The talent level since he arrived three years ago has certainly improved, and the defense seems to finally be turning the corner. However, there is a huge question mark at quarterback. With Ryan Williams suffering an ACL injury, the position will be up for grabs this summer.
Olsen didn’t have a great spring game (7-of-21 for 65 yards and an interception), and neither did his backup Gray Crow (9-of-20 for 63 yards and an interception). But no need to freak out just yet, it’s still early.
It'll certainly be interesting if one of the two freshman quarterbacks could pass Olsen on the depth chart. Golden has clearly stated that both Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier will be given every opportunity to start this season.
“Clearly, Kevin is ahead of Gray right now,’’ Golden said to the Miami Herald. “But he was behind Ryan [Williams]. So I think it’s safe to say that not only are those two competing, but the two that come in. We need someone to emerge as not just a leader but as someone who can execute.”
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kaaya start for the Hurricanes in 2014. Kaaya was considered one of the best pro-style quarterbacks in the country as a senior, which is why I believe he will be legitimate option for Golden this season.
Kaaya is currently working with his quarterback coach Rudy Carpenter in Arizona, who has a very good relationship with offensive coordinator James Coley. He also already has the Hurricanes’ playbook, so the learning curve may not be too steep when he arrives in Coral Gables this summer. Olsen will really need to perform this summer to hold off Kaaya.
Miami also needs to continue to improve its defensive line. Ufomaba Kamalu is certainly making strides but the rest of the group needs to catch up to him. Olsen Pierre is in the best shape of his career and has high hopes for the upcoming season, and Calvin Heurtelou will see reps simply due to his size (6-foot-3, 305 lbs), but needs to improve his conditioning this summer.
The coaching staff is really banking on 4-star JUCO defensive tackle Michael Wyche to come in and be a star. Wyche stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 315 pounds. He held offers anywhere from Alabama to USC before he ultimately chose the Hurricanes. Miami needs him to be an absolute beast and control the middle of the line of scrimmage.
Also: don’t sleep on Chad Thomas (5-star recruit) to come in and contribute right away at defensive end. He may not be an every down player just yet, but can certainly come in on third down to rush the passer. He has elite skills and the sooner he gets game experience the better.
Another position that has questions is safety, but not in a bad way. There are four guys that I believe could start and make an impact.
Deon Bush is healthy again and I love his ability to read the quarterback’s eyes, while also being able to come up in run support.
Former running back Dallas Crawford seems to be at his natural position now and brings a lot of toughness to the secondary.
Jamal Carter has been the star of spring practice. He has elite physical talent and can hit with the best of them. He would be perfect in coming down and covering the tight end, as well as stuffing the run.
Rayshawn Jenkins also really intrigues me. He started last year and has been out all of spring with an injury. Jenkins has a lot of upside because he’s so athletic and fluid. He can go up and get the ball and challenge taller receivers.
I’m very anxious to see which two guys the coaching staff chooses to start. I can’t imagine the two other players not rotating in frequently; there is too much talent at that position to not play all four guys.
If Miami really wants to compete this season in the ACC, Golden will have to get better quarterback play and possess dominant defensive line.