What Questions are Facing the Canes in 2012?
The Miami Hurricanes enter the 2012 season with a handful of question marks. Here are the Top Five, along with some possible answers.
Time to cut to the chase and dive in...
Do The Hurricanes Have Big Play Ability?
When the Canes are at their best, there are few teams in the country that can match their Big Play ability. If they are going to return to glory, as Al Golden has promised, then most fans will expect that level of explosiveness to return as well.
Luckily, The U has added some fire power to the offense in the form of Duke Johnson and Phillip Dorsett. Dorsett has already shown a knack for finding the open field, and he gave us a glimpse of what he is capable of last year while returning kicks. Johnson has yet to play a down, but if his high school highlight reel is any indication, then he may develop into the most exciting player to wear the Orange & Green in a very long time.
How Many Wins Will Be Enough?
Last season the Hurricanes went 6-6, and truthfully six wins just isn’t good enough. Thankfully, every player and coach on the team feels the same way. Mediocrity is not what The U is ever going to be about. So how many games do the Canes have to win for players, coaches and fans to feel as if the program is back on track?
Eight. Eight wins, and they have to win one of the big games on the schedule: Notre Dame, FSU, or Virginia Tech. They also have to eliminate losing to any of the lower level teams in the conference: Duke or Boston College.
No one expects Miami to compete for the ACC title this year, and they will need some luck to beat a big name school, but if they show consistency, discipline and growth throughout the season, then most supporters will be satisfied, and most doubters will be hushed…for a little while, anyway.
Will The Hurricanes Go To A Bowl Game?
Going to a bowl game this year is the most reasonable goal this team should aim for. It will give this young team something to celebrate at the end of what is sure to be a very grueling year, and it will provide the program with a much needed morale boost after the self-imposed ban from last season.
The other half of the question is will they be eligible, even if their record qualifies them? Unfortunately, there is no way to know that. We do know that the university has bent over backwards to cooperate with the NCAA during their investigation, and the entire UM family is crossing their fingers about the results and pending punishment.
Can The Secondary Create Turnovers?
In April, the Hurricanes secondary was the most experienced and talented area on the team. Four months later, it looks young and lacks leadership. True freshmen Deon Bush and Tracy Howard are working hard to earn spots on the first team, and it’s exciting to think of the difference these talented youngsters can make, but with youth comes mistakes.
Brandon McGee, Thomas Finnie, and Vaughn Telemaque have had plenty of chances at interceptions over the past few seasons but, as a team, the Hurricanes had just six INT’s all last year. Turnovers are a huge key to success, as the Hurricanes program feeds on emotion and uses the momentum to blow games open, as well as to mount comebacks.
Can The Hurricanes Finish Games?
The Canes lost six games last year, all of them by seven points or less.
Coach Golden has mentioned multiple times that the lack of conditioning was evident late in games last year, and during the off-season he put an even bigger emphasis on training. He focused on challenging the players to improve their bodies, and elevating the level of inter-squad competition.
This will be the most important factor when the game is on the line. Will the players have the stamina and strength to finish plays and closeout games? We will soon find out.
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