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Grading The Canes: VT Report Card

Here's how I grade UM's effort against Virginia Tech: It was clearly the Canes worst performance of the young season and showed there is still plenty of work to be done by this team before it really is "back" to being a serious contender. Right now, I see them as an improved football team that simply isn't completely where it needs to be yet.

I'll admit it I got caught up in the excitement myself. I thought this team was on the verge of taking a big step up. I picked them to win in Blacksburg last week after I had called for a 2-2 start to the season with losses against the Hokies and Sooners in the preseason. That being said, fans shouldn't take this loss as if the sky is falling. Miami's 31-7 loss Saturday came against the ACC's preseason favorite in their house in terrible weather conditions. It's not an excuse. Like Jason Fox told me after the game, "It was the hand we were dealt and we didn't step up to the challenge." 

The good news: UM will get another opportunity this week to redeem itself against Oklahoma. If UM wins -- and that's a big if because Oklahoma is probably the best football team UM will play this year -- the Canes could be right back in the Top 10. A 3-1 start would still be much better than most of us thought would happen. 

> Quarterbacks: The numbers weren't pretty for Jacory Harris. He completed 9 of 25 for 150 yards and an interception and a fumble. But his protection and help from receivers was much morse. Twice he made perfect throws on plays that could have gone for touchdowns -- Dedrick Epps and Jimmy Graham -- and twice the balls were dropped. I thought while some of his passes were clearly off, he did a decent job trying to keep Miami in the game. He showed leadership, going to his players like Graham on the sideline after his drops and reassuring him he had faith in him. UM didn't look great and neither did Harris. But he showed toughness, leadership in the loss. Grade: C.

> Running game: Miami attempted 34 runs and finished with 59 yards. Graig Cooper led the way with 55 yards on 11 carries. The field conditions weren't great and Cooper slipped several times on plays he might have been able to break for bigger gains. But what he showed me Saturday was that he's still better than Javarris James, who got 14 carries and finished with 35 yards and a touchdown. Cooper just did a better job finding holes and breaking tackles. At times, I thought James made poor decisions, cutting the ball through traffic instead of around it. Grade: D.

> Receivers/tight end: Randy Shannon said in his press conference Sunday he counted seven to eight drops. Obviously, Jimmy Graham had the two biggest ones. But Travis Benjamin had at least one or two himself. LaRon Byrd led the team in receiving again with four catches for 58 yards and Leonard Hankerson had three catches for 79 yards including a big one down the middle of the field to set up UM's only touchdown. Both of those guys played well. But as a unit, seven to eight drops is simply unacceptable. I don't care if it was raining. Virginia Tech didn't have that many drops. Grade: D.

> Blocking: In a word -- terrible. The lasting image for me in this game is watching Matt Pipho get completely destroyed by Jason Worilds and then Harris getting sacked. It wasn't just the fact Virginia Tech's front seven dominated Miami either. It was the bone head mistakes with false starts and blown assignments. Miami's running backs, who had done a good job picking up blitzes, completely whiffed a few times allowing Hokie defenders to get clear shots at Harris. Grade: F.

> Defensive line: They were shorthanded this week with Andrew Smith and Marcus Forston. But they were still dominated up front and out of position to make plays most of the game. Instead of staying in their gaps and protecting against the running ability of Tyrod Taylor, they were over aggressive and allowed the Hokies to have big gaps to run through. In all, UM was only able to produce two tackles for loss. That tells you what type of day it was up front. Grade: F.

> Linebackers: Colin McCarthy set a personal record with 13 tackles and Sean Spence had eight to finish second on the team. But neither of them nor anyone else on defense really had a great game. There were too many missed tackles and runs that ended up becoming the secondary's responsibility. When a team runs for 272 yards you've had a horrible day. Grade: D.

> Secondary: Tyrod Taylor only threw the ball nine times. But he completed four of them for 98 yards and a touchdown. His receivers were usually wide open, a product of what coach Randy Shannon didn't want -- guys leaving their responsibilities in coverage to go and help. Even if Chavez Grant doesn't slip, I'm pretty sure Jarrett Boykin scores on that 48-yard pass play. Brandon Harris had a good day tackling (he had 5 including a big one to stop a long run). But there were too many other guys like Demarcus Van Dyke who whiffed and gave up big plays. The Canes have to be worried about the loss of Randy Phillips. We still don't know how long he'll be out. Jojo Nicholas and Jared Campbell are not the answer. Grade: F.

> Special teams: Matt Bosher did his job -- averaging 41.5 yards a punt and knocking three inside the 20. And Graig Cooper had a nice 39-yard return to setup UM's only score. But the rest of UM's special teams unit didn't do their jobs well at all. The blocked punt turned what was still a close game at 14-0 into a much tougher task. Also, the punt coverage team has to come up with at least one of those two muffed balls. Virginia Tech recovered both of them. You can't leave opportunities like that on the field. Grade: D.

> Coaching: Can't put all the blame on the coaches in this one with the way UM executed with missed tackles and dropped balls. But I thought Mark Whipple could have made some adjustments a little quicker in the first half because of the weather conditions. Miami threw on the first play of its opening seven series five times. They weren't just short to mid range passes. They were passes deep downfield. It left the Canes in second and third and long most of the night. Defensively, whatever John Lovett had as his game plan didn't work. His team was out of position at lot of times and didn't stick to its assignment to close down those running lanes. But you can't put all the blame on him. He wasn't out there missing tackles. Grade: D.

Comments

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Easy Pedro, easy...Spence is a heck of a player, he just isn't catching anyone by surprise anymore. He'll get better.

The coaching staff deserves a F for sure. Especially, Lovett! I mean how do you allow them to run on you. Why do we never bring the extra guy in the box. We leave our corners out on an island anyway on third downs, so why not just bring the safeties up and stuff the run. Make Va. Tech one dimentional like they made us.

Stupid decision by Shannon and Lovett!

Pedro,

Spence had 8 tackles! What a dumb a** U are!Why don't you and the other fake fan go suc one!

CANES...4...LIFE...CANES...4...LIFE
WE SHALL WIN THIS SATURDAY AND SHOULD BE BACK IN TOP 10 MAYBE 11 CAUSING WHO LOSES THIS WEEKEND! GOOD TO HEAR THE REAL FANS BACKING THIS TEAM AND EVERYBODY ELSE CAN GO TO U KNOW WHERE!!! I KNEW IF WE LOST A GAME ALL NETWORKS AND EVERYBODY ELSE WOULD BE READY TO SAY "I TOLD U SO" IT'S STILL US AGAINST THE WORLD AND SCREW ALL OUTSIDERS! WE ARE FAMILY AND FAMILY STICKS TOGETHER NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE! THIS IS THE "U"
ANOTHER THING THAT AMAZES ME IS THAT SHANNON WAS THE GREATEST COACH, THEN HE LOSES, NOW HE'S THE WORST COACH EVER?? SO WHEN USC LOST WERE THEY CALLING FOR PETE'S HEAD, I THINK NOT!! THERE WILL BE MORE TEAMS TO LOSE IN THE TOP 10 WE JUST NEED TO GO OUT AND TAKE CARE OF BIZ AND THINGS WILL FALL IN PLACE, HAVE FAITH CANES FANS, WE ARE OK!
CANES...4...LIFE...CANES...4...LIFE

Who are we???

I know you people all too well. You people who say we suck now are the people Jacory was calling "bandwagoners". You people are insane after the Canes just had two brilliant games. Us real fans don't want you to show up at the game or watch it on TV and certainly don't try to make some sort of intelligent comment afterwards. We don't need you. Get lost! After we beat Oklahoma, all you "bandwagoners" will be right back sniffing Jacory's jock just like before.

OU is UNTESTED they lost to byu and beat two creme puffs, they may or may not be a good team.

^ To the virgin that just posted above me, please grow up and get a life. Dont be mad at anybody on here, we didnt do it to you.

Miami really shouldn't have been ranked that high to begin with... They should have been ranked #12-#15 prior to the VT game.

This team is still young, and going on the road in an enviroment like that is tough, but adding the weather conditions to it, made it tougher no matter what anyone says...

I watched the game again and a couple of thing stuck out, that some folks mentioned already...

Whipple should have switched things up earlier...

Our offensive line sucked big-time with the pressure. The game-plan used at FSU on offense by leaving in the TE's and the RB's to block on passes should have been utilized at VT as well.

Matt Philpo should have been replaced, he has no feet, and has been a week link for a few weeks now...

Defense should have blitzed Tyrod a bit more...

We need our DE rotation back at Oklahoma. They have allot of young guys at Offensive Line, so they need to be attacked...

They will burn us up passing if either one of their QB's are allowed to sit in the pocket all day!

Let come back strong, make the adjustments, and pray for healing, we need our whole team...

Got to remember this is a young team and there not going win all the time! That being said i do think they have a good shot this weekend and that will tell where this team is going this year.
Still think they are a year or two away from being truly great. That kind of weather will usually hurt a passing team. I will stand by RS for at least 2 more years I Think he is doing alright he to will get better just like the team he is young give him a break already!!! At least through next year!! Go CANES

I'm not down on the team like some of the fans are. Like Shannon said "We can't dwell on loss to VaTech". Translation the 24hr rule. There are several position that can use a upgrade and it's time to play the younger more talented player. The #1 position that need a youth movement is RB. Out baby J in M.James, D.Berry or L.Miller. 2. Sharpton at LB in with A.Brown, J.Futch or R.Buchannon. 3. Safety out R.Phillips in R.Armstrong or J.Nicholas. I like the rotation of the D-line we just need the same rotation at the other position. There is way to much talent on the bench and not playing. Go Canes!!

This is the last season I give a pass to Shannon (like it matters). My expectation going into the 2009 season was to compete for the conf. title. And then in 2010 w/o question run through the ACC and hopefully get to the NC game. Next year anything less than ACC title is unacceptable. If Shannon can't win the ACC next year I'd can him period. Of course that will not be the case since he'll either be fired or given an extension by the end of this year so he's not a lame duck coach next year and of course the Jan-Feb recruiting and signing period.

Duval,

A comment like that makes it seem like U think the season is over. Only play the youth if they are an upgrade. No other reason and by all accounts Miller and A. Brown aren't there yet.

They are still 2-1 in conf. play w/ the chance to pull a major victory against OU and "if" that happens they're well back in the Top 15. Shoot if you'd of told me at the end of last year they'd be playing in the Chik Fillet or Gator Bowl this season, I'd have been content.

I think the 'canes are going to be just fine. I mean, can you name me a better OC than Whip? No, you cannot.

I think, Lovett, the DC needs some new schemes. We got the players, just can't do right things on D. And, we definitely need to recruit better on OL and DL. We got some good DLiners, though. The real "weekness" on defense is secondary, they play like they're lost.

I like our tight ends. But we cannot drop easy passes. When I played I caught everything coming my way.

i really would like to see ojomo back. Olivier will be great. Moncur seems like he is irrelevant. What ever happened to guys like Luther Robinson, Jeremy Lewis, Mincor Regis?

We need to give some of the younger ol guys some pt. Pipho sucks.

Gotta love college football.
OU has had 2 weeks to prep. Miami coming off an absolute meltdown. That will be evident on Saturday.
OU and Stoops will be ready and will expose many, many weaknesses on this Miami team. They will blitz Harris on passing downs and put 8 in the box otherwise. They have talented D backs and the speed to run with Miami's receivers and cover man to man. They are a more mature, disciplined team...That will be painfully obvious this weekend.
RS can't coach on the Bob Stoops level. He best hope we get a couple of breaks along the way and keep it close until halftime. Otherwise, the Mini Canes are in for a LONG night.
Miami is too small to compete with the likes of OU. They will once again get mauled at the line of scrimmage. Let's not even get into the special teams... 37-13 OU. 2-2 and back to reality...At least we beat FSU.

Pipho does stink...give someone else a shot.

I imagine that the USC fans don't jump off the bandwagon like you guys on this blog do...they lose to a crappy team every year, but no one says fire Carroll or their team sucks...they say that they should be playing for the National Title every year regardless of one loss. Also, if we want the swagger why are we afraid to say that we are the best regardless of the youth and talent. USC is rebuilding, but none of them complain that "Man, they shouldn't rank us in the top 5 this year" because we lost everything and are very young...they welcome the challenge. I say we are Number #1 and start playing like it and quit worrying about being over hyped...this is football where you must believe that you can knock the crap out of the guy before you actually do it or you will get put on your butt! Believe it...and when we win Saturday, please don't come jumping back on the bandwagon...and when we win 11 games this, stay off the bandwagon...CONFIDENCE starts in YOUR MIND in PRACTICE and delivers in THE GAME!

Pedro,

What's more sad:

1. That you do a horrible job of being an undercover Gator

or

2. That your unemployed ass has enough time to comment every 3 minutes?


"Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle"

Questions: Is that the noise Tebow's little brain made on Saturday, or the noise he makes when he dries off little boys"?

Pedro is a poota from Hialeah, who wnted to go to UM, but got his rejection letter in the mail, so he applied to FIU, but FIU didnt want him, so he applied to MDCC, and they were full so he ended up at BCC with all the other domincans and colombians.

YOu know nothinhg about football Peter, I mean Perro.

Jai-Alai is not the smae as football.

Remeber, VTech was in the Big East with UM, as was BC, and Um also played against FSU yr in and out, so moving to the ACC had nothing to do with it. Switch Rutgers for Duke, So FLa for Clemson, and its even steven.

Ya'll haters- go home. UM is 2-1 with the hardest schedule in the country. FSU is not as bad as they played- they'll probably finish 9-4 again. Plus excuses or not, UM has major injuries on D hat came to bear against VT- Forston, Smith, Ojomo, and others.

How was Miami's 1st 3 games then VTECH? VT played two better teams in Bama and Nebraska.

Can the school invest in one of those air tight speed healing chambers? It's greatly needed. These kids come into the program with talent and leave with full regression these days...Having 99 coordinators in 6 years will do that to you..it also hurts recruiting...Kids go to UF to play for Charlie Strong. We need safeties BADLY and UF grabs like 3 or 4 of the states best (1 in our backyard)..that's what consistent winning and coaching can do...

Spence would be like 235 pounds of rock solid muscle at UF right now serving as a nice backup. Those were the days of old at UM...envious...

Canes are Back!!!!!!!

Ohhhhhh sorrry another false alarm.

Jacory Harris is right. Jacory will be going to the Heisman. Once he talks to Bradford this weekend, Bradford will give Jacory some tickets to attend the Heisman ceremony. Jacory can wear his pink suit. That is the closest that dude will ever get to a Heisman trophy.

Man, I thought we had a top 5 team. I really think it was the rain. We just dont play well in the rain. Plus Marcus Forston was out and Ojomo too. Jacory looked a little tired. Maybe he had the flu. That and the ball was wet and he kept losing the grip and fumbling like Sammie Smith at the goaline.

hey Nealtrom
You should try Hooked on Phonics, it worked for me.

Agreed, marlininseattle, this isn't the 2000 Hurricanes. I think the comparison is closer to the 1999 Canes. Next season lines up much more favorably...the underclassmen of Shannon enter their third years, and FSU, North Carolina, and Va Tech are at home. The only tough road game will be Georgia Tech.

I don't think comments need to be validated by how long we have been a UM fan...football is not complicated. Randy Shannon is falling short as a head coach. He has a world of talent to recruit in S. Florida to build a winner. Now in his 3rd year, it does not seem he has the ability to oversee and direct the development of the program. This program with all of its inherent advantages to be successful has been under performing. The U needs a legitimate big time coach to bring out its full potential and organize the program properly to be successful. big time college football is big time business. we hired an adm. asst. to be CEO. Randy looks lost on the sideline during games-almost transfixed to an inevitable negative outcome. he was a good d-coordinator but looks like he is in way over his head. time to move on after this season-the program deserves better leadership.

First of all, people need to understand that coaching a team will NEVER be as easy as people think. Especially when you coach an elite, 'high expectation' team like the Miami Hurricanes. Randy Shannon little by little has brought this team back into the spotlight. We Hurricane fans are just spoiled from success in the past which is good because we want the best. I think we need to be patient. You have to see how different college football is now and how much more competitive it is now. We need to be patient with this staff. I'm telling you that the []_[] will be back to the team it used to be. As for Pedro.... He's a moron.

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