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Good moves, now to the playcalling

Greetings from Dallas. I'm still here out west, covering the big high school game this week when Miami Northwestern travels to Southlake Carroll to play in that No. 1 vs. No. 2 prep matchup.

I'm sorry I didn't give some of you a heads up about not having a live Q&A this week. But I've been a bit busy here in Southlake since I drove back in Sunday. But enough about that, let's talk Canes.

I've got to say I was happy to see coach Randy Shannon deliver on his promise he'd do what was best for the team at all times and make some major changes. He did that Tuesday, making moves to improve his starting lineup.

Here's a quick recap:
- Kyle Wright moves back to the starting role at quarterback.
- Randy Phillips, still sporting OU receiver treadmarks, gets moved from corner to backup safety, the spot he really was meant to play.
- Sam Shields, the team's best receiver, moves back into a starting role.
- The experiment of having a 6-4, 260-pound tight end return kickoffs ends. Richard Gordon goes back to his main duties, blocking. DeMarcus Van Dyke or Shawnbrey McNeal are expected to replace him.
- And Daren Daly, who was attrocius on kickoffs, gets replaced by Francesco Zampogna.

Everything should be perfect now right? Hmm. Not quite. To me, personnel adjustments are just phase one. Look, I'm not an offensive or defensive coordinator. I only play one when I got my PlayStation 2 controller in my hand and John Madden Football or NCAA Football on. Kind of just like most of you. But I don't think it took a rocket scientist to figure out Miami's playcalling this season needs some work.

Did former starter Kirby Freeman ever throw the ball down the middle of the field -- even once while he was in there? No to my memory.
Any of you have an idea why in God's name was Miami's pass defense still playing man-to-man in your face defense -- even after falling behind 14-3 and proving it couldn't handle OU's speedy receivers?
Why was Graig Cooper running sweeps inside the OU 5 and Javarris James not in for the goalline smashmouth situations?
Why was Miami running a no-huddle shotgun offense when it obviously couldn't do anything in it?

To me, the Canes need to go back to basics. When Kyle Wright was in there Saturday and having success, his receivers were doing simple little routes. Darnell Jenkins? Go downfield 10 yards and turn around. Completion! First down! Ryan Hill? Ditto. What a concept! When Miami was running the football successfully, it was Javarris James up the middle, and Graig Cooper following his brigade of blockers on sweeps.

Look, offensive coordinator Patrick Nix and defensive coordinator Tim Walton are young, talented guys. Coach Randy Shannon wouldn't have hired and promoted them if he didn't see something he liked. UM's personnel was obviously were outmatched against OU. They couldn't provide miracles. But they could have made adjustments. There were flaws in Miami's gameplan before the 51-13 loss. 81 passing yards against Marshall? A wide open middle of the field against the Thundering Herd? Surely, Kyle Wright can ought to find ways to get 10-yard completions against FIU this week, right? Surely, Miami's safeties don't have to play in the box nearly every down against FIU, do they?

Just some of my thoughts people. I know many of you have shared the same. Since this is all fun anyway, what did you see as far as playcalling that you'd like to see removed from the playbook? What about what would you like to see Miami do more of? Is there still more personnel moves Miami needs to make? Have some fun. Play coordinator.


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Patrick Nix has to step up in a big way this week and more on Thursday night against A&M. There should be a call to Cleveland and tell Ken Dorsey that when he is cut again come join the hurricanes as QB coach. He was the smartest QB that has ever started for Miami

This is the perfect week to make changes and adjustments, being its a short week with A&M 5 days later. Hopefully KW will appreciate his opportunity and lead the offense into the endzone

I would focus more on establishing the run, and mix in play action from there. I'd like to see more one-back, three wide sets from under center.
Shotgun needs to be seen only in long yardage situations.
More hooks and drag routes, swing passes to the backs. Make it as easy as possible for the WR's to catch the ball. Get Cooper more involved.
I saw a lot of zone blocking in Norman, scrap that and get a hat on a hat and play smash mouth football. OU got too much penetration last Saturday.
More motion, trying to create mismatches whenever possible.
Overall, more imagination and adjusting is needed.

Did anyone feel like Nix didn't even come up with anything new? I felt like I was watching the same crap that the last 2 OC's have been running. I won't pretend the be an OC, but if I were a DC for any other team, I would just look at film from the past 4 years to get a beat on what the offense is going to do. I just want to see something that I haven't seen for the last 4 years. Maybe a split back set behind KW; maybe roll KW out of the pocket more to give the o-line more of a chance; MORE PLAYACTION!!! I don't know, and it's not my job.

I say screw the run. We know we can run the ball up and down the field on FIU. I want to see pass,pass,pass. Practice the passing game all day long and dont pull Kyle out until he has 300+ passing in the game.
Kirk Herbstreit was on Joe Rose this morning and he even said that everyone that plays us this year is going to stack the line and dare us to throw the ball. And if we cant it is going to be another ugly season. He said it was ashame but Leggett looked like he was a bust, he should have been a really special player but just doesn't seem to have it.
Take the FIU game to do nothing but work on the passing attack. Figure out which freaking Rec. is going to step up and catch the damn ball cause Legget sure as hell isn't going to.
I want to see like 300yrds passing against FIU.

Manny any word on how Marve is coming along?
Is there any chance we may see him get some playing time if we had a game well in controll?

Go Canes!!!!!

A huge factor in the hiring of Nix and Walton was their low salary requirements, not necessarily their talent or experience. That's what concerns me because the lack of talent development has been apparent, and I doubt Nix and Walton have the experience needed. I hope I'm wrong.

As for play calling, a well executed play will normally work. Our play calling in 01 was anything but innovative, but the players executed at a high level. The problem with this team is systemic, and won't be solved overnight by line up changes and new plays. This will be a long and tumultuous (that means not very smooth for the trespassing gator fans) process. Buckle up folks.

Right on, Manny! They need to go back to the basics. Also, there should be a distinction between creative play-calling and the use of creative formations and plays. It seems a lot of fans talk about the two as one. You can have creative fundamentally strong play-calling without creative formations. I think everyone is advocating more creative play-calling. But some fans are also wanting creative formations and plays. I do not agree with this. We need to stick with the basics until we are great at them and build upon that.

No question the play-calling near the goal line was very poor. JJ should have been involved as well.

The plays that bothered the most were these handoffs to Cooper from side as opposed to him lining up directly behind the QB. It seems we went away from the basic I formation handoff type stuff. We need to get back to it. Also, the analysts mentioned that our receivers were taking deep fly routes that we did not have the time for. I agree with that assessment. The routes need to be shorter especially against superior teams. Some more tight end involvement in pass catching would be good too. And finally, some misdirection with Cooper. He is super quick but not very fast. He gets caught a lot from behind I'm noticing. We need to utilize his quick change of direction better.


Run the ball more with Baby J & Coop...Especially Baby J he should be the work horse (seemed to work pretty good @ OU when they ran first , instead of trying to pass first when its not working)

Play all the WR's , seems like they just went with Shield's,Leggett,Jenkins,& Hill all game long....rotate all the guys and let Kayne & Hankerson make some plays

Throw to the TE's (Use Richard Gordan more , hes too much of a freak to not put his talent to use)

As Manny said use Shawnbrey McNeal or someone more elusive to help R.Hill on kickoff returns

Get Cooper the ball as much as possible in space (kickoff returns , screens , swing passes out of the backfield, maybe even line him up at WR)


I like T.Good but Sharpton needs to be our MLB

Phillips definitely should be a safety!


Playing one of the top three teams in the nation is a difficult task is a difficult task for any coaching staff, particularly a new coaching staff that still doesn't have a good grasp on their players strenghths and limitations. So I do not believe our performance, which was from any and all angles piss poor, is truely indicative of the team that we have fielded this season.

If I had to guess, I'd say our O' is going to hold nothing back vs FIU. We need to gain back our confidence going into A&M and the coaches need to get a better feel for the capabilities of our personell. A&M is the gateway game to the ACC schedule, and our performance on that night will set the tone for the rest of the season. We'll know in two Thursdays, whether we are an 11-2 team or a 7-6 team.


How anyone can complain about the coaching already is beyond me. It was the 2nd game of the season for god sake. Nix has been at Mia for a whole 8 months maybe half of that has actually been spent with the players. Nix has inherated an awful QB situation and Rec. corp and everyone is already dogging the man. Give him and Shannon a chance to get playmakers in here.
I am not even close to start blaming the coachin staff yet.

RCF-I'm not blaming these coaches. I said it was a systemic problem that they inherited, and its going to take a lot of time to repair the damage. This is a tough job for anyone, especially guys without experience.

My concern is that we had a chance to get experienced guys (like Koetter) but didn't because we won't pay the money. Nix may be very good, but wouldn't you rather have a guy whose already shown an ability to develop QB's and an offense?

BTW, I think Shannon has done an excellent job so far. Its the coaches and coordinators that concern me. Not because of what has already happened, but because they have a difficult job even if they had years of experience.

We need to establish a base offense that our current talent can execute. After that, the OC needs to sit down with the DC and play 10 hours of “rock, paper, scissors” so that both realize that if tendencies develop, they will never have the degree of success needed to achieve the goals……very simple, It matters how you call a game.
From a very simple ex oc.

HEY MANNY! Nothing about Everett's good news? He might walk again! Cane's country had a horrible scary moment, a grim prediction for paralysis. Now he's moving arms and legs voluntary!? Let's give that a mention. Everett was more than just a Kellen Winslow, Greg Olsen backup. He was a 'Cane. Miami is more than just the OU game, FIU game, or the 2007 season. It's about the family. My prayers were answered, how about yours?

manny navarro (sep 12): "I'm sorry I didn't give some of you a heads up about not having a live Q&A this week. But I've been a bit busy ..." THOUGHTLESS

hey manny navarro, you can't afford to rest on your laurels ...

hey manny navarro, don't take us for granted ...

I would like to see more slant and post patterns, more passes to the backs and TEs and to never see the option run ever again.

Yes would it have been nice to get Koetter no dought but it is hard for any university yet alone UM to compete with the NFL in salary which is where Koetter is at.
Not attacking you personally Meph just tired of people already critcizing the coaching staff after 2 games. Could some of the play calling have been better so far yeah probably but damn it has been 2 games and I have already seen rumblings about firing Nix.
Let's give these coaches a chance to deveolpe some of the young guys like Hankerson, Kayne, etc... and bring in there own guys as well. Remember this is only Mosely's 2nd year and it isn't like he inherited a bunch of talent at the Rec. position. Shields has only played one game so I am interested to see how he performs the rest of the season.
The A&M game is going to say a whole lot more to me as to where we are at as opposed to the OU game this past week.
I frequent alot of the blogs and I said all along that the OU game had the potiential to be ugly. I dont care what everone says about coaching we just dont have the talent to compete with the OU's, LSU's, right now it is going to take time.
I still think with some tweaking that 9-3 is very possible. A&M in my opinion will decide how good this team really is.
Lets hope that they will really try to air it out against FIU and get some kind of a passing attack because everyone knows we are going to run the ball and they will steady put 8-9 in the box.

I remember Butch Davis's second year and we were getting thumped by FSU, and I was getting very angry that all we were attempting to do was run Jackson to the right, to the left, throw in third and more than 10, and then punt. I remember the "turn the page" chant, emploring Butch and Coker to try another play, ANY other play. But it turns out, years later, that there were no other plays, because there were no PLAYERS. The same offense broke records when Butch's full recruiting classes filled out the team.

I think that's what's going on now. Why would Nix try to throw it down the middle when a simple screen pass bounces off the receiver's hands like there are springs at the end of his arms? That's the EASY pass...why would they catch harder ones? Leggett can't get open against OU, so why on Earth would you run a play to throw to him. We keep trying these simple out patterns, screen passes, and receiver screens because that is the only way to get the ball into their hands, and someone besides the running backs has to touch the ball. I think all the weird play calling by Nix was because there was nothing else to try, because there are no skilled receivers on this team. Hurry up and graduate Davon, we need you.

Go back to the Pro Set and dump this spread in the shotgun offense.
Utilized a Fullback to help block on blitz or open holes for the runners, this is cane football.
Utilize the Tight End thats should be open in the middle of the field. If Gordon has all the talent that is suggested, why is he not on the field playing tight end, this would cause mismatches for LB's.

NIX this isn't Georgia Tech.
Randy please teach Nix how U play CANE FOOTBALL.


Exactly Chicago...
Its not Nix's fault, he inherited these players. Use FIU to play all the young Receivers and Shields (who is only a true sophomore himself, with 1 gm under his belt this year). If we half to run the ball early to get a couple of scores fine but hen lets air it out we have got to develope some kind of a passing game or it is going to be a long year.
Would some of the Receivers please stand up and give Kyle some help please.

Sorry for the typos

If UM's strength is its running game...why are we in the shotgun with only one back in the game?
If we have QB problems, why are we putting so much pressure on them to make reads and plays?
Simplfy the passing game and let the run set up the pass. make adjustments as the game rolls on.
No panic, but Coker and his staff could have done as well in Oklahoma.

Manny, when you get back from TX. How about digging some info on Marve, how is his healing process coming along. Any chance he doesn't get red-shirted this year.
I would love to see him get some game experience this year even if it were the last 2 games of the seaon.

Go Canes!!!!!!!

How are we going to run the ball when everyone we play is stacking the line? The only way we will have a succesful run attack will be against scrub teams. If we do not develope some sort of passing attack we will be in for another trip to the SMURF BOWL in Idaho.

Manny, to answer your question:

Probably the only unit that's been playing up to expectations so far has been the o-line, which has been nothing short of phenomenal (yes, even against OU; and I was at the game, so I saw our OL firsthand). With that in mind, I don't understand why we kept lining up in the shotgun against OU -- even on obvious running plays. I can only imagine that we remained in a shotgun formation so Kirby would have a better vantage point to read OU's defense. Well, the formation and its lack of versatility killed us. Scrap the shotgun as an every-down formation.

Also, as few times as I've seen us throw deep, I have NEVER seen us attempt a deep pass over the middle -- not to a TE, a RB, or even a slot receiver. It sure is easy for a defense to put 8 or 9 in the box when they know they don't have to cover the middle of the field past 10 yards.

Bottom line: I have no doubt whatsoever that Randy will right this ship. And I am patient. But I am terrified that our offense will be no better than last year unless we at least ATTEMPT to throw the deep ball more often.

We should only be in the shotgun on third and long. No more running plays from the gun.

I agree with an earlier post. If we run 35 plays in the first half 25 should be passes. Once the game is out of reach we cannot pass or we will be seen as running it up. Pass first half and run the second. This team needs to find out who can catch the ball and KW needs work with the receivers. PASS PASS and PASS some more in the first half. TX A&M will have 8 or 9 in the box on Thursday night.

How about some double TE sets?

Thank you...people we know we can run we need to PASS,PASS,PASS. Pass until we have to put an ice pack on Kyle's arm. I am talking 30 40 pass attempts until it freaking works. FIU is the perfect game to do this.

RCF....Yes teams are stacking the box against us, but the shotgun on every down is not the answer. Run from the pro-set and you can move into shotgun formation from there, just not on every down. From the pro-set you can split backs out or run from the I or whatever. It gives you more flexability. In the OU game we never tried to run the ball and we couldn't throw and we never made any adjustments, just like under Coker.
I'm not judging the Boss from just one game and I know he must re-stock the talent. I didn't even expect us to win the game Saturday, but I did expect us to compete and not get blown-out again.
Anyway, keep the faith. I know brighter days are ahead for UM

Too bad Miami is now the 3rd best team in Florida...like it or not, USF is getting real good, and we get to play them over the next few years!

We need a fullback in this offense. You mean to tell me Miami can't find one meathead who wants to do nothing but blast some linebackers at the los and catch a few balls out of the backfield.

This offense needs an identity, are we gonna be one back three wide in the gun. or are we gonna get back to some I formation blasting fools and running down their throats.

I know we don't have the studs to do that now but damn Nix get a fullback in there K-rob somebody. Might want to try throwing to the TE also might loosen some things up for our pathetic qb's and receivers.

What I couldn't understand was the fact that OU's corners were about 10 yards off the receivers why didn't UM just nickle and dime it down the field. The gave the wide-outs much respect but you got counter by what's available and dictate the other team's calling to some aspect.

Too bad we can't just put in the Freshmen receivers & R. Marve and let them learn. Who knows? They might would just surprise us all.

A Comment above talked about working on the passing game against FIU, and I agree. But we must be careful not to overlook FIU. Remember App State?

I am tired of hearing people talk about how we got blown out, but they did not pay attention.

At the half we were down by 8. Had Kyle come back in and moved the offense like he had done in the first half, the score would not have gotten out of hand like that. No defense can hold back a talented offense like OU has for too long, if we could have put some drives ogether to at least get field goals, the score would have been much closer.

I know you guys keep saying to give it time and that we don't have the players to use other plays but I disagree. I think that because we don't have any superstar playmakers we should help the team to remember what it's like to have fun. That's when we have always played best. We should incorperate more gimmick plays into our scheme. I've seen almost every team in the country use the halfback pitch-pass except us. Or maybe once we've establish the run, we hand off to baby j or coop and they turn around a pitch it back on a flea-flicker. When Nix was hired he said that we would go down feild more and be a lot more aggressive. 10 yard curls aren't aggressive. Even if we can't loosen defenses up by throwing down feild all the time, we would sure loosen them up more if evert time we run a pitch there looking behind them to see if our back is going to throw it again! Does anyone agree?


You know I agree that Miami should get back to being Miami, but a wrinkle here or there is good too. It is like looking at your "hot" or "fine-ass" girlfriend for 2 years and then she changes her hair or wardrobe. Now she looks hotter/finer.

So I am going to defend Nix and Walton a little bit for getting away from being who Miami is. Here are your points, I will counter defend them a lil' bit. Caution these are just my guesses, no facts:

1. Did former starter Kirby Freeman ever throw the ball down the middle of the field -- even once while he was in there?

rebuttal: I would guess there were routes run over the middle, but they were covered or Kirby didn't look up to make the throw. I seems the coaches saw opportunities to make plays and Kirby didn't make them. Maybe that is why she is getting benched??

2.Any of you have an idea why in God's name was Miami's pass defense still playing man-to-man in your face defense -- even after falling behind 14-3 and proving it couldn't handle OU's speedy receivers?

rebuttal: several things here. #1 Miami disguises their coverages a lot during the game, sometimes it looked like Man, and they played zone or a version of zone. #2 The OU QB made some good throws and hit the WR before the safety was able to help or the safety help was not in the right spot(give OU credit) #3 They only isolated the corner-backs in the red zone. They seem to blitz when the defense is in the red-zone more (they need to change that tendency because teams will be more aggressive down there, because there are opportunities to go for the TD) #4 Lately, Miami has been moving the safety down to put an extra guy in the box to support the run. #5 The DTackle position has to be more disruptive

3. Why was Graig Cooper running sweeps inside the OU 5 and Javarris James not in for the goalline smashmouth situations?

rebuttal: Maybe not a good move, because Oklahoma's speed at Linebacker was good. Miami could have outsmarted themselves here(it happens) - but I understand the thought - The tendency is to run straight ahead. Maybe the absence of a Fullback limits the straight ahead stuff.

Or Miami over-estimated it's speed advantage, because Oklahoma looked a lil' bit faster than Miami at the match-up positions.

There was a play where Cooper tried to dive over the top, when I thought he could have stuck it up in there and scored. But who knows what happened.

Experience says, "Let the other team prove they can stop your base offense, before I open my bag of tricks."

5. Why was Miami running a no-huddle shotgun offense when it obviously couldn't do anything in it?

rebuttal: I like the concept for a whole lot of reasons such as: tempo and rhythm of an offense. Also, Shannon's explanation - the idea of catching a defense in a mismatch. However, Miami never established it had a "mis-match".

I agree Pro Set... especially near the goal line where we need to play smash mouth and run it down their throats.

Heck, Nix did that against US last year and the fullback opened up gaping holes in our D.

I'm happy to see Randy make the changes... but I REALLY want to see GAME DAY decision making, adjustments and changes... NOT a few days later.

Miami used to be quarterback U. We were scoring points racking up large amounts of passing yards and the running backs were getting their share. We were a pro style offense and we have had some very experienced O coordinators in the past. We have not had this since the 2001 team , and then even that team struggled at times. I noticed that we began to focus on one receiver around that time also. Anyway, the pro style o is a passing o. And its suppose to be structure in a way that moves the d around so that a receiver is open. It includes all the receivers.
It seems like we depend too much on the athleticism and not the design of the play. Theres got to be a level of sophistication ie knowing what d is being played, autoboling

sorry about that wrong button. Anyway the play needs to be changed for according to d by the qb. With game planning and seeing the tendencies of the d, there should always be success.

Playcalling adjustments? How's this...


1) Stop throwing quick screen passes to Leggett as if he's got Santana or Sinorice Moss quickness to juke a defender and house it every offensive series.

2) "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line,"--so stop running counters and sweeps to the perimeter of every defense. Knuckle up and pound the middle like other offenses do to your defense.

3) Find another play to roll the quarterback other than the play-action bootleg that you run on the first play of every half.


1) Can anybody get these guys to run zone coverages/blitzes instead of two-deep man coverage every single play of every single game? Any team with a spread offense and/or mobile quarterback gashes the defense, so please adjust before Texas A&M comes to town.

2) Blitz from anywhere, everywhere. If speed is our defensive strength, why not use it as often as possible? Sure it's risky, but so is sitting back in man-to-man getting burned by talented receivers, and smart QBs behind brick wall offensive lines.


First, use a fullback please. One back sets are nice, but without an absolute dominant OL, it just isn't as effective as a two back set. And UM's H-back or tight ends lead blocking leaves a lot to be desired. Go out and recruit some full backs.

Second, run some plays for the tight ends. Tight ends have been a staple at the U. They help move the chains, and the third down conversion rate for the U the past two-three years is horrible. That's the only down they throw deep. This offense is basically negating an entire third of the football field. Miami's tight ends may not be Shockey and Winslow, but they are above average cats that could help move the chains.

Third, reduce the amount of playing time for Leggette, Jenkins and Jones. Increase playing time for Hill, Shields, Hankerson and Kayne. I'm not saying bench them, but the coaches should look at not starting them. The U needs players that want the ball, that demand the ball, and will aggressively attack the ball. Leggette, and to a certain extent, Jenkins just do not go after the ball. They don't get enough separation from the DB's. They are as much of the problem the past two - three years as the OL and the QB.

And lastly, call plays that maximize your players strength. Cooper shouldn't be in on red zone plays. JJ should be in on the goalline plays. Or move Kylan back to the RB so he could be the short yardage back.

There's over 100 college football teams. So by definition over 100 OC's. Use your TiVo, grab a play or two from some team that works well or has the possibility to work well and use it. Pat Nix is a smart man, but open your mind to the possibility that there are other OC's that draw up some good plays. Grab an old Cane play from back in the day and I don't mean option plays. Heck, you could fill half a playbook just watching last years NC game. Personally I like miss direction because I've seen it used so much against the Canes aggresive defense. And I do believe Cooper had his best run against OK on a miss direction play. Just a thought.

I remember watching Miami when Butch D. was here, and one the reason they were so succefull was because of the adjusments the coaches were able to make after the first half.
The second half was always about making better adjusments than the other team. I didn't see that with Coker's team, and didn't see it last Saturday against OU. At the same time, it's too early, and I hope the coaches can learn to do it.
Also like you said Manny, these coaches are young and still learning. Starting from the head coach down to the especial teams.
I have faith Coach Shannon and Nix will get things turn the right way. At the same time, we also need better players in some positions, and coach Shannon is working on it. Go canes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For starters...lose that 6 yard out pattern when it's 3rd and 8

The play calling had nothing to do with it. Kirby can't throw a 5 yard out. He bounced the ball to the receivers almost every play. When he did get it there Leggett and crew couldn't catch the ball. There were plenty of open receivers all game, but Kirby doesn't have the arm to get it there. When Wright went in he was able to get it there, until they started blitzing him and his fear got in the way. We have no quarterbacks and almost no receivers. You can call plays when you don't have the horses. Everyone says we have the talent, but I've haven't seen it on offense in years. I always blamed the line, but they did a a respectable job in the last game, and Freeman sucked. He has little to no talent. Even when Wright was in there, the line did a good job, even on the blitz, but he is so afraid to get hit that he rushed his throws. We will do NOTHING until we get some decent QB and WR play.

la shana tova

Too bad Miami is now the 3rd best team in Florida...like it or not, USF is getting real good Posted by: JL | September 12, 2007 at 04:47 PM oh, really? TV, NFL & blue chips disagree ... SUSTAINED EXCELLENCE

ask tampa native Robert Marve who's better ... DEFINITIVE

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