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A great QB can make all the difference

Say what you want about what's gone wrong at the University of Miami over the last five years. Point to all the excuses you like to explain why this program plummeted from national championship contender and BCS regular to the MicronPC Bowl and 5-7 record last year. You can say its recruiting that Larry Coker and his staff dropped the ball. You can say it was the development of talent, that nobody on this staff did a good enough job figuring out guys like Devin Hester, Jon Beason and Kenny Phillips were really that good. Me? I point to one position: Quarterback.

Saturday was proof positive of that in my eyes. How else can you explain how Miami is 6-3 right now? How else do you explain a team that made countless bonehead penalties and struggled to move the ball for three quarters, suddenly rallied from a 17-10 deficit to win 24-17 in overtime against a team it lost to 48-0 a year ago?

Jacory_harris2_2Jacory Harris is that special quarterback. He's the game-changer this program has sorely needed since Ken Dorsey walked out the door with the final piece of quarterback lineage at Quarterback U. Jacory, though, has brought it back. Think back for a second how many games this program has lost over the past few years because they didn't have that leader behind center, or in some cases couldn't even compete because the Kyle Wrights and Kirby Freemans of the world couldn't even do the little things like get the ball in the hands of the playmakers.

Yes, it's true Miami failed in recruiting. Yes, it's true Miami didn't do a good enough job developing the stars that were here the last few years. But the truth is they missed having a general to lead the offense more than anything. When this program won national championships, it had some of the best collective talent in the country. But it also had one common denominator -- that special quarterback behind center. Canes fans ought to feel lucky they have two. Because although Robert Marve was on the sidelines for two of Harris' magical comebacks (Duke and this one), it was Marve who engineered the magic a week ago against Wake Forest. This program still has a long way to go to start thinking about a sixth ring. Offensive line and the secondary are the two biggest holes I see. But the good news is the biggest piece is in place. And right now, there are two to choose from.

> Saturday's game was without question the most exciting and meaningful win for this program since it beat Virginia Tech on the road a few years back. Miami can now win-out and hope North Carolina drops a game and reach the ACC Championship game in Tampa. Before the season, I predicted UM would finish 7-5 -- or 9-3 if everything panned out. As long as the injury to Jason Fox isn't as serious as it looked on TV Saturday, then the latter is quite possible now.

> I know folks are going to jump all over Graig Cooper for his fumble. But he was the second most important weapon in UM's game-tying drive Satruday. Cooper finished with over 100 yards rushing and picked up valuable first downs with long runs. With Javarris James out, Coop truly stepped up his game in the second half and delivered.

> Hats off to defensive coordinator Bill Young for once again proving he knows what to do at halftime. This was Miami's third consecutive come-from-behind win. It wouldn't have been possible if Young didn't at least figure out a way to slow down Cedric Peerman, who had 10 carries and 66 yards at the half. Yes, Miami gave up some yards through the air and caught a few breaks with a pair of missed field goals. But the Canes defense came up with big plays when it needed to. They didn't break.

> I'll have my report card for you sometime Sunday night. Enjoy the NFL weekend for now. And when you get a chance look at the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots. Ask them what its like to not have Tony Romo or Tom Brady behind center.

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