Here's a quick preview of what could be in store next Wednesday, National Signing Day.
> NOTE: I wore the old Cubs jersey in honor of the late great Ernie Banks.
On the difficulties in fighting uphill after falling behind early...
“Huge. You can’t spot them 21 points like that. At the end of the day, we executed the punt return and kick-off return exactly what we wanted - one was 30 [yards], one was 50 [yards], and we fumbled both of them. Just inexcusable. We had a low snap and gave them a short field there, and now you’re playing uphill the whole time. They’re basically playing keep-away at that moment. We didn’t get off the field well enough on third down. We didn’t convert enough plays on offense. Just really disappointed in those mistakes.”
On lopsided time of possession in the first quarter affecting chances of success...
“There isn’t any question about it. We had two fumbles and basically what amounted to a fumble on the low snap that we were down on. To start out the game like that, I don’t think there’s anybody in this business that would see that coming. There’s just no way that should happen. I’m really disappointed there.”
On the general issues that he sees with his team’s defense...
“We didn’t get off the field enough on third down. We missed too many tackles - too many egregious third downs that they converted. Really against the odds plays for them that they converted, and we didn’t stop them enough in the red zone. Even with the mistakes that we aided them [with] in the half, I think we were still only in the 30’s going into halftime play-wise. Not that that’s great, but it’s not like it was 40 or 50 plays. Again, just really disappointed. We didn’t deserve to win. We didn’t protect the ball, a low snap, three big blunders to start the game, and as I just said to them, don’t let anyone say we weren’t ready, we weren’t focused. If everyone is blocking who they’re supposed to be and we return it 50 yards, we’re ready to play. We fumbled the ball. We had a good scheme and we fumbled the ball. We score early on a screen, we’re ready to play. Just really disappointing. It’s impossible to overcome those odds.”
On how the weather affected his team’s gameplan...
“None. Zero. Don’t let anyone say the rain affected those fumbles. They started to get in traffic, you have to cover that up, and the ball should be higher. Something we work on constantly. The ball was just too low, the point was down. I’m embarrassed by it, to be honest with you.”
On any systemic issues he sees with the defense...
“We need to help them on special teams and on offense. There are a lot of things we need to fix. We had too many guys open, we didn’t tackle well enough, we didn’t get off the field, we didn’t get a red-zone stop, and we didn’t get enough pressure on the quarterback.”
On if the same issues that plagued the defense last week were recurring against Virginia Tech...
“The numbers would say yes. There were too many third-and-longs, too many against-the-odds third downs they converted. It was the function of two things: we blew a coverage – a man got free or cut a guy loose - lost leverage in the zone, or we didn’t tackle real well.”
On the play of the Virginia Tech wide receivers...
“We had some guys running free. We got out-leveraged a couple of times. As I said, we didn’t tackle. There’s no excuse. It has to be better, it wasn’t good enough, and it’s my responsibility to get it fixed.”
On what his team needs to do better offensively...
“We needed to get the ball. Obviously on the two occasions that we fumbled it, those two possessions certainly could help. We’re not good enough right now on third down. We’re not converting enough on third down with enough consistency, and obviously that’s an excellent defense we’re playing [against]. [When] you spot them 21 points, you’re fighting an uphill battle. It gets skewed when you make those kind of mistakes. It’s really tough. We didn’t convert enough of our shots down the field.”
On if he anticipates making any changes to his defensive scheme...
“We have to look at it. It would be premature to say we have to change things when we really had too many unforced errors, to be honest with you.”
On if the cushion for Virginia Tech wide receivers on third down was the product of mental errors...“I know twice we got rubbed off and didn’t stay on our man, the other one we missed a tackle. We’re playing man [coverage] a couple of times, so it wasn’t like we weren’t being aggressive. We didn’t get it done. There’s no excuse. We’ll examine it, look at it, from top to bottom.”
On the Coastal Division race...
“We’re going to go to work tomorrow, like I just told the team. I’m going to be in there, getting back to work. They have to decide which direction they want to go – there’s a lot of football left. They have to get their minds right and move on. I don’t want to hear anything about last week’s game affecting this week’s game. We were ready to play. We did not take care of the football, and it really was the equivalent of three turnovers early in that game when you look at the two kick plays and the knee down. We didn’t tackle well enough, we didn’t get out of the field well enough, we didn’t get a red zone stop on defense. On offense, we didn’t run the ball well enough, we didn’t convert on third down, we didn’t hit the shots when we had them down the field, and we dropped a few [passes], to be honest with you.”
On the differences he sees from his team’s win against Florida to the loss against Virginia Tech...
“Whatever I say is an excuse. At the end of the day, we have to fix it. We have to go back to work and fix it. I’m not even going to go down that path. We’re all responsible for it, I’m responsible for it, and we’re going to go to work tomorrow on getting it fixed and getting this thing right, and do all the little things right to move forward and move the program forward. That’s what we have to all get going tomorrow.”
You know the drill. Kickoff at 7. Game is on ESPN. Vital to Coastal Division title hopes. Need I say more?
The Hurricanes have unveiled a special helmet and jersey tonight for the Virginia Tech game at Homecoming.
The uniforms have been dubbed "The Smoke.''
The jersey is gray. The helmet is white, with a wide gray base, with a large orange-and-green U.
The last time I recall UM breaking out complete new unis -- a la Nike Pro Combat -- was guess when?
Nov. 20, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium against the Virginia Tech Hokies.
The Canes, then ranked 24th, came into that game 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the ACC.
The unis: orange jerseys with green sleeves, orange pants with wide green stripes and green helmets with a prominent U on either side.
Virginia Tech came into the game ranked 14th, with an 8-2 overall and 6-2 ACC record.
The Hokies won the game 31-17 and clinched the Coastal Division of the ACC.
I really liked those unis. I think I might have been the only one.
By the way, Miami will be getting a new uniform design for the 2014 season. It has not been revealed what they'll look like.
HERE'S THE RELEASE SENT OUT BY UM ON THE UNIFORMS
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The 11th-ranked Miami Hurricanes unveiled a special uniform set named ‘The Smoke’ for Saturday’s Homecoming game vs. Virginia Tech at Sun Life Stadium.
#TheSmoke uniform features an anthracite jersey (grey) top and a Hydrographics designed helmet with grey smoke accents rising from the back base of the helmet that represents the Miami Hurricanes’ tradition of “running through the smoke” prior to every home game. The helmet is white matte with a gray smoke pattern around the back and is highlighted by chrome U decals and a metal gray facemask.
“We’re excited to unveil a new alternative uniform for the Miami Hurricanes,” said Blake James, the Hurricanes’ Director of Athletics. “Along with the new basketball uniforms, it reaffirms our desire to be on the cutting edge with our great partners at Nike.”
The Miami Hurricanes are the first team to wear his custom helmet design created by Hydographics in Oregon.
The jersey is the same Nike Cordura design the Hurricanes currently wear, but it features the anthracite color and has “Deserve Victory” embroidered in the back neck yoke. The uniform was crafted by the same Nike designer who worked on the 2013 Minnesota Vikings, TCU Horned Frogs and Red Rivalry Texas & Oklahoma uniforms.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN