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Take your finger off the panic button

Red Alert! Red Alert! The Miami Hurricanes lost a football game!
Red Alert! Red Alert! The Canes got embarrassed in Norman, 51-13!
Red Alert! Red Alert! This is unacceptable!

Do most of you realize how ridiculous that just sounded? Yet, of the 400-plus messages left on this blog and others related to University of Miami football, I'd estimate about 90-percent of them sounded just like that madness above.

Did The U get thrashed yesterday by the fifth-ranked team? Yes.
Did various parts of the team -- namely the quarterback position and secondary get exposed? Yes.
Did Randy Shannon and his assistants make the wrong move by taking Kyle Wright out of the game? Yes.
Did the game plan stink? Yes.
Is it time to collect everything green and orange in your house and burn it? Absolutely not. Listen up Canes fans, it is time to take your finger off the panic button!

University of Miami football fans are passionate about their team. I understand that. I was born and have bled in this city all my life and spent many a Saturday at the OB myself. But this quick jump off a roof mentality has got to stop. The reality is this football team lost to a superior team and the score was lopsided for a few reasons. I'll get into those later. But the reality is this team is better than last year's 7-6 squad. And this team can also end up running the table the rest of the season. It's not out of the question. The ACC, last time I looked, wasn't exactly loaded with great teams.

I know you are wounded. Randy Shannon and the talk got you all excited. Some of you believed this was 2001 all over again (I don't know how). And then, the Canes ego got blasted with a shotgun yesterday. Here's the problem, though. As Canes fans, you need to stop comparing this team right now to anything accomplished in 1983, 87, 89, 91 and 2001 -- or even those other seasons when Miami had superior talent than this team. It's just not fair. Did you honestly expect Randy Shannon to take this team from 0 to 60 -- or 7-6 to national champs -- in less than 3.1 seconds? The University of Miami is not a Ferrari or the suped-up race car today that it once was.

Yesterday proved that again. But what yesterday also proved is that Miami isn't that far away. Did we forget it was 21-13 in the third quarter? All, Oklahoma did was expose Miami's weaknesses. did get out of hand? Yeah. But it was 21-13. Miami was in the fight. Yes, they picked on the secondary, made Miami's quarterbacks look average at best. But isn't that something we already knew was a problem? Didn't we know the secondary got beat several times by Marshall last week? Haven't we known Miami's passing game has done about diddly squat in the last three years? Why did we believe all of a sudden those issues were going to vanish against arguably Miami's toughest opponent in the last three seasons?

The bottomline is this: This team isn't as bad today as the film Randy Shannon poured over last night. It just isn't good enough to beat teams like Oklahoma. Not yet. But it is good enough to thrash the Marshalls and FIUs of the world. The strength of this team -- its defensive line and running game is good enough to not only keep Miami in games, which is what it did all last year, but likely win most of them. The Canes don't have just one star in the backfield anymore. They've got two. Colin McCarthy is growing up everyday. Calais Campbell and Kenny Phillips? They're still here.

Look at the rest of Miami's schedule and honestly ask yourself if there is a game the Canes simply cannot win? Ask yourself if there is another Oklahoma on the schedule?

FIU? They're 0-2. Played Maryland halfway decent yesterday and lost.
Texas A&M? Needed triple OT to pull of a win at home against Fresno State.
Duke? Basically winless in 2-plus seasons.
North Carolina? Butch Davis isn't ready yet to win a big game.
Georgia Tech? The Yellow Jackets are likely the toughest game at home this season.
Florida State? The Seminoles have their own issues and were down 17-3 yesterday to UAB.
North Carolina State? Barely treading water these days.
Virginia? They beat a beaten down Miami team 17-7 last year. They only beat Duke by 11 yesterday.
Virginia Tech? In a game vs. an opponent much like Miami's, they were trailing 24-0 to LSU yesterday at halftime. The final beatdown was 48-7. Need we forget the 17-7 season opening win over (gasp!) East Carolina.
Boston College? The last time Miami lost to them, I was 6.

Feel better yet? Have you thought about taking finger off the panic button?

Randy Shannon and his coaches have to go to work today. They need to figure out who is going to play quarterback the rest of this season. They need to find ways to get the receivers involved in something other than blocking. They need to get their secondary and pass defense to play better. But they don't need to hit the panic button. And neither do you.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW: I realize my comment yesterday saying Kyle Wright was "yukking it up" has caused a bit of a stir. I  want to apologize to Kyle myself. In my quest to pound out my locker room report as quickly as possible yesterday and get the rest of my work done, I used the wrong word. I fumbled. I certainly don't want anybody to get the idea Wright was having his own personal party yesterday in the wake of the team's 51-13 loss to the Sooners. All I was trying to convey, was that Kyle was feeling better than he has most of this fall. He got to play. He moved Miami's offense. He's hopeful it made it a difference with playing time. And yes, while most of his teammates appeared down, he seemed a little happier. Not a lot. Just a little. Good enough to crack a few smiles with his family and friends after the game. It was a bad choice of words on my part. That's all. My bad Kyle. My bad Canes fans.

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