I think I can summarize the feeling of most Canes fans out there..."Amazed at what Al Golden has done in such a short period of time, and equally dismayed at how poorly RS was running the show." We are excited and hopeful on the inside, but beaten down and tentative on the inside. The future sure looks bright...again.
In a few short months, Golden has (amongst other things):
1. Begun to, or already repaired relationships with local High School Coaches
2. Opened the program up to our Football alumni
3. Created the Junior Day concept, beginning the process of once again locking down the tri-counties
4. Salvaged a disaster by putting together a decent incoming class
5. Excited our fan base
6. Created off season nutrition and work out regiments
7. Put together what seems to be a solid staff of hard working grinders
But, here is where my internal and somewhat damaged Canes Psyche rears it ugly and shaken head. I am still nervous to predict more than a 7-8 win season. He inherits a team of players who play at or below their talent level. He inherits a team that shows up flat and emotionless for "big" games. He inherits a team that hasn't won a bowl game in how long? Is a few months enough to make a difference on the field in 2011? That is the question that creates my turmoil. I want to believe we can and should do better..realistically, "Hank" and Harris are the only truly big losses from last years team...but the bright light of hope has been washed away so many times in the past few years that I am very quiet on the outside, but bursting to yell my a.. off on the inside.
What if we whoop that OSU a..? I have no doubts we avenge UV and USF! What if we take cre of business up in Tally (like we normally do, check our all-time record up there!) What if we finally get to the ACC Ship?
I guess only time will tell.
By: Peter Ariz
As National Signing Day nears closer, the recruiting news has begun to heat up. Usually at this time of year, us ‘Canes fans are hyping up our so-called “top 25 class.” Only this year, it is quite different. The ‘Canes currently have 11 commitments for the 2011 class, which is far less than many other top programs around the country. We were expected to sign a small class anyways though, so it should not come as a surprise to many.
I do not want to beat a dead horse, but Randy Shannon left us in a tough spot for this recruiting season. Fret not though, because Al Golden is salvaging the class. We have heard so much over the past month about coach Golden’s recruiting abilities, and we are seeing these talents of his and his staff coming through in the late stages of the recruiting process.
8 out of the 11 current commits have been under Golden. The three commits that have carried over from Shannon are Anthony Chickillo, Phillip Dorsett, and Nick Menocal. When Randy Shannon was employed, he had 6 commitments over the course of an entire season. In a span of about a month, coach Golden has already netted 8 commitments. In my opinion, this speaks volumes about his abilities. Are we going to end up with a top 25 class? Nope. But I will tell you this, the class will turn out a whole lot better than what it would have under Randy Shannon.
Miami is in great shape to land the top-rated JUCO defensive back Byron Moore and 3-star cornerback Dallas Crawford, while we have outside shots at other blue chippers such as Ray Drew, Marqise Lee, and Johnathan Jenkins.
Golden’s goal for this year wasn’t to land the number 1 class in the nation, it was to finish this year’s class by bringing in solid, hard-working individuals that truly wanted to be ‘Canes. Golden’s goal for next year though, may be quite different. Buckle your seat belts fellow ‘Canes, were in for a fun ride.
So-called pundits and fans have been backing University of Miami junior quarterback Jacory Harris recently, going as far as throwing his name in the same breath as uber-quarterback Ken Dorsey.
Let’s start pumping the brakes quite a bit, shall we.
Dorsey is probably the best to play quarterback for the Hurricanes – and he didn’t even win a Heisman Trophy.
Say what you want, the California-born Dorsey was a monster, throwing for 9,565 yards and 86 touchdowns on 668-of-1,153 passing. He only threw 28 interceptions.
Read the last sentence of that paragraph again.
Harris, who isn’t even out of his junior year yet, has thrown 36, including a costly interception with five seconds left in regulation Nov. 27, in a game that was already tied at 17-17 against the South Florida Bulls (7-4) and Miami (7-5) already in field-goal range.
The Hurricanes lost, 23-20, in overtime.
Say what you want, and I know some fans have a man-crush on “J12,” he’s not a good quarterback.
Nobody in the Miami system has been since – gulp! – Brock Berlin and he was a transfer from the University of Florida.
I drank the Kyle Wright Kool-Aid, and how did that pan out?
How did Kirby Freeman pan out?
Let’s not forget the 2008 debacle that was Robert Marve. I will admit I was advocating for a one quarterback system – literally rooting for Marve even though he was throwing into triple coverage down the middle of the field almost the entire time he played with the Hurricanes.
And now Jacory Harris, Stephen Morris and Alonzo Highsmith. How’s that been working out?
For those of you ready to call former head coach Randy Shannon a bad recruiter, again, pump your brakes.
He’s brought in playmakers at every position but quarterback. Which, is kind of weird, seeing as though offensive coordinator Mark Whipple was Ben Roethlisberger’s quarterbacks coach in Pittsburgh with the Steelers.
Miami’s receiving corps of senior Leonard Hankerson and juniors LaRon Byrd, Aldarius Johnson, Travis Benjamin is one of the best in the nation. They just don’t have good quarterbacks getting them the football.
Let’s mention the running backs, too. Seniors Graig Cooper – OK, we’ll give that one to Larry Coker – and Damien Berry, sophomore Mike James, red-shirt freshman Lamar Miller and freshman Storm Johnson can certainly all be feature backs in any other offense and have been working as a five-headed monster for the Hurricanes.
Yes, Dorsey had Santana Moss, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne at wide receiver and Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow at tight end, but he knew what to do with them.
Nov. 27, with Miami driving before the end of regulation, and without being pressured, Harris threw a ball into triple coverage over the middle of the field. The closest receiver was Hankerson who was five yards off the ball. Just unacceptable.
One final note on Dorsey, who, by the way, chose to go to Miami over Southern Cal and Tennessee (that won’t happen again anytime soon); on third downs he was 205 for 333 for 2,531 yards, 25 touchdowns and four interceptions and in the fourth quarter he was 91 for 158 for 1,359 yards, 11 touchdowns and ONE interception. That’s right, one.
Bottom line, Al Golden needs to start recruiting quarterbacks as seriously as they do backs and defensive players. Until that happens, this program will never get into the upper echelon of college football, no matter who you have for backs.
Been reading the warroom chat board the last couple of days and I had to chime in... EVERYONE NEEDS TO CALM DOWN! As I posted in my article earlier this week, Kirby is out their doing what is best for the Miami Hurricane football program.. Everyone seems in such a rush to hire a new head coach according to the blogs, but I say let Hocutt and Neinas take all the time they need. So we didn't get Jon Gruden.. SO WHAT... There are many potential candidates which I feel are better than Gruden anyway... Why? Gruden is an NFL guy.. meaning he's temporary. 3 years at best. And I don't like the idea of anyone propping up the Hurricane football program for a family member successor(Jay Gruden). That bothers me... Some of you guys on the board seem so worried about how fast we get a guy in here or what it means about the program if someone turns us down.. Someone turning us down means nothing and as far as the speed.. I would rather the administration take their time and get this one right. So.. Settle down everyone. Kirby's doing this right.
Its 12:07AM on Sunday evening where I reside and people are still flooding the message boards and blogs about Randy Shannon's dismissal and possible Head Coaching Candidates. I've read articles today about possibilities ranging from Jon Gruden to some guy that coaches San Diego St. named Bobby Hoke (I think). It always amazes me the amount of rumors that get going when a situation like the one we currently have Miami takes place.. Its almost comical to watch.. At any rate I will attempt in the next few lines to sort through the madness.
First Randy Shannon.... Let me start off by thanking Randy Shannon for the past four years as Head Coach at the University of Miami. He will always be a Cane and part of the UM family. Here is a guy who took a program that was in shambles with no direction to speak of and stabilized it. He has definitely left this program in much better shape than where he found it. He is a true mentor and a class act.. That being said, I wholeheartedly agree with the University's decision to dismiss him as football coach. The hard truth in College Football is that winning matters! No matter how you slice it, a coach at any Major University in the country will always be judged by Wins and Losses Ultimately... Mr. Shannon is a great mentor and a great person, but he was lacking in performance of his team, under his direction, on the field which was his job. 28-22 is unacceptable at the University of Miami. Kirby Hocutt said it best at the press conference today... The University of Miami must compete nationally for championships and be relevant in the college football world. I wish Randy all the best in his future.. I'm sure he will get another opportunity to succeed elsewhere.
Second, The Speculation... Wow, What a day on the blogs... Jon Gruden, Gary Patterson, Chris Peterson, Mark Richt, Greg Schiano, Jim Leavitt?, and the list goes on and on... I know as fans we all get real excited about the programs that we cheer for and become mini-advisors on what they should do and what decisons need to be made.. How about this, Let's let Our University go through its process of finding a new Head Coach for this program with as little rumor-mill speculation as possible. Today was the first time I've ever actually heard our AD Mr. Kirby Hocutt speak.. I was very impressed with his candor and tone today when discussing the current situation with the football program.. In fact after today I can say that I am fired up to have such a leader as our AD. He seems like a no no-nsense guy that is committed to finding the best individual to lead this program back to where it needs to be nationally. So.. I am asking politely.. As fans lets let the process take its course.. I know everyone has their favorite candidate, me included, but with this group as an administration and Kirby leading the way, I think we are in good hands.
The Assistant Coaches and Players... It had to be a gut-wrenching day today for these guys. I watched Jacory's reaction on Youtube and knew he had to be hurting. The players should be upset.. They have lost a man in Randy Shannon who many considered a father figure around the team. This should be a hard lesson of the real world for these young men though... When you don't produce in your job, or what you were hired to do, this is what happens. These young men showed a lot of character today. I think it was Leonard Hankerson and Jacory Harris who said that the players deserve the blame, not Randy.. Well?.. There right. I can't argue with that. As a team under Randy they underachieved this year. Its like anything... If your a sales manager at a business and your sales team underachieves then you, as a manager, get canned.. thats the real world. Might not be all the manager's fault necessarily, thats just the way it is... I think these players showed a lot today by coming out and putting the blame on their shoulders.. I agree with their assessment, It WAS partly their fault. The assistant coaches have the job of circling the wagons for one game. Jeff Stoutland and Co. have a major task on their hands keeping this team focused on the upcoming bowl game. The main Rallying Cry for the game should be Remember Coach Shannon (playing off of Remember the Alamo). Stoutland has to keep these guys focused on football no matter how hard it may be for everyone involved. Don't know why Whipple wasn't chosen as interim coach.. but I'll leave that alone for now.
Recruiting and the Future.... A message to all the current commitments that may be taking a step back in the wake of the events at UM.. Don't give up on this program.. This University has a great tradition of winning and excellence and will continue that into the future. The administration will get a new Head Coach in as quickly as possible and this new leader will begin the process of continuing Miami's winning tradition. If you have become shaky on your commitment.. Remember, no program in the nation has put more players in the NFL than the University of Miami..Its not even close. Mr. Hocutt also said in his press conference today.. Miami's best days as a football program are ahead of it. Its true that expectations and the pressure to win are high here, but by coming here you follow in the footsteps of legends who have come before you.. and it is up to you to continue the tradition. To the seven Commits and every other recruit UM is considering.. We believe you are the best group of athletes in the nation, and we are recruiting you b/c we believe in you and your potential both as students and as athletes. Don't give up on us.. We will never give up on U!
Mark May.. I was debating whether or not to post anything about this guy, but after the comments he made on College Football Final I couldn't resist. Mr. May.. You are a disgrace to your profression and should be ashamed of yourself.. The comments you have made about the situation at THE U are unfounded and totally false. We have never had great facilities.. And won championships. We have always played away from campus... and won championships. For your feeble little mind that worries about buildings and stadiums and Facilities.. Let me enlighten you on the situation at Miami.. Miami's Success has always been about atitude, the atitude of Refuse to Lose, Miami's success has been about passion and commitment, Miami's Success Has been about Dedication, Hard Work, and a Family Bond like no other school in the nation. Miami's Success has been about pride in a school and for a city.. Miami's success has been about putting the Best Athletes on the field on every single Saturday, going toe to toe and saying, I AM BETTER THAN YOU! And Winning!! Thats what the situation is with Miami Football. The next time you try to spout something out of your Pie Hole about the University of Miami Mark May... My Suggestion.. SHUT UP! Because no one cares what you think anyway... YOU SORRY EXCUSE FOR AN ANALYST!!!!!!
Closing thoughts.. Had to get that off my chest. So there's my take on things. We will hire a great coach and we wll get back to winning football games and get back to national relevance. I believe it... So everyone in the Cane fanbase just be patient, and once again, to the recruits, come be a part of the Miami Tradition. I am Excited for Next year.. We have a lot of players returning that have been thru the mill... Thats how character is built...That and a new leader is how this program can get back to national relevance as soon as next season. I, for one,believe... ITS ALL ABOUT THE U!!
Stephen Morris is good. Really good. I mean the kid is a true freshman who just led us to two victories in his first three starts, including a blowout victory against the reigning ACC champs. He led us to a comeback victory with a perfect pass in the final minute against Maryland. He is having fun, smiling, high fiving, and chest bumping. He is a kid having fun out there, getting hyped up when the Canes do well.
He could very well be the next Ken Dorsey, Jim Kelly, Vinny Testaverde, you name it. But if we don’t let our starter have a shot, Stephen Morris won’t get to be the next Jacory Harris.
Jacory has struggled. He’s had hard times, interceptions, injuries, bad decisions, and more interceptions. But he’s also had stellar games, beautiful passes, comeback victories, and miraculous fourth quarter drives. Have people forgotten last year when he was a Heisman contender after leading us to victory, injured, at FSU with that beautiful deep pass to Benjamin with a couple of minutes left? Or what about the comeback victories against Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia last year? How soon we forget.
I can talk all day about the good, and the bad, that Jacory has done, but I decided to let the numbers speak for themselves. I took a look at Stephen Morris’s numbers this year vs. Jacory’s numbers his freshman year and in his first few starts his sophomore year (not including the Virginia game).
Jacory freshman year: 60.8% completion rate (118/194), 1195 yards, 12 TDs, 7 INT, 125.7 RAT
Jacory’s first three starts sophomore year: 59.5% completion rate (50/84), 806 yards, 5 TDs, 152.6 RAT
Stephen Morris first three starts: 53.1% completion rate (43/81), 718 yards, 3 TDs, 5 INT, 127.4 RAT
As you can see, Jacory’s freshman numbers are similar to Morris’s in terms of passer rating. However, Jacory had a better completion rate, fewer INTs per attempt, and more TDs per attempt. I think the best comparison is the stats for each QB’s first three starts. With nearly the same number of passing attempts, you can clearly see that Jacory performed much better and against better competition (FSU, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech).
Another interesting comparison: Jacory averaged over 36 ATT/ game after the FAMU game this year, while Morris has only averaged 27 ATT/game in his starts. This is an absurd number of passing attempts for Jacory; Tom Brady doesn’t even throw that many passes in the pass-happy NFL. Whipple is simply asking Jacory to do too much, which is why his performance has suffered. We saw that with Morris in the fourth quarter last Saturday. Ask them to do too much, and the performance suffers. If we want to get even more mathematical, I plotted Jacory's passer rating against his pass attempts. You can clearly see over the past two years that as he attempts more passes, his passer rating falls. For example, against FSU he attempted 47 passes for a rating of 76.3; against UNC he attempted 32 passes (the fewest of the year except for FAMU) for a passer rating of 147.3. The conclusion is clear: fewer attempts means higher efficiency.
We’ve read and heard it on the fan sites, the message boards, the radio shows: “Shannon has hitched his wagon to Jacory’s success.” Shannon has decided to live and die by Jacory. But why? The kid is 21 years old, he can’t carry the team on his own. Dorsey didn’t. Give him the same shot Greg McElroy, Jordan Jefferson, Darron Thomas, Andy Dalton, and Kellen Moore have. None of them average more than 28 pass attempts per game, which is coincidentally right around what Morris has been averaging. Jacory averages 36 on a team that has rushed for over 200 yards in five of its past six games. It takes a lot of pressure off the QB when you rush for this many yards, and in the two games this year where Jacory started and this happened, he threw for 4 TDs, only 1 INT, a 59.3 completion rate, and a 130.6 RAT. We have rock-solid Damien Berry, stellar Lamar Miller, and Mike James. The kid with the third most all-purpose yards in Miami’s history, Graig Cooper, barely sees the field. That should tell you to use the running backs more.
I’m not saying Morris is bad. He’s not. He’s very, very good. What I’m saying is Jacory has proven himself to be our started by his numbers. And if we combine that with a better play-calling approach that every other top-ranked college uses, which is to pound the ball and throw less, the kid will be phenomenal. But give him the chance.
The loss to Virginia Tech puts a cap on a very disappointing season for the Hurricanes. The goals going into this year were to contend for an ACC title and possibly get back into the national spotlight. Sadly, the Hurricanes football team failed to meet either of those goals. After 11 games they are sitting right where they were last year. Even worse, they don't have one signature win to hang their hat on and take into next season. Every big game on their schedule (Ohio State, Florida State, Virginia Tech) was lost. So the truth is that this season has been heartbreaking for me as a fan.
The bottom line with this team is this: Until they learn how to play consistent, mistake free, turnover free, football, these types of records will never change. Rarely have I watched a team at any level defeat themselves more than I have seen with this 2010 Hurricanes Club. Too many mistakes, too much inconsistency and not enough big plays. The same theme has come up time and again with this team. A lot has been made about is it the coaching or is it the players. Personally, I believe the blame should be spread to both. After all the missed opportunities we had last night on the field.. who can blame me. At some point these players have to say enough is enough and stop settling for just being good. I believe these guys have all the talent in the world. What they lack is focus and poise at gametime. This must be corrected!
Last week I said if I'm coach and Harris was cleared, He starts over Morris. The reason being for this position manifested itself in the 4th quarter of yesterday's ballgame. Down 7 and driving Morris made a bad decision by trying to hit Travis Benjamin on a slant and the VT defender jumped the route and got the interception. I had a feeling that the inexperience of Morris would bite the team sooner or later. I am in no way blaming the kid for the loss. Until that throw, I thought he played a heck of a game and his future looks great with UM, but sooner or later you just knew the inexperience factor would play a role in the outcome of the game. His receivers didn't help much with two big drops by starters that could have resulted in points and a first down. Same old story. I look for Harris to get the starting nod against South Florida.
Defensively I thought we were solid at the beginning of the game, but just couldn't finish at the end when it counted. Too many big plays were given up: the long run and the touchdown pass on the blown coverage. Again, same old story. Consistency, Consistency, Consistency.... Missing Missing Missing...
Penalties and Turnovers.... I usually don't sound off against officiating. I think the officials have one of the toughest jobs in the world, but in this case I have to state an opinion. Randy Shannon can't say it, The University of Miami can't say it, but as a fan, I can say it. There is a definte BIAS WHEN IT COMES TO ACC OFFICIALS AND MIAMI! And its all negative. Way too many flags have been thrown over the course of this year against the canes... THATS A FACT! I realize officially the coaching staff and the University can't do to much about it, but the ACC needs to get its act together when it comes to Miami football in my opinion. As far as turnovers, this football team has too many. You can't turn the ball over six times and expect to win a football game. I don't care who your playing. They teach that at the pee-wee level, but amazingly the Hurricanes haven't learned that yet.
After the game yesterday I found myself on Youtube searching for Hurricanes Highlights of the past. I watched Randall Hill take the touchdown into the tunnel at the Cotton Bowl. I watched the team led by Jimmy Johnson get off the plane at the Fiesta Bowl wearing fatigues. I watched Miami upset Nebraska at the Orange Bowl under Howard Schnellenberger. And I watched Edgerrin James rack up a ton of yards against a top ranked UCLA team. As I watched those highlights, I began to wonder if this program would ever ascend back to those heights. I sat down and wrote a rather lenghty article about the possibilities (or lack there of right now) for this program. After writing it I decided to save it for the game following South Florida out of respect for the players and coaches, but its harsh. I don't know where we go from here, but I do know that today typing this article, I am one very sad hurricane fan.
Pressure. Plain and simple it is the “maker or breaker” of true greatness. There are those that rise to the occasion each and every time their number is called. They welcome and live for the scrutiny and tension that accompanies these defining moments. Regardless of how large a check is written, they are first in line to cash it! They are willing to miss many shots in order to make a few. The glow of the spotlight is never too bright and they never shy away from center stage performances. We have all seen performers like this…Montana, Jordan, Woods, Irvin, Marino, Elway, Magic…list goes on and on. Sure, they have had bumps and bruises along the way…but when the pressure was on, everyone wanted them on their side! Can you recall one of them opening up the "Excuse to shelter my ego" playbook and say "It's all part of a process"?
The flip side to this equation is what unfortunately comes to mind during RS’s tenure as our coach. Time and time again, our team underperforms spectacularly in games in which there is that extra dash of “everything we have worked for is on the line tonight”. As a matter of fact, they usually do well once the pressure of that sort of expectation has been removed. Once again we are in a position to play out the year without controlling our own destiny. If this happens once…you can write it off a “missed that one!” Twice…"This has to be the last time!” Over and over…”We have a trend that needs to be analyzed and corrected!”
All roads lead back to Randy. He is a Hurricane true and true. He cares about out the program. He wants to be here for good. He has the best of intentions. Etc., etc., etc. But there is obviously something wrong with his message and the manner in which we clam up in those big moments. One of his recent quotes comes to mind…As Lamar Miller is about to have his first start of the season…Randy’s advise is (And I paraphrase) “You don’t have to score every time you touch the ball. Take it slow and try to gain a few yards here and there”. Now mind you, I understand what he is trying to accomplish. I clearly understand that we have a young RB, starting for the first time, blah blah blah. But here is my question…Why lower the kid's expectations of greatness and glory? Why have him settle for mediocrity? Why instill in him the notion that “okay” is okay? Why not tell him..."Hell yes son, every time you touch the ball go out and score us a touchdown!" Or, "You know what, I can't wait to celebrate with you after you go out there and kill it today!"
The answer seems obvious to me, and it fits perfectly with his whole “This is a process nonsense”. And every kid on our team is believing and repeating that nonsense. When have you heard this come out of the mouth of one of the aforementioned Champions? When have you seen someone that lives to be the greatest in their given field open up the “It’s part of a process” line of thinking? You know when? NEVER! And as a result, our team has been described as flat…emotionless…unprepared in games that would inspire greatness. His attempts to lower expectations and as a result protect the egos of all involved have led to our current malaise. Excuses and crazy things like the "150 yard walk at Duke" come out of his mouth...and then the kids buy into that?
Listen, I was a RS supporter through and through. Arguments with father, friends and those who opposed him where the norm. But I can no longer sit back and ignore the trend mentioned above. So as I sit in my season ticket seats Saturday, knowing damn well that we do not control our destiny...I will wonder what team will show up? What did Randy say to them this time? “Stay controlled”? “Don’t try to be a hero”? “Avoid mistakes”? “It’s all part of a process”? It seems he is so nervous or scared to lose, that he passes on his tentative mentality to the players. And the rest is history…another season in which we are depending on help to back into the ACC Championship.
Well, for me…this process wreaks of mediocrity and settling for middle of the road results. Randy has been very good to get us back to where we are, but it is time for a change. We need a fearless leader who is willing to risk in order to win. Not someone who hides behind the “It’s part of a process” nonsense.
Who in the world can figure out this Miami Hurricanes football team? After yesterday's performance against Georgia Tech I don't think even Dr. Phil would be able to dissect this team's multiple personalities. Simply put, Miami had its most complete performance this year on Saturday afternoon. From the first drive of the game the offensive line set the tone. Freshman quarterback Stephen Morris had another solid outing going over 200 yards passing. The mistakes seen all year long were greatly reduced and the rushing attack was phenominal as Miami ran the ball 46 times in the game for over 200 yards. On top of that four different backs had touchdowns. Offensively this team is beginning to create an identity of run first and pass second. With an offensive line which averages around 320lbs, hopefully they can carry this formula forward into this week's game.
As for the defense... Who were these guys and where have they been all year? The Hurricane front seven had their best game of the year. McCarthy and Spence were terrific defending the triple option threat and the defensive line did a masterful job in neutralizing Georgia Tech's dive and QB-keep plays. They played very displined football for four quarters and shut down the option attack. The secondary also did a great job with run support and tackling on the edge. I thought Vaughn Telemaque had a standout game yesterday in that role. I have to admit watching this defense yesterday I was dumbfounded. If we could have played like this the entire year, we don't get blown out by FSU and we definitely don't lose to Virginia.
Yesterday's game was an example of what could be for this Miami Hurricanes football team. When you don't make mistakes and don't turn the ball over the team gets into a rhythm and starts clicking. Running the football right now is the key. Miami needs to continue to pound the football with its big O-line and stable of running backs. If they can duplicate the last two games offensively, then there is no way Virgina Tech or South Florida beats them. Miami has too much talent for those teams. I've said all year that Miami's talent is not the problem. The problem has been consistentcy, atitude, and confidence. If they can gain those three intangibles as a team, then the sky's the limit for their success.
A word on the quaterback controversy that will most certainly erupt this week. I know everyone loves Stephen Morris including myself. He has shown lots of moxy in the past two games leading the team to victory. He has a lively arm and a pocket presence that is critical when running a pro-style offense. However, He is still a true freshman. If I am Head Coach this week and Jacory Harris is cleared to play, I start Harris. Why? One glaring reason: Defensive Coordinator for Virginia Tech Bud Foster. V Tech is on a roll right now and you can bet Bud would be licking his chops at the prospect of a true freshman starting against his defense. Under these circumstances... I have to disagree with Gary Ferman and go with experience. This doesn't mean I wouldn't go to Morris if Harris struggles, but for me Harris gets the nod.
Another point... The key to Miami's offense isn't really Harris or Morris anyway, its Mark Whipple. Just because Harris starts doesn't mean you fall in love with the pass and start chucking it all over the field. If your Whipple, you don't change the gameplan that has just won you two straight games. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.. meaning run the football no matter who is taking the snaps from center.
OK, So I was wrong. Jacory Harris was breathing, but he didn't play, and its a good thing too because Stephen Morris looked great on Saturday afternoon against Maryland. For a true freshman starting his first collegiate game I thought he did very well. He was efficient for the most part, and made plays when he had to. Not to mention the fact that the running game helped him out tremendously, but lets not get sidetracked. This week its Georgia Tech and, if he's ready to go, Jacory Harris will be starting. There is,however, a new wrinkle in the quarterback position with the emergence of Morris. Jacory now has some competition, which means he needs to step up his game. No more wounded duck throws, or excuses about missed reads on coverages. If Jacory struggles in the first half against GT look for Shannon to go to the freshman Morris. Jacory Harris benefited more this week than any other hurricane player. Why? Because he was put on notice: no more screwing around! As for the rest of the team..
Running Backs...... This has probably turned out to be the strength of Miami's team. The different styles of running that each player brings to the table keeps defenses off balance and keeps Miami churning out the rushing yards. Berry, Cooper, Miller, and James are all quality backs which Miami uses in different combinations to set up their passing game. All have been productive, and the future looks bright with Storm Johnson and Eduardo Clements waiting in the wings.
Offensive Line..... Frustrating to say the least because there is so much potential in this group, yet game after game they shoot themselves in the foot with holding calls and false starts at critical times. I'm not saying that this group is not talented, they just need more time to develop the cohesion that all great offensive lines gain over time. With Joel Figueroa out, Orlando Franklin is the only starting senior, so their young. Seantrel Henderson is a beast and will go down as one of the cane greats. Last week Miami went over 500 yards of offense, so they are doing something right. If they could just clean up the penalties, this group could be special
Wide Recievers.... Very Frustrating because you see flashes of talent all over the field, but nothing consistent. Im even grouping Leonard Hankerson with that description, because even he has had key drops this year at times. Consistency is the word here: THEY DONT HAVE IT...YET... One play you see Benjamin go for a 60 yard run then the next drive he drops a pass on 3rd down. The same can be said for Hankerson and Byrd. Aldarius Johnson is barely visible half the time. Hankerson has had a good year, but the other guys need to step up and play like they did to win all those High School Championships, because next year Hank is gone...
Tight Ends... Non-existant for the most part this year. With all the success Miami had last week I am disappointed that Asante Cleveland did not get his name called. He looks like a good young prospect that needs some game experience to get him better. Richard Gordon is, in my opinion, a drag on the whole position. I'll be happy to see him go next year. I'm not gonna call Chase Ford a bust, I just think he needs more time to develop. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now, but he needs to improve greatly next year.
Defensive Line..... THE BIGGEST BUNCH OF BABIES ON THIS TEAM... PERIOD! I don't care how many tackles for loss they've had. This is the most overrated bunch maybe in the history of Miami. Allen Bailey plays when he wants to. The only thing he's worried about is getting to the league. Marcus Forston and Micanor Regis are average DT's at best. There were many times in that Maryland game where these guys were out of position and the linebackers or secondary bailed them out. Ojomo and Robinson are again average. Rick Petri was a good hire, but he needs to get some fire in these guys, because the Canes are at there best when the Defensive Line is wreaking havoc.
Linebackers.... Again, Good not Great. Sean Spence is the real deal and Ramon Buchannon is a nice fit, but this is hardly the group of enforcers we are used to seeing patrol the Miami defenses of the past. Colin McCarthy is just too slow to play in the middle. Time after time you see him get beat by faster running backs. He also consistently shoots the wrong gaps at critical times. I would love to see Kelvin Cain get some more time there because I thought he did a great job against Duke. Spence is really good, but he even disappears at times. I can't wait to see what this next batch of linebackers bring to the table in the years to come. Im talking about, Travis Williams, Kevin Nelson, Kelvin Cain, and Tyrone Cornelius.
Secondary... Again, Good not Great... This, however, is the unit with the most upside. If Telemaque and Armstrong ever get it figured out, then they could make for a formiddable safety tandem against opposing offenses. Brandon Harris is a legit All-American. He is a shut-down corner(imagine if we could have recruited Patrick Peterson.. WOW). Ryan Hill and DVD... Bon Voyage next year... And make room for the likes of AJ Highsmith, Kacy Rodgers and Keion Payne. If they can get it together next year, they have the potential to be great.
Kicker... Matt Bosher... I get nervous every time this guy takes the field. He can be great sometimes and make you say, What the Heck? at other times. Lou Groza Award Candidate.... He is not... especially after this year.
Synopsis.... Randy Shannon has had an up and down year, but these next three games will tell his story. If he can get to the ACC Championship game and win it, then this year has been a success. If he goes 9-3 and gets to a bowl game and wins it... then this year still shows improvement and would be deemed a success. The natives in South Florida are restless, however and Randy would go into next year with all kinds of pressure on his program to get back to national relevance. It will be interesting to see what happens over these next 3 games