There was a time when a Notre Dame/Miami Bowl Game would have been played for a national championship. Those days are long gone but the Sun Bowl does offer an interesting match up between once proud franchises that have fallen on harder times of late. Randy Shannon is out at Miami while Brian Kelly looks to have the Irish on the right track on the field. With Al Golden in place now in Miami this game serves as a look into two potential BCS teams in the coming years.
3 Keys From the Scouts
1. Miami’s passing defense versus Malcolm Floyd. Floyd is one of the best receivers in the nation and is always a difficult match up for opponents. Miami, however, has had little trouble defending the pass all season and leads the ACC in pass defense. Brian Kelly’s offense is unlike anything in the ACC though and he will be creative when it comes to getting the ball to Floyd.
2. Will the dual quarterback work for Miami? Jacory Harris is a 3 year starter that still plays inconsistently. Stephen Morris is a promising freshman that played well when Harris went down with injury. If the Miami coaches try to force the action then it could disrupt Miami’s rhythm and lead have a detrimental effect on the Hurricanes. If, however, they are more judicious in their timing they could keep Notre Dame off balance, especially early, and perhaps score a few points before the Irish adjust.
3. Can Notre Dame protect its quarterback? Miami is a swarming, aggressive defense. They have 33 sacks on the season and will look to attack the fighting Irish with stunts and blitzes. Notre Dame is far from a poor pass blocking line but they have struggled against fast aggressive front sevens all year.
Bold Prediction: Stability is usually key in games like this where one coach has been dismissed. This game should be different. Miami plays good team defense which should counter Notre Dame’s offensive edge. If the Miami coaches are smart with how they substitute their quarterbacks they should find some early scoring opportunities before turning the game over to their defense. Miami 37 Notre Dame 24.
|1-2||Michael Floyd||WR||3||3Jr||Tall, game controlling possession receiver that can be an awesome red-zone threat.|
|2nd||Kyle Rudolph||TE||9||3Jr||Complete tight end that is a sensational blocker and terrific pass catcher. Sat out most of the season with a serious hamstring injury which required surgery to repair. Expected to enter the draft.|
|4th||Darius Fleming||OLB||45||3Jr||Aggressive and strong linebacker best up the field.|
|4-5||Brian Smith||OLB||58||4Sr||Quasi defensive end/outside linebacker that has shown flashes in the past. Potential 3-4 outside ‘backer.|
|5th||Dayne Crist||QB||10||3So||Solid signal caller with a nice arm. Has an upside and should get better in time.|
|6th||Ian Williams||DT||95||4Sr||Quick, penetrating one-gap lineman with limited upside. Sidelined with a knee injury.|
|6th||Duval Kamara||WR||18||4Sr||Underrated receiver that does enough to get looks as a 5th receiver on the NFL level. Out for personal reasons.|
|FA||Armando Allen||RB||5||4Sr||Quick, elusive ball carrier who creates yardage yet is mostly a one speed back.|
|FA||Kapron Lewis-Moore||DE||89||3So||Long, angular athlete who flashes pass rush skills.|
|FA||Robert Hughes||RB||33||4Sr||Solid short yardage runner that also distinguishes himself as a pass catcher out of the backfield.|
|FA||Chris Stewart||G||59||5Sr||Wide bodied blocker best in confined quarters.|
|FA||Jonas Gray||RB||25||3Jr||Patient ball carrier that picks up yardage off initial contact and also looks solid catching the ball out of the backfield.|
|1st||Allen Bailey||DE||57||5Sr||Athletic lineman that can be used as a conventional tackle or two-gap end. Offers a great amount of upside. Has shown steady improvement in his game.|
|1-2||Leonard Hankerson||WR||84||4Sr||Big strong receiver with deceptive speed. Very reliable and has been steadily climbing boards.|
|2-3||Brandon Harris||CB||1||3Jr||Talented cover corner with solid ball skills. Flashes the ability to shut down opponents but needs more consistency. Will enter the draft.|
|3rd||Orlando Franklin||G||74||5Sr||Massive guard really coming into his own. Strong, athletic and has the versatility to be used at several offensive line positions. Turned in a terrific senior season.|
|4th||Colin McCarthy||OLB||44||5Sr||Reliable linebacker that plays with a great degree of intensity and intelligence.|
|4-5||DeMarcus Van Dyke||CB||8||4Sr||Physically talented athlete that needs a lot of work on his ball skills.|
|7th||Graig Cooper||RB||2||4Sr||Quick, elusive ball carrier with size and power. Makes defenders miss, creates his own yardage and runs with an aggressive style. Solid pass catcher out of the backfield. Reminds us of a stronger version of former Hurricane ball carrier Frank Gore.|
Game Preview: Brent Foshee
Prospect Preview: Tony Pauline