« USF thoughts | Main | Four Canes land on ACC First Team »

Grading the Canes: USF Report Card

The Canes wrapped up a 9-3 season -- better than most expected -- with arguably its second-best performance of the season after Georgia Tech. There is a lot to be excited about if you bleed orange and green, for instance: 

Jacory Harris  -- UM now has a shot at finishing with double digit wins for the first time since 2003.
-- The team avoided its recent tradition of late-season slippage. The 3-1 effort this month marked the first time since 2005 UM finished the last month of the regular season with a winning record. UM had been 3-9 in the previous three Novembers combined. With the win, the Canes also finished undefeated in non-conference play (4-0) in the regular season for the first time since 2005.
-- The Canes improved their bowl stock while other ACC teams (North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Clemson) slipped. With UNC losing, UM can claim to be the fourth best team overall in the conference behind Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Boston College also finished 5-3. 

There will be a lot more to reflect on over the next two weeks. As players focus on finals and private workouts for the next 14 days, my plan is to provide a regular season report card, some recruiting updates, player rankings and to get a few days off myself. But for now, here is the final report card of the regular season.

> Quarterback: He still didn't have a lot of zip on his passes because his thumb is still aching and he caught a few breaks (his TD pass to Dedrick Epps was intended for Travis Benjamin), but Jacory Harris played his first turnover free game since UCF. He finished 11 of 21 (his fewest attempts of the year) for 161 yards (the second fewest yards this season) and two touchdowns and did a much better job with his decision making than in previous weeks, opting for safer passes most of the game. The most unique thing about this game was that this was the first time all year offensive coordinator Mark Whipple didn't put the weight of the offense on Harris' shoulders. In fact, the disparity in run plays (47) to passes (22) was the largest gap of the season. Grade: A

Javarris James  > Running backs: What else can you say about Damien Berry? He's proven over the past month he's the best player in UM's backfield. Saturday was no different. He ran for 114 yards on 12 carries, but saw his scoring streak snapped at seven games. Junior Graig Cooper had a good game himself, finished with 83 yards on 16 carries. Javarris James had 37 on 11 carries and two touchdowns. The 240 yards on the ground were the second most this season (UM had 268 vs. Virginia) and marked the third time this year UM topped 200. USF came in ranked 44th nationally against the run. Grade: A

> Receivers/tight ends: With the running game working so well, UM's receivers basically got a much deserved night off. Leonard Hankerson capped a stellar regular season with two catches for 21 yards and a touchdown to become the only Canes receiver to catch a pass in all 12 games. Dedrick Epps had a drop early in the game on third down, but bounced back with an excuse-me touchdown. From the strange stat category: Aldarius Johnson (2 catches), LaRon Byrd (2 catches) and Travis Benjamin (3 catches) -- considered by most to be UM's top three receivers entering the season -- have combined to make seven catches over the final two games. I think that just shows you how deep UM really is with pass catchers. Remember what it was like when Larry Coker was here? Grade: B+

Orlando Franklin  > Offensive line: By far the biggest props from Saturday have to go to Orlando Franklin and Brandon Washington, who proved they could protect Jacory's Blind Side (Great movie by the way). Not only did Franklin dominate two-time All-American defensive end George Selvie in his first start at left tackle, he helped paved the way for a solid UM ground game. Harris was sacked once and pressured once. So, the other guys did their job for the most part too. The ugly: Five false start penalties. Grade: B+

> Front seven: There were plenty of tense moments when BJ Daniels was scrambling around Saturday. But for the most part, the Canes did their job, holding USF to 143 yards rushing and creating enough pressure to help out the secondary. Linebacker Darryl Sharpton continued his dominance by matching his career-high from a week ago with 12 tackles. He also forced a fumble safety Randy Phillips recovered and led to a touchdown. Redshirt freshman Ramon Buchanon quietly had a solid game with five tackles including 1.5 for loss. Colin McCarthy, Steven Wesley and Sean Spence all had sacks to match a team season high. Even with a few long Daniels runs, this was without question UM's best defensive effort up front since Georgia Tech. Grade: B+

Brandon Harris  > Secondary: It wasn't their best game statistically, but it definitely felt like the best UM's secondary had played all season. Brandon Harris continued a stellar sophomore season by getting his hands on his second interception of the season. He also batted away another pass. USF's passing game wasn't among the nation's best. But the Bulls still had plenty of skilled playmakers at receiver who didn't do much at all. Of the six pass completions for USF, three went to receivers. That's called lockdown D. Grade: A+

> Special teams: Not much to complain about other than long kickoff return for a touchdown Matt Bosher had to prevent with his sixth tackle of the season. Bosher also had two punts bounce into the end zone after only having five go for touchbacks in the regular season. It's amazing how you have to zero in on the little things to find mistakes when it comes to Bosher, who finished the year 14 of 16 on field goals and second in the ACC in punting (42.7 avg). He's become almost as legendary as Chuck Norris or Dos Equis' Most Interesting Man in the World

Joe Joseph  > Coaching: Yes, there were a few more of those head scratching time outs because the right personnel weren't on the field. But when you are up big you can afford to use them. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland gets the game ball this week for showing us he could get Orlando Franklin (first start at LT) and Brandon Washington (first career start) ready for a big game. Randy Shannon gets a helmet sticker for having his team ready to play from the get-go. USF had every reason to be up for this game -- home sellout, recruiting. The Canes were the only team who really showed up. Grade: A.

> Uniforms: I didn't love them, but they weren't the worst uniforms I've seen. They just seemed to be a little too plain. I would have like to have seen more color (green or orange) on the shoulder pads and pants. But the numbers and gloves looked really cool to me. Grade: C+


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

God Bless Matt Bosher!
The most impactful kicker weve had since Carlos Huerta!
Great job boys!
Great Season! lets Finish strong in our bowl game and prepare to dominate next season!!!!

Nice report card Manny. They played like Canes in this game, and didn't give USF a chance to breath. I liked the new uni's though, very clean, and the gloves in the pic above, niiiiiiice. GO CANES!!!!!

Good game for the Canes... However, I cant help looking back at the season, and thinking that Da U would have been a bit better if we would have put together an offensive line package that clearly inserted the best guys across the Line.

Aheem...rotating #65 out of the game. This guy is not starting material, in the tough ACC.

i know he's been here and has paid his dues in terms of seniority; but Gosh!

Still proud of the group, we're in the right direction.

Next year the schedule isn't as tough, so focusing throughout the year will be our biggest challenge.

However still unfinished business... Hope we can get a Bowl in Florida; if so I'm there!!!

Lets Go Canes!

Manny, will the staff look to the juco ranks for oline and te's?.. is there any chance of bailey coming back for his senior season?

If we play like that every tine we wear the unis that'd be great lol

I'm gonna go ahead and go on a limb here. Even though everyone thinks our O-Line is gonna take a huge hit this year. I think that even losing Fox who has been just amazing in his career here. I think our O-line can be even better next year. Brandon Washington is gonna be a beast. No doubt about it. I read an interview with him saying he was kind of frustrated not being able to start this year. He stated that he was ready to start and go for blood. Go for blood? Gotta love that attitude! If you watched him Saturday you saw that he is gonna be a beast. I think Fox is the only Senior on the line that is gonna be a big loss. CANES 2010!

Put Ian Symonette at D Tackle!!!!!

Put Ian Symonette at D Tackle!!!!!

Put Ian Symonette at D Tackle!!!!!

Great performance by the U. I hate those new uniforms. ALLLL white. can't even see the numbers. At least wear some orange pants and black socks and black shoes. UGLY. It looked like casper was playing. Get rid of those new uniforms. My god.

proud of the kids this season GO CANES!!!!!!!!

So the regular season is over, there is about a month before the bowl game. The subject now should be recruiting. The herald summed up nicely the recruits we already picked up, but who are we most likely to get? What are the probabilities on Linder now that Weis will surely leave? Or what about Lemonier, some say he is a sure canes other say he wants to leave town. What's the story? And the two Linebackers, Charlie Jones and Josh Shirley? Will they commit to the U? The only other position with some big names left is WR. Harris is supposed to be a lock being from northwestern, but what's the deal on Kenny Stills and Mcartney? Finally some new developments on TE, Christian Thomas the number 8 TE described Miami as his dream school, will shannon snag him? Any answers about any of these questions would be appreciated.

manny, this question is for you, what happened to monotoring the top 10 canes as you said you would at the beggining of the season


I'm thinking GT should be able to handle Clemson.

Go 'canes!

I was a little nervous about fox out but was surprised how good Washington a Franklin were. Hopefully Ben jones and Jermaine Johnson come along the same way, that would be a dominate o line Miami hasn't seen since... Their national championship days. The offense is going to be nasty next year with berry at rb and all the recievers!

Agreed on most of your points, Manny. RS and co. really need to stop with the BS timeouts already, but all in all, a solid game on all fronts.

Also, the Unis weren't as terrible as I had imagined, but white socks? Ugh.

Gloves looked cool though.

First!!! I agree totally Manny...

Fianally the Dee-Line puts some pressure on the Q.B. and the secondary did the rest. It's nice to see how well everything goes when you Don't give these Q.B.'s 10 seconds to throw the ball. Berry is a beast and should be the number one ball carrier period, at least 20 carries a game.

Fair assessment, Manny. It looks like these kids are growing up. The expectation will increase, now that the talent is beginning to produce consistently. I still have a concern about the o-line. One game does not make a player dependable (ask Pipho after the V-Tech game). We shall see what happens over the next few weeks and onths on the o-line.

Bosher for president!!!!!

First. Didn't love the the new unis but the gloves were cool. We were at the game and the crowd was leaving in the third quarter. Loved it. Got to hign five Epps and Berry after the game. Go Canes.

Thanks for the info Manny. A final players ranking shouldn't be done till after the bowl game. Not winning the bowl game would raise some questions, hope the boys are ready for show time. We'll be rank in the Top 10 to start the season. Can't wait for Ohio state.
Go Canes

I'm with you on the grading report!

Finally, Berry received the ball more than expected and we threw it less.

I'm very happy with what this team has accomplished and look for it to continue in the bowl game.

Great job Shannon and the coaching staff, now just win the bowl game and keep recruiting like you have been.

Can't wait till next year!

....the "most interesting man in the world" resembles that comedian, Foster Brooks, from way back.....funny guy.

Bowl prediction Manny??

Manny, well said. Would probably have given Harris a B since he missed some throws. That first drive was the key to the game. It set the tone and led to a much more balanced offense. Very impressed with the play of the defense. If the D gets better and shows more consistant play next year, the canes are going to be a tough team to beat.

I was at the game. Cane fans traveled pretty well I might add. One question if a canes fan is fighting numerous USF fan's do you jump in and help him out? Seems the USF fan's couldn't take the smack talking.

Right on manny. great breakdown..
only slightly disagree with 2 ratings the OL was definitely an A.. only one sack and 240 yards rushing and 2 RB's over 80 yards.. that screams A to me..

I HATE i MEAN HATE drops... C+ IMO..


breaking down Miami's first down tendencies..

I agree with everything here. This was a good season. It proved to the cane nation and to the haters thatthis program is on the upswing and in the last stage of rebuilding. Next year there will be no talk of rebuilding or of being young. As long as JH doesnt get hurt or there are major NFL or coaching defections, I see UM next year either winning the NC or in the top 5 at years end. BAsed on the schedule it can be 50-50. We have to go to OSU and to GTEch, but VTech, NC and FSU and USF come here. With Berry and Coop (or James/ Chambers/ Miller)and the horses we have on the receiving end, JH should have a monster yerar- because I believe he is starting to get the idea that he only needs to "manage" most games and getthe ball to the playmakers.

On another note- the arrogance of the Notre Dame "mystique" is baffling. In the news: ND players will be voting to see if they want to "play" a bowl after their 6-6 season. Did UM not go to Boise, Idaho to play in 30 degree weather on NY's eve? How dare you think you are above that? That youre entitled to more? ND: Thank the media. because the media had you believe you were better. The media had you believe you deserved more. Problem is, Lou Holtz, NBC and ESPN will not play games for you.

I liked the uniforms and very interested as to how the home jerseys will look. The only thing which looked odd to me is that the arm sleeves seemed a bit short for most of the players with their shoulder pads exposed, looked cheesy and not professional.

Those gloves were off the chain, hope they use the uniform again in the bowl game, or next years games, i wanna get a hold of those gloves!

Agreed! This game matched the G-Tech and Virginia game as the most complete. It looked like for the first time all year, aside from the Virginia game, that we just had the more talented team all around. Props to B. Washington and O. Franklin. There is no doubt we will need their services next year at Ohio State. This team has earned the right to play Jan. 1 at the Gator Bowl. GOOOOOO! CANES!

Any truth to the story that Lamarcus Joyner has a renewed interest in Miami after Dent's decommitment?


Any word on Marcus Robinson's injury? Did it look serious?


wow it really stinks that all these gators and horrid posters are killing the communication aspect of what is the best UM football blog in the Biz..

Brandon Washington did look pretty good. A good offensive line will go a long way next year. If we get some LB's in the mix, we'll be on the way to something good.

Got to agree that the unis are not so great, I hate all white whenever the Canes do it. But I do really like the gloves, those should stay. Just fix them Nike, no need to throw them in the garbage.

It is basically Gator Bowl or Champs Bowl. I don't know why people pretend differently. Good to stay in FL, hopefully it is the Gator.

Whoever said next year's schedule is isn't tough is on CRACK. Miami plays @ Ohio State and @ Pitt in the first month. OSU will be top 10 at least, if not top 5, and Pitt will be top 15 if not top 10. And they finish up with USF at home. That is a tough OOC sked.

And in the ACC, they have to play @ Clemson and @ Georgia Tech, who will both be ranked. So that is four road games against ranked, talented teams. Not saying the Canes won't be up to it, but the schedule won't be front loaded or easy. Va Tech, FSU, and UNC at home will also be challenges.

Peo-ple, those "new unis" were for that game only. They were a marketing scheme for nike's new "pro comnbat" football gear. 7 other college teams including florida got one time new unis. Except the other teams also allowed nike to mess with their helmets, i read a story that said nike wanted to do the same but UM said noone can mess with our helmets (good decision). We probably won't see that version of the all whites again, but maybe nike trots out a special edition home uniform next year. For those of you that don't know, UM and the other schools have a contract with nike that allows the shoe company to "experiment" with our uniforms. I also thought they were too plain.

For this game, I do not think it was possible to achieve a "C+" grade. Hey, they are 1 - 0 with these uniforms - so I like'em.

I am waiting for the end of season report card -Room for improvement in all areas - including uniforms!

How long did it take butch davis to build that 20+ first round draft pick national championship squad? Was it six years? Weather or not shannon will do that good i don't know but we have a good coach. If he wins a NC next year it will be from scratch with literally no help from inherited talent. (Urban possibly saben) that WILL be amazing! Go cans.

Great season...we have something to build on for the future and beyond...We can only get younger next year. ACC Champioshop no excUses!

How long did it take butch davis to build that 20+ first round draft pick national championship squad? Was it six years? Weather or not shannon will do that good i don't know but we have a good coach. If he wins a NC next year it will be from scratch with literally no help from inherited talent. (Urban possibly saben) that WILL be amazing! Go cans.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This is my team, has been all season long, and I support the coaching staff 100 and 10 freakin' percent. No arrests, no embarassment, just class and 9 victories, with the chance at 10. Anyone who is a Canes fan who doesn't unequivocally suport this team and this coaching staff is a fool. And for me, I hope they go to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, because then I can see them play in the ATL. Go Canes, and God Bless the entire Coaching Staff.

Any news on the recruiting front:
Kenny Stills
Chris Dunkley (Most likely going to UF)
Sean Tapley (Said 50/50 chance he will become a Cane)
Ivan McCartney (High remarks after UF visit)
Willis Wright (Was high on Canes???)
Make Harris (Cane lock?)
Christian Jones (Stud)
Christian Thomas (Has canes in top 3)
Brandon Linder (Must have for this class)
Corey Lemonier (Would be a great pick up)

wow it really stinks that all these gators and horrid posters are killing the communication aspect of what is the best UM football blog in the Biz..

Posted by: 16 Grams | November 30, 2009 at 02:20 PM

Agreed. But it could be worse. The delay is bad, but the lack of garbage is worth it.

Look at the Sentinel blog to see how bad it has gotten there now that Kehoe only has one target left.

A good solid game all around. Next year, we will have the injured players back, and either they have depth behind them, or they BECOME the depth behind the new starters.

i hope we get to face a Big 11 team, so we can use that info planning for tOSU* next year. That game and GT on the road should be the only major blocks to a BCS title game appearance.

Just glad to know Pihpo (peep-hole) will be gone. Maybe a great guy, but he was the weakest link. Got Jacory's throwing arm hurt in the first and last games. Im another believer that the line will actually be stronger next yr, as well as the entire offense b/c of understanding the system now. The questioned thats unanswered is the Defense. Will the be up to speed?? Is Lovett truly the guy?? WE;re stacked everywhere on Offense except TE.

"Any truth to the story that Lamarcus Joyner has a renewed interest in Miami after Dent's decommitment?"

Joyner grew up a Noles fan and always hated the Canes

Does anyone know where, if anywhere, I can purchase one of the new jerseys? I've looked on allcanes.com and hurricanesports.com and the Nike web site...found nothing.

Be interesting to see where Whipple takes the offense in the 2nd yr. If there is much added, or mostly the same as this yr.

The U needs a real fast rback added to the group. Miller maybe that guy.

I loved the new uniforms with the white shoes. I would love to see what the home jerseys would look like. The gloves were awesome. Looked like the real Canes that dominates opposing teams. Don't go back to the black shoes and other uniforms. We look slow and sloppy in them.


Manny, well said. The opening drive set the tone for the whole game. Nice to see a more balanced offense and a overall great defensive performance. If the D continues to play like they did against USF, this will be tough team to beat. The home loss to Clemson definately still stings. The coaches went to JJ to close out that game and he could'nt do it. They went to Berry gainst USF for the big fourth down play on the first drive and to close out the game in the 4th. Nice to see they are putting the ball in the playmakers hands to get the big yards.

Great game great grades and oh my Charlie is gone. So when does the Urban countdown start? Love the gloves. Evertime I see the 30 for 30 excerpt I get hyped Imma be posting that link across every message board december 12th.

1 2 »

The comments to this entry are closed.