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Canes Midseason Awards: Winners, Blinkers and Stinkers

The Miami Hurricanes head into Saturday's game against 20th-ranked Georgia Tech with a 3-3 overall record and a 1-2 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play. 

If you listen to WQAM play-by-play man Joe Zagacki and color analyst Don Bailey Jr. -- who always see the bright side of things -- the Canes are just a few plays away from being 6-0. That may be true. But by the same rationale, North Carolina and Bryn Renner were a mere 30 yards away from rallying from a 24-point deficit to beat UM last Saturday and drop the Canes to 2-4. And that's something that surely would have dropped the old Canes Satisfaction Meter on Greg Cote's blog way down.

In the big picture, this team still is what I said it was three weeks ago after Kansas State beat them: Mediocre. Al Golden is trying to squeeze more out of his team. He's trying to create a real sense of competition, questioning the level of play of some of his best players to get them to play even better (Golden said Lamar Miller has a long way to go as a running back; Brandon Washington isn't playing up to par at left tackle). But until proven otherwise, until UM can play four strong quarters of good Hurricanes football (not one very good half in Chapel Hill) I'm not ranking this team's overall grade better than a C. 

But I am giving away fake awards. So, here are your Eye on The U Midseason Winners, Blinkers and Stinkers:

Jacory Harris> MVP: Quarterback Jacory Harris. Yell all you want for Lamar Miller. But this category is Most Valuable Player not Best Player/He's Going To Be The First Cane To Get Drafted In The First Round since Kenny Phillips in 2008. No doubt Miller has played lights out. Before North Carolina held him to 29 yards rushing on 16 attempts, he'd run for at least 100 yards in five straight games. He still ranks 11th in the country in rushing with 117.6 yards a game (706 yards on 110 attempts). But Harris has been more valuable. UM might not have come back to beat Bethune-Cookman (OK, maybe that's a bit dramatic), held on to beat North Carolina or even been close at Virginia Tech or at home against Kansas State if Harris didn't all of a sudden find his mojo. Since halftime of the Kansas State loss, Jacory has gone 56 of 81 (69.1 completion percentage) for 900 yards, 10 touchdowns and 0 INTs. He now ranks as the eighth most efficient passer in the country with a QB rating of 170.77.

> MIA: Receiver LaRon Byrd. Not sure if he made Jacory Harris mad at him or not, but Byrd has gone from starter and second-leading receiver (41 catches, 440 yards) in 2010 to a Where Are They Now TV special (4 catches, 41 yards). Somehow I've got a feeling the 6-4, 220-pound senior will still end up on an NFL roster down the road and we'll be scratching our heads as to why he fell out of the picture.

> Most Valuable Coach: Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Jacory Harris couldn't have made this amazing turnaround without Fisch. How amazing? Well, a year ago, Harris ranked 88th in passer efficiency with a rating of 116.60. He threw 15 interceptions (two less than national co-leaders Boo Jackson of Ohio, Ryan Radcliffe of Central Michigan, Duke's Sean Renfree and Texas' Garrett Gilbert). And Harris would have taken home The Canes' Biggest Stinker Award had we had it last year. But behind the 35-year old Fisch, Harris has had a rebirth (0 picks in his last 14 quarters). UM's offense might not have as good a numbers in terms of yardage -- 56th rushing (159.5), 66th passing (224.83), 71st total offense (384.33) compared to a year ago -- 30th rushing offense (182.46 ypg), 43rd passing offense (238.85), 31st total offense (421.31). But where it matters is on the scoreboard and Fisch (48th scoring offense, 30.33 points per game) is outdoing what Mark Whipple did (67th scoring offense, 26.31 points per game). Fisch is also doing a better job getting the team's best playmakers the ball (running reverses, receiver screens, the Wildcat and a handful of trick plays).

> Razzie Recipient: Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio. Every year Hollywood hands out their thumbs down awards for the worst things they've seen on film. D'Onofrio can send in a lot what we've seen from his unit this year. Not that he doesn't have plenty of legit, acceptable excuses. 28 players have lined up for UM's defense this year. Two of his best players -- Ray-Ray Armstrong and Olivier Vernon -- have missed multiple games because of NCAA mandated suspensions. The defensive tackle position has been riddled by injuries to Marcus Forston, Curtis Porter and veteran linebacker Ramon Buchanan was lost for the season against Bethune-Cookman. But who wants to hear excuses? The Canes rank 94th in rushing defense, 58th in pass defense, 81st in total defense and 48th in scoring defense. What's worse? They've blown the lead in the fourth quarter in all three losses. D'Onofrio deserves more time and a chance to have his entire unit in place before anyone tosses him to the sharks. But right now, his unit needs to figure out a way to slow the other team's option down (UM has been shredded by it). The challenge this week is monumental against Georgia Tech. And it wasn't made any easier by Micanor Regis' suspension Thursday.

> Questionable Call: Coach Al Golden. Virginia Tech. Opening drive. 4th and 1. Fake field goal run by Spencer Whipple. I rest my case. 

> Play That Made Me Say Wow: This run by Lamar Miller against Virginia Tech. Click here. The pass by Phillip Dorsett to Miller two plays later comes in a close second.

> Sean Spence Award: Linebacker Sean Spence. Hard to give a defensive trophy to anyone else who has played defense for the Canes over the last three years. Spence leads the team with 55 tackles (14 more than the next guy behind him Jimmy Gaines), leads the team 8.5 tackles for loss, ranks second with 3 sacks and was named ACC Linebacker of the Week the past two weeks. Nationally, he ranks 11th in the country in tackles per game, 8th in tackles for loss. His late sack of Brynn Renner Saturday in Chapel Hill was the first big play anybody on Miami's defense has made in the fourth quarter all season. Sorry, but it's true.

> Mr. Big Surprise: Right tackle Jonathan Feliciano. There were a lot of strong candidates for this one. Receiver Allen Hurns appeared to have it locked up after two weeks (10 catches, 123 yards, 2 TDs) but he only has eight catches for 163 yards and one touchdown over his last four games. Touchdown Tommy Streeter has sparkled (18 catches, 332 yards, 5 TDs). Sophomore linebacker Jimmy Gaines is second on the team with 41 tackles. But nobody -- and I mean not even his position coach Art Kehoe -- saw Feliciano coming. The 6-5, 320-pound redshirt freshman has started five consecutive games and he's done so well of late Golden wasn't thinking of pushing Feliciano out of the starting lineup to make room for Seantrel Henderson, he was considering veteran Brandon Washington. Yes, Feliciano leads the team with four false starts. But nobody is a bigger surprise on the team. Just listen to Kehoe: "I'm real proud of him. He wasn't even in the picture at all. Now, he's putting guys on [their butts]. He had four pancackes and five metrorails last week. He's on guys, tearing after them and having fun. It makes it fun as a coach."

> The Fab Freshman: Defensive end Anthony Chickillo. Denzel Perryman may end up beating him out by the end of the season -- especially if he cracks the starting lineup and finishes in the top five in tackles (he's currently fifth with 27). But for now, Chick is the man. With Olivier Vernon out, he's been one of the few bright spots for UM on the defensive line. He's started three games, is tied with Micanor Regis for the most tackles on the defensive line with 25, has four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

> Special Teams Standout: Kicker Jake Wieclaw. This guy was supposedly unusable while Matt Bosher was here. All of a sudden, Al Golden has found a way to make Wieclaw look like Matt Bosher without the tackling ability. Wieclaw is a perfect 7 for 7 on field goals with a long of 43 yards and he could end up taking the punting duties over by Saturday with Dalton Botts struggling. Who knew? Joe Pannunzio apparently didn't either.

> Deserving of honorable mention -- Senior defensive back JoJo Nicolas. He's third on the team with 29 tackles and has played a valuable role in UM's secondary, shifting from corner to safety at the last moment because Ray-Ray Armstrong had to serve a four-game suspension. He also is playing with a heavy heart following the passing of his newborn son in fall camp. Senior receiver Travis Benjamin: Despite sitting out the season-opener due to an NCAA-mandated suspension, T3 leads the team with 24 catches for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns and has shown the type of attitude in practice Golden said he wanted to see. Senior defensive end Marcus Robinson: A year ago, UM had 37 sacks as a team. This year, the Canes have 17 through their first six games. Not bad when you consider Vernon has been out. So who has helped pick up the slack? Robinson. He leads the team with four sacks and two forced fumbles. He also has 22 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss.


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First! I cosign your selections!

You rest your case? If the play had been successful you would call it Play of the Year, and it would have been, if the runner had pitched out instead of tryig to keep it.

good job Manny.

I liked the fake play call early in the game... and wished the Fins had as much balls to do it.

No way cat5. You take the points that early on. Play calling in that series was awful and that fake fg was the icing on the s&*t pile.


Just the 7th gator arrested this year! hmmmmm

Now that is a true lack of intitutional control!

Nice blog. Harris has made a beleiver out of me, I was ready to bench him for life after last season...well done young man. We do have some immpressive freshmen, redshirt and natural...hope we catch a break on the sanctions so we can be in the NC picture year after next.

Chickillo has a bright future, however no one is calling him out on his propensity to lose contain, not from being blown out by the tight end or tackle, but from trying to be a hero at times compromising the integrity of the scheme. I am glad we have him, but he needs to step it up in that regard or we will never beat GTECH.

I don't have a problem with the fake FG. I understood what Golden was trying to do. He was setting an aggressive mentality early in the game. There were 10 other things you can point to as to why the Canes lost the game. A missed fake FG in the first drive of the game isn't one of them. It did set a tone and we came back and took the lead because of that tone.

We need more dominance in all phases of the game. We will not be great until that happens. If we would have had all touchdowns Saturday, there would have been no last second threat to the lead. And or if we played better defense the other team wouldn't score as much and there would be no last second threats to victory. Yeah, I know, and if a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his butt every time he jumped either. But I can still wish can't I?

I agree with that above.

Lets do this!!!!!!!



Just the 7th gator arrested this year! hmmmmm

Now that is a true lack of intitutional control!

Posted by: truth hurts | October 20, 2011 at 08:16 AM


absolutely agree. University of Felons !

Congrats Gaytard Nation, you did it.








I liked the faked field goal call. Golden said 3 players on the field goal team did not hear the call and did not know the fake was on. That is probably the only reason the play failed. It was not , by far, the worst call of the year. Let's give some credit to Linder. He's made a few mistakes, but he's had a really solid year.

Manny, with all due respect, Jacory Harris won't even get drafted much less be a First Rounder. Five games into his Senior season he is still an accident waiting to happen. I certainly hope you are right for his sake, but having watched him now these last 4 years...I ain't buyin'...

The fake field goal was a good call. If its converted everyone says what an amazing call it was. It was a gamble and had absolutely no bearing on the rest of the game. No we would not have tied it had we went for a field goal instead in the 1st quarter. Thats not how things work. It was an agressive call and I thought it was a nice change of pace to get the team going.

using 28 players on defense isnt and excuse because they choose to do so and is why they are horrible right now u have starters for a reason use them instead of this everybody gets to play you rotate only defensive linemen not lb and db


Got my tickets Westbound Enzone Sec 129!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...There is a reason behind J12's success, it's called coaching.
...There is a reason behind the offense's success, it's called coaching.
...There is a reason why Ray Ray isn't fully coming along, it's called coaching.
...There is a reason behind Cain and Finney not playing a lot, it's called coaching.
...There is a reason why the defense, excluding Spence, is not respected, it's called coaching.




LETS GET ROWDY!!!!!!!!!!



FILL THE STADIUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CarolCityCane: R U kidding me? J12 won't get drafted? His first two years at UM were decent, don't forget he's hasn't had a "stable" OC, really, since he's been here. Then he comes from a spread offense at NW and don't forget the injury.

When I see people like, er, Teblow in the NFL, that tells me that not everything is based on ability. In the right system, J12 succeeds big time.


I respect your statement but then you have to think about Ken Dorsey... There has to be a physical component for any player to succeed in the NFL. Neither Dorsey (10x the QB that J12 is) or J12 are at that physical caliber. With their physiques they would have to put on large amounts of body mass to allow them to handle the rigors of the pro game. Guys with that kind of physical stature just can't do that.

Think of it like this... What would happen to Ken Dorsey if Ray Lewis hit him??? His wife would become a widow.

Once again I respect your previous post because there is a lot to justify it, but all variables must be included in the equation.


The Gators will suspend that CB for the Vandy game on 11/5. No way they sit him out vs. UGa.

The real recipient of the MIA award ought to be Aldarius Johnson. He is missing from the team -- literally. I can't remember the last time a player at UM made such an impact as a freshman, then became invisible.

D'Onofrio hasn't show me anything so far. I don't think the defense has no talent - Spence (albeit as a safety) and Ray-Ray will be drafted in the NFL, and a couple others might be late-round picks. It's the DC's job to come up with schemes that catch offenses off guard and put his players in position to succeed. D'Onofrio has done neither. And he hasn't exactly made any memorable in-game changes either. My impression of him likely won't be any better after GT runs for 500 yards against us.

CarolCityCane I don't think Manny was saying that J12 was going in the first round if you reread the article he is saying that Lamar Miller will be the first round pick when he decides to come out. On another note to The What if you take a look at the final score of that UM-VT game I'm pretty sure we lost by a Field Goal. Doesn't mean we win the game if we don't call the fake but we definitely go to OT.

CANETILLIDIE: Likewise, I respect your posts, but I MUST draw the line at Dorsey, who will go down in UM history as the most overrated, hyped QB ever. Dorsey played on a team with MaGahee, Johnson, Joseph, McKinney, Reed, Portis (I think), Taylor and just superstars left and right everywhere. His drop back technique was poor and the fact that he was drafted in the 7th round speaks for itself. The 49ers took him on a sentimental note because he was a California native.

Most everybody on that Dorsey team will end up in UM Hall of Fame or NFL Hall of Fame, but not Dorsey because he simply doesn't deserve it.

It's all about the coaching. To be specific - good coaching; and you can't make chicken salad with chicken s*&t either. Any play always looks better after the fact. Just imagine if the Saints didn't recover the on sides kick in the Super Bowl? Get loud and be proud at the game. Go Canes!


Very true that Dorsey had all these guys on his offense but he also had to get the ball to them. He was extremely accurate whether he had a poor drop back technique or not. He never had the strongest arm but his timing and accuracy spoke for itself. Personally I was even amazed that he even got drafted at all!! California boy or not.

Talking about Tebow, who to me is a college QB not a pro QB, is doing more than Dorsey ever did in the pros because he is a physical specimen. Every time Dorsey ran the ball in college (not many but it did happen) everyone took a breath and held it, even myself. I was always afraid that he would get destroyed into little tiny pieces. Tebow was able to do that in college but not so much in the pros. I can't remember the game but Tebow was trying to run it in from less than 10yds out and he got STOPPED on the goal line hard and you can see that he got dazed pretty good. I bet he thought to himself "next time I'll think about that a little bit longer".

In regards to J12 and and aspirations to go pro, I don't think so in anyway. Maybe he'll play in canada like Dorsey did but that's about it. Is that EFL still going on?? I have no clue.

Hope you got your ticket Game time is 3:30pm with kickoff at 3:36pm. ORANGE AND GREEN BABY!!!


When teams start to key on Streeter then J12 will crank 2 or 3 t/d's to LaRon Byrd..(we have to hold some cards and Coach G is not showing his full hand on offense...You will see some neat plays coming down the line.) Chick is coming along nicely, and finding himself and of course Miller is a stud...Tighten up on defense and win the rest of games we will be on our way...there is no substitute for play time and that is why Coach G is adamant about working into the position instead of thinking it is endowed...The 'Canes are playing exciting football and for the first time in years people are noticing something is in the air with 'Canes football.
A new sheriff is in town and forget the b***
get back to basics..sweat, and grind, and as Ed Reed says "want it so much that you will go out and do anything to get IT no matter what it takes"...
let's go for the "IT" WINS, WINS, WINS...
We are proud of you guys....Save the individual awards.. FOCUS on team...the template of 2001 is there...go get 'em 'Canes.
Go 'Canes....

If we hit GT hard and fast with some down field plays to Benji and Tommy and then run the ball down their throat with Smash and Dash we're gonna hurt them bad and they'll have to play catch up. They can't do that because they haven't done that yet except in the UVA game and they couldn't do it because they have no rush defense.


GO CANES ! ! !

Dinofrio doesn't impress me at all & to say that fake field goal was a good call is crazy.personally I agree on going for it & yes we lost by three but y a fake field goal?and if it has to be a fake then y run the ball outside with your third string qb.that play was a failure before it was even drawn up. We just drove down the field like a hot knife thru butter.if it going for it on that short of a field leave your offense on and if we don't convert atleast we know we were in position to succeed but didn't execute.please no more fake field goals.

I have some ideas. How about playing chick standing up as a LB for some series. He's quick enough and is good at shedding blocks. I heard we might tinker with some different formations but so far vanilla is the flavor of the month. Man, Miller should have played more last year, but the U is a family and I respect that Berry got his due. People are taking a notice to Lamar, and we just have to trust in the coaches to keep him here. CBS has him as #2 RB prospect in the nation. The Duke will soon be here so thats a plus. This is a make-or-break game IMO for the DC. I don't like excuses, and he sure has a lot of them, just get it done. Period.

If I'm not mistaken, Whipple was a QB coach in the NFL before joining the Cane's staff and as was Fisch. Both came from simular systems, but one was able to get the best out of Jacory, but the other did not. I wonder why!!

I think the selections were appropiate. The one thing that was quite obvious in the NC
game was not only the ground game not working but the apparent not giving 100% effort by Lamar Miller---he absolutely just quit. It was the first time he really had to gut it out and he just did not. James should have been given the job. I think this was what coach G was referring to. If you cannnot take the good with the bad-transfer to Bethune Cookman

Sorry cool cat , jacory is alot better than Ken Dorsey!!! He is bigger and stronger. A better arm.
Jacory has a great deep ball, look at the throws he have made this year. 6-4 205. He will be ok in the pros. He is a late 3 to 4 rd pick. Dorsey played for the 49s, and browns for 7yr career. not in Canada

See ya'll at the 50 yrd line...

Whipple had a terrible scheme. The first play of the ostate game last year was the worst play I have ever seen from an oc. I'm just glad one of our ot didn't get anything broken out the. Dude is a complete joke and he has a job with the Cleveland browns with all that garbage.

These are fair selections. I think Jacory is MVP, and hope he continues. Miller needs to learn how to run harder and show 100% desire for 4 quarters, assuming he is physically able. He is gifted but not Heisman or NFL material at this juincture, and needs to show he is a team guy who gives his all in pursuit of the W. Individual accolades will follow.

The fake field goal was one of the worst calls I have seen in many years of watching football. And the play called was absurd.

Take the points, reward the offense for a good drive and move along.

It was an unintended morale booster for Va. Tech, and came at the start of the game as well.

Why is Sean Spence not a first round Draft pick? This guy always runs to the ball. If he would have been in on the last KSU drive they would have punted instead of getting 40 yards on 3 and super long or whatever it was. I hope the Ravens draft him to take over Suggs position. Give him 2 years in an NFL training camp no school and this guy could easily become the next Ray Lewis in the NFL.

Year round weight training and Spence will be playing at 240 in the NFL so, I don't know why he is not a first round draft pick.

Sorry cool cat , jacory is alot better than Ken Dorsey!!! He is bigger and stronger. A better arm.
Jacory has a great deep ball, look at the throws he have made this year. 6-4 205. He will be ok in the pros. He is a late 3 to 4 rd pick. Dorsey played for the 49s, and browns for 7yr career. not in Canada

Posted by: g man | October 20, 2011 at 08:23 PM


Sorry man look it up he did play in the Canadian league for like a minute, the Toronto Argonauts actually. Just like for the 9er's and browns, he rode the pine.

J12 better than Dorsey? Well here's a footnote.. "consecutive passes without an interception (193)". That's pretty good in my opinion. J12 can't say that. Look at the records. How many INT's did Dorsey have in his career at The U in comparison to J12? Well here's that footnote... From 1999 to 2002 Dorsey had 86TDs and 28INTs. J12, from 2008 till present has 62TDs and 42INTs. J12 has a way to go to see those numbers. Though Dorsey had amazing receivers to throw to, he was also very accurate throughout his career unlike J12 who is now becoming a QB. J12 also has 7,400+yds passing like Dorsey had 9,000+.

Sorry man but facts are facts. Get them straight before you write something and get called on it. I back up my facts with actually #'s plus I've been to all the home games since I was 12 now 33, haven't missed one.

Bigger and Stronger....?

J12 6'4" 205lbs

Dorsey 6'5" 220lbs

Facts are facts. Sorry.

The fake field goal was one of the worst calls I have seen in many years of watching football. And the play called was absurd.

Take the points, reward the offense for a good drive and move along.

It was an unintended morale booster for Va. Tech, and came at the start of the game as well.

Posted by: dbc | October 21, 2011 at 12:35 AM







To one of the earlier posters....He was talking about Lamar Miller as a first rounder..Not Jacory...Again some people should not be allowed to post., If they are unable to comprehend a simple statement

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