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Grading The Canes: Virginia report card

If there is something to take out of Saturday's 52-17 win against Virginia is that this Hurricanes team does have the ability to dominate a lesser opponent. Although it took them a half to realize they could do it, UM completely took over the game against the Cavaliers. I'm not saying Miami's players didn't believe they could do it. But believing you can do something and actually doing it are two totally different concepts. This team now knows what it feels like to play at its best.

Allen Bailey Now, before you go beating your chest and thinking UM has completely turned the corner, let me remind you of two things: One, Virginia lost to William and Mary this season. Two, they are without question the weakest team of the final four on UM's schedule. Road games at North Carolina and South Florida will not be a walk in the park.

As for the grades... it's hard to give out anything less than a C after the Canes' most impressive half of the season. But it won't be A's across the board.

> Quarterback: Jacory Harris finished 18 of 31 for 232 yards with two touchdown passes and made good decisions twice to throw the ball away on plays that were going nowhere. Both sacks he took were on plays he simply couldn't get the ball off. UM coach Randy Shannon said in the post-game press conference he saw progress from Harris, who at times has held onto the ball too long: "He's learning. Last week, he threw the ball away one time. This week, he threw the ball away 2 or 3 times. That's a growing process for all of us as a team." Harris still had one big hiccup: his 12th interception of the season. He threw it into triple coverage. Jacory's explanation for the pick: "It kind of sailed. I thought I drilled it, but it started going up in the air. I don't know if the wind took it or not, it was just a bad ball." Grade: A-.

> Running backs: Career day for Graig Cooper (152 yards on 18 carries and one touchdowns) and the Canes running backs, who combined for 268 yards on 49 carries. Lee Chambers had 10 carries for 67 yards and Damien Berry had 12 carries for 56 yards and two scores. But the best stat? Only 3 yards loss between all five running backs. That's a sign nobody is dancing in the backfield anymore and nobody is getting through to the backfield. Here is a question for you to ponder. Is this the deepest Canes backfield in recent memory? AJ Trump thinks so: "I can't say enough about our running backs and fullbacks. They're the best we've had since I've been here. No disrespect to the guys before us, but we have five guys that can gash the ball up and down the field." Grade: A+.

> Receivers/tight ends: Hard to remember many of the catches made Saturday because UM was running the ball so well. But two grabs stick out -- Laron Byrd's twisting, diving 29-yard catch on third and long and Leonard Hankerson's 35-yard touchdown catch, when he played pinball with a Virginia safety and used his "4.2 speed" to get into the end zone. In all, 13 different players caught passes from Jacory Harris. And I don't remember many drops at all, if any. The receivers and tight ends also did a great job blocking downfield on long running plays. Grade: A+.

Leonard Hankerson > Offensive line: After giving up a combined 20 sacks in their previous five games and failing to establish a running game against Wake Forest, the Canes' Big Uglies responded with their best game since Oklahoma. Some of the holes Cooper, Berry and Chambers were able to run through were big enough for Honda Accords to run through. Sure, there were still two sacks. But when Jason Fox, Orlando Franklin, AJ Trump, Joel Figueroa, Harland Gunn and Matt Pipho aren't playing on their heels for 50 snaps and instead are pushing forward for 50 snaps, they're pretty good. Grade: A-.

> Front seven: Allen Bailey was once again a major disruption on the defensive line. He drew double teams and allowed some of his teammates to get free and provide pressure. Two sacks against the Cavaliers wasn't overly impressive. But six tackles for loss and 74 yards on 24 carries and 149 yards of total offense for Virginia was a sign of major progress after what happened at Wake Forest. Linebacker Colin McCarthy said the Canes implemented more blitz packages and said that had something to do with why they were more successful. If that's the case, keep doing it Mr. Lovett. Grade: A.

> Secondary: Randy Phillips (torn labrum) was only in on a handful of plays and his replacement Jared Campbell did a phenomenal job containing Virginia's tight ends. Campbell had a career-high three pass deflections and the Canes as a unit had seven. Sure, Virginia had backup quarterback Marc Verica behind center. But give credit where it's due. After looking flat out terrible against Wake Forest, these guys bounced back. Grade: A.

Thearon Collier > Special teams: Mixed bag here. Thearon Collier's 60-yard punt return was the play of the year thus far in my eyes. The Canes now have three punt returns for scores this season and a real threat on special teams, which is a huge plus and something this program hadn't had since Devin Hester and Roscoe Parrish were here in 2004. That's great. What's not? UM has also allowed four punt blocks this year. The two on Saturday helped a bad team stick around for a half. Punter Matt Bosher said the spread formation being used this season (UM was in a conventional formation last year) is designed to get the ball off quicker and allow for players to get downfield faster. But Shannon, who coaches the special teams with Joe Pannunzio, is obviously going to have to make some tweaks this week. Opponents are finding easy gaps to get to Bosher. Grade: C.

> Coaching: Mark Whipple had me wondering what he was doing early on when he didn't just stick with UM's dominating running game and opted for flea-flickers and rollout play-action passes. But he got his act together quickly and the offense was absolutely humming after Harris' interception. Defensively, John Lovett deserves credit for not having his team be surprised by what the Cavaliers were doing (like the UM defense had been the last few weeks). But the biggest pat on the back goes to coach Randy Shannon, who trimmed practices last week and had a fresher team. I don't want to say it's the first real smart move he's made since being named coach. But it kind of feels like it. He also made a smart call for a timeout with :02 left in the first quarter. Virginia punted with the wind in its face instead of at its back and Miami ended up taking over at the Cavs 25 after their punter shanked one. The Canes then scored to go up 24-10. Grade: A.

Comments

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Virginia blew out Indiana, which in my opinion had the game stolen by the refs against Iowa. Virginia beat North Carolina, and they beat Maryland. NC beat Va Tech. YOu sound like the guy who was making fun of Wake, not realizing that Wake beat Stanford, who beat Oregon, who beat USC.

SWAGGER = WINS.

In football it makes no difference who beat who...thats like asking what came first, chicken or eg...or A>B>C then A>C. There are no formulas or logic to win. You must go out, execute basic fundemntals better than you opponent with a higher level of intensity. You block tackle kick punt and retain the ball better, and play 110%. Swagger does not win championships. Swagger was us vs PSU, UA and other games that should have added to the NC trophy case. It may look good to non athletes, but it does not win titles. Confidence in ones abilities, yes, overconfidence, cockiness no.

I see some people still can't make a comment without insulting the people who are here to actually read the blog. Manny, it's pretty obvious who's just coming here to trash talk and insult those of us who are here to actually read what you have to say...think you can do something about that?
That being said....it's time to break the tar heel jinx! Go Canes!

Great job Saturday, but, it was Virginia for cryin' out loud. The 'Canes need to step up their game, otherwise they can forget it.

The "U" is back, next recruiting class going to be awesome.

Why did those 2 quarterbacks transfer?

Canes finish #10. Go to respectable bowl.

Any insight on when we might get our OWN stadium again? I'm tired of seeing empty seats because we play in freaking broward county. And to me it's a slap in the face when the marlins, who by the way attract 6 fans a game, get a brand new stadium where the OB used to stand. I feel we would have won th game vs Clemson if we sold out and had half the intensity and hostility as the good ole OB. thoughts?

tebow, meyer,spikes is a hero is right. why is lsu that far ahead of miami? nd is a really bad team,hope miami dosent play them.

I feel we would have won th game vs Clemson if we sold out and had half the intensity and hostility as the good ole OB. thoughts?

Posted by: crank | November 09, 2009 at 08:17 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zoKf2zzmwg

U 17 - clemson 24 nov 6, 2004

ANCIENT HISTORY

we play in freaking broward county.

Posted by: crank | November 09, 2009 at 08:17 PM

Land Shark Stadium
Miami Gardens, Florida 33169

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_Gardens,_Florida
Miami Gardens is a Miami suburban city located in Miami-Dade County
-- wiki

ATLAS SHRUGGED

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_of_population

our palatial home sits smack dab in the population center …
for a private university relying on the community at large …

ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

And to me it's a slap in the face when the marlins, who by the way attract 6 fans a game, get a brand new stadium where the OB used to stand.

Posted by: crank | November 09, 2009 at 08:17 PM

http://www.landsharkstadium.com/content/amenities.aspx

U got paid an extra $5M a year to move uptown …

valet parking
ample parking
concierge attendants
comfortable chairbacks
luxury suites
club seats
field-level seats
high-volume drainage
bermuda grass
plasma TVs
HD jumbotrons
state-of-the-art ribbon board, press box, locker room
interactive zones
pre-game concerts
edible concessions
hard liquor
bars, bistros, lounges
Kohler restrooms

momma didn’t raise no dummy …

SLAP HAPPY

Any insight on when we might get our OWN stadium again?

Posted by: crank | November 09, 2009 at 08:17 PM

RENT TO OWN

The OB had more hostile crowds than landshark for canes games. And I know it's in dads county but actually very close to broward...it's called sarcasm. And the 2004 canes were a different team than this years. This team has more...we're close to being back, but I don't think we are yet. Clemson came in and got a break bkz they didn't have to deal w any kind of noise. It's embarrasing to me that we have so many big games but can't sell out. The only game w that intensity was in the okl game. And if u watch "hurricane gameday" Randy will always make sure to drop a little hint to the fans like, "it's a big game for us so we hope to get a bi loud crowd there to support us. I live in Georgia and have been to 10 games in 3 years. Our fans need to show!!! I know we're a private school but I'm tired of hearing all the jokes about how teams like unc, Tennessee, uga are having bad years but still sell out every game.

Oh an to "green"...I agree that the ammenities are better. Anyone can see that...but is any of that gonna bring us a championship? I dont care about stadium amenities...I care about winning titles. That's what THE U is about. It's been too long since our last. Our expectations are way to high and much higher than other schools like GT, Clemson, wake...they settle for medicrity and getting occassional upsets where we want titles and nothing less.

Good one Manny. I agree. Did anyone notice Jimmy Clausen's eye tatoos w/ the Adidas logo? Is that authorized? I know the team wears the Adidas uniforms, but I would think that individual advertising would be against NCAA rules. Just curious.

YOU DONT NEED A STADIUM WHEN YOU GOT SWAGGER. HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU?

this message is to the purple drank! You are not only a negative idiot: but I bet you also voted for Omama. Need I say more?

We lost the Good Old Orange Bowl, because I don't give a damn attitude> Level it and rebuild it! The City wouldn;t step up to the pump... If we have to go north to watch the Canes so be it. One thing lets call our new home THE ORANGE BOWL< as it was considered one of the BIG FOUR (Rose)(Cotton)(Sugar) & (Orange)! If this is alright with thepurplessdrank....

I dont care about stadium amenities

Posted by: crank | November 09, 2009 at 11:56 PM

the casual fan cares …
win over …
win a customer for life …

WIN-WIN

I agree that the ammenities are better. Anyone can see that...but is any of that gonna bring us a championship? I care about winning titles.

Posted by: crank | November 09, 2009 at 11:56 PM

ven you got it, flaunt it
-- the producers

in theory, better facilities attract better recruits …

BETTER-OFF

It's embarrasing to me that we have so many big games but can't sell out.
The only game w that intensity was in the okl game.

Posted by: crank | November 09, 2009 at 11:50 PM

some bigger than others …

BIG DEAL

I know we're a private school but I'm tired of hearing all the jokes about how teams like unc, Tennessee, uga are having bad years but still sell out every game.

Posted by: crank | November 09, 2009 at 11:50 PM

what’s to do there besides attend a football game …

PITY PARTY

Any insight on when we might get our OWN stadium again?

Posted by: crank | November 09, 2009 at 08:17 PM

http://www.landsharkstadium.com/content/architecture.aspx

25-year lease ...

WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE

U got paid an extra $5M a year to move uptown …

valet parking
ample parking
concierge attendants
comfortable chairbacks
luxury suites
club seats
field-level seats
high-volume drainage
bermuda grass
plasma TVs
HD jumbotrons
state-of-the-art ribbon board, press box, locker room
interactive zones
pre-game concerts
edible concessions
hard liquor
bars, bistros, lounges
Kohler restrooms

momma didn’t raise no dummy …

SLAP HAPPY

Posted by: green | November 09, 2009 at 10:55 PM

Land Shark Stadium is the worst stadium in college football and in the NFL. Enough with your delusional BS.

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