MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After an offseason full of waiting on the NCAA to finally issue a ruling on the Nevin Shapiro scandal; it's finally time for Game 1 of the regular season for the University of Miami Hurricanes football team.
The Canes are coming into the 2013 season hoping to build off a 2012 campaign that would have sent the team to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game had the school not self-imposed a postseason ban for the second year in a row.
Miami's first opponent will be the Florida Atlantic University Owls from just up I-95 in Boca Raton. The Owls are led by second-year head coach Carl Pellini who finished 3-9 in his inaugural campaign for Florida Atlantic.
FAU won just one road game last season, a late season contest at Western Kentucky. FAU lost road games to Middle Tennessee State, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana-Monroe, South Alabama, and Navy. But, three of those losses came by seven points or less, so there's plenty of room for improvement.
Pellini came to FAU from Nebraska where he helped rejuvenate the blackshirt defense at NU after several years of decline under former head coach Bill Callahan. But defense was a problem for the Owls last year.
FAU allowed 30.8 points per game last year, ranking the team 85th in scoring defense in the nation. Overall, FAU's total defense was respectable, allowing 405.7 yards per game, or roughly 5.51 yards per play, according to cfbstats.com.
All FAU has to do now is try to stop one of the most explosive offenses in the Atlantic Coast Conference led by a future NFL quarterback, Stephen Morris.
The Canes released their initial depth chart for the season and on offense there's plenty of experience, especially along the offensive line. The Offensive line will have a sophomore, two redshirt juniors, and two seniors from left to right.
Size-wise, the Canes' offensive line is massive. From left to right, the Canes line is 315 pounds, 318 pounds, 296 pounds, 319 pounds, and 345 pounds for an average of 319 pounds. Moving that line will be tough for any defense let alone the Owls' likely overmatched defensive line.
UM fans will be watching the defense closely to see if all of the youth that played last season can step up their game in year two. The Canes' defense last year was abysmal, ranking nearly dead last in the nation in total defense.
The biggest question the Canes have is can the defense improve just marginally to give the offense just enough help to win games. If UM's defense can hold offenses less than 27 points a game, that should be enough to win plenty of games in 2013.
for more features.