Roddy Jones: Miami Is The Sleeper In Coastal Division

After 15 years at Georgia, where he was a two-time SEC Coach of the Year, Mark Richt has come home to Miami, where he played quarterback from 1979 to 1982.

He’s got a tough task on his hands.

After going 46-4 in the early 2000s, Miami hasn’t had a 10-win season since 2003. So, can Richt, 56, help the Hurricanes on the recruiting trail and make them an elite power once more?

“Recruiting-wise, I don’t know,” ACC Network analyst Roddy Jones said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I think they’ve done a pretty decent job recruiting. I think the days of locking down South Florida the way they did in the ’90s and ’80s, I think those days are gone. Recruiting is way too national. These guys take trips all over the country in high school, so it makes it tougher to keep all of that talent in South Florida. But if you can get the best ones, then I think he’s going to have a shot to restore Miami.

“On the field, though, I think is where he’s going to make the biggest difference,” Jones continued. “I had a front-row seat for what he did at the University of Georgia. He institutes a culture of competition and he does a really good job of developing quarterbacks. Look at what he did with with Aaron Murray, with Matthew Stafford with David Greene, D.J. Shockley – he’s had some really good ones throughout his career, and I think he’s got a really, really good one in Brad Kaaya. And don’t forget about the guys that he’s got around him, as well. Joseph Yearby is back, Mark Walton. They’ve got some receivers too with Stacy Coley.

“I think Miami’s the sleeper in the Coastal division. If you’re not picking them, then I think they’ve got a chance to sneak up on some people, especially because they start kind of slow. They don’t really get into ACC play until October with Georgia Tech.”

Miami is coming off an 8-5 season. The Hurricanes have finished with between seven and nine wins in nine of the last 12 years. So they haven’t bad terrible; they just haven’t been elite.

Why not?

“I think it’s a confidence thing,” Jones said. “As you get into the league, when you’re starting to play some of these teams, it’s not the SEC where you’re playing Alabama, LSU, Georgia every week. Sometimes you’re going to go to a Duke and there’s not going to be that many people in the stands and you’ve still got to go out and beat a really good Duke team. While Miami did that last year, they weren’t able to do that consistently. They weren’t able to get up game in and game out for these teams. I think that culture of competition Mark Richt brings can help change that and maybe just an injection of new blood. It’s absolutely incredible that the University of Miami has never been to an ACC Championship Game, and that’s something that has to change. Thats the reason I think Al Golden got fired. And quite honestly, when you have a loss like you did last year to Clemson (58-0), it’s embarrassing. This is a proud university and I think they feel really good about the fact that they brought in one of their own.”

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