Can Miami Hurricanes Win ACC Coastal?

Glenn Sattell takes a look at Miami’s chances of winning a ACC divional title.
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Miami Hurricanes players take the field before their spring game at Sun Life Stadium.

MIAMI, FL (C+P) — Is the ACC Coastal Division winnable for the Miami Hurricanes in 2014? Well, of course it is. Need proof? Duke won it last year; yeah, that Duke…the basketball Duke. The Duke that no one thought could supplant the likes of football tradition-rich Miami, Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech. But they did.

So why not Miami in 2014? Why not indeed.

Like last year, the division is up for grabs again. A two-loss Duke team emerged from the log-jam of three-loss teams that included the aforementioned trio of more traditional football powers.

But the Blue Devils lost two starters to season-ending ACLs just last week alone. So while Duke players are dropping like, well, no classes at that school…ever (I’m looking at you Notre Dame), uneasy lies the crown.

For Miami to take advantage, two things have to happen. Improvement on a defense that yielded 41, 42, and 48 points on consecutive weeks to Florida State, Virginia Tech and Duke is essential. So is solid quarterback play from one of a handful of newcomers.

 

Miami Hurricanes linebacker Thurston Armbrister (34) reacts after he sacked South Florida Bulls quarterback Steven Bench (not pictured) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium.
Miami Hurricanes linebacker Thurston Armbrister (34) reacts after he sacked South Florida Bulls quarterback Steven Bench (not pictured) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium.

Defense came to play in the Hurricanes’ second scrimmage, which was held August 18. The four-man rush was able to put pressure on the passing game. Senior linebacker Thurston Armbrister went pick-6 while Al-Quadin Muhammad recorded two of the team’s seven sacks in the scrimmage. All-ACC linebacker Denzel Perryman, who bypassed the NFL draft for one more year at The U, was also among those standouts on defense.

Freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya threw TD passes to Stacy Coley and Walter Tucker while redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen (6’3, 212), No. 1 on the depth chart with two weeks left before the season opener, tossed another to Tyre Brady.

Senior signal-caller Jake Heaps, a transfer from Kansas, rested his arm and was held out of the scrimmage by head coach Al Golden. Heaps could very well end up being the guy under center in the opener at Louisville on Labor Day night.

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