Miami Hurricanes Midseason Report Card

David MayerCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2010

Miami Hurricanes Midseason Report Card

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    Well, it's that time where, across the nation, the midseason reports come out.

    Although Miami has only played five games, and its not officially half their schedule, I figured we have seen enough to dissect the Hurricanes.

    So far, the Hurricanes have started the season out 3-2, losing to Ohio State and Florida State.

    Miami has beaten Florida A&M, Pittsburgh, and Clemson by an accumulative score of 106-24.


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    Jacory Harris is, quite possibly, the biggest concern for the Hurricanes so far this year. Statistically he is 87-166, for 1,120 yards, 10 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

    It's more than that though.

    Harris almost seems lost a lot of times. He doesn't use his checkdown receivers, and makes many errant passes deep where the receiver is double or triple-covered.

    Granted, Harris does make some nice passes, and at times is very accurate. The problems outweigh the good, and he needs to either shape up or ship out at this point.

    With the amount of talent he has surrounding him, there is no way he should be at a 50-percent completion ratio. Last year, I could understand because of the lack of a offensive line, but the line has played stellar, giving Harris plenty of time to throw the ball.


    Alonzo Highsmith has played in two games, going 4-7, with 18 yards and an interception.

    Spencer Whipple has gone 4-6, with 32 yards.

    Overall Grade:


Running Backs

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    The running backs for Miami has been fairly decent, although the playcalling for the running backs has been absolutely pathetic.

    The Hurricanes' rush attack has been led by senior Damien Berry, who has 87 carries for 454 yards and two touchdowns. He definitely has been the heart of the slow-moving offense.

    It seems as though in the game against the Seminoles, he was the only player who even looked remotely interested in moving the ball, running for his second straight 100-yard game.

    Coming back from injury is senior Craig Cooper, who also put a spark into the game against the Seminoles. He ran just two times for 22 yards.


    Lamar Miller has 29 rushes for 158 yards, and two touchdowns.

    Mike James has 19 rushes for 90 yards and one touchdown.



Wide Recievers

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    This is yet another spot in which Miami was to excel. 

    They returned the entire receiver corp from last year's team. Unfortunately, its just another weakness, except for Leonard Hankerson.

    Hankerson is the only senior receiver on the team, and he has played amazing. 

    One of the best receivers in the country, he has caught 28 balls for 460 yards, and is seventh in the country with six touchdowns.

    Travis Benjamin has been the biggest disappointment, dropping balls, running the wrong routes, and is having a heck of time defending poorly-thrown balls, being the cause of four interceptions from Harris.

    Benjamin has 15 catches for 224 yards and one touchdown.

    Laron Byrd is the other main receiver, having 15 catches for 152 yards.


    Aldarious Johnson has nine catches for 100 yards.


    C (would be a D- without Hankerson)

Tight Ends

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    Miami has had so many great tight ends in their history.

    Chase Ford was to be the next big thing. He has been the next big bust.

    Granted, it is his first year with the Hurricanes (junior transfer student), but after all the praise he received from his coaches this spring, he has hardly lived up to the hype, catching four balls for 45 yards and one touchdown.

    The stats aren't horrible, but the fact he has just as many drops than he does catches, is ridiculous.

    In a pro-style offense, the tight end is to be a major part in the role, but this year they have been non-existent.


    Richard Gordan is the Hurricanes' backup tight end, catching three balls for 16 yards.



Offensive Line

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    This was my main concern coming into the 2010 season.

    After a horrendous year last year and three new starters having to fill the spots left from last year, I figured they would be horrible.

    In fact, this is the brightest spot on offense this year.

    The phenom recruit, right tackle Seantrel Henderson, has been the starter the last two weeks, and has looked impressive knocking defenders to the ground.

    Senior left tackle Orlando Franklin has also been doing great, blocking for Harris's blind side.

    Another tackle to start at times for the Hurricanes is freshman Jermaine Johnson, who also looks like a promising offensive lineman.

    All lineman have been rotated in at different times except for center, Tyler Horn.

    The remaining players are guards, Joel Figueora, Harland Gunn, and Brandon Washington.

    So overall, they have done a terrific job protecting Harris, being such a young offense. They have room for improvement, but as the season gets older, this group will get better.

    The offensive line, through five games, have only given up seven sacks.


    The rotation is listed above.



Defensive Lineman

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    Now to the defense, and not a better way to start than the defensive line.

    Miami rotates a lot of defensive linemen per game, but starters Allen Bailey (LE), Josh Holmes (LT), Micanor Regis (RT), and Olivier Vernon (RE) have done a tremendous job, helping Miami lead the country in tackles for loss, with 50.

    Vernon, so far, has been the MVP of the defensive line, with 19 tackles, six tackles for loss (-42 yards), and four sacks.

    Bailey, a sure first-round draft pick, also has 19 tackles, four tackles for loss (-17 yards), and one sack.

    The only negative is, in the two losses against Florida State and Ohio State, they had times of relapse and got blown off the ball pretty well.


    Adewale Ojomo and Marcus Forston also get a lot of playing time for the Hurricanes, as they have 25 tackles, 7.5 for loss (-20 yards), and 3.5 sacks combined.

    Marcus Robinson also gets a lot of playing time behind Bailey.




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    Miami's linebackers are doing a fairly good job. 

    I have a problem in their two losses with missed tackles and overpersuing, but overall have been holding their own.

    The best of the bunch and midseason MVP on defense is junior, Sean Spence.

    Spence leads the Hurricanes in tackles (44) and tackles for loss (nine for -38 yards). He also has 1.5 sacks for the Canes.

    Senior Colin Mcarthy is Miami's second-leading tackler with 35. He also has 3.5 tackles for loss and half a sack.

    Rounding out the starting linebackers is Ramon Buchanon, who is fourth in tackles with 24 and has 2.5 tackles for loss.


    Kylan Robinson also plays a lot and has nine tackles and one sack.


    C+ (would be higher without the missed tackles)

Defensive Backs

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    This one is tough.

    For the last few years, Miami has struggled stopping the pass, and has had really bad defensive backs. Even to a point where the Hurricanes moved wide receivers and other position players to cornerback.

    They look good at times, and have seven interceptions already. Miami had nine total last year.

    I do believe they have one of the best cornerbacks in the country in Brandon Harris.

    Harris has been the cement to the defensive backfield for three years now. Last year, he was one of the country's leaders in pass deflections. 

    Although those numbers are down this year, it's more due to the fact that he is well-known and no one even throws his way anymore.

    Harris has 22 tackles and one sack.

    The brightest star, and one who misses the most tackles, is safety Ray Ray Armstrong. He leads the defensive backs in tackles (31) and interceptions (2), in which one of them was a pick six.

    The problem with Ray Ray is he is the last line of defense, and misses a lot of tackles. The bright side to this, if there is one, is that another player had the same problem when he came here: Sean Taylor. 

    We know how good of a player he ended up being, and I believe next year, Ray Ray will evolve in to a Taylor-type player.

    Another big success story is the other safety, Vaughn Telemaque. He is a punishing hitter who was all over the field against the Seminoles this year.

    Telemaque has 23 tackles, one interception, and one fumble recovery.

    The other starter at cornerback is Ryan Hill who has 12 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and two interceptions this year.


    At corner, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Brandon McGee have combined for 17 tackles and one interception.

    Armstrong and Telemaque's backups are JoJo Nichols, Kacy Rogers, and Jared Campbell, respectively.



Special Teams

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    Matt Bosher has been the staple of both kicking and punting for the Hurricanes for the last four years.

    He has a very strong shot of making an NFL team as a punter. He currently is 13th in the country in punting yard average, with 45.5 yards per punt.

    His strongest suit, usually, has been field goal kicking, but has only made five out of eight field goals this year.

    The kick-return duties are a committee of six different players, but the main star is Lamar Miller.

    Miller has five returns for 167 yards, including an 88-yard return touchdown against the Buckeyes in the second game of the season.

    The punt-return duties are all Travis Benjamin's. He has had nine returns for 100 yards, including a 79-yard return for a touchdown against the Buckeyes.

    Benjamin's stats are a little misleading, as teams are forced to kick it away from him. When they do punt to him, they punt it high, where he generally doesn't get a shot.




    B (the missed field goals and kickoff team has been less then stellar)


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    This is another tough one to grade.

    Randy Shannon has continually gotten better each year as a head coach for the Hurricanes, but just because they win more each year doesn't necessarily mean it is him that is most deserving.

    My main concern right now is Mark Whipple. It was really exciting to get Whipple a couple years ago, especially getting rid of Patrick Nix.

    I still have faith in "Whipple Ball," but am kind of feeling like something is missing.

    He calls very strange running plays and doesn't let his playmakers do enough. Hankerson has had plenty plays to him, but more needs to be done to get Benjamin and Miller the ball on the outside, to expose the defensive speed against two great burners.

    Randy needs to do more to get his teams prepared against great competition like the Seminoles and Buckeyes, and Whipple needs to open that playbook and get his playmakers more involved.





Overall Grade

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    So it really comes down to a lot of things for the Hurricanes. 

    The offense has been pretty poor against quality opponents, and the defense has kept them in games, although they have been on the field too much due to the lack of offense.

    Everyone, in my eyes, needs work, except maybe the offensive line.

    They need to get more receivers into games, Jacory needs to step up or make room for someone else, and the defense needs to get back to the basics with tackling. 

    If Miami can fix those problems, there is no reason why they aren't in the ACC Championship.

    My overall grade for the Miami Hurricanes is a