Miami’s Linebackers Versus Florida’s Running Backs
The marquee kickoff game featuring the Miami Hurricanes against the Florida Gators on August 24th will be won based off these key positions. In 2018, the Gators finished 27th in all of FBS football in rushing offense averaging over five yards a carry as a team. Not only did the Gators run the ball efficiently but did so using a loaded backfield.
Three different running backs received more than 65 or more carries. The most explosive back, Lamical Perine, returns this season as the main back after splitting carries with Jordan Scarlett. Even with the departure Florida returns a stacked backfield with Perine, Dameon Pierce, and Malik Davis.
On the other hand Miami will be forced to stop that rushing attack. However the Canes return four linebackers with a lot of playing time. The most notable name is First Team All-ACC linebacker, Shaq Quarterman. Not only will he be a four year starter at middle linebacker but he is coming off of his best season with 14 tackles for loss and 5 sacks. Another four year starter next to him will be Michael Pinckney, that had 11 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Zach McCloud and Romeo Finley will split the striker duties for the Hurricanes. Miami was the only team in the country to average 10 tackles for loss per game and finished first in the entire country. On top of that Miami only allowed 143 rushing yards per game.
Both positions will have to figure things out with new starters up front on the lines. For Florida, 4 out of 5 starters must be replaced on the offensive line. The Hurricanes will have to replace Gerald Willis and Joe Jackson on the defensive lines.