DB Brandon Meriweather

2005 Statistics

Coach: Larry Coker
43-9, 5 years
2005 Record: 9-3
at Florida State LOST 7-10
at Clemson WON 36-30 (3OT)
at Temple WON 34-3
at Virginia Tech WON 27-7
at Wake Forest WON 47-17
vs. Louisiana State LOST 3-40

2005 Final Rankings
AP-17, Coaches-18, BCS-8

2006 Outlook

Despite sporting the best record of any Division I school over the last 23 years and having a coach with a 53-9 record, Miami ended 2005 in turmoil. The 40-3 loss to LSU in the Peach Bowl (and the subsequent loss in the fight with the Tigers in the stadium tunnel afterwards) set in motion a housecleaning of Coker’s staff. Five assistant coaches, including 25-year Miami veteran Art Kehoe, were let go as Coker cited bad chemistry within the staff and the need for new blood. Molding his staff into a cohesive unit this spring has to be priority #1. There won’t be any major system changes, nor should there be.

On the field, the Hurricanes need only some tweaking, not a major overhaul. Offensively, better blocking up front and more creative play calling would allow Miami to again become an offensive juggernaut—the talent is there. Defensively, steady as she goes should be defensive coordinator Randy Shannon’s motto. There is no reason this team should lose to anyone 40-3, and it if happens again Coker won’t have anyone to blame but himself. The Hurricanes don’t have an easy schedule, but they get their toughest opponents, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Boston College, in the friendly confines of the Orange Bowl. The only road games that pose any challenge are trips to Louisville and Georgia Tech. Miami should win the Coastal Division of the ACC, and anything less than a 10-2 regular season record would be underachieving.

Projected 2006 record: 10-2
QB - 3.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 4 DB - 4.5
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Kyle Wright, 307-180-10, 2403 yds., 18 TD

Rushing: Tyrone Moss, 137 att., 701 yds., 12 TD

Receiving: Greg Olsen, 31 rec., 451 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Jon Peattie, 15-20 FG, 34-39 PAT, 79 pts.

Punting: Brian Monroe, 64 punts, 39.8 avg.

Kicking: Jon Peattie, 15-20 FG, 34-39 PAT, 79 pts.

Tackles: Brandon Meriweather, 88 tot., 57 solo

Sacks: Kareem Brown, Bryan Pata - 3 sacks each

Interceptions: Lovon Ponder, 3 for 44 yds.; Brandon Meriweather, 3 for 27 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Darnell Jenkins, 8 ret., 21.9 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Darnell Jenkins, 8 ret., 8.0 avg., 0 TD


RB Tyrone Moss
OFFENSE: Quadtrine Hill-FB, Sinorice Moss-WR, Buck Ortega-TE, Eric Winston-OT, Tyler McMeans-OG, Tony Tella-OG, Rashad Butler-OT
DEFENSE: Orien Harris-DT, Thomas Carroll-DE, Javon Nanton-DE, Rocky McIntosh-SLB, Leon Williams-MLB, Kelly Jennings-CB, Marcus Maxey-CB, Greg Threat-FS, Devin Hester-CB/RB/PR/KR (NFL)

Junior Kyle Wright’s size and arm strength could be used as the prototype for an NFL quarterback, but he still has some work to do on his game. Wright had a solid first season as the Hurricane starter, but he needs to improve his decision making under duress. In the ‘Canes’ three losses last season, the Florida State, Georgia Tech, and LSU defenses put tons of pressure on Wright, and he didn’t handle it very well. He’s not a particularly mobile quarterback, as his ‘05 rushing total (-101 yards) would show, so it is critical he makes his reads quicker and delivers the ball into the hands of his playmakers. When Wright had time to sit in the pocket last season, he usually excelled and will continue to do so this season. Backing him up is talented-yet-unproven sophomore Kirby Freeman, who is not as big and strong as Wright but more of a threat with his legs.

Running Back
As usual, Miami will have good depth at running back. Assuming he comes back 100% from a torn ACL, senior Tyrone Moss will be the feature back. He scored 12 touchdowns before going down against Virginia Tech last season. Moss’ 4.45 speed makes him a legitimate home-run threat, but he needs to develop some pass-catching skills (only two receptions in his career). Junior Charlie Jones stepped in when Moss was injured last season and provided solid production. Jones is more of a between-the-tackles runner and is deceptively strong for his size (5’10’, 203 pounds). Junior Andrew Johnson, a high-school sprint champion, will also get some carries, as will sophomore Derron Thomas, another breakaway threat with 4.33 speed. Junior James Bryant will start at fullback. A converted linebacker, Bryant uses that aggressive mentality to make him an effective lead blocker who doesn’t need the ball to be a key part of the running game.

Senior Ryan Moore will finally realize his potential as top wide receiver. Moore was well on his way toward stardom after a big freshman season, but he was hobbled with a foot injury as a sophomore and was still not as productive last season. Moore is not the typical speed demon you picture as a Hurricane wide receiver. He is more of a possession receiver who can out leap and outmuscle defenders in the red zone. Senior wideout Darnell Jenkins will be the other starter, but he has averaged only ten yards per catch. Speedy juniors Lance Leggett and Khalil Jones will also see playing time. They will be counted on to stretch defenses and make some big plays on their own.

Offensive Line
Miami’s offensive line was a disappointment last season and will have to rely on four new starters to raise its level of play. With so many strong recruiting classes, improvements should follow. Pass blocking in particular was an issue (gave up 36 sacks last year, including nine by Florida State and seven by Georgia Tech). The lone returning starter is center Anthony Wollschlager. The senior finally made it through a year healthy and excelled at run blocking. He had an exceptional game against Virginia Tech, literally flattening the Hokies with eight pancakes, and should be even better this season. He’ll need to be with so much experience elsewhere on the line. Two juniors, Andrew Bain and Derrick Morse, will start at the guard positions. Bain is big enough (6’3”, 317 pounds) to play tackle and agile enough to excel at guard. Morse started six games as a freshman and will need to bounce back from an injury-marred 2005. Sophomore Reggie Youngblood will inherit the left tackle position from all-American Eric Winston. Youngblood is big and athletic and will move toward earning his own national recognition. The other tackle position is up for grabs in preseason camp, and we will let you know who grabs it up.

Tight End
Wright’s other primary target will be junior Greg Olsen. After catching eight passes for 137 yards in last season’s opener vs. Florida State, Olsen never had more than three receptions in a game the rest of the way. New offensive coordinator Rich Olson simply must figure out how to get the ball in his hands more often. Olsen is a thoroughbred who was too often treated as a Clydesdale last season. His backup, sophomore Chris Zellner, is a converted defensive end who is more of a blocker than a pass receiving threat.

After speculation that Head Coach Larry Coker would assume the duties of offensive coordinator, he decided instead to hire former Hurricane assistant Rich Olson. This is Olson’s 13th stop in his coaching career. After leaving Miami in 1994, he spent the next 11 years in the NFL with five different teams. Not very many of those teams were particularly productive, however, and it not clear what impact he will have leading the Hurricanes’ revamped offensive staff. Don’t expect many significant changes, though. Olson’s primary focus needs to be the offensive line, and Coker can put his vision in motion with the ball-handlers. Miami has plenty of potential at the skill positions, they just need to keep the quarterback upright and give their talented runners holes to get through.


TE Greg Olsen


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Kyle Wright-Jr (6-4, 220) Kirby Freeman-So (6-3, 204)
FB Jerrell Mabry-Fr (6-1, 259) Mark Lisante-Sr (6-1, 227)
TB Tyrone Moss-Sr (5-9, 220) Charlie Jones-Jr (5-10, 203)
Derron Thomas-So (5-9, 190)
WR Ryan Moore-Sr (6-3, 215) Lance Leggett-Jr (6-4, 184)
WR Darnell Jenkins-Sr (5-10, 181) Khalil Jones-So (6-2, 208)
TE Greg Olsen-Jr (6-5, 252) Chris Zellner-So (6-2, 227)
OT Reggie Youngblood-So (6-5, 280) Chris Rutledge-Fr (6-5, 311)
OG Andrew Bain-Jr (6-3, 217) A.J. Trump-Fr (6-3, 297)
C Anthony Wollschlager-Sr (6-4, 281) Jonathan St. Pierre-So (6-3, 301)
OG Derrick Morse-Jr (6-4, 295) Alex Pou-Sr (6-4, 280)
OT Tyrone Byrd-So (6-5, 280) Cyrim Wimbs-Jr (6-3, 321)
K Jon Peattie-Sr (6-2, 206) ..



Defensive Line
Foes struggled against them last year, and the Hurricanes will again have a veteran defensive line featuring three senior starters, end Bryan Pata and tackles Baraka Atkins and Kareem Brown. Pata is the best pass rusher of the group. Although he only recorded two sacks last season, he had 14 quarterback hurries. He possesses excellent quickness and speed for a 272 pounder. Atkins has played both tackle and end. He has demonstrated his playmaking ability with 20 career tackles for loss and 13 sacks. He is explosive off the line and can dominate as he gets stronger. Brown moves into the starting lineup and is a good run stuffer who also rushes the passer well for an interior lineman. Sophomore Eric Moncur will give Miami another excellent pass rusher coming off the edge as he fills the other end position. This is a gifted, versatile defensive line, but when isn’t there one at the front of the Cane’s D?

Miami’s linebacking corps will be anchored by two returning junior starters, Jon Beason and Romeo Davis. Beason will man the weakside linebacker position but is versatile enough to play all three spots. He is stronger than his size (6’0”, 225 pounds) would indicate and needs to step up and be a more aggressive playmaker. Davis will be the full-time middle linebacker and plays the run very well. He needs to improve his pass coverage, but has the quickness to stay with tight ends or running backs. Junior Tavares Gooden will bolster the group at strongside linebacker. He missed all but one game last season with a separated shoulder but started during most of the 2004 season and recorded 83 tackles. Sophomore Willie Williams, he of the checkered past and nearly unlimited potential, will have more opportunity to show it this season. This is an outstanding unit with strength, speed, and quickness that would match that of any linebackers in the nation.

Defensive Back
The Hurricanes secondary is led by hard-hitting senior Brandon Meriweather. The strong safety plays the run well and, like many superior Cane DBs of the past, also has exceptional closing speed in pass coverage. Meriweather led Miami in tackles, including 12 for loss, an exceptional number for a defensive back. Junior Kenny Phillips returns at free safety. Phillips has been described by coaches as having “the body of Sean Taylor and the knowledge and speed of Ed Reed”, referring to two recent former Hurricanes who were NFL first-round picks. The cornerback situation is more unsettled. Sophomores Randy Phillips and Bruce Johnson will get first crack at the starting spots. Phillips was the nickel back last season, showing lots of speed and also drawing comparisons to Taylor and Reed. Johnson was one of the highest rated corners in the 2005 recruiting class and will have the opportunity to show his speed and playmaking ability. You won’t find more speed in a secondary anywhere.

Miami finished the 2005 regular season second in the nation in scoring defense and third in yards allowed per game. Despite being a bit less experienced this year, they are actually more talented. The only potential weakness is at cornerback, where two new starters must be broken in, but even there the ‘Canes have plenty of talent. The line will dominate and the safeties will make receivers think twice about coming over the middle. Miami’s linebackers are not big playmakers, but they are steady and cover ground. The Hurricanes will again quietly sport one of the best defenses in the nation.


DT Baraka Atkins


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Baraka Atkins-Sr (6-4, 264) Eric Moncur-So (6-2, 253)
DT Kareem Brown-Sr (6-4, 307) Antonio Dixon-So (6-3, 338)
DT Teraz McCray-Jr (6-1, 278) Luqman Abdullah-Fr (6-3, 309)
Vegas Franklin-Jr (6-3, 246)
DE Bryan Pata-Sr (6-4, 272) Calais Campbell-So (6-8, 254)
SLB Tavares Gooden-Jr (6-2, 220) Romeo Davis-Jr (6-3, 221)
MLB Glenn Cook-Jr (6-0, 212) Darryl Sharpton-Fr (5-11, 218)
WLB Jon Beason-Jr (6-0, 225) Willie Williams-So (6-3, 232)
CB Glenn Sharpe-Jr (6-0, 187) Bruce Johnson-So (5-11, 168)
CB Randy Phillips-So (6-0, 185) Carlos Armour-So (6-3, 194)
SS Kenny Phillips-So (6-2, 200) Willie Cooper-Jr (6-1, 200)
FS Brandon Meriweather-Sr (6-0, 188) Lovon Ponder-So (6-0, 204)
Anthony Reddick-So (6-0, 197)
P Brian Monroe-Sr (6-2, 208) ..




Senior Jon Peattie could threaten the school’s all-time scoring record with a big season. He is a solid field goal kicker inside the 50, but Peattie is also inconsistent. He actually has a higher success rate between the 40-49 yard lines (75%) than between the 30-39 (67%). Peattie also missed five extra points just last season. Senior Brian Monroe will handle kickoff duties. He had nearly 2/3 of his kicks returned last season, a number that needs to decrease this year.

Brian Monroe returns for his fourth season. He doesn’t kick big, booming punts, but they have excellent hang time. Monroe dropped 24 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line last season and only half of his kicks were returnable.

Return Game
The Hurricanes take a hit on punt returns with the early departure of Devin Hester. Senior Darnell Jenkins and Ryan Moore will now share that role. Neither player has shown the ability to break out for big returns in limited opportunities. Jenkins will again be the primary kickoff returner. He posted solid but not exceptional numbers last season. Miami always has a surplus of athletes, so they have plenty of speed to fill coverage teams. They were strong covering kickoffs last season and outstanding on punt coverage. They will have a new coordinator this year, possibly even Coker himself, but the results will continue to be impressive.