Miami Football: The Beast Unleashed Post Kansas State
“We just got beat in all three phases of the game,” Al Golden repeated over and over on Sunday after Miami’s drubbing at the hands of a good Kansas State team.
I didn’t have a ton of faith that Miami was going to go out to the “Little Apple” and beat a well-coached Wildcats team that beat Miami last year here in South Florida. In my mind, for Miami to win, the ‘Canes would have had to play a flawless game on offense and try to edge out KState in a shoot out. After Miami gave up over 500 yards against a bad Boston College team, I was pretty sure Collin Klein and company would eat up Miami’s young and over matched defense. Too bad the offense never had a chance to get going after starting down 14 points AGAIN.
I’ve seen the tweets and the emails and the message board posts about Coach D’Onofrio. First of all, that’s Al Golden’s boy. They are as close to brothers as you can be with out sharing DNA. It’s asinine to thing that Al Golden is going to fire his best friend after the second game of the season, so let’s not continue that chatter. Is there a problem on defense? Of course there is, but I don’t think it’s Coach D. I think it’s the youth combined with the talent level, or lack thereof, of the veterans. You can’t put inexperienced talented players on the field and expect them to make up for mediocre upperclassmen. That’s a recipe for disaster, and that’s what we’ve seen so far. Right now give me the players on defense that would START on a top 25 team’s defense. I’ve got two, maybe, in Chick and Perryman. That’s it. Now, could Deon Bush, Eddie Johnson, Tracy Howard, and the crew grow into all-league starters? Of course they could, but right now that’s not the case. Bush has a chance to show us something this week in the absence of Vaughn Telemaque. So we’ll see if he’s up to the challenge. Meanwhile, I don’t care what scheme you are playing, it’s not going to be pretty if you have so much youth.
Speaking of scheme, I asked Al Golden on the day-after teleconference if they needed to simplify the scheme they were playing to account for so much youth on the field. He said they were already playing a pretty simple scheme. If that’s the case, I’m more worried now than I have been. I’m also dismayed at hearing guys were freelancing and not sticking with assignments against KState. I thought we had gotten rid of that last year. Evidently that isn’t the case. It’s troubling.
The problem with all of this is that I knew this before the season started and a lot of you did too. If the performance of the defense is in anyway a surprise to you, well I don’t know what to say.
The bigger surprise to me yesterday was the offense. No one stepped up after Allan Hurns went down. I thought it was going to be Clive Walford after he made a couple of nice plays, but Stephen Morris didn’t find him enough. Whether it’s Malcolm Lewis, Rashawn Scott, or even Davon Johnson, someone is going to have to step up as it looks like Hurns could miss the BC-C game. Stephen didn’t play horribly, but he certainly wasn’t as calm and collected as he was against Boston College. The offensive line didn’t help him out that much either, allowing rushers to cream him a few times. Morris’ decision making process also seemed to take a step back this week as well. There were a few times when he should have thrown the ball away or had a receiver open when he made the wrong read.
I feel bad for Duke Johnson. You could see the coaches really wanted to get him into the game plan yesterday, but they wanted to use him as a receiver. I’m sure Duke can catch the ball and has demonstrated that in practice, but he wasn’t given the chance to do what he did against Boston College and that’s run with the rock in his hands, find the openings in the defense, and get up field. I hope his confidence wasn’t reduced by his missed opportunities yesterday. The other thing with Duke is the coaches can’t force it. We saw that years ago with Devin Hester. The coaches were so desperate to get the ball in to Devin Hester’s hands they had him doing things that was out of his comfort zone. Quadtrine Hill talked about that on this week’s allCanes Radio. Quadtrine (don’t ever call him Quad he hates it) said that one of the reasons the team got walloped in the Peach Bowl against LSU was because the offensive game plan was completely different than anything they had done all year because the coaches were trying to incorporate Devin too much and it backfired. Let’s not go that way with Duke.
I love Mike James, but he can’t do it on his own. I’m not going to say he’s not deserving of being the number one back, but Mike isn’t going to create his own space, he’s going to need the blockers to open holes for him and that didn’t happen against the Wildcats. I wouldn’t mind Miami using a bit more pro-style offense, lining up Mo Hagens as a typical fullback and moving down the field that way.
Look, I still haven’t changed my outlook that this team could go 6-6 and if they do, that’s a moral victory, but if there’s something you saw yesterday that leads you to believe this team is ready for prime time and is back, please let me know. Maybe I’m being too negative. Maybe I’m too jaded from being at the Hecht every single day and seeing things too up close. I’m readily able to admit that, but I have true concern about this team. When they play a good game, against a good team, in all phases of the game, my worry will wash away. Until then, I’ve got the xanax on standby.
Sad to hear about the knee injury to Ramon Buchanan. He worked his butt off to come back from his last knee injury. He’ll undergo season-ending surgery this week. Al wasn’t sure about whether Buchanan would be able to apply for a sixth year. Time for Jimmy Gaines to step up. An already thing LB corps just got thinner.