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Gameday blog: Maryland at Miami

SUN LIFE STADIUM -- The Hurricanes (5-3, 3-2 ACC) will try to keep their faint hopes of reaching the ACC championship alive today when they take on Maryland (6-2, 3-1) at noon. You can watch it on ESPNU or listen it on the radio at WQAM.com. Feel free to participate in our discussion below as you tune in.

REWIND: The last time the Hurricanes faced the Terrapins was 2006 -- just a few days after the shooting death of Bryan Pata. Maryland came away with a 14-13 win in College Park. It's been the only meeting between the teams since Miami joined the ACC in 2004. Maryland owns the all-time series 8-7.

ABOUT MARYLAND: The Terrapins have won four of their last five games including a 62-14 blowout of Wake Forest last weekend. Maryland has turned the ball over a league-low seven times. The offense is led by freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien, who has thrown for 1,148 yards, 13 TDs and only 3 INTs. The Terps, however, are really known for their power running game led by 5-11, 200-pound senior Da'Rel Scott, who has run for 346 yards and 3 TDs on 75 carries. Junior Davin Meggett (5-9, 215) leads the team in rushing with 487 yards and 4 TDs on 90 carries. The team's top receiver is Torrey Smith. He has 34 catches for 540 yards and seven TDs. Adrian Cannon (22 rec., 189) is the second option. Defensively, the team is led by linebacker Alex Wujciak, who ranks third in the ACC with 10 tackles per game. Safety Kenny Tate ranks second in tackles (63) and has 3.5 sacks to go with two picks. Joe Vellano leads the team with eight tackles for loss and five sacks. As a unit, Maryland ranks 33rd in run defense and 8th nationally in pass efficiency defense. They're especially good in the red zone, ranking eighth nationally. They'll bring a lot of blitzes out of their 3-5-3 defensive package. Where Maryland really excels is special teams. Tony Logan ranks second in punt return average (21.2 yards) and has taken two back to the house. Smith handles the kickoff duties and is explosive as well.

THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE ON FOR THE U...

> How much will offensive coordinator Mark Whipple ask freshman QB Stephen Morris to do? If there is one criticism a lot of people have of Whipple it is that at times he's asked his players (Jacory Harris, Travis Benjamin come to mind) to do things they aren't necessarily good at. Morris will be making the first start of his career against a defense that will throw a lot of complicated blitzes at him. Will Whipple continue to ask his quarterback throw the ball deep and over the middle? Or, will he make things easier for Morris and allow him to make the plays he's capable of?

> Will the defense rebound? As bad as the Hurricanes played last week in Charlottesville, they'll still had a chance to win the game late. The defense had a chance to come up with a stop and put the offense back on the field. They didn't get the job done and were gashed for 185 yards on the ground. UM's run defense ranks 71st in the country and has been the one thing on defense that hasn't been good enough. This is a big day for Sean Spence, Colin McCarthy and the rest of UM's front seven. Time to answer the bell and get back to creating tackles for loss and sacks.

> Will special teams do anything right?  Seems like an eternity since Lamar Miller and Travis Benjamin made those big returns for touchdowns against Ohio State. The Hurricanes haven't gotten much out of their special teams in a long time. And to make it worse, kicker/punter Matt Bosher has been unreliable. He's missed extra points, shanked punts. Maryland can beat Miami in the return game. Special teams coach Joe Pannunzio could ill-afford another disastrous day.

MY PICK... MIAMI 23, MARYLAND 17: Everything points to an improved Maryland team delivering more misery for Miami. But every time I'm ready to pour gasoline and light a fire on this regime, the Canes stand up and win. The truth is Maryland is overachieving and Miami is underachieving. The Hurricanes are the better team -- and probably better with Stephen Morris under center. The Canes haven't lost two in a row since the end of the 2008 season. They'll win today and become bowl eligible. But this won't be a North Carolina-type beatdown.

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BRANDON HARRIS...SHUT DOWN CORNER!

Big deal, they had to come from behind to beat Maryland at home. This will go down as the most talented, underachieving team in Miami History all because of poor coaching. Morris despite the int's is though without a doubt the best QB we have and should start even when harris gets back. We better enjoy this one because we are looking at 7-6 at best this year if Nesbitt plays when we play GA tech.
The only thing ESPN could run at the bottom of the screen was Miami is bowl eligible 3 out of 4 years under shannon. That my fellow Canes is what we have been reduced to.

Got to agree beat Maryland, Miller is scary good.

Maryland is not all that good. They needed a last minute fumble to beat Navy. They are one dropped hail mary away from beating the U. I think Duke beat Virginia today. This was not a very impressive display. Miami is still very disfunctional.

Morris looked good on the last drive but not all that great otherwise. Everyone said the samethings about Jacory and Marv and Wright the last few years that they are saying about Morris right now. "He's great. Play this kid." Just wait until he gets under-developed and overhyped like the others, he'll start to SCK. It's like everyone on this blog has amnesia. 'Canes have a huge coaching and instutional problem right now, and Hocut needs to address it if they want to keep Miami a football powerhouse.

Anyone who defends Randy Shannon on anything must be happy with 3 and 4 loss mediocre football teams year after year. No championship until Shannon is fired.

Agreed, JamesJaxon21.

The future on offense looks pretty good. U got stephen morris who looks like the kind of qb qho can make plays when they are needed. Something im not sure jacory is good at. U got a redshirt freshman rb in miller who is just explosive to go with an ol with 3 true freshman contributors. Offensively this team the future looks bright as u also have asante cleveland at te. Its a nice win but team has to fix penalties.

JamesJaxon21, you are so right....the win today was a good one and showed that these kids have heart, but they don't have that killer instinct. Winning cures all, but we need to see all the bad symptoms with this program. When you struggle to beat a Maryland team at home that was 2-10 last year, you get handled by a dreadful Virginia team, you play like crap against Duke, and you don't show up for the Florida State game, then something's wrong. Let's all admit it!!!! Plus, this is Shannon's fourth year, and yes, he has brought TONS of talent to the team, they should be destroying all of these guys. Just listen to Shannon when he opens up, he has no idea why his team is UNDERPERFORMING. He admits there's something wrong, and we as fans clearly see it. Shannon's got to figure it out sooner than later.

GREAT WIN CANES!

The defense came out and stopped Maryland when they had too, thus allowing Morris and company one last opportunity...and did they ever take advantage of that opportunity.

Of course I am biased, but the officiating was awful. What was that call on Spencer that robbed us of a touchdown? That was a 10 point swing due to a bad call as Maryland went on to kick a field goal.

Morris was off the charts good.

Miller has to be the feature back going forward.

McCarthy had a helluva game going from sideline to sideline making plays (anyone know how many tackles he had?).

Hankerson breaking the double coverage for the winning touchdown pass was NFL caliber stuff.

Harris is a flat out stud in the secondary.

Reduce the mistakes and these cats beat Georgia Tech.

Anyone who defends Shannon for anything must be happy with 3 and 4 loss mediocre football teams evry year. No championship as long as Shannon is the coach, period.

Easy Canes fan on Morris. Let's not be to quick to give him a heisman trophy. We did that with Jacory and UUU see how that turned out. We are a terribly coached team. Corners don't play the ball, drop passes, penalties and poor special teams play. It's time to get that clown outta there. There is to much talent on the sidelines not playing. I good coach finds a way to get playmakers on the field this regime can't seem to figure that out.

Will the haters and self-proclaimed experts give it a rest for a couple of hours and allow those of us that love the program take a little enjoyment out of a great come from behind win...especially after the officials tried to award the game to Maryland!

And by the way...anyone who thinks Maryland is not a good football team after watchig them play today simply do not understand what they are looking at.

spence is an nfl lock? he might make it..but far from a lock. and benjamin? CMON MAN... dont be foolish.

i agree with everyones blog i`m glad everyone sees what i see. JACORY IS NOT THE ANSWER!!! maybe now he feels threatened and take his job seriously PLEASE DONT PLAY HIM AGAIN SHANNON!!! THANK YOU STEVE MORRIS YOU ARE THE REAL DEAL!!!

jacory should be redshirted for the rest of his carer

Jacory Harris needs to be prepared to step-aside and if he has any judgement or common sense at all, he knows he is now the BACKUP QB. Sit down Jokery and shut-up. Stop trying to advise Morris on the sideline or anywhere as you will only 'screw' him up mentally with your lame-ass gibberish. Shannon should tell Morris to totally disregard any information that Jokery puts forth. STEPHEN MORRIS is a rising star at Miami if our weak offense can protect him. GO STEPHEN ! ! !

Benjamin is a mortal lock to not only play in the NFL, but will be a star. He's a receiver with blazing speed and moves, a Devin Hester quality kick-off and punt return specialist and will find other areas on special teams to play.

Some of you people are so clueless I wonder if you can find your peckers when trying to take a leak.

Lamar Miller is a stud. He should've been starting since the OSU game.

Stephen Morris was great today. How does Shannon justify coming back with Jacory Harris? We burned the red-shirt, so might as well get this kid ready for the future.

JH will see the field when he's healthy. Stephen Morris is not a better QB NOW. he has thrown 1 TD and 3 pick, JH does that and we a all over him. Keep things in perspective. Morris will be a netter QB than JH soon. He's not there yet. JH gives the U the best chance to win. Morris has a better arm than JH, and doesn't float the ball. But JH has better experience, and a better long thrower.

The facemask call was phantom and intentional and thrown purposely to try to affect the outcome of the game

Benjamin isn't even half as good as Devin Hester in the return game. He played well today, but let's not get crazy.

Travis Benjamins play has steadily declined this year. How many dropped passes does he have in crucial situations? Needs to learn how to catch the ball BEFORE he runs. Jacory should see nothing but a clipboard until he graduates. And why am I a hater when I am just stating the obvious, Jacory is not a championship caliber QB and Shannon is not a championship caliber coach. Simple facts not hate.

Maryland was crazy to test Brandon Harris today. Harris is the man!

So we had Lamar Miller with limited carries and Stephen Morris rotting on the bench?

What else do we have on the bench?

mike33076:

I don't disagree with your points. But I'd like to see Stephen Morris get some experience now. Then open up a QB competition in the off-season.

This is an opportunity to close that gap between Harris and Morris.

I think Morris needs to start from this point forward.

How do you win two state titles and a high school national championship and not be a championship caliber QB. How do you win a national title as a player and as a defensive coordinator and not be a championship caliber coach. Thats a reach if i ever heard one.

Too bad we can't get Whipple's opinion on Morris v. Harris. He's worked with Jacory Harris, but Stephen Morris is his recruit.

Even Manny could interview him, I'm sure he'd give a political answer.

QB controversy!

High school isn't college.

Being a head coach is completely different from being a coordinator.

See Bill Belechick and Charlie Wiess.

Keep Randy Shannon as coach.!!!!!!!

I don't expect most of you to understand the intricacies of the game, but if you can't see that Benjamin has improved as the season has progressed, then you need to find another way to spend your Saturday's.

Wow! Did you even watch today's game? The kid had a couple of drops, but played a major role in changing the dynamic of the game in favor of Miami. His YAC was off the charts and caused Maryland to adjust to him, which is the last thing they wanted to do as it helped open the field for Hankerson.

By the way, while he had the two drops his pattern running on those two plays and others was such that he put himself in open space.

Hasn't improved...yeah right!


How do you win two state titles and a high school national championship and not be a championship caliber QB. How do you win a national title as a player and as a defensive coordinator and not be a championship caliber coach. Thats a reach if i ever heard one.

Posted by: cane87

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Damn straight...Bravo!

Idiot haters always show their stupidity.

Jacory and Randy have championships and the nimrod states they are not of championship material...classic!

Does it really matter how well you run a pattern if you dont catch the pass when it's thrown to you?? Not at all. And for winning championships in high school, in college everyone else is as good as you are, in high school there are usually one or two supremely talented players on the field who are much better than the rest. Doing it in high school and in college are two different things.

This is to JamesJaxon21 and Championships Matter. You guys make me sick! You have no clue and no perspective beyond your utter hatred for RS and J12.

Have we ever run the ball 49 times with J12 at QB? How would he look managing the game if the play calling was as sound as it was today? And when Whipple got out of the smart plan and decided to call pass plays over the middle, SM17 threw 2 INTs!
You don't lose your starting spot because of injury. If J12 can play then he starts. But now he knows there is competition at his position.

And maybe, just maybe Whipple designs a gameplan that won't get J12 destroyed. Hell even SM took some big hits today because of certain plays.

But big win Canes! Defense get in the film room tonight and get ready for the triple option of GT. Haters get supportive or get off the damn site!

Go Canes. See you in ATL next week baby!


Does it really matter how well you run a pattern if you dont catch the pass when it's thrown to you?? Not at all. And for winning championships in high school, in college everyone else is as good as you are, in high school there are usually one or two supremely talented players on the field who are much better than the rest. Doing it in high school and in college are two different things.

Posted by: todd neal

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You've got a terminal case of cluelessness!

ATL Kane u are an idiot please shut the hell up!

Darius Hayward-Bey has absolutely no natural receiving ability, I went to high school with the kid and watched him some at MD, he can't catch the ball. He was a top 10 pick because he runs a 4.25 40.

Travis Benjamin runs 4.26. He doesn't have 1/8 of the return ability that Devin Hester had, but there's no question that he'll be playing at the next level and if he stays for his senior year he'll most likely be an early to mid round pick.

As for Sean Spence, he also has all the right measurables - and the comparison to Ray Lewis with his speed and small stature will get him a job in the NFL, just like Tavares Gooden.

Bull Gator: Instead of calling me a nimrod and telling me that I am clueless, how about you prove any of the points that I have made wrong. If you can do that I will gladly admit that I am wrong but honestly I dont think that you will be able to do that.

Talk about a bad day for the haters...

First, the Maryland win.

Then, after the haters bellowed North Carolina was nothing after the Canes beat them they promptly went up to Tallahassee and beat the Seminoles.

Anything else you baboons want to harp about...lmao!

Once again, meaningless rhetoric.. Please give me a reason for me to change my opinion and I gladly will. But obviously you cant do it or you would at least try.

todd neal - you don't have any specific points to argue against.

All you're saying is that you think Travis Benjamin has gotten worse this year, you don't think Jacory Harris isn't good enough to win a championship, and you don't think Randy Shannon isn't good enough to win a championship.

To which I say obviously he hasn't, I think he is, and I think he is - and you're a nimrod.

Although for the record I think Randy Shannon isn't motivational enough to be a good head coach but his recruiting abilities can give him enough talent to win despite himself (a la the 2001 and 2002 Coker squads). There's 0 chance he's fired before the majority of his new contract is already paid out (after the 2011 season) so we'll see next year how his last stand goes.

Jacory has a chance to be successful if Whipple can stop putting him in bad positions (which he had been doing as of late). He has a weak arm and no NFL potential but all of the intangibles you're looking for in a quarterback (not unlike Ken Dorsey) and is good enough to win with an extremely talented team on the college level.

Thank you for setting me straight Ms. Dalala, I am honestly thinking about changing my opinion.

I'd have to agree that we got jobbed on the facemask call on Spence. I hate to say it but it was nice seeing RS upset on the sideline about it rather than the typical android response. (must cross arms...must cross arms)

Some of the same things are happening that should not be by now. The receivers need to hold on to the ball (TB), maybe some screens and better protection for Stephen Morris. It does not take a rocket scientist to expect D Coordinators will be giving multiple looks and blitzing like crazy on the freshman. It would be nice to see some late releases by the TE and RB.

I am not convinced that some of these mistakes will be coached out of the players.

100 yards in penalties and missing extra points is unacceptable.

I'm not a coach but I hope they will get back to basics this week. Tackling, holding on to the football, protection schemes, gap responsibility. GT is gonna throw the works at em.

Todd Neal:

I called you a clueless--not a nimrod, although I wouldn't mind adding nimrod if you don't mind.

The reason it is important to run good patterns on every passing play, EVEN IF YOU DON'T CATCH THE BALL, is obvious. In the case of Benjamin he ran good patterns that attracted the attention of other defenders that helped open the field for the other recievers--not to mention his 5 catches for 127 yards.

Obviously (again) doing it on the college level versus the high school level is different, but winning breeds winning, being in presure situations and winning as Jacory has done bodes well for the next level of play. Jacory played week in and week out against the very best players in the country and excelled.

When you look at the vast majority of today's best producers at the college level most all have winning resumes at the high school level (look at the Bama QB), but few can match Jacory's. Jacory is a winner...period...end of story. He is also more than capable of winning a National Championship at UM.

If you noticed--Whipple was a heck of a lot more conservative today with Morris and the results were mostly favorable. The times Morris had trouble today was when he attempted to execute some of Whipple's over the middle pass patterns, just as Jacory has had problems with many of those same routes.

Put Jacory in a position where the defense has to respect the run first as happened today and keep him out of predictable passing situations and he will put on a show for you.

None of the above should be construed as negating Morris's abilities or what appears to be a bright future. I think Morris is great, just as I know Jacory is, but the coaches have to put Jacory in a position to best showcase his many talents and leadership.

The bottom-line? We now have a serious QB competition and that will make Jacory and Morris much better players and the team much more formidable.

lol at nfl scout...

benjamin is fast granted...but thats all he has going for him. average blocker... decent route running... and pencil thin. oh... and he has hands like feet. dexter mccluster from ole miss would run circles around benjamin... and hes a spot duty player at best for the chiefs

Bull Gator - it'll only be a competition in the newspapers, you know Randy Shannon will start Harris next year.

And to everyone calling for Shannon to be fired - I agree that he's clearly not a good head coach in a lot of ways, most notably his lack of game planning and managing, his sideline demeanor and inability to motivate, and the distain with which he treats the local media.

But there are only maybe a dozen head coaches in the NCAA who can recruit championship-caliber talent, and Randy Shannon is one of them.

Would you really rather watch Coker-level talent play sound, fundamental football and reach the height of their ceiling and maybe the ACC championship game every year, or would you rather watch elite talent play sporadically year in and year out with a chance that they catch lightning in a bottle and win a championship in spite of their coaching (see 2001)?


The glory days of Miami are gone and the formula is no longer valid because UM is no longer the only school recruiting the talent in south Florida. Coaches have never made this program, the talent has made the coaches, and if Randy Shannon can keep getting the best players that south Florida produces they will eventually make him too.

The point is moot until after 2011, no amount of losing will change the fact that if UM fires Randy Shannon before the end of next season they will not have enough money to hire a replacement.

bull gator (and his other aliases) continuously proves how big a dumba** he is. its shocking really. i feel bad for manny because his blog is always made dumber by this guys complete lack of perspective, evaluative ability, and game understanding.

Coach Shanon should not be critized for being measured and professional on the sideline. His behavior should be a standard for other coaches. I am heart surgeon in Tucson and if I acted like Mike Stoops even though peoples lives hang in the balance, I would be fired.

Thanks for that ooster - the perspective, evaluative ability, and blog understanding of your comment have certainly made this blog smarter.

im just going to take that as a compliment

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