MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After a three week break because of Hurricane Irma the Miami Hurricanes will take the field on Saturday, relaunching the season against the Toledo Rockets.
Waiting for the Canes will be one of the most explosive offenses in the nation.
Led by senior quarterback Logan Woodside, Toledo averages 552 yards and 46 points per game.
The Rockets are undefeated at 3-0 and have a bevy of talented receivers to catch passes from Woodside.
Miami must closely be attached to 6-foot-2, 207-pound receiver Cody Thompson who has 127 career catches, including 22 this year for 130 yards per game. Anything close to him, he finds a way to catch.
The Miami defense didn’t play that well in the opener three weeks ago against Bethune-Cookman and while tackling and conditioning are concerns I am betting it will be a highly energized defense looking to be brutally physical against the Rockets.
Hurricanes defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is looking at the season as though it’s about to be re-started.
“It’s like opening a season again, that’s basically what we have told them,” Diaz said. “It’s like playing an opener again. It’s not just three weeks without playing. It’s three weeks after playing only one game where really we played very poorly on defense. You almost look at it as an opener again. There are some of the same issues that you have with opening games. You’re playing an opponent who is scoring points for fun and has now played a lot of ball, so they’re into their season routine. They’ve improved every week and we kind of have to be in midseason form Saturday at 3:30, no excuses.”
As for how he thinks the defense will tackle after so much time off:
“It’s hard to predict. We go through our drills and we went through our circuits on Saturday and Sunday and we are doing it again today and tomorrow. Leveraging, you know, we have to preach all the things we can preach in practice and have the guys trust all the techniques they trust in practice. But getting yourself, on both sides of the ball, to run through contact, that’s something that usually you get better with as the year goes on. We’ll all be watching that together.”
Hard to predict will also be the timing of the Miami offense. Quarterback Malik Rosier and his receivers need to get into midseason form in a hurry. The timing of routes and executing in the running game might not be as precise as it needs to be.
Here is Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown on what he expects from the Toledo defense.
“I think the biggest challenge for us is trying to figure out who they’re going to be. They’ve played three games, and in the three games they’ve been somebody different. I think they’re more of a ‘flavor of the week’-type team. They kind of base what they do blitz-wise and some stuff coverage-wise based on who they’re playing. We kind of have to prepare for everything they showed last year, everything they’ve shown this year, which kind of makes it tough when you’re getting a certain amount reps in versus all your looks, run-game and protection-wise. I think they’re well-coached and they play hard. They’ve given up some points, but obviously we’ll see what happens on Saturday.”
This will be the 2nd meeting between Miami and Toledo the last coming 30 years ago in 1987 with Miami winning 24-14 in the Orange Bowl.
The Canes won the national championship that season.