The U's best LB, Sean Spence

Week 3: Miami Hurricanes Preview

The U bailed us out a bit this year off the field by managing to make our suspensions look like child’s play (my thank you letter to them), but don’t expect them to lay down on the field to make us look better there too.  Miami’s athleticism helped to keep the score within reason last year, and our depleted roster this year certainly doesn’t help us.  Miami only has one game under their belt this year to study, but hopefully the Bucks got the wake-up call out of the way last week and are ready to crush the Canes.  Here are a few things to watch for this weekend in the game being dubbed as the Ineligi-Bowl…


Jacory Harris, the human highlight reel...for the opposition

Jacory Harris, the returning starter at quarterback from last season, is back from a one game suspension (don’t get me started on their one game, as opposed to Hall, Howard, and Brown’s on-going suspensions) to lead the Canes.  He has often been hyped by ESPN, and was once considered a Heisman hopeful, but has shown the inability to protect the ball and make efficient decisions.  In fact, he completed more passes to OSU defenders that day than to his second leading Miami receiver, by throwing four interceptions (Cameron Heyward essentially had 80 yards on one catch from Harris).  Still, Harris is typically accurate on his short passes when given time, and since he didn’t play in the loss to Maryland this year, we can assume that this still holds true for his performance against most ACC defenses. 

Miami’s top rusher and top receiver from last year’s game are gone, unfortunately, so are ours.  This year, watch for Lamar Miller and Mike James to share some carries, with Miller getting the bulk of the work.  Miller is a 4-star recruit from Miami who has great speed and vision, while James, another 4-star recruit, is more likely to take on tacklers and give/receive some hits.  If Johnathon “Big Time” Hankins and the Bucks D-line can stay strong and get big in the middle, Miller likes to bounce his runs outside of the tackles.  This may fly against some of the ACC teams, but OSU’s linebackers and secondary will be able to take pursuit routes and pinch him to the sidelines easily.  On the other hand, if Miller gets the corner or has a hole to work with, he won’t waste it and is tough to catch in the open field.  James is less of a homerun threat, but the likely goalline candidate…by NFL terms, a fantasy vulture. 
Allen Hurns, the team’s leading receiver after one game, is a fairly big target at 6’2″, but doesn’t strike me as someone that should cause any more trouble than Eric Page last week.  Tommy Streeter, another big target at 6’5″, fits into the same boat as Hurns, with tons of athletic ability, but not an overwhelming feeling of intimidation.  In other words, both receivers are good, but they are more likely to cause problems in the short/possession game, than in long, explosive plays. Look for returning WR, Travis Benjamin to be the playmaker, just as he was last year with his punt return TD against us.
In summary, remember the offensive juggernaut of Willis McGahee, Kellen Winslow Jr., Andre Johnson, and Roscoe Parrish that OSU beat in 2003?  This isn’t them, but they are still a college in Florida, which means an abundance of speed and talent, and not everyone can go to an SEC school, so some of the good ones end up at the U. 
Defense/Special Teams

Not to beat a dead horse but the 2003 Miami defense they are NOT.  This unit gave up over 20 points 8 times last year and let Maryland put up a 32 in week 1 of this season.  In their defense, it was probably hard to focus on formations, coverages, and potential threats because of Maryland’s God awful jerseys, but Rule #76 does state “No excuses, play like a champion,” and they did not.  They gave up 311 yards and 19 first downs to the Terps…in the first half. 

I won’t get into too many details, but the bottom line with the Hurricane’s defense is that they have speed, they have ability, but like a lot of undisciplined teams (try to argue that fact, and I will slap you) they can’t put it together and harness their individual skills for the good of the defensive scheme.  OSU will need to utilize our newfound freshmen depth at WR to take advantage of a Miami secondary that should give them plenty of opportunities to catch and run.  One bright spot on The U’s linebacker, Sean Spence, brings a lot of energy to the D, so having Zach Boren slam into him a few times might help keep him from getting them too pumped up. 
I certainly hope that this doesn’t come as a shock to any of our readers, but special teams scares me in this game.  You may remember Lamar Miller, the starting RB that I mentioned earlier, from his first quarter kickoff return for a touchdown in last year’s game.  There was also that small matter of the 79 yard touchdown that we gave up on a punt return in that game too.  Combine last year’s success against us on special teams with the fact that we have an inept field goal unit, kickoffs landing at the 10 yard line, and inconsistent coverage, and you understand why I hope we get it together in practice and show up with a new look/attitude this week.  Miami’s own kicker/punter duo is relatively unknown in first year starting kicker Jake Wieclaw (1-1 FG, 3-3 PAT) and freshman punter Dalton Botts (2 punts for 38.5 yard average).  To me, that means pressure, pressure, pressure…and maybe send Ryan Shazier after them since the guy he blocked on Chris Fields’ punt return is probably still on the 35 yard line at The Shoe wondering what hit him. 
9/17 OSU vs. Miami

This isn’t the National Championship game of 2003, but it is a chance for Miami to knock off a “rival” and someone that they want revenge on for taking away a piece of history and ending their dynasty.  On the other side, this is the week that we will see who Ohio State is and learn whether or not we are BCS bowl or Alamo Bowl material.  To win this game, Ohio State needs to win the turnover battle, be solid on special teams, and give the QB time to complete short passes and build confidence.  OSU 27   Miami 21

Tags: Ineligi-bowl Jacory Harris Lamar Miller Miami Hurricanes Mike James Ohio State Ryan Shazier Sean Spence

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