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Extra points and observations: Florida State

The point of this blog every week is to recap the good and the bad following a Hurricanes game. I will do that again this week after UM's 45-17 loss to Florida State, but I'm starting with a much broader point of view: 

THE BIG QUESTION... Was Saturday's blowout loss to the Seminoles just an ugly loss/growing pain? Or, was it a loud affirmation Randy Shannon and his staff are simply not up to the challenge of getting this program turned around?

Randy Shannon > The Hurricanes played their worst game of the season -- and probably their worst since they were manhandled by Oklahoma 51-13 in Shannon's second game as a coach in 2007. The defense gave up 298 yards rushing, produced no sacks, one turnover (forgot about Vaughn Telemaque's INT) and its leader (Colin McCarthy) picked up a really dumb penalty on a late hit. The offense produced only 17 points and for the second week in a row failed to complete even half of its passes. The special teams had a horrendous day on kickoff coverage and Matt Bosher once again had a field goal attempt go wrong. The players weren't the only ones who didn't get the job done. Mark Whipple and Jon Lovett, second year coordinators at UM, were taken to school by Jimbo Fisher and his staff in just their sixth game together. Afterward, UM coach Randy Shannon shouldered some of the blame. 

If there is one positive from Saturday's game -- and believe me there is only one -- it is that the Hurricanes can still turn things around, win their division, play for an Atlantic Coast Conference title and potentially play in a BCS Bowl game. But the real question here isn't if the Canes can do that. They can. The ACC is putrid and right now nobody in the Coastal Division is that much better than UM. The real questions: Why were the Canes embarrassed by a Florida State that was 7-6 a year ago? Why are the Canes, in the fourth season under Shannon, still struggling to even be among the Top 25 teams in the nation? 

With Saturday's loss, UM fell to 3-8 against ranked opponents under Shannon and 24-19 overall. Larry Coker went 53-9 and won a national title before he was fired in 2006. Coker's record against Top 25 ranked teams was 18-13. Add those numbers up and it makes UM only 21-21 vs. ranked teams since the start of the 2001. Greatness? This once proud program is fighting just to be mediocre.

Shannon, who signed a four-year extension before this season, can still turn things around. He can still do what he's done the past few years and finish with a better record than he did the year before. Mathematically he can. But after Saturday's whooping, are we really confident that will happen? Those wins at Pittsburgh and Clemson aren't nearly as sexy as we thought they were. Both of those teams are now 2-3. What about the rest of that "easy schedule?" Does anyone really believe North Carolina and Butch Davis are just going to roll over when they come to Sun Life Stadium in two weeks? Is Virginia Tech, which lost to an FCS school, going to come in unprepared under Frank Beamer? How about that trip to Atlanta in late November? You think Georgia Tech won't be a better football team?

College football isn't what it used to be. We know that. Parity paints itself all over the Top 25. Boise State, TCU, Utah -- they're all Top 25 teams from non-BCS conferences.

But is it really unfair to ask this program to be at the top of a mediocre ACC with one of the richest areas for talent in the country in its backyard? Is it too much to ask them to show up prepared and enthusiastic about a national television showdown with its biggest rival? The 2008 recruiting class, tabbed No. 1 by ESPN, is in its third year at UM. Those five-star high school seniors aren't babies anymore. They've been through at least two springs and three summers with trainer Andreu Swasey. Physically, they're supposed to be able to play at a high level, not get pushed around like they were Saturday by players from Florida State who had just as many stars next to their names as they did coming out of high school.

Can any coach or player on this team explain why missed tackles is still an issue, why this team still looks still terrible on kickoff and punt coverage, why they're still getting beat up front by opposing teams on both sides of the ball, and why they're still thin at positions like quarterback, tight end, defensive tackle and linebacker?

Better yet, can anyone explain the regression of the passing game when just a year ago people were talking about Jacory Harris as a Heisman candidate and his receivers as possibly the best unit in the country? It's certainly not a question of talent or having the time to coach 'em up.

The bottomline is this team isn't playing at the level it should. Individually, the list of players not meeting expectations in terms of growth and potential far exceeds those who are blossoming into better players. For every Sean Spence, Brandon Harris, Damien Berry and Leonard Hankerson, there are players like Ben Jones, Jeremy Lewis, Kendall Thompkins, Tommy Streeter and John Calhoun who have been at UM for three years and still haven't seen the field. Those aren't Coker's recruits. 

Blame the players for not delivering. But can we also point the finger at Shannon for a few things, too? Like, why doesn't Jacory Harris have a backup quarterback who could fill in now that he's hurt and struggling? Why is Harris being asked to play with an injured left shoulder, a sore groin and gimpy hamstrings? Why isn't A.J. Highsmith capable of filling in? If Highsmith isn't a capable quarterback, why didn't the Canes go out and find someone to backup Harris when Robert Marve and two other quarterbacks bolted?

Why, in the last four years, has the Hurricanes' only reliable tight end been a converted basketball player? Why are Sean Spence and Ramon Buchanon the only reliable linebackers this program has been able to bring in over the last four years and make better? Why can a guy like Sam Shields, who was a disappointment in his college career, go undrafted and all of a sudden become a starting cornerback for the Green Bay Packers? Can anyone explain to me how Willie Williams and Arthur Brown went from being the No. 1 high school linebackers in the nation to not doing a darn thing in this program? I still can't understand it.

I could go on (I haven't even really touched recruiting), but I hope I've made my point. Four years into Shannon's run as coach there are still a lot of troubling questions and trends that haven't been resolved. Again, things can turn around. Hope shouldn't be lost. There is talent here. There is opportunity. Shannon isn't a stranger to winning. He's been around it. He's been a part of it. Now, he has to make it happen as a head coach. 

And if he doesn't, if the Canes stagger down the stretch, will anything be done? You would like to think the clock is ticking, that expectations would be higher than this for a program that has won five national titles. But it seems like nobody at Miami is really keeping score of wins and losses anymore except the fans and boosters. Good GPAs and clean police records appear to count a lot more than touchdowns and field goals. That's probably the way it should be. But it just sounds strange for a program that spent 20 jubilant years collecting championships and loading up on swagger to be satisfied with mediocrity on the field. And it makes you wonder if the Canes will ever be great again.


> Senior Damien Berry had a costly first half fumble in Saturday's loss that led to an FSU touchdown. But he responded by finishing with 101 yards on 20 carries. He also had a 26-yard touchdown run. Berry has fumbled once in 180 carries at UM. That's a pretty good percentage.

> For a team that spent extra time last week catching passes, the Hurricanes are still a team plagued by the drops. Unofficially, I've counted 30 drops in UM's first five games. That's six a game. Turn half of those into completions and Jacory Harris' 52.4 completion percentage isn't the worst in the ACC among starting quarterbacks.

> Chris Thompson's 90-yard touchdown run at the end of the game was the longest against UM in team history. I don't want to accuse the Canes of quitting, but right before his 90-yard burst, Thompson had a 50-yard run called back by a holding penalty. The 90-yard run? That came on the same exact run to the same exact side on the very next play. 

> Since his punt return for a touchdown against Ohio State, Travis Benjamin has fielded six punts and returned them for a total of 14 yards. 

> Special teams ace Cory Nelms didn't play Saturday against Florida State. He's good. But do you mean to tell me he would have made up for Florida State starting a pair of drives at the UM 45 and 43 yard lines? Is Nelms' absence really the reason Greg Reid and the Seminoles (who came in with the worst kickoff return unit in the country statistically) had a field day? Seems to me like there are bigger problems than the absence of a former walk-on.

> Almost forgot -- how about some props for safety Vaughn Telemaque? His first career pick was about the only highlight for the Canes defense. But he got it. 


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SomePerspective...you have the best post I've seen in a while...Randy knows the past but is hell bent on protecting his players from it. Thus, he is torn--go with your gut coach and let it ride...let SFLA be SFLA

Simply put, this team has not gotten better under Shannon. The team is no longer young and he has run out of excuses.

Let's go Canes!

Posted by: al | October 12, 2010 at 02:21 AM

Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/umiami/2010/10/extra-points-and-observations-florida-state.html#ixzz12AIyzRms
I guess the improvement in the W column is not enough, huh?

get rid of the no huddle offense...its not working! after every play, WR's put their hands in the air like "what's next" and end up running the wrong route...huddle up and get the play call correct!! use screens with miller and coop! bubble screen to Benjamin!


Interesting post. You made several great points and brought up a number of matters that are worthy of investigation. What we all saw on Saturday night was simply unacceptable for any program. I'm sure the 2007 Canes, as void of talent as they were, would have put up a much better fight than today's Canes.

The issue isn't lack of talent, lack of discipline or even lack of depth. Its all psychology. Perhaps what motivated these players back in 2008 when they came in is different now. Back then they were freshmen, full of swagger and promise. Remember when J12 commented on Kirby Freeman's poor statistical showing in the NC State game in 2007 (where Freeman went 1/12 for 96 yards and a TD)?

After two years of being the cardiac canes, holding onto just outplaying their older and wiser competition, today's Canes are now the older and wiser competition. Therefore, they have to accept that and start playing like that.

Its that simple. I'm confident that Shannon can help this team get over this psychological hump and we will respond by taking the next step.

Saturday's loss was more of a wake-up call than anything else.

Lastly, I want to add that Manny I completely agree with your concern regarding our lack of capable back-up QBs. Its kind of scary that we have not been able to find a legitimate back-up in two years. Of course this is an assumption and we really don't know how good Highsmith, Morris or Whipple would be if thrust behind center. Perhaps the coaching staff should show us.

With that being said, I trust this team. We've all seen more good than bad, and that's what we can go off of.

"And the hits just keep on coming !!! Unranked, Unranked, Unranked and Unranked that almost lost at the goaline, at the gun, at home to Navy is a Gauntlet huh ? Seriously, U Fool, U might wanna self induce Ur psycho self into a coma to save the Embarrassment until 2011."

Who are you even TALKING TO? You ignorant sicko, making up posts 20 minutes after being asked to stop, just so you can then attack that straw man. Stop posting fake messages, using fake IDs, and sleeping with fake women, Curse Piggy.

"Speaking of which, Joe Rose said live this morning that he felt really embarrassed for Captain Clueless when he heard that he called the Michael Irving Show to engage in a dueling, stumbling, stammering and mostly incoherent back n forth “conversation” that he didn’t understand the question that Rose Axed him yesterday … To which Rose, simply with class said, “Randy, just let it go and move on.”"

Who is this Irving guy, moron? A fake name for a fake troll to do his fake retort against. And I doubt he said Axed, you fake coach posting fake ebonics for your fake buddies.

"U too could use that advice Canesfool, but surely U won’t be able to let it go will U ? U have a gauntlet of unranked teams to pump up in Ur little fantasy world U live in…"
Nobody here posts under the name Canesfool, Curse Piggy. Funy that when Florida plays Kentucky, you claim they are a tough team, or Southern Miss, they are a tough team, but teams like OSU and FSU are not tough teams? Get lost, for the last time, sicko racist troll with mother issues.

"Don’t U forget to tune into 560 WQAM in 10 mins. to hear Gino’s, a REAL CANE, take on this final Coaching Circus curtain call staring the formerlly know AzzClown U Coach known as Raaaaandy Shaaaaaaaannon ! Should be pure Radio Gold . U enjoy now U hear"

We know YOU were listening closely, hoping for any misquote that you could try to use as a source of your racist attack on the head coach. Gonna threaten to lynch him if he says "wants" instead of "want"?

Posted by: Bring Back Arty n Soldy ASAP | October 12, 2010 at 10:00 AM

No thanks, "Arty", and "Soldy", and all your other fake IDs are NOT wanted back. Leave the blog alone, or things will go back to where they were a couple of weeks ago.

I agree with most of what's being said, but man I just don't understand those of you who say you're going to stop coming out to the games. What kind of fanhood is that? Do i question whether Randy will ever take the next step? absolutely, but that's a terrible reason to quit supporting your team. Thick and thin, no fair weather garbage like that. I've missed two home games and been to several road games in the last 5 years and a bad loss most definitely will not keep me out of my seat when UNC, Maryland, VT or USF comes to town. Bash the team all you want, they earned it this week; but if you quit on your team when they're down, you're just not a serious fan

When the U was looking for a coach I was in Shannon's corner wanting to give him an opportunity.

At this point, I am extremely disappointed. He has not progressed as an in-game coach. He does not make the proper adjustments and his sideline demeanor is lifeless.

Among the many things Randy needed to work during these last 4 years was his personality, his communication with the media, and his ability to lead & inspire his team. Its apparent he has not developed in any of those areas.

Unfortunately, he looks better suited at this point to be a coordinator, than a head coach.

Also, why the constant shuffling of the offensive line? Good Offensive lines need cohesion & stability more than any other unit on the field. Usually, the top 5 play the whole game with a 6th member in on goal line or short yardage situations.

However, we continue to rotate 7-8 guys throughout the game. Its no wonder we continue to have 4 to 5 illegal formation or illegal procedure penalties per game. Stick with the top 5 unless there is an injury!

If things don't get turned around this year, I'd like to see us go after the old Texas Tech coach (Leach). Maybe make Randy Def. Coord. & Recruiting Director until his contract runs out.

I apologize in advance for using the Gators in my comparison... BUT

Remember Ron Zook when he was at Florida? Fantastic Recruiter and a player's coach. He always had the support of his players and loaded with talent. BUT he could never win (8-5, 8-5, 7-4) lost two Outback Bowls... sound familiar?

The fact is, we are at the point where our good recruiter (Randy) has put good talent back on the practice field. However, inability to perform the functions of a head coach (i.e. hire a good staff, prepare intelligent game-plans, compromise with the university) has led to his poor records.

So what do we do now?... NOW, we go get that HEAD COACH. I would take an upcoming defensive assistant or a head coach at an overachieving school (NFL guys are hit or miss and we are not about to pay someone enough to pull an HC from top tier school). My suggestions: Will Muschamp (hey he's coached in Miami before!), Charlie Strong (former gator I know.. but c'mon he's a good coach), Mike Gundy (might be tough to get, but we've had luck with OSU coaches, SEE Butch Davis and Jimmy Johnson.)

On the other hand, I really hope Randy proves me wrong and leads us to an ACC title this year. I'm a lifelong canes fan and only want to see them win.

Look Mark its not the guys on the team we are quitting on its the President Shalala and that idiot Shannon. We are sick of losing, the canes are in year 4 under Shannon and by now we should be a top 5 team. The players are not young anymore and Shannon has had 4 years of experience as a head coach plus he served under Butch Davis, Greg Schiano, and played and coached for Jimmy Johnson so in no way should he have been outcoached against Jimbo Fisher Saturday nite. I could see it if he was in his first or second year and got waxed by Saban and Alabama or like Fisher did by Stoops out there in Oklahoma that would be understandable but this isn't. We are tired of struggling to be mediocre and hitting them in the pocket is the only way to get anything done. And by that I mean get rid of Shannon. WE want our team back to being the best not settling for Coastal Division titles and playin for SEC titles, we want National Titles. Alabama, Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, Boise STate, TCU and now even boring old Nebraska is up there in the Top 10 every year vying for the National Title and where are we not even ranked. I guarantee you Notre Dame will win a National Title before we even get into the top 5 as long as Shannon is here as Head Coach. The reason for that is they got serious about winning and went out and hired one of the best in Brian Kelly to get them turned around. Heck they even look better than us as a team and all they have is one good receiver, a tight end and the two most important things a real QB and a head coach that knows what he is doing, two things we do not have.

Shalala pays the bills and if she wants GPA and graduation rates increased that is what she will get. It feels like watching a pathetic tragedy unfolding in front of your eyes and there is nothing you can do about it. I am UM alumni and I will always love my Canes, but I must accept the fact that the priority of this administration at UM is not to win championships. This is evident by the staffing and the results of big games. It really sucks....

http://www.coachmarctrestman.com/ UM Next Head Coach

Great article Manny; I only wish it didn't have to be written but it CERTAINLY did. Like many of the others, I think Randy is a good man and one that wants the kids to be successful. I've also supported him through many head scratching moments but I've finally come the realize that he will never get Miami back to Top 20 calibar (much less National Title contender). You've already pointed out many of the major questions from Saturday night but I have another one that really bothers me. Randy knew that he was going to be w/o Lamar Miller who had been key part of the RB rotation (particularly using his speed w/ draws and screens/shor passes to creat mismatches), yet he chooses to keep a guy like Storm Johnson on the bench when Randy HAS TO WIN NOW (not in 2011-2012). Not saying playng Storm would have made the difference in the game but although Berry (who I love) was as usual running hard and tough he dosn't have the same speed to challenge the FSU LB's on the edge. Additionally, Storm is hungry to play and the team needed ANYONE who wanted to come in and play with some fire. Randy also could have yanked any number of his WR's who were as usual dropping everything thrown their way and put in KT or Streeter. What could it hurt to put in guys that are hungry and might at least light a spark? Those who mentioned Harbaugh from Stanford...I'm on board.


How did Coker lose 13 to ranked teams, but only 9 overall? Come on Manny...

Who gives a crap Chris, Shannon sucks as bad if not worse than Coker. At least he could win games without talent which is more than what Shannon can do. Give it up you are out of excuses for your boy Shannon and Manny is just stating the facts about what is happening now which is we are mediocre at best under Shannon and shannon is not the answer for us. Its time to move on, cut ties, and end this mess so we can go after a real head coach and quit screwing around.

Something that really concerns me is that we have totally lost our tight end position. Chase Ford dominated the JC level and was compared to Shockey and now, he can't even seem to catch the ball consistantly. What is going on???

I love Shannon, but something is wrong in the House of UM!

Randy Shannon needs an IQ Test, he is can't develope talent! I hope Duke breaks japickys legs

Look Out Japicky!!! OH NO

couldn't have said it better myself. i can no longer defebd Shannon or Jacory Harris any more. This sucks!

We were out coached = Shannon!!!!
We were also pushed around = Swassey??????

I do think Shannon should be put on the clock (not fired). Consider this also, for the past few seasons we have talked about the weak offensive line and lack of production from the D-line... I cant be the only one who has been wondering what's up with the strength and conditioning...What about Swassey?

That is about the best blog I have ever read. Great job, Manny.

I think we all want to see Randy Shannon succeed, that is what we all hope for. But, when you see programs all over the country, pooring money into football, and Miami sits on the sidelines just watching and doesn't seem to care? You have to wonder if this program will ever be great again.

Great job again.

No Jaytee I and many others have for since that LSU game have wondered why we look so weak and other teams look so strong. What we need is a strength and conditioning coach like the one at Bama, or USC instead of a guy that teaches pallatees and aerobics. Shannon SHalala and swassey please exit the building you are guilty of impersonating a Head football coach, a president of a football powerhouse and a strength and conditioning coach. You are found guilty and sentenced to be fired. You 3 losers

A loss is a loss...

Our guys were man-handled period. You can coach kids but you can't play for them.

Seems like Manny was waiting for a loss to vent; fake fan!!

Screw Manny

Well said, Manny. You covered all the bases concerning this awful excuse for a footballl program. This whole coaching staff needs to be GONE and the admins MUST pony up to get us a decent coach and hire him for a good salary! Enough of this garbage!

Thank you, Manny

I've been saying and thinking all of these same things for quite some time. I gave my wife an ear full of this and much more as we were leaving that joke of a Champs Sports Bowl last year. I was astonished that after a ridiculous performance like that, coupled with the mediocrity of the season(s) that Randy was given an extension. I thought they should give him this year, but make him prove himself before offering a significant reward. I'm fairly certain that if they had done so, they would not be thinking reward, but replacement right now!

It's good to know so many others are feeling as enfuriated by the consistent, ridiculous results/effort/preparation/player development. I could not sleep Saturday night after that garbage. Unfortunately, after repetition the fury will turn to apathy as it is now starting by fans, recruits, media, etc... Then one day you wake up and you're Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse or any other once proud program that's faded off to long term irrelevance. The truth is that we have been irrelevant for 7 years already. I only hope that somehow we can stop it before it becomes decades. I very much hope that I'm wrong and some fire is now lit with both coaches and players. However, I don't realistically see it.

we haven't had a QB since Dorsey..

Great Article Manny love your writing !!!!



The U is dead.

The sad state miami football is in is because that short, fat, thing we call a president wants it that way! So she gets it that way! Miami is a football school. When we were winning NC most of our players were playing in the NFL by their senior year! They weren't worried about getting a degree in basket weven class. Hell, there ain't any jobs out here anyways. Better play in the NFL.

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