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Florida Atlantic vs Miami Q&A With State Of The U

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Miami will make the drive up I-95 to visit Boca Raton and play at FAU Stadium this Friday night. The game is expected to be a sellout as FAU will host their first P5 team ever. The good folks over at SB Nation site State Of The U was gracious enough to answer a few questions about this week's upcoming game.

FAU's defense will try to stop sophomore Brad Kayaa and Miami's lethal passing attack
FAU's defense will try to stop sophomore Brad Kayaa and Miami's lethal passing attack
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Cyrus Smith: What were the positive takeaways from Miami's 45-0 victory over Bethune Cookman? What were the negatives?

State Of The U: There were lots of good things to take away from UM's dominant performance this past weekend against BCU. First and foremost the D was absolutely ferocious, holding Bethune to under 100 yards total offense (albeit the game was shortened to 10 minute quarters in the second half because of a weather delay).  OLB/DE Trent Harris, CB Corn Elder (who also had a PR for TD), S Rayshawn Jenkins,  back-up LB Marques Gayot, and DE Ufomba Kamalu were just a few of the players who stood out for the stout Hurricanes D.

QB Brad Kaaya was efficient on offense, freshman RB Mark Walton looked explosive, fellow RB Joe Yearby was also very good, and WR Rashawn Scott made plays all over the field.  Miami basically dominated all three phases of the game.  If there was a negative it may have been that the 'Canes started the game slow and had some injuries (WRs Braxton Berrios and Stacy Coley were hurt, neither believed to be serious on last report). The O line took a while to get going as well. But once Miami turned the switch, they looked fantastic

CS: The last time Miami and FAU got together, Al Golden was in his third year and seemed to have the Canes on the verge of a breakthrough. What has been Miami's biggest problem under Golden's regime?

STOU: During Golden's tenure UM has had to endure scholarship reductions due to the scandal with Shapiro. So depth has been underwhelming for understandable reasons. The teams have had talent though and have underachieved for one reason or another. Tough losses have taken tolls on the team mentally. Key injuries have factored in as well. But in my opinion (and many others) a lot of questionable schemes/philosophies (especially defensively) have also hampered the 'Canes. There is no doubt this is a make or break season for Golden and his staff.

CS: With FAU hosting a name-brand opponent in Miami (FL), the football team and Owl faithful will most certainly be up for this week's game. Is there any fear from the Hurricanes' fan base that Miami will enter the game lethargic and unmotivated?

SOTU: That's really my only concern. On paper the Hurricanes are by far the superior team. However, if they commit bad penalties, turn the ball over, miss tackles, and let FAU think they have a shot, this game could be more competitive than Al Golden and Co. want. The good news for UM fans however is that Kaaya and senior LB Raphael Kirby appear to be providing more leadership than the 'Canes have had in previous seasons.

Golden mentioned that even after the BCU game got out of hand, his star players were heavily involved on the sidelines, and coaching up their younger teammates.  To me that is a good sign, and should bode well that Miami will come into this week's game mentally prepared.

CS: Which position unit gives you the most concern on defense? Which position unit gives you the most concern on offense?

SOTU: Defensively I like what Miami brings to the table on all 3 levels. If there is an area I am concerned with it is not any particular position unit, so much as depth at LB and CB. Behind Kirby, Jermaine Grace, Tyriq McCord, and Darrion Owens, UM does not have a lot of experience at LB. Tracy Howard, Elder, and Artie Burns are three very good CBs but if one gets hurt, they will have to likely play true freshman Sheldrick Redwine. On offense, it is easily the offensive line unit.  I really, really like C Nick Linder.

But G Alex Gall is a first time starter with limited experience. RT Sunny Odogwu has made vast improvements, but is still a bit green. LT/RT Kc McDermott can really play, but is coming off knee surgery. The O line is a mixed bag at this point. OL/Assistant Coach Art Kehoe has his work cut out for him.

CS: After a great freshman campaign, Brad Kayaa is definitely the face of Miami's team, but who are the other guys that could make a major impact on this week's game?

SOTU: As previously mentioned, RBs Walton and Yearby are big time players. At WR Scott looks like the main man, but Herb Waters, Malcolm Lewis, and freshman Lawrence Cager can also make big plays. I also like what I saw last week from TE Standish Dobard. Miami has no shortage of offensive weapons around Kaaya.

CS: What's your prediction for Miami's first road game of the year?

SOTU: Too many weapons and too much team speed on defense for FAU. The Hurricanes roll 38-17.

CS: Who would you like to punch in the face?

SOTU: Easiest question you have asked this far. Nevin Shapiro everyday of the week, and twice on Sunday.