Game Ten : Virginia 41, Miami 40

miami hurricanes virginia cavaliersMiami suffered heartbreak against Virginia when the Cavaliers stormed back from ten down in the final quarter, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with six-seconds remaining. In the end, a hard-fought 41-40 loss for the Hurricanes, sending this team to 5-5 and muddying up any ACC Coastal chatter with two to play, one in conference.

This contest proved to be a shootout from the get-go, with the Cavaliers leading 21-14 after the first quarter – one in which both teams combined for over five hundred all-purpose yards.

Virginia led 28-24 at the half, but Miami took the lead back midway through the third quarter, going ahead, 31-28. The Canes built a cushion with an early fourth quarter touchdown, pushing the lead to, 38-28, but Virginia stormed back and made it, 38-35 with just over five to play.

The Canes’ defense stepped up, earned a safety, pushed the lead to, 40-35, but could do no more. One final drive from the Cavs sealed it and after missed two-point conversion and nothing on the ensuing kickoff, 41-40 was in the books and Miami dropped to 5-5.

The subplot going into the game inevitably is what did the Canes in when this one was all said and one. Key losses of safety Deon Bush and linebacker Denzel Perryman were known days back, but the recent suspension of linebacker Eddie Johnson officially put Miami’s young defense on its heels – and UM paid dearly.

Virginia ran eighty-nine offensive plays to Miami’s fifty-nine, going between two quarterbacks and running backs all day.

Michael Rocco proved to be the best man under center, at one point completing eighteen straight passes and finishing the day 29-of-37 for 300 yards and four touchdowns through the air – including the game-winner, a perfectly-placed ball to tight end Jake McGee with six seconds remaining on 2nd-and-Goal.

On Virginia’s previous drive, Miami appeared ready to put the game, forcing Rocco into an intentional grounding on 2nd-and-10 from the UVA twelve.

Duke Johnson, masterful all day, then returned the free kick thirty-three yards to the Miami forty-seven, before three straight running plays netted six total yards and forced a crucial punt.

Johnson returned the previous punt fifty-nine yards, to the UVA forty-one, but again suspect offensive playcalling forced a three-and-out as Stephen Morris threw incomplete to fullback Maurice Hagans on first down, Johnson rushed for two on second and Morris was blitzed and threw short of Phillip Dorsett on 3rd-and-8.

Late in the third quarter, the Canes seemed to find an offensive recipe – relying on short horizontal passes, putting playmaking receivers in space and if the blocks were there, big chunks were picked up. Dorsett had back-to-back gains, totaling seventeen yards, while the ground game churned with Duke and Mike James.

After a pass interference call, Morris found freshman Herb Waters for eight and a few runs set up a brilliant 2nd-and-5 call, with the junior quarterback faking a handoff to Duke and rushing for twenty-two yards, before being stripped and turning the ball over on the UVA two.

The blunder proved to be a wash. After a Virginia three-and-out, Miami won the field position battle and took over mid-field after a Dorsett fair catch. Johnson ran for thirteen on first down and a play later, Morris delivered a perfect strike to Dorsett for the touchdowns, getting back the seven he left on the field, made possible by the great field position and defensive stand.

With its three best defenders out, Miami saw early this was going to be a shootout, but missed too many opportunities in a game that was going to be tit-for-tat all four quarters.

Tied 21-21 early in the second quarter, another Miami offensive drive stalled due to some suspect offensive playcalling.

Brandon McGee picked off a halfback toss by Perry Jones on 2nd-and-6, with the Canes taking over mid-field. Morris found Allen Hurns a few times on the drive, while getting some key yards out of Duke and James.

Again, inexplicably on first down, a dump off to the fullback Hagans, losing a yard when Miami was on Virginia’s twelve. On 2nd-and-11, Morris ran for no gain and facing a third an long, an incomplete pass to Davon Johnson, when the Cavaliers were bringing heat and ready for the pass.

Jake Wieclaw drilled his thirty-yard field goal, but in a game where every point proved early that it would count, the series was a loss for Miami’s offense as a red zone drive should’ve resulted in seven.

Winning first and second down, while relying on speed and getting the ball to playmakers – when that was accomplished, the Canes had offensive success. When offensive playcalling steered away from that formula, Miami struggled or merely settled.

‘The Duke of Coral Gables’ single-handed kept the Canes humming in this game.

Besides a few returns that set up tremendous field position, Johnson also had a ninety-five kickoff return for a touchdown late in the first quarter, knotting things up, 14-14. Johnson also had a hand in Miami’s first score, throwing a halfback pass to Hurns for a touchdown – the first toss of his collegiate career.

James added fifty-two yards on twelve carries, while Morris picked up thirty-one with his feet, some designed and some on the fly, as Miami ran for 233 yards on the afternoon – a huge improvement as the ground game has struggled recently.

Still, the story of this game was three missing components on a depleted defense, as well as an offense that played great, but needed to be a few plays better in effort to outscore an opponent on the road.

Yes, Virginia was 3-6 entering this game and is far from a good football team – but they’re well-coached, they’ve had Miami’s number lately and they were coming off a turning-point victory after stomping North Carolina State, 33-6 in Raleigh last weekend. It’s hardly a stretch to say that the Cavaliers could win out, beating North Carolina and Virginia Tech down the stretch, finishing 6-6 and going bowling.

This was a must-win game for Miami and the Canes simply didn’t get it done. Can’t argue that.

Blame the coaches. Credit Virginia. Shoot double birds at the football gods while looking to to the heavens, pleading “whhhhyyyy?” All are sufficient responses.

Of course the question that should stick out more than all others; why are guys going off the rails and earning suspensions this late in the season?

This week it was Johnson who let down his fellow linebackers, defense and team. Two weeks ago Kelvin Cain took a demotion to heart and chose to go AWOL instead of taking his medicine. (Cain has since been reinstated after leaving/getting kicked off the team.)

The ACC Coastal has been in reach since Miami started out 3-0 in conference. Even with losses to North Carolina and Florida State, the Hurricanes have still remained in the driver’s seat, entering this weekend 4-2 in conference and in control of its own destiny.

With Perryman and Bush, sidelined due to injury, what could Johnson have done – and what could he have been thinking – that would earn a suspension for such a crucial game?

The same goes for receiver Rashawn Scott, suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. Scott didn’t hurt teammates as Johnson did, with other capable receivers stepping up – or maybe he did? Maybe he had a banner day up his sleeve. What if he could’ve been a better option on a few third down conversion attempts that went awry?

Scott was Miami’s second-best receiver, yardage-wise, coming into Saturday’s game. Instead of contributing, he too was home and watching from Coral Gables, freshman Waters was getting his reps.

Unfortunately both wins and losses can mask logic. When Miami blew leads against Georgia Tech or North Carolina State, but came back to win in miracle fashion, mistakes were forgiven.

Conversely, the opposite happened in a loss against Florida State, where Miami spent three-plus quarter fighting tooth and nail against one of the better teams in the nation.

The same will happen with this Virginia loss. Falling late kills the ability to take anything good from the day, while a late stop and 40-35 win would have many sky high, still overly focused on the ACC Championship Game and the million dollar post-season question.

Win or lose, Miami played like the 2012 Hurricanes today, for better or worse.

The offense had some explosive plays and put up big points. It also had some bone-headed plays, didn’t execute and left points on the field.

Defensively, there were some shining moments – seriously, go back and watch the tape – but there were also bend-don’t-break moments where this team crumbled. Most-notably, the final drive as the Canes were oft one stop away from this one being in the books, but simply couldn’t get it done.

Special teams had some big hits and huge returns, but also had some blunders and gave Virginia more than it should’ve.

Up, down and all around. The result? Back to .500 on the year at 5-5 and when combined with last year, 11-11 for this staff since taking over a program in the midst of a downward spiral.

With year two winding down in a few weeks, and another self-imposed post-season ban likely, it really isn’t time to turn this into an coaching debate.

Visit any message board the the wake of another loss, hold down ‘command f’ and type in the word ‘fire’ and check the results. If fans had their way, programs would go through a half dozen coaching staffs annually.

Is the jury still out on head coach Al Golden, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio? Absolutely. “The U” doesn’t play for the middle of the road and a .500 record won’t cut it – and you can bet everything you own that coaches and players feel the same way.

At the same time, it’s unfair to judge these coaches on their overall ability before the cupboard is a bit more full and until they have a roster full of older players who are all-in, sold on the scheme, in the system a proper amount of time and all involved have matured.
This staff has preached “The Process” since day one, but in the wake of another loss – and on the heels of seven disappointing seasons before any of these coaches rolled into town, patience is thin, which is understandable and understood.

Where things get scary are when folks live three decades back or clamor for the return of past coaches, forgetting the issues that occurred on their watches, too.

In no way does Golden deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Butch Davis – he’d probably be the first to tell you that – but as fans clamor for the return of the former coach, it proves that revisionist history is a funny thing.

Davis was never a heads-up game day coach, and at times even came across a bit goofy – but he was a solid recruiter and in time assembled arguably the best team in the history of the game.

Still, the man who took over a team that was 10-2 the previous year, finishing number three in the nation, losing to number one Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, took five years before any chartable difference was made.

What Davis incurred with a few years probation, Golden and staff all but inherited with last year’s staff and a roster littered with non-Miami-type players.

Davis started 8-3 in 1995. The following year, 9-3. Year three, his Canes bottomed out and went 5-6, with jaw-dropping, 47-0 loss at Florida State.

Things picked up year four thanks to a shocking win over No. 2 UCLA, but it came on the heels of a 66-13 loss at Syracuse, where the Big East title was lost on the field and an Orange Bowl berth squandered.

1999 resulted in a 9-4 run and while losses to Penn State, Florida State and Virginia Tech were all forgivable, Miami fell apart in an inexplainable loss to East Carolina — again, year five in Davis’ tenure

This was also the season Davis brought Greg Schiano in to run his defense, pulling the plug on the Bill Miller experiment after year four, on the heels of giving up 111 points in back-to-back games.

Miami finally became a player again year six of the Davis rebuilding project, but still had that unforgivable loss to Washington which cost the Canes a shot at a national title – coaching blunders to blame for that sorry-ass Seattle afternoon.

Davis left UM high and dry at season’s end, lying to fans and players, ultimately doing what was best for he and his family.

He lasted three-and-a-half years with the Cleveland Browns, going 24-34 overall and was forced to resign ten games into year four, sitting at 3-7.

A few years later, hired by North Carolina, where he lasted four years, turned a once-clean program dirty, left shamed and was forced to forfeit two years worth of wins that occurred on his watch.

Davis and his staff were recruiting machines in Chapel Hill, bringing South Florida talent and Miami-like players to the program – but at a huge expense, as countless athletes were suspended for dirty ways, eventually bringing the program to its knees, courtesy of the NCAA.

All that, and some Miami fans would still take Davis back tomorrow, without giving Golden a fair chance to create a Davis-like legacy.

If UM faithful had their way in the mid-nineties, Davis would’ve been run out of town years before that epic recruiting class of 1999 – his fifth – and before his rebuilding project would’ve come to fruition.

When Davis was working tireless to put Miami back on the map, he was no legend. Just a lifer assistant that wasn’t getting it done at a proud program, to a point where fans flew a banner over the Orange Bowl thanking him for turning a team full of ‘champs’ into ‘chumps’.

Alas, the ultimate chump move is lacking the patience to let something come to fruition.

Time will tell if Golden is indeed golden – but that won’t be known until he’s given the proper time to turn things around.

You can’t take a dish out of the over when it’s half-baked, complaining that it tastes like crap.

No, instead you must let all the proper ingredients blend together and cook to perfection before playing the role of critic and two years in, that hasn’t been done.

Golden wanted a job no one else wanted and he walked into a buzzsaw regarding an NCAA investigation. From day one, he’s been fighting with one hand tied behind his back – and to his credit, he’s kept on fighting, where lesser coaches would’ve run for the hills.

In it for the long-haul and committed to winning, his team keeps fighting, too, despite being out-manned and trying to grow up weekly.

Part of this maturation process might require Golden to make some tough decisions he might not want to make in the near future.

There appear to be some coaching and personnel issues with this team, which will force him to choose between his career and overall legacy, versus friendships and staying put, doing the comfortable thing and simply hoping things eventually get better.

Today was a heartbreak, but teams in rebuilding mode suffer games like this. Miami stole a few this year and has had a few stolen. Par for the course on the road to .500 when trying to make things right.

Before worrying about off-season moves and late recruiting steals, Golden has the task of getting the ship righted before next weekend with South Florida heads to town.

Get to 6-5 and prepare for a very unexpected Coastal showdown with Duke, for all the marbles as the road to Charlotte runs through Durham in this bizzaro year.

Christian Bello has been covering Miami Hurricanes athletics since the mid-1990s. After spending almost a decade as a columnist for CanesTime, he launched – the official blog for : The #1 Canes Shop Since 1959. Bello has joined up with and will be a guest columnist at this fall. Follow him on Twitter @ChristianRBello.



34 thoughts on “Game Ten : Virginia 41, Miami 40

  1. I retract my statement the other day – take a bowl ban. This team laid an egg against another bad team and a 6-6 or 7-5 team should not be rewarded for mediocrity. The past decade has been one of awful losses to bad teams, happening more and more frequently and I’m sick of it. But with this staff specifically, .500 after two years is NOT acceptable. Even with a young, or inexperienced team you should be able to rely on your philosophies as a coach to get your team through, and win more games than these coaches have. Did anyone doubt that Virginia was going to score on that last drive? We can never make a play when we absolutely have to. We aren’t playing much better in Game 10 than we did in Game 1. Same issues, same mistakes, same weaknesses. Sure we had guys out, but this Cavs team had 2 or 3 wins all year, yet again look all-world , scoring 41 when facing The Canes. Take a bowl ban, assuming we can beat South Florida or Duke to become eligible. Begin to shift focus to next year, deciding who stays and who goes on the staff. There is no excuse to be ranked as historically badly as we are on defense – or even offense for that matter. What is the answer? I don’t know but changes need to be made. Golden has my support for now, but this isn’t Temple. You should have big boy schemes and big boy philosophies to fall back on. Get your sh*t together, develop players, recruit your butt off or move on.

    1. John – Agree 100% and that will be tonight’s article. The bubble has popped. This team needs to get back in the weight room and start building for next year. Got the most out of these young kids. Showed fight at times, but fell apart at times, too. Win at least one more, put this season in the books and let these coaches recruit – while other coaches bowl plan – and move forward for next year.

    2. Agree 100%. If we had ran the table then I said play for the title and take our chances with the NCAA. That debate is now over. Take the bowl ban and put this NCAA thing further in the rear view mirror. The scholly reductions we’ll get hit with should be manageable.

  2. I really think that golden has the canes headed in the right direction but the defense has not gotten any better since week one. I watch every canes game and I see team after team go up and down the field on the defense. The offense def can score enough to win but needs a little help from the defense. I also know the players are young & had a few starters out today because of injury & suspensions but isn’t that when the coordinator is suppose to show what he can do. I think when you come off a big win against Virginia tech & then let a Virginia team who only had 1 conference win under their belt go up & down the field on your defense, IT’S DEF TIME FOR A CHANGE!!! I already wrote Santa & told him all I want for Christmas is A NEW DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR FOR THE CANES!

    1. CFFL – You really don’t think the defense played better against North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia Tech as opposed to earlier this year?

      A very young defense that WAS playing better just lost Deon Bush, Denzel Perryman and Eddie Johnson for this game.

      Think about what those three guys have meant to the team this year. All the big hit and stops from Bush. Perryman’s pick-six at BC and big hits. EJ’s strips and that game-defining stop at Georgia Tech.

      All three of those guys were out and replaced with guys who are nowhere near as good as them.

      Bush and Johnson would’ve been in on that final touchdown – not Highsmith and Paul. You really think personnel didn’t hurt the team there?

      1. the only time our defense has played better is when we at least allowed our corners to show a press….. but every game i watch i see our corners 8-10 yards off the line off scrimmage….
        hit someone once in a while to throw the route off and mess the timing off…..
        and the worst is on 3rd and distance plays…. go look at the tape and see how far we are playing off the ball on 3 and 9 or more, or 4th and whatever they had 2 different times…..
        just because your not trying to give up the big play doesn’t mean you have to play prevent defense the whole game…… also we wonder why we are getting exploited over the middle, we only play cover two the middle is wide open after about 3-4 seconds into the play….. 4 men rushing with 5-6 blocking is never going to get pressure…..unless you press the recivers at the line…

    2. Unfortunately I’m on the fire D’Onofrio train. During the VT game he seemed befuddled by the idea that Logan Thomas might run the ball from time to time. The D all too often looks confused and out of position. You can easily see it in their body language. I was at the game Saturday and I could see the confusion in our D. They are poorly coached and prepared.

      Another poster on another site put it perfectly: if we had even a mediocre defense we’d be sitting at 7-3 right now.

      Sorry but the evidence does not support retaining D’Onofrio.

      1. Again, don’t disagree with the fact that guys don’t look confused — but again, LOOK at the guys out there starting for the Miami Hurricanes in 2012.

        Your starting defensive line against Virginia last week – Chickillo (SO), Moore (FR), Pierre (SO), Green (R-JR). Their back-ups five freshmen, one sophomore and two r-juniors.

        Your linebackers – Armbrister (SO), Gaines (JR) and Paul (SO) — while your best two, Perryman (SO) and Johnson (R-FR) were sidelined.

        Your safeties – Gunter (JR), Rodgers II (JR), Highsmith (R-JR) and McGee (SR) — your best safety was injured, Bush (FR) and the back-ups are either green freshmen or a washed up senior.

        Poorly coached and poorly prepared — or a MASH-unit of a defense, reliant on kids that were in high school last year / upperclassmen who don’t produce. Hell, Miami’s best corner was playing JUCO bal in Kansas last year.

        IF we had a mediocre defense we’d be 7-3 and IF we had 2001’s offense, we’d be 10-0. All BIG ifs.

        Fact is, this defense is full of holes, is green and needs time to get its shit together.

        D’Onofrio may go down as an AWFUL defensive coordinator — but he’s also working with a joke of a unit right now. Period.

        1. No your blog is a joke!! You’re really trying to tell me that 114 other D1 schools have better recruits than Miami. No they have a better defensive coordinator. Getting the most out of his players, really?? Constantly calling wrong schemes and running the same swizz cheese zone coverage since week 1, dropping 7 to 8 man back and watching EVERY team move the ball at will on them. Coaches coach and D’No gets out coached EVERY SINGLE GAME!! He has not made any adjustments in a game, LET ALONE ALL YEAR!!! You have as much sense as a rock to try and defend him.

          1. If you don’t like it, don’t read it, brother. One of many freedoms provided us as Americans.

            I am not defending Mark D’Onofrio. I am as frustrated with what he’s doing out there as anyone who loves this team.

            What I am defending is anyone who took a shit-situation job and was lambasted non-stop before having the proper chance to implement their way.

            Two years in, with a defense that is lacking depth, littered with young kids and washed-up upperclassmen, there obviously has to be a reason we’re seeing what we’re seeing out there.

            I highly doubt the man works tirelessly every week and then just says, “fuck it” on game day, pulling schemes out of a hat each drive.

            The guy made improvement at Temple when he started bringing his guys in. A doormat program that was 3-31 eventually became a 9-4 and 8-4 contender the last two years Golden / D’Onofrio were there. That in itself at least buys these guys a few years to right the ship as this program was in Shittsville LONG before they came around.

            I never said that D’Onofrio was ‘getting the most out of his players’. I stated that he’s not working with much. Not too many schools in the nation would suit up Kacy Rodgers II and A.J. Highsmith as starting safeties — let alone winning programs or top 25 schools.

            If I had to grade D’Onofrio this season, the guy is at a D+ on the year. He has few superstars over there, but he’s also done little with what he has.

            There was some improvement against UNC, FSU and VT, but the lack of depth was again proven when the loss of Bush, Perryman and Johnson occurred.

            How many of the top teams in the country are shell-shocked when losing a freshman safety, a r-freshman linebacker and sophomore linebacker on any given Saturday? Well based on Miami’s lack of playmakers, that was catastrophic – which says a lot.

            As for having a much sense as a rock, sadly, anyone wasting one ounce of energy crying about firing Mark D’Onofrio this off-season … you may as well stand on a hill and yell at the sun to not rise every morning. NO WAY IN HELL he gets fired year two into this process.

            Hell, Butch Davis didn’t fire Bill Miller until after YEAR FOUR. You really think Golden is going to fire his guy year two, based on the mess they inherited and the clean-up job they’re trying to do?

            Again, if this guy can’t start turning the defense around next year, with more experienced players, and have Miami’s D solid by 2014, then you run him out of town.

            But now? Not fair – despite things as bad as they are. ANY coach brought in would need ample time to clean things up.

            The lack of depth is DESTROYING this program. Any progress made defensively year one when RIGHT OUT THE WINDOW when seniors graduated and juniors bailed early.

            What kind of defense would Miami have this year if Olivier Vernon and Marcus Forston returned, as well as Adewale Ojomo being granted a deserved medical redshirt? (Also didn’t help to lose veteran Ramon Buchanan for the season or to kick Ray-Ray Armstrong off the team.)

            What about the other leaders lost? The veterans this program again didn’t have the depth to absorb? Sean Spence. JoJo Nicolas. Marcus Robinson. Micanor Regis. When a program is properly stacked, you reload. When it’s not, the loss of guys like that is back-breaking.

            When you look at what was fielded versus Virginia — versus what SHOULD’VE been fielded, without injury and guys departing early — you’re talking about Bush, Perryman, Johnson, Buchanan, Vernon, Forston, Ojomo and Armstrong missing from that line-up. You don’t think that make a HUGE difference regarding what D’Onofrio is working with? Please.

  3. Chris – always insightful. Like I said before the game, we needn’t worry about bowl bans or the NCAA. The team should focus on the next 3 (now 2) games. I had a feeling this would happen. Going 5-8 is not out of the question, but 7-5 (and an ACC Title game appearance) is still within reach. Who knows?

    Go Canes!

    Jake in Yokosuka, Japan

  4. Randy Shannon was fired after 4 Seasons and a 28-22 record. Golden is on the clock after year 2. The main reason he will be on the clock is his DC sucks and he will hold on to him to long which will cost him his job. Just watch the clock.

    1. If Al doesn’t have things in good shape by 2014, going somewhere around 7-6, then agree – it will be time to look elsewhere. Four years is a fair amount of time for coaches to make a difference.

      As I mentioned in the article, Golden will have tough decisions to make — decisions that could cost him his job and legacy if he doesn’t choose correctly.

      Either way, two years down — two very hard years for this program — and he deserves at least two more to get it right.

      Randy went 9-4 year three and then backslid to 7-6 year four, including that 45-17 beat down by an average Florida State team.

      Team has looked better at times this year, but is running out of gas due to relying so heavily on young kids and dealing with injuries / suspensions on a depth-challenged team.

  5. What happened to NO EXCUSES??? !!!!! Such BS. NEED A NEW D CORD!!! These kids are not getting what they deserve. Now that’s BS!!!! For all of you PROCESS SAYERS.. “Another 3-4 years of rebuilding”. Equals nearly 15 years of a IRRELEVANT football team.

    1. … it’s not an “excuse” to say that this is one of the youngest teams in the country and that the defense suffered without its three best players, Robbie. That’s called an “explanation”.

      The result still sucks, but this defense has been young and full of holes all year. It could not afford to lose its best safety and two best linebackers this weekend. Period.

      When you’re relying on the likes of Highsmith and Rodgers at safety, you have HUGE personnel issues on that side of the ball. No other way to say it.

      Yup, it SUCKS that Miami is still in rebuilding mode — but Larry and Randy are responsible for seven years of shit football while they ran the show, and the team that Shannon turned over to Golden was an utter joke. F’n snowball fights on the sideline while getting their asses kicked by Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl?

      It takes a few years to flush out those type of players and to bring new guys along.

      Don’t blame the new staff for the old staff’s mistakes.

      It will take a few years to get this thing right. Miami should be better by 2013 and a legit squad by 2014 … again, barring the NCAA doesn’t tattoo this program.

  6. Seriously stop with the depth excuse. Its scheme and scheme alone corners are ten yards off linebackers are eight and he coaches scared. End of story fire dontknowhowtocoachio and get it over with. This defense is making no strides under his coaching they get worse every game. I do not get why u look for excuses. Golden needs to fire this guy and promote someone or make a new hire and Getty it over with. Virginia made the same plays on third down throw it over the middle again and again a good coach makes adjustments this guy doesnt. He runs the same scared scheme the whole game.
    Now offensively fitsch needs to tell morris that it is more important to complete the pass instead of showing how far you can throw it. Sit dorsett because he dorsnt catch the ball enough and just mix it up with james and the duke.

    I know miami will bend over backward and put another bowl ban on itself if they win another game. Under this cane fans opinion miami has not beaten one team this year all of the wins have come from teams that have beat themselves. I hope Miami brass is watching this close. Because it may be time to make anothet full staff change.

  7. Admin: “Stole a few and had some stolen” …with .500 record seems pretty darn accurate. Season could be better or worse based on a few plays. That goes with football, and hopefully as these guys get older/stronger/more mature…more of those plays go our way. I’m still frustrated with the D. 41 against Va is not good. We just can’t seem to get off of the field. D looked pretty good against the run all game. However, passing game looked too easy. 3rd and forever….no problem…un-pressured QB hits open receiver for 1st down. Can’t get off the field. It seems that the “bend but don’t break…until it breaks” mentality may be wearing out the D? It has to be demoralizing staying on the field all that time, playing the number of defensive plays, and eventually giving up the 7. I think these kids are playing their hearts out on D but this scheme can’t be the best. I didn’t see any plays yesterday like the B.C. game where you couldn’t see a white jersey 20yds near the ball sometime. 10 games in the kids seem to have figured out their assignments, are hitting hard, and are still making it look easy for the other team. It seems that the philosphy watching this defense is “make them earn it.” Well, it’s not the MAC anymore, and these offenses are quite capable, and they ARE earning it. Yes, there has been some improvement against Va Tech, FSU, and even yesterday. I know points are all that really matters but Va Tech and FSU still did what they wanted and kept shooting themselves in the foot. Fumbling the snap at the 1, and throwing right to us for int on first drive are all on L.Thomas. But that’s what I’m saying…I don’t want us to have see if the other team can execute to score. Because when they do execute we haven’t been good enough. I read that before yesterday we already gave up more yards in Miami history. If that is true, then wow. We still have two more game to go. I would like the D to be aggressive and play like “make them take it” instead. If we get burned we get burned. Let the O back out and stay rested. There have been plenty of reasons of why we lost games this year. Yes, the offense has gone MIA for long stretches. Yes, if the offense had made a few first downs the last 2 drives we probably hold on. But the “W” would only mask the problems on D. I harp on the D because that’s where I see a potential ceiling. I hope and pray it’s just a youth thing and hopefully the schemes will open up with more experienced players. But shattering the yds allowed record by year’s end, maybe by 1,000 yds, can’t ALL be based on youth. I do yield to the point that the D is creating turnovers. TO’s are huge part of the game, and that has been a big help. Can’t say a single negative thing there. I don’t want to appear negative. I love this team more than any team in any sport. Golden has done a tremendous job and the future does seem bright. Man, if Duke Johnson is still here 2 yrs from now (not going to dream of 3), this team can really be great. I just don’t want this style D to be our Achilles heel in a few years and lose another 41-40 game like yesterday and keep us out of a potentially big game.

  8. I’m just not seeing any big difference on the D side with calls of prevent from wining by lord MDO! Everyone knows him and Al are connected by the hip so a change on that side of the ball I don’t see occurring at season ends. What I see is our D line coach being fired and used as this years scapegoat. If this Mickey Mouse D does the same pathetic apparence next years Lord MDO needs to at the end of 2013. If not good old Al will be fired at the end of 2014 two years from now.

    Butch is a hell of a recruiter just like Pete Caroll. What he did here was simply a miracle. So Randy was suppose to be a great recruiter and x and o coach. Came out be neither since couldn’t evaluate coordinators. I forgot how many OC he went thru? Al is suppose to be the same. I wish it is true, but come on put some blame on coaching more!

    Here is a though, why not hire a system coach? Of course once this experiment is done with Al and Lord MDO getting 5 to 6 year shot. What about a spread like Oregon? Here why it might be best. First we have the players in house that will love this sexy O instead of the Proset. Second it will put butts on seats which the administration would love! Too late but imagine Duke in a Oregon O? Can someone say Heisman?

    However I still like Al although he sounds like a broken record, “assignment football, trust the coaches.”

  9. Very good post. Especially with the breakdown of Butch and how it took time to get this program where it needed to be. Key ingredient, time. Golden just needs more time. But I agree, he’s going to have to make tough decisions on his own coaching staff if he’s going to get this right. Just as he makes tough decisions to suspend players, will he have to make tough decisions on his coaching staff–friends or not. Great comparison on Bill Miller. I just hope it doesn’t take Golden that long to realize it.

  10. ” … not exactly a Nostradamus prediction, man.

    Still, the defense has been a weak spot all year and while it’s played better as of late, it simply couldn’t afford to lose IT’S THREE BEST PLAYERS.

    As for this Virginia average, they just put up 33 on a North Carolina State team that beat Florida State and hung tough with Miami, while holding them to six.

    Rebuilding year, bro. Not sure what else to tell you.

    Offense needed to be a few plays better today and left points on the field where every point counted. Going conservative with the run after the safety — resulted in a three-and-out.

    Offense never scored again after the 11:38 mark in the fourth quarter, while Virginia built momentum. ” The Mod

    First, I respect your Green nd’ Orange opinion! But your DEFENSE of D’Onofrio is totally W-E-A-K!!! Especially after the TENTH GAME of the season!!!!!!

    Chit, even with ” 3 STARTER’s ” A.W.O.L. ABSOLUTELY NO defensive team at ANY level ( Junior High, High school, Junior college, or Division III to name a few. ) of football should allow an opponent to go the LENGHTH of the FIELD. dUh And that’s 86 yards of real estate at that.

    By the way Cane MOD. Virginia happen to convert on TWO 4th and LONGS on that their winning drive!!!!!
    Again, the Cavalier’s were in DIRE STRAITS and STILL converted twice on FOURTH AND LONG!!! No thanks to a very, very POOR defensive scheme!!

    So P-L-E-A-S-E, enough with the EXCUSES. Because it makes U appear like a simpleton Hurricane loyalist. WHOM REFUSES TO DEAL WITH Cane college football REALITY. And I know that U aren’t that CLUELESS or stupid.
    In other words, U do have college football ac U men!
    NOT like the VAST MAJORITY of CANESPACE/EOTH D’ Onofrio apologists!

    Bottom line is I’ve BLOVIATED and had big mouth FARTS about D’ Onofrio since forever. And believe it or not, Miami WILL NOT be a LEGITIMATE Top 15 team with that LAME AZZ, PIZZ POOR, CONSERVATIVE, passive-aggresive scheme of Marky Mark!! Let alone play in a possible, future A.C.C. championship game.

    And dig this U’all D’ Onofrio loyalist. The Hurricanes WILL NOT get those 5/4-Star type of prep defensive players in the future. Yeah, yeah Goldie and Marky Mark will sign, seal and deliver an OCCASION two or three elite-level H.S. defensive player. However, NOT ENOUGHT to bring back Miami to Top 15 status.

    And baby, U can take that to your local Bank of America.

    My bad for still being FRUSTRATED and what not, but I just had to vent. Eh. What say.

    Bon jour

  11. Fire D’Onofrio, Fire D’Onofrio, Fire D’Onofrio. That is the sentiment of most long-time Miami fans and alumni, such as myself. Stop making excuses for him. There has been little improvement. No filling of gaps, arm tackles, players failing to get their hands up on the DL, reacting rather than anticipating. And how do you let someone catch a TD with 16 sec. left? Take his feet from under him, hold him, put hands to the face, anything but let him catch the pass. Worst case is half the distance to goal and 6 sec. left. This defense is the worst I have ever seen and I graduated in 1977.

  12. I think the Morris fumble on the 1-yard line was key…we would have had 7 more points….definitely shifted the momentum to Virginia. The injuries can’t be helped, but could you please give us an example of what kinds of things are considered “violation of geam rules”??????

    1. Disagree. Morris fumbled. Virginia took over, pinned deep and punted. Miami took over mid-field and two plays later Morris threw a strike to Dorsett for the touchdown.

      Honestly, Miami’s offense went stagnant late and didn’t score again after that Dorsett touchdown with 11:38 left in the game. Too many late opps where drives stalled.

      As for “violation of team rules” – it could mean anything. Not going to class. Not participating. Showing up to practice late. Bad attitude detrimental to team. Smoking weed / underage drinking. Could be anything.

  13. D’Onofrio’s defense:
    1. players look to the sideline for the play to be signaled in.
    2. it takes forever for the play to be actually signaled in.
    3. the players look confused.
    4. they look to each other for understanding
    5. they try to get in position right before the ball is snapped.
    6. big yardage is given up.
    7. repeat

    1. … and you don’t think that 1 through 6 won’t be rectified with more talent, more depth and more experience in the system?

      Why are guys like Deon Bush getting it while Kacy Rodgers II and AJ Highsmith aren’t?

      Talent, my friend. Until Miami starts recruiting the right kids again, there will be struggles. The Canes are two classes away from really getting this thing on track. I know no one wants to hear that after SEVEN down years – and ten years of sub-par coaching – but them’s the facts.

      A decade long issue isn’t solved overnight, no matter how tired fans are of losing.

  14. I know people are going to be mad at me, but we have the 9th toughest fbs schedule this year. Kansas st and notre dame both have a chance to win the nc this year, and obviously we played them both as well as a 1 loss fl st. So, a young team with a tough schedule, is…tough.

    Also, I think the reason we are so…I’m going to say frustrated is because, the majority of our losses were tight games.

    Would we all be really upset if prior to the year, we all thought, “okay young team,” and basically every game we would be blown out? Because we would know, wow, young team, we are really in the rebuilding process.

    The problem is, and god it’s frustrating, is that we were in the majority of games we lost! North carolina, virginia, we were up on fl st too. Heartbreaking losses got canes fans (and myself) frustrated.

    We have to calm down, and think – injuries, depth, new coaches, and a really tough schedule 🙁

    I know canes fans are thinking “no excuse, we should be this and our defense should be better” it’s just frustration because of these heartbreaking losses. Had we beat virginia, we would be talking about a bowl and beating duke and not about the defense.

    We have to let these kids grow and develop, and a positive to take out of this year, these kids like dUke, perryman, bush are really showing potential.

    Hang in there cane family

  15. Fire the DC? This isn’t necessarily D’NO’s D…. Go look at youtube vids of Virginia’s D during Golden’s tenure….. Looks eerily similiar to what’s on the field today. Also, while the D was better the last couple weeks in terms of points, it absolutely was NOT better in any other category. Poorly thrown balls and goal line fumbles masked the reality of a D that is poorly schemed and easy to pick apart…. couple this with youth and we are left not with a disturbingly bad defense. My fear is that when the kids grow up the D will improve only from disturbingly bad to just plain bad.

    1. Disagree that the defense wasn’t playing better. Yes, there were some breakdowns – but there were also some signature moments, many made by younger kids who are the future of this program.

      Miami was in a 16-13 game with Florida State early in the fourth quarter and while no, you don’t play for “moral victories” at UM — if that game was earlier in the year, the Canes would’ve been steamrolled by that point — a la 2010, when the Noles rolled, 45-17 — with a WORSE Florida State team against a BETTER Miami team than is on the field now.

  16. Look at the defensive alignment on those plays… generally they get those big plays with a man D vs soft zone. They’re almost using a prevent D as their base. The big problem right now as I see it isn’t the kids and it isn’t D’no… It’s Golden’s defensive philosophy. I am not suggesting anyone should be fired, only that a shift in defensive philosophy just might make things a whole lot better.

    1. FC – Don’t disagree with your notion about the defensive philosophy. Will say that a far as Miami goes, what he’s running definitely isn’t our standard brand or blend.

      THAT SAID, hard to judge his scheme as he runs it without the proper pieces in place. How does that scheme work if Miami actually had a man-sized, upperclassman-heavy defensive line that provided a pass rush and didn’t give quarterbacks all day? How would the middle of the field look if the Canes had some quality, veteran linebackers there? How would the secondary respond if it was made up of four kids like Deon Bush, and had no kids like Rodgers / Highsmith, who while busting their ass are doing all they can, but simply aren’t first-team material at UM?

      Honestly, it’s hard to judge the scheme until we see how it runs with the proper personnel.

      What is know is that right now, it sure as shit isn’t working … but can it when the right guys are in place? It will take time to figure that out.

  17. odd though we don’t have the same complaints on the offensive end with just as many freshman in skill positions…..

    1. Jeremiah – It all starts with the lines on both sides of the ball. Miami’s offensive line is LIGHT YEARS ahead of the defensive line.

      With a good junior quarterback, a senior running back (in the best shape of his playing career), a superstar, all-world freshman back and a handful of capable receivers, who can all get hot at times, it’s completely different ball game.

      Miami’s defense line is undersized, small and reliant on underclassmen.

      The linebackers have been shuffled all year, and right when there was some stability, Perryman was hurt and then Johnson suspended.

      Corner and safety don’t even warrant conversation. Rodgers II and Highsmith at safety and McGee at corner? UM’s best safety is a true freshman and the best corner is a JUCO transfer from Kansas.

      Not even comparable, man.

      1. i disagree on offense we put our players in positions to make plays, on defense we just tell them to not get beat deep….
        gunter shut down the huge giant of a receiver bejamin for fsu but we don’t and mcgee is a preseason all whatever….. deon bush was a saban recruit we stole… but if you don’t put them in a position top make a play they cannot…. ala duke… there is no way he is strong enough to carry a full workload soo we get him the ball any which way we can soo he doesn’t get the pounding abuse of the rock 25 plus times a game……
        on defense we just play back and hopefully keep the game in front of them….. how do you expect someone to jump a route if the are 10 yards off the reciever?? you have to put them in a position to at least fail at making a play…..

  18. It’s the DC..


    Curtis Porter dropped into coverage to handle a runningback. Gionni Paul was asked to go into man to cover Terrell. z

    He changes damn near the entire personnel on 3rd down and it results in mass panic and confusion. See Logan Thomas running forever and ever and ever a few weeks ago.

    Defense looked half decent against VT and FSU because they don’t have legit offenses. FSU’s numbers are still padded from beating up on patsies. UNC spent most of the second half of our game trying to burn out the clock and did so largely through the third quarter without Giovani Bernard in the game.

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