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2020 Wake Forest Football Opponent Preview: Miami Hurricanes

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Canes, no Raisin, are coming to town

Get ready for fast and furious as new prolific Miami receivers coach takes the helm Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Game Date: November 21st, 2020

Opponent: Miami Hurricanes

Conference: ACC

Head Coach: Manny Diaz (6-7, 4-4)

2019 Stats

Record: 6-7, 4-4

2019 vs Wake: N/A

Highest Ranking: N/A

Post-Season: Lost 14-0 to Louisiana Tech in Independence Bowl

Wins: Louisville, FSU, Pitt, Georgia Tech, UVA, UNC

Losses: Louisiana Tech, Duke, FIU, VT, Bethune-Cookman

Yards per Game: 367.2 (98th in NCAA)

Yards Allowed per Game: 309.8 (13th)

Points per Game: 25.7 (90th)

Points Allowed per Game: 20.2 (23rd)

Key Departures:

  • Gregory Rousseau DE(Opted out and is entering 2021 Draft)
  • Michael Pinckney LB
  • Jonathon Garvin DL
  • Shaq Quarterman LB
  • K.J. Osborn WR
  • Jeff Thomas WR

Notable returns/additions

  • D’Eriq King QB
  • Quincy Roche DE
  • Brevin Jordan TE
  • Gurvan Hall Jr S

Where this game was on the original Wake Forest schedule, I had my article locked and loaded to call this game the most important one of Wake’s schedule. Now it sits as the penultimate game on the schedule.

Miami’s offense was a borderline disaster last year. I kept banging the drum that the offense was too talented to not come around and they just eventually never did. Enter new OC Rhett Lashlee and transfer QB D’Eriq King.

King is an absolute stud if he’s back to his 2018 form where he was one of the top 5 QBs in the nation. Running back Cam’ron Harris should be good in his own right, while Jaylan Knighton looks to be the explosive change of pace back, puts that room in good shape. Brevin Jordan might honestly be the best TE in the country.

But the offensive questions are quite similar to Wake’s own. After losing significant contributors across the board, Miami doesn’t really have a true #1 receiver. Mark Pope, Dee Wiggins and Jeremiah Payton will all be vying for first string snaps, but there is a lot to prove before calling the room good.

On the OL, there’s a couple of very solid players in Jarrid Williams and DJ Scaife on the right side of the line. While it looks like John Campbell will be the starting LT(who graded horribly last season in 230 snaps), Ousman Traore at LG(who only had 15 snaps all year last year) and Corey Gaynor at C(who was actually pretty good pass blocking wise but absolutely HAS to be better for them blocking the run), Wake fans if this sounds familiar let me know when to stop.

The offense will be better than last year solely due to King, but there are still some question marks they have to answer before they are the Miami their fans hope for.

In terms of the defense, the lord giveth and the lord taketh away. In comes Quincy Roche. Roche was PFF’s 2nd best past rusher behind some guy names Chase Young last year. The transfer from Temple looks to make his draft stock soar even more playing in Miami now.

However, Miami lost top 10 pick Gregory Rousseau as he decided to opt out of the season and prepare for the NFL draft. Rousseau is a bigger hit than just losing a big time player, Miami also just lost 3 very, very good linebackers and were in need of keeping up the pass rush pressure. Jahfari Harvey should help behind Roche. While Jaelen Phillips has been touted as an “upgrade” from Rousseau from an athletic standpoint, he is not who Rousseau has shown on the field until proven otherwise. At DT, Nesta Jade SIlvera graded.. fine in under 200 snaps but they need more out of him. Jonaton Ford was a miserable tackler but was generally fine on passing downs.

At LB, outside of NIck McCloud, there isn’t a whole lot of experience here. I’d assume Sam Brooks and Bradley Jennings to get significant time, but there’s a giant question mark with those 2 positions. At Striker(which I will always group alongside LBs, sue me I know it’s a 4-2-5, they’re a 3rd LB/Slot CB/extra safety/guy who makes plays) inexperience here but they can be a bit more confident in Gilbert Frierson and Keontra Smith to take that next step for them.

I don’t think the DBs as a whole will be elite, they won’t be the weakness of this defense by any stretch of the imagination. Gurvan Hall graded out well and looks to be their eraser at S. Al Blades, Bubba Bolden, and DJ Ivey will be a good, and battle tested group. I have my talent if they’ll be one of the best in the ACC, but nowhere near a liability, there’s just too much talent back there.

Overall, this one wont be easy for either side as they matchup very well. Wake will look to attack the middle of the field more often on offense, while creating a lot of pressure on King to force him into some mistakes. King is very good when asked to roll out and Brevin Jordan will be a great safety valve, while defensively Roche is an absolute nightmare to deal with. I don’t expect this to be a defensive back and forth and instead a fun offensive chess match between Lashlee and Warren Ruggiero. Health will definitely play a factor here. 2nd to last game of the season, Miami will be in their 4th game of a 5 game stretch and it will be their 3rd in 4 games on the road. Wake will be coming home on their 3rd of a 4 game stretch after spending the previous 2 in Chapel Hill and Durham.