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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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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.

Posted by: ooster

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More of Oyster's deep insights.

Oyster is made at me because the Canes won. Sorry about that cupcake.

You reference my many aliases...please list just a few as I suspect those posters would like to know more about your detective skills.

Listen sweetie, to be a good hater you are going to have to develop a tougher hide.

I know Miami winning today destroyed your weekend, but next week they play against another very tough opponent so don't lose hope. Until then why don't you stand in front of the mirror and practice...I hate Jacory...I hate Randy...I hate Shalala...I hate Whipple...I hate Benjamin...I hate Hankerson...I hate my mommy...I hate...

Jose - seems to me that the definition of "professional" would depend on your profession. Look around the NCAA and the NFL, there are only a handful of head coaches who have been as stoic as Randy Shannon on the sideline and still been successful (Tom Landry, Jim Caldwell, and...?).

It doesn't mean that he needs to scream or berate his players like Stoops does, think of Tony Sparano - always encouraging his players and celebrating defensive plays and missed field goals - nothing "unprofessional" about that.

And UM has had a lot of "effort" losses under Randy Shannon (including FSU and UVA this year that horrible last game in the OB) - and there's nobody to blame for that but the head coach.

and yet again you prove my point...

to clarify for your dumba**:

-considering theyre my favorite team, im actually siked they won, despite the numerous mistakes and continued underachievement.

-i believe we will beat g-tech because our conservative and disciplined base 4-3 defense is well suited to stop their option offense.

-i love jacory as a person but as a football player he has too many flaws in his game to be a good quarterback.

-i do not hate randy. hes a great person and mentor but he is not a leader or a good head coach. and he is very frustrating and difficult to like sometimes. he doesnt ever hold himself accountable either.

-i do hate shalala. you got me there lol. i dont like the direction of the program, nor the complete lack of support she gives the program.

- i believe whipple is the best coach on this football team. i like his pro-style offense. he just hasnt had a QB with the ability to run it until now.

-benjamin is ultra talented, hes just way too undersized and can be a headcase sometimes with the drops. he has the potential to be just like mccluster with the proper development.

-im not as high on hankerson as everyone else is. he has like 1-2 spectacular catches a game but he still drops way too many passes. i dont think hes quite explosive enough to be a 1st rd pick either.

-i love my momma lol

you see, im not a hater. im just a realist.

No game plan is going to change the fact that Harris's arm is weak and that Morris is a better QB. The difference between the two throwing Int's is that Morris is a freshman and this was his first start and his ints can be corrected. Harris has basically started since his freshman year and still has not improved his decision making nor his arm strength. That is the reason Morris is better than Harris.

ill take average recruiting with great coaching over great recruiting with average coaching everyday! to prove my point, look no further than boise state and stanford. both of those schools would throttle miami, and they dont have near the "talent" that miami has. but what they lack in "talent" they make up for with stellar coaching

If I told anyone of you at the beginning of the year that our biggest wins would be over UNC and Maryland you all would have called for Randy's head. All this talk of being a true fan is ridiculous. Everybody wants what's best for the Canes and I think we can all agree that having Randy coach out the next four years would not be best for the Canes. Here's to hoping this team remains incosistant so next year we can all be pleasantly surprised when they actually show up for big games and throttle teams they should beat easily (cough, cough, Duke, Maryland, Virginia)

Unbearable - you're absolutely right that Stanford and BSU would destroy Miami.

And how many championships have they won in the past 30 years?

And if it's coaching and not the players that won UM it's championships why hasn't Schnellenberger won one at FAU? Why hasn't Dennis Erickson won at Arizona State? When should we be expecting Larry Coker's San Antonio Roadrunners to play the role of BCS busters?

What would Arizona State be without Erickson? Winless. IF it was the players we would be ranked number 1. Our coaching staff is terrible.

Put it this way - you can win a championship with elite players and decent coaching.

You can't win a championship with decent players and elite coaching.

In football, coaching is everything. If you dont have a coach you dont have a team. We need Randy out. It hurts me to say it sinve he is as close to Miami Football as anybody but he is not suited nor ready for the coaching position. Burning all three timeouts in the third quarter was depressing. Moving Mccarthy to the middle and shifting Figs to tackle was pathetic. Having the best quarterback on the roster practice with the SCOUT team for the first seven weeks of the season is disgusting. All horrible coaching moves that have strongly contributed to a horrible season. Although it wont happen, Randy needs to go.

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