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It's time for the offense to produce

Hate to bust out the watch on UM, but this week has to be the week the offense finally starts showing real improvement. I wrote last week it was going to take some time for UM to regain its confidence, find go-to-players and start producing. But seeing how bad North Carolina is on paper (115th in scoring defense, 114th in rushing defense, and 104th total defense) and how it is already the fifth week of the season, it is time for this UM team to begin scoring points.

As it is, UM ranks 81st in scoring offense in the NCAA with an average of 20.50 points per game. But if you throw out the 51-10 blowout of FAMU and UM has only Miamimvpsscored 31 combined points in three games against I-A competition. That would be 31 points against an FSU scoring defense that ranks 26th, a Louisville scoring defense that ranks 8th and a Houston scoring defense that ranks 51st. Translation: maybe offensive coordinator Rich Olson has an excuse for the first three I-A games, but this week he has to start seeing results or the problem may be him.

Olson and coach Larry Coker both pointed out how UM out gained Houston 420 to 276. But 14 points won't cut it against anyone. Sure, penalties hurt Miami against the Cougars (10-90) and another missed Jon Peattie field goal didn't help, but UM still killed themselves with key drops (Greg Olson) and Kyle Wright still didn't look like he was totally in sync with his receivers.

With receiver Darnell Jenkins out (possibly for the season) and running back Tyrone Moss expected to miss time with his ailing knee, this really will turn into the freshman show with Javarris James, Sam Shields and Ryan Hill.

James had a great game last week, but I don't expect an encore even if North Carolina's run D is horrible. James was obviously banged up after last week's 21-carry, 148-yard performance. Banged up not because he really hurt himself. But banged up because he carried the ball 21 times and got licked by college players for the first time. While James should still be the number 1 guy on Saturday, Charlie Jones and Derron Thomas figure to get plenty of carries. And with Reggie Youngblood back at left tackle and Jason Fox back at right tackle, UM's offensive line should be at full strength. Translation -- UM should be able to run the ball successfully no matter who is carrying.

The real test though will be for the passing game. Last week against Houston, UM got the big pass plays it needed from Leggett (the 45-yarder in the first quarter to set up Javarris James' touchdown run; and the 27-yarder on 3rd-and-forever to setup the game-winning pass to fullback James Bryant). But with tight end Greg Olsen struggling, I'm thinking teams are probably going to start keying on Leggett, which means Shields, Hill and junior Khalil Jones (who made a nice play near the end of the Houston game) should begin seeing some balls thrown their way.

Wright_1One thing I think that's held some of these receivers from succeeding in the past has been route running. Quarterbacks coach Todd Berry told me Thursday said there have been many times this season when Kyle Wright had the time to find receivers, but couldn't because they were on the wrong side of the field. With Coker and Olson both saying UM will go to a more simplified offense (a smaller playbook) for the next couple of weeks it might be exactly what guys like Shields, Hill and Jones need to begin making catches downfield and big plays in Miami's passing game. Once they get the basics down, UM can start adding more plays to playbook.

Olson said he would like to attempt as many as six deep passes a game. Don't know if you've noticed, but the 45-yarder to Leggett followed up four deep pass attempts by Wright against Louisville. UM hit on three of those passes for big gains.

So here's my checklist of what UM needs to accomplish to have a successful day offensively against North Carolina.

  1. RUN FOR OVER 200 YARDS AND 3 TOUCHDOWNS: UNC's run defense already gives up 217 yards a game. Running is UM's strength. If the Hurricanes can't sustain that type of output against a team horrible against the run -- even without Javarris James carrying the ball everytime, then this offense really is terrible. Heck, last year, Tyrone Moss had four touchdowns by himself against the Tar Heels.
  2. PASS FOR OVER 200 YARDS AND TOSS A TOUCHDOWN PASS TO A RECEIVER: Considering Kyle Wright has only two touchdown passes this season (both to running backs) and has only thrown for more than 200 yards once (Louisville) this season, it's time to start seeing him develop some chemistry with his receivers. North Carolina's pass defense gave up 310 yards to Furman. Can the Canes at least achieve two-thirds of that?
  3. MAKE A FIELD GOAL: If not for the three points, for the confidence. Jon Peattie is 1-for-4 and needs to start putting this kicking funk behind him once and for all.

If you have your own goals you think UM needs to achieve this week against North Carolina, feel free to provide some feedback.

Comments

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Manny, i believe this team needs to start making more turnovers, they are -1 right now. One of those safeties needs a pick, or one of those DL needs to cause a fumble, with one of those LBs recovering. Plus, we need to score on a drive less than 3 minutes long. That use to be our label, just like Va Tech is known for blocking kicks. This team has the opportunity tomorrow to finally get things moving in the right way.

I agree with you Manny...but at the same time ,we have to remember this is North Carolina. Granted they beat us a couple years ago when B. Berlin was at the helm. This is now a team with more experience and should be more cohesive by now.I really can't get excited about us beating a team with a defense like theirs. You want to see UM fans get really excited...lets have those stats that you mentioned against teams like VT, GT and some other"real names" coupled with victories, and then you'll really hear some noise! Cane for life!

I agree.

In his book, "Tales from the Miami Hurricanes Sideline," Jim Martz says in 1950 the 'Canes beat Purdue, 20-14, and 100,000 (one hundred thousand) fans met the team at the airport, after which they had a parade. The Herald reported, "Even the prisoners from the 16th to the 25th floor of the courthouse were tossing out confettie, homemade from toilet paper."

From what I've read about the 'Canes, they are widely considered the most successful sports program in the United States, if not the world, over the last 25 years. If they keep this tradition alive, it will outshine all the rest: 'Tide, Irish, Huskers, Sooners, Army.

As for Saturday's game, here's what I know:

A roughly 50 - 14 'Canes win is appropriate and expected: 50 - 0 might get some national attention and worry some other teams.

But UNC is a Div. 1 ACC team, and even the worst of these gets very good football players. Like all ACC players, they're big, fast, strong and fully capable of putting a pasting on Miami if they so choose . . . and IF the 'Canes lie down and let them.

UNC coaches, like all football coaches in the universe by now, well know the secret to beating UM on defense is run right at them, and the secret to beating UM on offense is rattle the quarterback. That's what UNC is going to bring, and like every other team in the universe, they want to beat Miami again real bad.

Those ol' country boys from North Carolina don't buy into this "talent" bologna. They'll put the smack-down on anybody who think's he's special, if he lets them.

Miami's second string has more than enough offensive fire power and defensive stopping power to put UNC away before halftime.

But will they? We can talk all the strategy we want, but what it comes down to is the attitude with which the 'Canes take the field, and how they respond to the adversity UNC will surely rain down on them.

Will the 'Canes come to win, or will they come just to play? Do they have the heart?

The question is not about talent or strategy. The 'Canes have all of that. The question is about attitude, and only the team has the answer.

Manny ,
The keys to next step in the developement of this team is exactly what you imply:
1. Establish a second dominant running back. Relying tooo heavily on Baby James would be a big mistake.
2. Open the passing game more to the wide receivers- particulary to Sam Shields. Lance Legget is already developing nicely.
Go canes!

Hi manny,
Admit it, your team was nearly beaten by the 30th ranked defense in the country. Hey, I would expect the Canes to come out firing in second half too when FIU's starters get ejected. Your team would have lost so enough said. As far as the Herald is concerned, I think it's pretty pathetic that you can write about UM but no can write about FIU. Pretty sad for newspaper that claims to write about all sports.

I want to say I have never laughed so hard as I have with all the media coverage about how hard up the U of Miami must be. The campus is a national joke, and FIU looks like the major South Florida Team taking the lead in the, what's not going to be accepted. Why oh why did they do what they did or failed to do. I'll tell you why it's because they could not win anymore games if they did the right thing. Well guess what they just beat Little ole Duke, GT is going to pound it down and shove it up, just like the coaches and school administration should have done to all it's gang members! What a week school, looking forward to another good laugh Saturday ! Go Jackets.

Man U guys sux if this is all the feedback you get on your blog. The AJC in the ATL gets this much feedback in 30 min. and yours is for a few weeks.

Your not THUGS or Convicts your have a school in a slum so you dunb yourself down to your "HOOD".
The GREATEST in the last 25 years????? Hey, b. BONDS is going to be the BEST TOO??, but the u and b. bonds have the same afliction. NO M***F**ClASS, or leadership (present adm. included). After Ga. Tech puts it in Your a** get used to it because most of you will not get a degree and end up in Jail, rehab, or an asskissing (job for your name); and will spend getting screwed over and over and over again. Maybe M.Irvin will make you part of his possey and you get your drugs and whores for free on his coatails.

Sorry I got low-class but mutch like the U I have become what is around me just writing this.
GT 23 UM 10.

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