Georgia Tech Football 2019 Opponent Rundown: Miami Hurricanes

CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 02: Head coach Manny Diaz of the Miami Hurricanes (L) poses for a photo with athletic director Blake James after the introductory press conference in the Mann Auditorium at the Schwartz Center on January 2, 2019 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 02: Head coach Manny Diaz of the Miami Hurricanes (L) poses for a photo with athletic director Blake James after the introductory press conference in the Mann Auditorium at the Schwartz Center on January 2, 2019 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Today’s 2019 Georgia Tech opponent rundown looks at one of the more disappointing teams from a year ago, the Miami Hurricanes.

The Miami Hurricanes will look to put the memories of their disappointing 2018 campaign in the rear view window this season. Last year, the Hurricanes went 7-6 on the season after looking like a team that could be on the rise in the ACC and the ACC Coastal. The end of the season for the Hurricanes also brought on change as head coach Mark Richt surprisingly retired after just a few seasons in Miami and will now work for the ACC Network. Replacing Richt in 2019 will be  Manny Diaz who spent the last few seasons as Miami’s defensive coordinator.

Diaz of course had quite the journey to get the head coaching job as he took the Temple Owls head coaching job before Richt had announced his retirement. Then just two weeks into his job in Philly, Diaz decided to return to Miami as the head coach of the Hurricanes. He’ll look to improve on what his predecessor did during his three seasons in Coral Gables.

The Hurricanes last season could best be described as an average team offensively, averaging just 28.8 points per game while defensively they were among the best in the country, just 19.5 points allowed per game. If the Hurricanes hope to take a step up in 2019, they’ll need their offense to catch up to their defense in quality.

The Offense:

The Hurricanes offense last year struggled mightily at times and others looked strong. The Miami offense last year averaged just under 360-yards per game to go along with their 28.8 points per game. It was usually a rather balanced offense, averaging 27 passing attempts per game and 36 rushing attempts. That being said, they only averaged 167.3 passing yards but excelled at running the ball with 191.5 rushing yards per game.

Last year, the Hurricanes used two quarterbacks for the most of the season in N’Kosi Perry and Malik Rosier. Perry, completed just 50.8% of his passes last season for 1,091-yards and 13 touchdowns. He also threw six interceptions. Rosier on the other hand completed a slightly higher percentage of his passes at 52.6 for 1,053-yards and six touchdowns. He did however throw more interceptions than touchdowns with eight.

In 2019 however, the Hurricanes will most likely turn to Ohio State transfer Tate Martell. Martell transferred into Miami this offseason after the Buckeyes saw Georgia transfer Justin Fields land in Columbus. Martell had a shaky spring for the Hurricanes which was certainly not what the coaching staff and fans expected but as long as he plays well during the season, no one around the program will care about his first spring.

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The Hurricanes will have to replace a few key offensive players from last season including running back Travis Homer who rushed for nearly 1,000-yards last season on 164-carries. Taking his place in 2019 will be junior back Deejay Dallas who rushed for 617-yards and six touchdowns on 109-carries.

At receiver, the Hurricanes primary option will be junior Jeff Thomas who had 35-carries for 563-yards and three touchdowns. They did, however, lose big time receiver Lawrence Cager who had 21 receptions for 374-yards and six touchdowns last season. They also lost Darrell Langham who had 13 receptions for 154-yards and three touchdown. Of course they also lost Marquez Ezzard who transferred to the Yellow Jackets this past spring. The Hurricanes have plenty of talent at the wide receiver position but there is a major question mark at the position outside of the established Jeff Thomas.

The Hurricanes offensive line last season was shaky at times and added some depth over the offseason but like wide receiver there are still some major questions that must be answered.


The Hurricanes defense under Manny Diaz has been outstanding and 2019 should be no different though taking a step back is probably on the radar. The Hurricanes have lost a ton of talent on the defensive side of the ball at all levels of the defense. Notable departures include defensive back Jaquan Johnson who had 92 tackles last season. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Johnson is one of several members of the secondary to leave the program this offseason. The secondary will be one full of questions in 2019 and if it’s not up to par, the Hurricanes defense could struggle in 2019.

On the defensive line, the Hurricanes will need to find a replacement for star Gerald Willis III who had 18.0 tackles for a loss last season. One likely candidate is junior Jonathan Garvin who had 17.0 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks last season. The one player that every offense, however, will have to watch out for in 2019 is senior linebacker Shaquille Quarterman who racked up 82 tackles including 14 for a loss and five sacks in 2018. He’ll be the big dog on the Miami defense and will be their defensive leader.

The Hurricanes have recruited very well defensively over the past several cycles and that should help them in 2019 but how many of their highly touted recruits will be able to step up their game in 2019 and put it all together for the Hurricanes defense to stay atop the ACC as one of the conferences best defenses? That’s the question they’ll look to answer early in 2019.


Overall, Miami has the talent that can win the ACC Coastal division and they’ll be one of the favorites to do so but they are also a team that can have a letdown such as last season. There’s a lot of pressure for Manny Diaz to be the head coach that brings the Hurricanes back into glory but there’s a lot of work to be done. While the defense has been a consistent mark of their program under Manny Diaz’s tutelage, their offense still needs a lot of work and has a lot questions to answer in 2019. In 2019, Miami’s season success will come down to their offensive abilities, if they struggle like they did at times last season, it could be a long first season for Manny Diaz, if they don’t struggle, however, the Hurricanes could find themselves playing for an ACC title.

What to expect on October 19th:

On October 19th, Geoff Collins and the Yellow Jackets will travel to Miami to take on the Hurricanes. Each of the last two seasons, these teams have played tremendous games and 2019 could be another one. The matchup to watch in this game will be the Jackets offense against the Miami defense. If the Yellow Jackets offense is ahead of schedule and can play above expectations, they have a chance to get to six wins. If not, they’ll struggle especially against strong defenses, if Miami once again is a dominant defense in 2019, this could turn into an incredibly tough game for the the Yellow Jackets. We would definitely give Miami the early edge in this game but the Jackets definitely have a chance to walk out of Miami with a victory.

Miami Season Outlook:

As mentioned above, Miami’s season will come down to their offensive abilities. If they have a year similar to last year, a 8-4 season looks like likely. That being said on paper, the Hurricanes have a schedule that could easily put them on a path to a 10-2 or 11-1 season. The only game at first glance that they probable underdogs in is against the Florida Gators on August 24th. Outside of that, they have decently tough games against Virginia Tech and Florida State. Besides those two games, the Hurricanes should be pretty strong favorites to win their remaining nine affairs if they live up to expectations on both sides of the ball.