By this point in the college football season most teams are already seven to eight games in, Miami is a game behind due to Hurricane Irma. With this being the midway point, let’s review the U so far, as they prepare for a crucial stretch of their season. When the season started there was plenty of question marks regarding certain positions that now seem to have more clarity. Although Miami is still undefeated many out there feel as if the “luck” will run out.
Midseason Miami Hurricanes Review
Offensive Positional Breakdown
The biggest question mark was how would Malik Rosier look running the show after the departure of Brad Kayaa. So far Rosier has Miami in a position that Kayaa wasn’t able to reach: an undefeated team six weeks into the schedule. For all the criticism that he has garnered for some poor first half performances, Rosier has continued to lead Miami to more wins. Although dramatic, his play has been very consistent without turning the ball over. Overall Rosier has done a very solid job leading the team and being clutch in big moments.
During spring football, coaches were very cautious with their star tailback Mark Walton. The coaching staff did not want to expose the lack of depth behind the preseason All-ACC back. Walton’s season ending ankle surgery turned to good news for the Miami Hurricanes. Walton’s backup, Travis Homer has gone above and beyond expectations as the lead back. Since being the starter Homer is averaging 132 yards per game on 20 carries, which is higher than Walton before his injury.
The Miami Hurricanes have a rich tradition of elite play from it’s wide receivers. With Ahmon Richards breaking Michael Irvin’s freshman record last season, expectations coming into the season were high. Collectively the group has done a tremendous job with a new name emerging every week. Although Richards has been battling hamstring issues since training camp, others have stepped up. Braxton Berrios opened up the season scoring touchdowns in the first four games. Darrell Langham has created a legendary story behind his fourth quarter catches. The freshman Jeff Thomas is also started to turn the corner in October and put teams on notice.
— Ronny Torres (@RonnyTorresSS) October 21, 2017
The offensive line has been considerably better this season then in years past. Having senior left tackle KC McDermott in his second season helps the offense immensely. He along with left guard Trevor Darling have paved the way for the Miami rushing attack, and allow Rosier to pass unimpeded. The right guard position has been a revolving door since the injury of freshman Navaughn Donaldson. Corey Gaynor and Hayden Mahoney have been great boosts to the offensive line since the injury. In comparison to last season where the offensive line was struggling at this point, it’s visible that this line is more consistent.
PFF Week 8 – ACC Team of the Week – Offense pic.twitter.com/DCG8Ag26gc
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) October 24, 2017
Defensive Positional Breakdown
The heart and soul of the Miami Hurricanes defense is in the trenches. Miami is one of few teams that has the luxury of having a talented yet deep crop of capable players on their front. Trent Harris leads the team in sacks with four through six games and he is a reserve. Same goes with Demetrius Jackson who ranks third on the team in sacks. On the interior RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton are the cream of the crop of the ACC and could very much be NFL draft picks after this season.
Miami had the luxury of returning three starters at the linebacker position after all were freshmen a season ago. There is still much growth that is needed between the three but Michael Pinckney is beginning to separate from the bunch. His performance against Syracuse earned him a national player of the week honor. If the others can match his intensity and play, Miami becomes a more dangerous defense. To make a run at a conference title or have a playoff hope there will have to be improved play from this group
By now everyone has seen the turnover chain that a Hurricanes defender wears after getting a turnover. The defensive backs were the first to wear the chain and they are making it a habit. Despite having only five corners coming into the season, three of them have already recorded an interception. In fact at the mid-season point the group has already matched the amount of turnovers forced last season.
From the safety position, inexperience and miscommunication have hurt the group. But their physicality is not lacking, which is always a welcomed sign. Jaquan Johnson is the leader on the back end and shows potential to be a ball hawk.
Overall this team has shown growth in each game. They are rolling at the right time, despite injuries and not having a bye week. If Miami can fix some of the lackluster play they exhibited early on, there is a real chance the Hurricanes will win the conference.