CORAL GABLES - ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit says UM could turn out to be a “surprise team” this season depending on how the Hurricanes do against Texas A&M in College Station, Tx.
UM opens the 2008 season with Charleston Southern on Aug. 28, then faces Florida in Gainesville on Sept. 6. After a bye week, the Hurricanes make their first trip ever to College Station to play the Aggies.
The difference between a successful season and something less than that hinges on the A&M game, Herbstreit said during a conference call with college football writers on Wednesday afternoon.
”To me, if you want a swing game for their season, it’s Sept. 20,” Herbstreit said. “They’re going to struggle in the Swamp with a young team. They get a week off to kind of recoup and then you go to Texas A&M. This is a team that [Miami] dominated last year at home. So what do they do in that game? If they win that game, they come back home against North Carolina, Florida State and UCF those next three weeks and then, you think, ‘Man, this team all of a sudden has some confidence to do great things.’ If they can get to 2-1 after their first three, I think it can really set them up for a year where they can be a surprise team.”
Herbstreit doesn’t count UM out as a contender for an ACC Coastal Division title. He points out that Virginia Tech is “breaking in a lot of new personnel” and that North Carolina, which was 4-8 last season, is a “trendy pick.” Not that Herbstreit is betting the house on the Hurricanes, either.
“When you sit and look at Miami it’s impossible to really know how good this team is when you have so many young players that are going to be in a big role,” Herbstreit said.
A couple of other notes and observations:
Can we get the charade over with and have Robert Marve announced as UM’s starting quarterback?
ESPN analyst and former Gator quarterback Jesse Palmer on what Marve or Jacory Harris, who haven’t played a down of college football, will face in Gainesville on Sept. 6: “That’s certainly a tough situation and there’s no way getting around that. There’s certainly nothing that Charleston [Southern] can provide that’s going to give them an indicator of (a) the level of talent they’re going to see from Florida and (b) just the environment they’re going to play in. I remember early in my very first start as a true freshman at Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium there’s no way I could have prepared for what I was about to see both on the field and around the field. It comes down to the individual. Coaches and teammates find out about players when they see them in those situations. It’s safe to assume the playbook might get shortened, they might keep it real conservative and just try to establish a nice tempo to help the young guys get comfortable. But there’s no way to prepare for that.”
The Hurricanes didn’t practice on Wednesday. They’ll be back at it on Thursday at 7:30 a.m. then return on Friday at 5:30 a.m., which is the earliest practice in a long time.