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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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Were you going to say something?>

Posted by: Sarasota 'Cane | October 30, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Just checking in Swamp Donkey. Same 'ol, same 'ol!
How did you come up with the name Swamp Donkey?
Posted by: gatorlegend | October 26, 2009 at 12:13 PM

He He, I'm a little embarrassed! I used to play baseball for UF, and let's just say I got it during the teams hazing ritual for freshmen! Man I still think I have a "knot" on the back of my head! He He


Posted by: Swamp Donkey | October 26, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Perfect example...

Sarasota and MTX cane are on all the boards...

Perfect example...

Sarasota and MTX cane are on all the boards...

Posted by: Sarasota 'Cane | October 30, 2009 at 02:19 PM

It's a free country "fakey", er I mean Swamp Donkey! It's funny how someone who is on all the boards, is complaining about someone being on all the boards!

Go 'canes!

Say bye bye to this blog format next year. This is not a UM football blog but a blog full of freaks calling each other names like little girls. When people from around the country say what is happening to the City of Miami all one has to do is go on this blog and they will get it. GO CANES!


No different anywhere else except they have fans showing up to the games to support their team win or lose.

pedro- I see your 5th grade gainseville education didnt allow you to think out of your box.

You obviously didnt get my point.
That's obvious.
I didnt expect it you brain dead dement

and before you go and say you won a bet and got everyone in this blog to talk to you, I'll say onelast thing

Its great to be a Miami Hurricane.

You wouldnt know. You have Tebow's ck so far up your as$ its clouding your perception.

NOTE TO MANNY .........


ITS OVER .... Lets move on ... HELP THE CANES MOVE ON


Attention True Cane fans! Ignor the haters & imposters! They LIVE for your responses on their idiotic posts! They have no life so they rely on your attention to give themselves relevency in their pathetic lives! We know there are imposters of Sarasota Canes & green. Do not respond or reply to their posts! They even start to create new names to respond to their own posts to seem like they have an audiance! IGNORE!!!

canes coaches need to get better. harris needs to quit throwing picks. defense line is really banged up, ojomo, moncur, ect.. we would be really good if d- line was healthy

Pedro, I'm very disapointed in you. U sound like a sincere U fan with a bad case of BIPOLAR. Sound like U need a hug.

ah man busted...

well time to go on the clemson blog, they have won in a row....

so long suckers...

please beat the deacons...


breaking Down the Miami Offense-- with video

where is manny

still depressed

but GO CANES !


Whats up with you and the herald? Nothing the day after a heartbreaking loss to Clemson. 0 leading up to a matchup against a legit conference opponent, which holds new importance after the Va Tech loss. Fan base is excited again and our "local" paper shows no love. The heart of the season seems like the wrong time to skip games for weddings...

You're the best and most interested Canes writer we have. Its schitty that I have to head over to Shundell on gameday...

The entire season is on the line in this game. All of the good that UM has done will be erased if we lose. Losing at Wake Forest means that they absolutely collapsed.

They are down by 10 right now....let's see if these guys have any heart.

Well get that resume ready Randy. I don't think we win another game.

Hey Gator fans. You might want to find lives at some point in time.

Finally a TD!

Well at least we're not going to be shut out.

No one can tackle. JoJo, Shields, HArris...
No one can tackle.

This is pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. It's one thing to get beat, but to be embarrassed by Wake Forest is a new low. I've been a Shannon supporter, but he has to go. This is sad. Wake Forest may put 600 yards of offense up. They look like the friggin' Saints against us.

We are making Wake look like the Saints.

We haven't gotten into this game yet. There is no enthusiasm out there.

The leaders of this team are going to reveal themselves in the 2nd half.

1st down after 1st down after 1st down after 1st down.


Any inside tips on who's the coach next year? Tuberville?

I think we should put AJ in. Get him some experience. Offense going nowhere anyways.

We're a joke. I've tried to stick with Shannon, but he needs to go. Shannon isn't equipped to coach this team.

Just hire Whipple right now. Make Shannon clear is office out.

Look at our third quarter stats. Negative yards. Our coaching is a joke. Whipple may be the answer for some, but not me. He is feast or famine. But one thing is clear. Shannon is not a head coach. Lovett is not a defense coordinator. Joe for special teams shouldn't be near a football field. We have the most talent receiving core and we do nothing with it. All of u who still belev in Shannon, or still think he is a head coach, u have no leg to stand on. Joke. And guess what guys. It's going to get worse.

Hey guys, what about chip Kelly? How fun would that be?

Our coaches are trying to get the loss, good thing our players are going for the wW

Has anyone seen a worse team on third down than is right now on both sides of the ball?

I hope Kirby gives Shannon the extension after the game. He has earned it. I mean we own UCF and FAMU. I think we could beat UF on a neutral field.

Look at the doubters Miami just went on a great drive to take the lead and if the defense holds up it be a good win and a great way to rebound from last week loss.

I nearly had a heart attack. Never again folks. Never again.

Bittersweet. Shows that the team is still not ready. Some growing & maturing still needs to take place. Sweet that there are signs of growing & maturing with a win!

Randy must go! We got lucky at WAKE FOREST!

The only difference from last year is Whipple. If Nix is still the OC, we lose.

Maybe Whipple isn't the answer at head coach, but he's here and we can afford him.

Let's not cloud the issue...Randy Shannon must go. Bring in Tuberville or whoever, but this team is a disaster.

6-2 and we want our coaches gone. I can't do anything but laugh at all you bandwagons. Just get use to it. They'll be here for awhile. If you don't like it then get gone. Trust me on this.



My take on the game is the players played without emotion. They played flat. To get a win out of that is amazing.

The injuries have affected us more than most of you realize. 3 out for this game while 8 more are out for the season. And we want to blame coaching?! Hardee-har-har!

This falls on Coker and Shannon's team will not be complete for two more years. We are not there yet to simply reload when players go down to injuries. We've had to blow a few redshirts because of it. I don't think most of you even realize that. You're still stuck in the 80's for some freaking reason.

We don't have the upperclassmen to teach these true sophomores. They are learning on their own. Once they are seniors and can teach the underclassmen, this team will not be complete. It is what it is.





This falls on Coker and Shannon's team will not be complete for two more years. We are not there yet to simply reload when players go down to injuries. We've had to blow a few redshirts because of it. I don't think most of you even realize that. You're still stuck in the 80's for some freaking reason.

We don't have the upperclassmen to teach these true sophomores. They are learning on their own. Once they are seniors and can teach the underclassmen, this team will not be complete. It is what it is.

Wow you an idiot. Stop blaming Coker. This is on Shannon. He has had 3 recruiting classes. The fact is he is terrible on recruiting Oline. All the current starters but one were recruited by Coker. 3 classes and not one impact starter on the Oline.

The D is coached by Shannon. He was great with Butch's players but has sucked since. Dont say its Coker's fault because he couldn't recruit. Look at Meyer's D. He has built one of the best D's in the same 3 years Shannon has created one of the worst.

How is Shannon a natural born leader? Miami has come out flat soo many times. VTECH, Clemson, Wake Forest 1st half this year, FSU last year, G TECH last year and so on. The man is two plays from being 4-4 and this year. He is terrible and Miami will never win anything with him. What a joke that Miami will be NC contender last year? The D sucks and Miami willbe replacing all its TE's and Oline. What if Bailey comes out? There will be no dline.

WTF how about a new blog!

Oh I forgot how smart Cav is. Why even post? I should just read Cav's posts since he knows it all. Damn, my bad.

Keep it coming Cav. You've got all the answers. You should apply for AD. Actually, forget that. You should be GM of an NFL squad. Submit your resume now!

What was I thinking??? You're right about Shannon having 3 classes. I forgot he had to put a class together 2 months before signing day. Yea, that's right. A class before even HCing his first game. I forgot he brought Tennessee's best player Cooper in and ripped Marve from Bama.

You are also very insightful of Meyer too. Sure. Zook had nothing to do with what they have now nor did he have anything to do with UF's NC in 2006. You are absolutely right there.

I mean Shannon did get two stud QBs when he got the job with Freeman and Wright. He also walked right in with a full coaching staff.

Just wondering. Is this your first experience with a brand new HC in his third year? A HC that didn't even have a coaching staff? You know, like the ones that can plug right in? Or is this your first experience with a guy starting at the bottom trying to establish a dynasty from the ground up? You can't build an empire on sand, ya know.

BTW, what coach should we get? Who should replace Shannon? Can't wait for this one.


Cooper was a Coker commit who went to Prep school.

What an idiot? Shannon picked his coaches. He failed. He is building a dynasty of 3rd place finished. How can I guy recruit 8 lb's one year and yet has no depth at the position?

Coker?? You're going to the well to often with that excuse. It's Wake Forest!!!! We barely beat them...we didn't even beat them, they beat themselves.

I'm not going to get used to it and these coaches aren't going to be here for a long time. Look at the trend, how many assistants do we lose every year? Be here for a while, don't make me laugh...Whipple is probably updating his resume right now.

Who should we hire? Good question...Whipple, Tubberville, Sciano...just hire somebody. Don't sit there and watch us scratch out a win against Wake and tell me everything is OK. It's not OK.

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