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Florida Football

Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting the Hurricanes

August 22, 2019
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With the Camping World Kickoff between No. 8 Florida and Miami only about 48 hours away, it’s time to take a look at what the Hurricanes will bring to the table. Here are three positions of strength and three positions of weakness for Miami. Keep in mind that they have a new coaching staff, some new players at key positions and they’ve yet to play a game, so this is a bit speculative by necessity.

Without further ado, here’s the scouting report on the Hurricanes:

Three Positions of Strength

Linebacker

Miami’s linebacking corps is deep, talented, experienced and could be one of the best in the country. The senior trio of Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud have combined for 106 career starts and 5 All-ACC honors. Quarterman, an AP Preseason Second Team All-American, has started all 39 games of his college career, and he recorded 82 tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss and six sacks in 2018, incredible numbers for a middle linebacker. If the Gators’ offensive line struggles, Miami’s linebackers have the potential to live in the backfield and cause a lot of havoc. Knowing where Quarterman is at all times is a must.

Defensive Line

Last season, Miami ranked fourth in the country in total defense and first in passing defense. A lot of that was because of the dominance they displayed up front, as they ranked ninth in sacks and first in tackles-for-loss. They’re led by junior end Jonathan Garvin, who piled up 17 tackles-for-loss, 5.5 sacks and five pass breakups in 2018. Redshirt senior Scott Patchan, the brother of former UF offensive lineman Matt Patchan, will man the other end spot. He played in 12 games last season but recorded just 2.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack as he transitioned from tight end. Pat Bethel and Jonathan Ford are listed as starters at tackle. Bethel made six tackles-for-loss last season, while Ford totaled just eight tackles. The returning production outside of Garvin isn’t great, but Garvin is good enough to make this position considered a team strength. Blocking him might be the biggest key to the game for Florida.

Running Back

The Hurricanes have a nice one-two punch in the backfield with DeeJay Dallas and Cam’Ron Harris. Dallas, a 5-foot-10, 215-pound junior, is a quick and shifty type of running back. He ranked second on the team with 617 rushing yards on 109 carries and tied for the team lead with six rushing scores. As one of Miami’s primary returners, he averaged 21.6 yards on kickoff returns and scored a 65-yard touchdown on a punt return. Meanwhile, Harris, a sophomore, brings more of a power element to the position. He carried the ball 28 times for 166 yards (5.9 yards-per-carry) and two touchdowns. With the Hurricanes breaking in a redshirt freshman quarterback, they’ll likely put a heavy emphasis on the running game, especially early in the game. UF struggled at times against the run in 2018, ranking just 65th nationally at 162.5 yards-per-game allowed. Slowing down Dallas and Harris is a must.

Three Positions of Weakness

Offensive Line

All you need to know about the state of UM’s offensive line is that they’re going to start true freshman Zion Nelson at left tackle. He was ranked No. 1415 nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite, and arrived on campus in January weighing just 240 pounds. He’s listed at 285 pounds now, but it’s still hard to believe that he’s ready to take on premier defensive ends such as Jabari Zuniga and Jonathan Greenard. At the other tackle spot, they’re going to start redshirt freshman John Campbell Jr. Three of the top reserves are also freshmen or redshirt freshmen. Florida’s defensive line versus Miami’s offensive line could be the biggest mismatch on the field.

Quarterback

The Hurricanes are going with redshirt freshman Jarren Williams. He was a top-100 prospect in the Class of 2018, but he threw just three passes last season. Going against a defense as good as Florida’s in a neutral-site environment in his first career start will be a tough challenge for him. He has some good mobility, which he’ll probably need to use a lot as he tries to escape the consistent pressure that should be in his face all game. The depth behind Williams looks very bleak. Redshirt sophomore N’Kosi Perry started 11 games last year and struggled immensely, completing just 51 percent of his passes for 1,091 yards and 13 touchdowns. Ohio State transfer Tate Martell was the favorite to win the job entering fall camp, but he was reportedly very inaccurate in practice, and his smaller stature (5-foot-11) presents natural limitations.

Wide Receiver

Miami has a good No. 1 receiver in Jeff Thomas. He caught 35 passes for 563 yards and three scores last season, and the Gators’ defenders have spoken all week about how his speed jumps out to them on film. Other than him though, there really isn’t anyone that’s going to strike fear into opposing defenses. K.J. Osborn made 53 receptions for 892 yards and seven touchdowns at Buffalo in 2018, but how that production will translate from the MAC to the Power Five remains to be seen. Starting slot receiver Mike Harley caught just 21 passes for 240 yards. None of the other receivers on the three-deep have more than 10 career receptions. They’re lacking depth at wideout, and that’s a bad problem to have against a UF secondary that’s capable of locking down Thomas and Osborn.

Behind Enemy Lines: Scouting the Hurricanes

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