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Offense still not where it needs to be

I know the tendency around The U is to compare all Hurricanes teams to the ones that won national titles or just missed them, but I'll start this blog entry by saying I'm not going to do that with this team. Why? Because it's obvious this team is no where near that caliber.

What I will base my thoughts on, though, for the rest of this season is what this team still has a chance to accomplish -- win an ACC title. And going by those standards, this UM team is still not good enough offensively to do that. Was Saturday's win a step in the right direction? Yes.

But I still don't see this team accomplishing enough when the ball is in its hands to beat the likes of a Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech, much less reach the ACC title game and beat a team like Clemson. I set three goals I thought UM's offense had to achieve Saturday against a pitiful North Carolina 'D' to show it was taking steps forward and the Canes only achieved one: No. 3, Make A Field Goal.

Goal No. 1 -- Reach 200 yards rushing and score three touchdowns on the ground. FAILED. The Jonesoutat1_1Canes ran for 144 yards and scored twice, but UM got 62 yards on the ground on one play and thanks to Javarris James' talent. That means UM ran for only 82 yards on the other 30 carries (2.7 average) on a defense that was giving up 217 yards a game on the ground coming in. Translation -- Baby J is the only one cutting it right now.

Goal No. 2 -- Throw for 200 yards and have a receiver catch a touchdown. FAILED (Albeit by a little). OK, so UM threw for 180 yards and had finally a receiver catch a touchdown. But the touchdown didn't demonstrate Kyle Wright developing any better chemistry with his receivers. It was Shieldstdsafety Lovon Ponder who threw the touchdown to Sam Shields. Oh by the way, Shields' catch was the only one he had on the day. Wright and Lance Leggett only hooked up twice for 9 yards. And if not for an amazing Ryan Hill sliding catch for a 22-yard gain (Hill had 2 catches for 27 yards), Kyle wouldn't have completed a pass longer than 6 yards to any receivers. As it stands, Hill, Leggett and Shields only combined to catch 5 passes for 73 yards. I know what your thinking, that's because Kyle was throwing to Greg Olsen (8 catches for 95 yards). Yes, he was. And Olsen deserves plenty of credit for finally looking like the tight end everyone expected him to be (at least for one day). But in my opinion, UM's pass offense still has a long way to go. Wright (13-21 for 143 yards on Saturday) is going to need to find ways to complete passes downfield to receivers if UM is going to take pressure of James and the running game. If UM can't develop that chemistry, opponents will simply stack up the box and stop James and company -- like UNC did for all but one play Saturday.

Goal No. 3 -- Make a field goal. PASSED. Like Olsen, it was good to see Jon Peattie get back to what he's supposed to do (split the uprights). Peattie made both field goal attempts (39, 40 yards)  -- something he hadn't been doing in his 1-for-4 stretch run. One thing that didn't make our notebook was the fact Peattie said he discovered the reason he was missing kicks was because he wasn't following through with his left arm. He says the incorrect follow through was forcing him to kick wide left. Now that it's been corrected (again at least for one game), UM can move forward believing it can at least make the field goals its supposed to. And considering how tough it is for UM to find the end zone these days, Peattie is going to have to be on top of his game if the Canes are going to be the tougher teams left on their schedule.

OVERALL GRADE ON THE OFFENSE: C+. Here's what was good -- Olsen, Peattie, the big plays and a Jamestddecent job by the offensive line (only 1 sack). But considering how pourous North Carolina's defense was, UM certainly should have scored more than 27 points and produced more than 14 first downs (UNC had 17). If not for the two big plays (Ponder's trick play pass and James' long run) UM would have only produced 13 points on drives. That's not enough -- especially when the defense prdocued three turnovers and gave UM excellent field position most of the game.

Speaking of the defense, hats off to Randy Shannon and company for looking pretty good on Saturday. The three tunrovers were the most the team produced against a I-A opponent since Week 9 last year when the Canes picked off three passes in a 47-17 win against Wake Forest. Unfortunately, unless the offense begins producing in the next two weeks, its likely going to be up to Shannon's defense to produce similar results (3 turnovers plus) for UM to have a shot at winning its stiffer tests.

Comments

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hurricanes dont matter.

get rid of coker and dee.

lets press reset.

Two things:

1) You're right. This team is not as good as some of the other ones we've had. For that matter USC is not as good as they were last year, OU is not as good as they were a few years ago, FSU is not as good, ect. Does that mean Pete Carroll, Bobby Bowden, and Bob Stoops can't coach?

I was at the Texas OU game Saturday and sat with some OU fans. They sure aren't as down on Bob Stoops as some of these whiny boo hoo UM fair weather fans are on Coker. One of them was rather knowledgable about the situation because we are playing them next year. He thought you guys were a bunch of sore losers and whiny cry babies. Can't argue with that. But I guess OU has real FB fans. Why don't you guys make the trip to Norman next year (I'll be there) and see what they are like. They cheer win or lose and guess what even if OU isn't doing well their stadium will be packed!!!

2) Get a life or find something else to do that doesn't make you so miserable! If FB bothered me that much I'd do something else. Your obessession with UM and the NT borders on the pathetic. It's just a game. The world is going to keep turning no matter who is on the UM sideline next year. Why don't you just cheer for the team and hope they win. Or better yet, give some thought to all the people dying in Iraq....

I'd bet anybody that posts here that even if LC is fired next year this team won't be much better. We will get better but it will take a few years. Until then just try and enjoy the games or perhaps don't build your life around something you really have no control over.

Sayonara...

Why wouldn't this team be better? Tennessee got a new OC and they can score 50 on UGA? they have a junior QB and he's looking light-years ahead last season. Coker hired two of the most worthless offensive coaches that can't help him.

As usual people who don't know the Canes try to pop-off like they "really" know what's going on at the U. Stick to OU football, learn how to throw the ball. Don't comment on things you know nothing about.

I agree with your take on the offense.
We are all very happy that Greg Olsen had a nice game against NC with 8 catches. Kyle Wright threw 21 passes for 13 completions of which 8 were by Greg Olsen. Returning to the FSU game last year, Kyle threw 28 passes for 16 completions of which 8 were also by Greg Olsen. Kyle has not thrown any TD's to a receiver this year and this offense will be too predictable if he continues to target predominantly the tight end. If the opposing teams realize this and double team Greg Olsen, we will be in trouble not having another playmaker at the receiver position. Recommend in the next 2 games get the wide receivers and running backs more involved in the passing game. Go canes

The analysis of the U's offensive struggles is right on point. They have to get much better if they are going to beat GT and VT. It is time for Rich Olson to do what he has been talking about since he got here, and that is opening up this offense. UM has plenty of weapons that they should be an evenly balanced attack. I hope we get the kinks out these next two games.

Can't we all just get along?

Miami has two more games to get the kinks out, then the offense better be ready for Georgia Tech and Virgina Tech. The defense will keep them in those games, but we will need more production from Kyle Wright and the receivers to beat those teams.

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