Miami: Countdown to Kickoff 2013



Miami was chosen as the Coastal Division preseason favorite in the vote by media in attendance at the ACC Football Kickoff … third-year head coach Al Golden welcomed 19 returning starters for the 2012 season … The returnees include QB Stephen Morris, who won the skills competition at the Manning Passing Academy last month … Morris started all 12 games under center a season ago, throwing for a career-best 3,345 yards and 21 touchdowns… Morris' 3,415 yards of total offense in 2012 set a new single-season mark at Miami. He also became the first QB in school history to post multiple 400-yard passing games in a single season … RB Duke Johnson, the 2012 ACC Rookie of the Year, finished third among ACC running backs last season with 947 rushing yards and ranked ninth nationally in all-purpose yardage at 171.67 per contest … Johnson was joined on the Preseason All-ACC Team by senior OG Brandon Linder, who was also named to the Outland Trophy Watch List.

Numbers & Notes

2 - RB Duke Johnson ranked 2nd nationally in kickoff returns in 2012, averaging 33.04 yards per return, including a pair of 95-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns. Johnson also ranked 9th nationally in all-purpose yards per game and was named the ACC’s Rookie of the Year.

8 - In Al Golden’s first two seasons as head coach at Miami, the Hurricanes have posted a 13-11 record but have lost a total of 8 games by eight or fewer points, including two last fall by four or fewer points.

19 - Miami returns 19 starters from 2012, 10 on offense and 9 on defense, the most of any team in the ACC.

320 - The average weight of Miami’s projected starting offensive line coming out of spring practice. That includes tackles Ereck Flowers (312) and Seantrel Henderson (345), guards Brandon  Linder (319) and Malcolm Bunche (327) and center Shane McDermott (297).  That average increases to 324 pounds per man when senior Jared Wheeler (319), who ended spring in a tie with McDermott for starting honors at center, is included in the starting five.

368 - RB Duke Johnson had 368 all-purpose yards in Miami’s 41-40 loss to Virginia. Johnson’s effort was the 4th-best in ACC history and the most by a freshman in the league’s 60 years of football.

566 - Miami QB Stephen Morris set an ACC single-game record for passing yards last year  when he completed 26 of 49 passes for 566 yards and 5 TDs in the 'Canes 44-37 win over NC State.

2012 In Review
Despite the distractions from a seemingly never-ending NCAA investigation, Al Golden’s second season at the helm in Miami demonstrated significant progress...Though losing two games by a total of just five points, the Hurricanes posted a 7-5 overall record and 5-3 mark in the Coastal Division, good enough to qualify for the ACC Football Championship Game had Miami not opted to withhold themselves from postseason play for a second straight year... The Hurricanes featured a potent offense, led by QB Stephen Morris, mercurial RB Duke Johnson and a deep wide receiver corps headed by Phillip Dorsett, scoring 40 or more points six times...Morris completed 58.1 percent of his passes for 3,345 yards and 21 TDs...Johnson finished 2nd in the ACC in rushing with 947 yards, 10 TDs and a 6.8 per-carry average and teamed with Mike James (6321 yds) to give the ‘Canes an effective ground game...Johnson, named ACC Rookie of the Year,  also finished 2nd nationally in kickoff returns (33.04) with 2 TDs and 9th nationally in all-purpose yardage (171.67) ....Dorsett led the Canes with 58 catches for 842 yards (14.5 avg.) and 4 TDs... Johnson was also named a second-team All-America (Walter Camp) as a kick returner and was named 2nd-team All-ACC at both running back and as a specialist...T Seantrel Henderson, G Brandon Linder, C Shane McDermott, DE Anthony Chickillo, LB Denzel Perryman and S Vaughn Telemaque were all named Honorable Mention All-ACC...Johnson was named a first-team Freshman All-America (FWAA) while S Deon Bush earned 2nd-team honors.

Who’s Gone
Miami’s losses on the field were relatively minor, though  James and CB Brandon McGee had strong senior years and both PK Jake Wieclaw and P Dalton Botts performed well... The loss of offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, who went to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, will be felt, though the addition of James Coley from Florida State should help that transition.

2013 Preview
With 19 of 22 starters definitely returning, Miami looks to be one of the favorites in the Coastal Division...Offensively, the Canes should be potent with all five starters returning upfront, including Ts Henderson and Malcolm Bunche, Gs Linder and Jon Feliciano and C McDermott...With Feliciano, Linder and McDermott out with an injuries, Bunche moved inside to guard with sophomore T Ereck Flowers ending spring as the starter at LT and senior Jared Wheeler as a co-starter at the pivot  ...All are expected back healthy this fall...QB Stephen Morris will have a lot of weapons at his disposal including Johnson, who should be a candidate for national player of the year honors, as well as a receiving crew which includes Dorsett, Allen Hurns, Rashawn Scott, Herb Waters and TEs Clive Walford, Assante Cleveland and Beau Sandland... It is on defense where the Hurricanes will need to improve under coordinator Mark D’Onofrio...Junior DE Anthony Chickillo leads a line that returns all four starters in DE Shayon Green and DTs Curtis Porter and Olsen Pierre, though fifth-year senior DT Luther Robinson is also in the mix ...Junior Denzel Perryman leads an improved linebacker corps that added true freshman Alex Figueroa, who impressed enough to emerge as a starter in the spring..They are joined by sophomores Rafael Kirby and Tyriq McCord and seniors Jimmy Gaines and Tyrone Cornelius....Most of the starting jobs in the secondary, are still up for grabs with junior Ladarius Gunter and sophomore Tracy Howard continuing their battle for one corner spot this fall and sophomore Antonio Crawford and redshirt freshman Nate Dortch competing for the other...Sophomore Deon Bush will handle one safety spot with senior A.J. Highsmith and sophomore Rayshawn Jenkins battling for the remaining position.