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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.


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The Truth, that's a great breakdown. If our DL can consistently get in their backfield, then I think we will be in good shape.


Texas sooner,

I would say losing to an unranked team is worse than losing to a ranked team as opposed to anything called a "soft team". But after all, we are the lowly 29 team in the land, you have nothing to worry about.

swerve4canes, I'm not sure what the point of your comment is. Aren't you in agreement that UM is an up an coming team? One that will be undefeated?

You don't have to play possum and try to convince 'ME' that your team is under-ranked and dangerous. Nor the coaches nor the players. Nobody is overlooking this game or expecting it to be easy.

The Truth has some interesting point and analysis, and I applaud him for his effort. The repeated statement of 'if we dominate' is one I would contend with. I don't think UM will dominate at ANY matchup. There may be areas that they end up consistently winning, but this won't be Marshall, nor UNT. This is going to be a tough long battle for both teams.

I do think that one of the biggest keys of the game is the OU OL vs UM DL, in fact the matchup of the game will probably 6'8" 350 lb OL Phil Loadholt vs 6'8" 280 lb DE Calais Campbell. What a battle of giants this will be. Obviously Loadholt will have the size advantage (not height, but in mass), but will he be fast enough to contain Campbell's quickness, particularly without having to resort to double teams? And if Oklahoma does have to continuously double team, will Miami be able to exploit that with DT or LB?

Personally, no WAY will Loadholt hold up against Campbell for the whole day. Campbell is going to get the best of this matchup, although not like he's used to. I have Campbell winning 60% of the head-to-head competition against Loadholt, and anytime Oklahoma has a backup in there, they'd better run away from that side. However, enough double teams should be interspersed here and there to give Bradford enough overall room to get the job done.

86Cane: mutually beneficial

http://www.miamitodaynews.com/news/070906/story-viewpoint.shtml $800M ballpork at the Orange Bowl site?! PIGS AT THE TROUGH

Miami's DB's will dominate the passing game. Period. I am not a "homer" and as objective as I see the other position battles, this one isn't going to be close. I say that in part because I think the DL might be able to completely dominate the game...and if they do the DB's will be able to press and dictate the tempo they way they like to. OU needs to run early and effectively to open up the passing game and keep the DL off balance with play action.

Listen to me...as if stoops doesn't know that one! LOL

If they double 81, 94 and the rest of the DL will have a field day. And, yes, they will have to double 81. I don't believe there is one tackle in the country that handle him...so you know its not a jab at the kid blocking him Saturday. 81 is the real deal and could have been starting this Sunday had he decided to leave.

I would just like to add that I really believe OU will dominate Miami's passing game. I'll will be shocked to see #7 throw for more than 175...

TexasSooner, sounds like you're backpedalling from your 1231pm post of yesterday! Read that post again. Where did that cockiness go? Losing confidence already? The Truth said "if our DL dominates". He also said your secondary should dominate. So, you don't think your secondary will not dominate either?

Anyway, everything comes back to the performance of our respective OLs and play calling. Bigger usually means slower, but since I am not that football savvy I don't know one from the other. But if you have to consistently double team Campbell, Moncur is going to wreak havoc in the backfield. That much is clear. We'll see it Saturday.

Aren't your defensive front sevens new as well?

If OU crowds the line, then we pass. If they start passing, we go double deep and will get INT.

These are common sense game schemes. Whomever, makes less mistakes and has more "cojones" at the end will win.

Go Canes.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/05/sports/football/05stadium.html?_r=1&ref=sports&oref=slogin nytimes' richard sandomir: "The new stadium the Jets and the Giants are scheduled to occupy in 2010 will be distinguished by an outer skin of aluminum louvers and by interior lighting that will switch colors depending on which team is playing at home."

DanR, I think you're mistaking confidence in the outcome for 'cockiness'. I'm certain that my statements have been consistent that the BATTLE will be an outright tough one, but that Oklahoma will win.

I'd agree that size does usually equal slowness, but not always. And I don't think Oklahoma will resort to constant double teaming of Campbell. I think it will be very sporadic, maybe 30% of the time, and look for Oklahoma to leave the fullback in to pick up overflow through the gaps of the double team. Gutierrez is an exceptionally good blocker, especially pass blocking.

TexasSooner - all sports in Miami are seldom sell outs whether it is Marlins Baseball (and they have won 2 world series), the Dolphins, or the Hurricanes. Just the way it is. Transient population has alot to do with it I think. And the City of Miami let the Orange Bowl decline, not the University.

CanesgirlNC, I think you're correct about the OB, which is sad. I've had the pleasure to be in both the OB and Dolphin Stadium, and although the latter is very very nice, the OB just had a wonderful mystique about it, and I'm sad that it's going out to pasture.

I would think the University would try to adjust the ticket prices to attract greater attendance, or that local business would have giveaways to those not able to attend often.

I know that Marshall is no great powerhouse, and that UM has not been at the same prominence as their fans are more accustomed to the last few decades, but I was still surprised at the attendance.

I would just like to add that I really believe OU will dominate Miami's passing game. I'll will be shocked to see #7 throw for more than 175...

Posted by: The Truth | September 05, 2007 at 02:48 PM

Truth...I've got Kirby throwing for over 250 yards in a courageous but losing effort to OU. We will see who is correct after the game.

Texas...I'm going to check email now to see if I have what we need for the web site page.

I think Miami will get over 200 yards passing, but I think nearly half of it will come in the 4th quarter when the game is out of reach, against prevent.

TS, you're speaking through both sides of your mouth! LOL.

You say:

"DanR, I think you're mistaking confidence in the outcome for 'cockiness'. I'm certain that my statements have been consistent that the BATTLE will be an outright tough one, but that Oklahoma will win."

and then:

"I think Miami will get over 200 yards passing, but I think nearly half of it will come in the 4th quarter when the game is out of reach, against prevent."

So which one is it? Tough games are never out of reach. Except for one game last year (or one the year before or the one the year before that) we were always in a position to win. IMO, you're indeed backpedalling from your cocky position yesterday and I don't blame you for it. Good Luck Saturday.

SOUP, make mine the italian wedding soup please.

I predict a tough game, but that doesn't mean the game can't turn on a turnover or two. Here's the prediction I made yesterday-

Miami charges in enthused and energetic. A frenzied Owen field makes this a scene rarely ever seen before. Both teams spend most of the first quarter shaking off nerves and excitement. Second quarter has more field movement, with a big INT setting up the Sooners for the first touchdown of the game.


Second half has a more established run game, as Oklahoma's oversized OL has progressively better success opening holes for the speedy running backs. This success will open up deep balls down the middle. Miami has increased success in the running game and with screen passes, but falls short getting into the endzone, turning the ball over when making serious progression into Oklahoma territory. As the Sooner's lead builds, Miami must go further and further into the passing game, leading to desperate passes and turning over on downs. The final score won't accurately represent the closeness of the game before the 3 straight scores that Oklahoma gets in the fourth quarter, nor the final one that Miami gets just before the final gunshot.


Again, my thinking and predictions have all been consistent.

Doesn't make me RIGHT, after all, I'm not the one playing. But, it's my prediction.

Miami wins 18-16...FG to win in the last 2 minutes after scoring a TD and 2pt conversion, holding off OU on thier final drive...(Ok, admitidly thats what I HOPE...maybe its just going to end 16-15 OU)

And, 86, if Kirby throws for 250 you will be correct in that it will spell doom for the 'canes.

OU will not run on Miami. OU will not throw on Miami. Points for both teams will be hard to come by and manufactured via special teams and turnovers. This will be an extremely hard fought game on both sides...more so than LSU/Vatech which I think LSU will wipe the field with the Hokies.

does anyone know when hankerson is supposed to be able to play again????

"jonathan: lay off texassooner."

Awe but green your taking all the fun out of it! :-P


Don't you mean Mckenzie? Hankerson is fine unless something just happened I'm not aware of. Mckenzie was the WR in the car accident. They said they just removed his brace and is able to be on the sidelines but he can't participate in any real practices for a while. They said Marve is throwing the ball around but he can't practice yet either.

Dan...I gotcha covered: Italian Wedding it is!

Texas...I sent you an email. I have your prediction and stuff up but am waiting for Esteban's write up from the Canes perspective to match it.

The page should be done by tomorrow and I will email you a link and post it here also for everyone to check out! Thanks again for volunteering and keeping the discussion here at a respectable level.

Thanks for your input. Your observations have been fairly neutral for an opposing fan and I thank you for them. Your views are shared by many including the polsters and by the Vegas gamblers who are putting Miami as the 10 point underdog.
The Miami Hurricanes have not played like the teams of old. Hopefully the "us against the world" and the "no respect" treatment will light the fire in our players. Thanks for adding fuel to the fire.

3 biggest reasons Kirby should (and will) start:

1. Leadership--we'll need it when our backs are against the wall in this game. Players resond to Kirby's fire more than Kyle's.

2. Scrambling ability--as good as our O-line played against Marshall--it was against Marshall. OU will bring the heat as they put eight in the box and blitz the backfield to stuff the run or collapse the pocket when we pass. Kirby will have to make them PAY with his legs if our O is to have a decent outing. Kirby can turn collapses and should-be sacks into gains. Kyle would take the sack.

3. Short memory--when Kirby makes a mistake, he can let it go and come back with a big play. Kyle, at least in the past, has gone into a shell when the tide turns against him.

Also, is it true that Justin Thompson decommited? Seems like its been coming for awhile, so I'm not surprised. I heard his grades weren't going to be good enough to get into the U so he decided to go somewhere easier to get into.

I am flying into west palm this weekend and i need to know if there is a canes bar anywhere within a 10 mile radius of delray beach. Canes win by a TD and TCU upsets texas. thanks for the help

TexasSooner, I was watching some of the highlights of the OU and NT game, and most of the passes that your qb threw were behind the line. The WRs then separeted them selfs from the DBs. I don't think that will be the case against Miami. All I saw were slant passes, screens, and about two or three long passes. Even in one of those long passes, it was underthrown.
I don't see OU winning this game.

norm, highlights aren't an entire game. And I've already said that in the Miami game these passes that got 40 yards won't go for more than 5 or 10.

When you're leading by 4 TDs, you don't really throw deep, but Oklahoma did twice in the game, the first was a touchdown if not overthrown by 3 yards, the second WAS a touchdown. And regardless what the type of passes thrown were, or who the competition was, I guarantee you that every QB in the nation would love to have 21-23 91% passing.

Don't evaluate on highlights, watch the whole game. I got a much better perspective of the UM team by watching them play, rather than just the highlights.

I'll say out the same thing that many here have said about the UM-Marshall game. Oklahoma didn't run the whole playbook. UNT stacked the box and Oklahoma ran plays that they gave them.

norm, I'll be here to take my lumps from you guys if Oklahoma loses, hopefully you'll do the same if the result isn't to your liking or projection.

Nope, Kyle should not start against the sooners.Freeman should be given more chances to prove himself, after all Kyle caused us lots of misery last year.Kyle owes the U tuition reimbursement.

Look at Miami's stats against Marshall, and look at OU's stats against North Texas - clearly, OU's stats were better across the board (and would have been more-so had the starters played the entire game - like Miami's did).

As for the quality of opponent - both North Texas and Marshall had a common opponent last year - SMU. North Texas beat SMU while Marshall lost. Marshall was no tougher an opponent than North Texas, and our starters were gone after the first drive of the 3rd Q.

Key among "Da U's" game stats:
- 25% on 3rd down conversions (OU-58%)
- 27% conv. rate for Marshall (NT-12%)

If Miami can't do better than 25% on 3rd down conversions against Oklahoma, the Canes are in for a long day.

Miami defense is good, but OU defense had 6 sacks on the day as well, and 3 int's - they're no slouches.

What's my point? The point is that OU played MUCH (MUCH) better against an equally skilled opponent. Miami will come to Norman with something to prove - like they have before. Miami will be fast - like they were before.

I just don't see Miami's "skill level" equal with Oklahoma's...not this year.

You know I have read all the comments on how the "U" is going to give OU a beat down, but that is just crazy. Are there any people out there who really believes in what they are saying? Geez...the most cocky people I have ever met! Honestly we don't know how either QB is going to perform and I do give Miami a chance to win in Norman but overall experience on both sides of the ball, I will go for all the time. "BOOMER SOONER" OU 24 Miami 10

Stats for either team's first game mean NOTHING, particularly Oklahoma's. They could have gotten 100 points and nearly a thousand yards if they'd wanted to. Does that mean they can beat ANYONE?

Not at all.

Execution does, however. They performed well, though far from perfect. What WAS seen was an absence of the things you DON'T want to see. Missed tackles, missed assignments, bad reads, lazy blocking. That shows a dedication and preparation that I've not seen from Oklahoma since Mike Stoops left for Arizona. I like Venables, but there was just something particularly productive about Mike, that HAS BEEN missed.

I miss Mike, too. The D has not been the same since he left. And believe me when we got whipped by K-state in the Big 12 championsip, I know the announcement of Mike Stoops leaving had some impact.

Now I give the Hurricanes mad respect. Their defense scares me. It will be a tight game. As far as a secret offense getting unveiled...possible... OU did it to FSU with their defense in the title game, but I still say OU is a better overall team. Both teams have incredible athletes but it's going to come down to experience and game preparations.

I've been thinking about the effect of a possible 'secret' offense. The only thing I think that would catch the Sooners completely off-guard would be the option or the veer option, and I don't think Miami has the kind of QB to pull it off. Kirby's mobile but not THAT mobile. But something like that would take a series or two at best to adapt to, maybe even a half.

Outside of something that drastic, I don't think there's anything that could be produced that Oklahoma hasn't seen or could adjust to, scheme-wise.

I foresee a LOT of misdirection and counter plays, draws and screens. OL MUST stay disciplined and be aware that a backpeddling QB is doing so for a reason, etc.....

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