What Can You Believe About UM? Here's A Quick Glance

Chris Perkins

It’s tough to know what to believe about the University of Miami after one game, especially when the opponent was an FCS team (Alabama-Birmingham) that was on the road.

Life gets more real for UM at 7:30 p.m. Saturday when the 17th-ranked Hurricanes (1-0) travel to No. 18 Louisville (1-0) for a nationally-televised game.

We saw a few interesting things in the Canes’ 31-14 victory over UAB. But can you believe everything you saw?

Here’s a quick look at what’s believable regarding UM after the opener.

UM's strong run defense: Miami, led by the defensive line of tackles Nesta Jade Silvera and Jon Ford and ends Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips, held UAB to 80 yards rushing (3.1 yards per carry). Louisville rushed for 144 yards (3.8 ypc) against Western Kentucky led by Javian Hawkins (19 carries, 71 yards, 3.7 ypc) and Hassan Hall (six carries, 66 yards). The Cardinals had carries of 10 or more yards. But Miami’s front seven showed depth and athleticism last week. These won't shut Louisville down but they'll keep the Cardinals under control. UM's run defense seems legit.

Verdict: Believe it

UM's struggle to force TOs: UM's defense, which was tied for 40th among FBS schools in forced turnovers (20) last season, didn’t force any turnovers against UAB although it did force a fumble. This will be an issue this season because Miami doesn’t return a slew of ballhawks. Louisville features experienced ball handlers among quarterback Micale Cunningham (19 of 34 for 343 yards, three touchdowns, one interception vs. WKU), wide receiver Tutu Atwell (seven receptions, 78 yards), Hawkins and Hall. Right now, Miami’s ability to force turnovers is unproven. Let’s not overreact after one game, but we didn’t see anything credible vs. UAB. 

Verdict: Believe it

QB D’Eriq King’s performance vs. UAB: King isn’t an elite passer. He completed 63.5 percent of his passes in 2018 at Houston. (Oklahoma's Kyler Murray, for example, completed 69 percent in his final year; LSU’s Joe Burrow was 76.3 percent last year). But King is a baller. He’ll be better than he was against UAB. Guaranteed. King had a solid debut, going 16 of 24 for 144 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He missed a few passes he should have completed and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said both of UM’s sacks were on King, not the pass protection unit. But don’t worry about King. This guy is a gamer. What you saw vs. UAB isn't what you’ll see all season. 

Verdict: Don’t believe it

RB Cam’ron Harris being effective: Harris rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. His 66-yard touchdown run showed patience and speed, and he showed maturity throughout the night by taking what was given instead of trying to house every run. There are tough defenses ahead, beginning with Louisville, but Harris seems legit. You can’t predict a 1,000-yard season, but you can believe he’ll be effective.  

Verdict: Believe it

OL playing fairly clean game: Miami’s offensive line was pretty darn good against UAB. But, sorry, I’m not buying it. Not yet. Nothing personal but I have to see it against a better defensive front than UAB, which is legit among FCS defensive fronts. UM center Corey Gaynor earned ACC OL of the Week honors for his performance but left guard Ousman Traore lost his starting job to Jakai Clark. Miami had a great rushing day (337 yards) and kept King upright for the most part, but this crew has been suspect for more than a year so they’ve got do it more than once to earn trust. 

Verdict: Don’t believe it