Things have been relatively quiet here at allCanesBlog, but that’s about to change. A random conversation the week of the Toledo game between some old schoolers from the All Sports days got the juices flowing again.

Pace of life, combined with a rough decade of Miami Hurricanes football—it made full-blown coverage of “The U” a bit difficult. That said, seasons change—on- and off-the-field—and in this case, it made sense to dive in and share some thoughts on The State of Miami.

Timing-wise, this came together hours before the Hurricanes take on the Duke Blue Devils in Durham this evening. Last time up there—a down-to-the-wire finish that shocked the football world, and ultimately saved the Canes’ season from complete disaster.

In the seven days prior, Clemson throttled Miami, a head coach as let go, an interim was named, a player’s beloved mother passed and everything was a blur … and then with :06 remaining in a back-and-forth game, the football gods sprinkled a little dust on Wallace Wade Stadium.

Miami then took out Virginia, got worked by eventual Coastal champ North Carolina, smacked up Georgia Tech at home and Pittsburgh on the road—capping it off in El Paso, losing to Washington State … in the snow.

Mark Richt was soon hired, a 9-4 season followed, the Canes notched their first bowl win in a decade, locked down a strong recruiting class and things were looking up as 2017 rolled on.

A convincing season-opening win over Bethune-Cookman was a solid start, but Irma did her thing and a 21-day layoff ensued. Arkansas State cancelled, Florida State postponed. The Canes got back to work last week, overcoming a slow start against Toledo, before exploding in the second half—leaving Miami, 2-0 going into the short week.

The current feeling; unsettled—both Miami the city and the Canes as a team. Seems the things that were supposed to be, haven’t yet come to fruition—while loose ends folks were worried about, have started working themselves out.

The Canes’ defense received accolades upon accolades this pre-season, yet hasn’t looked sharp or completely consistent. The good news; Bethune-Cookman and Toledo proved to be the first two foes. The bad news; a spirited, undefeated Duke squad is on deck, with a road trip to Tallahassee on the horizon. The “preseason” is over and it’s time to deliver in what could be an unexpectedly tight Coastal race as the Blue Devils—and Virginia Tech Hokies—both hit the ground running this season.

As for those unexpected surprises, quarterback Malik Rosier has looks more the part of a true starting quarterback, than just a one-year Band-Aid to replace the departed Brad Kaaya. Miami is also seeing a lot of production offensively, which didn’t look to be the case weeks back.

When receiver Ahmmon Richards was ruled out due to injury, the Canes expected some question marks at the position. Instead, some solid names have emerged in a big way—Darrell Langham, Lawrence Cager, and Mike Harley—while senior Braxton Berrios is looking all the part of the 4-star stud many expected years ago.

Equally as exciting; the emergence of Travis Homer at running back. Mark Walton is the man and a true leader on that side of the ball—but anyone who pretended to not be worried about depth at the position was lying to themselves. Joe Yearby bailed early and Gus Edwards transferred to Rutgers; leaving the position super-thin.

Lots of talk about capable bodies existing behind Walton, but a lot felt like message board hype—super fans who’ve been waiting for Trayone Gray to finally go next-level (affectionally referred to as “Choc”) while hoping Homer could help the cause.

19 carries for 140 yards and two rushing scores later—Homer is that guy.

When Walton was sidelined against the Rockets—the upset-minded squad intent to stuff the run, putting pressure on Rosier to shine—Homer went head-down and got the tough yards needed to make Toledo respect the threat. No. 24 also has a set of hands and has pulled in five receptions for 71 yards over the first two games.

What does all this mean hours before kickoff in Durham? We’ll know soon enough. The Canes appear to have enough to take the highly-anticipated, long-awaited step forward this season—winning the Coastal and flirting with something bigger—but Miami needs to take on the challenge one bite at a time.

Duke will come to play—and it goes without saying the Blue Devils and their fans want revenge for two years ago. How will Miami respond and what is the game plan?

Too much to answer here in such a short time. The in-depth coverage will pick up next week with Florida State on the horizon, but the belief is that the Canes take the show to Tallahassee, 3-0 and in search of their own brand of revenge.

All that said, glad to be back—and thrilled “The U” appears to legitimately be on the mend.

Chris Bello has been covering University of Miami athletics since the mid-nineties and launched soon thereafter. After being poached away by BleacherReport as a featured columnist, Bello launched to scratch that orange and green itch. In his day-to-day Bello works with icon Bill Murray and humor website theCHIVE on the William Murray golf apparel line—but all free time is spent reminding the masses that it’s a Canes thing and they wouldn’t understand.

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