What you need to know ...
Kyle Wright is a talented passer who needs to play up to the
prep hype, star
back Tyrone Moss is back from a torn ACL leading a good corps,
and the receiving corps is big and fast with three NFL caliber
players along with a future first round pick in tight end Greg
Olsen. None of that matters if the offensive line, which only
welcomes back one starter, isn't night-and-day better than last
year when it allowed 36 sacks and almost got Wright killed.
Wright is hardly Michael Vick when it comes to mobility, so when
the heat was on he had to do the best he could which meant the
deep ball was rarely an option. That has to change this year to
open things up a bit more to average more than a mediocre 353
yards and 27 points per game.
Passing: Kyle Wright
180-307, 2,403 yds, 18 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: Tyrone Moss
137 carries, 701 yds, 12 TD
Receiving: Greg Olsen (TE)
31 catches, 451 yds, 4 TD
Star of the offense: Junior TE Greg Olsen
Player that has to step up and become a star: The entire
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Reggie Youngblood
Best pro prospect: Olsen
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Olsen, 2) RB Tyrone
Moss, 3) QB Kyle Wright
Strength of the offense: Running back
Weakness of the offense:
It's Kyle Wright's show to run. Kirby Freeman is a good
prospect as the number two man, but his passing is still a bit
off and the team isn't going to turn back now after living
through Wright's year of development. To be fair, Wright didn't
have much time to breathe behind a struggling offensive line
that allowed 36 sacks, but he has to make quicker decisions and
be more of a big-play passer this season for the offense to
reach its full potential. There's no one of note waiting in the
wings at the number three spot who can step in if disaster
The key to the unit: Develop Kirby Freeman's
all-around game a bit more so he can be ready to step in if Kyle
Wright gets hurt or is ineffective.
Quarterback Rating: 7.5
- Kyle Wright, Jr. - 180-307, 59%, 2,403 yds, 18 TD, 10
It's not like Wright was bad last year, he just wasn't
consistent and wasn't all that explosive throwing for 12
touchdown passes against Duke, Temple and Wake Forest and six
against everyone else with no more than one touchdown pass in
any of the other nine games. His talent is undeniable with size,
arm strength and poise under fire, but now it all has to come
together and he has to start being a difference maker.
- Kirby Freeman, Soph. - 15-31, 48%, 183 yds, 2 TD, 2
INT, 8 carries, 38 yds
Freeman is a good-sized passer adding an element of speed and
mobility that's missing from Kyle Wright's game. He saw a little
bit of action last year in mop up time and is entrenched as the
number two man going into the season.
It all depends on the knee of Tyrone
Moss. If he's 100% back to the form he showed early last year,
the ground game will be deadly. Charlie Jones is a dependable
back, but he's not a special player who can change a game the
way Moss can. Derron Thomas and Andrew Jones are speed backs who
should see a few more carries this year just to keep Moss from
wearing down, but the two most intriguing backs are freshman
Kylan Robinson and fullback Jerrell Mabry. Mabry is a fast 259
pounds who might turn out to be more of a tailback than blocking
fullback, while Robinson was a top recruit who has all the
skills to be one of Miami's next great backs.
The key to the unit: Hope for Tyrone Moss to be as
good as new while getting more production out of the backups
behind Charlie Jones.
Running Back Rating: 7.5
- Tyrone Moss, Sr. - 137 carries, 701 yds, 5.1 ypc, 12
TD, 1 catch, 17 yds
Moss played like an All-American at times rushing for 139 yards
and three scores at Clemson and 195 yards and four touchdowns in
the win over North Carolina, but he saw his big year get cut
short by a torn ACL in the Virginia Tech game. He's short, but
powerfully built at 5-9 and 220 pounds with next-level breakaway
speed. He's not much of a receiver with only two career catches
to go along with his 346 carries. The knee is expected to be
fine by the start of the season.
- Fullback Jerrell Mabry, RFr.
The 259-pound redshirt freshman will take over for Quadtrine
Hill, but don't expect him to just be used as a blocker. He
could be a tailback with his 4.75 speed and impressive quickness
for a player of his size. Early on he'll be used primarily as a
- Charlie Jones, Jr. - 123 carries, 507 yds, 4.1 ypc,
5 TD, 5 catches, 14 yds
It's not an understatement to say Jones saved the season after
Tyrone Moss went down for the year. The surprisingly powerful
junior was consistent and even showed a little bit of burst.
He's a better receiver than Moss, but he doesn't have the same
combination of size and speed.
- Derron Thomas, Soph. - 47 carries, 150 yds, 3.2 ypc
While he can provide a bit of between-the-tackles power, but he
5-9, 190-pound sophomore will mostly be a change of pace back
adding quickness and home run hitting ability. He was the team's
third leading rusher last season seeing most of his time in mop
up duty with the occasional carry to keep the starter fresh.
- Andrew Johnson, Jr. - 14 carries, 97 yds
Johnson is one of the fastest players on offense and saw a
little time after coming back from a torn ACL, but will he be
able to get on the field to show off his home-run hitting
ability? He came up with a 46-yard dash against Duke on his
first carry back and could be used for a change of pace. He
looked strong this spring.
Kylan Robinson, Fr.
He's a tall, athletic runner with a fantastic straight line
burst and a nose for the end zone. He was one of the year's
biggest recruits and could quickly find himself as the number
The receivers will be better if the
quarterbacks get more time to throw. As always, the Canes are
full of speedy, talented receivers who all have an eye on
playing at the next level, but they need to make more plays and
make up for the loss of Sinorice Moss. The best of the bunch is
tight end Greg Olsen, who'll be one of the early favorites to
win the Mackey Award. Ryan Moore has to finally grow into a
number one targets and Darnell Jenkins has to be used more as a
deep receiver. Lance Leggett is too good to just be considered a
number three receiver.
The key to the unit: Making more big plays and doing
more with the ball once it's in the hands of the thin, but talented corps.
Receiver Rating: 8
- Ryan Moore, Sr. - 28 catches, 464 yds, 16.6 ypc, 4 TD
Is he as good as he thinks he is? At 6-3 and 215 pounds with
great hands, Moore has all the makings of a next-level playmaker
if it all comes together and he isn't nicked up like he was this
spring with a muscle pull in his leg. However, He hasn't been able to
improve upon his 44 catch freshman year despite becoming more of
a deep threat last season. Considering his big-play ability, he
didn't make enough of them last year.
- Darnell Jenkins, Sr. - 25 catches, 242 yds, 9.7 ypc, 2
Despite having enough speed to be used as a kick returner, he's
mostly been a possession receiver. He's experienced with 49
career catches, but he has yet to explode and make any big
plays. It'll be his job to make the clutch catches underneath
while using his quickness to break of short passes into big
- Tight end Greg Olsen, Jr. - 31 catches, 451 yds, 14.5
ypc, 4 TD
The sky's the limit for the soon to be first round draft choice.
Olsen has it all from fantastic hands to good deep speed to good
blocking ability in a 6-5, 252-pound frame. There are few better
route runners and few tight ends in college football that can
match what he can do in the open field. He'll likely be the
team's leading receiver and the number one option on third downs.
- Lance Leggett, Jr. - 15 catches, 204 yds, 13.6 ypc,
Will this be the year Leggett lives up to his talent? He's a
lanky 6-4, 184-pound target with great deep speed averaging 17.3
yards per catch for his career highlighted by a 76-yard
touchdown catch against Wake Forest last season. He'll push for
time at split end along with Ryan Moore.
- Khalil Jones, Soph. - 2 catches, 30 yds
Considered among the team's hardest working practice receivers,
Jones is a big, physical receiver who'll see most of his time on
special teams and occasionally stepping in at flanker to give
Darnell Jenkins a breather.
- Tight end Chris Zellner, Soph. - 1 catch, 9 yds
The former defensive end moved over to tight end last spring and
mostly ended up playing on special teams. Even though he's 227
pounds, he's a solid blocker in two tight end formations. He'll
likely only catch passes in garbage time when Greg Olsen is out.
The emergence of the front five might be the most important
development in the national title race after coming off an awful season.
Injuries were part of the problem, but the line was just flat-out bad
allowing a whopping 36 sacks while paving the way for a mere 3.7 yards
per carry. There's size and potential across the line, but senior center
Anthony Wollschlager is the only returning starter meaning it'll take
some time for everything to jell. Yes, that's the opener against Florida
State coming up fast in the rear view mirror. Losing long time offensive
line guru Art Kehoe from the coaching staff isn't a plus meaning new
offensive line coach Mario Cristobal will be under the microscope.
The key to the unit: Pass protection, pass
protection, pass protection, pass protection, pass protection.
Offensive Line Rating: 7
- OT Reggie Youngblood, Soph.
It'll be up to Youngblood to take over Eric Winston's spot on the left
side. At 6-5 and 310 pounds, he has the size along with the long arms to
grow into a strong pass blocker after playing in eight games as a true
freshman. He was one of the team's top recruits last year and now he
has to start playing like it.
- OG A.J. Trump, RFr.
The 285-pound redshirt freshman will likely be moved all over the place
before he settles into one spot, but he'll start out at left guard
battling with Andrew Bain for the job. He's versatile enough to play
anywhere on the line and is the fastest lineman on the team with great
- C Anthony Wollschlager, Sr.
While not nearly as talented as the players around him, he is the leader
of the line whose drive and run blocking abilities have turned him into
a potential all-star. He was finally able to stay healthy all last year
and started every game, and now he'll be expected to be the veteran
anchor of an improving group.
- OG Derrick Morse, Jr.
The 295-pound junior is a true guard who needs to grow into the promise
of a strong 2004 after struggling through a shoulder injury last season.
He's a good run blocker and has a good motor, but his pass protection
will be under scrutiny early on the right side.
- OT Tyrone Byrd, Soph.
Is Byrd settled in at right tackle? At 280 pounds he's a bit light to be
a steady guard, but he could play any spot on the line if he needs to
move around after seeing time as a reserve on the inside last year along
with getting a little bit of work at right tackle. He was in the mix for
the starting center job when he first came to Miami.
- G Andrew Bain, Jr.
At 317 pounds, Bain is a bigger option at right guard than the 295-pound
Derrick Morse. He has the feet to play tackle if needed, but his size
and strength make him more natural on the inside.
- C/G Alex Pou, Sr.
Pou has seen plenty of time playing in 21 games over his career with one
start. He's most valuable as a versatile reserve able to step in at
center or guard when needed.
- T Cyrim Wimbs, Jr.
An interesting prospect on the right side, the 321-pound
junior is a much bigger tackle option than the 280pound Tyrone Byrd. He
has the size and strength to step in at guard if needed, but his
athleticism makes him a better tackle.