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Grading The Canes: Clemson

I couldn't make it to Saturday's game -- I had a wedding -- but I spent my Sunday night breaking down the game on my DVR. Before I get to the grades, a few thoughts:

UM-Clemson -- My overwhelming sense from this game was a flat out lack of aggression and confidence from the Canes, whose reputation has always been quite the opposite. It was almost as if they were playing not to lose. I'm not just talking about the three running plays by Javarris James in the fourth quarter when UM was trying to run the clock out. I had less of a problem with that and more of a stink with the overall attitude. Where was the pressure on Kyle Parker? Why did John Lovett not go after the redshirt freshman with more than just his four-man front? Where were the deep downfield passes from Jacory Harris? Yes, he connected on that 69-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin. But why did that feel like the only time Mark Whipple went for the big play? Bottomline, one team came in the 10th-ranked team in the country according to the BCS and the other was 3-3. Yet, you couldn't tell which team UM was supposed to be. That should speak volumes to you about this program and where it is still at.

-- Three times the Canes took over on offense with the lead (following a defensive stop) and three times they looked uncomfortable having it. The sign of a great team is that when it has its opponent reeling, it goes for the jugular. Even against UCF two weeks ago, you didn't get that sense from this Miami team. Ditto in the Oklahoma game and ditto against Georgia Tech. If you want to really be the best, you have to have that attitude. This Miami football team is improved. It is Top 25 worthy. But it still isn't back to Canes standards. And Randy Shannon knows it. 

-- Before you go handing CJ Spiller the Heisman trophy like a certain pair of radio announcers were about to do Saturday night (I was listening to the broadcast on my way to the reception) let's take a look at what Clemson's star running back really did Saturday. He ran back a kickoff 90 yards for a score. Not sure if you guys noticed it, but there was nobody within 25 yards of Spiller when he caught the low-line drive kick from Alex Uribe (Orlando Franklin might have been able to bring that kick back for a score). Spiller also had a 56-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Parker on a play when a gimpy Sean Spence (who shouldn't have been on the field) tried to cover him with no help. And Spiller had a 48-yard burst in the fourth quarter to move Clemson deep down field (he had 33 yards on his 13 other carries). I'm not saying Spiller isn't a great player. I'm just saying he wasn't Heisman-esque or the reason UM lost this game.

-- Enough with the Kool-aid drinking. Miami is flat out weak when it comes to pass blocking and not nearly deep enough at linebacker. In fact, other than running back and receiver, this team really has no real depth right now. For all the talk about Ben Jones, Brandon Washington and the other young linemen Miami has and how light bulbs are coming on, there is a reason Matt Pipho was still on the field for every offensive snap. Those other guys aren't ready. Ditto for Spence. He came back out in the third quarter (50 percent at best) and only got pulled after he got burned for the 56-yard score. What else does it say when the Canes would prefer to have a banged up Spence instead of a 100-percent Ramon Buchanon?

And now to the grades...

> Quarterback play: Before you go ripping Jacory Harris for his three picks, remember this is a guy working with an average at best offensive line and still just a sophomore. Is he making bad decisions? Yes. The interception before halftime was pathetic. The lob pass taken back for a touchdown by DeAndre McDaniel was Kirby Freeman-esque. But Jacory is still better than anything this program has had at quarterback in awhile. And frankly, I think this dink and dunk offense Mark Whipple had him in Saturday doesn't play up to his strengths or Miami's big and fast receivers. Harris finished 17-of-27 for 256 yards, 2 TDs and three picks. But he might have done a little better if he hadn't thrown the ball just six times after UM scored on the opening possession of the second half. Yes, he threw the ball just six times. It goes back to that aggression talk earlier. Grade: C.

> Running backs: If any unit deserved a helmet sticker for their effort Saturday, it was the Canes backfield trio of Graig Cooper, Javarris James and Damien Berry. Together, they produced 210 yards on 31 carries -- a whopping 6.7-yard average against one of the country's best run defenses. So where did the Canes falter? Picking up blitzes. James and Cooper both were slow getting to blocks and it led to two costly sacks in this game that derailed drives. Grade: B.

> Receivers/tight ends: Big ups to Leonard Hankerson, who has clearly taken a step forward yet again. He finished with five catches for 87 yards and a touchdown, including a beautiful one-handed grab on the opening drive. Too bad we didn't see him again after his six-yard touchdown catch. At least I didn't see him. Travis Benjamin also looked good, hauling in the 69-yard touchdown. We've seen him do it more than a few times now, beating his man one-on-one and getting wide open downfield. It's a shame we don't see it more often than once every two or three games. Grade: A.

> Blocking: If all Miami's starting five had to do was run block, they'd probably be one of the better units in the country. But unfortunately, stopping hard charging defensive ends and picking up blitzes simply isn't their strength. Orlando Franklin, who moved outside to left tackle on several plays, provided evidence why he's a guard, getting beat twice on what turned out to be big Clemson plays. Much maligned right tackle Matt Pipho had a better effort. But collectively, it wasn't a great night. When you can't run screens well or give your quarterback nearly as much time as the other team does, you aren't winning the other half of the battle up front. Grade: C.

Marcus Robinson celebrates his 56-yard fumble return for a score > Front seven: Except for one 48-yard Spiller run, the Canes run defense was spectacular. Linebacker Colin McCarthy was all over the place. He absolutely crushed Spiller, causing a fumble in the first half. Darryl Sharpton did a good job swarming to the football. In all, the Tigers finished with 84 yards on 34 attempts for a 2.5 average. Take away the 48-yard burst and Clemson had 36 yards on 33 attempts. Now let's talk pass rush... There wasn't much. Allen Bailey provided nearly all of it. His sack, strip and fumble led to Marcus Robinson's 56-yard fumble return for a score. But other than that, Kyle Parker had time to Facebook his friends in the pocket. Miami blitzed him on occasion. But it wasn't nearly enough to disrupt him. And the four offsides penalties? Just bad. This game just provided further proof UM's defensive line, while better against the run, still has a long way to go. Grade: C.

> Secondary: When you don't get much of a pass rush, it's really hard to cover downfield for more than five to six seconds. Miami fell victim to that way too often. But the big breakdowns were in the middle of the field. I'm not sure if it's Darryl Sharpton's responsibility or Colin McCarthy or Randy Philips, but Clemson's tight ends had a field day in the middle of the field. They combined to catch nine passes and quite a few on third and long for first downs. The game-winning touchdown catch by Jacoby Ford? Middle of the field. John Lovett might want to look into that little problem. Grade: D.

> Special teams: Anytime you give up a kickoff return for a score, you've had a bad day. But aside from Alex Uribe's mental gaff -- he was supposed to squib kick it instead of giving CJ Spiller a head start in a foot race -- Miami's special teams was very, very good. By that I mean Matt Bosher. He had two long field goals and did a great job on kickoffs and punts. He got plenty of hangtime to negate the punt returns (Clemson didn't have any) and he even was able to salvage good field position despite having to kickoff from his own 15. Grade: C.

> Coaching: Here's where the biggest breakdowns happened. Not only did the Canes have to burn timeouts again because they didn't have the right personnel on the field, this team was never in the right mind set. Both Lovett and Whipple needed to be more aggressive in this game. Lovett with the blitz and Whipple with his best weapon -- his receivers. Neither called for their best weapons enough. Grade: D.


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Shannon will bring THE U another ring. It's all good. 5-2 with a bunch of true sophomores, and a new coaching staff. And the troll is here talking smack. Too funny. I'm out, I got better things to do than waste my time here.



Whoever nominated Shannon for Bryant Award should be executed.

Can you say Pedro, Curse and the others are FU fans trolling on here?

Now go back under your rock or to the bottom of your swamp or wherever you go to hide. Clowns. Or better yet, come over here so I can make some boots, wallets and purses out of your gator hides. Your moms and wives need some gifts and since they have been so good to me, gator purses and boots would seem appropriate.

As for the game, Manny you hit a lot of points and I agree w/most of them. I would however have given the coaches an F. The lack of aggression is all on them. Hope you enjoyed the wedding. it was probably better than being at the stadium.

To the fake Sarosota Cane,

I actually am a season ticket holder, attended last year's UF game, and @ FSU two years ago. So I'd like to consider myself a real fan.

I'm sorry that my Shockey and Vilma comment offended you. I don't really see why it would. An we did put up 30 on that 17 ppg defense, 27 less the 3 pts in OT. And there O did score, but 2 TDs came from ST and 1 in OT.

I still have faith in this team and 2 losses isn't the end of the world. Didn't your boy Tebow lose 4 games as a Sophomore? Don't give me that heisman talk bc your boy has been exposed as a chump fraud.

BTW it's pretty sad that you had time to locate my last 3 posts... real sad.

Oh sorry i forgot to mention the pick 6. So like I said I wouldn't blame it on the O. Primarily ST and the D.

So in recap:

1. Yes, I am a real fan
2. No, I don't think it was the O's fault.

And all those Whipple haters, don't bite the hand that feeds you bc we'd be cooked if it wasn't for him.

Is there anymore room left under Randy's bus ?


what exactly is the extent of sean spences injury? is he out for the season? does he need surgery?

is this this the time to call out arthur brown?

the U is back is right:

we scored on a vaunted D that held TCU to less points

Clemson is not bad, but we gave them the game by not neutralizing their one and only weapon: #28. How could our coaches kick to him? I havent seen anyone mention that. How could they??????How could they put lbs on him?

So, kick off return- 7 pts
int pick 6- 7 pts
the OT TD - 7 pts- this was the inexcusable one more than the others in my opinion.


Posted by: I SEE DEAD PEOPLE | October 28, 2009 at 12:42 PM


perhaps, Randy Shannon fell on his sword to protect Mark Whipple …


Posted by: green | October 28, 2009 at 09:30 AM

Fog of war
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the documentary film, see The Fog of War.
The fog of war is a term used to describe the level of ambiguity in situational awareness experienced by participants in military operations.[1]

The term seeks to capture the uncertainty regarding own capability, adversary capability and adversary intent during an engagement, operation or campaign.

If this were the Military, Randy Shannon's CONSTANT blunders and mistakes whould not equate to just Losses... It would be LIVES lost and Captain Clueless Shannon whould have been RELIEVED of DUTY long ago ...

give the coaches a break. The haters here overhyped this team. The team is injured but still is 5-2. At 3-0 people were talking about JH winning the Heisman and UM playing for the BCS. At 4-1 BCS talk was still there. For all you shor term memory defects: Dont forget how many people predicted 0-4 start, 1-3. So far, we have exceeded the expectations. Nobody had us ranked in the beginning of the season. With 2 losses we are still ranked. FSU is no where to be seen.

Dont believe the hype. We are still rebuilding. Stay with Jacorry. tighten him up- the worse that can happen is to reign him in and he loses his confidence. PATIENCE PATIENCE PATIENCE

Posted by: Patience | October 28, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Patience, you are right that we need to be patient with this team's players and I think most knowledable fans expect the players to make mistakes (even some major ones). The frustration is not with the players - Saturday's blunders were ALL on the coaches. Shannon's TO, the kick to Spiller w/ 57 seconds, the 3 straight runs after RP's INT - ALL on the coaches. Additionally, Damien Berry continues to outplay/outperform the 'starting' RBs but he's not on the field when his power/speed was needed most. We saw last year that even when Jacory was outplaying Marve, Randy stuck with Marve to everyone's complete bewilderment... Whipple made a few mistakes on Saturday but mostly coached another good game (and he's been sensational from a whole season perspective). Shannon never stepped in to force some blitzing of Parker yet he DID step in and call a TO which cost Miami points. Then he won't even admit his blunder - I think we'd all feel better if he'd admit just ONE mistake...just once. I still support this team 100% and I want Shannon to succeed but he HAS TO admit his mistakes and fix them or we should find someone (i.e. Whipple) who can do both. Go Canes!!!

My bad the U is back. Sorry guys, I couldn't tell at first because of all the crowd noise on Saturday but it was a Jimmy Johnsoneque scene on the sideline with all the coaches on the same page. Real cohesiveness all fighting to defeat the mighty Tigers of Clemson.

The 2 losses were just a small hiccup on the way to your ACC Championship.



Nice post. I couldn't have said it better myself, so I am glad you did. It is good to see somebody on this board that is not either Shannon is God or Shannon is a bum and recognizes the need for progress but realizes our patience is not infinite.

I hope Shannon and Whipple can work out their differences because I think they are ying and yang to each other. Football's Odd Couple, with Randy being Felix Unger (the uptight control freak) and Whipple being Oscar Madison (kind of slob and a little too loud sometimes). This program needs both

However, Randy's comments about the situation to date are very disappointing to say the least, or outright lies if you believe The Herald article. He needs to address the situation in a more appropriate fashion and own up to his part or this whole thing is going to blow up in his face.

Manny, you are right on the money! I was at the game saying the exact same thing. We played like the 3-3 team trying to stay in the game and hoping to win it at the end. A redshirt freshman QB that had shown a penchant for panicking under pressure and we never challenged him. We got burned anyway! At least make the guy make quicker decisions. The deep ball was there all game long, but we were obviously afraid of their pass rush. The tight ends were open in the middle of the field as well. Very frustrating. I'd rather lose being aggressive. The non-blitz on 3rd and 11 in OT reminded me of the 4th and 13 at Fiesta Bowl. No pressure, all the time in the world, completed pass, ultimately game lost!


there needs to be something done about all the injuries never seen so many since randy took over



I concur with the overall grades. No killer instint.

Manny, where is the new blog? grading the canes is getting dated.

Manny , have you heard anything on the extension for coach Shannon? It's great, to be, a Miami Hur-ri-Cane.

I think Manny is either doing some deep investigate work of the Whipple-Shannon flap or he hooked up with someone at the wedding and cannot drag himself to the computer, or out of the house. I don't know if Manny is married but, if he is....just kidding Mrs. Navarro. Don't want to get the ol' boy in trouble you know.



I know CaneNation was depressed after the loss on Saturday but that was last week! And I know you're also assigned to the Marlins but they've been cooked for a month! (Please don't tell me you're covering those other UM "sports!" lol).

We need you Manny! Get at us!



Let Arthur Brown play...we want to see what he's got.

It doesn't matter if you have all NFL players, if you have the wrong schemes in place, you are NOT going to win many games...Coaches...get you acts together

I agree with Manny, the coaches blew the game. We have these great big receivers. We could have stretched out Clemsons defense in overtime on the 1st play of overtime and hit one of our receivers in the endzone. What happened to throwing on 1st down. We have had so much success doing this. 2nd, I think Shannon coaches alot like Jimmy Johnson in that he uses a basic 4-3 defense and expects his defense players to be better athletes(faster and stronger) than his opponent. He has to realize his defense is not there yet and start some blitz packages. His defensive scheme made clemsons QB look like Payton Manning.

Why not put Ian Symonette at Defensive Tackle?

The guy is 6-9 320 we dont need his speed just clog the middle!!

What do you think?

Manny hasn't been on twitter either

The collapse is well underway. The severe lack of depth is an unavoidable shortcoming. Were screwed.

Wow, not even the UM blogger made it to the game. Talk about attendance problems. I know as a Gator fans I scheduled my wedding around football season. Someone who does not have the same courtesy, get a "NO" RSVP from me. You're either a college football fan or you're not.

Tebow won the Heisman and still lost 4 games so why should we be running to the hills bc we've lost 2? If anything, that gives u more reason to shut your mouth...

The only reason u raid this blog is bc you feel threatened by what we got going on here. I don't see you on an FIU blog. Why? B/C they don't have your cheeks sizzling.

It's sad to win 2 of 3, possibly 3 of 4, and still be the red-headed step child doesn't it?

Get a life, seriously.

I don't understand your point fake Sarasota Cane.

BTW your precious Tebow is proving that he is not Heisman caliber, but it was the surrounding talent that made him what he was Sophomore and Junior year.

And before u start throwing rushing stats at me, just remember that you can't stuff the box with Harvin on the field and Murphy on the outside.

Oh yeahhhhh the ewe is baaaaaaack.... To the bottom of the sorry Coastal

pedro i thought i smited you already...

I think it's time to file a missing persons report for Manny. Maybe the competition (i.e. Shandel) whacked him for his cyber territory. Manny's 5-star product was too good to compete against. LOL

Can't wait until Saturday. Canes are schizophrenic these days... but we'll shake off that demon for good at some point. Let's win the rest of our games or maybe drop at most one other game. I'll be happy if we go 10-3.

Next year is the year, assuming we have an OL. There's lots of talk comparing these Canes to the 97-2003 Canes. There's debate about whether we're more like the '99 team or the 2000 team. THOSE TEAMS HAD GREAT OFFENSIVE LINEMEN... SO UNLESS OUR OL STEPS UP, WE'RE LIKE NEITHER OF THOSE TEAMS.

Without an OL, Jacory can't play the role of Ken Dorsey, and our talented running backs won't be able to produce like Portis, McGahee or Gore did.

WE NEED SOME HOG-MALLIES (and maybe some JUCO TE'S too to help them out)!!!




Oye Randel ?


North Carolina did what UM can't do. That is play defense. We can't stop a good team. The D. Cord. Isn't getting the job done. I know about the injuries. But I think the D. Philosophy stinks. Not Canes football.

GREAT ANALYSIS. I agree with Manny. I hang this loss on the COACHES. Poor job. This game was won with 3 mins to go and we could not get a first down and run out the clock on third and short???? What the F?

PLAY ACTION PASS......unbelieveable!


Watching UNC go into VT and beat them makes me even more upset at this team.

The herald cares so much about covering the U, they sent Manny to cover the World Series!

Fairweather paper for fairweather fans...

Pedro and the other ddd--oooshh bags who come on here- get a life. You all dont know what you are talking about. You belong with soft, panzie Tebow fans, you know the 25 yr old bible-banging vi-gins form Traylor town.

Fear the demon decons...

Why couldnt they send someone else? Is the U not important enough. Hello Shandel...

Yankees are back in business, take Game 2 over Phillies
NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees were

Pedro's mother is a pig.

Pedro and the other ddd--oooshh bags who come on here- get a life.

Posted by: BCS this | October 30, 2009 at 10:56 AM



a tenacious gaturd assumes various aliases to sow dissension …
here …
there …


The herald cares so much about covering the U, they sent Manny to cover the World Series!

Fairweather paper for fairweather fans...

Posted by: gaturd agent provocateur | October 30, 2009 at 10:33 AM


Just checked into my hotel room in New York for the World Series. Just so you know, I will be at Wake Forest Saturday. I'm only covering Games 1 and 2.
-- manny navarro


How is Manny getting the "scoop" from NY? Bad Bad decision by the Herald. You couldnt send anyone else? Send Linda Roberson, she aint doint sh*t anyway. This shows a lack of respect to the Cane Fan base here. Why why why would they send the Cane insider to cover the World Series? If Miami would have won, would this still happen? Sun-Sentinel here I come.

Were you going to say something?>

It isnt what you say, its how you say it, and you know what, be fair minded, balanced and actually factual. I know an "opinion" doesnt have to be that, but try. Because you and all of the other non UM fan imposters who come on here, love to trash the canes just to trash the canes. I go on FSU and UF blogs sometimes, and for the life of me, I never see a UM blogger on their ripping their teams.

I realize that UF, FSU, FIU, etc etc fans hate the canes. We know that. Just like every woman in the world hates Angelina Jolie, or Jessica Biel. Its called jealousy. Ok I get it. Jealous of the only program in CFB to win a NC in the last 3 decades. Jealous of the numebr of NFL players that the u puts out. jealous that despite the downs, the U always gets back up to national prominence. Jealous and scared that the pattern has been repeated before:

1983 NC
1984 lost against BC, MAryland rebuild
1985 rebuild- close
1986 there but not quite
1987 NC

1994-1999 rebuild
2000 there but not quite
2001 NC

Its happening again. Believe it. YOudont have to like ist, but believe it. And right now the ONE THING STOPPING UM from playing in the ACC Ch is injuries. JUst you wait and see.

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