Coastal Confessions: Recapping the 2011 Miami Spring Game

Reviewing the spring games for each of the Hokies' division rivals. Previously: DukeVirginiaNorth Carolina. The rest of the schedule: Georgia Tech - April 23.

Not surprisingly, Miami's spring game showcased speed and athleticism. Also not surprisingly, it also showcased poor decisions on the part of its quarterbacks.

Lamar Miller, who averaged over 10 yards per carry as he gashed the Hokies on the ground last year, showed that he may be ready to become one of the better running backs in the ACC. Miller ran 10 times for 166 yards and two touchdowns, including 70- and 64-yard scores.

As we discussed before, Miami's offensive line is huge and experienced, so Miller's coming out party shouldn't be unexpected. We know that the Canes are going to be able to run the ball this year. However, those running backs can only take the them so far. If they want to compete for a conference title, their quarterbacks are going to have to step up.

In the spring game, neither one showed it's ready to step up and help the Canes get their first division title. Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris combined for four interceptions in the game, including one by Morris that was returned for a touchdown. Harris' first interception to cornerback Brandon McGee came on an over-thrown ball that could have been due to miscommunication with his receiver.

Both had their struggles, but Morris was at least able to find the end zone and was the most efficient quarterback during the game, according to Cane Insider. How the two QBs adapt to their new offense will determine Miami's fate in the division.

On defense, McGee obviously played well, but so did safety-turned-cornerback JoJo Nicholas. Miami's secondary will be young, but not nearly as depleted as it looked at the beginning of the spring. While the secondary should again be a strength, the Canes still have a ways to go on the defensive line, particularly at tackle.

Since joining the ACC, the Canes have been inconsistent due to their inability to win on the road. Randy Shannon was particularly terrible away from home and it will be interesting to see if the Canes are better prepared for hostile environments under Al Golden. We'll find out real quick as Miami's three toughest (and perhaps four toughest) ACC games are all on the road.

One comment we saw from Miami observers from the spring game is how much more organized the new coaching staff is than the last one. That will certainly help the Canes on the road.

Additional Reading

Cane Insider: Green Monsters
All Canes: Next stop, College Park
Miami Herald: Spring Game Observations
Palm Beach Post: Interceptions make an ugly return
South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Miller and defense stand out in spring game

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