Miami Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
Miami Hurricanes
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Miami Hurricanes Preview 2006 - Miami Further Analysis

1st and Ten – You’ll Get Nothing and Like It – There’s something about playing safety at the U.  Bennie Blades back in the day.  Ed Reed in the late-1990s, early 2000s.  Sean Taylor a couple of years ago.  The talent that has graced the Orange Bowl turf at the safety position is nearly astounding.  But, the list of names needs to be edited to add last year’s duo (a pair that is returning this year) Brandon Meriweather and Kenny Phillips.  These two studs have dominated the middle of the field, and they’re back this season to virtually eliminate anything any offense can and wants to do in the middle of the field, or anywhere on the field for that matter.  Meriweather, the Hurricane’s free safety, isn’t a physical specimen of Taylor build, but just put on any game tape from last year.  This guy knows how to play – he’s smart, has a tremendous football IQ and is seemingly always in the right spot to make a play.  Oh, and by the way, he’ll run through you with all of his 188 pounds.  Last year, he did it 113 times, to go along with his 13 tackles for a loss – amazing numbers for a free safety.  B Dub is a game changer, pure and simple from his secondary position.  Phillips, on the other hand, was one of the highest rated high school recruits in 2005, and it didn’t take long for him to announce his presence with authority.  At 6’2” and 200 pounds, he might be a tad light to play strong safety, but he meshes so well with Meriweather that the fit is absolutely perfect.  The Hurricanes possess the best secondary in the nation, and these two stars are the reason why.

2nd and Seven – Edgerrin, Willis and, well, um, who’s next – The state of Florida has some of the best high school running back talent.  Miami is one of the top football universities in the nation. Then, why haven’t the Hurricanes been able to find a running back from its home state to dominate a game like the Edge or Willis McGahee?  Don’t get me wrong, Tyrone Moss and former Cane Frank Gore are nice backs, but the aforementioned duo of James and McGahee intimidated teams by their mere presence.  Gore’s knee injury took away from his explosiveness, and now Moss must face the same knee issues as his predecessor.  But, even if Moss is 100%, is he a guy who can be a star for 12 weeks in 2006?  Is he next?  We’ll see.

3rd and Three – An Olson here, an Olsen there – The Hurricanes ineptitude on offense throughout the tail end of the 2005 season helped bring together two Olsons/Olsens who desperately need one another.  Rich Olson returns to Coral Gables to be the new offensive coordinator, for the first time since the Dennis Erickson era.  TE Greg Olsen returns for a potential All-American season.  But, Olson needs Olsen.  And, Olsen needs Olson.  Although the elder Olson ran a three and four wide scheme under Erickson, he has to utilize Olsen all over the field.  The younger Olsen has the athletic ability to be a major factor in the flat, 15 yards across the field and nearly automatic in the red zone.  He’s a weapon too good to not be used in the right way and it’ll be up to Olson to get the ball to Olsen.

4th and One – 40 Reasons for change – No matter the situation, by the time you realize that change is needed, isn’t it often too late?  Hurricane fans are hoping that isn’t the case.  The 40-3 shellacking that LSU administered in Atlanta signaled that change was necessary, and that might be the best thing that ever happened to the 2006 season.  The infusion of coaching talent and new blood to this program has left head coach Larry Coker with no excuses, but also new voices to get his message across.  Hopefully, it’s not too late.

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