« Exploring Dolphins offensive line options; Dolphins, Canes chatter, postscripts | Main | Heat-Warriors postscripts; Impressive distinction for Beasley; Canes, Dolphins »

How Dolphins running backs measured up; Golden/Penn State; UM recruiting

Some Thursday Dolphins and Canes items:

One of the many decisions looming for the Dolphins front office (whoever that might be) is deciding how much of the running game’s shortcomings should be blamed on the backs and how much should be pinned on the blocking. The Dolphins ranked 26th in rushing yards per game and 17th in yards per attempt (4.1).

Too many times, Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas simply had no place to run because of blocking breakdowns. Our sense is that even an elite back would not have produced great numbers behind this line.

But the Dolphins’ backs also bear some level of accountability, and the question is whether the management (be it Jeff Ireland or his replacement) will deem it necessary to add someone to compete with, or replace, Miller or Thomas.

A strong case could be made for adding a hefty back who excels in short yardage – one who could potentially replace Thomas --- or supplement Miller and Thomas, who are both under contract for next season. (The Dolphins like Mike Gillislee, but he’s not a short-yardage back and the Dolphins aren’t sure when or if he will become more than a third-stringer.)

A few points to consider when assessing the work of Miller and Thomas:

### Among the 55 running backs who played at least a quarter of their team’s snaps, Miller’s 4.0 per carry average tied with Bilal Powell and Danny Woodhead for 31st, and Thomas’ 3.7 tied with Pierre Thomas for 39th.

Thomas averaged 5.3 yards as a senior at Kansas State but has averaged just 3.5, 3.6 and now 3.7 yards with the Dolphins. At this rate of a tenth of a yard per-year improvement, he’ll average 4.5 yards per carry (Reggie Bush’s average this season) by his 11th season!

Or Thomas will go somewhere else and average four yards a carry there, because that’s what happens when players leave the Dolphins. Bush, by the way, finished 14th in the NFL in yards per carry average for Detroit this season.

### In terms of yards after contact, Miller ranked 31st of 55 backs at 2.1 (same as Bush) and Thomas was 39th at 2.0 (same, surprisingly, as Frank Gore and Stephen Jackson) . Both obviously ranked in the bottom half of the league in that category. Miller sustained a few runs after contact in the Jets game, but that’s an area he needs to improve.

Of the top seven running backs in yards after contact this season, three will be free agents: Indianapolis’ Donald Brown (first at 3.3), Oakland’s Rashad Jennings (sixth at 2.8) and New England’s LeGarrette Blount (seventh at 2.7). Any of them would obviously help the Dolphins.

### Mike Sherman said he was disappointed that the Dolphins didn’t generate more big-play runs; Miami finished with only eight runs of 20-plus yards, which ranked 22nd in the league and was well behind San Francisco (20) and Philadelphia (19).

Of those eight, Miller had four and Thomas one. Ryan Tannehill had the other three. Miller, with his speed, should produce more than four 20-plus yard runs a year, but he also needs holes to run through.

### We could get clarity on Dolphins firings today or Friday, as Stephen Ross spends another day talking with confidantes and trying to make decisions.

UM NOTES

It will be a nerve-racking next several days for UM, amid reports that Penn State is interested in Al Golden for its coaching job. The Harrisburg (Pa.) newspaper reported that Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Golden top Penn State’s wish list.

The UM administration expects Golden to stay at UM and would be surprised if he left.

But one of Golden’s friends at UM --- who has not spoken to him about this job --- predicted the Penn State job will appeal to him because it’s his alma matter, because Penn State has better facilities, more fan support in terms of attendance, among other reasons.

That said, Golden has repeatedly said how much he wants to see this through here, and his family likes it here. He appreciates that UM, more than a year ago, extended his contract through February 1, 2020, and gave him a significant pay boost last January.

Only Golden could end the speculation by saying that he is not interested in the job, but it serves him no purpose to do that if he is interested or if he wants to use it as leverage. Golden declined overtures from Wisconsin last December.

### UM hoped to come away with an elite receiver among three local prospects in this recruiting class, but they have lost out on two and a third said he is leaning toward Alabama.

Palm Beach Dwyer’s Johnnie Dixon, rated 17th among receivers by rivals.com, orally committed to Ohio State two weeks ago.

Homestead’s Ermon Lane, ranked sixth, said this week he’s “85 percent committed” to Florida, but there’s rampant speculation he might switch to FSU to join buddy Dalvin Cook, the Miami Central running back who committed to the Seminoles Tuesday.

Meanwhile, West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman receiver Travis Rudolph told Canesport.com that Miami is in “good position,” but told another reporter that "Alabama is my leader." FSU also remains in the mix.

Rudolph said he will announce at halftime of Thursday’s Under Armour All American Game at 4 p.m. on ESPNU.

UM is expected to continue recruiting all three, even after their announcements. Remember, Al Golden has said UM was able to flip Stacy Coley very late in the recruiting process last year.

### Please check back later today for Heat notes.              

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

2 fer 1 are 1

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Golden WILL NOT cut his buddy loose. Therein lies the real dilemma.

Golden/D'Ohno > or NEXT ?

Again, Golden is NOT getting rid of his BFF... It's "part of the process" that we as longtime Cane fans and supporters must come to grips that these Nittnay Lions are connected at the feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, hips, torsos, ribcage, shoulders, cheeks and "temples".

we suck

Recruiting is a bunch of bs. We got beat by a bunch of teams this yr at the bottom of recruiting lists. we still cant get the top kids anyway because we are a terrible team and pick the wrong guys. Ncaa cloud had nothing to do with it. WIN and you get "higher" kids. Sick of it. Golden should be gone/staff too. Its a travesty hes still here (as NICE as he is-so was Coker...). We need deadly lbs and sack hungry DL men. We needed to switch qbs two years ago over pathetic morris. Goldens to blame for that. Sick of the U losing and sick Shalala doesnt fire and hire. U get two yrs in my book and going on 4, Goldens back to sqaure one- his 3rd year kids just awful picks. Period. GOD I MISS THE OB...THANKS SHALALA AND THE CITY! IDIOTS!

you suck.

UM never owned the Orange Bowl and Athletic Directors hire and fire coaches.

Anthony Foley

Coach Golden is the right man for the job. Everyone has a very short memory, or there are a lot of ADD cases out there. We just went through the worst 3 years in University history, and Coach Golden guided us through it. Any other Coach would have bolted long ago. He deserves to compete with the other schools with two hands and full capabilities. Not with one hand tied behind his back. He will make the necessary changes to his staff and get this train moving forward.

Carl

Well, lots of talent up for grabs at the Under Armour game today. Did we get any ? Hell, were there any kids even considering us ? No and nope. While Bama, T A&M, LSU, OSU, Georgia, Florida and others all pick up great gets to close out. Sure we have a dozen out of our over signed class of 30 that are nice. But those other 15-18 in the class weren't even offered by the likes of above. So when late in the 3rd. and begininng of the 4th. quarters in the future we ask, "where is all the depth?"... That will be why. Half of our classes are kids that simply can't play elite College Football. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ed Reeds and Satana Moss' 2stars. That was ages ago when the evaluating process didn't include computers and instantanious video to evaluate.

Now, how many of our nice 12 do we loose when the top programs have a few schollies left over and make offers? I say atleast 5 of the 12 easily.

Carl


Recruiting is a bunch of bs. We got beat by a bunch of teams this yr at the bottom of recruiting lists. we still cant get the top kids anyway because we are a terrible team and pick the wrong guys. Ncaa cloud had nothing to do with it. WIN and you get "higher" kids. Sick of it. Golden should be gone/staff too. Its a travesty hes still here (as NICE as he is-so was Coker...). We need deadly lbs and sack hungry DL men. We needed to switch qbs two years ago over pathetic morris. Goldens to blame for that. Sick of the U losing and sick Shalala doesnt fire and hire. U get two yrs in my book and going on 4, Goldens back to sqaure one- his 3rd year kids just awful picks. Period. GOD I MISS THE OB...THANKS SHALALA AND THE CITY! IDIOTS!

Posted by: we suck | 01/02/2014 at 03:10 PM

Agreed. It's a good thing we continue to play 10-11 games a year with our schedule against those teams that at the bottom of recruiting lists. It's the best thing we have going for us. It all equals out to 8-9 wins and December Bowl game hoping for a 10 win season.

LongTimeCanesFan

I agree with Anthony,

Miami is lucky to have Golden. He has done a great job and the team will perform better in the near future.

These negative commenters remind me of 86 when everyone said Jimmy could not win the big game or the "champs to chumps" banner at the OB for Butch. SMH at the similar short sighted "fans" who do not value Coach Golden.

Go Canes!

Lt. Lois Einhorn

He will make the necessary changes to his staff and get this train moving forward.

Posted by: Anthony Foley | 01/02/2014 at 04:23 PM

I think you're absolutely wrong there Foley, Coach D'Onofrio was Al Golden's teammate at Penn State and the best man at his wedding.

Al Golden will not be making the necessary change, and as great a fit as I think he is in all other aspects, if he can't fire his friend he's not the right man for the job.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy at this point, big defensive linemen won't come here because they see Miami's defense sucks and think D'Onofrio's scheme is bad. And D'Onofrio's scheme is going to be bad unless he gets big, highly rated defensive linemen.

lancepowerhouse

Great recruits- great athletic talent, poor job of having them prepared to play. The resume speaks loud and clear. We have never been ready to play in a big game. Poor coaching. I like Al Golden- but why do other teams win with way less talent?

Randy Shannons' Agent

I hope PSU hires Golden but it will be a miracle like when Haith went to Mizzou if it actually happens.

He must think the fans are total idiots if he retains Onofrio

frostdog0819

Next Year.

202canefan

A list of things that I noticed the fans gave hell to Randy about, but I rarely see disdain towards Al:

1) Folks claims Randy played favorites mainly towards the NW guys.. Maybe he did, but didn't he take away T Collier's schollie to give to Sentrel Henderson.. Also, not all of them started, so if they were his favorites, then they all would have started.

Al is keeping his buddy on as a coach even though our "D" has been hideous since day 1... Also, if you noticed Al got rid of a lot of guys right away even after messing up once.. Not one of them were going to play any way.. It was reported that Storm was pretty much given a lot of passes before he booted him.. Yeah, yeah, he got rid of him, but after how many chances & then I am guessing that he didn't have a choice..

2) Randy did not coach up his players.. We even had former players complain about it..

Our current staff isn't really doing a good job in the same dept..

3) Now this was rather dumb of our fans, but remember how Randy would list upper or lower extremity regarding injuries & the fans gave him hell? First, why let the opponent know where a player is injured? You f*uking dummies!

Al does the same thing.. I do not recall once where fans mentioned it being an issue...

4) If I remember correctly, their record after 3 years is pretty much the same & if not for the 3 game losing streak towards the end on Randy's tenure, then his wins would have increased each year as well.

I'm pulling for Al.. I think we can be pretty good if we get some pressure from our DL..

cool and the gang

Of course as long as Golden keeps D Onofrio...the Canes will remain mediocre.They have no defense because no D lineman want to come and play for HIM.They watch the Canes play on TV.They see the D line is pretty bad year afyer year and NOT improving.They decide pretty quickly that no way will they come to such a crummy defense.Has any come here in the last 6 or 7 years.Don t say Chick because Chick is slow and not strong enough though he tries hard.He just has had virtually zilch impact in his 2 years at Miami.No defense no recruits for the D line to want to come to.They ll go to FSU,LSU,or Alabama.What s new about that?So you see......Golden is holding back the developement of the team by KEEPING a lousy Defensive Coordinator.My eyes don t lie when I watch the defense play.

Mike

If Al Golden leaves, Mario Cristobal will regret not showing the loyalty he was shown by being offered a job. Hope he lives it in Bama.

Bcre8ive

Oh brother, all these comments on making HEAD coaching changes to the Cane's & Dolphins. ARE YOU ALL MAD? Lets begin with the Fins. As of today there are 5 head coaching vacancies in the NFL. Who would be left for the Fins to hire? I believe that Phibin is doing a good job anyway. OC is a different story. As far as the Cane's, Golden has not only had to deal with the Nevin Shapiro (How is e still alive in prison) scandal but he has been able to recruit great players during that time. (unbelievable)and the Randy Shannon mess he inherited. My people, you cat see the forest through the trees! Change is always ugly at first and Golden and Philbin have done an outstanding job of keeping it together. There true value is yet to be seen. Great thngs are ahead for both.

Steve

Barry!

I partially agree to an elite back would not have produced great numbers behind this line?

But please consider What type offensive line did Barry Sanders have blocking for him?

Not a Trick Questioned but who is the better Running Back?
1. Carlos Hyde tailback Ohio number 34 a beast
Or

Washington Huskies star tailback Bishop Sankey is currently leading the FBS with 149.8 rushing

yards per game. He also leads the nation with 159 carries. In fact, he has carried the rock at least 25 times in five of six games this season resulting in 899 yards. “He resembled Emmitt Smith, in that he can do everything well - run, catch, block.”
The Dolphins can used a back that carry the rock 25 carries a game.


« 1 2

The comments to this entry are closed.