The Miami Hurricanes were already facing a quarterback crisis of sorts this offseason when projected starter Ryan Williams was sidelined with a torn ACL. Al Golden just saw the situation get even worse, however, with reports that the frontrunner for the QB job in Willaims’ absence, redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen, will be suspended for the season opener against the Louisville Cardinals for reportedly failing a drug test. Will the Canes be able to fix their tumultuous quarterback situation in time for September 1?
There was already plenty of trepidation about Olsen being at the top of the Miami depth chart coming out of the spring following a rough first year on campus. Off-field incidents led to a suspension for the team’s bowl game last year and questions about the young man’s maturity had persisted. Still, Olsen had enough talent and was familiar with the playbook to set himself apart from the other contenders in the Canes’ ongoing quarterback derby.
However, with yet another off-field setback, Olsen has thrown the doors wide open for the other contenders to make a play for the starting job. Jake Heaps, a fifth-year transfer from the Kansas Jayhawks, may end up getting the nod on opening day despite only being on campus for a few weeks and still working on learning Miami’s offense. He’s the only QB on the roster who has thrown a college pass which gives him an advantage over the rest of the group. The only other quarterbacks on the roster for the Canes this fall are freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier.
The Hurricanes have high hopes for 2014 with an offense loaded with stars. But without some clear answers emerging at quarterback during fall camp, Miami will quickly fade in a loaded ACC Coastal Division race. Will Kevin Olsen’s latest suspension derail the Canes’ 2014 hopes before they even get started?
The Miami Hurricanes will be looking to finish out their run at an ACC title in 2014 after fading down the stretch in 2013. They will have to find replacements for several key contributors this fall, particularly under center. While the Canes search for their next quarterback has been well documented, whoever ultimately wins the starter job will have a built-in security blanket in the passing game with sophomore Stacy Coley who is poised to take his game to the next level in 2014.
Coley lived up to the hype as one of the highest rated prospects in the 2013 recruiting cycle as one of the nation’s best true freshman playmakers. He finished second on the team with 591 yards on 33 receptions and a team-high seven touchdowns. With the graduation of Allen Hurns, who led the team with 62 receptions and 1,162 yards during his senior season, the team will be looking for a new No. 1 receiver to step up and be a leader of the passing attack.
In addition to his pass catching ability, Coley showed a game-breaking ability in special teams. He averaged 22 yards per punt return and nearly 26 yards per kick return as he posted two return touchdowns in 2013. He showed that he was dangerous no matter how he got his hands on the ball, even taking a handoff 73 yards for a touchdown against the Pitt Panthers last season.
While determining a starting quarterback is a major question looming over the Miami football program this offseason, they can rest easy in knowing that whoever ends up starting will have one of the best playmakers in the country at their disposal. Will Stacy Coley be able to take his game to the next level and lift the Canes into ACC title contetion this fall?