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Grading the Canes - Week 2: Are Canes' defensive woes personnel, D'Onofrio's scheme or both?

Remember last week when Al Golden told his players to savor that win at Boston College? Hope you did, too.

Saturday's 52-13 blowout loss at Kansas State was an eye-opener for Canes fans who didn't take the 500-plus yards BC rolled up as a huge warning that trouble could be on the horizon for defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio's unit. Because the Eagles decided it was easier for them to throw against Miami (441 yards on 51 attempts) than run (101 yards on 34 attempts) it temporarily masked what we all feared could be UM's biggest weakness heading into the season -- an inexperienced front seven. 

Kansas State and quarterback Collin Klein quickly reminded us Saturday the entire Canes' defense could use an extreme makeover. He attempted only 11 passes, but still threw for 210 yards and completed nine passes to guys like Curry Sexton (Curry Sexton?) who were flying right past UM's defensive backs. When the Wildcats weren't throwing, they were running right through Miami to the tune of 288 yards on 60 attempts. How bad did it get? UM saw K-State's third string quarterback.

Canes fans can hope for miracles. But I don't suspect Ty Pennington will be telling some driver in front of Greentree Practice Field Monday to "move that bus" -- suddenly revealing seven to eight studs we had no idea were on the team. As Randy Shannon used to joke, there is no college waiver wire either. 

Now, the offense obviously had a few setbacks Saturday. They aren't totally off the hook. But Jedd Fisch's unit hardly makes you as queasy as D'Onofrio's looking ahead to the rest of the season.

No, D'Onofrio doesn't deserve all the blame. He's obviously been put in a position to play a lot of young and inexperienced players. And let's face it, some of them obviously aren't ready or probably are not good enough to be thrown in the fire this quickly. Maybe not ever.

But is this simply a personnel issue? Or, is D'Onofrio not doing a good enough job with his schemes to put his team in a position to succeed -- like having his defensive backs playing so far off in coverage and rarely bringing extra pressure to rush the quarterback? Could guys really be that lost?

For those of you arguing that UM waved good-bye maybe to too many good players from last year's defense, first know that this unit returned five of the eight leading tacklers from a year ago: linebacker Denzel Perryman, safety Vaughn Telemaque, linebacker Jimmy Gaines, defensive end Anthony Chickillo and cornerback Brandon McGee, and also got back linebacker Ramon Buchanan from injury. Defensive tackle Darius Smith started seven games last season.

So those are essentially seven players who played a big role on last year's defense, which finished 45th in total yardage (359.92 yards per game), produced just 23 sacks (59th out of 120 FBS schools) and was among the worst in the country at taking it away (15 turnovers), yet still managed to finish 17th nationally in scoring defense (20.08 points per game).

Could losing Sean Spence (3rd round pick, Steelers), Olivier Vernon (3rd round pick, Dolphins), Ray-Ray Armstrong (booted off the team), Jojo Nicolas (not in the NFL), Marcus Robinson (not in the NFL), Mike Williams (not in the NFL), Andrew Smith (not in the NFL), and a couple of undrafted free agents to make NFL rosters -- Micanor Regis (Falcons practice squad), Adewale Ojomo (Giants), Marcus Forston (Patriots) -- make that big a difference?

Sorry. I'm not buying that entirely. I didn't just mention Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Dan Morgan or Vince Wilfork did I? Except for Spence, most of the guys gone from last year's defense hardly did anything big when they were here. So, this defense isn't entirely devoid of contributors from a unit that hardly looked as bad in 2011 as they have in their first two games (84 points, 1,035 yards, 4.1 rushing, 325.5 a game passing, 14 of 25 on 3rd down).

With that, we'll move onto the grades:

> Play/Player of the Game: Since this will always be given to a UM player even in defeat, I'll give this week's award to the only guy who got in the end zone for the Canes -- tight end Clive Walford. He finished with three catches for 61 yards including a 56-yard catch and run to the Kansas State 10-yard line with UM down 14-0. I felt the turning point in the game happened moments later when UM had to settle for a field goal instead of getting in the end zone. Had UM scored six there, who knows if something changes.

> Offense: D. Not a lot of positive this week when all the Canes mustered was six points before garbage time. The most disappointing offensive play of the game for me was when Stephen Morris scampered toward the end zone only to get pushed out of bounds at the three yard line late in the third quarter. Sure, UM was down 31-6 at the time, but Mike James has to make a block on that play when it's just him and a safety. He didn't. Showed me a lack of want to -- especially on 4th down. As for the rest, freshman Duke Johnson had six carries for 19 yards and couldn't generate the magic he had last week. Wasn't all his fault. UM ran for just 40 yards on 29 carries and couldn't generate a running game or protect Morris, who despite going 19 of 26 for 215 yards, was sacked five times. Some of those sacks were his fault for not getting rid of the ball. But after a stellar week 1 performance, the offensive line looked human and error prone. Right guard Brandon Linder was hit with flags twice. Left tackle Malcolm Bunche got beat on a sack that led to a fumble. Who looked better? The receivers. Only drops I saw were from Duke Johnson, who had three. That's a good sign especially since we don't know how long Allen Hurns could be out. He looked good early with two catches for 32 yards, but never returned with what FX reported as concussion like symptoms. Seantrel Henderson entered the game early in the third quarter when freshman Ereck Flowers limped off with an injury. Interested to see how Henderson graded out and how banged up Flowers really is. 

> Defense: F. That's not for fantastic either. Instead of going over all the bad things that happened, we'll highlight the few good things. Brandon McGee made a wonderful leaping interception, showing us some life in coverage. Redshirt freshman Eddie Johnson once again was all over the field making tackles. He finished with seven. Anthony Chickillo produced the team's first sack (albeit a coverage sack). And Shayon Green led the team with eight tackles. Problem for UM is Green, who now leads the team with 15 tackles, makes most of his tackles downfield after the defense has already been gashed.

> Special teams: C-. Took a step back this week. Outside of Duke Johnson's 77-yard kickoff return that led to UM's only score late in the fourth quarter, the Canes were pinned inside their own 20 three times and didn't get past the 25 otherwise on kick returns. Kansas State, meanwhile, had a couple nice returns on kickoffs and punts. Jake Wieclaw hit a pair of chip-shot field goals, but booted the opening kickoff out of bounds. Dalton Botts had four punts for an average of 40 yards, but his first one after the start of the second half went just 29 yards and gave Kansas State excellent field position at their own 29. UM could have used a boomer inside the 20.


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Very good insight Manny. This game was terrible. I knew the design runs and zone reads that he was keeping (Klein). It just looked sad. Offense was not in sync. this is going to be a great 2 Weeks . Miami is last in total defense... A fall from grace

I would say it both personnel and scheme.

Both K-State's D-line and O-line looked huged compared to our guys. Is it a age difference because we are playing kids right of high school or are we not getting guys like that? I don't know.

I know Klein was tearing us down the middle but most of the game I saw the D-line bunched up together opening both the outsides. Maybe they were manhandled by the KS's o-line. Throughout the game they could not get off blocks. You would think that maybe we would have a quickness advantage being smaller but never saw anybody get around to the backfield.

Our O-line got out-played most of the game. I know Clyde Walford was
"man of the match" but where are the TE's?

Mike James should lose his starting position for not blocking on the play at the goal line!!!

Morris is a positive I think. IF Duke had caught those passes, then maybe we would have not lost....by so much. Still would have lost though.

I feel like Ed Reed when he gave that speech.

I'm hurting man. I'm in pain.

I almost broke my TV after watching Mike James not block a DB in open field. Morris could have moonwalked into the endzone. Mike should be ashamed of himself. This team will struggle to get to 6 wins mainly because we have no defensive line...and we can not recruit better D-linemen until the NCAA makes a ruling on us. Hopefully before national signing day.

This is a good synopsis of the game and team Manny. I continue to read that "we are going to get this fixed this week." However, we are a lot more than 1 week away. We need to enjoy the wins. Unfortunately and in my opinion, we have not seen the last game like yesterday.

1. Miami's LB were 5 yards off the ball. They need to be moved up right behind the def. linemen.
2. Miami's DEs need to turn offensive end runs back into pursuit.
3. Miami has to play man to man pass defense and blitz the passer and have a middle linebacker stay home against a run.
4. Flat passes to a WR screen are as wasteful as a hail mary pass. Need ten + yard passes.
5. Miami's QBs need to practice timing routes to have the ball in the air on a count of 1002, not when the receiver gets open. When the receiver makes his break, the ball should already be in the air.
6. Miami players were NOT in condition. They had their hands on their hips early in the first quarter.
7. Where are all of the juniors and seniors? Why play freshman and sophomores?
8. Why no enthusiasm and players not psyched up?

Cane fan 72 - I respect your opinion but our Jr's and Sr's are not the best players on the team. I believe that we have 64 of 85 players that are underclassman.

Its simple we got out everythinged yesterday. A good coach would take all the blame. The D line gets no pressure. The D backs dont cover receivers they chase them all over the field. McGee's interception was an underthrown ball. He was beat on the play had it been thrown over the receivers shoulder it was a long gainer. How about time management at the end of the first half? Should have been a timeout after the second play. After Walford big play a run to the short side of the field for one yard then a roll out to the short side of the field for a five yard loss. Did we not know Klein was going to run? I would have had a spy on him. Last week it was what to do with Santreal. I guess we can use him somewhere after a five sack day. Morris had good numbers but looked lost yesterday. Six and six at best if they dont get some of the problems fixed.

A totally lousy game--O--D--AND Coaching. Put it behind you and move forward. The bad taste of defeat will linger in the mouths of the entire team and staff. I doubt they will "lay down" again. I feel confident that PRIDE and Cane Alum in the "League" will take cazre of the problem. Hearing Chick talk about "mental errors"--well then let TEAM LEADERS imerge and bust some butt of the "slackers" Bethume Cookman is no slouch, but the ACC is on the horizon. Time to show pride, suck it up or the Coaches lose these kids early on

The buck stops with Golden.

Miami is a had been team. No one will resurrect them. Everyone caught up with their speed and since they moved to. Broward they may as well be dead, by all accounts , to Miami fans, unless hey win.

coach d needs to go....hes out of his leauge....i know we r young but thats an excues...UCLA started 4 freshmen on offense and 3 on D....BUT THEY HAVE A COACH WHO CAN TEACH AND PUT YOU IN THE RIHT PLACE ....


We need to not get too down on the Canes, and recognize that we got beat by a really good team. Bill Snyder has been called "The Coach of the Century." He has been called a sorcerer. Year after year he puts together groups of unheralded players and turns them into a machine that plays at a level way above expectations. They beat good teams, sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot. If we fail to acknowledge that it will suck the life out of us. The blow to our self confidence will lead to other defeats. This was only game 2! Take a page out of their playbook and don't give up!

Coach Snyder is a great coach, no doubt about it.
His players were all in shape, no fat tummies. His players sprinted onto and off the field and during plays.

Miami linemen had their hands on their hips in the first quarter and fat guts and could not move their feet to block on passes or runs.

The best Miami teams (and the best teams around) looked like KS's. In shape and focused, not fat and confused. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Canes were in super shape and in every game score wise. And when the fourth quarter came, it belonged to them. Remember Canes' 4 fingers in the air? They had a right to do that and a right to swagger because they earned it. You can not swagger or act cocky or hold up four fingers if the other team has 51 points on the scoreboard.

Miami moving to JRS from the Orange Bowl was a boneheaded move, as bad as hiring shannon and then golden.

In support of Mike James, he WAS blocking. Morris didn't read the block and went to the outside and stepped out of bounds when he should have cut inside and scored.

We have to be honest! Neither of our coordinators, Offensive or certainly Defensive, are at that level! Neither can can scheme or obviously coordinate their units to a level to seriously challange good teams. Many here said give them a chance, but I told you just like they know a player sucks after a few practices, the same is true of coaches. The best thing the University can do to ensure the future success of this program is to take a proactive approach:

1. Inform Golden his coordinators will be replaced season end and new coordinators will be chosen by a committee including "very" knowledgeable people in the know, ie Jimmy Johnson and professional staffers.

2. Pay them for their knowledge and use this as a recruiting tool. Meaning promote we have coaches that can prepare you for the next level.

3. If a player meets industry (NCAA)standards then he gets accepted! Some teams understand that winning on a big time scale is more beneficial to a university financially and appeal wise. They do not pretend that education is the primary goal of signing young men to "football" scholarships. They know a consistantly championship caliber football team has far more positives than the negatives of allowing a "few" underachievers into classrooms. DON'T HANDICAP THE PROGRAM BY HAVING THEM COMPETE AGAINST TEAMS WHOSE ONLY OBJECTIVE IS SIGNING THE BEST PLAYERS NOT SCHOLARS!

Cane fan 72,

Many moves in hind sight with Miami have not been the best moves, moving to JRS was not really one because of the corrupt City of Miami. DS's hands were tied and they made sure they stayed that way, as they did JR all those years ago. I wish the OB was still there and the Canes were playing there but that gig lose was in the making for years.

Miami's athletic dept has some serious issues, has for awhile now. I am not sure the new AD or the new coach is truly the answer for Miami. If you want an average program then yes but if you want to compete with the big boys no. Have to make a choice is this going to be a school were the main concern is with good academics or good athletics. You will only get both in a once in a life time collaboration, ie 1999, 2000, 2001 Miami team.

It is time for Cane fans to wake up to this fact. The Canes lag well behind the big boys.

Yes this team is young, yes there is a loser bug loose in this program but Golden was "supposed" to be the "inspirer" and I am okay with losing yesterday but I am not okay with an uninspired, scared team, and thoroughly unprepared.

We will see not very impressed thus far.

Tampa Cane: Exactly, however I would have Shawn Eichorst fire DC Monday. As I have posted Clemson went from 6-7 to 10-3 but got blow out at the Orange Bowl and the DC got fired. Golden takes over on defense and Jedd Fisch runs the offense. Assistants have to step up. The team will totally be destroyed unless they see leadership at the top. Bloggers rave about Goldens defensive capabilities (I dont) so lets put it to the test. The team needs to see that the staff cares about them, you cant sent them to be crushed because of incompetence and basically lack of experience (DC has none - never was even an assitant DC) I can tell you that statistically Goldens historical win/loss numbers wont change that much....all Miami coaches came with or had a winning percentages at this point in their careers.

That whole pathetic drive and play calling was horrendous. We had a clear advantage with our TE's and yet Clive only had 3 catches. Can someone tell me seriously how can KSU have no penalties until nearly the end of the third quarter?

The Canes to me looked like a very tired team. Let's not forget they traveled 1200 miles to Boston College and then almost 1300 miles to play KSU. They simply don't have the depth to play a top notch team. It will be interesting to see how KSU does against top talent going forward.

Perhaps we are missing the opportunity to compare what we are doing with a KSU team that is achieving far more success, and is starting with far less "talent." Look at the Rival ranking for the last four classes. The Canes were #36, #16, #15 and #5. KSU was #68, #63, #93 and #27. I don't think that lowering academic standards will fix things any more than Notre Dame getting a few "bad citizens" is going to help them. Maybe we need fewer "stars" and more team players. Maybe we need less swagger and more hard work and determination.

Tom do you think LSU, ALA, or USC are taking that path? KSU is not wining a NC and isn't that what Cane fans want?

Just got to get real with these issues.

Kids don't have to thugs or bad to be winners but let's face it not many outside of a few are road scholars.

And not because they are dumb but their focus has been mainly football.

And you have to have a few good stars sprinkled in your team.

We can still make the national championship game if we run the table!

GO CANES!!!!!!!!

It took Butch Davis,four years to turn around Miami, and it will take Golden the same. By the fourth season, I think you'll see major improvement. But they are two young all positions. The Defensive line, is the number area the need to rebuild through recruiting. But that will take two more recruiting classes.

I would like to see Miami experiment, this year at the quarterback position. They need to see what they have in Ryan Williams, and Preston Dewey. There not winning anything this year. It's time to see what skills
the younger players have. Miami is still two years away.
Fans need patience, to build a long term winner.

But D if sanctions come around, those kids can transfer without penalty. And who knows what this will do to future recruiting?

And this is not the same college football that existed when Butch was here. He could sell winning, can't sell winning!

What was the last bowl game Canes won?

Can't sell winning now

Miami used to go eight deep, at Defensive line
and they all could play. That's when they won National
titles. That's what the NY Giants have done the last
number of years. This recruiting year, is critical
to sign Defensive tackles.

Can we get some Canes other than Duke Johnson that want to play their heart out for this school and leave blood on the field??

I don't get it, I haven't seen ANY results from all of the hype the conditioning coverage was getting during the summer. I thought these guys got stronger?? Benching 230lbs 30 times and what not. We aren't seeing it on the field. Warren Sapp needs to go down their and put his foot up in some _sses and show them REAL technique!! Get some retired NFL Canes on that coaching staff, FAST!

D, you are making my point. Why give up with most of the season in front of us? KSU has freshmen on the O line and they are not waiting until they get a few years older. Look at the rosters. Look at the replays! This game is over and there are a whole bunch left to go. Let's see our young guys push someone's butt into the endzone.

It's Golden's fault.

What in the world are you talking about...butch davis went 8-3, 9-3, 5-6, 9-3, 9-4, then 11-1

he was 51-20 overall and 33-9 conference with NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE

now Golden.....1-11, 4-8, 5-7, 9-4, 8-4, then 6-6
33-40 overall and 23-17 conference

this is my whole point.....why is everyone raving about a mediocre coach? to top it off the DC has no experience....this is insane

coker...then another step down with shannon then another step down with Golden.....start searching the NFL avalible assistants...NOW

I just don't believe, Miami will get hit hard with sanctions It's one man with an axe to grind, and the
rest is all media hype. Miami wouldn't be recruiting
4 and 5 star players, if the axe was gonna fall hard.
Al Golden, is a man of integrity, and he is getting
great players to come there. They are just very young
across the boards. They signed, the number one corner
in the country Tracy Howard, the number four safety
Deon Bush. They are just not ready this year.

The problem with getting better DL is there are not alot around with the type of ize (6'3" 295 +)....teams go alot now to the 3-4 and recruit more at the linebacker position because of avalibility...so another issue, is Barrow the right guy? if you go roster to roster ksu and miami were pretty much he same height and size.....if the physical makeup is therewhich I think it is....coaching and playing time has to be the focus

This was as pathetic a performance as Miami has ever put up. Similar to 2007 at oklahoma. Pathetic performance on all counts wxcept clyde walford, but donofrios scheme or lack thereof is to blame 99%. they looked like they didnt know klein was going to run the ball. Like they didnt play them last yr. Like they didnt prepare for this offense. I could have coached tjis offense against the read option. They will see that vs ga tech, uva, and to certain extent va tech and fsu. Come on donofrio, w...tf???.

Im done with this garbage. Had they lost by a td or two fine, but this was embarassing.

I have been a big Canes fan since 1948 (8 - years old then). I never missed a game until I left Miami in 1961, but always watched them on TV or through streaming. I was surprised how little spirit I saw with this team even in the first quarter. Unearned swagger doesn't count as spirit. Do you remember what LSU did to us after we picked a fight with them before the kickoff?

What really bothered me more was that there seemed to have been no adjustments to what was happening on the field in either game. Face it, if it had it not been for BC's somewhat unforced turovers, Miami would have lost that game by a couple of TDs. I remember the Georgia Tech game when Coker's team got slaughtered by the triple option (running outside the tackles) and they made zero adjustments of any kind either.

Still, we need to give our head coach a reasonable chance (I am not so sure about the D-coordinator)as we did Butch Davis. Many teams have recovered from blow outs and had good seasons. After all, Golden could have abandoned us after the scandal, but he didn't and may have put his career as a coach on the line by doing so! I say lets not abandon him.

To Canefan72

As your name suggests you've been around since 72. Too bad you still have the mentality of a 10 year old or maybe it's from all the drugs you did when you were younger ( god damn hippie) Your observations reflect your total lack of football knowledge. Don't you think that if the Canes had any talent in their junior and senior class, wouldn't those players be on the field instead of true freshman/sophomores?

The DC has to GO!!!And IF Al Folden defends this inept coach he can get a ride with him...

Miami needs, to work on the core the next two
years. If they get wins, along way fine.Every
position, on the team, needs to be re-evalauted
and they need to find an identity, which right
now they do not have. Chris Olsen, and Preston
Dewey, and go along way to finding that idehey haven't had a great player at the quarterback position since
Dorsey. It will all start there.

The problem with this team is the defense cannot get off the field unless the other team screws up. We haven't really stopped anybody. Yes we are young and inexperienced but for some reason this looks like a read a react type defense that Dnofrio is putting out there instead of us attacking other teams offense. I am all for playing smart but this soft zone crap aint a working. I don't get why we do not roll our corners up and play press coverage, with our safety's over the top and blitz the hell out of the other QB. If we get beat we get beat but at least it won't be easy for the opposing qb. Defensive football is really not that difficult. First you stop the run, and if you are playing a running qb put a spy on him to negate him, and then pressure the QB. Some points a big plays will be given up but not like this.

Anybody, that thinks Miami is ready to compete for
titles is crazy. Ten years, of inept recruiting,
and it will take four years. to start to get where they
want to be. you can bring up, all the past names
and there is no semblance, of talent to what they
had ten years ago.

If they had juniors and seniors on the team, they would be Randy Shannon slackers and true enough, the younger players are probably better and getting tough experience. GO CANES

Sorry, looking at the season at best I see 7-6. But given the past performance in reality I see 5-8
lose: GT, KS, ND, NC, FSU, VT, V and Sfla

Golden at best record goes to 40-46....at worst it goes to 38-48...either way I do see it. I dont believe in miracles....look to the avalible NFL assistants to leverage recruiting and playbook.

All due respect to the players as people, as human beings but as far as football is concerned:

Mike James... Garbage. A yard or two, and a cloud of dust.
Vaughn Telemaque... Garbage. When has he had a dominating game except against Duke last yr or bethune?

Brandon McGee... Garbage

The DC...garbage

Special teams... Garbage.

Yesterdays game plan... Garbage

Letmesay that i think James is a great person who has withstood lots of tragedy, but he is ....a full back. Not not not not a tailback. He cant hit holes, he cant explode through a ....crease, he is slow, and his ypc proves it.

I understand that we have a very inexperienced team, but the way the defense played yesterday, it wqs more than that. I also think, that two 1000 plus road trips back to back can flatten out a team esp if young ones make up 30 percent of the starters. Next game vs bethune they need to come back and score evry possession and hang 60 on them. Georgia tech came back after their heartbreaker vs va tech and played with heart against presbyterian and put 59 on them.

Dont forget UM is 1-0 in the ACC. Unc lost to wake forest.

UM must must must prepare better for this option game. They will see it against Uva, Vatech, FSU, and georgia tech, and USF. They will only see prostyle vs BC, Duke, Notre Dame, NCstate and unc

You watch this is gonna be another Charlie Weis situation...cant pull trigger on the coach. BTW CW is 36-28 as of this post. However look at Notre Dame last year and now.....what a difference.

K-State's really, REALLY good. True, we have a habit of making teams look good, lately, but this squad's for real. Impeccably coached and all the athletes in the right place. Oh, and Arthur Brown's a beast. Shame on RS for not finding a way to get him on the field.

Hate to say this but I'm putting this one on the head coach. When is team is so utterly unprepared to play, the game plan on both sides of the ball stinks, and a team with supposedly less talent blows you out, the buck stops with Golden. He's a good guy and can recruit but in terms of coaching the team up I haven't seen it. And the choice of DC is his choice so he is responsible.

On the other hand, Bill Snyder gets the most out of his players, most of which were not even recruited by top tier schoool. He could no doubt take our team and beat his team which is the sign of a good coach.

Any news on who is going to be our new DC....

Like Manny wrote, the defense is a combination of things: young inexperienced players, players that aren't always doing what they are supposed to be doing in their assignments, and poor coaching that is not preparing it's players to put themselves in position to make plays. It's a real mess. Another thing I wrestle with is the talent level between the Canes and our opponents. Is our talent level the same, but the coaching is so poor, they can't demonstrate it, or is our talent and conditioning so much worse that the coaching doesn't matter? I can't believe our guys talent level could be that much worse.

example of good coaching< Look at the 49ers under Singletary at the bottom of the ranks a mess of a team. The next year with the SAME team under Harbough they almost got to the SUPERBOWL.
being young is not an excuse for being out of position or lack of excecution.. this is the worst case of coaching and playcalling at the U EVER!!!

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