July 23, 2012; Greensboro, NC, USA; Head coach Al Golden of the Miami Hurricanes football team talks to reporters during the ACC media day at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro NC. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

2014 ACC Kickoff Miami Beat Writers Round-Up

We’ve cleared one of the final hurdles every summer before college football season—ACC Media Days (I know the ACC touted this year’s event as a “kickoff”, but whatever, man). There was a whirlwind of coverage that moved quickly and proved difficult to follow, so I’ve gone through and neatly organized everything for you! You’re welcome. Here’s a category-by-category round-up of Miami-related topics at ACC Media Days from multiple beat writers. Thanks to Christy Chirinos, Matt Porter and Susan Miller Degnan for their excellent coverage that allowed me to write this.

 

Quarterback Situation

Obviously, this is the most intriguing issue for the Hurricanes in 2014, with no clear starter for the opener against Louisville. Ryan Williams is without question most qualified for the job, but as ‘Canes fans are all too aware of, a spring practice ACL tear could keep him out of significant action. Luckily, his recovery seems to be going as well as possible.

Matt Porter (emphasis mine):

“In terms of anyone who’s suffered that injury, he’s got to be in the upper one percent of guys who have made progress and have religiously adhered to a program seven days a week. He’s had no setbacks,” Golden said in a sit-down with the Post at the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro, N.C….“I don’t think [a Sept. 20 return against Nebraska] sounds crazy at all.” 

For what it’s worth, Porter also noted Denzel Perryman said, “To me, he’s already back.” Take that for what you will.

As for who is going to start at QB against Louisville, Golden made it very clear that it’s still up in the air.

However, there is a rough timetable for the decision.

Quickly cutting down to two and then letting that pair battle it out seems like a good way to go. The bet in this space is that Heaps and Olsen are those two and the plan is still to redshirt Kaaya, with Williams taking the reigns when he’s ready to return, but I don’t have any inside information. Golden had glowing things to say about all of the competitors so it was tough to glean who really has a leg up. I’ll confidently stick with my prediction of Heaps or Olsen getting the start against Louisville though.

 

Miami, Florida State Picked To Advance to ACC Championship

The ACC media proved to be more bullish on the 2014 Hurricanes than me, picking them to win the Coastal and play overwhelming Atlantic favorite Florida State in Charlotte. From the UM press release:

The Hurricanes’ 614 total points, including 26 first-place votes, were the most of any Coastal Division team. Defending division champion Duke received 33 first-place votes and finished with 597 points, followed by Virginia Tech with 571 points and 23 first-place votes.

Florida State was picked as the likely overall ACC winner on 104 of 112 ballots cast. The Seminoles were picked to finish atop the Atlantic Division by 109 voters and amassed 780 total points. Clemson received the remaining three-first-place votes and placed second in the Atlantic with 660.

The Miami pick is hardly definitive, at Matt Porter accurately noted.

Regardless, preseason polls and predictions mean absolutely nothing and should be seen as nothing more than a fun little game before the season starts. That said, Miami’s goal in 2014 should absolutely be to take home the program’s first Coastal championship.

 

Defensive Improvement

File this under “I’ll believe it when I see it”, but Golden and Co. were quite optimistic about the 2014 defense. I mean really optimistic. Like some-faraway-dreamland-featuring-nothing-but delicious-candy-that-is-incredibly-good-for-your-health-and-Ian Darke-excitedly-narrating-your-life optimistic. Porter:

Denzel Perryman: Hurricanes can have a Top-10 defense in 2014

Yep, he’s referring not just to the ACC, but the nation. Right now, I would just take a Top 10 defense in the ACC. Perryman said he didn’t think the defense lacked the athletes to compete at a high level, but rather “guys need to be where they need to be. That one guy out of his gap could be a big difference in the game or a play.” Which, like, okay please do that, but much easier said than done. 

Al Golden jumped in with a blanket-statement on improvement as well.

Again, I’ll believe this when I see it.  There was slightly more believable good news about the defense, specifically NT Michael Wyche. While the following isn’t actually from the ACC Kickoff interviews, it’s worth noting and potentially getting a little excited about. Porter (emphasis mine):

UM believes it has a major upgrade in transfer Michael Wyche, who has impressed in the weight room. One source called him “what we’ve been missing in terms of length and width at nose.” Wyche certainly had the width when he arrived. He reported for summer classes June 30 at 6-foot-4 and 360 pounds, but is now less than 350 and is expected to be lower when camp begins Aug. 5. UM wants him around 330-335.

The NT is the most important position in a 3-4 scheme, and if Wyche can live up to the hype this year, that would likely mean a major improvement for the ‘Canes defensively. 

 

Quick Hits 

Some other brief things of note:  

Okay, then. I agree, but maybe he’s talking about 2016 in terms of it actually happening.

This would be a big get for the baseball program and great for Malik. It doesn’t look like he’s going to get a chance to play quarterback at Miami as anything else than brief change of pace with Kaaya in his class and Jack Allison pushing from behind as well in a couple years. Speaking of not getting the chance to play quarterback at Miami…

No surprise with this move; hopefully Gray can see the field.

In more good news for the defensive line, Chad Thomas is fully gearing up for meaningful playing time this season.

There’s plenty I wasn’t able to get to, but this is a solid round-up of what was said. Stay tuned to Canes Warning as we’ll begin rolling out our position-by-position preview in the coming days.

Let’s close with this:

Can’t blame you, Matt. On that note, I’m going to grab some lunch.

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Tags: Al Golden Brad Kaaya Denzel Perryman Kevin Olsen Miami Hurricanes Michael Wyche Ryan Williams

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