Thursday, July 30, 2015

2015 Miami Hurricanes Opponent Preview - Week 6 (at FSU 10/10)

Miami Hurricanes 2015 Opponent Preview

Week 6

At FSU (October 10th)

The 2015 Miami Hurricanes Opponent Preview continues with the preview of the Florida State Seminoles whom The U visits up at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee on October 10th.
About FSU, They won the ACC title again, going 13-1, and getting thrashed by Oregon in Pasadena in the 1st College Football Playoff.  Jimbo Fisher comes into season 5 in Florida’s capital city. You know what you’re getting from the Noles. There are some question marks this year. We all know the deal with the off the field issues that are well-documented.

Let’s talk about the Seminoles, on the field.

First, the offense. They were one of the schools that Braxton Miller was considering before ultimately deciding to stay in Columbus. They did add a “high profile transfer” in Everett Golson.  While in South Bend, with Notre Dame, he was a highly productive player for three seasons, however, Seminole fans should cringe at this fact: He turned the ball over 22 times last year. However, Golson has big game experience and when you consider that he is one of only two active FBS quarterbacks to have started a national championship game and that Sean Maguire and J.J. Consentino don’t have much experience and Maguire being very inconsistent, this is Golson’s job to lose here. Year 1 in the Post-Jameis era should be very interesting to watch.
The running game is led by Sophomore Dalvin Cook. However, he is one of their players that is facing potential discipline for “off-field issues”, but even if he does end up suspended or worse,  this is still a top-level unit to be reckoned with.  Should they lose Cook, it would be a HUGE loss for them. You don’t easily replace a guy who rushed for 1,000+ yards in 2014.  Should it be necessary to do so, Mario Pender is going to have to step up and carry the load left behind by a potential Cook suspension, and also possibly getting more work would be true freshman Jacques Patrick, a five-star recruit out of Orlando.  Pender rushed for roughly 200 yards and four touchdowns as their third running back in 2014.
As for the receiving corps, it won’t be easy to replace guys like Rashad Greene (drafted in 5th round as the 3rd pick to Jacksonville) and Nick O’Leary (drafted in 6th round as the 18th pick to Buffalo), however, when you look at FSU, they have the talent to reload.  Returning to Tallahassee in 2015, are Jesus Wilson and Travis Rudolph, both of whom had 500 yards receiving in 2014, and Ermon Lane, whom the coaches there are very high on, and as a Freshman, he showed flashes of why he was one of the top receivers in the country coming out of high school snaring 13 passes for 267 yards.  Another WR who could have more chances to get passes his way this year is Kermit Whitfield is Whitfield caught 11 passes for 145 yards in 2014.
As much talent as they have at the skill positions, there will be a new Offensive Line in 2015. If there’s a ? with the O, its here. Gone are two All-Americans.  The only one back with experience is LT Roderick Johnson, whose being asked to step up and be the leader of the offensive line. He only has five career starts.  The only other lineman that has started a game is Ryan Hoefield, who has four career starts at left guard, but he’s not listed as a starter right now. Look for him though to end up being the Center. Make no mistake, the talent is there, if they can step up and produce a solid season, then they’ll be ok.

Now, let’s move over to the other side of the ball on Defense.  

Their back seven is very very good, especially the Linebackers. They have back Reggie Northrup, Terrance Smith and DeMarcus Walker, as well as their top reserve in Matthew Thomas.  In 2014, Northrup led the team with 91.5 tackles.  Smith was their best LB in coverage, picking off two passes, breaking up a pass, and forcing a fumble.  As for DeMarcus Walker, he led their LB’ers in tackles for loss with six.
They will have to play a bigger role this year because the D-Line will have some new faces this year. Gone are  Mario Edwards, Jr. (drafted in the 2nd round by the Oakland Raiders), Eddie Goldman (drafted in the 2nd round by the Chicago Bears and the pick was endorsed by Dick Butkus) and Desmond Hollin (signed as UFA by the Denver Broncos). Combined, those three players had 23 tackles for loss and seven sacks.  Its going to be up to Chris Casher to step up and be their top pass rusher in 2015.  Derrick2 (Nnadi and Mitchell, Jr.) need to be the guys on the interior that step up, and really make a difference vs the run and be effective pass rushers next to Nile Lawrence-Stample, their DT.
As for their Secondary, the best player there is Jalen Ramsey, who will likely, barring injury and doesn’t get in trouble off the field, will be a Top 5 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.  This guy is the real deal.  In 2014, he had 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions, twelve pass break-ups and three forced fumbles.  Ramsey by himself, changes a gameplan for opposing Head Coaches and Offensive coordinators. However, Ramsey isn’t the only game in town. He will have with him coming back, Safeties Nate Andrews and Tyler Hunter.  Andrews, last year, was second on their team with 79.5 tackles and also picked off three passes.  As for Hunter, he had an interception, but where he did his damage was breaking up 7 passes. Also back for them is Sophomore Tyler Marshall.
As for their special teams, they don’t get any better than Junior Roberto Aguayo, who, unlike FSU kickers of the past, has been money when it matters most, and punter Carson Beatty. While their coverage units are excellent, the kickoff return team must be better, when you consider the fact they averaged just 20 yards per return in 2014.

What to expect from FSU

Looking at them on tape, you know what to expect from them. They are explosive Offensively, and ball-hawks on the defensive end, especially Ramsey.  They will hit big plays, and if Golson can limit the turnovers and come up big like he has in his career, this will be like if Jameis weren’t even there. If their D up front steps up early to replace the losses they suffered there, you know their back seven is very good, and if they stay healthy, they have another 10-11 win team there again in 2015.

The video you see below is highlights of Everett Golson from last year. 

This video is FSU from last season

This video is of last year's heartbreaker at Sun Life

Well, this is the ACC opener for The U. They’ve lost 5 straight times on (4 on Al’s watch). This will be a game that comes down to the end, whoever executes when it matters most will win. Being that this game is in Tallahassee, I want to believe this is finally the game where Al gets his signature win, but I just believe in the end, FSU will make enough plays late, to get the win over The U.
FSU by 3-7 points here over the CANES. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2015 Miami Hurricanes Opponent Preview - Week 5 (at Cincinnati 10/1)

Miami Hurricanes 2015 Opponent Preview

Week 5 (Week 4 was a BYE)

At Cincinnati (October 1st {Thursday Night})

The 2015 Miami Hurricanes Opponent Preview continues with the preview of the Cincinnati Bearcats whom The U visits up at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati on October 1st (Thursday Night) at 7:30 pm on ESPN.

About Cincinnati. They went 9-4 (in the AAC),  and Tommy Tuberville comes into season 3 in the Queen City as the odds-on favorite to win their conference title (AAC). Their Offense is loaded with talented playmakers, which is led by Gunner Kiel. The big question will be how their Defense does.

First, let’s talk about the known, which is their offense.  

As mentioned, they get Kiel back. In last year’s opener, he threw six touchdown passes in his collegiate debut. He was at one time, a No. 1 quarterback recruit, who started his career at Notre Dame, before coming to Cincinnati. finished 2014 with 31 TD passes to tie their record for one season and he has back his top seven receivers. If there’s a question with the O, it has to be on the durability end. Kiel, now a junior, made all 13 starts last season, however, he did leave some games due to the fact that he was banged up with rib and/or back injuries.. Their training staff up there has worked with Kiel to improve his core strength.
There could be a record breaking season for  WR Shaq Washington (66 catches, four TDs). He’s on pace to become the UC career leader in receptions, and for a possession receiver like he is, that’s impressive. Also back are Mekale McKay and Chris Moore (both of whom had eight TD catches apiece). Those two are the big play threats downfield in their four-wide offense.
While their passing game was Top 15 nationally (13th), the running game left a little to be desired here. In 2014, their running game was 72nd nationally. You can guess what the focus was on this spring up there offensively. The reason for the low ranking in the running game, was the fact that their top backs Hosey Williams and Tion Green missed most of 2014 with injuries. Their leading rusher was Mike Boone, who had 650 yards rushing and nine TDs as a true freshman. Come fall camp, this will be one battle worth watching between Boone and Williams to see who wins that job as No 1 back.
As for the Offensive Line, they lost to graduation 3x all-league left tackle Eric Lefeld, who signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an Undrafted Free Agent. However, they do have three starters back in Parker Ehinger (who will move over to Lefeld’s old spot at LT from RG), RT Justin Murray and C Deyshawn Bond.

Onto the Defensive side

Keep in mind that when The U thrashed the Bearcats 55–34 last year at Sun Life, their D was the worst in the country. This led Tubs to say the following:  “We can’t tackle anybody on defense. We look like the Bad News Bears.” The kicker was that just two weeks earlier, they had allowed 710 yards in a 50–28 loss to Ohio State. Suffice to say, the schedule was brutal early, but got easier once AAC play started and their D was better as the season went on and they would rank 96th  in total defense when the season ended. You could tell that UC’s relative lack of defensive speed got exposed by the big boys.

They lose key personnel to graduation. That includes  LBs Jeff Luc (134 tackles, who was picked up as a UFA by the Miami Dolphins) and Nick Temple (113, who was picked up as a UFA by the Cincinnati Bengals) and defensive end Terrell Hartsfield (AAC-best 9.0 sacks, who was picked up by the Colts as an UFA). They do get back DE Silverberry Mouhon on the D-Line.

Also back is a ball-hawk in Safety Zach Edwards (121 tackles), and their back 4 will get a boost with the return of veteran cornerback Adrian Witty. A vocal team leader, Witty missed most of 2014 with a leg injury, so getting him back will be boost for the Bearcat secondary.

The consistency on D is shaky here, when you consider the fact that the Bearcats will have its third DC, in Tubs’ three years in the Queen City. Steve Clinkscale, is the new DC, promoted from secondary/cornerbacks coach. The man that led the D last year, Hank Hughes, left for Lincoln, to become defensive line coach at Nebraska.

As for their special teams

Like the Defense, they will have their third ST coordinator. Ty Linder comes in from TCU. They have back Placekicker Andrew Gantz, who had a solid Freshman season, which saw him earn second-team All-AAC honors after making 16-of-20 field goal attempts. Also back is Punter Sam Geraci, and as the season went on, he got better. He finished his Freshman year with a 39.4-yard average. While the kicking game was solid, the same could not be said for their coverage teams, at least early, As the season went on, they got better. In 2013, their coverage was terrible. When it came to the return game, nothing of note could be said here.

What to expect from Cincinnati
Looking at them on tape, they are explosive Offensively, and ball-hawks on the defensive end.  They will hit big plays, and Kiel, if he stays healthy, is the real deal, and their WRs are very good and they do stretch the field effectively. They run a lot of 4 wide sets. If their D steps up early to replace the losses they suffered there, and adjust to another new DC, look out.

Coming off a BYE week, on a Thursday Night on the road and with FSU 9 days later in the ACC opener on the road, this is a potential trap game for The U.  It won’t be like last year at Sun Life, where they just dismantled the Bearcats. It’ll be closer, but in the end, I believe that the CANES will make just enough plays and make some key stops late to win this one. I predict CANES win by 10-14 points on the road in Cincinnati. 
Up Next: at FSU (10/10)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015 Miami Hurricanes Opponent Preview - Week 3 (Nebraska 9/19 at Sun Life Stadium)

Miami Hurricanes 2015 Opponent Preview

Week 3
Nebraska (September 19th at Sun Life Stadium)

The 2015 Miami Hurricanes Opponent Preview continues with the preview of the Nebraska Cornhuskers whom The U hosts on September 19th at 3:30 pm on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2.

About Nebraska, who went 9-4 (5-3 in the B1G West), fires Bo Pelini, a guy that only won 9-10 games a year every year he was there, and replaced him with Mike Riley, who’s only won 10 games just once in his career (2006 at Oregon State going 10-4 and winning the Sun Bowl). Riley will be asked to take the Huskers to the next step and that’s win a B1G title, which in that conference is asking a lot when you consider the competition in that league.

Let’s start with the offense

Gone is their best back, Ameer Abdullah. So, with Tommy Armstrong, Jr. back as the signal caller, things will change in Lincoln. For one, we’re going to see more of Riley’s pro-style offense. It will not be the unmitigated disaster that it was under Bill Callahan.  
Something to consider here, last season, Armstrong was wildly inconsistent. There were times where he was great, but other times, he was terrible. With Riley really as the Offensive coordinator as well, we’ll see more of how good Armstrong can really be, and the passing game will be better for it.  

With Abdullah gone to Detroit, it’s going to be up to Terrell Newby and Imani Cross to fill those huge shoes left behind with Abdullah’s departure, however, that’s still a competition that will be settled in Fall Camp. Meanwhile, to bolster the passing game, it’s going to be up to receivers Jordan Westerkamp and De’Mornay, to step up and be leaders of that core. With Alonzo Moore and Jamal Turner, who many think could have a monster year, provided he stays healthy, in the rotation, their receiving corps will be one to be dealt in Riley’s offense.  

The down side here is that the offensive line took a big hit with three starters gone to graduation, but they have back Senior tackle Alex Lewis, who could be a very good one there. Also returning are Zach Sterup and Ryan Reeves, who both have star potential and should be in their OL rotation. With Riley’s new offense, a new line could be a good thing as the season progresses.

The offense as a whole should be fine, and will adjust accordingly. Their WR corps are deep and pretty good too. Their Offense should be ok, yes, there will be some issues early on, but as the season goes on, few teams are going to want to play Huskers, with the weapons they have.
Their Kicking is solid with Drew Brown back. While not great, he’s solid and can get the job done

Onto the Defensive side

The question has to be asked, did the Huskers weaken the defense with Pelini’s firing? Then again, what Wisconsin did to that defense, really not much there to weaken it more than it already was.

Yes, Randy Gregory is now in Dallas, however, even so, the D-Line should be solid again in 2015 with the return of Vincent Valentine and Maliek Collins up front on the interior and Greg McMullen on the end. They were responsible for making Gregory’s draft stock far beyond what it should have been. The depth is there where they could be even better than they were in 2014. 

Moving on to LB, The only one back with substance is Josh Banderas. While they do get Michael Rose-Ivey back after missing all of last year due to a knee injury. They lost their top three contributors. Even though, they have three other guys with experience on the line and two more freshmen, there will be big time drop in production over here.

In their secondary, they return Daniel Davy, Byerson Cockrell, and Joshua Kalu, however, their best player here is safety Nate Gerry, who is back for his junior year after picking off five passes in 2014. They have enough firepower back there where that unit could get better. From a field position perspective, they get back Punter Sam Foltz, who averaged more than 42 yards per punt last year and nailed 26 inside the 20-yard line

Overall, there won’t much difference with the Defense, which, when you look at it from a grand scheme of thing, isn’t that bad for Riley in year 1 in Lincoln.

What to expect from Nebraska
Looking at them on tape, they do have an obvious threat in Armstrong, who can run and pass effectively.  They have good WRs that run very good routes, and their RBs are very good at finding the holes and hitting them hard. They are pretty good Defensively, and they will rush the passer.  They won’t run the spread as much, though, we’ll see that from them. This is going to be more an NFL offense with Riley there.
The 1st video below is from Nebraska's Spring Game this year. 

The 2nd Video below is from the Holiday Bowl vs SC. 

The 3rd Video below is from last year's game in Lincoln where we lost 41-31. 

This is going to be the first real test for The U here.  Being at Sun Life, I have to believe that the CANES will make just enough plays and make some key stops late to win this one. I predict CANES win by 3-7 points over the Huskers at home. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 Miami Hurricanes Opponent Preview - Week 2 (at FAU 9/11 {Friday Night})

Miami Hurricanes 2015 Opponent Preview

Week 2

At Florida Atlantic (September 11th)

The 2015 Miami Hurricanes Opponent Preview continues with the preview of the Florida Atlantic Owls, whom The U pays a visit to on Friday September 11th at 8 pm on FOX Sports 1.

The FAU Owls have Charlie Partridge returning for his 2nd season in Boca Raton. Partridge is building a program that’s ready to make some noise. They’re recruiting pretty well, now the next step for them is to have a statement win. 

Let’s start with the offense. 

They have Jaquez Johnson, who’s on the Wuerffel award list, coming back. If he stays healthy, this guy could be one of the better QBs in Conference USA.  For a QB that’s mobile like he is, he did a tremendous job with ball protection in 2014. To emphasize that point, he only had 8 turnovers, and he also had 24 touchdowns and over 2,800 yards.

His O-Line will be very solid this year. They return both their guards, as well as LT Reggie Bain, who’s a 2nd team all C-USA player. Those three combined have twelve or more starts. When you add C Joe Gold, who started six games last year as a true freshman, as well as, UCF transfer Kelly Parfitt, who the coaches believe will start immediately, and you have an Offensive Line that will be a force to reckon with.

However, as good as their O-Line is, if they want to take that next step to contender status, other key guys are going to have to step up. In the backfield, it’s going to be up to Jay Warren, who was their main back in 2014. His issue was as that he had the same number of touchdowns as fumbles lost (2). 

He has to step up his game or it’ll be Sophomore Greg Howell, who had 5.1 yards per carry as a freshman, that becomes their main back. The one back that the coaches there really like is true freshman Trey Rodriguez, who they think has the potential to be an immediate impact player back there. 

Also, the receiving corps doesn’t have big play receivers and they lost their top  possession receiver in Lucky Whitehead, who signed as an undrafted Free Agent by the Dallas Cowboys. They do have back Jenson Stoshak, who should at least be a viable downfield threat.

Onto the Defensive side

Let’s be frank here, FAU was just lorida Atlantic was pathetic vs the run in 2014. However, there is some reason to believe in improvement, hell, they can’t get any worse. The big question here is: How much/if they improve will probably be one of the bigger determining factors in how many games the Owls win in 2015. They do have back  DT Trevon Coley (1st team all C-USA pre-season selection, and on the Lombardi Award watch list) and DE Trey Hendrickson (3rd team all C-USA pre-season selection). Both those guys are huge. Coley is 6’2” 300 and Hendrickson is 6’4” 265. These two players combined for 15 tackles for loss and 9 sacks last year, plus an interception for good measure (Coley).

The LB core was led by Andrae Kirk, who was clearly their top LB. However, he’s no longer there, signing as an Undrafted Free Agent with the Arizona Cardinals. They do have back Robert Relf and Jerrad Ward both of whom played in almost every game in 2014. They have younger players there that the coaches believe will play immediately in Kris Harris and Jaye Miner. Both of these freshmen (Harris a redshirt from Tallahassee Godby and Miner from Wesley Chapel Wiregrass Ranch) were three star recruits out of high school. 

Their secondary, was easily the strength of this team last year. Yes, they lose some personnel there, however, they will be very very good again in 2015. Cre’von LeBlanc (1st team all C-USA player, in the video above) had two picks in 2014 as a CB, and was third on the team in tackles. He’s the leader of that secondary. They also have coming back Sharrod Neasman and Raekwon Williams, who in 2014, played in every one of their games, and Neasman also had two picks. This team is loaded, and young with seven freshmen or redshirt freshmen in the secondary, many of which were three-star high school recruits.

What to expect from FAU

Looking at them on tape, they will use their backs and they run the spread on offense, but the thing they do best is find lanes to get yards in chunks. The most dangerous weapon I see from them is their QB Johnson. This tape is from FAU's final game of last season vs Old Dominion, in which they lost at the end 31-28 to finish 2014 at 3-9. (Courtesy of Old Dominion). 

In the end, too much CANES firepower here. Expect the starters to be out of the game by late in the 3rd quarter like the week before vs Bethune, and rested for the Nebraska game, and CANES cruise to an easy victory. 

2015 Miami Hurricanes Opponent Preview - Week 1 (Bethune-Cookman 9/5 at Sun Life Stadium)

Miami Hurricanes 2015 Opponent Preview

Week 1

Bethune-Cookman (September 5th at Sun Life Stadium)

The 2015 Miami Hurricanes Opponent Preview begins with the preview of the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, who come into Sun Life for the 2015 Season opener on September 5th at 6 p.m., on ESPNU. 

As for Bethune Cookman, who went 9-3 (6-2 in the MEAC) in 2014, has a new coach, but expect more of the same from the Wildcats in 2015. Yes, Brian Jenkins is gone, has he’s the new Head Coach over at Alabama State. Jenkins went 46-14 in his time in Daytona Beach, but now its Terry Sims’ job and he’s expected to build off the success Jenkins had there. Last year, Quentin Williams and Larry Brihm Jr. split time at quarterback and they’re expected to do the same this season. In 2014, Brihm was No. 1 in the league in passing efficiency and Williams was No.3.

An interesting note from a CANES perspective. Danny Dillard, a former back for the U, now in his second season at B-C, could be the Wildcats’ main rushing threat. In addition, Jawill Davis, who had nine receptions in the spring game, could key the passing game. Others to keep an eye out on here are WRs Michael Jones and Frank Brown, the latter we were looking at back in 2013.

Defensively, the Wildcats is going to basically be young, since they lost a lot of key personnel from 2014, which included former CANE DB Thomas Finnie, whom Al kicked off the team back in 2013. Another CANES side note here, DL David Perry is on their roster. 

What to expect from Bethune Cookman

Looking at them on tape (from last year's Florida Classic vs FAMU), they’ll run the spread on offense, but the thing they do best is find lanes to get yards in chunks.

They’ll give different looks on defense, but adapt to the situations of the game (time and score) like most teams do.

The video below is their Special Teams

In the end, too much CANES firepower here. Expect the starters to be out of the game by late in the 3rd quarter, and CANES cruise to an easy victory.

Up Next: at FAU (9/11 in Boca)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Thoughts on Beckham deal with City with no UM involvement (for now)

I've had a little over 24 hours to digest what this tentative deal means here. Here's my take:

Marcelo Claure comment to Doug Hanks of the Miami Herald yesterday: “Obviously we are in conversations with the University of Miami, but we figured we are running out of time,. “MLS has been very clear: if we are going to bring soccer to Miami, it needs to be now.”

Translation: Beckham and his people couldn't wait until after 9/1 when Julio Frenk takes over as new President of UM. However, the opening is still there if you want to join down the line. 

UM isn't in the deal "at this time". That's not to say they won't be down the line. There's 17 years left in that least at Sun Life and I find it hard to believe that UM couldn't find an out in that lease, which I'm sure they could have. When they talk about getting out of the Sun Life lease being costly, its to the tune of $50 Millon. Given UM's history of being tight-fisted with the money, I don't believe the BOT would have the stomach to pay Stephen Ross (Miami Dolphins Owner) that kind of jack to get out of that lease. 

Granted, the renovations at Sun Life will help in the short term, but you have to wonder if Frenk has the same thinking Donna did and eventually wanting out of Sun Life to join Beckham in Little Havana down the road. To expand to 40K (45K for big games like UF, FSU, ND, etc), could easily be done. What Cam Underwood (follow him on Twitter at @UnderwoodSports) said in his piece on State of the U (its a good read by the way) was absolutely correct and I agree with this totally. If UM ultimately decides down the line to join Beckham, they need to pony up the dollars needed to get those extra 15-20K seats in there.  Housing UM also would move Beckham’s 25,000-seat soccer stadium to about 40,000 seats, complicating the budget and design logistics.

According to Barry Jackson piece in Miami Herald on 7/18/15, his MLS source said that Beckham’s group would like UM to contribute toward construction costs, which Underwood mentions in that State of the U piece. Jackson's source said Beckham’s group has never made a specific financial request to UM or even given UM any specific proposal for a 40,000-seat stadium. There's still some time to get in for UM, but now, with Beckham's announcement yesterday, the ball is clearly in UM's court to get this done once Frenk officially takes over as UM president on 9/1. 

One idea was suggested by Jackson in that same Herald piece on 7/18/15, and I tend to like this idea more and more here. He mentioned that the stadium could have 25K to start for MLS use, but ultimately when, not if, UM bolts Sun Life to return home to Little Havana, it'll expand to 40-45K. I have to believe this will be the likely scenario for UM's ultimate exit out of the Sun Life and return home to Little Havana. 

Another factor in play here is Adidas, which, btw, has the new jersey party this evening at LIV. You have to wonder does Adidas, which will have a big say on this matter, want UM to ultimately go back to Little Havana and move in with Beckham. 

Frenk has some friends in high places, namely Carlos Slim, the Mexican Billionaire, and one of the richest men in the world. You wonder if Slim will cut Ross a check to help UM out of the Sun Life lease. 

Here's what Blake said about the whole thing in the Herald: “It’s an exciting day for soccer fans in the South Florida area. I congratulate them on moving forward, With that said, we are in a contract with Sun Life Stadium and are excited to open our season there on Sept. 5, in many ways in a brand new stadium that will enhance our fan experience.”

He adds, when asked by Jackson, if UM will consider joining Beckham in Little Havana down the road: 
“I will always keep all  options open, My preference is for the University of Miami to have the best home for football and right now that is Sun Life Stadium.”

Translation: We're happy where we are now, but I won't close the door on possibly coming back to our roots in Little Havana, if Beckham and MLS gives us 40K over there, we'll seriously consider making this happen. 

In closing, there's still a lot of moving parts to this story, and we'll have to see how this plays out after Frenk takes office in the Ashe Building on 9/1. Its going to be very interesting to see what happens here with this whole Stadium situation. 

Read more here:

Read more here:

Read more here: not being at the table. The private college has 17 years left in its lease with the Miami Dolphin at Sun Life Stadium, and breaking that deal would be costly. Housing UM also would move Beckham’s 25,000-seat soccer stadium to about 40,000 seats, complicating the budget and design logistics.

Read more here:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My thoughts on proposed new Beckham/UM Joint Stadium

My take last February on this topic

Much has changed since then. 
  1. There's a new President in Julio Frenk, who takes over on 9/1 from Donna. 
  2. The Sun Life renovations
  3. More urgency to get this done before Donna leaves on June 1. 
  4. A few sites have been eliminated except for two: Marlins Park site, and the one by the airport. 
The one UM would favor the most is the site by Marlins Park. The question is would Beckham and MLS feel the same way? Mayor Carlos A Gimenez said "Time is running out." You know the urgency is there from the City/County to get this done. 

UM doesn't favor the Overtown or the Bertam Yacht site by the Airport, but they would consider it if the deal was right. 

On the Marlins Park site, there are two areas Beckham/MLS/UM are considering. 
  • The first site is west of Marlins Park, on three city-owned parcels currently used as green space and parking lots and on six privately owned residential and office properties. Taken together, the land along Northwest 17th Avenue amounts to nearly 10 acres. However, according to Barry Jackson in the Herald in February 2014, a county official told him back then that this site would be unlikely. Fast forward to today, this area becomes more and more likely that if UM joins Beckham in the stadium, this would be the area they would go with here. 
  • The second site, on 19 acres of county-owned land northeast of the ballpark on the shores of the Miami River, appears far less feasible. There’s a public-housing facility for the elderly on the property. No shot this site happens.
  • In a word: parking. 
    • If you remember the days of the OB, then you realize that renting out parking spaces on a temporary basis works. 
    • There are four garages next to the ballpark already. 
  • Mass Transit: The city also has a free-of-charge trolley line that loops in riders. This is key for those that would rely on Mass Transit, especially for day games from Broward and Palm Beach. Close to Campus as well. 
Map A is from UM to the Marlins Park site: 

Map B is from West Palm Beach to the Marlins Park Site:

Map C is from Fort Lauderdale to the Marlins Park Site:

  • For the first site, Beckham and his crew would have to deal with the city, but much has changed between Feb 2014 and now, and if you remember how they treated UM and the way the Marlins deal went down to evict UM from that site, its been a big problem and still is and even now still rankles the UM faithful. 
    • Although Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said back then that no one has contacted him about that the site, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez just said on Joe Rose's show this morning, "It has to happen now.... We can't wait too long."
  • For the second site, the issue here as it was back in February 2014 like it is now, is that Miami-Dade County would have to relocate the King High Towers housing complex which comprises two 14-story high-rises. According to Gregg Fortner, director of the county’s public housing and community development department, he said through a spokeswoman that there is “no possibility” of public-housing property being used for a soccer stadium. Pretty much that second site is dead in the water here. 
  • Another issue is that the Marlins, an MLS soccer team, and UM would also have to deal with scheduling challenges, given that their seasons overlap — though MLS plays far fewer matches, UM plays 7-8 home games a year. The conflicts would be mainly in September, when the Marlins wind down and UM starts up.
  • Lack of Mass Transit back to Broward and Palm Beach for Night Games.

Map A: From UM to this site

Map B: From West Palm Beach to this site

Map C: From Fort Lauderdale to this site

  • Mass Transit: Tri-Rail (From Broward and Palm Beach) and MetroRail has direct service to Miami International Airport, which would be within walking distance of the site. Close to Campus as well. Easy access to the Airport/Hotels: If fans want to fly in, they could do that. You could have boaters/water taxis/ferries have an option along the waterway (think Tennessee and Washington).
  • Easy access to Major roads: You have the 95, the 112, the Dolphin, the Palmetto very close by. 
  • Parking: Lack of Parking in the area. One would have to go to a large mall then take a shuttle bus to the Stadium. How much stadium parking would be available for tailgating? Highly doubt that Miami Central Station would be sufficient for Gameday parking/tailgating, especially for big games such as FSU/ND, etc. 
  • MIA Traffic: On a good day, traffic to and from the airport is high, but add 40K (45K for big games like ND or FSU), and that could be a big time issue. 
  • Lack of Mass Transit back to Broward and Palm Beach after Night games: Where Tri-Rail and MetroRail has direct service to Miami International Airport, and would be within walking distance of the site, the problem becomes getting back to Broward and Palm Beach following night games. 

Map A: From UM to Overtown (by Miami World Center)

Map B is from West Palm Beach to Overtown (by Miami World Center)

Map C is from Fort Lauderdale to Overtown (by Miami World Center)

  • Development of MIami World Center: Miami World Center's people just broke ground late last year on the Retail portion of the project. This is Phase 1, which will be done by the end of Next year. Would be a good landmark for fans to get to the stadium. 
  • Close to major areas: Bayside, AAA, Port of Miami, etc. 
  • Mass Transit: All Aboard Florida is coming for those CANES coming from the Orlando area, they would be able to come straight into Miami for the game (Starting in 2017). Stadium within walking distance.
    • Tri-Rail coming from Broward and Palm Beach to MetroRail Transfer station. 
    • MetroRail has direct service to the site and then walking distance from there. 
  • Easy access to Major roads: You have the 95, 395, the Dolphin, Biscayne Blvd. very close by. 
  • Parking: Lack of Parking in the area, like with the site by the Airport. Miami World Center has 3,000 spaces now, and 7,000+ when its all said and done. Also, parking by AAA would be an issue, especially when there are events that overlap (i.e., Heat games) The question is how many of those would be available for UM games, especially big games like FSU, and would tailgating be allowed in the parking garages if spaces are available? 
  • Traffic: Think AAA for Heat games, but on a bigger scale. but add 40K (45K for big games like ND or FSU), and that could be a big time issue especially on Biscayne Blvd. 
  • Lack of Mass Transit back to Broward and Palm Beach and in this case, points North (i.e, Orlando) after Night games: Where Tri-Rail and MetroRail has direct service to Miami International Airport, and would be within walking distance of the site, the problem becomes getting back to Broward and Palm Beach following night games. Another question would be would All Aboard Florida have Special trains going back to Orlando after night games? Organizers need to get that addressed. 
As Mayor Gimenez said this morning on Joe Rose's show, time is running out to get this done.