Returning Starters – Offense: 5 Defense: 6
Preview: Al Golden has had a tough job trying to turn around the Miami football program and even though he hasn’t made the strides fans are hoping for, the team has been steady in his 4 years as the head man. 2014 was a rebuild season with a true freshman QB taking over the starting job as Miami stepped back to 6 wins after getting 9 the year prior. The Canes closed out 2014 on a 4 game losing streak including a 21-24 bowl loss coming against South Carolina. Miami will look to take a step forward in 2015, but the team needs to replace 10 starters.
Miami’s offense hasn’t been the issue during the Al Golden era and this unit will look to build around budding star QB Brad Kaaya. There’s no more Duke Johnson or Phillip Dorsett to lean on, but Kaaya looks up to the challenge of leading this offense. Kaaya will work behind an O-line that’s a work in progress with just 2 starters returning. The RB position might not have the star power brought by Duke Johnson, but this unit should be formidable with Yearby and Edwards splitting time. The WR position has reloaded with a deep crop of players battling for playing time. Look for WR Stacy Coley to regain his prior form in 2015.
The Canes actually ranked well on the defensive side of the ball in 2014, but they had a very tough time getting off the field against the tougher teams they faced. Miami’s defense has lacked discipline under Golden and it should be interesting to see if this squad can replicate some of the success they had last season with 6 starters returning. Miami is lacking for depth in their defensive front and this unit will likely have a tough time stopping the tougher rushing attacks they face in 2015. The secondary looks to be the strength of the defense with talented guys like Bush, Burns, and Elder leading the unit.
Prediction: The program is far removed from their glory days and fans are getting restless with Al Golden entering his 5th season. This could be a make or break year for Golden as he looks to lead a young roster to success. Miami has recruited well with Golden as the head man, but the results just haven’t been there going 28-22 over the past 4 seasons. The fans demand a trip to the ACC title game, but it’ll be tough for this young group to stay out of the bottom half of the ACC Coastal.
Projected Record: 6-6 (3-5)