« Gameday blog: UM-Georgia Tech | Main | Grading the Canes: GT Report Card »

Could Canes be on path to national title in '09?

Before the 2009 season began all anybody wanted to talk about was how tough the first four games on UM's schedule was. Now, the Canes are a road win in Blacksburg, Va. and an inspiring win over Oklahoma at home from a 4-0 start.

Canes share postgame celebration with the student section. I'll tell you what they are also two wins away from: being a serious national title contender. Sounds nuts after what Randy Shannon's program did in his first two years. But why can't the Canes think national title this year? I know. It's early. I'm not trying to say this will happen or cloud any players' thoughts (some of you think that's what I aim to do).

But the blueprint most of us believed didn't call for UM's championship aspirations to truly develop until 2010. You know, when Jacory Harris and all those Miami Northwestern guys and recruits from the Canes No. 1-ranked recruiting class were going to be juniors. But after further review, it almost seems like 2009 might be worth a shot -- maybe even better than 2010. How so? Let me count the ways.

- How could the BCS not love a Canes team that starts the year with four straight wins over ranked opponents and potentially wins on the road against a ranked North Carolina to clinch the ACC Title? The 2010 schedule has a Sept. 11 date at Ohio State. But the other three non-conference games? FAMU, at Pittsburgh and a home date with South Florida. The strength of schedule argument is obviously better for 2009.

- Have you seen how good Miami's offense has been through two games? Do you honestly think the NFL or other teams in college football aren't going to come after offensive coordinator Mark Whipple with a bigger piggy bank than the one The U carries around. Fact: Whipple will be a hot offseason commodity. Just saying...

- The Hurricanes offensive line has been tremendous through two games. They've given up one sack and given Jacory Harris all the time in the world to pick apart Florida State and Georgia Tech. Sadly, Jason Fox, AJ Trump and Matt Pipho -- three of the guys in the current six-man rotation -- are seniors. They need to be replaced. Thursday night, some of their replacements -- Jermaine Johnson and Ben Jones -- were in street clothes on the sideline.

- UM's defense has plenty of young talent and room to grow. But they've also got a special group of senior leaders in Randy Phillips and Eric Moncur who won't be here next year. And who is to say big bad Allen Bailey won't make the jump early to the NFL? Ditto for junior running back Graig Cooper, who keeps displaying some special abilities used all over the field.

I repeat: I'm not trying to throw the Canes off track, put thoughts into their heads that shouldn't be there this early in a young season. The coaches are doing a good job of not allowing that. So, are the players. All Jacory Harris kept talking last night about was "the next game."

I'm just looking down a street I think most of us never though this team, this 2009 team could find themselves on this early: the one that possibly leads to Pasadena for the national championship game. I'm saying it might really be OK for everybody else to start wondering or daydreaming what most us thought was impossible.

REMEMBER THIS: The most poignant thing Randy Shannon talked about in his postgame press conference Thursday night was the focus his team showed leading up to the game. Pregame meal? Quiet. Bus ride to the stadium? Quiet. Pregame locker room? Quiet. Shannon said he and his assistants "didn't need to beg and plead for this team to stay focused. They were focused through the pregame." You definitely got that sense throughout practice last week. I'm not sure you could always say that about this program in Shannon's first two years. When you have leaders like Jacory Harris, Randy Phillips and Jason Fox who keep everyone in line, you put teammates in line -- that's when you could start believing a team could be really special.

GAME BALLS: Offensively, you could give one to Jacory Harris for his near-perfect night (20 of 25 270 yards, 3 TDS) throwing the football. Or, you could give it to LaRon Byrd for bouncing back from his O-fer against Florida State by leading UM in receptions and yards. But I'm handing it to the offensive line for completely shutting down Georgia Tech's pass rush. When I asked Harris if Derrick Morgan had even breathed on him, he said "I saw him early in the game from the corner of my eye. But they picked him and blocked him. I didn't worry about the defensive line the rest of the game." When a quarterback can have that much confidence in his offensive line, he can put up scary numbers. So here is to you Jason Fox, Orlando Franklin, AJ Trump, Harland Gunn, Joel Figueroa and Matt Pipho.

Defensively, Miami's front seven and Brandon Harris can share the love. Huge game by Darryl Sharpton with eight tackles and Harris had his second straight eye-opening performance. He had three pass deflections and looked like a shutdown corner. Oh, by-the-way, Georgia Tech finished with 95 yards rushing. That's a little bit less than the 472 they put up last year.

WORRY ABOUT: The special teams. Alex Uribe is a nice kid. But it looked like someone was standing on the sideline with a football magnet every time he kicked off Thursday. Matt Bosher had two missed field goals from point blank range. Like Shannon said, unacceptable. The Canes have plenty of work to do in kickoff coverage too -- especially with the special teams demons who play for Virginia Tech.

INJURY WATCH: We should find out shortly what the deal with defensive tackle Marcus Forston and running back Lee Chambers is. Both needed help limping off the field Thursday night. Josh Holmes had a tough time walking off on his own too in the second half. Our Susan Miller Degnan should have an update from coach Shannon's press conference later this morning.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Be sure to check out our newest product -- the Canes new app for your iPhone. Download it and have easy access to all the audio and Canes news we produce.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Shannon much better job of handling game situations and timeouts this game. Whipple is without a doubt the man. And Lovette cannot be discounted, he and Shannon put together a great gameplan to stop Tech's option offense. Also the O line looks alot better than expected so kudo's to Stoutland as well. Only thing I saw was in the 4th quarter with 10 minutes and change to go we kind of let up (special teams especially lost focus). Other than that the Canes looked real good last night. Whip though is the best O coordinater we have had since Garry Stevens handled the job for Jimmy Johnson.

Ok Manny, I will give your head back to you. But let's take Baby Steps..

Besides, we won't be able to think about NC until the BCS standings come out. But, I think it is almost impossible to move up to the top of the BCS rankings when you start the season out of the top 25.

Back to my point, all the Canes can control is what they can control - How they practice and play!

The rest of that stuff is up to the press, BCS Computers, and teams not on their schedule.

So again, keep the main thang, the main thang!

Maybe thats because C.Mc. is just a junior

Miami (FL) Hurricanes Roster - 2009

44 Colin McCarthy LB 6-3 242 Jr. CLEARWATER, FL

2-0 great. 4-0 amazing. Anything in between including 2-2, would be great too. I know it would be disappointing but if they do end up 2-2, I still think we could go 9-3 or so for the season and be positioned even better next year. Its a long way to go so predictions are pointless but its fun to watch the offense throw the ball down the field like the classic Canes teams. I would like to see the defense make some game changing plays but your only job when playing the Triple Option, is to stay in your lanes. I am proud to be a Miami Hurricane.

alan????


472???

95?????

hahaha tool.

Give Manny a break. We're all thinking the same thing. Love the focus on focus. Next game is all that matters. Couldn't agree more.

BUT, that's the job of coaches and players. As fans, we're allowed to get excited and dream about the possibilities. That's what sports fandom is all about!

One game at a time, baby... but don't hate on me (or Manny) for dreaming a little!

I will pile on as well with others. This talk is way too premature.

We play VT and they're a very good team. The following week we play OU. This is like NFL PlayOffs as Shannon was saying earlier. Take one game at a time.

Jim Rome was pumping UM HARD today! On a side note, he all but called Tebow a h0m0 for ducking an oportunity to be photographed with a naked woman! Classic!

Go 'canes!

Paging Optionoffens and JoDGTFan. Guess you're all missing in action.

So, did you all stop our O? Were we better than Clemson?

95 yards total rushing! Optionoffense at its best.

Posted by: Turds Suck | September 18, 2009 at 08:10 AM

Many, you do a great job around here. Don't listen to all the haters on this blog. Anyone of us would be lying if we didnt think about a NC this year or Whipple leaving. Keep doing what you are doing and thanks for all of the hard work...

mark my words, olivier vernon will play on sundays.

Just listen to Jacory and all the coaches. 1 game at a time is a perfect mentality so you do not overlook and not prepare properly. All the great Canes of the past and other Nat. Champs will tell you "we just go one week at a time"

WAY to early to talk c'ship talk or J12 for heisman...jus refreshin to see a team...up to this point...that looks like they kno wats goin on...qb has time to look down field... No dlinemen hangin on his back befor he cocks his arm to throw...and if he does feel pressure he scrambles to make a throw down field to a receiver that is actually comin back to the qb...this equates to coaches and player maturing togather

Who is Whipple mentoring on our staff currently?
This should have been set up long ago.
What freshman played last night?
Why only 3 tailbacks played last night?
I'm happy with James & Cooper but not ecstatic.
We need to rotate more of the younger players in when were up by 3 touchdowns.
I would have liked to have seen T Streeter get some reps.

We need to work on our running game, specail teams & pass defense before we can win another title.

FSU real ACC Champs!

Kirby Hocutt:

Give RS an extension. Give him big $

Give Whip big $

I'll break my piggy bank to help out.

Question for the bloggers:

Was it me, or did Sam Shields get burnt one too many times last night by that big wr?

Should RS had gone for the jugular on the second fg attempt and gone for it on 4th and 3? GT had already spent its last to so what would it had mattered? There was still 4 minutes left.

Finally- where is Ke-hole? Where are the techie blah blah blah ers? Where is sammy nole?

Manny: what was last nights attendance? It looked at most 63,000. It was loud. Not the craziest, but loud. The student section was definitely rocking. We need to pack THE WHOLE stadium for OK. Here's an idea a-la Dolphins during the playoffs:

Orange towels. That would look sick in the stadium!

Q: Manny: what was last nights attendance? It looked at most 63,000. It was loud. Not the craziest, but loud. The student section was definitely rocking. We need to pack THE WHOLE stadium for OK.

A: Attendance was 45K. Not overly impressive. But I'm guessing if UM keeps winning, you'll see more orange out there.

What about injuries Manny have you heard anything?

Manny you couldn't wait til after the VT game atleast? we've two VERY good teams to go through and VT has a better defense than either Ga Tech or FSU.

I'm not getting my hopes too high yet, ACC Title is the goal this year. Let's focus a game at a time, there's a reason the coaches ain't goin crazy yet and allowing expectations to be too big. Young kids fitting into new systems still, with some great opponents ahead.

Before the season started they said the rotation was going to be cut down at the skill positions
I think we had around 21+ FR. and Soph. see the field this year. Not including 3 out with injuries
We dont need to rely on youth as much this year with some veterans returning
We just dumped 184 on the ground against GT
Coop 17-93
Baby J 14-72

Manny, Manny, Manny... I know you are a part of hurricane nation. We need you to focus. As the herald writer your are blessed with a forum that has the ability to help shape the focus of the team. What more could a cane fan ask for? But like Spiderman said with great power comes great responsibility.

Manny we are counting on you to be a part of the team or an extended member of the coaching staff. Use your power responsibly to keep our team focused on the next game. Don't mention things that can take their focus of the next opponent.

I know you are supposed to be "objective" but everybody knows you are a Homer. So as a Homer help the team by providing history on perspective to remind them of why they should focus only on the next game.

Remind them that as well as they thought they played they only one by 2 points last year. That as good as the 2001 team was they almost lost to BC and to VTech. Remind them that when Miami thought it was back during the probation years they went out and lost to East Carolina University. Remind them that the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Talk about how Brandon Harris' spectacular interception was taken away yesterday by that roughing the passer penalty.

You have great power with your forum Manny but also great responsibility. Its human nature that thoughts of what might be will cross through all of our minds but without that streamlined focus as coaches, players, fans and biased media we will not make it happen. Do what you can to help us Manny and you may make the change from Manny to Mannyman hero reporter of the Hurricane faithful

45K...nice home opener.

Posted by: SammyNole | September 18, 2009 at 03:18 PM

naw 38-34 now that's a nice opener in front of 80k fans that hate u

FSU real ACC Champs!

Posted by: SammyNole | September 18, 2009 at 02:41 PM

The only thing more pathetic than that statement, is that a GATOR FAN wrote it!!

Go get your shine box boy!

Go 'canes!

What championship? We have nearly 80% of the season left to play! This talk about a championship is nothing but an attempt at sabotaging the Canes' psyche. I know you are better than that, Manny!

Miami can love all over Whipple, but we'll never be able to match a "deep pocket program" with the paycheck. He is doing exactly what he came here to do to further his career into an HC job and I believe RS knows it. Frankly, I believe he is mentoring RS on how to be a better coach and that is one of his purposes for being here. I watched him on TV during the timeout before a field goal and he was explaining to RS what the strategy was and he was acknowledging it. I don't have a problem with it though. When Whipple leaves, Randy will have been mentored to be a better gameday coach, unlike his predecessor who didn't help much. Call me a nut but.....JMO

Manny, just because you think it, doesn't mean you need to write it....

Manny, greetings from one Braddock alumn to another! I wanted to ask you what the issue was with Tommy Streeter? Aldarius was out of last night's game it looked like only Travis and Laron were getting the looks from Jacory. I figured that with Aldarius out, that Tommy would get a few snaps. Anything particularly wrong with Streeter or is he not picking up the offense?
Thanks Manny and keep up the great work!

Sarasota Cane...FSU=ACC CHAMPS.

Go ahead and buy tix to Pasadena.

Two wins.

Champions

I think the 'Canes have a shot at the national title. I think they can beat every team they play, and they're only going to get better as the season goes on.

We'll just have to wait and see.

Knowing we need to take one game at a time, (each game will present it own issues; key injuries, match-ups)

WHY NOT TALK ABOUT NC, RS has done and continues to prove that playing as a team wins games.
Whipple ball is new and fresh and other teams DC got no clue what the Canes are going to due next.
Seems like most all units (minus special team) are improving each game. OL line is much better that I expected.


WHY NOT 09 (MANNY go on with your BA self) he helps us thnik about from a different prespective.

SO CANES; KEEP IMPROVING AND STAY FOCUES (1GAAT) AND I WILL LOOK FOR FF FLIGHTS TO NC GAME

WHY NOT 09

for alll the haters welcome to the CANEDOME.

Now i don't wanna toot my own horn but I will. Manny you the shizzle by the way.

DID I DID I NOT SAY 3-1, WILL BE OUR RECORD. THEN WE SAW FSU AND I SAID UNDEFEATED. I SAID IN 30 DAYS I WANNA SEE THE HATERS AND DOUBTERS COME PAY RESPECT TO THE CANEDOME. Yea i said it and imma be in here boasting about my prediction.

Every team should be thinking National Championship at the beginning of the season, if they are not then they might as well not play especially at Miami. Jason Fox is thinking National title and also Baby J. And Manny is right about the seniors and Cooper might be out of here after this year. Things should be taken one game at a time but the goal should always be National title. Honestly this is Miami's best shot at it. THINK TITLE BUT FOCUS ON VIRGINIA TECH

Money talks idiots. If you been an asst coach then you know coaches loves challenges and money. I would be suprized if he stays past year 2. Whip can go jus leave the playbook. When you see a coach like stooops get millions upon millions and say Jerry jones fires wade phillips. Dude jones jus built a stadium that cost over a billion. If you think a coach gonna stay at miami for chump change wake up sir. Jimmy left Dennis left Butch left. Man it don't matter who it is jus leave the playbook please lets not go back to the spread

I don't know, Manny.... pretty early to jump the gun. Not saying it's not doable - especially if Miami can overcome the next two foes. Still, one game at at time. Let the Canes get to 4-0, 5-0, 6-0 before starting this kind of chatter. You have Shannon and staff doing all they can to keep this team focused... and now at 2-0 you have a local writer talking about January. Seems a bit premature.

Your points are ALL valid... but the timing is a bit off. Now isn't the time to be talking Pasadena. The focus needs to be on Blacksburg.

allCanesBlog.com

you guys is chumps. Manny speak what you like cause all of us don't believe in that crap. UF get the hype USE get the hype. I want you hyping this team up. These must've neverplayed on a winning team cause they would know when a once in a lifetime thing is happening. These must've been the same people saying who made this scedule. get tha wagon punks cause we goin to tha ship

Point 1. We are a program that has won national titles in the past, some of which in years when no one thought we would. So us fans know that optimism can give way to reality. While its Manny'd optimism that has him writing, if this team some how lets the media distract them, they were never ready in the first place.

Point 2. Its fact that Whipple is a strong reason and maybe The reason why our Offense and team is 2-0. You cant just plug in any coach and have success as someone blogged earlier. Nix would not have had this Offense scoring and executing the way it is now. There are many things that Whipple does thats not always recognized by the naked eye. He knows how important it is to protect Jacory, and thats why he does so many thinggs with the Olineman. Unbalanced line, Max protecting. There are so many plays that we only send out 2 receivers and everyone else is blocking and we still have receivers wide open. Check Byrd's TD, Hill slipped out late, but Byrd was one of 2 primary receivers, and it was wide open pitch and catch. Whipple exploits what the defense gives him. The mismatches of linebackers on receivers, check Coopers TD catch against FSU.

Point 3.
We are maybe the most successful program that has had success with so many different coaches. Every coach from Shnellenberger on has won a title, except for Davis, and he wasnt allowed to when a now changed rule allowed FSU to play Oklahoma. All were hired away for more $$ except Coker, who was a hell of a Offensive Coordinator, just wasnt a leader. And would have more than likely been plucked away for more money had he stayed the OC.Its a fact that our head coaches and coordinators all get plucked away because we cant offer them Public school money ala Alabama, LSU, Florida, and Florida State. Say hello to Urban Meyer, the highest paid state worker in FL. So its highly possible knowing the facts and history that Whipple wont be at The U long. It would be very wise for Kirby Holcutt and Donna Shalala to be somewhere in a back room right now figuring out a way to keep Whipple.

Having said all of this, Id just appreciate those same fans that bashed Shannon for everything and anything especially on The Heralds Blogs, to hunble themselves and credit the man for success. Credit him after you bashed hom for discipling the players, playing Harris last year, time management that we now see was the incompetence of a Offensive Coordinator (Nix) that was Shannons last choice.

In closing, if Miami had the $$$ that the public schools have, they could keep a solid coaching staff for years, as well as coaches that would become entrenched within the Tri-state area as well as all of the top high school programs. Imagine how good of a relationship Bobby Bowden, Chuck Amato, and Mickey Andrews have with High School coaches. Heck, Amato recruited me in 1995. You can make a trivia question out of who was the Head Coach at Miami and coordinators in 1995.This is all something that Big Bucks can do. Didn't make that much of a difference in the 80's and mid 90's, but its a big issue for Miami now as other schools have caught on to the talent in South Fl. and use their muscle to pluck players. If some how Miami ever gets big bucks to spend, this program would be superior in every year of play.

Just a end note. Everyone is concerned about the pass defense and the special teams. I am more concerned about special teams than anything else.mainly kick off, and kick off coverage. Bosher will right himself. Pass defense can be a little misleading. We didnt play FSU man to man like we did last year as not to have the db's have they're back to Ponder, to not allow him to beat us. We played to keep everything in front of us.

GT: we played to shut down the option, and the emphasis was not on shutting down the pass. Sam Shields actually had good coverage on the catch the guy caught over him. The long pass for touchdown was more not closing out the game crisp and maturely than it was not being able to cover. Two passes doesnt register much on a bad pass defense. We'll know more about pass defense after the Oklahoma test.

Cane Boss...great post. I doubted Shannon...been proven wrong so far.

I don't think we can keep Whipple. The man deserves to be a head coach. What he's done with these guys is pretty amazing. It's like night and day.

Manny is just speaking the truth people...accept it. Our offensive line might be even worse next year. Let's see if we can work some magic in recruiting.

I like every other position...Arthur Brown has to come around.

RS is not so great & does deserve critisizm.
The success we have now is because of Whipple with Stoutland's help. The head coach's job is to coach the assistant coaches. Whipple fortunately doesn't need much help. Whipple will be gone before we know it, he's a offensive genious.
RS offered no help to any previous assistant coaches, we had to wait till they got fired.
My question,
Who is Whipple tutoring on our staff? If RS was smart he would have hired K. Dorsey or another aspiring offensive mind to assist with the young QBs/playcalling & learn this very complicated high powered offense.

How many coordinators will we have to hire again to find one like Whipple?

How many gammes does it take to teach Scholarship kickers how to kick?

2 Games in and already National Title? Lets see how they do the first half of the season before we talk championship geez.

ITS FUNNY I WAS ALL THE COACH SHANNON WHEN HE WAS HIRED. BUT THERE WERE PEOPLE ON HERE WANTIN HIS HEAD... THEN THE Q.B PROBLEM CAME. AND ILL SAY IT. I KNEW WHO THE BETTER QB WAS FROM JUMP! BUT COACH SHANNON DIDNT WANT TO GO BEHIND THE BACK OF HIS COACHES. SO HE WAITED PEOPLE WERE SO MAN WHEN PRETTY BOY ROBERT MARVE LEFT. I WASNT CAUSE IF U WERE FROM MIAMI U NEW J.HARRIS WAS THE MAN AND THE TEAM MATES THAT CAME ALONG WHERE THE BEST IN THE NATION... AND THEY BEAT A TEAM THAT HASNT LOST IN YEARS. NOW I TELL U MY MIAMI IS THE BEST TEAM IN COLLEGE! THEY HAVE A COMPLETE TEAM. THE RECIEVER CAN CATCH AND RUN. THE QB CAN THROW AND THE RUNNING BACK CAN RUN....SHOW ME A TEAN THAT HAS A COMPLETE SECONDARY AND ONE THAT CAN COVER THE TIGHT-END TOO.........I SEE THIS TEAM MAYBE GIVE U ONE LOST BUT ME I THINK THIS IS A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM THIS YEAR... REMEMBER WE BEAT V.T WITH A TEAM THAT WASNT THAT GOOD LAST YEAR...T.T CANT DO IT BY HIMSELF. HE'S NOT A VERY GOOD AT THROWIN SO THAT WILL BE ANOTHER G.T. JUST THIS TIME RUN THE DAM SCORE UP LIKE THEY DO US........C.A.N.E.S CANES

NOT ONLY
is this the best college team in the nation
this is the best college team in the nation the NEXT THREE seasons.
AND
this is the TEAM OF THIS DECADE
great in 2001
NC in 2001
NC in 2002* (or at the very least best team)
NC in 2009
Who can top that?
No one.
So despite all the talk the past few years, it's been just that - a few years off what in hindsight will be clearly seen as
TEAM OF THE 80S
TEAM OF THE 90S
TEAM OF THE 00S
30 YEARS OF DOMINANCE

Good post Boss let em know whats goin down. We always lose coaches. But i disagree on the OC carroll lost chow sarkisian kiffin he just keep lugging em in. And lets not forget Carroll came to UM when he started and got the UM playbook and built Miami west coast.

Canesjunkie,
Our offensive line will be fine.
Just like every other position, freshman & sophmores need reps before they become starters. Our best running backs started 3rd or 4th on the depth chart in past years. Offensive lineman learn from playing one or two series a game.

RS needs to filter in some of the young guys, we'll be fine in the future if we start developing next years talent slowly this year.

guys, we don't need to get way above our head here, but seriously, after the way the canes have played these last two games, our offense is unstoppable, they have certainly proved that they can give VAtech and OU something to worry about, bottom line is that if we come out of this 4-0, then that would definitely put miami in the top 10 and maybe even top 5 depending on how the likes of Texas and USC are doing. IF miami is 4-0 after week 4, then miami has no hard games remaining, obviously we cant underestimate clemson and NC who beats us last year because we were overconfident, but seriously, the miami hurricanes do have a legit chance to be in the national championship hunt this year

cane fans maybe it is becuase i have been around to long but i for one am not worried about the next two games and at this point am rooting for a texas loss so MY CANES can get aqnother shot at tebow. for all you fair weather fans out there COACH Shannon has got our canes back where they belong and a nc is in MY hopes and desires every year


I was just starting to think that you were a RESPONSIBLE journalist and not a sell out to the hyperbole.

And then I read this article.

The comments to this entry are closed.