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Jedd Fisch: UM offense needs to play better late in games, key penalties need to stop, and why he needs more from Lamar Miller

CORAL GABLES -- Fans can point to the' defensive woes as the reason UM has lost three of its first five games this season. But ask Canes offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch why UM lost heartbreakers at Maryland and Virginia Tech and at home against Kansas State and he points the finger at himself and his offense.

Jedd Fisch"We didn't score in our last possession against Maryland, Virginia Tech or Kansas State. If we scored in those last three possessions we would have won those games," Fisch said.

"Our expectation is to score. So our job is to do everything we can to move the football every time we touch it. Whether or not the head coach says that or not, when you interview for the job you tell him you're going to go score. That's kind of our philosophy. We're disappointed when we don't score. We're disappointed when we have a three and out. We feel like we leave points out there everyday. We're going to continue to just put the pressure on our players, put the pressure on our coaches and try to perform at the highest level we can in order to be a great offense."

The Hurricanes, who have failed to protect fourth quarter leads in all three of their losses this season and who rank among the nation's worst defenses (97th vs. run, 82nd in total defense, 50th in scoring defense), are averaging 30.4 points per game on offense (up nearly four points from a year ago). But Fisch has plenty of reasons to be frustrated with his unit, particularly late game execution and penalties.

In Saturday's 38-35 loss at Virginia Tech, UM got the ball back at its own 30 with 47 seconds left and all three of its time outs. UM ran seven plays and gained just 15 yards.

"Guys were open," Fisch said. "We had a first down play we converted on third down [a Mike James third down run] that had an opportunity to go for 20, 30 yards. Unfortunately, they made an arm tackle to get us down at the 45-yard line. We took a time out and had two time outs left.

"When we lined up on the next play we had a chance for a touchdown pass and they took a time out because they knew their coverage was off. We came back, threw a incompletion and then came back with an open play and overthrew Tommy Streeter on a seam route. Then, [Harris] got caught scrambling around a little bit and when you scramble around a little bit you lose clock. So on the last play we only had five seconds left so we had to throw it deep.

"Our plan really was to take two vertical shots. The first one of the series and then the one that we had Tommy on the seam route. Unfortunately we just overthrew him. We would have been on the 25 yard line if we hit that. It happens. You're not going to hit every pass and you're not going to hit every run. We were disappointed in the way that ended. We had some plays in the two minute drive we could have executed."

UM, who finished 117th in penalties last season (107 for 893 yards), has been flagged 34 times for 251 yards this season (tied for 83rd in NCAA out of 120 schools). Of those 34 penalties, 23 have come on offense and cost the Canes 155 yards. 12 have been false starts totaling 70 yards. Fisch said he can live with those when they come in noisy stadiums like Lane Stadium. But he said the Canes have to get their act together when the game is on the line and cites 4th quarter penalties against Maryland (an illegal formation that wiped out a Lamar Miller run to the Terps 3) and early penalties against Kansas State (false starts that stalled UM drives early against the Wildcats) as backbreakers.

"We honestly believe we hurt ourselves more than other people hurt us," Fisch said. "We have a third and 1 and if you don't false start against Kansas State you should be able to pick it up. Instead, we kick the field goal. Same game if you have a fourth down and you convert it and have a false start you score and then the game doesn't come down to the last play. That's the same thing at Maryland. We run the ball, have a first and goal at the 3-yard line and we line up wrong. Then we had some substitution problems during the last two minutes. All those things need to be cleaned up."

> Fisch agrees with UM coach Al Golden in that he thinks Lamar Miller, who currently ranks third in the nation in rushing, still has a long way to go in terms of development.

"I think he's a really gifted, unfinished product," Fisch said. "I think there's a lot of stuff he can continue to work on. I'd like to see him become a better pass protector. I'd like to see him become a better route runner, be more used in the passing game and with that I love how he runs. I'd like for him to be able to continue to be our workhorse. I challenge him all the time."

"At the top of my game plan every week it says 'Lamar till he can't.' I don't want him to tap out. I want to ride him. We're going to get him to be that guy for us. He's going to continue to develop and get stronger. But right now, he's a special player. We're going to continue to use him every way we can."

> Fisch said quarterback Jacory Harris' improvement over his last 10 quarters is no surprise to him. "I kind of think he's played really well the whole time," Fisch said. "There are a couple throws in there -- the Kansas State interception -- I wasn't happy with. But I thought he played well in the first half against Kansas State and I thought he played well against Ohio State.

"I think everyone just points to the fact he hasn't thrown a pick in the last 10 quarters and think what's happened. But I think he's managed the game very well. I think he's handled himself very well as a leader and the team has responded well to him. There is a lot of room for improvement. There's a lot of room for him to grow. He's not where we want him to be. We want him to be a much better player. We're going to keep working for him to become a better player. And I believe he will be."


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this offense is capable of 40+ a game...just need to continue to cut down the drive killing penalties and the defense must get tougher and play smarter...

That's all I wanted to hear. Someone tell it like it is without sugarcoating everything. There's lots of room for improvement and the penalties have cost our club plenty over the years already. Clean it up!

great interview. This coaching staff is a godsend after 10 years of misery. Jacory great job improving decision making and technique. That pass to Benjamin that went for 70 yards is how its done, step into the throw and let it rip. No more floaters. Lamar keep pounding the rock. If we continue to play offense like this pounding the rock with that big offensive line and taking shots down the field with smart intermediate routes taking what the defense gives Jacory and company, we can't be stopped. The defense will come around.

How about opening up the offense in the first half. We average about 10pts in the first half and 24 in the second half.

I really respect Golden and his Coaching Staff. There is no Sparano talk here (sugar coating the truth). You can only hope for the truth.

Golden is the real deal. This team is literally one or two plays per game away from 5-0. A long way from greatness, but a short way to a very good team. Golden will get it done. Now lets hope the NCAA doesnt go hogwild punishing the current team for the past trangressions of others.

Nevin Shapiro, if your listening, I hope you are having a good time in prison.

If NCAA sanctions are 2 years.. I truly feel that, the year follwing we will be in hunt for NCAA championship or at least conference championship. I think the canes beat UNC and win the rest. FSU game will be our toughtest test!

Go Canes.

Did any of you see that Auburn of the mighty SEC was cleared of any violations regarding CaM Newton. What a bunch of crap the NCAA is. Everyone knows what his dad did and because they are an SEC school they get off. Any other school including ours they call in the FBI or Cia to investigate us.

Championships: The defense won't come around. Where have U been? Have U seen UM's D lately? Poor coaching all the way around, in spite of very good players. People out of position, people don't know where they're supposed to be, like with the VT QB. That was Ray Ray or the MLB all the way, but they were "told" to key on the RB.

Why won't U stop giving the DC a pass?

Posted by: Captain

This is a blog and Nevin can't hear it.

Posted by: Gfunk37

I like your thinking - Canes NC in 2014!

Posted by: championships is all that matters

NCAA wrapped that up quickly because it's all hands on deck in Coral Gables

Cool Cat - nobody's giving the D a pass, including the coaches. They've all admitted that the players only know about 1/5 of the defensive playbook and are playing as "basic" as possible.

When you're as bad as UM has been all you can do is watch to see if they make progress. It never happened under Randy Shannon and already the returns seem good on Al Golden, if not the results.

Lets see what happens at UNC.

Posted by: championships is all that matters

Gotta admit – I’m surprised nobody has uncovered the paper trail. And by nobody, I mean the Charles Robinsons of the world, because we all know the inept, clueless NCAA couldn’t do it on their own. That being said - we are screwed.

Cool Cat, where have U been? The defense has been out of position for years. Do U have any idea of how the game works or are U an abitual idiot that says stupid comment after stupid comment. Do U happen to recall the defense's of the late 90's that were bad much like this year in 97 then got a little better in 98 and 99 until Butch got his players in and coached them then they became dominate. This nimrod is the same deal. Everybody thought we had talent after Erickson left and we didn't just like some of U armchair wanta be football brains think this year. And by the way dummy that was Spence's place to get the QB and he over pursued the play. Try actually studying the game and what actually happens rather than looking at a stat sheet under the box score of a newspaper, statboy.

Jason, I'm afraid U may be right. The thing is its not like I hate the SEC. There are some good teams in that conference but its not like they are that dominate. The media most specifically ESPN and the NCAA makes them out like they could play in the NFC East. The NCAA protects them and turn a blind eye knowing some hillbilly hick booster from the schools are shelling out money or what ever to get these players. But now U let the hint of Miami doing something a little wrong and they want to lynch us. But yet CaM Newton can be pimped out by his dad and its all good. Heaven for bid the SEC have a school under investigation. What I don't get is why should they automatically have a spot reserved in the National Title game even with a loss or two over an undefeated or 1 loss team from another conference. And all ESPN wants to harp on is the perception of this or that. Thats a bunch of BS. Those idiots create the perception because thats all they preach. It would be nice if someone would investigate those old goats that are the NCAA, ESPN and SEC and see what money's being passed for them to promote them so much. No body kisses anybodies rearend that much publicly without some money being passed and I'm not talking about a TV contract either.

Personally,with what is hanging over UM's head as far as their NCAA investigation, I am not going to criticize any school of being cleared from an NCAA investigation. Auburn get's cleared and get's bashed because "everyone knew that Cam and his Dad were dirty". With all the allegations that Nevin Shapiro has thrown out against UM, to a person who is not affiliated with UM (fans, students, alumni)it would seem that "everyone knew that UM's players were dirty". See how that works? All the best to Auburn and their fans on them getting cleared, I just hope that UM is as fortunate in the future.

what cool cat is is a racist malcom Xer.

Canes4life, hey man I respect your perogative but there is a double standard here. The NCAA knows theres evidence that is obvious but they choose to turn their head to it. If there is proof to our alleged accusations then fine. But investigate everyone equally. Its like they want to find us guilty no matter what and let something like at Auburn not be investigated to the same degree. I'm quite sure if they would investigate the SEC schools as much as they do everyone else something would show up.

What about the Boise State player who got suspended (four games, I believe) due to the fact he received a brand new car plus insurance payments. How much could that be? $20M - $30M. How does that equate to what the NCAA did to a couple of UM players? If I am not mistaken, Armstrong was given $788 and was sat down for four games.

Coach Fisch, with a minute left in the game and three time outs we only needed 35-40 yards for a FG attempt vs Va Tech. A minute left is a lifetime since the clock stops when you get a first down. Did we have anyone (Miller - fastest guy on field) or any receiver running any crossing routes? Why did Jacory throw deep on first, deep on second, deep on 3rd- then finally a 6 yard pass. Not sure if this was lack of 2 min scheme or Jacory lacking the smarts to figure it out. Someone is to blame.

Coaching isn't the problem. It's like Golden said,"some players think they are better than they are". At least the offense is hummin' right now, but can still stand some improvement. However, with the defense playing the way it is, we are still going to be in a lot of,"whoever scores last wins", situations.

I really like Coach Fisch. Our O can score and that will only expand as the year progresses!

I know what you mean my friend. The evidence seemed overwhelming that Auburn/Cam and his Dad were guilty. I thought they were too, and they may be. I spoke with a couple of Auburn fans and they brought up some valid points to me as regards inadequacies in the accusers stories. Several months passed and then the Nevin Shapiro situation came up. Now I find myself in the Auburn fans shoes. To an outsider the evidence looks overwhelming, but I and many other 'Canes fans see holes in Shapiro's story. So I guess it's each fans bases perspective when it comes to accusations and who is doing the accusing. I totally understand your stance though. Again, I just hope that when the smoke clears that we are as fortunate.

All 'Canes fans are frustrated with us losing 3 games that we could have won. It really stinks and I believe it is several things that fell into place as to why we lost. I know it is extremely popular for 'Canes fans to bash Jacory Harris and he definitely deserved it last year, but this year he has been playing pretty well. You state that he may be too dumb to run the 2 minute offense, but he was smart enough to call 2 audibles in the VaTech game that resulted in touchdowns. I know we have issues with the 2 minute offense, maybe Jacory's execution is off, but I don't think it has anything to do with him "lacking the smarts" to run the 2 minutes offense.

Canes4Life, I'm with U man. I don't wish anything bad on Auburn or any other school, I just hope we get a fair shake in all of this.

The boise state player you speak of received a 1990 toyota tercel with 190000 miles on it and the insurance on it..

Well Caoch Jedd Fisc @ first I wanted you gone with Mark.D but since ur able to do your job very well I guess u can stay. But to be honest with all Cane Fans it's really not Mark.D fault. It's the players fault Mark isn't gulity of the miss tackles,over reading plays. It's the players fault. But what I would suggest is to play Thomas Finnie & Dallas Crawford. If they mess up I can except that alot better because their true freshman. But What I can't accept is the lack of playing skills that's coming from Brandon Mcgee & Mike Willams. I hate to see veteran players play like true freshmen. I don't care about Mcgee running no 4.2 hell he's not putting it to use so what's the purpose of having him in there? Take him out. Also take outt Jimmie Gaines put in Kelvin Cain in the middle. Once you do that I guarantee u all that the lb core will be dominant. Sean Spence,Kelvin Cain,Denzel Perryman. Thomas Finnie & Dallas Crawford as ur two corners Jojo Nicholas & Vaughn Telemaque as ur two safeties. If Mark go along with that lineup I just given him I bet you these guys will have a better performance. Because this D- that he has out there ain't producing nothing it's time to put in more talent. Make those Seniors earn their starting jobs that's what's wrong with them.

what's up with recuiting!

IF the offense can score some points quickly to start the game, this will go a long way to helping the Defense.
Apply pressure on another team like they did against OSU early and see what happens, we will roll!!

i personally felt that Miller and James were put in spots to be used the most effectively last week than any other game

I agree with lets Go Canes, and bad grammar...the start of the game is super important, but let us acknowledge that the MOST crucial is the LAST 2 minutes..
Many have said what our record would be if we finished, but this can only be done based on the looks the other teams are giving us while we are in our 2 minute drill..Jacory had no choice but to scramble if everyone was covered..he is protecting the ball and moving..what about putting in some wrinkles and new looks on defense in the LAST 5 minutes of the game..granted we have injuries but would that help?..Opposing Coaches would not be able to load up and expect the usual formations, and the offense can get on the field to finish, and go for the win in a close game..
Go 'Canes beat the Heels..

Auburn's boosters, some of the most notorious rule breakers, stick together and circle the wagons when the NCAA comes calling. That's what makes the Shapiro situation so rare and also damaging. Boosters just don't turn on their Programs. The NCAA better rule on UM fairly, and not let a frenzied, sensationalist media influence their decision. Yahoo should be sued for some of what they printed.

Put the pressure on the players and coaches to score more........heck...it puts tremendous pressure on the opposing defenses Canes play to stop them.I do see and agree where Canes could be 4-1 right now with better execution from the offense late in games...as Fisch stated.I saw great improvement overall last week by the Canes.NC won t have an easy time like they may be thinking with THIS team now.

I agree with rbaud - it's just our luck to have the scummiest, sleaziest turncoat in the history of boosters....plain rotten luck. Auburn's boosters and players/coaches just shut up tight and waited for the ncaa to go away....
Jacory's game the last couple of weeks has me eating crow a bit, I must admit, I didn't want any part of him this year, but he's been great as of late and an asset..hope he keeps it up!

Folks, I was looking at the VT schedule ahead and we actually still have a chance to rep the Coastal div in the title game.

VT plays at Wake this Sat and they also play at GT in a few weeks. If they lose those 2 games they will have 3 conf losses.

We need to win the remaining 6 conference games and all of them are winnable. We finish 6-2, GT hopefully finishes 6-2 (one of those losses to us, the other to Clemson) and VT finishes 5-3. We win all tie-breakers in this scenario.

I'm sure the coaches are walking them through something similar but it's all for not if we don't step up on D this weekend!


Caneforlife:I totally agree with your proposed defensive team for the Canes.Well.....except for putting Kelvin Cain in the middle.He s big but s-l-o-w.Gaines is not/has not been the answer.He s so clueless at times.Where is he most of the game anyway?He hardly ever shows up.Middle linebacker we are suffering at big time.Agree MCToast and Williams are almost average players.Speed of McToast at 4.2 means nothing because he can t adjust to fakes or read plays fast.He s more a hindrance.Probably 1 of the crummy players Golden was thinking of when he said some players THINK they re better than they are.Overall...the team is improving slowly.After 2 years of sanctions...Canes will be a real good team again though.I can now see it.

Let's go canes: good idea but not one Harris does in actions and words.

Hope the Canes put a good ganme together on O, D and Special Teams against UNC.
Go Canes!

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