2012 Record: 7-5 (5-3 in ACC)
Head Coach: Al Golden (13-11 at Miami, 40-45 Overall)
Last Bowl Game: 2010 Sun Bowl: lost to Notre Dame 33-17
Stadium: Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL (capacity = 74,916)
Home Field Advantage: ranked 48th out of 69 BCS teams
2013 Schedule Link
Out of Conference: 8/30 vs FAU, 9/7 vs Florida, 9/21 vs Savannah State, 9/28 at USF
Toughest Conference Home Games: 10/5 vs Georgia Tech, 11/9 vs Virginia Tech
Toughest Conference Road Games: 11/2 at FSU, 10/17 at UNC
2012 Statistics Link
Stats to Fear: scored TDs on just 51.92% of red zone trips (10th in ACC), gave up 205 plays of 10 yards or more (last in ACC), only had 13 sacks in 2012 (11th in ACC)
Stat to Cheer: had 16 pass plays of 40 or more yards (2nd in ACC)
Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 60th out of 124 teams
Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 10, Defense: 8, Special Teams: 0
Key Defensive Returnees: LB Denzel Perryman (64 tackles), DE Shayon Green (67 tackles), DE Anthony Chickillo (45 tackles, 4 sacks)
Key Offensive Returnees: QB Stephen Morris (3345 yds pass, 21 TD, 7 INT), RB Duke Johnson (947 yds rush, 6.81 ypc, 10 TD), WR Phillip Dorsett (58 rec, 4 TD)
CFBZ: The Hurricanes went from giving up 20.1 ppg in 2011 to 30.5 in 2012. What were the biggest issues with the defense last season?
Canes Warning: Not to beat a dead horse, but the Hurricanes’ defense in 2012 was young. I think Golden was still trying to figure out what positions to put players at on defense and ultimately, he played a lot of musical chairs. Simply put, Miami’s defense wasn’t deep – certainly not as deep as it has been in past years. The run defense struggled and the pass defense was almost nonexistent.
CFBZ: Which players need to step up on the defense if the Canes are to see improvement this season?
Canes Warning: I would like to see DE Anthony Chickillo turn the corner going into his junior year. After a somewhat lackluster 2012 season, the third generation Hurricane needs to be more physical. He seemed to get dominated a lot at the line of scrimmage and Miami fans are hoping for a big 2013 season out of him. Also, Tracy Howard has yet to reach his full potential. The Hurricanes’ secondary struggled in 2012, but Howard possesses the talent to become the next great Miami cornerback.
CFBZ: Outside of Florida and FSU, what games do the fans have circled on the schedule?
Canes Warning: I would say North Carolina would have to be circled. Last season Bernard shredded Miami’s defense and the Hurricanes have struggled against the Tar Heels as of late. Also, Virginia would be one to circle. I don’t know what it is about the Cavaliers, but Miami always seems to lay an egg vs. Virginia. I know that Virginia returns a lot of starters from last season and the Hurricanes haven’t beaten Virginia since 2009.
CFBZ: What will make the 2013 season a success in your eyes?
Canes Warning: Certainly an ACC Championship and a BCS bowl would be considered a success, but coming off of a 7-5 season, and with a potent offense, I think that Miami has the potential to have a 9 or 10 win season. To me, any improvement in overall record and any obvious sign of growth and maturity on the defensive side of the ball would also be considered a success. In any event, I think that Miami’s future is bright.
Al Golden was dealt a rough hand at Miami and has gotten off to a slow start. Now that he is in his third year it looks like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Stephen Morris will be the starting QB for the second straight year and he has big play potential and play-makers surrounding him. The biggest area he needs to concentrate on is being more consistent as 58.2% completions is not going to cut it this season. RB Duke Johnson made a splash last year as a freshman but this year he will be in the limelight. He is an explosive play-maker and getting the ball in his hands more should pay dividends for the Canes. Miami is deep at receiver and have one of the best overall corps in the ACC. The OL has 93 career starts to it's credit and should be a strength this season as it has several All-ACC caliber players.
While Al Golden was at Temple, the defense got better every year and was a strength of the team at the end of his tenure. In 2011 at Miami, the defense was a strength but that unit allowed 10.4 more points in 2012. The positive? Because of the youth of last years team they have a lot of returning starters. In fact, they had only one senior in their top 16 tacklers (they also lost their third and fourth leading tacklers in LBs Gionni Paul and Eddie Johnson). The defense will be a big key this season. They should be better but how much better will go a long way to seeing just how good the Canes will be this season.
The schedule is very workable for the Canes. They play Florida early but should be at worst 3-1 heading into conference play. The first two conference games, Georgia Tech and UNC, will let us know where Miami stands among their ACC peers. The Canes survived the Jackets last year in OT but fell to the Heels. UNC will be better this year and GT will be a big test for the Canes defense. If the Canes win those two games then they will be the favorites to win the Coastal Division. Mid-Season dates with FSU (11/2) and Virginia Tech (11/9) also loom large on the schedule. Miami will be a handful for opposing defenses this season and I believe they have a very good shot at taking the Coastal Division.
Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews:
C-USA- ECU, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulsa, Tulane, UAB, UTEP, UTSA
MAC- Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, EMU, Kent State, Miami (OH), Ohio, Toledo,UMass, WMU