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Wake Forest thoughts

NEW YORK -- Greetings from the Big Apple. As you can see, I didn't end up going to Wake Forest this weekend to catch the Canes. After covering Games 1 and 2 of the World Series, I was asked to stick around and help cover Sunday's Dolphins-Jets game. It worked out well because my wife and I got to attend her grandmother's 102nd birthday this afternoon.

Sam Shields Between those family moments, I was able to follow the game on my Blackberry before I was able to sneak away and catch about the last 10 minutes on TV (I started watching right when DeMarcus Van Dyke grabbed his first career interception). Some quick thoughts on the game and more since I've been away all week...

> When it was 27-14 in the fourth quarter all I kept thinking about was how badly Randy Shannon and his coaching staff must have been getting ripped by some in Canes Nation. Now, after the thrilling come-from-behind win, I'm guessing some of them are back to being "his biggest supporters." Got to love the fine line between loved and hated.

> The Hurricanes are now 6-2, 3-2 in ACC play. To me, all we've really learned over the last four games is that this team isn't as great as we thought they were (Yes, that was a little Dennis Green like).

Look, I'm not taking anything away from Miami's blowout of Georgia Tech or the 21-20 win against Oklahoma. But those four ranked opponents UM played to start the year now have a combined record of 22-11. The last four games haven't been played against better teams either. And yet, no matter how uncomfortable you feel about the Canes this morning (and you might be asking yourself are really that much better?), progress HAS been made.

This team has won games this year it didn't win last year and accomplished things it failed to do last year. UM played another wild game against FSU, but won. They grabbed a double-digit lead against Oklahoma and didn't let the Sooners come back on them like North Carolina did in 2008. They struggled against UCF again, but stepped on the gas and surged ahead instead of letting the Knights stick around. And finally, Saturday, they fought back from 17-0 down in the first half and 27-14 in the fourth quarter and won.

It's not major progress (this clearly isn't a Canes team on the same level of many of the other great ones before it and still has a long ways to get there). But it's still a better football team than the last four Miami has had.

> I think it's officially safe to say Mark Whipple was right about his offense last month when he said they weren't nearly as good as he wants them to be. How Miami had two yards of total offense in the second half before embarking on its game-winning drive was eye-opening. Give Jacory Harris credit for leading UM on the game-winning drive, but he and his receivers still have work to do.

> Wet conditions or not, Leonard Hankerson had drops he shouldn't have. Hankerson is definitely the most improved player on the team. But he's not completely beyond struggles. Miami is lucky Aldarius Johnson and Travis Benjamin were able to hang onto a couple big pass plays. UM definitely needs every one of its receivers. None of them has been able to separate themselves as the definite go-to-guy.

> This pass defense is a lot like the offensive line -- average on its best days. UM's defense gave up 555 yards to Wake Forest. But 408 yards came through the air. According to the media guide, it was the third-most passing yards ever against UM. Wake Forest ranked fifth in the ACC in pass offense and has a good quarterback in Riley Skinner. But there are just way too many times when guys are wide open. It wasn't just this week.

FYI... I'll be back on the Canes beat Tuesday (this time I mean it). 

Comments

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First!! ***holes!

Amen - lots to be done. THis is a very, very flawed team.

Thaddeus Lewis blitzes us thru the air.
UNC's D shuts down our schizoid O
BJ Daniels runs wild on us

3 (at least) more losses coming.

LAMES!

Keep it real, wake lost to navy for god sake. what was thought to be a favorable schedule, is now one we will struggle through everygame...including duke. cool all the jacory harris for heisman b.s.! he was throwing balls up for grabs all day. there should have been around 4 pick-6's for td's by wake's defense. wake should have won, hands down! this team has not made the progress we all had hoped, will they ever?? we all got too over-excited about the start to the season, i guess we should have waited till it was over to make before we praised shannon or harris!

I'm so sick of you fair weather fans! We won today! All you band wagon jumpers make me sick. You forget the 98-99 season where we struggled, then 2 years later we were national champions. If you don't believe in this team then please keep your mouths shut. We don't need the negativity. Alot of the bandwagon fans of the U back in the "probation" days are now UFlorida fans. Please stay there, we don't need you now.

All these people calling for us to lose to Duke are out of their minds. Even with the injuries we are still better than all the rest of the teams we play. Will we win out, that remains to be seen but we will beat Duke, give me a break..

still got faith in this team and da coaching staff. always have and always will (through thick and thin) Y U ask. cuz im from Miami. i dont go to the university of miami, i dont go to the games and i dont need to.I got all da luv in da world for da team. dey dont need to have an on-campus stadium. canes teams from da past always took care of business in da OB. and dey can take care of business at joe robbie staduim. was the difference in da neighborhoods. for all U putos dat want to criticize Coach Shannon, Coach Whipple, Coach lovett or whoever, u can go be gator fan, go be root for da fsu. it dont matter . U not wanted in da STATE OF MIAMI

Spot on analysis, as usual, Manny. The '09 Canes are winning games they would have lost last year. We are better.

If not for such a large % of the starters being out for the season, I think the defense would look better.

It will be a struggle b/c of those injuries, but we will win out.

Btw, for those who don't know, the negative comments come mostly from other team's fans. They are rightly worried...

My hairless ball-sac smells better than SHannon's game plans...

Manny - does it bother you that so many of the comments on your blog and the Herald in general are so offensive? Maybe offensive is not the best word, I'm not really offended, I'm frustrated that I have to read them.

If you weren't at the Clemson game you have no business b!tching about anything this team did vs Wake, what it will do vs Duke or anything at all. Which means there should be about 7 people on this blog

I was @ the Clemson game. I was not b@ching. U must be another team's fan.

Manny,

this team could have had it all -- at least the Clemson game as well. IMHO, injuries is the big eight hundred pound gorilla that nobody is saying a lot about. I know injuries is part of football but jeez man, our injury list is mind boggling in the key personnel we have lost. I think it is depth that is what we need to keep improving on -- specifically in defense. We are hurting so much that we are using a 290 lb DE!

But I am still thankful for any more wins that may come our way. It is all gravy from here on in till next year.

A win is a win is a win.... we live another week to improve from our mistakes. We still have a shot at the ACC.

Manny you never give a reason why the team has slipped since those great wins from earlier in the season.

Could the 11 defensive players who are out have anything to do with the pass rush issue?

Could Sean Spence being out have anything to do with the success that Wake had over the middle today?

Could Pat Hill being out have anything to do with the pressure Jacory has been under the last couple of games?

Do you think some of these issues will correct themselves as players make their way back to the team?

Do you consider Berry to be a pleasant surprise at tailback?

Do you think having 53 freshman and sophmore players on the team who are seeing extensive playing time this season will benefit this team next year?

Is Jacory's 3-1 ratio today and 82 yard TD drive to win the game a positive sign? How many 4th quarter comebacks is that now for him Manny?

Are you ever happy Manny? Do you ever smile Manny? Is the cup EVER half full Manny? Could your overall health and wellness be affecting your negative thought process Manny?

Just wondering...

Go 'canes!

This team is very talented, but not nearly as deep as it needs to be, I'm not disapponted as far as things go now, there is a marked improvement from last year but it begs the question- what if Harris had started last year? he obviously has all the elements of a great qb, with time there really isn't anything he can't accomplish. I look forward to the rest of this season and the next 2. Finishing in the rankings would be a big step up from the last few years, seriously.

@TiredOfOffensiveComments: Hear hear! It's ridiculous that there is no way to report offensive or vulgar comments. It really brings down the overall quality of the blog, which is a shame since Manny does such an excellent job with his pieces.

But on to the game: yes, we narrowly escaped, as we have many times this year. But when you look at our dismal defensive stats, bear in mind that we could have fielded a full defensive team with injured players (11 on defense alone). Buchanon frequently looked confused and it was strange to see Randy Phillips playing that rover spot.

Still, they pulled out the win--which is all that matters in the end. (Just ask Iowa.) What's more, Jacory pulled himself together after some abysmal reads and led his team on that final drive, as he already has quite a few times in his brief career. Was there some luck involved? Sure. But Harris got it done.

Credit goes to Whipple for putting his trust in Harris and this young offense. Where last week the calls were conservative at the end and we were playing not to lose, this week he opened up the deep passes, said 'show me what you can do,' and the team delivered.

It wasn't pretty to watch (I'm sure I'm not the only one who almost experienced cardiac arrest during that fourth quarter), but it was a great win for the team in terms of building confidence and pulling off the late rally.

Lol @ Sarasota, too many people wanted to believe too soon, and the second they were dissapointed, became bitter, great teams don't fall from the sky. We have the foundation for years of great teams to come, if you hate what you see, by all means, jump on another bandwagon, because I see talent and leadership that this team hasn't had in 7-8 years. Coker screwed the pooch when it came to recruits, I guess he thought they were all going for their phds and not going to graduate for a few more years, I for one hope James strings together a few more solid performances and finds a place in the pros, but all in all I would say the U never went anywhere, the real supporters and fans have been here for the good and the bad. All the haters: we love you, cause we know you hate that more.

As I have said since Shannon came on board
2010 is the year of the U

All young teams have to take their lumps.

No one out there is winning on the backs of babies in their programs.

You create a culture of winning by never giving up and then by winning.

Shannon and them are building for the long term. Keep recruiting hometown kids and those who feel slighted and have something to prove.

No more prima donnas.

Even the worst Canes teams inspire other teams to play their best against us...we have set the standard for what winning is in college football since 83.

Go U!

Coming off the Clemson game, I thought we would hammer the hell out of Wake - at least on offense. But we looked weak - really weak. Why?

Then again, a win's a win.

But the team we beat lost to NAVY the week before . . . by a bigger margin. (By the way, didn't USF, FSU, and UF all look a lot better than UM yesterday?)

Unfortunately, we're bound to lose a couple more games this year, UNLESS:
1. The pass defense improves;
2. The running game improves; AND
3. Jacory stops throwing INTs. (His TD/INT ratio is a little too MARVElous, if you know what I mean).

But a win's a win. So, let's bask in the glory of a piss poor win. After all, it's a lot better than a piss poor loss.

FSU's defense definitely looked worse than ours.

We may have some better athletes ... But we are NOT a better TEAM yet than most we will play ...

Give it one or 2 more years to build seasoned depth instead of backups having been in college only 2 months and we should be back to playing solid football.

I liken Harris to Chris Leak when he was at Florida ... Perhaps in Harris' senior year ... like Leak ... it will all come together. But it is going to take some more solid recruiting classes to build depth and talent and time with the coaching staff to put the entire playbooks in.

Manny,
I am disappointed by your unjustified reasons for not even watching the Clemson and Wake games on T.V, someone else's wedding and birthday of wife's grandmother.
Whomever planned these events should have been chastised and forced to reschedule. Your attendance was a cop out. You are a disgrace to true CANE fans a traitor to the COLORS!

Mystique and Injuries.

Those two words are the reason why Wake could look so good against our Canes. First every low level or mediocre team sees playing The U as their de facto championship game. Their coaches don’t have to motivate their kids and get them hyped to play the Canes. They come into games against us knowing that they’ll always be able to tell people they played against and beat The U.

Second, key injuries on defense really do have an impact. UF did not look as impressive last week when they had 3 or 4 defensive starters out against MSU. We’re getting better because we’re not giving up. We’re fighting to the end in all games. But our coaches can help by keeping the plays simple but aggressive. We don’t have to throw the ball 30 yards every play. With our speed at receiver we can run some 5yd slants and turn them into big plays. We need to run the ball on the left side with Fox and Franklin and a few more end around plays can’t hurt either.

There’s a lot to be said for getting a good but lucky win. Hopefully the team and coaches will focus on executing early and getting something positive from every possession next week. Go Canes!

Some good posts, mostly positive. I am a bit more concerned than others about the future of this team. Injuries are a major factor in our dismal defensive performance, but except for Ray Ray have there been flashes of bright play from any new defensive players? Generally a young player thrown into the mix will play well but make some errors on reads/judgments but you can see they have the talent. In 2001 we had a freshman playing CB for a championship team. This year we have a WR who covers as well as a WR should (BTW Shields made his first truly great coverage play and was flagged on a horrible call)

Where are the young LB? McCarthy is the team MVP, he is in on almost every tackle while Sharpton continually watches plays go by him. K. Robinson was so poor that they had Phillips playing his spot at the end of the game.

The question is whether those not playing are just poor recruits or are they not being developed? I have no hope for the future of the D, it looks more dismal in the future than today.

Jacory is Brock Berlin. Handles pressure poorly, throws it up for grabs, but is a great competitor. Jacory has better receivers than Brock did. We will do no better than Brock's W-L total unless Jacory shows dramatic improvement. BTW Brock's W-L totals were pretty darn good considering where we have been.

Hope I am wrong on some of these assessments.

Manny - does it bother you that so many of the comments on your blog and the Herald in general are so offensive? Maybe offensive is not the best word, I'm not really offended, I'm frustrated that I have to read them.

Posted by: TiredOfOffensiveComments | November 01, 2009 at 01:31 AM

LAST

Posted by: 86Cane | October 31, 2009 at 08:39 PM

for the unitiated …
that’s the disadvantaged competition adopting an insidious alias to undermine Eye on the U …

SNAKE IN THE GRASS

@TiredOfOffensiveComments: Hear hear! It's ridiculous that there is no way to report offensive or vulgar comments. It really brings down the overall quality of the blog, which is a shame since Manny does such an excellent job with his pieces.

Posted by: DenverCane | November 01, 2009 at 03:04 AM

I appreciate your input …
but one man’s trash …
is another man’s art …
just so you know, this blog has never been more popular …

DON’T MESS WITH SUCCESS

It's the injuries stupid! It boggles my mind that anybody could wonder why this team is struggling now.

http://herbalminded.blogspot.com/

I'll always be around... This message board and Manny are the 2 best places for Cane Football insight and info.
-- HERBAL MINDED aka HM

HIGH-MINDED

Greetings from the Big Apple. As you can see, I didn't end up going to Wake Forest this weekend to catch the Canes. After covering Games 1 and 2 of the World Series, I was asked to stick around and help cover Sunday's Dolphins-Jets game. It worked out well because my wife and I got to attend her grandmother's 102nd birthday this afternoon.
-- manny navarro

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.
-- manny navarro

memo to manny navarro: don’t take us for granted …
everything you worked for could be lost in an instant …

BLOOD. SWEAT. TEARS.

The Canes have made a lot of progress if you have been watching for the last two seasons. The issue is that we still have a young QB but he clearly has the talent and mindset to be a winner. The other issue is our Defense, too many guys hurt which is a problem come mid season when everyone is tired and nicked up. I expect at least two more wins at home, I like our chances at USF but the NC game could be a problem.

I dont know how we won, I'm still in shock. We looked really bad on both sides of the ball until the last drive. What is wrong with this team?

At the end of the day Miami is 6-2 far better than last year, these players believe they can win each game and have the confidence in one anothner to make the plays.

While the voctory may not look nice at the end of the day 6-2 sounds better than 5-3. The injuries are a conceren but as the team continues to build depth on the lines they will reach new heights.

This is the Canes they are better, they have made progress and they are on the right track.

ATLKane09 - Great points. Here are my thoughts:

1. What has happened to the creative Play calling from the first 4 games to the last 4 games. Nearly 3 out of every 4 pass plays is a play action pass or a deep ball throw. When the run is not working, put Jacory in the Shot Gun and let him see the field.

2. I am disappointed in Lovett's game plan the last few weeks. He is just not dialing up the right calls and has been out coached the last two weeks. Early in the 4th, Wake had a 3rd and 16 and he put no pressure on them, then later in the drive, on a 2nd and 4 he does an all out blitz and they convert with a 50+ yard TD. Plus, there has been no solid pass rush. 4 Guys cannot rush 6, he needs to send a LB in, these QB's have been too comfortable the last few weeks.

3. This is only the 8th week in this offense and defense. Clearly this team will be better next year with the amount of players returning on both sides of the ball. Let's hope these last few weeks have been just a mid-season slump. The reality is if the Canes finish strong and win out and GA Tech loses one of their remaining 3 conference games, they slide into the ACC Championship game.

I always felt this team was a repeat of the '99 team. They would lose one game they were supposed to (VT), lose a heart break like they did against Penn State in '99 (i.e., Clemson) and lose one game they were supposed to win (maybe that was supposed to be yesterday's game).

I am still thinking positive, if they finish 10-2 they should play a January bowl game. Go 'Canes!!!

The injuries this team endures are mind boggling. It has been an issue for a few seasons. That said, the O-line is relatively healthy and it is a weak link. Worse, we aren't comfortable playing the young backups because they aren't good enough. The secondary won't be better for another year or 2. Face it, DVD is a bust. Grant is a never was. Shields is doing his best, but his best is below average. Has Telemaque done anything to deserve an Ed Reed comparison? Harris is inconsistent but he shows some promise.

Jacory is okay. He is always looking for the HR when a single will work. Worse, he throws lollipops. This offseason we can only hope he learns to throw the out route with a little mustard. The Wake corners were sitting on his passes. He could also learn to move away from the pressure as opposed to turning right into it.

This team is marginally better than last year. Reminds me of the helter skelter 98 Canes.

Same wonderful cane fans that show up to the games in droves!!!! Most of the haters have been to one game in the last 8 years.

The referees blow. Shannon blows. UM blows. This is exactly like the scenario when Zook became head coach for UF. Fire him and hire the coach from Utah.

.4 Qtrs of football is the Cane way. http://www.reverbnation.com/tunepak/1961764

Spikes eye gouge!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDOy-RMIpF0

Just glad you're back manny

Manny, was randy phillips playing lb some yesterday or was that nickel coverage.. i think him mcarthy , sharpton were lbs some downs we dont have any lbs or secondary!!!

dang that game was big time recruiting message!!

man our defense is so young and just not physical enough at times...

sam shields people should lay off,,,hes a team guy busting his butt for us hes just not good playing that position less than a yr butt hes better than whoeveres behing him anf that one pass intf call on him was bogus...

rb where the hell is our so called depth there we dont have a complete back w/o javaris..cooper i hat him running the ball he gets to the line and dances and rarely gets anything and goes down on 1st contact prolly 90 percent of the time...him and mike james were lost in blits pick up... and i think berrry is the most dangerous then anyone of them with the ball in his hands...

helmet stickers aldarius johnson, theroin collier and 4qtr def finally they shut wake down and did there part to comeback

Would you people stop getting all over harris about this season. Theres alot more reasons we're not playing well this year and you can start with injuries. Trust me Kenny D was'nt winning all those games early on in his career with out the ridiculous amount of talent around him, put him on this team and Jacory on that team and your likely to get the same result.

Where is Arthur Brown? You mean to tell me with the slew of injuries we have a backer, he can't get on the field?

@CANES IN 09, write English often? Reading your comment made my head blood. Fire Shannon (aka, the new Zook); fire the referees; hire the coach from Utah.

PEOPLE: A WIN IS A WIN, IS A WIN.
Wake always plays tough at home: 2008 Ole Miss? The same Ole Miss that beat the gators last year. Haters: Don't you forget about that.

Never give up on the canes. Never never never.

But I agree with Manny. In the 4th q I admit i was one of the ones calling for all of the coaches heads- Why was JH throwing bombs when all he needed was 5 yds at a time, dink and dunk like Skinner did all game long- jab jab jab BOOM the upper cut to the jaw. I kept screaming into theTV after DVDs int. Why why are you throwing bombs????????

Anyway, it doesn't matter. This was a great W. They showed resilinece, never die attitude, character, opportunism. Teams have to find a way to win:
2001 UM against BC and VT. 2002 Ohio State all season long. 2006 UF vs So Carolina. This year Alabama vs Tennessee.

Wake lost to Navy in a driving rainstorm, against the triple option. No way to stop it. Consume the clock. etc etc. All teams have trouble withNavy.

Wake has a 5th year very accurate passer. His dinks and dunks were a perfect game plan. UM and Lovett unfortunately were horribly prepared for that.

Brandon Harris- Son, you got schooled. Again. You are becoming a bust number 1, a bust. Out of position, wiffing on tackles, getting burned, just like against Clemson.

Sam Shields- the same. But #9 makes up for it with lots of heart and excellent special teams play. Sam is a good special teamer. So far a horrble cover corner. I could give a s--t about his 4-2 speed.

Hankie- Son, If it wasnt for your good catches in the first half and against Clemson, You would have regressed to last year. Your nickname is still MANO DE PIEDRA. Because of those key 2 drops in the 2nd half. Right in your hands.

JH- Are you being told to throw bombs instead of going through your progressions and finsing a shorter receiver? If so its not your fault. If not, son, stop that. Be patient. Stop throwing the ball into coverage. Roll out but away from the sacker nottowards them. Boy youstill have a long way to go! Nonetheless, his composure at the end, under all that pressure, on 4th and 16, is uncoachable. He just has to work out the kinks and put on anothe 10 lbs of muscle.

Linebackers: You all stunk last night. All of you. Fundamentally the D beginning with lb play was TOXIC!

O-line: If it wasnt for the lack of help you got from Cooper and the rbs, YOU single-handedly alomost lost the game. Also, Good protection on the last 2 drives.

T-Ben, and AJ- Boyz, you are ballers. Period. No words are necessary- Why arent we throwing more to them? And why did we hardly use Epps last night? Whipple's or Jacoory's call?

Bosher- Awesome game. Again.

RBS- you all choked. Come on. Please. You are one of the reason the Wake D dialed in on JH. No excuses.

Overall, I say this was a tough game overall. I agree with the posters about the injuries. THIS IS A DECIMATED DEFENSE. LOTS OF INJURIES ON OFFENSE ALSO. THIS PATCHWORK D HAS TO BE GIVEN SOME CREDIT. I mean, No D Ends, No pas rush. Mostly due to Ojomo, Forston, and Moncur and others being out.

Question: What other top 25 team has this number of main key injured players???? Dont take that lightly.

USC looked average last night. Did they deserve a Number 5 ranking? NO way. That was a media thing.

Check out the eye gouging by Spikes against Georgia on You Tube. There is a reason why I hate everything and anything gaturd related.

Ok lets compare, UF beats a horrendous Ga team at home essentially 41-17. Texas beatS a good AND RANKED Ok. St away 41-14. WHO DESERVES TO BE NUMBER 1?

Brian Griese- You stink son. i see the foot-in-mouth disease is genetic: Last week he called Leonard Hank., Leonard "Hankerstein". Last time I checked LH isnt jewish. last night he kept calling the Wake center AJ Trump. More than once! Dude. You need practice.

Did you see what GT did to Vanderbilt? Anyone who doesnt thing GT is literally unstoppable doesnt know football- THAT should (butwont) get UM more credit. GT will KILL Georgia.

Canes: Good win. Go home, heal, Coaches. Think about your lack of preparationand your silly mistakes. Coaches need to do better also.


A win is a win, but there was no joy when Benjamin caught the pass in the endzone. I think it's partially from expectations going too high early in the season, but it's also about how unprepared and sloppy this team looks. Look we are riddled with injuries I get that. And I can except the defense blowing plays and maybe a high scoring affair. But when you are playing Wake Forest and they turn the ball over 4 times, you have to beat them easily. Our offense looked horrible. There seemed to be no game plan. There was no creativity. What happened to getting the ball in Coop's hands anyway we can? What happened to moving people around to disguise the play? What happened to throwing to the tight ends? Almost all the passes were to receivers. That was our game plan? They looked like a team playing in an offense for the first time. Not a team that had seven games under their belt. To me it's a matter of coaching.

The offense isn't riddled with injuries. So they don't have any excuses. Plus with the breakdowns in protection you would think the short passing game would become more relevant. Plus on defense where were the adjustments? Last week we were playing a redshirt freshman QB and didn't blitz hardly at all. And he picked us apart. This week we blitz and blitz and blitz and blitz against a Fifth year senior and the short passes picks us apart. It's like Lovett had last week's game plan mixed up with this week's.

too much anger in this blog.

Your right this is like the 99 team, It was young, and we had good players Dorsey was a true freshman. I can see 10-2 but the focus has to be there. That being said the defense did play well when it needed to in the 4th quarter. The pick by DVD, and also forceing wake into a 60 yard attempt

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