disaster than some little old Peach Bowl loss, and that 1986 team turned out to be pretty good before it lost the national title to Penn State in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl. That 1987 team turned out to be pretty good winning the national title.

Head coach: Larry Coker
6th year: 53-9
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 25, Def. 26, ST 5
Lettermen Lost: 22
Ten Best Miami Players
1. FS Brandon Meriweather, Sr.
2. TE Greg Olsen, Jr.
3. SS Kenny Phillips, Soph.
DE Baraka Atkins, Sr.
RB Tyrone Moss, Sr.
QB Kyle Wright, Jr.
7. DE Bryan Pata, Sr.
8. LB Tavares Gooden, Jr.
9. WR Ryan Moore, Sr.
10. CB Glenn Sharpe, Jr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

9/4 Florida State
9/9 Florida A&M
9/16 at Louisville
9/30 Houston
10/7 North Carolina
10/14 FIU
10/21 at Duke
10/28 at Georgia Tech
11/4 Virginia Tech
11/11 at Maryland
11/18 at Virginia
11/23 Boston College

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 10-1
2005 Record: 9-3

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/5 at Florida State  L 10-7
9/17 at Clem. W 36-30 3OT
9/24 Colorado W 23-3
10/1 South Florida W 27-7
10/8 Duke W 52-7
10/15 at Temple W 34-3
10/29 North Carolina W 34-16
11/5 at Virginia Tech W 27-7
11/12 at Wake Forest W 47-17
11/19 Georgia Tech L 14-10
11/26 Virginia W 25-17
12/30 Peach Bowl
LSU L 40-3

The point is that it's hard to play for national championships, much less win them, and not winning the whole ball of wax every year isn't cause to pull fire alarms. However, not winning ACC titles is a bigger issue.

And that's the problem.

The new ACC isn't the Big East and it's not like being an Independent. There are too many good teams to battle with on a game-in-game-out basis to demand perfection every year. Analyze all these so-called disastrous losses last year. Florida State 10-6. It would've been a win if the special teams didn't melt down. Georgia Tech 14-10. In case you forgot, Georgia Tech also whacked Auburn. LSU 40-3. Don't focus so much on the final score. LSU had national title talent and was jacked up. Things really weren't as bad as everyone made them out to be.

This year's team has enough talent to think about the national title, but there are just enough holes to keep it from happening with an offensive line that doesn't look to be appreciably better than last year's disaster and mot enough overall skill level among the stars on offense to overcome the potential problems up front. The defense will be among the best in the country, but it can't win every game if there are offensive issues like there were occasionally last season.

Go ahead and jack up the expectations for this very good team, but shoot for the ACC title first.

The Schedule: It's set up perfectly for a huge season with the right mix of great games and big home dates to think about the BCS championship game, and then the second half of the year kicks in with four road dates in five weeks including games at Georgia Tech, Maryland and Virginia. Florida State, Virginia Tech and Boston College come to the Orange Bowl, but the real landmine could be at Louisville on September 16th.

Best Offensive Player: Junior TE Greg Olsen. The coaching staff has hinted that the one-time Notre Damer could be better than Kellen Winslow Jr., Bubba Franks, and Jeremy Shockey. At the very least he should come close to leading the team in receiving and be on the short list for the Mackey Award.

Best Defensive Player: Senior FS Brandon Meriweather. He's not huge at 6-0 and 188 pounds, but he's a sure tackler with phenomenal range. He has 202 career tackles and should be one of the nation's top all-around safeties.

Key player to a successful season: Offensive tackles Reggie Youngblood, Cyrim Wimbs and Tyrone Byrd, guards A.J. Trump, Andrew Bain, Derrick Morse, and Alex Pou, and center Anthony Wollschlager. If the front five has a decent season, Miami will likely be ACC champions. If it has a great season, Miami has an honest shot at the national title.

The season will be a success if ... Miami wins the ACC title game. Goal number one has to win the ACC championship. Then the Canes can hope everything falls into place for something even bigger. Anything less than an appearance in the conference title game and next year will likely usher in a new coaching era of Miami football.

Key game: Sept. 4 vs. Florida State. Miami lost last year to the Noles and was still in the hunt for the ACC and national championships late in the season, but that was in Tallahassee. A loss at home to start the season is the last thing the team needs with memories of the Peach Bowl still lingering.

2005 Fun Stats: 
Sacks: Opponents 36 for 246 yards - Miami 33 for 246 yards
- Miami points in its nine wins: 305 (33.9 per game) - Miami points in its three losses: 20 (6.67 per game)
- Miami points by quarter: 1st 80, 2nd 110, 3rd 77, 4th 42

The Last Time Miami…
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Peach Bowl v. LSU)
…missed a bowl game…1997
…pitched a shutout…2004 (Louisiana Tech)
…was shutout…1997 (Florida State)
…scored 50 points…2005 (Duke)
…went undefeated…2001
…won a conference title…2003 (share, Big East)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2002 (Ken Dorsey)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2002 (Willis McGahee)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2002 (Andre Johnson)
…had a first-round draft choice…2005 (CB Antrel Rolle)

Related Stories
Miami Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Jul 31, 2006
Miami Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by  Jul 31, 2006
Miami Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Jul 31, 2006

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