A lot of preseason hype. A lot of puffed out chests. A lot of chatter about an unstoppable triple option.
Some in the media called the Yellow Jackets an ACC title contender. Tonight Miami called GT their whipping post.
The Atlanta media laughed at Jacory Harris and his claim that the Canes offense was unstoppable. In the end, J12 pulled off a 270-yard, three touchdown performance – 20-of-25 on the night, picking apart the Georgia Tech defense all night.
In the end, Harris was proven wrong on a technicality. The Canes offense can be stopped by one man; Randy Shannon.
With a 33-10 lead early in the fourth, faced with a 4th and goal from the four-yard line, Shannon trumped Mark Whipple with an offensive play call. Whipple wanted to go for six – Shannon played ‘gracious host’ and tried to let GT get out with some pride.
Matt Bosher missed the 26-yard field goal and a run-fueled drve later, Bosher missed a 31-yard attempt when the Canes kicked on a 4th and 3 from the 14.
The Canes left at least six on the field and if up to Whipple, this was a 50-10 beating. Miami showed mercy on Georgia Tech. The demon had been exorcised. A streak was broken and The U had all but secured a 2-0 start in ACC play. Style points didn’t matter to a hard-ass head coach.
Truth be told, by the beginning of the fourth Shannon was probably already thinking Virginia Tech.
After two big wins, what’s up, Nation?
Where you at Florida State and Georgia Tech? Anything to say for yourself sports media; most notably those who picked Miami either third or fourth in the Atlantic? Same to be said for the AP folk who didn’t feel this team was worth of a top 25 vote.
Two weeks down, two ranked teams taken out. The Canes are on a roll, baby. How’s that taste?
Bigger question – what’s up Miami nation? All you big-mouthed Shannon haters, where you at now? You’ve run your mouth for the past few years, some going as far to wish for that 0-4 start so your beloved Tommy Tuberville could swoop in and take over with a full cupboard.
Don’t bet on it. Shannon’s way is working. As I’ve said time and time again, he’s following the blueprint. Anyone that’s spent the better part of two decades around this program knows the formula for success. Aside from recruiting, developing and hiring quality assistants, it starts with razing.
Knock it all down, cut bait, dump dead weight and then rebuild.
2007 was a wash. Larry Coker’s team. Different mindset. A program chock full of players Shannon didn’t recruit or set the tone for. Some players got the boot, while others were sent to the bench. Shannon-style players played and new talent was brought on board two months after Shannon’s hiring.
Most effective out of that inaugural class, Graig Cooper. After a year at Milford Prep, the once-committed Coop was weighing his options. Shannon inked the Memphis product and a few seasons later, the junior tailback is setting the tone for this group of Canes. Hungry. Aggressive. Fired up. Ready to explode.
If Miami isn’t yet “back”, they’re pretty damn close. The ship has been righted and the destination will be known by December.
Add ‘ready to be noticed’ to that list, as well. 2-0 entering Blacksburg, the national media is now paying attention. Miami is ‘the story’ thus far this college football season. Question marks surrounded the once-proud program after a 12-13 Shannon’s first two season. It was statement time and the Canes answered.
This isn’t your father’s Canes team. The Orange Bowl is gone and it’s time for Shannon to make his own history. A new wrinkle in U of M folklore, this marks the first time a UM player has taken the reigns in the post Decade of Dominance era.
Butch Davis was a former defensive coordinator who knew the Canes’ culture before taking over as head coach – but Shannon lived and breathed is as a linebacker (coincidentally, under Davis). He spent his off seasons seeking counsel from former head coach Jimmy Johnson, guru Bill Parcells and So Cal’s Pete Carroll, arguably one of the game’s best.
It’s never been a matter of “if” with Randy Shannon – only a matter of “when”. Anyone who didn’t buy that was either an outsider, or an impatient fan to stubborn to realize rebuilding takes time.
Georgia Tech was overmatched out the gate. After a lengthy drive ended in solid Miami defense and a Tech field goal, the Canes came alive. A ninety second drive resulted in a 40-yard LaRon Byrd touchdown. It was set up by a clutch 3rd-and-11 conversion to Leonard Hankerson, for a drive-changing 36 yards.
A 13-yard pass to Dedrick Epps and a 34-yard Bosher field goal sent Miami into the locker room with a 17-3 lead and there was no looking back. A six-play, 60-yard drive ended with a three-yard Javarris James touchdown. 24-3, Canes and that sound you heard was the Jackets’ hearts being broken. Game over… with just under two quarters to play.
Tech found the endzone on a 60-yard drive midway through the third, but Miami responded with a nine-play, 52-yard drive of their own, ending with a 14-yard strike to tight end Jimmy Graham.
Cooper and James combined for 165 yards on the night. (So much for the Tech belief that the Canes couldn’t run the ball.) Combined, Miami gained 184 yards on the ground and posted 270 through the air. A 454-yard performance for The U.
Thank the mind of Whipple and the arm of Harris for that. Miami has an offense again. Look out, nation.
2-0 and halfway through a schedule that was dubbed “Murderer’s Row” during the preseason. Florida State and Georgia Tech have since been put out to pasture, while Virginia Tech and Oklahoma are still licking some wounds after early season losses.
A stretch of ball that looked like it’d be, well, a stretch? Seemingly very doable right now with two more big ones on deck. The Canes have ten days to prepare for the Hokies, while the Sooners will head to down a top-flight tight end and most likely a Heisman-winning quarterback. (Going on record as saying Sam Bradford doesn’t start against Miami in two weeks. Shoulder injury has him out until meat of Big XII schedule and game-of-season against Texas mid-October.)
While some idiots called for 0-4, those who whispered 4-0 or 3-1 look like full-fledged prophets. Take it one at a time? Sure. But don’t count Miami out. If you’re a fan, you have reason to be excited. This team has officially turned the corner.
Georgia Tech, thanks for coming out. It was a nice 4-0 run, but that triple option doesn’t fly when a team has the talent, speed and depth to bring it. LSU proved that in last year’s Peach Bowl and Miami showed that it’s one step closer to being ‘back’ thanks to an overall influx of talent.
This was a revenge game and the Canes called for a Thursday night, nationally televised outing for this showdown. Miami was a team on a mission and kicked the ass off of Georgia Tech in front of the college football world. How’d that workout for everyone?
Virginia Tech, get ready. Miami brought the thunder a year ago and is coming to play with a full deck next Saturday.
One step closer. The future is now.