Preview 2010 - Nov. 13 Miami at Georgia Tech
Miami QB Jacory Harris & GT QB Josh Nesbitt
Miami QB Jacory Harris & GT QB Josh Nesbitt
Posted Jun 16, 2010

It has been one of the most interesting ACC showdowns over the last few years with Georgia Tech making a statement in 2008 and Miami shutting down the eventual champion in 2009. It's a late-season game that should make a huge impact on the ACC season. It's an early quick look at the November 13th showdown

Preview 2010 - Nov. 13

Miami at Georgia Tech

- 2010 Georgia Tech Preview | 2010 Georgia Tech Offense
- 2010 Georgia Tech Defense | 2010 Georgia Tech Depth Chart

- 2010 Miami Preview | 2010 Miami Offense
- 2010 Miami Defense | 2010 Miami Depth Chart

CFN Early Line: Miami -2.5

Offense: For a change, Miami hasn't hired a new coordinator in the offseason, the first sign of progress on this side of the ball. Mark Whipple is back for a second year, with two primary goals, coaching junior QB Jacory Harris to a higher level of play and getting more from the offensive line. Harris looked like an All-American last September before showing his youth and tossing more picks than any other ACC hurler. As he grows, so grows the ‘Cane attack. The front wall is a problem of a different kind, wrought with years of mediocrity and a collection of kids, like RT Jermaine Johnson and LG Brandon Washington, who hope to blossom early in their promising careers. The most promising news surrounds a collection of skill position players, such as RB Damien Berry, WR Leonard Hankerson, and WR LaRon Byrd, that will elevate the play of Harris under center.
Defense: With an all-star at each level and eight returning starters, Miami gets to build on the defensive success it had a year ago. The ‘Canes don't lose a ton from a group that ranked 29th and 37th nationally in total and scoring defense, respectively. From front to back, DE Allen Bailey, LB Colin McCarthy, and CB Brandon Harris will form the backbone, with a smattering of veterans and underclassmen building on that support. Barring injuries, this is a solid crew. However, elevating to higher ground will require someone, like Adewale Ojomo or Marcus Robinson, to support Bailey in the pass rush, and the defensive backs to parlay more tipped balls into takeways. The Hurricanes were No. 10 in the ACC in sacks and No. 9 in picks, results the team plans to address this fall.

Three Miami Players To Know

1) With just about everyone back from a year ago, Miami is envisioning its best defensive line in years. It all begins on the outside with 6-4, 288-pound DE Allen Bailey, the freakishly explosive athlete, with a clear path to the Sundays. With a rare blend of burst and acceleration in the frame of a tackle, he has the strength to with most blockers, en route to making plays behind the line. In his first full season in the lineup, he made 34 tackles and a team-high 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks. After making All-ACC first team, national honors could be next.

2) Junior Jacory Harris is more than just important. He might be the most pivotal Hurricane player in a decade. Yes, he showed flashes of excellence in his first full year as a starter, but he was also maddeningly inconsistent, which has to change if Miami is going to win an ACC championship. He wound up going 242-of-406 for 3,352 yards, 24 touchdown passes, and a league-high 17 picks. A slender 6-4, 190-pounder, he has a great feel for the pocket and is one of the most poised players at the position late in games. However, if he can't stop forcing passes into tight spaces and bird-dogging many throws, it's going to have a negative impact on the entire program.

3) With most of last year's letterwinners back, Miami is hoping to take a leap forward in pass defense. Leading the charge is 5-11, 195-pound junior Brandon Harris, who used last season to become one of the nation's premier young cover corners. Displaying next-level hips and an instant break on the ball, he earned his spot on the All-ACC first team with 58 tackles, six tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and a team-best 15 pass breakups. If he continues to improve and play with a physical demeanor, the ‘Canes could be replacing him at this time next year.
Georgia Tech
Offense: Can the spread-option be a perennial force in the ACC? You bet. His offense cranking on all cylinders and his roster beginning to reflect his vision, Paul Johnson has the Jacket attack buzzing after just two seasons. Georgia Tech really turned it up a notch in 2009, leading the ACC in rushing, scoring, and total offense; only Miami, Georgia, and Iowa kept it under 28 points. While the early departures of RB Jonathan Dwyer and WR Demaryius Thomas, and the rebuilding of the O-line are legitimate concerns, Tech doesn't plan on going in reverse. First team All-ACC QB Josh Nesbitt is back to pilot the offense, and a new wave of B-backs and A-backs are poised to pad stat sheets. In particular, Anthony Allen, who averaged 9.7 yards a carry is preparing for lift-off. Young Stephen Hill is aiming to become the next big-play receiver on the Flats, while unproven linemen Nick Claytor, Omoregie Uzzi, and Nick McRae could carry the fate of the offense on their pads.
Defense: Georgia Tech needs some answers on defense. Former Virginia head coach Al Groh was brought in to provide them. In one of the best coaching maneuvers of the offseason, Paul Johnson landed a long-time veteran and one of the game's better defensive minds. For as mediocre as the Cavaliers were for years, the defense was perennially sound. He brings a new look and attitude that'll include a shift to the 3-4 defense, and an intimate knowledge of the ACC. After wallowing the last two seasons, the Jackets need a fresh voice to ignite the defense. No higher than sixth in the league in any major category, Tech yielded almost 25 points a game and lost its only all-stars, DE Derrick Morgan and S Morgan Burnett, to early entry into the NFL Draft. Helping the unit get over the hump of mediocrity will be LB Brad Jefferson and corners Mario Butler and Jerrard Tarrant.

Three Georgia Tech Players To Know

1) After two seasons of running the spread option, 6-1, 218-pound senior Josh Nesbitt is set to contend for honors beyond just the ACC. The league's first team quarterback, he ran for 1,037 yards and 18 touchdowns on 279 carries, while going 75-of-162 for 1,701 yards, 10 touchdowns and five picks through the air. A tough and physical runner, he has a knack for bouncing off would-be tacklers, and is constantly getting better with his pitches and decision-making. More of a big-play passer than an accurate one, he might not be the same threat through the air now that big-play WR Demaryius Thomas is a member of the Denver Broncos.

2) The switch to a 3-4 means more jobs on the two-deep and a greater need for quality linebackers. The only casualty is Sedric Griffin, and imports from the defensive line are becoming commonplace. At one of the two inside spots, the leader will be 6-2, 242-pound senior Brad Jefferson, who's going to flourish in this system. One of the emotional and physical leaders of the defense, he had a team-high 95 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles to earn honorable mention All-ACC. A physical tackler in the open field, he's ideally constructed as a run defender.
3) Yes, the Yellow Jackets wish Jonathan Dwyer hadn't left early for the NFL. No, they won't be destitute in the backfield. Senior Anthony Allen, a former transfer from Louisville, has been itching at the opportunity to be the feature back, or B-back, in this attack, rolling up some impressive numbers in limited opportunities last fall. Averaging over 10 yards a touch, he carried 64 times for 618 yards and six scores, adding five receptions for 112 yards and another touchdown. Not unlike his predecessor, he runs with the power of a fullback and the speed of a tailback, setting the stage for a monster final season in Atlanta.