If you were not able to attend the University of Miami or never had the opportunity to set foot on the beautiful UM campus in Coral Gables, then you might not be aware of the of the two on-campus sports outlets available to students at UM: WVUM radio station and The Miami Hurricane Newspaper.
Both are completely staffed and operated by students on campus.
After having already interviewed our friend Chris Whittyngham from WVUM in our now famous "Five Questions" series, today we have the privilege of speaking with Ernesto Suarez, the Sports Editor of the Miami Hurricane student newspaper. Here are our five questions with The Miami Hurricane:
Canespace: The Legends of the Fall selection process is an annual ritual at Canespace. The bloggers select one player on offense and one on defense that they think will have a spectacular, break-out or legendary season each year. This year the most selected players were of course QB Stephen Morris and LB Denzel Perryman. Apart from those two obvious selections which two players do you think will show up and show out this season? In addition please also select ONE Freshman player and ONE assistant or position coach who you think will be difference makers for the 2012 UM football team?
Suarez: On offense I would probably have to say Allen Hurns. He had his spurts last year where he would show the potential of being a big time receiver, especially in the beginning of the season against Maryland and then his two-touchdown performance against Ohio State a week after. Right now there’s no clear-cut established No.1 receiver on the roster, but of them all I think Hurns has the ability to become that guy. The key is consistency.
On defense, I would have to select Ladarius Gunter. He had his on and off moments during the spring while he was still picking up the playbook, but he seems to feel comfortable with it at this point and figures to play a big role in the defensive backfield this season. He also has freshman Tracy Howard right behind him gunning for that spot, so he can’t afford to let down.
Freshman to watch out for would have to be Tracy Howard. Although you have a couple of good choices in Howard, Deon Bush, and Duke Johnson, I think Howard’s impact will be felt whenever he is on the field. At one point during fall camp he was spotted wearing the starters black jersey, and coaches have credited him with his ability to make plays. It remains to be seen how it will translate on the field when it matters, but there’s plenty of upside with him.
Coaching wise, I would say Jedd Fisch. Consistency at the coordinator position is important, especially for a new regime still looking to form an identity. For an offense that is currently looked upon as the strongest part of the team, Fisch has the opportunity to put the team in a good position to win some of the toss up games.
Canespace: Which position(s) on the field worries you the most about this team going into the 2012 season in terms of talent, production and depth?
Suarez: I’d be most concerned over at linebacker. Denzel Perryman is expected to be a force, and as long as he can stay healthy that shouldn’t be an issue. Jimmy Gaines, behind him on the depth chart, also has experience and was really impressing coaches during fall camp last year, but it never really translated well on the field. Besides those two and Ramon Buchanan, who is coming off of a torn ACL, there isn’t much experience to speak of there.
Canespace: What is the mood around campus in class, the dorms and the Student Center about the 2012 team? Are the students unanimously in support of head coach Al Golden or are there some doubters among the current student body? Will the majority still remain supportive even IF the Hurricanes struggle this season and finish at 6-6 or worse?
Suarez: Right now, the vast majority of the student population is in love with the work that Al Golden and his staff has accomplished. For the most part, they understand that not everything has gone the way he had envisioned to start off, but they are pleased with the way that things have been handled. No one on campus is expecting a national championship this year (the reasonable ones anyways) but if the team can make a bowl game and show significant progress as the season goes on, give them a little something to be excited for next year, I think they’ll be alright.
Canespace: Golden has indicated and the depth chart shows that as many at 10-12 Freshmen are likely to play at least some during this season and a few could possibly even start a game or two be season's end. Apart from likely candidates RB Duke Johnson and CB Tracy Howard who do you see as the most likely Freshmen to get some serious playing time in 2012?
Suarez: Undoubtedly has to be Ereck Flowers. Heading into camp, he wasn’t a household name, and it was almost a given that Seantrel Henderson was going to be platooned over at right tackle. But Henderson has missed out on a significant amount of time at camp taking care of personal issues, and Flowers has thrived in his absence. Growing pains are to be expected once the games start to matter, but expect Flowers, especially early on, to be lined up at right tackle for most of the snaps.
Canespace: OK, time to get real and get down to business. I need your season record projection for the 2012 Miami Hurricanes football team? Give it to us straight!
Suarez: I don't think too many nationally would agree with me, but I think a 7-5 record is certainly possible. I can see the Hurricanes going, at minimum, 2-1 through its first three games (loss likeliest at Kansas State). Depending on how the defense looks in those first few games, Georgia Tech is a toss up. Their big ACC matches (UNC, FSU, VT) are all at home too, so that works out favorably.
The Miami Hurricane