A six-pack of Miami Hurricanes notes on a Thursday:
▪ Among the state’s Power 5 conference teams, UM, UF and FSU have all been the best team in the nation at various times over the past four decades.
UF, ranked sixth in the country, now enjoys a significant lead, and the question is which of the other two — UM or FSU — will emerge from their malaise.
FSU was 5-7 last season and 4-4 this year, with losses to Boise State, Virginia, Clemson and Wake Forest. UM was 7-6 last season and 4-4 this season.
So who has the better roster now?
“It’s about as even as you can get [in terms of talent],” recruiting expert Larry Blustein said. “Kind of a mirror image.”
Blustein and recruiting expert Charles Fishbein said it’s a push at quarterback between the teams. “Neither has quarterbacks that have been awesome,” Blustein said.
At running back, both give FSU the edge. “Cam Akers is better than what Miami has got,” Blustein said.
At offensive line, “FSU is better by far,” Fishbein said.
Blustein said “Miami is better at receiver. And tight ends, overwhelmingly for Miami.” Fishbein calls receiver even between the rosters.
Fishbein gives UM the edge at defensive end and FSU the advantage at defensive tackle. Blustein says Miami has the more athletic defensive front.
At linebacker, both favor UM. “Miami is maybe better at linebacker now, but not moving forward [in 2020],” Blustein said.
Fishbein said FSU has the better secondary. Blustein gives FSU a slight edge there: the Seminoles “have really good playmakers and played pretty well lately.”
Who has the better future? That’s anyone’s guess, they say.
“They’re both such Jekyll and Hyde teams,” Blustein said. “Don’t think either is ahead” of the other in terms of fixing this longterm.
UM coach Manny Diaz, on his WQAM radio show with Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey Jr., said: “We’re both trying to work our ways back to the roster of the 90s, 80s. But the tenacity never changes. Motivation won’t be an issue. You don’t need to come up with a great speech.”
▪ Diaz said the FSU game “has been like a national holiday to me, my entire life. The two questions you’ll be asked when you’re an alum is did you win a ring and what was your record against FSU. It’s a legacy game. We’ve seen dramatic turnarounds [in the middle of games between the teams] That’s been a common theme, even going back to the wide rights. There is no reason to suspect that won’t happen Saturday.”
He said UM, in falling behind 27-7 last season against FSU, “got caught up in the chippiness and running of mouths. It wasn’t us. Defensively we were out of our game and offensively it wasn’t much better. If anything, we had to calm down. It was weird. You have to ride the emotional wave. It can steer you to good but also steer you to bad.”
UM rallied to win 28-27.
▪ Camden Price will be UM’s kicker this week. “We have a lot of confidence in Camden; we know he has a powerful leg,” Diaz said.
He wasn’t available earlier this season (before the Pitt game) because of personal issues. UM hasn’t clarified whether it was a suspension.
▪ Some personnel notes: Diaz reminded everyone, on his radio show, that receiver KJ Osborn also considered FSU before picking UM. “The people we called at Buffalo couldn’t have given a more positive recommendation on Osborn,” Diaz said.... Diaz said safety Rob Knowles “is really putting together a really good senior year.”...
Tight end Michael Irvin started for the first time, this season, against Pittsburgh and played 12 snaps on offense, with Will Mallory logging 18 and Brian Polendey two, per Herald correspondent Daniel Gould. Brevin Jordan played 52…. Though Bubba Bolden started at safety against Pittsburgh, he played the fewest snaps of the safeties or corners who got defensive snaps (35).
▪ Asked by Canesport’s Gary Ferman whether he would consider hiring former UF and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer if he returns to coaching, UM athletic director Blake James reiterated he’s committed to Manny Diaz.
Meyer, now a Fox Sports analyst, reportedly has been advised not to coach for health reasons, but that hasn’t stopped speculation that he might return to coaching. FSU has said it won’t hire him if he wants to coach.
James declined to say whether Oregon’s Mario Cristobal would be considered if the UM job is open again. And James reiterated to Ferman what he had told us previously - that were would have been no way to conduct a national coaching search AND hire Diaz, because a decision needed to be made quickly on Diaz because he had already committed to coach Temple. So Diaz was hired the same day Mark Richt resigned (Dec. 30).
▪ Quick stuff: Former UM cornerback Michael Jackson, one of the only three rookie fifth-round draft picks who was released before the season started, was plucked by Detroit off Dallas’ practice squad. The Cowboys cut him Labor Day weekend and hoped to stash him on the p-squad all year…
Dallas’ other fifth-rounder from UM, defensive end Joe Jackson, has four tackles in limited playing time... Travis Homer, who turned pro early and went in the sixth round to Seattle, has played on special teams but doesn’t have a carry.... For the first time, UM is selling alcohol at basketball games.