CIS Roundtable: 2019 Season Preview

CIS Roundtable: 2019 Season Preview

Stefan Adams
With the Miami Hurricanes' season just around the corner, and UM and UF preparing to do battle on Saturday, it was the perfect time to get some of the CIS staff together to preview the 2019 season in a roundtable format. Here's how we see the year unfolding for Manny Diaz and his Canes.

Q1: Miami is coming off a 7-6 season with a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and QB. How are you feeling about the team's offseason in general heading into the showdown against UF on Saturday?

Stefan Adams
: The hire of Manny Diaz has certainly been effective so far in the PR department this offseason. Diaz has spoken directly to the desires of the fanbase and sparked the passions of this city, something that would’ve been difficult to imagine happening going into Year 4 of Mark Richt considering how dreadful 2018 ended. It’s a positive for the program that shouldn’t be understated, but I for one have long been tired of off the field achievements, talking points, and moral victories. I want a Miami coach that can get it done against the best of the best, a coach that beats the teams he’s supposed to beat, and has this team in yearly contention for ACC and national titles, not just one-off successes mixed with disappointments. Is Manny that guy? Only one way to find out – show me on the field.

Roman Marciante: Manny unequivocally won the offseason. The fact was that Canes fans were collectively in dire-straights and standing on the ledge after the uninspiring bowl loss to Wisconsin. Now? It’s impressive. Manny owned the portal and was able to salvage a sub-par recruiting class with some talent that will no doubt contribute this year. Trevon Hill, Bubba Bolden, and KJ Osborn immediately come to mind. The Miami Hurricanes also reached the monumental plateau of a roster over the 50% blue chip ratio. A casual reminder that ALL playoff teams in last year's playoff were comfortably nestled above that mark. Dan Enos? He left a pencil on his desk back in Tuscaloosa, ****ed Nick Saban off in the process and literally legitimized Miami's offense with a scheme that is 21st century. As far as my feeling going into Saturday, much better than last year’s feeling. I watched enough “From the Perch” last year and the year before to know that Richt really put the offense in a bind with his stagnant and rudimentary play calling. Whereas, I don't have that feeling this year, I will not lie.

Matthew Suero: Aside from a few positions on defense, I feel like Miami in 2019 is a much better team than they were in 2018. This includes the roster, the coaching staff, and, of course, the strength staff. The team that will take the field Saturday is a much better team than the one that limped off the field vs. Wisconsin. By that measure, this was a great offseason for Miami.

Phil Wood: I feel good about it. I think Miami did everything they were supposed to this offseason. The offense was terrible last season, so they went out and made big moves to improve it by replacing the entire offensive staff. Whether they were the right moves, we'll have to wait until Saturday to find out.

Q2: What are your expectations for Jarren Williams at QB this season?

: The good thing for Williams is that he’s a freshman that really can’t be any worse than the quarterbacking UM got last year. And the other aspect of this equation is the Canes don’t need Peyton Manning to win the Coastal division. Miami needs a guy that can simply complete 60% of his throws, protect the rock, and get the ball out quickly and accurately to the UM playmakers. I think Williams is that dude and he’s proven to be the most consistently accurate QB on the team. So, the expectations for him aren’t really that high compared to the usual UM standard. Without the extra pressure on him of having to win games on his own, that ironically makes him even more likely to surpass the expectations set for his freshman year. New OC Dan Enos is also going to help him out a ton, as he is famous for scheming for his talent and not trying to fit square pegs into round holes like Miami was doing under the previous regime.

Roman: Over 60% passing. I think Enos will do a really good job in two areas in particular: 1. A game plan which will often times scheme guys open; 2. Making outs and check downs come more natural and strategically into view. Williams’s success definitely will tie into Enos. Enos, who by the way helped Arkansas lead the SEC in scoring in conference games, averaging 34.4 points per contest. In 2015, quarterback and Manning Award finalist Brandon Allen became the third player in program history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season (3,440) and became the Razorbacks’ all-time leader in touchdown passes (64). Now, Allen was a senior, but I can also see a 3,000-plus yard season performance from Williams with the weapons Miami has.

Matthew: From what I have witnessed in practice, Jarren Williams is a very talented passer and he has serious pass-catching weapons at his disposal. I could be bold with my prediction, but I am going to measure my expectations because I do not want to be let down. Simply put, my expectations are for Jarren Williams, and by extension the entire offense, to improve every week. I expect Williams to be playing at an extremely high level by the time November rolls around.

Phil: Just please be better than last year at the position. Is that too much to ask? I expect him to make some mistakes against UF, but I also expect him to get much better as the season goes on. If he shows improvement throughout the season, I’ll consider that a success for Williams and the Canes.

Q3: What do you see as the Canes' biggest strength?

: I’m a big fan of the talent that Miami has put together at defensive end. Tackles for loss and getting offenses behind the sticks is what makes this defense thrive and most of the backfield penetration is going to come from the DE position. The Canes have stacked an All-American level prospect in Jon Garvin with two guys that will likely play on Sundays in Trevon Hill and Gregory Rousseau. Then you add the fact that Scott Patchan has held off both Hill and Rousseau for a starting job and looks like he could make noise this year, and you have a serious problem for offenses. True freshman Jahfari Harvey has even shown he’s more than ready to play, and the fact that UM can ease him into action with a situational role like they’ve done with each of their great DE’s lately is huge. UM is becoming a factory at defensive end and will continue to cause havoc from the spot in 2019.

Roman: Coaching staff. For the first in over a decade, I am very confident on who is running their respective sides of the ball. On offense, Dan Enos had four out of five seasons as HC at Central Michigan where he threw for over 3,000 yards and he took the Arkansas offense out of the abyss as well. Enos had six occasions where his Razorback offense scored over 50 points in a game, which broke a record held in Arkansas since 1910. And did I mention that he was Nick Saban's hand picked successor after Mike Locksley took a head coaching job at Maryland? On the other side, yes, this Blake Baker's defense. But Manny Diaz's fingerprints will be all over it. It goes without saying, but it is a tackle for loss manufacturing dynamo that has made a majority of Miami fans proud over the course of three seasons. The Turnover Chain lives on.

Matthew: This one is easy, it’s the front seven. Composed of five seniors and two juniors starting, this is where Miami has the most experience. The talent, depth, and up-and-comers mix together very well. This should be one of the best defensive fronts in the country this season.

Phil: Their linebackers. They're an experienced bunch with four seniors in Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney, Zach McCloud, and Romeo Finley. This is the best part of a defense that has been great for the last few years, and will continue to have success this season.

Q4: What do you see as the Canes' most glaring weakness?

: The biggest weaknesses bar none is on the O-Line, and specifically at offensive tackle. No matter how talented you think a guy is, or can be, you never want to be in the position of having to begin the season with two freshmen starting at tackle. The entire second team is made up of sophomores or younger as well. I think the Canes can go as far as their O-Line takes them in 2019, but if injuries start to pile up here, it could sink UM’s season.

Roman: Depth at key positions. Offensive line is what immediately jumps out. Miami will be starting a true freshman left tackle in Zion Nelson and a redshirt freshman at right tackle in John Campbell. That is a little unnerving in of itself, but what happens if, and usually when, someone goes down? I really like the improvement of the blue-chip ratio to reach over the 50% threshold this year, but Miami still needs to bolster its depth along the lines if it wants to put itself back in national championship contention.

Matthew: This one is also easy, it is the inexperience on offense. Miami has talent on the offensive side of the ball, but they are still very young and have very little game experience. Two of the most important players on offense, the QB and the left tackle, have essentially zero game experience. The good news is this offense will grow together and improve by leaps and bounds as the year rolls on.

Phil: QB. Jarren Williams could be great, but of late Miami has made me far too pessimistic to trust the QB position. But it has to be better than last year, right? Right?

Q5: Who's your breakout player on Offense and why?

: There’s a lot of young, but unproven, talent on this offense, so there are a few guys I could see breaking out. I’m going to go with Cam Harris at RB, though. I love his ability as a complete back, and he is a guy that is just as comfortable running in between the tackles as he is bouncing it to the outside. Harris is also a stud leaking out of the backfield and is dangerous in the flats. He’s already had some huge moments as a freshman last season, busting off big scores at key times against both Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. I see him taking that next step in 2019 and leading the team in carries by the end of the year.

Roman: Will Jordan. Or Brevin Mallory. Yes. I am cheating on this one. The two-headed monster will be a heavy feature in this offense and I honestly see a resurgence and reaffirmation of Tight End U with these two. No doubt this tandem will play on Sundays and we will need a heavy dose of the them in week zero in order to beat the Gators. We last saw two NFL-caliber teammates play together with David Njoku and Christopher Herndon, but this offense will feature them in a much more prominent and effective way. Long live the 12 set.

Matthew: When Dan Enos was hired as offensive coordinator, nobody should have been more excited than Will Mallory. I fully believe Mallory can be a first-round draft pick after being in this offense for 2-3 years. Mallory is completely unguardable and one of the most talented players in the country. Dan Enos will put his entire skill set to good use and everybody will learn the name Will Mallory.

Phil: Jarren Williams. Because I'm an optimist. Plus, he has the best weapons in the division around him, guys that I think Dan Enos will put in much better positions to succeed compared to last season.

Q6: Who's your breakout player on Defense and why?

: I’m going with Jon Ford. The guy has always had the physical tools, but never had much confidence playing cleanup reps behind upperclassmen the past two years. Now that Ford is an elder statesman that needs to lead by example, he’s exploded onto the scene with the extra opportunity. The combination of raw power and athleticism he exhibits is rare, and he has looked like the best defensive tackle on the team to my eye. Now, he won’t make Canes’ fans forget Gerald Willis or anything, but Ford’s really taken the next step and will be a talked about name in the ACC by year’s end.

Roman: The Tarantula, Gregory Rousseau. He was hampered by an injury last year, but he has led the Canes in sacks in the spring and fall with a combined 7,439 of them. Slight hyperbole and over-exaggeration, but what is not fiction is the fact that Rousseau is long, lean, and athletic. He currently sits on the second team depth chart behind Scott Patchan and Jonathan Garvin, but I wouldn't be surprised if his effectiveness in games will eventually lead him to be in during key situations and beyond.

Matthew: There are a lot of very good candidates for this one, but I am going with Bubba Bolden. Bolden has had a tough road since he left Bishop Gorman. Leaving USC and sitting out a season has led some people to forget just how good this guy was in high school. Bolden is an ideal free safety. He is rangy, he has ball skills, and he can cover as much ground as anyone. Once Bolden adds some more mass and gets more comfortable in the defense, people will once again learn just how special he is.

Phil: Jonathan Garvin. Garvin had a great season in 2018, but was overshadowed by future NFL players Gerald Willis III and Joe Jackson last year. With both of them gone, this is Garvin's D-Line now. I think by mid-season Garvin will be a name well-known all around the country.

Q7: Who's your freshman of the year and why?

: This is a difficult question to answer without falling back on a RS frosh, but I’m going to keep it pure and go with Te’Cory Couch. The way the passing game has evolved these days, you pretty much need 4 quality corners at all times. It’s safe to say Miami feels confident in their top 3 guys, but they are looking for someone to solidify that No. 4 role. He gets a lot of flak for his size, but Couch is able to play bigger than his measurables due to his outstanding length and advanced technique. Couch has come in ready to play quicker than even the coaching staff expected and I see him eventually becoming a blanket in coverage and a weapon for this defense by the time the season is over.

Roman: Redshirt freshman Jarren Williams was involved in the most contested quarterback battle Miami has seen since Jacory Harris and Robert Marve. It’s even more impressive when you consider UM felt the need to add one more blue-chip quarterback to the mix with Tate Martell and Williams still won the job outright. I will also bring mention to the fact that not only does he have a legitimate quarterback guru in Enos, but he has a **** good private quarterback coach as well. Quincy Avery has coached the likes of Deshaun Watson and Dwayne Haskins to name a few. Avery provided Williams with an already stellar foundation which in my opinion will spring-board exponentially with Enos's refinement.

Matthew: Simple, Zion Nelson. Nelson’s story is well documented, especially the weight gain aspect. What I find most impressive about Nelson is that despite going through massive changes with his body, he was able to go against elite defensive ends in practice every day and not lose confidence. Nelson has made incredible strides since arriving in January, but he is not a finished project. With that being said, I believe he has the potential to be one of the best left tackles we have had here in a long time by the time the season comes to an end.

Phil: I'm a broken record, but it has to be Jarren Williams. He's taking over the offense as a redshirt freshman and if the Canes are going to win games, it's going to be in large part due to better play at the QB position. I think Williams has a solid first year as a consistent starter for the Canes.

Q8: Who is the player Miami can least afford to lose this season?

: UM is already mired in huge injury losses that have killed depth at linebacker, so losing anybody else at that spot could be disastrous, but I’ll go with the man in the middle in Shaq Quarterman. The unquestioned quarterback of defense knows every assignment and understands the scheme backwards and forwards. There’s no replacing the type of experience advantage you get with a 4-year starter at MIKE, but aside from that, Quarterman going down means a freshman is likely going to have to see heavy minutes. The dropoff there would be extensive.

Roman: Certain positions along the offensive line and secondary would be severely crippled with a couple injuries. But the one player Miami certainly cannot lose? Lou Hedley. Field position will play key and usually does a couple games a year. We saw the detriment and disadvantage the punting game put us in last year. Unconventional pick, but we cannot lose the thunder from down under.

Matthew: Call me crazy, but I think losing Zion Nelson would hurt the most. Zion arrived at 240 pounds and is now the starting left tackle a few months later. Most people view that as a positive for Nelson, and it is, but you also need to remember that means nobody was able to beat him out. 3rd year tackles like Zalon’tae Hillery and Kai-Leon Herbert were not able to beat out an extremely undersized true freshman. UM cannot lose Zion.

Phil: Trajan Bandy. Last season, Bandy wore the turnover chain 5 times for the Canes, more than any other player on the team. In week 1 against LSU, he was ejected for targeting which proved to be a demoralizing loss for the Canes’ defense. Seeing how the rest of that game went was enough to let me know the Canes don't want to experience life without him. Plus, the depth at corner is small in numbers and also very unproven at this point. Losing Bandy could really damage the secondary.

Q9: Aside from UF and FSU, which game will be key for Miami to win this season?

: Surprisingly enough, most talking heads around the country feel that UVA is the team to beat in the Coastal this year, not Miami. Last season’s game between UM and UVA was infamous for beginning Miami’s 4 game losing streak in a contest where UM lost by 3 on the road after they outgained Virginia by over 100 yards, but continually shot themselves in the foot with ill-timed turnovers and penalties. The Canes get the Cavaliers at home this year for a potential revenge game and have an obvious recruiting/talent advantage. Miami would have a clear path to the ACC Championship Game were they to defeat Bronco Mendenhall’s squad in mid-October.

Roman: Pittsburgh game. I don't like that UM plays a Coastal division opponent on the road the week before FSU. Eventually, Miami needs to beat all the teams it is supposed to and Vegas only has Miami as underdogs to UF and FSU (don't ask me why with the Noles). But that is a trap game and circle it now. That game also will be a big key to control our Coastal future.

Matthew: Miami travels to Pittsburgh on October 26th. This is one week before Miami travels to Tallahassee to take on FSU. This is the trap game, folks. Miami will travel for the first time in seven weeks and it is to a place where they have been upset before. Miami needs to leave Pittsburgh with a victory.

Phil: Virginia. This game could be the game that decides who plays Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. I'm not as high on Virginia as a lot of preseason polls, but the Canes can't blow a great defensive performance like last season.

Q10: Lastly, what's your prediction for the W/L record for Miami this season?

: Put up or shut up time. It seems like every year the past couple of seasons we talk about how weak Miami’s schedule is and how they should easily run through it, but only once in that time (2017) have they really delivered on their talent level. That said, this is probably the weakest their schedule has ever been in recent memory. Only one big out of conference game in UF, the Canes miss Clemson again, FSU is down, and nobody in the Coastal division has inspired enough confidence to be preseason ranked. The goal is to get to Charlotte every year, and I think Miami will, but anything less than 9-3 would be disappointing in Manny Diaz’s first season in my opinion.

Roman: Vegas has Miami as underdogs to two teams and I would gladly take a 10-2 season, but I have Miami improving only slightly and going 9-3 (Coastal division champs) on the season.

Matthew: Last year, I predicted Miami would go 12-0. My confidence came back to hurt me big time. This year I face a dilemma. I feel that Miami is a much better team than they were a year ago with a schedule where they have just as much if not more talent than every team they face. I want to pick 12-0 again, but I am not going to do that to myself. Miami will go 11-1. I do not know who Miami will lose to, but it will not come this weekend.

Phil: I’ve got them going 9-3. I believe they lose to the Gators and then trip up twice throughout the season, just because they're not good enough of a team yet to trust them to beat the teams they should.

Comments (42)

I don’t care about the new staff, offense etc, we have more talent to beat everyone on the the schedule. UF is a toss up I think we win.

Who has more talent or a better coaching staff?
we better win 10 games unless some crazy injury bug happens (knock on wood). Absolutely no reason for us to not win 10 games with the roster we have and apparently the coaching staff now in place.

10 wins or more and an ACC Title game appearance or bust.
9-3, losing to the gaytor and losing twice in the ACC will probably knock them out of the Coastal. This would be highly disappointing if it were to unfold this way...

9-3 is ok if Virginia is not one of The losses. Virginia probably would lose 2-3 in coastal so Miami would have the head to head. Miami will be favored in every game this year outside of it’s on Manny to not have this team flop.
9-3, losing to the gaytor and losing twice in the ACC will probably knock them out of the Coastal. This would be highly disappointing if it were to unfold this way...
7-5 won the coastal last year, nobody else will be better than 8-4. 9-3 puts Miami at 5.-2, which would easily win the coastal. If course I like 10-2 better as well
Canes 9-3? That’s a good, safe pick, but with this schedule I have them going 11-1. As long as that 1 isn’t uf or fsu, I’m happy.
I would not want to be 5-2 in the ACC. Especially if one of those losses is UVA. We need to go 6-1 to be on the safe side.

While 9-3 is a **** good first year, Manny might never get another easy schedule like this again. All of our tough ACC Coastal games are at home. (VT, UVA, GTech) We have 5 straight home games. And our yearly ACC Atlantic opponent is freakin Louisville! The schedule gods couldn't have been kinder to him. Go look at Texas A&Ms schedule this year and then come talk to me about schedules.. Manny needs to take full advantage. 10 wins needs to be the mark.
Anything less than 10-2 going into acc title game is a major disappointment. I think 11-1 going into clemson acc title game is doable.

Also, the UF game can be a major recruiting tool for us as we did see what happened to recruiting when we got blown out against LSU last year. We win this UF game, it will set the tone in a big way especially for recruiting.

Last edited:
This Miami team will shock the world and beat an OVERRATED Clemson team for the ACC, squeak out a victory against UGA for a shot against Alabama....Enos calls the game of his career and ticks off his old boss even more as Miami wins what should be #8 Natty!!!
12-0 if we beat the Gator.

9-3 if we lose to the gator.

Do not underestimate the wonders that a win over a top 10 team and rival would do for these kids’ confidence.

Them boys eating super good after that. FSU would be the only potential let down game....they should be better and they still have talent and more blue chips than us. I’m not just writing FSU off just yet and if Briles gets that offense humming it could get interesting.

But, with all that being said give me 12-0.
Last edited:
I don’t care about the new staff, offense etc, we have more talent to beat everyone on the the schedule. UF is a toss up I think we win.

Who has more talent or a better coaching staff?

We have no idea how good our coaching staff is. Many successful coordinators fail as HCs.
Also....While I hope Jarren balls out of control let’s remember something.

He doesn’t have to ball out. If he can be just Brad Kaaya, Stephen Morris, Jacory Harris this team will eat major league.

If any of those kids were Miami’s QB in 2018 Mark Richt would still be coaching here. And tbh we are likely going to finish with 11 wins last year.

Yes those kids were 50% passers but not all 50% passers are created equal. They had A LOT more arm talent than Rosier and that forces the defense to at least play you honest.

Try press coverage on Stephen Morris and a 50 yard bomb was getting dropped on your head.

Jarren seems like a kid who can make all the throws from the practice clips. Force the defense to play honest and not stack the box and we are instantly a better football team because of it.