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Georgia Tech Football: 2016 Opponent Preview - Miami Hurricanes

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A preview of the U

University of Miami Introduces Mark Richt Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images

Countdown to Kickoff: 36 days

As our 100 Days to Kickoff continues on, we begin our opponent previews to provide a quick look at each of the teams coming up on our schedule this season. Each team has changed and provides new challenges than in years past, so this week is all about learning about those changes and learning exactly what the ACC has to offer.

2016 Opponent Previews – Miami Hurricanes

The Hurricanes have consistently pulled in talent and highly rated recruiting classes, but haven’t seemed to put it together. The 2015 ‘Canes fired embattled head coach Al Golden mid-season after Clemson came to town and dismantled them in every aspect of the game. Despite the relative parity in athletic prowess on the field, the Hurricanes were vastly outplayed, and the administration realized something needed to change.

Miami hired Mark Richt to replace him immediately after he was fired at uga, where he averaged 10 wins a season. The hire makes sense for both sides, and the 2016 ‘Canes have the hype and optimism that has been missing under previous regimes.

Who’s Gone?

Most notably, Al Golden is gone as head coach.

Also leaving the (really, really ugly color scheme of) orange and green are the most targeted wide receivers in Rashawn Scott and Herb Waters.

On the defensive side, starting linemen Ufomba Kamalu and Calvin Heurtelou, safety Deon Bush, and OLB Tyriq McCord are lost to graduation.

Who’s Back?

Perhaps most importantly, Brad Kaaya returns for his junior year at Miami. He’s been a starter since his true freshman year, and figures to grow into the role even more so now that he’s paired with the quarterback-developing skills of his new head coach.

Kaaya also returns his top two running backs in Joseph Yearby and Mark Walton. However, Miami was miserable rushing the ball last season, placing 117th in the country in rushing yards per game. If Kaaya can get some support from his ground game, the Miami offense should take a major step forward in his 3rd year.

Despite losing his top two targets at wide receiver, Kaaya also returns Stacey Coley, who averaged 10.6 ypc last season, along with the entire offensive line.

On defense, there isn’t much turnover for Miami this season. The 2016 ‘Canes return 4-star DE Al-Quadin Muhammad, and team-leading tackler Jermaine Grace at OLB. They also return three of four players in the secondary, including star safety Rayshawn Jenkins, who had three interceptions last season.

Who’s New?

The newest, and perhaps strangest, face to see in Miami colors this fall will be Mark Richt. The long-time uga head coach returns to his alma mater hoping to rejuvenate a once-powerhouse program. The talent is there, even if the fanbase is not.

Season Outlook

No one is quite sure what to make of this year’s Hurricane team. 2016 Miami will put loads of talent on the field with a brand new coaching staff and several variables. They ease into their schedule and don’t play a P5 team until they come to Atlanta in Week 4, but then begin a grueling stretch of games that includes FSU, @Virginia Tech, and @Notre Dame. The ‘Canes haven’t beaten FSU since before Golden’s 5-year tenure, and that game will be one of Richt’s early benchmarks. However, Richt has been known to have trouble with rival teams in the state of Florida.

Regular season prediction: 7-5