Hope and concern: Miami

June, 25, 2009
6/25/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Biggest reason for hope -- First-year offensive coordinator Mark Whipple

There's a buzz around Miami's offense that has been missing, and it's because of this hire -- arguably the best Randy Shannon has made as head coach (although Bill Young is also a heckuva coach). The players are excited. The fans are excited. And if Whipple can get the young playmakers to execute his game plan, look out for the Canes. Whipple knows what it takes to win. He's been successful at every level, and he's brought an NFL swagger to Coral Gables. He immediately had the players' respect and their attention. The Canes always had the talent, now they've got somebody who knows how to utilize it.

Biggest reason for concern -- Schedule

Virginia Tech has the toughest nonconference schedule, but Miami wins the award for the toughest overall schedule. It starts at Florida State, and then the Canes have a bye week to prepare for back-to-back Coastal Division games against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Top that off with an Oct. 3 home game against Oklahoma and Miami could be in for a disasterous start. Or, they could be a top-10 team. If it weren't for Miami's brutal opening stretch, odds are they'd be more of a favorite to win the Coastal Division. It's daunting, and like Shannon told Sporting News: Jacory Harris simply cannot get hurt.

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