I'll do this a little bit differently than yesterday and post my preview from the preseason and then reassess the Hurricanes based on what they've done so far. Spoiler: Miami's defense so far is quite superior to what most outlets (including us) expected it to be and has perhaps been the major reason for the Hurricanes' hot start.
From the offseason:
While we gave a lot of credit in the offseason to the Miami offense, which we covered yesterday, we were quite bearish on the Miami defense. The one thing I would point to is that we did say it could be a blessing in disguise that the defense doesn't bring back many players from the 2012 installment - and what a blessing it has been. Last year the Miami defense was in fact terrible, but this year the Hurricanes have absolutely brought it. Through six games Miami ranks 11th in scoring defense (17.2 ppg), 59th in rush defense, 14th in rush defense, 18th in total defense, and T11 in takeaways with 18. The team has already recorded five more sacks than they did over the entire 2012 season and is one of the top defensive units in the ACC.
Denzel Perryman again finds himself near the top of the team in tackles, but leads the team this year with 46 tackles, ten more than the second leading tackler Jimmy Gaines. The linebacking corps has really stepped up and put pressure in the backfield forcing opposing offenses to adapt or get stuffed. More times than not, the offense has failed to adapt to the quick and athletic Miami defense. This defense is going to be difficult to break down and as the game goes on Wake will have to make adjustments on offense to keep the Miami unit guessing.
I said before the year that I thought the Hurricanes would win the Coastal and nothing has made me come off of this prediction. I said I thought the Canes could win 10 games with a bowl bid and I stand by this, but they might not even need the bowl to make it to double digits for the first time in a decade. With the NCAA investigation finally resolved and the punishment handed out, Miami can turn their focus 100% to football and look to add to their impressive undefeated start. This is going to be an absolute dog fight for the Deacs and will require a massive effort to come out of South Beach with a victory. Tune in on Saturday to see if the Deacs can get it done and make it three ACC wins in a row.