2011 Record: (6-6, 3-5 in ACC)
Head Coach: Al Golden (second year at Miami, 33-40 All-Time)
Last Bowl Game: 2010 Sun Bowl (lost to Notre Dame 33-17)
Big Name Out of Conference Opponents: 9/8 at Kansas St, 10/6 vs Notre Dame, 11/17 vs USF
Stats to Cheer: allowed 20.1 ppg (3rd in ACC, 17th in Nation)
Stat to Fear: 18.3 first downs gained pre game (11th in ACC, 93rd in Nation)
Phil Steele's Returning Starters: (Offense: 4; Defense: 6; Specialists: 2)
Key Defensive Returnees: S Vaughn Telemaque (59 tackles), LB Denzel Perryman (68 tackles), DE Anthony Chickillo (38 tackles, 5 sacks), S Ray -Ray Armstrong (34 tackles)
Key Offensive Returnees: RB Mike James (275 yds rushing, 7 TD), WR Allen Hurns (31 rec, 4 TD), OT Seantrel Henderson, OG Brandon Linder
The Hurricanes have quite a bit of re-tooling to do on offense. They must replace their starting QB, leading rusher and top two receivers. The big question is who will take over at QB as both Stephen Morris and Memphis transfer Ryan Williams are fighting for the job. Morris played in five games last year but only threw 37 passes and 2 of those were intercepted. In 2010, Morris played in six games completed 53.6% of his passes and had a TD to INT ratio of 7:9. Ryan Williams was the starter for lowly Memphis in 2010 and posted a TD to INT ratio of 13:10 with a 56.9% completion rate. Whoever wins the starting QB job (It will probably be Morris) will struggle to produce the results Jacory Harris did in 2011.
According to Phil Steele, Miami is the 123rd most experienced team in the FBS (there are 124 teams in the FBS this season). When you look around the depth chart there is a lot of youth. They only have one senior listed as a projected starter on offense and five on defense. The most experienced unit for Miami is by far the secondary and the Hurricanes need for this unit, led by Ray-Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque, to really step up this season. The Canes have talent but it's young and it will probably take a while to develop. According to Scout.com the Cane ranked ninth in their recruiting rankings last season so help should be on the way. Defense is the key to this season for Miami. They need to be lights out for Miami to be a contender in the ACC this year.
One big roadblock for this young team is that they play the toughest out of conference schedule in the ACC. They play at a very gritty Kansas State team, they play Notre Dame in Soldier Field and they also play a very experienced USF squad in November. I see the Canes taking a small step back this year before taking a step forward once Golden has a few recruiting classes under his belt.
2012 Prediction: 5-7
Previous 2012 Previews:
Big 12: Kansas