The second four-game stretch of the season is over and done with and the Canes are pretty much right back where they were after the first four: in need of help to reach the ACC title game.
The biggest difference from the first four to the last four? Injuries. There are a lot more of them. And it hasn't just been the losses of linebackers Jordan Futch and Sean Spence, fullback Pat Hill and defensive tackle Marcus Forston. It's been the nagging injuries, the nicked up "extremities" guys are playing with. No unit has suffered more hurt than the defensive line which has had seven players out this season at one point or another -- Adewale Ojomo (season ending jaw injury in the preseason), Forston (done for the year), defensive end Andrew Smith (2 games), Olivier Vernon (2 games), Steven Wesley (1 game), Eric Moncur (3 games), and Josh Holmes (1 game). With that said, let's take a quick look back at the month of October before you vote for Mr. October...
> Positive signs: After producing just one interception in the first four games, UM's secondary has produced four more picks -- one each over the last four games... UM's run defense has gotten better since getting lit up at Virginia Tech. Over their last four games, Miami has given up 402 yards on 126 attempts and just two rushing TDs. They also have only surrendered 3.1 yards a carry... Allen Bailey has woken up and started playing like the dominant pass rusher Miami thought he was.
> Troubling signs: After getting sacked eight times in Miami's first four games, Jacory Harris was brought down 15 times in his last four games... After throwing to the tight ends plenty in the first month of the season (14 catches, 192 yards, 4 TDs), Dedrick Epps (3-32, 0 TDs), Jimmy Graham (5-59, 1 TD) and Tervaris Johnson have been virtually silent (1-2, 1 TD) have seen fewer balls come there way over the last four games... the Canes pass defense has been getting lit up. Wake Forest was a horrible game, but it's also part of the trend. After giving up an average of 178.3 yards through the air in its first four games on 52 receptions, UM has been giving up more catches (83) and yards (263.5 avg) over the last four games.
> Staggering stats: LaRon Byrd has caught one touchdown pass all season... after making 14 kickoff returns and averaging 28.3 yards in his first four games, Graig Cooper has had just one kickoff return over the last four games... Cooper and Javarris James have combined for few yards and scores (47 att., 251 yards, 1 TD) over the last four gams than Damien Berry (43 att., 303 yards, 4 TDs).
> Offensive MVP: Jacory Harris. For those of you bashing J12, he's actually put up similar numbers over his last four games (75-120, 63% comp, 8 TDs, 6 INTs, 1,096 yards) as he did his first four games (69-112, 61.6% comp, 8 TDs, 5 INTs, 1,008 yards). The difference? Pass protection. He's been sacked seven more times his last four games than his first four. I was going to give it to Leonard Hankerson (before he his big drops at Wake Forest) and thought about Damien Berry. But when I looked deep inside the numbers -- and past J12's six picks -- it was Harris who really shined for UM. Berry collected most of his 303 rushing yards over the past month against FAMU (when he ran for 162 on 14 carries).
> Defensive MVP: Allen Bailey. The big guy produced five of his team-leading seven sacks in October and forced the fumble that led to Marcus Robinson's touchdown against Clemson. He has seven tackles for loss over his last four games and has been UM's only consistent pass rusher. If I had to pick a runner-up, it's Colin McCarthy. He led UM with 11 tackles Saturday at Wake Forest and leads the team with 60 tackles this season. His biggest contribution though was his key interception at UCF.
> Special Teams MVP: Matt Bosher. After missing two field goals against Georgia Tech, he's turned it around making eight in a row including a long of 51 against Clemson. His punting has also been on point as he's averaged 41.1 yards a boot and hasn't allowed for any long returrns. He's also handling the kickoff duties again since Alex Uribe's mishap against Clemson.