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Should Kyle start vs. OU?

I'm just going to raise the question because I know I'm not the only one who has thought about it since Saturday: Should Kyle Wright start against Oklahoma?

Look, I'm not trying to start a quarterback controversy. That's the God honest Randyshannon_pointstruth. God knows the last thing I want to ask Randy Shannon every week is 'Who You Starting this week, Coach?' But I've  got to ask the question. Did Kirby Freeman play poorly enough in Saturday's 31-3 rout of Marshall for Shannon to give the starting job back to Kyle Wright this week? Shannon said last week that Freeman "gives his team the best opportunity to win." But after seeing Freeman on Saturday do you still agree with him? Freeman, who made his fifth career start, technically did what was asked of him. The Canes won and he made just one real mistake (one bad interception). But is this the guy who can lead Miami to a win in Norman?

As many of you in the on Eye on The U crew have pointed out, Freeman's 9 for 21 effort for 81 yards with 1 TD (a 1-yard pass) and 1 INT against Marshall wasn't exactly the kind of stuff you wanted to  Kirby_freeman_passes see against a team whose pass defense ranked 114th out of 119 last season. Granted, Freeman didn't get a lot of help from his receivers. Kayne Farquharson, Darnell Jenkins and Khalil Jones all dropped passes. But how much better would 12 for 21 for say 115 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT really be than what Freeman did accomplish? By my count, Freeman was 0-for-4 when attempting passes longer than 15 yards downfield. And of his nine completions, seven came in the first half (a few of which I'll point out were quick outlets to Lance Leggett. The kind of passes my coworker Susan Miller Degnan probably would have been able to complete too). Freeman was also just 2 for 8 in the second half with that real ugly INT.

Look, Shannon has said all along that all he wants his quarterback to do is get the ball in the hands of his playmakers and not lose games. And for most of this season, the Canes can probably get Kylewalkoffaway with its usual winning formula -- a solid front seven and some ball control behind the legs of Graig Cooper and Javarris James. But after seeing what the Top-10 ranked Sooners did on Saturday (a 79-10 thrashing of North Texas), I think we can all agree that at least this game calls for someone who can do more than just manage an offense. As good and as improved UM's offensive line is, the Canes will see a much stiffer defensive challenge from the Sooners, who have the personnel to make sure James and Cooper don't escape as easily as they did against Marshall.

Now, I know there is the thought out there that maybe Miami and new offensive coordinator Patrick Nix were holding back a little against Marshall. Maybe, they didn't want to show OU "the real passing game" Nix and Miami's coaches have said throughout camp has looked solid. But don't you think last Saturday would have been a good time to at least work on that passing game a little bit?

If we go with what's happened on Saturdays before, Wright is the better candidate. Freeman's career numbers (51.8 completion percentage, 10 TDs, 11 INTs) pale in comparison to Wright's (59.5 career passing percentage with 26 TDs and 17 INTs). Like I said, it's just a question, feel free to chime in.

LOCKER ROOM TALK: Every week I plan to give you a little nugget of something I collect in the postgame locker room in this portion of the blog. This week, it relates to Miami's offensive line, which impressed me most of any group in Saturday's game. I spoke with Reggie Youngblood, Jason Fox and John Rochford after the game, who all said they were pleased with coach Jeff Stoutland's rotation of lineman in the game. Youngblood told me he didn't mind coming in off the bench behind Chris Rutledge. Rochford told me he played most of the game before being spelled by A.J. Trump late in the second half and said his one muffed snap was just a rare case of "human error." To hear what they said, click on audio link.

GAME BALLS -- Offense: Normally, I'd give it to Graig Cooper and Javarris James, who combined for over 200 yards. But they'll get plenty as the year progresses. I'm giving it to the offensive line for picking up just one penalty and not giving up a sack. That -- playing an entire game without giving up a sack -- only happened twice last year (Houston and Virginia). Defense: Tavares Gooden. He led the team with nine tackles, returned an INT to the one-yard line and played his best game as a Cane in my mind. UM needs him to be a star this season at middle linebacker. Special teams: Kick Francesco Zampogna. Tough to give it to anybody else considering the rough day Matt Bosher had punting and the kickoff Daren Daly knocked out of bounds.

LIVE Q&A Tonight: Just a reminder for you guys to leave me some questions this afternoon. I'll be answering questions live from 8 to 9 p.m. at Canespace this week and will hopefully have Northwestern defensive tackle and UM recruit Marcus Forston available to answer some questions at some point. See you tonight.

Comments

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Hey Soup. Are you pioneering another first for blogging? "First to invite a knowledgeable fan of the opposing team for his analysis and then posting it?" ;) BRILLIANT!!! (if that is what you are trying to do).

Actually I don't really know how to take TexasSooner since he come on as very analytically objective. What an idea heh?

Aren't fans supposed to be biased? But still good banter and much better than senseless rabid attacks from others.

It's not a matter of 'hating', it's a matter of analysis and prediction. If I thought we'd lose to Miami, I'd say so. And as I HAVE said, it IS possible!!!

But I don't think it likely. That's my point.

BTW, Oklahoma hits back. NOTHING Miami will bring will intimidate Oklahoma.

All in all, it will be a GOOD game, probably one of the top 5 or 10 for the year.

The UM running game I'm not going to laud as much. That's not to bash the runners' talents as much as it will be skepticism at how the offensive line will do against Oklahoma's 'regular' defense.

The reason I think the running game will be only moderately effective (I'm predicting 120-140 yards rushing Miami will get in total not counting QB sacks) is that Oklahoma's defense should be able to play pass defense straight up. They can commit safeties and linebackers to greater run support. And of course, if the Sooners have an effective lead, the running game will have to be abandoned.

Posted by: TexasSooner | September 04, 2007 at 04:00 PM

Although I can understand your enthusiasm, you might want to consider the following.

A- you dont have the best safety in CFB, we do. Your second string CB was arrested for stealing gas, so now you are 1 less at depth at the position. You can go 8-9 in the box, but that is where speed kills you. That is playing purely a risk style D if you do that. We can run on your d, you will have to put 8 in the box, and dont be suprised if you guys blitz alot.

B- You dont even have a top 10 defense according to cnnsi, espn, ect..ect. and we do. Your linebackers are avg, and the true strength of your D lies within the tackles. You dont have notable ends either. We only have the #1 end in the land. Your defense will have problems with people that work the middle of the field and attack your linebackers. You heard it here first.

Our line is tremendously improved from last year. They only practiced against our defense all summer, all of last year. So to see how we stand up to your "regular D". This is the part where I laugh my ass off. Play a base D all game, and I promise you, you will lose. LOL, Stoops knows that. You dont have a corner that can cover SS one on one period. You can chance it, but really its on our QB and timing more than it is your D.

C- Your offense. yes you have 5 backs that can come in and run all over. So what. You have to make first downs to tire our D out. I think you will have a tough time moving the ball, but more so in the red zone. Your QB is a freshman and has never seen a D like ours. No doubt he is talented, but we will confuse him. This is a game where you see how he withstands the rush and knowing he has cambell rushing his blindside, he might have happy feet. Watch for OU to run, utilize short quick passing to force tight coverage and then try and go deep.

Let's just wait till Saturday and let the players do the talking on the field. It's a big time game. We still have a lot to prove. I'm not sure if i'm sold on Freeman, but Kyle had plenty of shots. But, the O line is gonna be better this year. So let's see. Can't wait! Oh and let's be honest, the polls are crap. Come on, Florida State 19 & Miami unranked? Florida State was man handled. I'm curious to see this Mimai D against OU offense.

My prediction is 23-16 Miami, OU gets exposed.

You have to love the bone heads like TexasSooner who gets on a Miami site to disparage our team and needle the troops.
However, all you have to do is look at the Hurricane dominance in this series. UM's won the last 3...and crushed the sorry Big 8 (or is there 12 now) patsies in the process. If that's not enough, how about the 5 to 2 advantage in National Championship trophies over the past 25 years against, dare I say, a significantly higher caliber of opponent.
Will the players of yesteryear be on the field this Saturday? Well, no they won't. But I bring it up to say that we've been here before Canes fans...underdogs in big games with nary a pundit giving us a shot...and oh how we've shocked em.

We'll be looking for you after the game TexasSooner!

Go Canes!

swerves4canes, good analysis, finally!!! I wouldn't agree that it's wholly accurate, but then again I know my program better than some pundits, just like you know YOUR program better than I.

First and foremost, the key to Oklahoma's offense isn't the RB stable. JUST as importantly is the WR crew, led by expected All-American and first round draft pick as a junior Malcolm Kelly. The significance is that they are balanced between run/pass.

I agree with you that Oklahoma's INITIAL gameplan will include short passes, probably slants, swing passes, or quick outs, maybe even a screen. I don't think these will be very effective against the Miami speed, but along with the running game in the beginning of the game, will help open up play action pass. Look for Oklahoma to roll out Bradford to give a bit more time IF the OL doesn't give enough support.

Your indication of the ends and particularly the linebackers as ineffective is probably the most inaccurate portion of your analysis. I think a better word is 'unproven' or 'unknown'. There is SOME game experience in those positions, but the fact is that the current players are better athletes and should perform better than their predecessor of the last few years. The linebackers will be focused on stopping the run, so I'd agree with you that IF UM can get RB or WR past that line and count on DB support then they will achieve big gains. It will probably happen a few times, but I don't think consistently.

Here's one of the significant factors of the game. Oklahoma will rarely load up the box, and won't have to. They will mix it up, assuredly, and blitzes will come leaving man-on-man coverage. But look for Oklahoma to do this infrequently. Expect a standard defense to cover the WR. And more importantly, I think this is where Miami will turn the ball over, trying to force the ball in deep.

Cane Man, I assure you I'll be back to take my lumps if the game goes against the way I expect it to.

These players aren't even from 2000 or 2001 (the last years both programs won a national championship), and tradition brings only so much to a current game. I'm never one to taunt streaks or even reference any performance more than a year or two prior. This isn't last year's team, this is THIS year's team.

Which I think you would be happy about, considering last year's results for Miami.

BTW, I don't think I disparaged the Miami team. They're improved from last year, with talent that 95% of the teams across the country would drool for, and a motivated and energized coaching staff. All GOOD things that makes them a very dangerous opponent.

But then again, that entire statement applies to Oklahoma as well.

I expect this to be a very hard fought game.

For those who have doubted Coach Shannon's knowledge of and the ability to run the Offense with Coach Nix - I remind you that it takes a REAL master tactician of Offense play calling schemes to run such an excellent defense as he has for so long.

Coach Shannon has now had 8 1/2 months to train the Offense to be as physical and as technically sound as his Defense has always been. He always stresses to the players to be where they are supposed to be / finish the plays / be there in the fourth quarter / take care of your assignments / etc. / etc. / etc.

I expect the U to do all of the above and, therefore, to WIN -
U 27
OU 17

TexasSooner,

I never said your LB's were ineffective, they are just not above and beyond what we see in practice.

You do have a great reciever, but we also have great corners and safety's that can man up on him.

All I am saying is that your analysis of us competing with an "elite program", "aspire to be", uhm we kinda beat you to that. We dont have the as long and storied tradition that you have, but we have had more success over all in the last 25 years than OU has. I think this season is really wacky cause you have a lot of teams that can compete with one another.

I will give OU its due and even if we lose, after all, we are the 29th team in the land, you should beat us.

Did he stress them to do any of that against Marshall???

Actually, I think Miami played hard for all 4 quarters. But, they were not as completely prepared as you allude, particularly on offense.

Best case scenario that I hope for- No major busts or blown coverages from either team. 300 hard fought yards going both ways. No turnovers other than stopping on downs. Just good, hard, smashmouth football with speed and physicality.

And, of course, an Oklahoma victory.

First of all...this blog is ROCKING!

Manny got it started with his "don't want to start a controversy" post and Texas kept it going. Gotta give a guy props for coming on a blog against an army of opposing fans and holding his own while staying civilzed. Good open debate and knowledgeable bloggers are the basis for a good blog. Today this blog had BOTH!

Pet-The-Cat...YUP! U got it, that is EXACTLY what we are after over at Canespace. Texas is gonna do us the honor of being the first "guest fan" to do it!!!

swerve4canes, oh, my comment about being an elite program is MOSTLY tongue in cheek. I wasn't referring to traditionally, but currently. I think you'd agree with me that right now this season, UM is not a top-5 caliber team. It's the aspiration to being BACK to that position is what I meant.

And in all fair play, OU hasn't been around in that area for the prior 2 years at all, despite our achievement of getting to a BCS game last year. We earned it, but weren't of the elite status, no way.

SOUP, I sent off the e-mail as you requested. I may get a chance to look in later.

texas, I know, its whats making this fun =) I would like to say, I tip my hat to you sir as I respect you as a fan and more importantly, we are actually squabbling football talk and not taking ugly cheap shots at the kids. My bad for pointing out the gas thing. I cant wait for saturday.

btw I am still taking the canes and 10.5. I know we can cover that if we somehow get stickem on the WR's glvoes.

I think the potential for the big play is gonna be there for UM, more consistently than you think.

I don't think the OU players respect Miami. Coach Stoops can preach about it until he's blue in the face, I still don't think they will, or do. I heard MKelley running his mouth already about how OU is gonna blow UM out, this and that. Doesn't sound like respect to me.

Well, that's why they play the game.

I would agree that I think a deep passing game is Miami's best chance at keeping it close at the end, or outright winning. But will the WR's consistently get open? AND will they catch the ball? Most significantly, will the QB have the time, AND the skill to get them the ball??

I think the more likely event will be an INT.

Well according to most of the Sooner fans posting on blogs and message boards, the Canes have no shot at winning on Saturday and should just stay home and cancel the rest of the season. They have great players, Miami doesnt. I guess its all over guys.

I like this type of thinking and I hope the OU players have the same attitude. Miami is definitely not North Texas and not the same team you saw last year. If they think they are taking 3 yard passes and turning them into 30 yard gains like they did to NT they are in for a rude awakening.

This is gonna be fun!

I think the rest of the nation is still Cokerized. You can detect it in TSooners opinions. Which is fine. This team has its work cut out for them to regain the respect. What a start an upset in Norman would be!

I think I still am, a little, I just have to see more consistent play for a while to become all the way un-Cokerized.

OU's players are still Cokerized, much to our benefit.

Hey Manny... one important point you've missed.

If Kyle was playing against Marshall, our O-Line would NEVER have been able to register a '0' sack game.

End of discussion.

LIVE chat now on the Canespace blog:

http://canespace.typepad.com/canespace/

ok cane fans, all we need to do is recruit on the basis of letting our players work at car dealerships, but not really work, and get paid for it. then top notch talent will finally come our way.....

Well. Unlike some schools that I won't mention, *cough cough*, when Oklahoma's kids do wrong, they get booted.

This has been a great blog...I'm even starting to like TexasSooner (God love the lil guy).

Go Canes!

Nothing wrong with a little friendly banter. But, let's not go assuming we'll be naming our kids after each other.

I believe Miami's O-line will be the key to the team's success, if they can buld on last week's effort it will help keep OU's defense honest

Can you smell what the Randy is cooking!!!!
I smell upset. Bring the W home.

TexasSooner, your waggon's wheel will fall off right from the start.

*L* Maybe so Norm, though this is the land of the Schooner. The Sooners should find a way to win this one even with just the three wheels.

Sooner MAGIC. Believe it.

Texas Sooner,

If there is one thing true about athletes from Texas and Oklahoma, it's that they are soft.

EXTREMELY SOFT!

Hope you guys remember to wear your diapers to the game.

Jonathan,

'Wear my diapers'. Oh the humor. Really, you are amazing in your creativity.

I don't think I've characterized Miami in any sort of bad way. In fact, I think they are an up and coming team, deserving a lot more recognition than their current ranking.

However, that doesn't mean I think they'll be the better team this weekend. OR be victorious.

If I'm wrong, I'll be here next week to take my lumps. However, I'm pretty certain that after losing to a 'soft' team, you'll be nowhere to be found.

Which is worse, being a soft team, or losing to that soft team?? I am worried that your puny mind won't be able to comprehend the contrast in reality and your imagination. Whole sections of south FL might just shut down.

Yeah you haven't said anything bad, you've just stunk up this whole message board with your little trash talk. Seriously how many posts do you have on here? Do you have a life outside of blog commenting?

BTW no one would believe you would be here after OU losing. Unlike myself I always check the blogs, cause I'm a Canes fan. I actually belong here. Oh and shut down south FL? For what? A football game? Sorry but places like Miami have a lot more to do than just watch football, or in your case blogging. Have a goodnight!

Watching some second-stringers, except for Kyle Wright, take the field toward the end of the Marshall game, it dawned on me that Shannon's demotion of Wright is personal. As Defensive Coordinator last year, Shannon had a couple outstanding performances by his defense spoiled by late interceptions thrown by KW. I think he is holding last year's performance against wright. In the words of the Who, "We won't get fooled again". Wright will be lucky to sniff the field this year. Too bad because I think he would have excelled with the improved offensive line and the maturation of the RB's and WR's.

My god Michael "The Playmaker" Irvin was so BADA$$ back in the day. I feel that Sam Shields can, and will that same kind of player, sorry playmaker. And he will make Freeman look like Vinny come Saturady. Look out ou Theres a storm a brewing and your A$$ in in its path.

Da U is back Baby look out.

GO CANES!!!!!

jonathan: lay off texassooner.

i know u need something to write about, but stop the qb stuff. Kirby got the job over kyle.. the coaches see something that u cant... like escape ability.. kyle would of been sacked at least 3 more time than kirby. they both do not throw the ball great. give kirby a chance, he will do whatever it takes to win

http://www.miamiherald.com/588/story/226012.html recruiting expert tom lemming: "For a new coach, Randy Shannon has had the greatest impact in the shortest time in the past 25 years in coaching ... Shannon is going to control South Florida. Florida and Florida State will have to look elsewhere."

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/football/ncaa/09/04/shannon0910/index.html SI's gary smith profiles Coach Shannon : ) 11 PAGES! ABSOLUTE MUST-READ

Manny...thanks for the LIVE Q&A session last night at Canespace. U are on your way to "Legendary" status if U keep this up!

All the bloggers here and over at TOS appreciate they way U have really picked up your game and are brining us unprecedented coverage of the Canes football team.

New coaches, new season, new players and a whole new level of coverage of the team by a hard core 305er like yourself make this a year to remember!

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/si_online/covers/issues/2007/0910.html U rate an SI banner headline!

http://canespace.typepad.com/canespace/2007/09/canespace-speci.html#comment-81632881 But here's the question everyone wants to know: Who the heck is GREEN on your blog?

Posted by: 86Cane | September 04, 2007 at 08:29 PM

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/umiami/2007/07/fau-um-canes-ow.html#comment-77643240 sorry, 86Cane : ( I want to boost the herald blog just to stick it to the sunsentinel. they betrayed us; they're gonna feel our wrath : ) shun sunsentinel!

Posted by: green | July 30, 2007 at 10:34 AM PAYBACK'S A BITCH

since july 23, manny navarro's once-limp blog elicited 1,700+ posts; more posts in the last 6 weeks than ALL preceding blogs combined (aug 15 - jul 20 : ) 11 months! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

http://blogs.herald.com/random_evidence/2007/08/on-um-harmony-i.html out of nowhere, manny navarro's once-limp blog rocketed to the top of the herald's july blog report with 52,000+ hits! hey greg cote, where's the august report? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

All you football gurus, break the game down for us mere mortals please.

1) Our OL vs their DL
2) Our DL vs their OL - remember the Ohio State OL couldn't handle UF's DL, because OSU OL didn't have enough mobility? How's it with us?
3) LBs in the run game
4) Our Backs vs their receivers
5) Our receivers vs their Backs. Our receivers have speed, but perhaps not football speed. Most of them seem to have butter fingers too.
6) QBs
7) Whos more physical?

Hate to admit it but Texas Sooner has very valid points. OK knows we have a grear D. They know we have two stud RB's. They know the O line is improved. They know we have not proved we can move the ball in the air, down the field, againest anybody much less an elite defense. They will crowd the box, and force the canes to beat them in the air. Unless Kirby and the receivers step it up, it could be a long day. I'll be there to support the canes, but I'm not delusional. Beating OU at there house will be tough,

Green...I told Manny when we first started working together that he had the info and we (Canespace) had the bloggers to make both sites ROCK! Was I wrong?

Our OL vs their DL:
We are going to find this out. UM's line looked much improved from a technical standpoint, but NO one on Marshal's DL has the skill of anyone for OU.

Our DL vs their OL:
#81 and #94 are going to have a field day. Miami's DT's are the key and they are more than just solid. Its not a knowck on OU's line, its more about UM's DL being that damn good...they are the key to the game. If UM's DL dominated, Miami wins.

LBs in the run game:
Same as with the OL. They looked better getting to the ball and making plays, but...it was Marshall. I would like to believe they are better as a whole and we will find out when OU's backs test them.

Our Backs vs their receivers:
No contest here and if the DL gets pressure it won't even matter. Miami and LSU have the best defenses in the country and I don't see OU getting too many plays in the passing game.


Our receivers vs their Backs:
No contest here LOL! OU's secondary should dominate. They are a great group and the key for Miami on O is to run. Shields and Leggett COULD be formidable, but when have they shown it?

QBs:
IMO, a wash. Until Freeman shows us anything, I'll go along with the idea that we'll get more of what we have already seen. OU's QB is baby face brand new and is going to have a long day Saturday.

Whos more physical:
Stoops consistantly has some of the more physical teams year in and year out. So, considering Miami hasn't been its self I'm going to go with OU until the game begins...then we'll see.

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