The Miami Hurricane answers your questions about the UM’s first football game against Alabama

Redshirt senior quarterback D'Eriq King throws the ball during practice at the Greentree Practice Fields on Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Redshirt senior quarterback D'Eriq King throws the ball during practice at the Greentree Practice Fields on Aug. 31, 2021.
Redshirt senior quarterback D'Eriq King throws the ball during practice at the Greentree Practice Fields on Aug. 31, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

With the start of football season just a day away, we asked you for questions about about the first game of the season against Alabama. Assistant sports editor Wyatt Kopelman is here to answer them.

When’s the last time Miami played Alabama?

Miami and Alabama have not taken the field against each other since the 1993 Sugar Bowl, which took place inside the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans in front of over 76,000 fans. The Crimson Tide defeated the Hurricanes, who trail 14-3 in the all-time series, for their first national championship since 1979.

Where is the game?

Saturday’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will take place in Atlanta at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, also known as the home of the Atlanta Falcons.

What jerseys are we wearing?

UM will sport the newest edition of its orange jerseys, as the team revealed via Twitter on Monday. A revised version of the “Dade Bold” font, as the Hurricanes’ uniforms displayed from 2000–2016. In addition, the “U” logo sits inside of an orange shield on the front collar.

Who is gonna replace Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips?

As safety Bubba Bolden said at the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte last month, two solid defensive ends departed for the NFL, and two new ones will be forced to step up. Redshirt senior Zach McCloud and redshirt freshman Jahfari Harvey were slotted as two starting defensive ends in Miami’s first depth chart of 2021. Each competed in at least nine games last season, as Harvey totaled 12 unassisted tackles and McCloud had 16.

Who are the impactful players on offense besides D’Eriq King?

Although King led Miami in passing yards (2,686), passing touchdowns (23) and completion percentage (64.1%) while also having registered four rushing touchdowns, junior running back Cam’Ron Harris is expected to raise the bar as UM’s veteran running back. The Opa-Locka, Florida, native paced the Hurricanes in rushing yards last season, marking a season-high 134 rushing yards against Louisville in Week 2, and recently told reporters he feels physically bigger but also lighter and more explosive.

In addition to Harris, Miami’s expected to show considerable improvement in its wide receiver core. Oklahoma transfer Charleston Rambo collected 312 yards and three touchdowns, including one in the Cotton Bowl versus Florida, across 25 total receptions last season. Should he set a tone for the Hurricanes’ deep passing game while offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee also hones in on an improved rushing attack, fans could see a more versatile offense this fall.

Who are the standouts on defense?

When Miami head coach Manny Diaz regained defensive coordinator responsibilities in the spring, the third-year head coach wasted little time asking for more out of his defensive backfield. Cornerbacks such as Georgia transfer Tyrique Stevenson, sophomore Te’Cory Couch and junior DJ Ivey have impressed with interceptions throughout training camp. The trio have their names in the defensive backfield’s starting lineup in the Week 1 depth chart’s release.

Who on the offense, besides King, should we keep an eye on during the game?

Aside from veterans Cam’Ron Harris and Charleston Rambo, UM’s offensive line has definitely shown progress and should match up well in comparison to Alabama’s front seven. Fifth-year senior Navaughn Donaldson returns healthy and the best version of himself from a health and conditioning perspective since an ACL tear ended his 2019 season. Donaldson is tabbed to start at right guard alongside second-year freshman left guard Jalen Rivers. The two returners will be vital in forming holes at the line of scrimmage for Miami’s offensive attack to kick into high gear early, something King emphasized on last week.

When was the last time Miami played a #1 team for its first game?

1988. The Hurricanes haven’t opened a campaign since whirling past No. 1 Florida State, 31-0, at the old Orange Bowl. In fact, they would eventually take home the Orange Bowl hardware that following January, defeating No. 6 Nebraska, 23-3.