After Getting Spanked At Home, Miami Hurricanes Football Has Some Fixing To Do

Danny DolphinAnalyst IOctober 12, 2010


Any Canes fan who witnessed the 45-14 spanking laid out by the rival Seminoles wishes they could have their Saturday night back.

Anything would have been more enjoyable than watching those grotesque garnett and gold helmets pierce through what we all thought at the time was a spectacular defense.

Thank the lord for the existence of something as precious as tailgating or the entire day would have been a loss. Also I give thanks for the Columbus Regatta weekend, an event I would trade my birthday in for every single year.

1. Jacory Harris can only play one way

I thought Miami could tone down the offense while allowing Harris to operate under a safer game plan. I was wrong. He looked off for most of the game and I think it was a confidence issue. I think the public negativity had finally gotten to him.

I’ve never seen him play afraid, which seemed to be the case Saturday night. Now we know he isn’t a quarterback who can simply manage a game. He is a guy who is going to make big plays, but not without his chunk of mistakes. The drops by his receivers aren’t helping, but more on that in a bit.

Sure it’d be nice to have the big plays without the mistakes, but that’s why there are only a handful of elite quarterbacks. It’s time to let him loose and just deal with the good and bad.

2. The receivers need to step up

The receivers have not lived up to the hype. The dropped passes have to stop and guys need to start making plays. In a game of that magnitude, at home nonetheless, drops in key third down situations cannot happen! Even All-Everything Leonard Hankerson dropped a few sure grabs.

The lack of a threat at the tight end position, an oddity for a program known for producing star tight ends in the past, is also an issue. When the back stays in to block and there isn’t a reliable weapon at tight end, it makes life difficult for the quarterback in check down situations. Chase Ford has had a rough first season.

3. Miami got outcoached

Anyone who says they didn’t get out-coached is dreaming. Miami has so many weapons, yet still has trouble deploying them in opportunistic situations.

Offensive coordinator Mark Whipple should learn from FSU’s game plan. The Noles pounded the ball on the ground and then got the ball out quickly on short crossing patterns. They faced third and short all night, while Miami faced third and long. They put their players in the best position to win. Miami did not.

Defensively there was no emotion, no swagger, and no energy. At times it really did look like they gave up, something that reflects almost entirely on head coach Randy Shannon. Miami will probably finish the season in the eight to nine win range again, but since when are continual eight-win seasons acceptable at the University of Miami?

Part of the problem is we Canes fans were spoiled at the beginning of the decade with some of the best teams in college football history. The bar was raised to an unreachable level.

If Miami doesn’t win the ACC or come very close to it, I think it’s time to move on from the Shannon regime. He’s allegedly a “great” recruiter. But if the star high school players coming in don’t develop at this level, then it doesn’t matter.

As far as I’m concerned, recruiting rankings are far less important than people think. Coaching and development are much more critical. How many kids have peaked athletically by 18?

Shannon also hasn’t proven to be a great game coach. Look at his resume, and then his clock management in the past. Facts are facts. Is the University willing to go out and pay for a legitimate star at head coach?

What bothers me the most about Shannon is his satisfaction with not being a dominant program. Shannon was asked on Monday by Joe Rose on WQAM-560 whether or not winning the ACC Coastal Division would be a big disappointment.

“I don’t know if it’d be a big disappointment”, said Shannon. “It’d be disappointing—for anybody. Because we’re always trying to be the best we can be at Miami in anything we try to get done.”

Why contradict yourself? I want a coach who would say "you’re damn right it would be a big disappointment. We don’t want to just win the division, but the conference as well, and winning anything short of a national title is a disappointment in my eyes at The U."

4. They were manhandled in the trenches

Florida State has the best offensive line in the ACC. After watching they’re disposal of a very good Miami defensive front, I am 100 percent confident in making that statement.

They were physical in pass protection and provided great push up front when running the ball, which allowed their tailbacks to gain 298 yards on the ground. The Seminole backs don’t dance either. They see the hole, hit it, and they’re gone.

The Miami offensive line was fair. Although they only gave up one sack, the stat can be deceiving. There was consistent pressures off the edge, forcing Harris to get rid of it before he wanted to. The run blocking was solid with Damien Berry eclipsing the century mark (20 RUSH, 101 YDS) for the second straight game.

5. Where was the special teams coverage?

Florida State averaged 36.3 yards per kick return, including a 55 yard monster return by speedster Greg Reid in the second quarter. That especially can’t happen when you’re playing from behind, as Miami did all game. How many times are you going to force your kicker to make a touchdown saving tackle?

What now?

The season isn’t over.

There is still a lot of ACC football left to play and Miami can still win the conference. As frustrating as it is to watch the Canes get dominated on their home turf by an in-state rival, it’s not the end of the world, even for you hardcore Canes fans.

My best advice is keep your expectations with this program level. They are a very good, but not great football team. This regime, under coach Shannon, is going to be a borderline top-15 program at best.

The problem, if you can call it one, is that if Shannon continues to graduate kids at the rate he has been while also winning a decent amount of games, he likely isn’t going anywhere.

Also, the Miami Heat bandwagon is taking reservations and filling up fast. Hop on while there is still time.

Next up for Miami: @ Duke, Saturday 1:00 PM.


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