The Miami Hurricanes return to action Saturday after a disappointing loss to LSU in the Advocare Kickoff Classic to face Savannah State in the ‘Canes home opener.
Going from the LSU Tigers to the Savannah State Tigers is definitely a change of pace but it could be just the opportunity that ‘Canes need to start pulling this season in the right direction and show that they were indeed worthy of such early-season hype. Dropping from 8 to 22 in the rankings after the first game isn’t the end of the world but it certainly begins to bring up questions and the hope for Hurricanes fans is after Saturday they will have some answers.
The Hurricanes have not lost hope for the rest of the season as the veteran leadership in the locker room has had to step up and speak out to motivate their teammates and the team has responded well. Shaquille Quarterman, junior linebacker for the ‘Canes is one of those leaders that won’t let his team dwell on the opening loss and encourages his teammates to speak up.
“It’s very important(speaking up).” Said the junior linebacker who pays close attention to the history of the University. “This school came from people who did the same thing before us. It can’t be the coaches. A coach-led team cannot win a championship. It has to be a player-led team. It has to be people on the team willing to step out front and be the one to say, ‘enough is enough.’ We have a lot of those guys on the team.”
Although the University of Miami players of old did have strong personalities in the locker room who led them to greatness there are also coaches who can push those players along the way. Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz is someone who believes in tough competition and after last weeks performance has decided to further raise the level of competition amongst his own players so they can push each other.
“How many guys do we have that have proven they can play at a high level?” Said Diaz after practice Wednesday. “If anything, we need to reduce the feeling of entitlement…we need a good old competition to find out who our best guys are, now that the games are here and we’re not reading about ourselves, to find out who’s really serious about this.”
PREDICTION: Miami Hurricanes 48 – 10 Savannah State Tigers
Without being disrespectful to a small school it’s just too difficult for me to envision a way in which Savannah State could come away with this one. Yes, Miami’s offensive line had issues last week and yes, Malik Rosier struggled to find his talented receivers but there are just so many areas in which the ‘Canes are superior. One such area is along that defensive line, that did have quite a bit of turnover from last year but still looked like a strong force against LSU’s front. Expect big things from Gerald Willis(if healthy), Pat Bethel and Demetrius Jackson to give Tigers head coach Erik Raeburn headaches throughout the game.
Miami takes on Savannah State at 6:00PM/EST Saturday 9/8 at Hard Rock Stadium and can be veiwed live on ESPN3. Don’t miss it.
- Darrell Wilkinson TheSkyBoat.com
- Twitter: @TheSkyBoat