Check out the advanced-stats glossary here. Below, a unique review of last year's team, a unit-by-unit breakdown of this year's roster, the full 2016 schedule with win projections for each game, and more.
1. "That makes sense."
Every coaching search takes on its own identity over time. Maybe there's an obvious front-runner from the start. Maybe there are 20 semi-sensible names. Maybe the fan base adopts one particular name while administration works from a completely different list.
Occasionally, a perfectly sensible name comes out of the blue.
From the moment Al Golden was formally done as Miami's head coach, a lot of names got tossed around. A large section of the fan base clamored for former Miami head coach Butch Davis, the architect of the Hurricanes' last run of dominance. We saw Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen's name. Former Rutgers and Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano. Former FIU head coach and 'Cane player Mario Cristobal. Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.
Then Georgia fired Mark Richt. And within about three days, Richt was Miami's man.
Richt is a Miami alum who won 145 games over 15 years with Georgia. For those who were suitably spooked by Davis' NCAA issue at North carolina, Richt is the perfect antidote; he's won nearly twice as many games as Davis as a college head coach, and from an NCAA perspective, he did so while staying cleaner than just about any other major winner in that span. He's 56, which means he could have 10-15 years left in the tank if things go well.
After weighing the pros and cons of the Davises and Schianos of the world, Richt's name emerged, and the reaction was simply, "Ah, that makes sense."
Richt is a strong, proven coach. He's also a coach who could benefit from a fresh start. His marriage with Georgia grew stale, as most 15-year coaching marriages tend to do, with issues popping up just frequently enough to create memes. He "lost control!" of his program too many times to count. He made some great coordinator hires and some incredibly not-great ones. He proved himself a consistent winner but lost enough big games that he could be painted with college football's most ridiculous brush: "He can't win the big one!"
(Why is it ridiculous? Because almost everyone's season is done in because of some loss, and as fans, we tend to just add up those losses as "big ones" without noting how many games a coach won to make the "big one" matter. Richt won a lot of big games at UGA. He also lost a lot.)
Richt was successful enough to lose a lot of assistant coaches; as with hiring a head coach, every time you hire a new assistant, you run the risk of making an iffy choice, and Richt certainly made a few in Athens. His first staff at Miami is an interesting mix of proven entities (defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski), veterans with spotty recent records (offensive line coach Stacy Searels), unproven guys in larger roles (offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, safeties coach Ephraim Banda), and alums (cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph).
Richt won at least 10 games in 10 of the last 14 seasons at UGA; Miami incredibly hasn't pulled that off since 2003. The Hurricanes haven't won enough in recent years to even worry about having a coach who can or cannot "win the big one." Richt will almost certainly raise the bar at The U beyond where it's been since the midway point of Larry Coker's tenure. We'll worry about whether he can clear that bar at a later date.
|Record: 8-5 | Adj. Record: 9-4 | Final F/+ Rk: 62 | Final S&P+ Rk: 51|
|Date||Opponent||Opp. F/+ Rk||Score||W-L||Percentile
|11-Sep||at Florida Atlantic||96||44-20||W||87%||98%||+8.6||+6.5|
|10-Oct||at Florida State||12||24-29||L||39%||5%||+12.1||+4.0|
|14-Nov||at North Carolina||24||21-59||L||23%||1%||-28.7||-26.0|
|26-Dec||vs. Washington State||54||14-20||L||70%||69%||-9.9||-3.5|
|Points Per Game||27.8||71||28.2||77|
2. The breaking point
Sometimes you need a definitive event. Al Golden, on the hot seat for seemingly years heading into 2015, was on his way to another seven- to eight-win season, something questionable enough to infuriate fans and just decent enough to perhaps sway administrators.
Sometimes we get stuck in limbo, waiting for the other shoe to drop. You're waiting for either a breakthrough win or a breakthrough loss. Perhaps luckily for Miami, Clemson came to town and the other shoe indeed fell.
Dabo Swinney's awesome Tigers destroyed Miami in every way a team can be destroyed, and Golden was gone. Interim coach Larry Scott took over, and Miami was basically the exact same team as it was pre-Clemson.
- Miami before Clemson:
Record: 4-2 | Average percentile performance: 69% (~top 40) | Yards per play: UM 6.4, Opp 5.9
- Miami after Clemson:
Record: 4-2 | Average percentile performance: 64% (~top 45) | Yards per play: UM 6.0, Opp 5.6
Golden was 0-5 against Florida State and got blown out in his only chances against Notre Dame (in 2012) and Clemson (in 2015). That's not really the best way to ingratiate yourself to the fanbase. And in the middle of another decent-not-great season, Golden's last game was one final pantsing.
Granted, Richt had his own issues with a Florida-based rival at Georgia...
|FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||40.3%||82||Succ. Rt. +||102.7||63|
|FIELD POSITION||Def. Avg. FP||28.0||31||Def. FP+||27.7||28|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||4.3||86||Redzone S&P+||92.7||102|
|Q1 Rk||53||1st Down Rk||47|
|Q2 Rk||69||2nd Down Rk||32|
|Q3 Rk||84||3rd Down Rk||56|
3. A Thomas Brown offense
Thomas Brown only just turned 30 years old. The 2008 UGA grad rushed for 2,646 yards and 23 touchdowns under Richt in the mid-2000s, and after spending a couple of years in the pros, he initiated what has been a rather quick-rising coaching career. He was Georgia's assistant strength and conditioning coach in 2011, then coached running backs at Chattanooga (2012), Marshall (2013), Wisconsin (2014), and Georgia (2015).
Granted, he's inherited pretty strong running back units at each step of his career, but his guys have still produced. At Marshall, the trio of Essray Taliaferro, Steward Butler, and Kevin Grooms rushed for 2,408 yards at 6 yards per carry. At Wisconsin, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement rushed for 3,536 yards at 7.2 per carry. And at Georgia last year, despite the midseason loss of star Nick Chubb and massive passing game troubles, Chubb, Sony Michel and Keith Marshall still combined for 2,258 yards at 6 per carry.
Brown's record as a running backs coach is good. His record as an offensive coordinator is completely unknown, as this is his first year in that job. Richt will call plays, but it sounds like Brown will shape and install the system. Via the Miami Herald:
"He's going to call the plays,'' Brown said of the head coach on Wednesday, when asked how the new system will work. "I'm going to organize everything else from the offensive coordinator's standpoint and obviously from an install concept. I'm going to introduce those concepts to the players and be able to coach it that way."
If his influences tell us anything, it's that we'll be looking at a pro-style attack of sorts, with plenty of two-back looks and vertical potential in the passing game. But while Brown spent the last two years helping strong backs run the ball well without much of a passing threat, at Miami, he inherits a great passer and a run game that was mostly dreadful last year.
It doesn't make much sense to say it, but it's true. Miami's run game was a true "whole less than the some of the parts" attack. Joe Yearby is a great receiver out of the backfield, and Mark Walton was a 2015 blue-chipper. And there are a few former four-star recruits on the offensive line. But only 35% of Yearby/Walton's carries gained five yards, one in five Miami rushes either lost yardage or gained nothing, and the Hurricanes ranked a miserable 117th in Rushing S&P+.
That everybody's back will help. Yearby and Walton return, as does Gus Edwards, who missed the 2015 season with injury. Those three, plus efficiency back Trayone Gray and incoming freshman Travis Homer should give Brown plenty of options. Plus, those responsible for 63 of 65 of last year's line starts are back. [Update: Gray will miss the 2016 season with a torn ACL.]
Edwards' return is big -- he is an explosive back in a 240-pound package (assuming he's 100 percent recovered from last year's foot injury) -- and if Brown can figure out how to establish the run, then the passing game will be devastating. But it's hard to go from 117th to establishing the run.
Note: players in bold below are 2016 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.
|Brad Kaaya||6'4, 210||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9356||238||389||3238||16||5||61.2%||16||4.0%||7.7|
|Malik Rosier||6'1, 218||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8438||29||57||338||2||3||50.9%||3||5.0%||5.2|
|Evan Shirreffs||6'5, 200||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8206|
|Jack Allison||6'5, 193||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9253|
4. And if the run doesn't work, you've still got Kaaya
That Miami still ranked 45th in Off. S&P+ without any sort of run game was impressive and revealing. Quarterback Brad Kaaya posted at least a 132 passer rating in eight games last year, and despite a midseason concussion suffered against Clemson, he helped the Hurricanes to a No. 17 Passing S&P+ ranking. Largely thanks to him, Miami is in a pretty good place on offense.
Kaaya has been asked to be a leader since the first game of his true freshman season, and he has mostly responded well to the role. He struggled on passing downs (and faced plenty of them), but his first- and second-down success (66 percent completion rate, 152.4 passer rating) hints at what he could be capable of if he has any run game to play off of.
With a rather new receiving corps at his disposal, Kaaya completed 29 of 45 passes for 345 yards in the spring game. I'm not sure how much he will improve on passing downs with new options out wide, but there's a decent chance that Miami is able to establish one of the better standard downs offenses in the country.
|Joseph Yearby||RB||5'9, 207||Jr.||4 stars (6.0)||0.9767||205||1002||6||4.9||4.4||39.0%||0||0|
|Mark Walton||RB||5'9, 195||So.||4 stars (6.0)||0.9588||130||461||9||3.5||3.7||27.7%||5||2|
|RB||6'2, 241||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8569||61||349||6||5.7||6.4||36.1%||1||1|
|Trayone Gray||RB||6'2, 220||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8576||24||145||2||6.0||4.9||45.8%||1||0|
|Brad Kaaya||QB||6'4, 210||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9356||14||4||2||0.3||6.3||7.1%||7||2|
|Malik Rosier||QB||6'1, 218||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8438||11||22||0||2.0||1.1||27.3%||0||0|
|Braxton Berrios||WR||5'9, 180||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8818||4||72||0||18.0||27.3||50.0%||0||0|
|Gage Batten||FB||6'1, 235||Sr.||NR||NR|
|Cory Giordano||FB||6'1, 235||RSFr.||NR||NR|
|Travis Homer||RB||5'11, 195||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.9081|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||Targets||Catches||Yards||Catch Rate||Target
|Stacy Coley||SLOT||6'1, 193||Sr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9714||65||47||689||72.3%||14.9%||10.6||69.2%||55.4%||1.68|
|David Njoku||TE||6'4, 240||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8478||37||21||362||56.8%||8.5%||9.8||54.1%||45.9%||2.03|
|Joseph Yearby||RB||5'9, 207||Jr.||4 stars (6.0)||0.9767||33||23||273||69.7%||7.6%||8.3||48.5%||42.4%||1.69|
|Christopher Herndon IV||TE||6'5, 254||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8550||31||18||237||58.1%||7.1%||7.6||71.0%||45.2%||1.65|
|Mark Walton||RB||5'9, 195||So.||4 stars (6.0)||0.9588||29||22||293||75.9%||6.7%||10.1||41.4%||51.7%||1.88|
|Braxton Berrios||SLOT||5'9, 180||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8818||18||12||86||66.7%||4.1%||4.8||61.1%||50.0%||0.84|
|Lawrence Cager||WR||6'5, 213||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8894||18||8||70||44.4%||4.1%||3.9||55.6%||27.8%||1.40|
|Standish Dobard||TE||6'4, 265||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.9082||16||8||90||50.0%||3.7%||5.6||62.5%||43.8%||1.03|
|Malcolm Lewis||SLOT||5'10, 197||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9028||12||5||47||41.7%||2.8%||3.9||83.3%||41.7%||0.93|
|Darrell Langham||WR||6'4, 236||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8672|
|Dayall Harris||WR||6'0, 185||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||NR|
|Sam Bruce||SLOT||5'8, 180||Fr.||4 stars (6.0)||0.9572|
|Ahmmon Richards||WR||6'1, 171||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9307|
|Dionte Mullins||WR||5'10, 180||Fr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9227|
|Jovani Haskins||TE||6'4, 235||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8777|
|Michael Irvin Jr.||TE||6'3, 220||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8599|
5. So ... about that receiving corps
Miami improved in Passing S&P+ in 2015 despite Kaaya replacing his top three targets. Last year's top two targets had combined for just 20 catches the year before. So while it's never good to have to replace your top two guys, we know that Kaaya has at least been here before.
Stacy Coley returns after thriving in the slot in 2015, and tight ends David Njoku and Chris Herndon IV and running backs Yearby and Walton all averaged at least 7.6 yards per target. Coley was a possession option with explosiveness, and after an up-and-down career at UM, he could be ready for a massive senior season.
We don't know much of anything about the rest of the wide receivers, though. Braxton Berrios was reasonably efficient as Coley's backup, and Lawrence Cager caught eight passes as a four-star backup. But that's pretty much it. Blue-chip freshman Sam Bruce could make a quick impact, but aside from Cager and maybe sophomore Darrell Langham, there's little in the way of size out wide. [Update: Cager tore his ACL and is out for the season.]
Still, the possession options could come in handy if the running game still isn't quite where it needs to be. And if the run is good enough to suck defenses into play-action scenarios, there's more than enough speed to get open deep.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||2015 Starts||Career Starts||Honors/Notes|
|Danny Isidora||RG||6'4, 310||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8861||13||26|
|Nick Linder||C||6'3, 300||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8378||13||17|
|Trevor Darling||LT||6'4, 316||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9541||13||14|
|Sunny Odogwu||RT||6'8, 325||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8500||10||10|
|KC McDermott||LG||6'7, 300||Jr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9764||8||8|
|Alex Gall||LG||6'5, 305||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8489||6||6|
|Hunter Knighton||C||6'5, 290||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8473||0||0|
|Tyree St. Louis||RT||6'5, 305||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8984||0||0|
|Jahair Jones||RT||6'4, 325||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8614||0||0|
|Tyler Gauthier||RG||6'5, 300||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8442||0||0|
|Bar Milo||LT||6'6, 285||RSFr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9107|
|Brendan Loftus||OL||6'7, 290||RSFr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8518|
|Hayden Mahoney||LG||6'5, 290||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8494|
|FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||45.5%||102||Succ. Rt. +||98.4||69|
|FIELD POSITION||Off. Avg. FP||31.2||40||Off. FP+||31.2||35|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||4.6||80||Redzone S&P+||92.7||100|
|Q1 Rk||88||1st Down Rk||50|
|Q2 Rk||58||2nd Down Rk||54|
|Q3 Rk||36||3rd Down Rk||87|
6. A Manny Diaz defense
"Most teams all meld into one. There's such a thing as a 'college football offense;' 90 percent of America runs 60 percent of the same plays. So we're going to say, 'What do they do that is unique, by play or formation? If you've got a kid that's been sick all week, and he shows up on Thursday and asks what this team does differently, we'll be able to tell them." [...]
"We want you to beat us left-handed because we're going to stop the one thing you do best. There's not enough time to practice all of your running plays against all of the stuff we have."
The ethos behind a Manny Diaz defense is simple: Attack them before they can attack you. If the offense is reacting to what the defense is doing, instead of the other way around, then that's a victory right out of the gates.
When he has the right attacking personnel, Diaz can do impressive things. His 2009 MTSU defense cracked the Def. S&P+ top 50, his first Texas defense in 2011 ranked seventh, and in his one season at Louisiana Tech in 2014, he engineered improvement from 109th to 24th.
A Diaz defense is going to spend quite a bit of time behind the line of scrimmage, even when it doesn't totally click. Last year, in his first season back at Mississippi State, his Bulldog D ranked only 40th, combining characteristic aggressiveness (18 percent havoc rate, 98 tackles for loss) with a more flexible than normal pass defense (61 percent completion rate, 122.7 passer rating). And like Brown, he inherits a unit that is the opposite of what he might be used to.
As with the Miami offense, the opponent had the advantage when the ball was handed off, and Miami had the advantage when the ball was in the air. The Hurricanes ranked 115th in Rushing S&P+, 122nd in power success rate, and 127th in stuff rate. No lineman made more than 3.5 non-sack tackles for loss, and opponents got a running start at the Miami defense. When the Hurricanes were able to force passing downs, they closed out drives incredibly well. But passing downs were far more rare than they should have been.
Diaz's first defense will feature a lot of experience in the front seven (where there were struggles) and some turnover in the back. It will be interesting to how much havoc the 'Canes are able to wreak after a relatively feckless 2015.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Al-Quadin Muhammad||DE||6'4, 250||Jr.||4 stars (6.0)||0.9750||12||44.0||6.4%||8.5||5.0||0||1||1||0|
|Trent Harris||DE||6'2, 240||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8987||13||38.5||5.6%||5.0||3.5||0||1||0||0|
|Courtel Jenkins||DT||6'2, 320||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8425||12||19.0||2.8%||3.0||1.5||0||0||1||0|
|Kendrick Norton||DT||6'3, 315||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8860||12||14.5||2.1%||1.5||1.0||0||0||0||0|
|Chad Thomas||DE||6'6, 265||Jr.||5 stars (6.1)||0.9877||12||12.5||1.8%||1.5||1.0||0||4||1||0|
|Anthony Moten||DT||6'4, 317||Jr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9266||11||10.0||1.5%||2.0||1.5||0||0||0||0|
|Demetrius Jackson||DE||6'3, 252||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8755||7||8.0||1.2%||2.5||0.5||0||0||0||0|
|RJ McIntosh||DT||6'4, 280||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8544||5||3.0||0.4%||1.0||0.5||0||0||0||0|
|Scott Patchan||DE||6'6, 240||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8752|
|Gerald Willis||DT||6'4, 280||So.||NR||NR|
|Ryan Fines||DT||6'2, 300||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8464|
|Joe Jackson||DE||6'5, 245||Fr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9147|
|Pat Bethel||DE||6'3, 260||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.9009|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Jermaine Grace||OLB||6'1, 205||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8970||13||61.5||8.9%||6.0||2.0||0||5||1||0|
|Juwon Young||OLB||6'2, 248||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8535||11||46.5||6.7%||3.0||0.0||1||0||1||0|
|Mike Smith||ILB||6'1, 233||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8805||6||5.5||0.8%||0.0||0.0||0||0||1||0|
|Terry McCray||OLB||6'3, 235||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8320||2||4.0||0.6%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Darrion Owens||ILB||6'3, 243||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8832||2||3.0||0.4%||1.0||0.0||0||1||0||0|
|Gage Batten||ILB||6'1, 235||Sr.||NR||NR||13||1.5||0.2%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Charles Perry||OLB||6'1, 225||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8762||8||1.5||0.2%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Jamie Gordinier||ILB||6'4, 235||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8544|
|Shaquille Quarterman||ILB||6'1, 245||Fr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9466|
|Zach McCloud||OLB||6'2, 220||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.9081|
|Michael Pinckney||OLB||6'1, 215||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8690|
7. Get to work, Kul
Craig Kuligowski spent the last 15 seasons as Gary Pinkel's defensive line coach at Missouri and made a name for himself for creating four-star production out of three-star talent. At Miami, he inherits a group that is simultaneously more well-touted and less proven than the unit he left behind at Mizzou.
Ends Al-Quadin Muhammad, Trent Harris, Chad Thomas, and Demetrius Jackson appear to have solid pass rushing potential, but while the pass rush could certainly stand to improve, it wasn't last year's biggest issue. Somehow, Diaz (both as DC and linebackers coach) and Kuligowski have to solve what were some serious run issues last year. [Update: Muhammad is under investigation by the school, but no suspension has been announced yet.]
The Miami defensive front has plenty of size, especially at tackle, where the top three returnees average 6'3, 317. But play-making was an issue, and a banged-up linebacking corps didn't help. Of the eight LBs to finish with at least three tackles last year, only two played in all 13 games. Youngsters like Mike Smith, Terry McCray, and Darrion Owens were barely able to get their feet wet, and now-senior Jermaine Grace was overworked. There might be potential here, but we didn't get to see much of it last year. [Update: Grace is also under investigation by the school, and like Muhammad, has not been disciplined as of August 17.]
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Rayshawn Jenkins||S||6'2, 208||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8525||13||41.0||6.0%||2.5||0||3||4||0||0|
|Corn Elder||CB||5'10, 175||Sr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9185||13||36.0||5.2%||4||2||2||11||0||0|
|Jamal Carter||S||6'1, 210||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.9061||12||35.5||5.2%||0.5||0||1||2||1||0|
|Jaquan Johnson||S||5'11, 190||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.9133||13||21.5||3.1%||0||0||1||0||1||0|
|Sheldrick Redwine||CB||6'1, 195||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8563||11||10.5||1.5%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Michael Jackson||CB||6'1, 195||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8643||13||4.0||0.6%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Ryan Mayes||CB||6'1, 200||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8412|
|James King||S||6'1, 203||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8013|
|Terrance Henley||CB||5'11, 175||So.||NR||0.7883|
|Tyler Murphy||CB||5'8, 175||So.||NR||NR|
|Robert Knowles||S||6'1, 193||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8269|
|Romeo Finley||S||6'1, 198||Fr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8931|
|Malek Young||S||5'9, 182||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8690|
8. Play-makers (and shaky depth) in the back
Miami has to replace four of its top seven defensive backs, which isn't optimal, but perhaps the two most important are back. Rayshawn Jenkins is a proven playmaker at safety, and Corn Elder is the kind of ballhawk Diaz knows how to use at corner. With Jamal Carter also back, that gives Miami three seasoned seniors. That is all sorts of valuable.
It would be preferable if these three didn't get hurt, though, because it's nothing but freshmen and sophomores behind them. There's plenty of athletic potential here, especially with corners Sheldrick Redwine and Michael Jackson, but a couple of injuries in the back could drastically affect Miami's defensive ceiling this year.
|Justin Vogel||6'4, 210||Sr.||67||42.5||6||20||19||58.2%|
|Michael Badgley||5'10, 175||Jr.||8||62.8||3||0||37.5%|
|Michael Badgley||5'10, 175||Jr.||40-40||17-20||85.0%||8-10||80.0%|
|Mark Walton||KR||5'9, 195||So.||17||17.6||0|
|Corn Elder||KR||5'10, 175||Sr.||5||33.8||1|
|Corn Elder||PR||5'10, 175||Sr.||11||13.8||1|
|Braxton Berrios||PR||5'9, 180||Jr.||11||4.2||0|
|Special Teams S&P+||29|
|Field Goal Efficiency||30|
|Punt Return Success Rate||77|
|Kick Return Success Rate||118|
|Punt Success Rate||47|
|Kickoff Success Rate||42|
9. 30 field goal attempts is too many
That Michael Badgley was so good in the place-kicking department was unquestionably a good thing. That he was asked to attempt 30 of them, sixth-most in the country, was a sign of an inability to finish drives. That 20 of them were inside of 40 yards almost made it worse. Miami's abominable run game came back to haunt them near the goal line. Badgley's good, but if he's asked to do less, that's probably a pretty good sign.
|Date||Opponent||Proj. S&P+ Rk||Proj. Margin||Win Probability|
|17-Sep||at Appalachian State||59||2.9||57%|
|1-Oct||at Georgia Tech||54||2.1||55%|
|20-Oct||at Virginia Tech||32||-2.8||44%|
|29-Oct||at Notre Dame||11||-10.2||28%|
|19-Nov||at N.C. State||40||-0.8||48%|
|Projected wins: 7.0|
|Five-Year F/+ Rk||12.7% (42)|
|2- and 5-Year Recruiting Rk||21 / 17|
|2015 TO Margin / Adj. TO Margin*||11 / 1.7|
|2015 TO Luck/Game||+3.6|
|Returning Production (Off. / Def.)||70% (78%, 62%)|
|2015 Second-order wins (difference)||7.8 (0.2)|
10. The upside and lack of depth are obvious
Al Golden was a decent coach in a job that demands better than decent. He leaves Richt with some high-upside pieces and a pretty soft underbelly. If the injury bug isn't particularly cruel to the Hurricanes, there are plenty of potential wins on the schedule.
In fact, there's only one game on the slate that falls in the "likely loss" category (which I tend to be define as anything with a win probability under 33 percent): the trip to Notre Dame. Meanwhile, there are seven games between 36 and 57 percent.
- If Miami falls a little bit below its No. 30 projection, the 'Canes might have to scuffle to reach bowl eligibility. But if the starters remain on the field, a top-25 performance and a nine- or 10-win season are on the table. Life in the ACC means quite a few tossup games; Richt is probably used to that.