The countdown is on. Miami Hurricanes football is just thirty-three days away from returning when the Canes face the Louisville Cardinals in their opener September 1.
So how better to get ready than catching up with Canes superfan Cutler Ridge Laz? The man behind the #CanesFam Twitter movement weighs in on ten questions about the Hurricanes new squad.
Laz is famed throughout the Canes community as one of the school's most die-hard supporters. Laz is a regular Hurricanes correspondent/contributor to 560 WQAM, calling in from just about any and all functions, games, practices, and anything else Miami Hurricanes related. If anyone knows the roster top to bottom, it's this man.
If you're a Canes fan you already know how Laz gets down. His #CanesFam tailgates are the place to before games, and in the off-season he keeps the Canes family together with softball games and barbecues.
New Times: The Hurricanes are coming off a nine-win season, nice for most schools, but the University of Miami isn't "most schools" when it comes to the football program. Go on the record and give me a hard-number-wins-prediction for the Miami Hurricanes in 2014.
Laz: Damn, I need a 10 win season, and it's something that's gotta happen in order for the Hurricanes to get where I hope they're going. Nine wins and winning the Coastal is mandatory as far as I'm concerned.
As if replacing Stephen Morris wasn't enough to deal with, his likely replacement, ex-Miramar High's Ryan Williams, tore his ACL in spring ball -- between redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen, incoming freshmen Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier, and Kansas transfer Jake Heaps, who do you think will be taking the snaps versus Louisville on September 1?
Kevin Olsen should have the edge, having red-shirted last year. I don't think talent is a question with Kevin, I think he has got all the tools to be successful. I just hope he's ready for open competition and puts his all into being the starting QB for "QBU."
Duke Johnson proved he can be one of the most dynamic players in college football last year, before being lost for the season against Florida State. When it comes time for the Heisman Trust to pick finalists for this years award, will Duke Johnson be one of the handful of players invited?
Proof is in the pudding. With Duke Miami went 7-0 last season, without Duke they finished 2-3. Duke makes the other team have to account for him no matter where he is at on the field. With the uncertainty at QB, you have to think we will be running the ball a ton, so a healthy Randy "Duuuuuuuke" Johnson will get a lot of Heisman love in 2014, he will be in NYC.
Most Hurricanes fans know about the potential of incoming freshman RB Joseph Yearby, but give them a name of a guy most fans aren't paying attention to that could end up being a star.
Demetrius Jackson DE out of Booker T has a tremendous work ethic and a deep desire to succeed. I think this kid can be special here. Just keep an eye on him!
It would be an insult to bad defenses to call the Hurricanes defenses the last few years "bad." Why will this years Miami Hurricanes defense be different?
It's been shameful here last three years, an embarrassment to themselves, former players, and fans. No excuses. The defense better be much improved or who the QB is won't matter this year. I think guys like Chad Thomas, Michael Wyche, and Demetrius Jackson will be contributors immediately. The seniors and juniors need to lead the charge. I'm at the point where I ask myself how much longer can Miami be this bad on defense? I don't buy the "lack of talent" argument here either, we have the pieces, it just has to all work together. Clearly it hasn't. New blood and some pride will make the difference this year!
Miami hasn't beaten Florida State since 2009, and the defending National Champion Seminoles are expected to double-digit favorites in every game this season, including the one in Miami Gardens this year. Go on the record, and tell me why you think this is the year the Hurricanes end their losing streak to FSU.
Can I at least know who the QB will be? Rivalry! One of the most heated rivalries in College Football, anything can happen in this game. That said, it would require the Canes play the best game of the Golden Era so far. A perfect effort from the lines on both sides of the ball, to go along with lots Duke Johnson and Joseph Yearby.
Since Al Golden came to Miami from Temple, fans have strongly believed him to be the man-with-the-plan, but after three seasons he is just 22-15 in Miami with no bowl wins to his credit. Do you see some fans turning on Golden if things go south this year?
Not the fans that are close to the program and have their feet on the ground. What these guys are doing here is rebuilding something that had fallen to its knees. Fresh off home loss to USF and a few weeks before indictment by NCAA, Al was named coach. Three years later we are going to begin our first full season without NCAA questions in the air.
All this while building relationships with in the "State of Miami" so recruiting doesn't miss a beat. I want to win as bad as the next guy, but I know playing musical coaches and coordinators ain't how to do it. Aside from that, I honestly believe in Al Golden and what he wants to do here in Miami. He's improved on the win/losses every year if he holds true to form, we win ten this year and play for something.
Stacy Coley found the end zone seven times in his freshman season and racked up nearly 600 yards, how good can this kid be? What former UM wide-out would you compare him to?
Stacey is the real deal. I think he can get to just under 1500 yards and a Top Ten in school history yards wise. Coley reminds me of Lamar Thomas honestly. Now that Allen Hurns is in the NFL, Stacey will lead the team in receptions and yards this season.
It's pretty apparent the Canes strength this season should be their dynamic RB duo, what position on the roster do you feel like is the weakness heading into the season?
I think linebacker took a huge blow with the arrests of JaWand Blue and Alexander Figueroa. I don't know about being linebacker being a weakness, but its not as deep as it was. Now you're hoping some freshman can play right away.
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Nobody throws up that "U" more than you, I wouldn't be surprised if you are throwing it up in your baby pictures. Over/Under on how many times you throw it up September 1st?
About Thiiiiirrrrrty maaan, haha.
You can follow Laz on Twitter at @CutlerRidgeLaz, and catch him on-air as a Canes contributor to 560 WQAM's Joe Rose Show and Footy and Mike Show.