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Grading the Canes - Week 1: UM has obvious work to do on defense after BC win

Enjoy this one. Savor it. Al Golden definitely is and told his team to do the same. 

His young Hurricanes battled back from a pair of quick upper cuts Saturday afternoon at Boston College and survived 542 yards of offense from a team that finished last in the ACC last year in that department and still won 41-32.

Duke JohnsonNot bad, especially when you consider seven Canes -- LB Thurston Armbrister, S Kacy Rodgers, CB Thomas Finnie, DL Olsen Pierre, RB Duke Johnson, OT Ereck Flowers and C Shane McDermott -- were all making their first career starts and several others were getting their first real taste of action. Like youth movements? The Canes put eight players on the field who weren't here last year -- including seven true freshmen (Deon Bush, Tracy Howard, Tyriq McCord, Malcolm Lewis, JaWand Blue, Flowers and Johnson).

Saturday was fun if you bleed orange and green. But the truth is, Golden knows much tougher challenges lie ahead. As talented as those freshmen are UM is going to have to solve major issues on defense moving forward if the good times are going to keep rolling.

Now, to the first round of grades/observations for the Canes:

> Play/Player of the Game: True freshman Duke Johnson had three huge plays -- including touchdown runs of 56 and 54 yards -- to spring UM to life and rally them to victory. But the biggest play in my opinion was the two yards he picked up on 4th and 1 and UM down 14-0 left in the 1st quarter. For all the talk about Duke's lack of size, Johnson barreled past three defenders to get the first down. BC was flagged an additional 10 yards for a facemask on the play. If Johnson doesn't stick his nose in there, the flag might not happen. Eduardo Clements scored three plays later to make it 14-7.

> Offense: A. Hard to find much wrong with what the offense did other than the three big early drops that lead to UM falling behind 14-0 (and a couple of flags on the offensive line that hurt). Allen Hurns, Kendal Thompkins and Rashawn Scott all looked bad early, but Hurns recovered nicely and had a career day at receiver with eight catches for 81 yards. He scored big points with me when he raced over the middle of the field on 3rd and 16 and snagged a 21-yard pass from Stephen Morris on the drive that eventually put UM ahead for good when they were down 23-21. If Hurns doesn't make that catch, maybe game sways a different way. Stephen Morris, meanwhile, was truly fantastic. He scrambled for a couple of big first downs and put several tough balls on the money en route to a 28 of 45 for 207 yards, 1-INT, 1 TD performance. The pick wasn't his fault either. It was Scott's. The offensive line, meanwhile, was stellar. UM ran for 208 yards on the ground and gave Morris plenty of time when he needed it. Morris was sacked just once.

> Defense: D. No pass rush. No pass defense. And not a lot of good other than three turnovers, Denzel Perryman's 41-yard interception return for a touchdown and a couple stops on 3rd-and-1. We can debate about UM's coverage woes. BC quarterback Chris Rettig threw for 441 yards and two touchdowns. But when nobody breathes on you and you have time to order pizza, bake a cake and plan the rest of your Saturday night before making a pass, how else is the pass defense you are going against supposed to look? UM obviously didn't produce a single sack and there were times when receivers (Alex Amidon 10 catches, 149 yards) had nobody around them. But I believe this all stemmed from the success BC had running the football early for big chunks. The Eagles only finished with 101 yards on 34 attempts (3.0 average), but they ran play action off their early success and kept UM's secondary off balance. Meanwhile, Rettig exposed horrendous coverage by the Canes' linebackers and safeties who always seemed out of position when the quarterback rolled out. Whatever defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio planned in terms of creating a pass rush failed miserably. He's got to devise something new. It's going to obviously take time. But Saturday was a day to forget.

> Special teams: A. Now you know why punter Dalton Botts is so respected. He took a bad snap right before halftime that could have turned out badly and got it off. He finished with five punts for 40.6 yards including two inside the 20. Miami's return team of Johnson and Phillip Dorsett, meanwhile, put a good enough scare into BC after the first half the Eagles basically refused to kick it to them anymore. The Eagles, meanwhile, never took over possession outside of their 30-yard line following a kickoff or punt. That's good coverage.

- WR Allen Hurns. Emerged as the go-to-guy when times were tough at receiver.
- QB Stephen Morris. Coaches were right. He is a lot better. Tremendous arm. Very few mistakes.
- RT Ereck Flowers. Didn't hear his name for anything bad during the broadcast once. Seantrel Henderson is going to have trouble getting his job back.
- WR Davon Johnson. Came in with six career catches. Had a huge third down catch down the sideline to pick up a first down. That wins you more chances.

- S Vaughn Telemaque. He was already getting bushed by true freshman Deon Bush for playing time. He was out of position too often.
- RB Mike James. He finished with 54 yards on 14 carries (3.9 a carry) and had a couple nice runs. But the Duke arrived Saturday. It's going to be hard for James to take on the lead role with him around.
- WR Kendal Thompkins. He started after shining in practice all camp. But he dropped at least two balls in the game and finished without a catch. Just disappointing. 
- Defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio. He's a standup guy, a great quote and a good coach. But his defense can't go on like this. 


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dom i hope we beat kst, but if we do we still wont be ranked

The learning curve was probably very close to vertical in this game, especially for the Defense. This was the first college game for many of these players and even during the game you could see them processing and learning. Another week of practice and watching film is going to make them that much better. They appear bigger, stronger and faster than last year's team. Morris took what the bc defense gave him and ran with it. Good Job. Now prep this week and we'll see what they can do next weekend. Go Canes

remondelli... Tell me what adjustments our D made all game? Just name one! BC ran the same 4 plays all game!
All I'm saying is we have to get better on D and start bringing heat against other teams. We can't sit back in our base defense all game and expect to get 3 turnovers every game. No way can we allow 400 yards passing each game and think that's ok.. We played a lot of cover 2 and zone coverage base defense. we never mixed it up we never covered the flare pass or the TE once. Giving up 500 total yards on D is not ok! To me their OC out coached our DC all game.
I'm done talking about yesterday it's on to the next! Maybe adjustments will be made this game against ksu because that's all that matters at this point!

Good conversation and opinions by all ....... GO CANES!

Donofrios game plan was outcoached by BCs offense just like last yr vs Maryland... Difference is that this year he adjusted BIG TIME! Plus why no metion of tnat HUGE goal line stand? And the pick six? And the fact that the second half was miami's?

I agree with Manny on all counts, but I also believe the tactic of blitzing and allowing the wide receivers and TEs to sit on an island was horrible. The play action killed us and give Rettig his due. Dude has a laser. But Vaughn Telemaque ...... Never mind I. i wont say what i feel. maybe time for high smith.

Duke johnson 100+ yds. First game. Can he break mcgahees records? Mike James. Sorry, but he has always been 1 yd and a cloud of dust. Has never convinced me.

KINDLY FIND BELOW A COPY OF AN EMAIL I SENT TO THE PALM BEACH POST (I encourage each and every one of you to do the same regarding the Post and to the Miami Herald):

The post below can be found on the Palm Beach Post's Canes Watch blog, under the thread: Hurricanes vs. BC: And the winner will be….

#37 Dumb nagger Says:

September 2nd, 2012 at 12:04 pm

“Rawvera is just canesrules dumm nagger ID. Quit nagging u foo.”


Similar, if not worse, comments like the one above has been an ongoing hate theme by this same individual, along with anti-Semitic hate. Despite vigorous complaints being voiced many, many times about this racist the Palm Beach Post has sat by idly and allowed him to continue posting his racism, which can only be viewed as acceptance of his ideology by your newspaper. In the mind of this clearly mentally addled person he believes by being cute with his words that this will prevent the moderators managing this site from taking the necessary action against him.

To the credit of the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel they took the obvious and necessary step of banning this hate monger from posting his vile comments on their University of Miami blog after issuing him numerous warnings to cease and desist.

Trying to reason with this malcontent has proven time and again to be a worthless endeavor and waste of energy as he will temporarily suspend his hate campaign only to pick-up where he left off at a later date once the heat has died down .

Please once and for all put a stop to this racist hate program and send the right message to your readers that your company has a zero tolerance policy regarding this brand of obscene and uncivilized conduct.

Thank you.

The secondary is not the issue, except for T-Mac (get him out of the starting line up). If the D-line put pressuure on the QB, any secondary can become good. If every team we play has a QB with 20 seconds to throw the ball, our secondary will be eaten alive every week. Get the D-line fixed; later in the game they played really well against the run. Need a passrush quickly; everything else on D will get better.

Educated football fan 101-why no adjustment was made. RB goes in motion on a flare route, LB stands as a statue the whole time, and does not fan out to cover him. They ran this route and we made no adjustment or if we did our LB was dumbfounded and did not move. If u tape the game watch it again, it is a easy play to make if the LB fans out to cover it, but he did not do it.

Now we have a young team and we can all agree on that, and mistakes will be made by playing players with no experience, but when I see the same mistakes being made over and over again, just like last year on the defensive unit, then it is a coaching problem. If I can see it on TV then how come the coaches can not see it, and make adjustments. I thought after the first couple of series the CBs were playing a good game, but their Tight Ends and Running backs were killing us the whole entire game. That is the Line backers and the safety's job. Alabama played a bunch of young kids and kicked ass, so why can't we do the same?

I think there's a little too much "knowledge" being blogged around after just one game.

Yeah we have problems, but did anyone take a peek at some of the other games??? SC?, OU?, UW???

We've ALWAYS had problems at BC...we've ALWAYS had problems with the TE.

I'll take the win and watch the next 2 or 3 games before I bore anyone with my complete, detailed, position by position breakdown of the 2012 'Canes.

Geez guys...after this win we're in the 6-8 win range for the year. News flash...we're not perfect!

GO CANES!!!!!!!!!!!

Well said NJshore Cane... I like your position.

G-305 what do you think we should prepare for KS after their dismal 3 quarters?.. I think they played vanilla so they could open their play book this week against us..Obviously their Coach did not want to show much against an outclassed opponent..

Good strategy but the 'U' will be going back to last year when we lost in the last 5 minuntes of the game..
This game is winnable,especially if we go uptempo..That was very effective.
Go 'Canes Always.

LB should be Denzel, and a rotation of E.J Gaines, and RB. How many LB saw the field on sat? how about a little consistency in whos playing and well see some better results from them. The D line needs so much more pressure this is what worries me the most. As far as the O its gonna be a fun year.. Duuuuuuke !

If you don't have Pass Rush you'll give up a bunch of passing yards. Coach D ain't rushing the passer last time I check. Vaughn T is a major disappointment to me. I was out of position too many times.The running backs sneaking out of the back field was killing us, so was the crossing routes; if you played football or coached you would know that. . That's on the Linebackers not helping the the secondary at all in coverage they are too busy looking at the QB instead of finding the WRs in their areas.I thought Mike James did a good job running the ball he average 3.9 a carry. (and you put him in the dog house LOL) I swear some of you don't know sh$t about football. Stop playing so much Madden and managing your fantasy football leagues actually learn the game.

I see the Offense our main strength this year, a powerful offensive line with a power back in Mike James and speed of Duke Johnson. If the defensive unit can improve we have a bowl team.

The O-line needs some love not to many calls on them in the game and they gave Morris some time# GoCanes

532 here you go with that tired out coached none sense you spewed last year. In actuality if you listen to qam and people that know there was some outstanding coaching going on especially on the D side. All you had to do is go out a 40 yard line entrance to the field and watch and listen to D and his staff coach up those kids. After those first two drives BC got basically nothing but field goals and the TD was by the refs.
The D turned in stop after stop when BC had long gainers, had a goal line stand when needed, three turnovers and a pick 6. Yes that's terrible and no coaching. Your a tool if you really think that.
The OC for BC is one of the best in college football. Each and every time they made big gains in the flat he took advantage of first year players with total motion the opposite way. The D held and we won, so get your head unwedged.
You want to wager if KS does the same thing successfully???

Well see going forward if Golden and company were the right pick. I believe it was always a rushed irrational pick by Donna Shalala. I think Golden deep inside knows he's over his head. Results are the only thing that matters. The DC will definitely sink him if no change. I would love to think I am wrong but here are the statistics....Jimmy was 29-25 his first 5 yrs and was 9-5 at this same time with Miami.....Dennis Erickson was 38-21 his first 5 yrs and was 12-1 at Miami this same time.....Butch Davis was 40-19 his first 5 yrs (all at Miami) and was 11-1 the year after (Miami)......Howard Schnellenberger was 41-16 his first 5 yrs......Al Golden was 27-34 first 5 yrs at Temple and is 7-6 now. Even lowly Lou Saban was 34-24 back then. He did a good job at Temple but this is Miami, be real.

First things first, the Canes got their first win on the road against an ACC foe that they lost to last season. Morris played well, he looked poised and confident and his arm looks great. I didn't love the play calling but I did like the up-tempo pace. They kept it balanced and pulled it together after a lousy start. As for the D, they gave up WAY too many yards in the padding game. They could not keep track of the backs coming out of the backfield and left way too many receivers uncovered. However, I'm the second half they took away the run and got the big stops when they needed them. I do not know whether it was the scheme or the personnel that was the problem but it needs to be fixed ASAP. I think these young players learned a lot from this game and hopefully they will only improve as they go forward. I am happy about the result but remain cautiously optimistic. I am ecstatic for our new RB "Duke" he is another special back that we've all come so accustomed to seeing at the U!!

The U need some big bodies on the DL, and I dont care how many stars they have, and some bigger LBs,,again, throw out the stars. The U should focus on 4 and 5 stars DB, Safeties, and DE, but LBs and DTs, we should take all recruits


Joe, if you think giving up 500+ yards on defense is good, who is really smoking crack? I'm sending you a football for dummies book as well.

Don't Care how many yards they give up!! As long as we WIN!!!!!!! Great to be a CANE

Figures don't lie but liars can figure Jim gallo. Great distortion of the facts, like obummer and company. Maybe golden should blame it on bush

Whats is distorted.....please advise. Those are the facts. No other coach in this teams history got a pass. You are a green pea that wasnt around in 1979-1991. This is nothing from fans. Who is Al Golden anyways? Davis,Erickson and Johnson all got beat up by the fans in the early stages. This is the problem with both Dolphins and Hurricanes...lets just get by and build. I say run them all out of town until someone steps up and makes it happen. Its his dream job, not ours. If he cant make it happen this year buy his contract out and get someone else.

Lots of comments here...some on point...some way off point...


1. WRs need to make plays...good game to make mistakes to learn from

2. Def very vanilla outside the Red Zone...understand with so many young players on D...got to keep it that way...if you open up the D with the Blitz...you have to have the players with the reps recognition to adjust...we do not have that right now.

3. OC needs to be a little more creative and not just stick to about 7 plays...If we are committed to a high % short pass game to help offset the running game, we have to execute or we will be in some uncomfortable 3rd downs all season...we had way too many of them.

4. We need to have that Killer Instinct...we got a little tight on O and with the 4min plan after our last score. We did not take any time off the clock, and it almost came back to kill us.

5. Team looked Fresh, but we still lack size, strength
and depth on the DLine.

6. Best UM Game when down early in years. They found a way to fight back and hold on.

7. This is what I like the best...did anyone see the brewing of the SWAG we have been missing...

I hope is was just the start, but if The U can adjust to the mistakes of this game, and can grow up quickly...watch out college football in a year or two!

Reality Check on #7: BC might be a 6 and 6 Team at best.

The U has to have a massive adjustment for fans to feel comfortable going into each game.

I am confident most loyal fans recognize there have been very notable and consistent improvements on a foundational level.

The U lost by an average of 5.5 points per game last year. We have to find a way to get the extra TD a game. We did that this game...

KState will be the real test of our growth and what is to come for the Season!

The Defense was fricking terrible!!!!!!!!!! There are several top teams in college that are playing young players and they looked a hell of alot better than what we showed. I can count on one finger the number of times we covered their back out of the back fielded......oh that's right make that a numb! If this continues then Golden needs to send his buddy packing.

Golden and Fisch can really get the Canes in the top ten.D Onofrio I seriously doubt can do his part though.Until Golden sadly admits one day that his good friend must go.......afraid the Cane defense will just be average at best.

Telemaque's play was very disappointing. He did not play like a senior. He's lucky we have no experience or depth at that position because his play warranted bench time. He needs to lead by example and step up his play.

There are just too many upper class players on this defense that have no instincts nor a nose for the ball. The sooner the youth replace them the better.

Too many receivers trying to catch with their body and not hands. With a QB that throws as hard as Morris this can be bad. They need to start usign their hands.

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