The Miami Hurricanes played a splendid first quarter against Ohio State on Saturday night and, with just a few moments left in the half, have a 14-6 lead on the Buckeyes.
The 'Canes looked much better, and far sharper, than in their opening week loss at Maryland. With quarterback Jacory Harris at the helm, Miami seems a bit more crisp tonight playing before the home crowd (although it's not, and never will be, the old Orange Bowl).
Ohio State is still a bit of a team in turmoil, as last week's narrow win over Toledo will attest, and the Hurricanes need to take advantage. But they also need to pick up the pace on defense—they're lucky those two OSU field goals weren't two touchdowns.
Miami has always had great athletes and skill position players, and always will. Lamar Miller is one of them.
The Hurricanes said they wanted to get Miller at least 25 touches in the game, including passes out of the backfield, and the team did a solid job of doing that in the first half as Miller had more than 100 yards rushing alone in the first quarter when UM took a 14-0 lead.
He's a home run hitter. Miami should keep dipping into that well as often as possible.
The Hurricanes have done a nice job in the passing game so far, with Jacory Harris delivering a pair of touchdown passes.
Now The U has to get back to being a pass-first team.
As we said regarding Lamar Miller, Miami has always had a great history of running backs. But there's no question that its passing game—think of all the great QB-WR combos this team has had in its history—was always used to set up the running game.
Get back to it.
What happened to Miami's defense? The Hurricanes are giving up huge chunks of yardage to Ohio State, and all of it is virtually on the ground. It's almost like Woody Hayes has come back from the dead to lead the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust mentality.
Granted, as a Big Ten team, Ohio State is beefy up front. But on a night when the Hurricanes honored former DE Russell Maryland, it's clear Miami has issues on its defensive line. Frankly, it's getting blown off the ball.
The Hurricanes might think about pinching its outside linebackers a bit more.
Tackling's a bit shoddy, too.
I got the TV turned up all the way. It can't go any higher. And it still doesn't sound that loud down in Miami.
Granted, the fanbase down in Miami is somewhat fickle. It has to be a huge game for the sound to resonate. But it doesn't get a heck of a lot bigger than Ohio State, unless it's Ohio State.
Big-time programs don't feel the need to go door-to-door in dorm rooms to plead for support, but the Hurricanes have to do something to further develop their fanbase—or at least ask it to increase the volume.
Hard to figure this one out because I'm not sure if it's a case of the Miami coaching staff needing to put Jacory Harris into better situations so he can make better reads, or if Harris just has trouble, period, with his reads.
Harris giveth (two TD passes in the first half) and Harris taketh away (two interceptions in the first half as well).
Nobody is advocating a change at the quarterback spot. Harris is still good, if somewhat enigmatic.
But perhaps he's better served with a more conservative passing game.