Miami smacked up Florida on Friday and Saturday night with 8-4 and 8-5 victories entering Sunday’s content. The Gators took the finale 6-2 after an eighth inning grand slam. Still, Miami took the home series and improved to 5-1 after this weekend.
FYI – all three games were played in front of capacity crowds, for the UiF contingent who lives to pull the ‘attendance card’.
On the football front, the Canes practiced for two hours on Saturday, donning full pads and getting after it for the first time this spring. Defense seemed to be the name of the game, though the offense won some important small battles – most notably in the third-and-long situations.
In an effort to determine a winner after a neck-and-neck battle, coaches employed the Oklahoma Drill as the tiebreaker, which the defense won. Doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize the ‘losing’ squad has to do sprints.
Again, the tempo, attitude and mindset of Miami’s practices are starting to get that old school Canes feel again. It’s been missing for years, but it appears to be back.
The Canes landed another verbal for the 2009 class. Randy Shannon and staff continue their tear, this time landing Miami American High defensive end Oliver Vernon. Vernon announced his commitment after the weekend and is fired up to join The U Family. He chose Miami over two dozen others, including Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina and Florida.
Vernon is 6-foot-3, 23o lbs. and had 4.8-second speed. Some have called him ‘the next Jason Taylor’ according to message board fodder. Time will tell. Either way, another big catch for the Canes.
Men’s basketball is about to embark on it’s biggest week of the season. Granted, the importance of this week is due to a February 9th to 23rd stretch where Miami went 4-0 against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Duke and Maryland – all that is for not if the Canes can’t close.
On Wednesday, Miami gets Boston College in Coral Gables for the home finale. 7pm ET and live on ESPN U. Come Saturday, the road and season finale at Florida State.
For those who play the stats game, Miami has lost 13 straight to BC and four straight to FSU. Neither number works in the Canes’ favor. Numbers that do? The Eagles are in the midst of a skid of all skids, going 1-10 in their past eleven games while the Noles are 5-8 the past thirteen times they’ve taken the court.
Stats aside, Miami needs to seize the moment. When this season started, all the talk was about an NCAA berth. Twenty-eight games later, all that stands in the way are two unranked conference foes – one at home and one at a familiar venue in Tallahassee.
The Canes have already overachieved a bit this year and exceeded expectations. This was the first 20+ win season in almost a decade and some epics wins are in the books, most notably the upset of Duke.
All that said, with an NCAA berth looming this team absolutely has to step up and at minimum go 1-1 down the stretch in two very winnable games. Anything less is unacceptable.
Tune in Wednesday for more.