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Gameday blog: Canes at Maryland

Al Golden and the Miami Hurricanes will open the season tonight at 8 at Byrd Stadium against the Maryland Terrapins on ESPN. You are invited to join The Miami Herald's live Gameday Blog and participate in our in-game discussion throughout the game.

Lamar Miller Herald Sports Writer Manny Navarro will be here to anchor the blog, answer questions and share his thoughts on both Twitter and our blog. Remember, inappropriate or obscene comments will not be tolerated and will be deleted.

Here are some news, notes and keys to the game before kickoff. FYI, the forecast is calling for a 90 percent chance of rain in the area.

- UM will be without eight suspended players for the opener including five starters on defense: DT Marcus Forston, DE Olivier Vernon, DE Adewale Ojomo, S Ray-Ray Armstrong and LB Sean Spence. Look for several freshman and fresh faces to play a vital role in UM's defense.

- Sophomore middle linebacker Jimmy Gaines, one of three non-freshmen making their first career starts (cornerback Mike Williams and defensive tackle Darius Smith are others), has the responsibility of calling plays with Spence out. Gaines, a standout throughout fall camp, will have to show leadership beyond his years for the Canes defense to have a good day.

- With three starters out on the defensive line, expect to see a lot of freshmen Anthony Chickillo, Olsen Pierre, Jalen Grimble and David Perry -- the second-team defensive line. Chickillo has shown in practice he's physically strong enough to battle with college-caliber players. But it's questionable how all the freshman will do in their debuts.

- UM produced two sacks and two quarterback hurries on Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien, the ACC Offensive Freshman of the Year, in last year's 26-20 come-from-behind win last year at Sun Life Stadium. O'Brien finished a mere 9 of 28 for 134 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT thanks to some solid pass defense. UM had eight pass breakups in the game, seven by the secondary. With safety Vaughn Telemaque the only returning starter back from last year's game -- and questions abound at corner -- it will be imperative for the Canes to create pressure on the quarterback and help Brandon McGee, Mike Williams and freshman Thomas Finnie ease in. Maryland, by the way, finished second in the ACC in points scored last season with 32.3 a game. The Terrapins bring back just five starters on their offense, but O'Brien and three starters on the offensive line are among them.

- Offensively, sophomore Stephen Morris will get the start in place of the suspended Jacory Harris. Of course, last year Morris rallied UM to victory versus the Terps by tossing a 35-yard TD pass to Leonard Hankerson with 37 seconds left to play. But before his final drive when he went 4 for 4 for 60 yards and a touchdown, Morris struggled versus the Terps, going 14 of 26 for 226 yards and 2 INTs. New offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has geared the team's offense for Morris and Harris to check down and make safer reads. Expect UM's tight ends, which didn't make a catch last season against Maryland, to be much more involved.

- Two players who can take a lot of pressure off Morris are running backs Lamar Miller and Mike James. Both had big contributions against the Terps last season. Miller ran for 125 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown and had two catches for 20 yards. James had 10 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown.

- UM has new players at three key special teams positions: sophomore Dalton Botts will handle the punts, junior Jake Wieclaw will handle field goals, extra points and kickoffs, and freshman Phillip Dorsett will return punts.

> PREDICTION: On most days, I would take Miami's talent over Maryland's talent. But in this case, the Canes are playing shorthanded -- very shorthanded --  on defense. Only three players who started in last year's win over the Terrapins (Nicholas, Telemaque and Buchanan) are scheduled to start in this year's game. The big losses for me are Vernon (sack last year vs. Maryland), Spence (3 tackles) and Armstrong (5 tackles, INT). It's not that I don't think UM's defense can step up and answer the bell. I think they will play inspired. But you are asking a lot from a lot of guys making their first starts playing on the road, in bad weather conditions and in a hostile environment. There are bound to be lapses and mistakes. I think we'll see a big night from Miller and James again. But it probably won't be enough. Maryland 26, UM 24.

Comments

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And only 10 points.

221 yards of offense in first quarter a joke.

Posted by: tallycane

...

Why is it a joke? Half the defense is suspended. Idiot.

back in the game

And it's the coaches fault for anything.

3 point game. we are in a hostile environment with a bunch of youngsters and they have withstood a push.

Go canes.

Fire shalalala

no pass defense at all

And pass defense was axstrength

Special Teams can tackle. Pannunzio was a horrible coach...I'd like to jam an ice pick in his eye right now.

Let the defensive adjustments play out before you criticize the D.

that tells me u know nothing about football. We were top ten against pass last year.

This could be 24-7 easily without maryland dropping and the d holding on.

the onlyu reason we are in this game because obrian didnt run it on fdrive and they are dropping passes otherwise 21-7

Tally and take a deep breath and reread. Said pass defense was a strength. Hello

my bad dude

Jacory Harris can't complete that ball to Streeter.

jacory isnt playing right now

That's what we've been waiting for.

bout time

There are some good things coming out of this scandal. One of them being a new commercial.

Much better team without noodle arm.

Let's go defense

Defensive adjustments and a well used timeout!

Finally!!!

What a freak play!

Nice block by Byrd.

Was a freak play on a conservative run

This is the future Canes fans. Back to the 1970's.

If FIU wins maybe they have a shot at a bowl game and national titles. My grandchildren may see the Canes be great again, but not till then.

They need to speed the offense up.

Wow! Maryland must be Miami wannabes, those uniforms scream Santeria. Think Eleggua, the jokester. You see entirely different persons depending on your viewpoint: from one side it's yellow and black, the other is red.

Ok.. Deep breath! Lets tackle, stop those screens, and O hold the ball a little longer. We can win this game! All about the U

Its clear that Manny overrated UM.

1-Florida State
2-Florida
3-South Florida (beat Notre Dame)
4-Central Florida
5-UM tie with FIU

We need to hunker down now. Show we broth this weather from the South!!!!I know we are missing some guys, but lets lay the smackdown here!!! Interested to see how the COACHES gameplan in the half!!

5-7 best they will do this year. Bethune Cookman will start the wins. No way they beat Ohio State.

Considering the suspensions I like what I see. I can tell a difference in the style of play from last year.

O line is dominating. Love Jacory, but Morris is starting to look better as the game goes on. Hopefully the D can get some pressure on the QB and force some turnovers!

May noodle arm Harris never see the field again. Go Morris

Fire SHALALALALALA now

Love Fisch and Golden! D Onforio gets a pass cause he's short handed

Swampdouche, Berhune Cookmam bamged your fat mother.

UFelony blooooooooooows.

Some on here seem to describe themselves.

fonzie, UF may not have been caught, but the fact remains they are ranked UM will not be.

UM will beat BC (I believe you wanted to say banged not bamged) and that will be their first win.

We are arguing over the U being able to beat Maryland. M A R Y L A N D. A team that hasn't seen a meaningful bowl game since lava cooled. Can you not see how far the U has fallen? Desperate to beat the bottom feeders of the ACC?

And they keep copying themselves.

3 straight penalties! Unacceptable!! You don't win close ones while your short handed like that! Let's go Offense. D is holding on by a thread!!

Morris needs to manage the game better, two delay of game penalty. We are in the game.

where is larond byrd?

This defense is gettin played

Especially on third. Get off the field!

They giving us numerous opportunities to win this! Let's go O!!

End of 3rd: 3 point
1. D has improved over the game, especially given 5? are out, so all of the rants about being outcoached is premature. Adjustments have been made. Red zone D is keeping it close.
2. Those Maryland uniforms are butt-ugly and 3. Does anyone want to see Jacory Harris on the field??? I don't. Never been a big fan and look at his stats. He finished last year horribly and his stats declined each year through his career (5-5 as a starter last year, 14 TDs & 15 INTs, 54.8% completion rating). Yes, maybe there were injuries last year, but Harris is not the QB to win games. Morris is looking very good thus far and, as a soph, he's the future of this team...

No more Harris

Fire shalalala now

Test

i haven't seen chickilo at all tonight

starting to look like Manny knows his stuff..

If Maryland kick a game-winning FG, your prediction is spot on. That said, I hope it does not happen.

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