Per usual every Friday, an evaluation of Georgia Tech’s opponent direct from an expert. My thanks to Jorge Milian, who has covered Miami for the Palm Beach Post since 1995. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter.
1. How much of a difference does the loss of defensive tackle Micanor Regis (suspended one game for punching a North Carolina player in the groin last week) make? (Ironically, Regis is going to miss ACC Sportsmanship Awareness Week. You could say he’s done his part to raise awareness.)
Micanor Regis’ absence is a big deal. Miami was already without starting defensive tackle Marcus Forston and key backups Curtis Porter and Luther Robinson. Losing another interior defensive lineman is exactly what this team didn’t need. One of the starters at DT now (Adewale Ojomo) is undersized (265 pounds) and the two backups are true freshmen.
2. Tech fans are hoping that quarterback Jacory Harris reverts to pre-2011 form and sends a few passes the Jackets’ way. What are the chances that happens?
Jacory Harris has gone from turnover machine to touchdown machine. He’s thrown 10 touchdown passes without an interception over his last 14 quarters. It’s the best stretch of his career. Unlike previous seasons, Harris appears to finally have learned to throw the ball away when necessary. New offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has been a godsend to Harris’ development.
3. The Tech offense feasts on defenses with players who freelance, which Al Golden said a few weeks ago his players were doing. Is that still the case?
Don’t really know why this defense is struggling so much. I thought it was going to be one of the team’s strengths, but it’s been far short of that. Miami has actually fared pretty well against Georgia Tech’s offense in the last two games, but there are still plenty of players on the roster who remember allowing 470-plus yards on the ground in the 2008 game. A bigger problem than freelancing for Miami on Saturday will be depth. The ‘Canes’ are particularly thin on the defensive line and linebacker, which is not exactly a recipe for success against a team like Georgia Tech.
4. You’ve seen a lot of great Miami defenders. Where does Sean Spence fit in?
Spence is a great player on a bad defense. He’s the one player on the defense that can change a game with a big play. Miami hasn’t had many of those guys lately. He’s not particularly big, but he’s fast and hits like a ton of bricks.
5. How is Golden being received?
Golden has been a big hit with Miami fans. He’s intelligent, driven and appears to be a strong motivator (no surprise considering he holds a master’s degree in psychology.) Most importantly, he has the Hurricanes playing well. Each one of Miami’s three losses have basically come down to the final possession. Among Miami fans, Golden’s biggest asset is that he’s not Randy Shannon.
6. Where would you suggest fans go to eat either around the stadium or in Fort Lauderdale?
There’s really not much in the way of good eating establishments around Sun Life. Since it’s a 3:30 game, my suggestion for fans traveling here is to head down to South Beach after the game and enjoy a good meal on Lincoln Road. My personal favorite spot is Da Leo, an Italian joint that makes the best risotto I’ve ever had. Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard also has some good restaurants. It’s also closer and not quite the scene of South Beach.
Jorge’s story on the Miami defense’s plans to contain Tech. Said cornerback Mike Williams, “We have a lot of different options for stopping the option.” Something tells me that Williams’ comments have been shared within the confines of the Tech locker room.
From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a chat with beat writer Steve Gorten.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog