Bowl Season

ACC vs. Pac-10 El Paso, Texas
Sun Bowl
Dec. 31
2 p.m.

Christina De Nicola, editor-in-chief of The Miami Hurrican, student newspaper at the University of Miami  was nice enough to answer some questions about Miami.

BS: This was supposed to be a big season, but the 'Canes finished 7-5 and fired head coach Randy Shannon. What went wrong this year and what can they do to change it in the bowl game?
Christina De Nicola: What didn't go wrong this year? Instead of following the progression over the past three years when the Hurricanes would improve by two wins, Miami regressed. There was no trademark victory. Losses came in the biggest games- Ohio State, Florida State & Virginia Tech- as well as two upsets against South Florida & Virginia. This team failed to find a groove offensively & Jacory Harris' concussion during the UVa game brought along some QB competition as true freshman Stephen Morris showed poise. The rush defense got exposed by the Seminoles. Matt Bosher, a sure thing before this season, missed multiple PATs for the first time & some field goals. The team has said that it wants to win one for Randy Shannon. It'll be interesting to see which team shows up. With so much talent, it's tough to see it go to waste.
BS: The offense struggled, partly because of inconsistency at the QB position. Please talk about both Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris and the offense in general.
Christina De Nicola: Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple frustrated fans this season. He has explosive backs in sophomore Mike James & redshirt freshman Lamar Miller. Seniors Damien Berry & Graig Cooper aren't too shabby either. But instead of running the ball more to take a load off Harris, the QB was forced to pass more than 40 times on multiple occasions. It's no wonder his decision making led to 4 INTs vs. OSU. The offensive line was the most improved & shows much promise with young guys in Seantrel Henderson, Brandon Linder & Brandon Washington. Senior Leonard Hankerson, a possible first round pick, was the only sure bet at wide receiver. He beat Michael Irvin's record for TDs in a season (12).
BS: The defense had a solid year. What are the keys to stopping the Irish offense and who are the units top players?
Christina De Nicola: The key for the defense is to stop the run. The pass defense was superb, especially junior Brandon Harris. Though he doesn't have the INTs to show he's one of the best, it's because QBs were afraid to throw his way. He was thrown at just under 40 times. On the d-line, senior Allen Bailey could be a first round pick despite a somewhat underachieving year. At linebacker, senior Colin McCarthy & junior Sean Spence proved to be quite the tackling duo.

BS: If you could choose one player to have a breakout performance in the bowl game, who would it be?
Christina De Nicola: One player who could have a breakout game is Miller, depending on whether the coaches focus on playing the seniors instead. If they do, Cooper & Berry will get the brunt of carries. Hankerson could have a huge game in his final one of his UM career whether Morris or Harris is at QB.
Thanks a lot to Christina De Nicola. Check her out at


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