The Miami Hurricanes had what some would consider an underwhelming performance against the Duke Blue Devils by winning 28 – 13 after getting seven turnovers from the Blue Devils. This game did nothing to please the fans who wanted to see a thirty point blowout, and the Hurricanes dominate a team for a change.
We will analyze the state of the current Hurricanes team and what the game against the Blue Devils revealed about them. This team still has opportunities for a good season, but they will have to seize them.
As the game progressed it was apparent that the Hurricanes had marching orders from the coaches, but no field general to get them to stay the course. The penalties accumulated 12 for 90 yards is indicative of no discipline on the field, what leader is stepping up and scolding players for creating penalties?
No one is, on the false start penalties you don’t see any other players talking to the offender telling him to get with the program. Jacory Harris does not look confident; if he does not believe in himself how is he going to motivate anyone else to not make mistakes?
Telemaque had two interceptions against Duke, and has played lights out football all season. If you go back to last season Telemaque’s play has been stellar, he is quickly becoming the leader of this defense along with Sean Spence. Telemaque had six total tackles in this game, and is starting to look like a young Ed Reed playing that safety position.
Berry rushed for 115 yards on 25 carries, and looked almost unstoppable against the Blue Devils. Add the fact that with his consistent and reliable performances all season, and it is easy to see that Berry should be used more to open up the passing lanes by setting things up with the run.
When the Hurricanes offense went away from Berry and decided to get pass happy the offense was not as effective. Many drives stalled as a result. Teams know Miami can run the ball, but they don’t worry about it as much because the Hurricanes will not commit to the running game on a consistent basis.
There were several new starters and players who received significant playing time that do not normally play. The offensive game plan seemed to be a bit more conservative and paired back than normal, probably done to focus on execution rather than extravagant play calls. Shannon even commented this week that a lot of young players were going to see playing time, after a game like the FSU game finding people who want to play at a high level is a priority.
Kelvin Cain playing in place of the injured Colin McCarthy had a solid game at middle linebacker, and the defense looked good. A solution for the pass rush still needs to be found, and most of the work needs to be centered on the offense.
Jacory Harris may have thrown a lot of interceptions last season, but the explosive plays were coming often as well. Now Harris looks like a man confused, and searching for answers. He finally started scrambling for yardage when available, which is a welcome change. His passing seems to not be as good as last season, as he seems to lack any sort of intermediate passing game in his approach.
It’s either a very deep pass, or some sort of screen to a running back or receiver. Harris needs to find a solution to his issues because Duke could have easily had a few interceptions, but they dropped interception chances on several occasions.
This is something that changed a long time ago, but some fans are still holding on to past glory. The landscape of college football has changed, and the Miami Hurricanes football program is trying to find it’s place in it. Many have commented that this team does not play with any emotion, and seemed to just go through the motions against Duke.
This team plays football a different way, and they have not learned the art of winning football games. There has been no strong senior leadership in this program for a long time, and even the coaching staff is young and relatively inexperienced. Normally a game against a team like Duke would be a blood bath, but instead it’s now just a game they win.
With all that has happened this season, the Hurricanes still have an opportunity to win the ACC. The problem is it will be a difficult task if they do not fix the issues they have on offense. With North Carolina and Virginia Tech still on the schedule any flaws on the offensive side of the football will make it difficult to beat either of those teams.
Although, both of those teams are very beatable the Hurricanes will have to avoid turnovers and physically dominate those teams for 60 minutes; something that did not happen against Duke.
When DeMarcus Van Dyke “DVD” decommitted from the University of Florida and signed a letter of intent with the Hurricanes, many thought he would be a shut down corner here for several years. Instead Van Dyke has had trouble holding on to his starting position, and meeting the expectations set forth by the coaching staff.
There were several times against Duke where Van Dyke was in coverage and had it not been for a Duke receiver dropping the pass it would have went for a big gain. He did get an interception, but Van Dyke is not cutting it when he could not stay with Duke’s receivers consistently, no wonder why Ryan Hill is playing more.