Manny Diaz and the Miami Hurricanes start 0-2 for the first time since 1978. Not the start the team envisioned after coining the term “The New Miami” in the offseason. While the results on the scoreboard have not yielded the desired result, Miami does look much improved.
Factors That Could Help Miami Hurricanes’ Start
There are several factors that should help the Hurricanes get into the wins column. These factors should help fans reduce panic after the Miami Hurricanes’ start to the season.
While the Hurricanes are one of the notable power five teams that have yet to win a game, they also have yet to play any home games. Miami will play it’s first home game this Saturday against Bethune-Cookman, which should allow the Hurricanes to most of its roster. Many teams play lower-tier teams within the first two weeks of the schedule. Miami opened up with two road games against SEC and ACC opponents. Ironically in both games, the Hurricanes had the lead at some point in the fourth quarter. Both losses were by a combined seven points and Miami lost on the last drive.
Now the Hurricanes will have five straight home games. The team can regroup after playing in back to back tough environments. Miami will be home for over a month and will not be on the road until late October. Hard Rock Stadium will be a big advantage for the Hurricanes when playing against Virginia and Virginia Tech, two teams that could challenge for the Coastal title.
Getting Valuable Players Back
Miami was without several players for the first two games of the season. Most of whom are on defense, which has struggled in the fourth quarter. Players like Nesta Silvera, Patrick Joyner, and Bradley Jennings will all be returning at some point during Miami’s home stretch. Offensively, speedster Lorenzo Lingard should make his return back from a knee injury this week. Bubba Bolden will also be eligible to play against Virginia Tech, giving the Hurricanes more range at the safety position.
Through the first two games, Miami has been very dependent on a core group of players. Many of the starters on offense and defense also start on special teams. With several of the players returning, the core group should have less responsibility and be fresher for the thick of the season.
Upside of Youth
There is no denying that Miami is very young at key positions. The Hurricanes started two freshmen at offensive tackle against Florida, in addition to having a freshman at quarterback. Miami made a change in week two, kicking a sophomore guard out to tackle and inserting a freshman at guard. Even in the loss, the offensive line looked much improved with almost 500 yards of offense.
Jarren Williams threw for over 300 yards in his second game as a collegiate starter. Sophomore Brevin Jordan leads the Hurricanes in receptions, yards receiving and receiving touchdowns. On the offensive line, four out of the five starters are either freshmen or sophomores. Defensively, the Hurricanes team leader in tackles for loss and sacks is freshman Greg Rousseau. In only his second start for the Hurricanes, sophomore Gurvan Hall leads the team in tackles. Miami’s kicker Bubba Baxa has also been in some tough situations very early into the season but the sophomore should bounce back.
With that much youth against two power five teams, Miami has played well to only be within seven points of having an undefeated season. The good news for the Hurricanes is that those young players will improve as the season goes on.
Miami is likely the only team in the power five that has played back to back road games in tough environments this early into the season. Diaz is in his first season as a head coach and is also going through a learning phase losing to former head coaches he worked under. The team has flashed the potential and can still be an ACC contender this season despite the youth.