Posted: 9:57 am Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Tech opponent preview: Miami 

By Ken Sugiura

Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman rates among the top defensive players in the ACC. Against Georgia Tech last year, he led Miami with 11 tackles and added one quarterback hurry and a pass breakup. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman rates among the top defensive players in the ACC. Against Georgia Tech last year, he led Miami with 11 tackles and added one quarterback hurry and a pass breakup. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

 

Behold the latest Georgia Tech opponent preview, the Miami Hurricanes. The Coastal Division rivals will meet at Bobby Dodd Stadium Oct. 4, with Tech coming off a bye week for the fifth game of the season. Tech will be trying to break a five-game losing streak to the Hurricanes. Today’s analysis is provided by my Cox Media Group colleague Matt Porter, who covers the Hurricanes for the Palm Beach Post. You can read his stuff here and follow him on Twitter here.

Q: How justified are the high expectations for Miami?
A: Depends on how high you’re talking, I guess. Even with an unproven quarterback, UM should have one of the top offenses in the ACC. There’s a slew of talented backs and wideouts. The offensive line will be large and for the most part experienced. Though the defense has been one of the conference’s worst for several seasons, it should be better this year. Then again, we’ve heard that before. Looking at the schedule and the talent on campus, this should team should win eight to 10 games.

Q: What are one or two of the biggest question marks?
A: Quarterback and defense, and those are not ones a team wants to have. Right now, no healthy UM quarterback has started a game for the Hurricanes. Only fifth-year senior transfer Jake Heaps has started a college game. Only redshirt sophomore Gray Crow, who threw six passes last year against FCS doormat Savannah State, has taken the field for UM. We’re about to learn a lot in camp. The defense returns middle linebacker Denzel Perryman and graduated several average-at-best players. Now, it’s a more talented defense – five-star defensive end Chad Thomas should make an impact — but it’s still very much a mystery how good it can be.

Q: What’s the latest you’ve heard on quarterback Ryan Williams and his return from an ACL tear in the spring? Who do you think will be the starting quarterback against Tech?

A: When UM visits Atlanta on Oct. 4, my guess is we’ll see Williams. His rehab is going well and he expects to return sometime in September. If he hits a snag, we might see Heaps, a former five-star recruit on his third college team; true freshman Brad Kaaya, whom coaches consider the most talented QB on campus; or redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen, who was expected to back up Williams this fall but hasn’t impressed.

Q: After running back Duke Johnson, who are two or three of Miami’s biggest impact players?

A: Perryman was moved from weak-side to middle linebacker, which should allow him be more of a sideline-to-sideline force. He’s a natural inside guy at 6-foot, 245 pounds, and is certainly one of the hardest hitters in the ACC. The heart of UM’s defense … the Canes are lucky he returned for his senior season. They have a rising star in sophomore receiver Stacy Coley, who had 10 touchdowns last year (seven receptions, a kick return, a punt return and a rushing score). He’s a blur. Also, this could be a breakout year for junior cornerback Tracy Howard, a strong technician.

Q: What kind of season will keep fans happy?

A: It’s hard to find Mark D’Onofrio supporters in South Florida. Even coach Al Golden, entering his fourth season, is taking heat for his loyalty to his defensive coordinator. UM should be favored in all games except Florida State (home), Virginia Tech (road), Nebraska (road) and perhaps Louisville (road). If they can play average defense, the Canes could go 8-4, 9-3 or 10-2. Anything less will turn attention to Golden, rather than his assistant.

Tech opponent previews

Wofford, Aug. 30

Tulane, Sept. 6

Georgia Southern, Sept. 13

Virginia Tech, Sept. 20

Next up: Duke

16 comments
Yellerbug
Yellerbug

Duke Johnson will gain over 1500 yards this year if his ankle is healed and he stays healthy.  UM has a good O-line and an inexperienced QB so I expect a lot of running and a short passing game. They will win a lot of games that way.  With our new 4-2-5 D, we may have a lot of trouble (like losing 5 in a row isn't trouble enough) in stopping their running game.  This is one game we need to start fast and get a lead and make UM feel pressure to throw the ball which hopefully will lead to a couple of INTs.  Otherwise the fans at Bobby Dodd will watch a steady drubbing and exploitation of our suspect run defense with a smattering of effective passing as we try to plug holes along our D line. We may be still able to outscore them, but it would take one of our best offensive games that is turnover free to do so.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

I know we don't play them but I just can't stand anything about that team.  Their coach is a good guy and a fine coach.  They just make me mad when they take the field.  Even more than Florida.  Now that is saying something.

Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB
Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB

There's a trend here. Hokies, unproven qb. Canes, same deal. Jackets, ditto. Since qb on a triple option offense doesn't really require great passing skills, you could argue that we have a slight advantage in filling that position. At least among these three teams. Duke and UNC don't have those questions so maybe they have an edge at this point. Everybody is undefeated right now.

juvenal
juvenal

of course, the typical um fan votes the same demographic as their team, probably see it as another well deserved social program......... 

juvenal
juvenal

do we really want to $ell out our academic integrity like this $kule did? 

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Yellerbug I think you are misunderstanding the 4-2-5 Defense.  Just because we are using that as our "base" offense doesn't mean we will play every snap in it.  We will shift in and out of the 4-3 as necessary.  That's why I jokingly said we would probably play a 5-4 against GaSo.  


Also, how is a run defense that finished 11th in the nation last year suspect?  If anything, I think CTR has earned the benefit of the doubt that he'll find a way to stop the run this year.

Yellerbug
Yellerbug

@Quackmeyer  Golden does seem like a good guy and coach, but their team still plays like a bunch of thugs which if he's a good coach, he would cut that nonsense out. One of the sideline reporters in the GT-UM game 2 years ago commented that Laskey (and others) had scratches and claw marks all over his arms from UM players doing all sorts of dirty deeds in the pileup.  Such unethical style of play does not represent the ACC well. It's OK to have a little swagger, but to play like a street gang should be an embarrassment to the school.  On a breakaway run, one UM DB intentionally grabbed Godhigh's facemask and was so deliberate it spun Godhigh's helmet halfway around his head. He should have been ejected from the game. UM is definitely worthy of contempt and perhaps if enough teams sound off about it, maybe Golden will clean up the hoodlum behavior.

crackbaby
crackbaby

@Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB That wishful thinking would hold water if Tech's O-line could block anybody with a pulse.  Unfortunately, no single position group has performed worse in the last 3 years than Tech's O-line.

Tech needs to gain 5+ yards on first down, avoid 3rd and long and make the U (and any other opponent) commit to stopping the run before busting some long passes.  The Jackets failure to do this on offense the past 2 or 3 seasons is almost entirely attributable to poor blocking (and Vad Lee's fear of running in traffic).

BigCrimson75
BigCrimson75

Juvie -- They sold their integrity 30+ years ago.

Does the name Bernie Kosar mean anything?

Yellerbug
Yellerbug

@AugustaJacket @Yellerbug  I'm not misunderstanding the 4-2-5 as I know we will play the 4-3 as well. I think losing 3 starters on the D-line warrants concern, also a potential starter (Hunt-Days), a reliable backup also dismissed, our DEs seem a little light in poundage, an LB exchanged for a DB as a default setup and that Duke J. ran for about 200 yards against us and UM returns most of their O-line---all this should make us very concerned about stopping the run against UM.

I fully support CTR and DL coach Pelton and applaud their first year results--my point is their work is cutout for them this year as UM will be one of our toughest matchups---perhaps our 2nd toughest game next to UGA who with Gurley will also be another difficult RB to stop.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@Yellerbug @Quackmeyer   twisting a players facemask is dangerous and ejections should always follow.  Getting away with what you can in a  pile is not a dirty deed, it is football.  Bad things happen in that scrum and getting there first with a little poke, jab or a spit in the ear hole has always been part of the game. At least it was when I played.  Anything you can do to get your opponent off his game was what was taught to me by my coaches.  "win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat"  We won a ton of games!!!!!!

Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB
Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB

I know you don't need to be reminded crack buddy but our O line was doing fine on the road last year against the U. We were on the verge of going up by 3 scores until Vad started coming down with fumble itis. Then the solar heat took its toll on the defense. Or maybe it was Duke Johnson, or both. The O line was not the problem, at least for a half. We'll never know what would have happened if Vad didn't fumble. It's water over the dam now. Anyway, please allow me to be optimistic for a few more weeks.

juvenal
juvenal

@BigCrimson75 like i tell B_J, we go that way, i,m happy with fussball-going to Portland, or next week......

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Birmingham__Jacket @AugustaJacket @Yellerbug VT and Miami gave us trouble in the trenches.  uga and BYU didn't.  We gained 4.6 ypc against BYU's Dline and sacked the QB 3 times.  Our issue was defending those passes.  Taysom Hill was able to hit his receivers seemingly at will.  

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

@Yellerbug @AugustaJacket A few points:


1.  Duke Johnson is one of the best RB's in the nation.  He's put some big numbers up against several teams.


2.  The WDE's don't need to be real heavy.  Fast & strong are the main requirements.  Rook-Chungong @ 250 & Stargel @ 260 could stand to add 15-20 lbs, but again, not critical.  The bigger issue is how they do at game speed.


3.  If Green comes on strong and Kallon makes strides, good chance Gotsis moves to SDE.


4.  UM will always be one of the hardest opponents we face.  Talent-wise, they are better than uga and Clemson, and yet we don't have the same rivalry vibe with them that aids us in the rivalry games.  We really need to step up for this game.


5.  While UM has a good Oline returning, Johnson is still a ? as to how he returns from injury.  Also, they don't have a QB on the roster who's ever snapped a ball for UM.  Unless they can prove adept at the passing game, I suspect we see a lot of 4-3 fronts against them with the safety cheating on the line.