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Final four-game stretch will show us how much progress Canes have truly made

There was a reason Florida State pushed the Hurricanes around Saturday night like a little brother.

The Seminoles are better, elite in a lot of places: quarterback, running back, receiver, defensive line, secondary. The gap may not have looked that big after two quarters Saturday. But it was on display for the nation to see over the final 30 minutes. Florida State is legit, national championship good. Miami is just getting back into the Top 25 good.

That gap is nothing to be ashamed about if you bleed orange and green. Jimbo Fisher has been building this thing for over five years, since we first heard he would be the guy replacing Bobby Bowden.

Al Golden? He's been trying to rebuild Miami for three years with one arm tied behind his back. It wasn't until two weeks ago tomorrow the 28-month hostage situation with the NCAA really came to an end. Even then, it's been impressive what Golden has been able to accomplish the last couple years.

As fun as it was to see this team start 7-0, climb to No. 7 in the national rankings, ask any talent evaluator and they will tell you these Hurricanes truly were not ready for a Top 10 showdown Saturday. Three recruiting classes into yet another Miami makeover, Golden has restocked the shelves with a few gems (RB Duke Johnson, CB Tracy Howard, DE Tyriq McCord, DE Quan Muhammad, CB Artie Burns, S Deon Bush, OL Ereck Flowers, WR Stacy Coley, LB Jermaine Grace). But really, he's still playing catch-up and only now beginning to fight with both fists free.

I know the thirst has been here for awhile to shout "We're back baby!" But that's really not going to happen until the Hurricanes get to the point where Florida State is. Where you have legit NFL prospects up and down your roster. Fisher had a school-record 11 players taken in last April's NFL Draft. He'll probably have eight more at least this year with half of that taken in the first two rounds.

Miami had two players taken last April (RB Mike James, CB Brandon McGee) and might have four or five this April (LB Denzel Perryman, QB Stephen Morris, OL Brandon Linder, OL Seantrel Henderson) and one of them is a punter. Do the math. Did that sound like a Top 10 matchup Saturday night?

Truth is Golden and his staff over the last three years have taken a bunch of average, leftover talent (DT Curtis Porter, OL Jon Feliciano, S Kacy Rodgers, MLB Jimmy Gaines, WR Allen Hurns, DE Shayon Green, OL Malcolm Bunche, WR Rashawn Scott), coached them up, plugged in a few holes with transfers (DL David Gilbert, DL Justin Renfrow, P Pat O'Donnell) and made this team better year-to-year.

Saturday's game might have been a little closer in the second half had a few guys (LB Eddie Johnson, LB Gionni Paul, CB Thomas Finnie) kept their heads on straight and still been here. But every program has a few knuckleheads who don't seem to get it. Until Saturday, UM hadn't faced a team with superior depth and talent to the them. Florida? The Gators have an elite defense and that's why Miami was in a dog fight. But the Gators are 4-4 now, proof even Will Muschamp (hired at the same time Golden was) isn't having an easy time of it in Gainesville after losing eight draft picks from last year's team.

What the Hurricanes have proven thus far in 2013 is that they are not going to lose games they shouldn't and have the fight in them to rally when they're down. Players are improving. That's what we didn't see enough of during the last regime.

Now, after Saturday's heartbreaking loss (Golden gave the team Sunday off to rest and recover) we'll get to see what this coaching staff and this team is really made of. Duke Johnson is a special talent. But he's not the sole reason Miami is 7-1 and still ranked 14th in the country.

Saturday's opponent, Virginia Tech, a team UM hasn't beaten twice in a row since 2002, is the real benchmark the Hurricanes have to measure themselves against. The Hokies have won the ACC four times since coming over from the Big East with Miami in 2004. Their talent and Miami's talent is and has been much more comparable over the last couple of seasons.

What Golden and his coaches have to prove to us now is that even in the face of adversity (losing his best player) and coming off a humbling defeat against the team you want to catch-up to they can get this football team to re-focus and finish the season strong. As Golden pointed out last year, you can't win the ACC until you win the Coastal Division.

That's really what this season needs to be measured on: Can these Canes continue to beat the teams they are supposed to, win their division and finish the season with momentum for the future?

That's what Randy Shannon's teams couldn't seem to do. UM only had one winning month in November (3-1, 2009) in his four years here. Golden is now 5-4 after Saturday in November. UM finished 3-1 in November last year.

It's going to be challenging without Johnson to finish this November 4-1. But this UM team should be good enough to beat Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2) at home Saturday, Duke (6-2, 2-2 ACC) on the road Nov. 16, Virginia (2-7, 0-5) at home Nov. 23, and win at Pittsburgh (4-4, 2-3 ACC) the day after Thanksgiving.

It's time to finish the mission Canes. 

Comments

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"Football" no offense to your previous comment. I love the heated debates here as it pertains to football but there's so much slandering here that I guess I was just being overly offensive. I agree with your examples but one thing I would say about that psu game is I would rather lose by that play where I was beat man to man bc that was an aggressive call out cb just slipped and our guys learned from their own mistakes and became better. I liked how schiano was aggressive and out d line would attack and our DBS were young but learned three trial and error bc they were put in a position to make a play and eventually became the best secondary as a unit in the past 20 years. This dno zone on the other hand is so painful bc we are getting killed not bc our guys are getting beat physically it's either they are out of position bc they have to think too much instead of just playing on feel aka freelancing or bc we give such big cushions we physically can't make the play. And I feel this zone won't make our guys any better bc they don't learn to man up against the opponent. If we keep playing this style when our guys are juniors and seniors they still won't be able to dominate man to man like the old secondaries bc they will never had the chance to learn by fire and bc their dc is scared the DBS and defense as a whole takes on that personality.

^^ overly defensive

41 - 14 hurts indeed

BTW everything I said in my original post is true.

Posted by: Truth Hurts | November 04, 2013 at 11:49 AM
--------------------------------------------------------
The truth doesn't hurt. The truth is what it is.
I picked this team to go 10-2 this year. Right on (or ahead of) schedule.

What's laughable is that your relishing in what your team couuldn't do. 41-14 is behind us. It seems you can't let 21-16 go.

Just let it go, dude. Just let it go.

Zook: There U go again: Lovie Smith at CHI was 10-6 at the end of last season. Reid was 4-10 or something like that. Then Reid mysteriously surfaces at KC. Then U got Lovie with 3 playoff appearances, a Super Bowl appearance, 2 NFC title games and didn't even get a wink from KC.

Zook, come on, man: U do see something wrong with that, right?

Posted by: jsy | November 04, 2013 at 07:52 PM

I understand. Clearly, coaching philosophies differ and I only wish we had scored on our first possession of the second half Saturday. The missed FG on our first drive didn't help either.

Cool Cat-

Andy Reid is 9 and 0...do I see something wrong with that?...Hell no!!

You only see black and white and when you see white you claim something is wrong.

I don't know about u guys but I would much send a aggressive blitz and hit the qb in the mouth every play and let my DB show me why he was the number 1 cb in hs we got studs back there. Even if I give up a big play I would rather do that than sit I zone and let the qb hit the underneath guy over and over again until they're in the end zone. This dno d clearly doesn't work it's been three years and no real progression bc I don't count what we did on defense to usf and sav state. Our stats against acc and ranked teams is not much different than last year. Under butch who had worse sanctions we were never this bad. One year of having a d ranked in the hundreds should get u immediately fired matter the excuse we should never have ever been that bad and if u throw out all the scrubs and look at purely acc and uf game besides more turnovers where is our real growth? It's hurts to say but it's not there

Left and gone where? He didn't and never will have a better job option than UM.

All that time in school and U never learned the inner workings and components of a dupe. Your mind can only register whats supposed to be, instead of what actually is.

He was *never* leaving and even he'd probably admit that now. Just another trumped-up effort to ingratiate and sell a Alverage coach into a ballyhooed cult figure by Chris Freet...and it worked. We stuck and continue to stick with him--he was a well under .500 coach prior to his tenure here and is still under .500 presently overall. He has double the head coaching experience as Jimbo Fisher as well.

"Al had done a lot for the U"--what else has a done other than get paid (which he made sure of) to stay here? U said "a lot" so what else?

We are 7-1 and thats great, but we've only beat 1 team that is currently over .500 this season (GT), out of those 7 wins. Only 3 out of our 12 opponents this season are playing better than .500 football right now and none are ranked except FSU.

Are those facts fair enough?

All decent posts here but let's focus on VT.

I see a close game here.

Logan is erratic and their offense isn't that good, but unless we change our defensive thinking, he will kill us on the scramble. I think it's a no-brainer to put a spy on him.

One the offensive side this would have been the perfect game for Duke and Crawford. Gus needs to grow up real quick, get physical, and lower his pads.

We need got to be patient as we were in the 2nd half vs NC and Wake. No need for style points here. Ugly is OK. Just win.

After three years i feel that golden is a great hc/CEO and recruiter he's the kind of guy any school would want. However he is not a very good game day coach. Over the last 3 years when have u felt that we out coached a team via perpetration and scheme and strategy? But even still these kind if coaches can be very successful the key is to get a good oc and dc. Golden needs to see that and cut ties with dno, give coley a chance cuz this is first year and he still has potential for growth and is a great recruiter but dno has not shown any growth over 3 years of any worth and don't point to our stats or remake the stats against acc and uf only and on top of that he's not even a big time recruiter. Either golden is blindly loyal to a fault or dno must know something about golden that al doesn't want out haha

I forgot VT, so there's actually 4 out 12 opponents playing better than .500 football right now.

FSU, VT, Duke and GT.

My fault again: Golden is 1 game over .500 now overall as a HC.

Good stuff Manny. We are not that far away. If we can finish strong and reach the ACC championship game. We will in my mind overshot the runway. Overachieve if you will. We must find more playmakers on offense. Preferbly RB and TE. We need more overall team speed. Last year it was the DLine and secondary. The arrow is pointing up for the secondary and the Dline is coming along with help on the way. The concern for me is at LB. This is the 4th straight game they have disappeared. I love Cornelius, bless his heart but he has no business running with the 1's. If we want to be a top 5 team we must recruit speedy and thumping type LB's. Go Canes!!

Posted by: jsy | November 04, 2013 at 08:13 PM

Look up the D stats for 2011, 2012 and 2013. We were better in 2011 than in 2012 and we are better this year (we need to wait until the season is over for full stats).

I think we would have defeated PSU in 1999 with man and zone mixed up.

What 3 year persecutions did the NCAA impose on UM besides concluding an investigation that Golden himself admitted he never saw? Zook, please explain the sanctions that the NCAA persecuted Golden with in detail?

Posted by: HarrietTubmanCane | November 04, 2013 at 07:16 PM

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

You're kidding--right?? Have you been living in a cave?

Let's start with the loss of two bowl games, which equates to two months of additional practice. Then, there was the loss of playing in the ACC Championship game that deprived the team of another building experience. Not to mention the loss of revenue and recruiting advantage these nationally televised games offered.

During Al's fist season with the Canes he had numerous players suspended due to the NCAA sanctions for various amounts of games from an already empty cupboard thanks to the previous coaching administration. That disruption alone was brutal for a new coaching staff trying to right a football program in a death spiral.

Recruiting was demolished as the dark cloud of crippling NCAA sanctions hung over the program that those who recruited against the Canes used as an enormously effective high powered weapon in the recruiting wars.

Then there was the never ending damage to the "U's" national reputation as there was NEVER a broadcast that the NCAA investigation wasn't mentioned numerous times in grizzly detail throughout each and every game. Further, anytime there was any change in status in the investigation the media would gleefully rehash the charges, which also served to severely damage recruiting.

Every home that Al Golden and his staff entered over the last 3 years when on a recruiting mission had them fielding the question and statement..."What about the NCAA investigation? And the recruiter from XYZ University said you guys might get the death penalty."

That's like walking into a bank for a corporate loan and the first thing the loan officer says is--"I understand your business is in big trouble and may be filing for bankruptcy." Now about that loan...

After the 3 years of NCAA torture they gave the UM a swift kick to the balls as a parting gift and docked them for 9 scholarships, which is a big deal!

Even the ESPN college football talking heads and the most hate filled trolls were smart enough to know the devastating damage the NCAA caused the Miami Hurricanes, yet, you seem to be unable to comprehend what occurred. That, my friend, says a lot about you.

"AL GOLDEN IS THE BEST COACH AND RECRUITER IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL!!"

Very classy, Football and jsy, disagreeing but with mutual respect. The loss hurt, but seeing so many Canes fans caring afterward is great to see.

Five Titles, its because no matter what our views are we all want the same thing in the end and thats to have sustained excellence how we get there is a matter of opinion but the goal is all the same.

LMAO!!!! Why did I even go there??

U immediately start by referencing self-imposed sanctions that were not administered by the NCAA, but by UM itself. read my question again lol.

Everything else regarding the same issue *recruiting* is circumstantial and hearsay, U can't prove any of it. U don't know what happened in kid's living rooms lol.

All of those adjectives: "death", "torture", "devastation", "brutal", "grizzly", "severe", "deprived", "persecution" and all U referenced was self-imposed penalties and some rumors of the annual negative recruiting that takes place *every single season no matter what the state of affairs are around UM.

No recruit referenced the investigation...not one. UM has had the 9th and 20th best recruiting classes the last two years and 6th ranked so far this cycle.

Your choice of a Gator name says alot about U.

BEAT VT

1. Hokies will shut down UM ground attack and force Morris - who rarely plays well against good defenses - to move the chains. Ain't gonna consistently happen. - Advantage Hokies
2. VT QB Logan Thomas is due for a clean game and like every other ACC QB UM has faced, he will put up big numbers and TDs. - Advantage Hokies
3. Golden and staff were completely schooled in second half of FSU game. No reason veteran VT coaches Beamer and Foster won't due the same. - Advantage Hokies
4. I really thought Canes would cover monster spread last week, but never expected UM coaching staff to get smoked by Jimbo Fisher and crew in second half. UM/FSU athletic talent gap big, coaching gap bigger. Still, Canes' line shifting from - 6.5 to - 7.5 suggest UM will cover, but I'm taking VT and points....and I hope Morris stops joking around on the sideline during the game.

I'm amazed at some of U...and U call yourselves football fans. It takes times to build a football team. Yes we have great talent. But we are still light in some positions. Conditioning still plays a part for some of our players. It will happen. We aren't as deep as we thought. But we will be alright. As long as we support these guys and go to the games...they will give us a great season. But as soon as we "Turn Coat" on them...we have showed them that we really aren't CANES! It's one game...support the CANES the next 4 games...let those guys know on the bench we want them to step up to help the starters...That is the sign of a true football fan...

Typo..."It takes time"

And this is something else...we were 4-4 after the FSU game...Before that point people were ready to throw Morris away...We went 3-1 (really 4-0..."D" let us down against UVa) and everyone was ready to give Morris the Heisman this year b/c he had 11 TDs and 0 INTs. So give him at least 2 games...if he doesnt't pan out those games then start inserting Williams...but Morris deserves to redeem himself.

Do you want to be safe and good, or do you want to take a chance and be great?
- Jimmy Johnson

I just want our team to play like this..........

If U have an issue with reading thoughts that aren't in line with your own then maybe U shouldn't participate in a free blog forum. There are others that are tightly regulated and censored for dissenting opinions to the prevailing groupthink sentiments of only posting, "GO CANES", "AL GOLDEN IS THE BEST EVER...", and "BEAT ____" (insert our next opponent). Anything more than that other than, "clouds", "cards dealt" "need more horsies" and "processes" is banned.

Blogging is not the only or most important aspect of fanhood. My November Pitt tickets are right here, with numerous other stubs from years past including OSU and ND games, so there's a such thing as advocating for what U believe on a blog and still supporting your team physically and monetarily, especially at away game, which i'm mostly relegated too.

LMAO!!!! Why did I even go there??

U immediately start by referencing self-imposed sanctions that were not administered by the NCAA, but by UM itself. read my question again lol.

Everything else regarding the same issue *recruiting* is circumstantial and hearsay, U can't prove any of it. U don't know what happened in kid's living rooms lol.

All of those adjectives: "death", "torture", "devastation", "brutal", "grizzly", "severe", "deprived", "persecution" and all U referenced was self-imposed penalties and some rumors of the annual negative recruiting that takes place *every single season no matter what the state of affairs are around UM.

No recruit referenced the investigation...not one. UM has had the 9th and 20th best recruiting classes the last two years and 6th ranked so far this cycle.
Your choice of a Gator name says alot about U.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

You are just a lame brain, troll, hater.

Let me ask you this question...do you think the Canes would have self-imposed two bowl bans and opted out of an ACC Championship game if not for the NCAA investigation?? Do you ever think before you start babbling?

Even NCAA President Mark Emmert stated that had Miami not self-imposed the sanctions would have been dire as that would have demonstrated the Canes did not take their past transgressions seriously.

I love the lie that no recruit ever mentioned or was concerned about the NCAA investigation. Hilarious!!

That statement is true if you live on the planet Uranus.

Every single kid that was recruited and their parents asked about the NCAA investigation.

Do you really believe that those kids and their parents who had been told Miami might receive the death penalty simply yawned and said; "Oh well, I'm not concerned about that little ole problem". Cleary, those kids aren't as dumb as you and your band of haters.

Seriously, your lies and hate need a tune-up, because only the well known imbeciles on this blog try to run that game.

Look, I've wasted 10 minutes of my life that I will never get back trying to reason with you, a sub-moron, which I take full blame, as you are too ignorant to know any better.

PS: And you weaving in your Muslim BS on a football blog says a lot about you...please entertain us with the Muslim cab driver story again as who could ever tire of that tripe?

Good analysis, Manny.

We will see if these coaches can fire these guys up
to play with passion and purpose.

Go Canes!

I struck a nerve lol! insults being thrown everywhere now...wow. Five, please admonish this belligerence lol.

UM and Golden got punked. NCAA never had a solid case thats why they tainted it out of desperation and took so long to conclude it lol. They were about to try it again this season, but UM was so mad and we're doing so good that they just said what the heck...time served. They had nothing but a few receipts that players had been punished for and a jailhouse rant as evidence...and we bit out of sheer coonery.

Their parents weren't told that.

Where was Islam weaved in?

Easy work..you're owned without any effort on a daily basis here.

And U still refuse to explain that name of yours. Ron Zook is a known Gator moron--everything U claim to detest.

The issue Saturday will be whether D'Onofrio has a clue, or still thinks this should be Penn State South. If he sits back, homas will pick us apart.

Although Thomas is a strong runner, he falters when pressure is applied. Without an attacking blitzng D, we are in for a tough day and must match their scores.

The counter is our offense playing at a high level, starting with Morris and the O Line. Play ball control. Dallas will more than handle his job if he gets some blocking. Hope Eduardo steps it up.

Stop the runs up the middle and give the guys a shot outside. Use short passes. O Line must dominate a tough V Tech D. It is their strength.

Hope the Canes come out strong and the coaches keep them pumped. Yah rely on "training and process," and while you are at it, kick the crap out of the other guys.

I don't mind losing to FSU if we tried our best.

I mind a senior leader laughing on the sideline after we just got our butts handed to us.

How many fans were laughing during the fourth quarter? Not me.

I mind the fact that it seems the fans hate losing more than certain players. Where are our team leaders????

Get well duke...thank you.

FSU is not superior to the Hurricanes. Miami has great talent. This was a winnable game. But your coaches let you down. Here's how . The play calling was less than average. If you have an aggressive defense. Run some miss direction plays or reverses. Second speed of the plays being sent in don't give the defense time to adjust or sub. Get your fullback involved in the game plan short passes in the middle or some carries. Attack the defense. Change the cadence try and lure them off sides. Defensively rough teams up. Get physical. It's okay to bring the house on third down. You have to win some third down battles. If a team thinks you are going blitz a lot they will shorten there passing routes. Be aggressive. DB's are giving a 5 yard cushion. How about a 2 yard cushion and jam them at the line.Take this blue print and just win Go canes

Zakkee, little Jimmy was in full meltdown mode yesterday, you should remind him there's a man from Hawaii in the Oval Office and then he'd have to take another steroid and change his ID in impotent rage.

You caught yourself on Golden's career record but he's actually only got one more win than loss, which puts him at only a half game above .500 for his career, so win Saturday night, and he's a game over, lose with that soft zone 3-4 non-rush that gives Thomas plenty of time to think and make a decision on pulling it down to run, and he's .500 for his career again. Al's now 20-12 at UM, a full four games above the .500 mark, and he's only played three FCS teams to get there, so that's his claim to fame right now.

Last year Thomas not only talked smack about the home field advantage that UM doesn't enjoy, then he proceeded to move the ball with ease only to turn it over at a rate that Jeff Driskel tried to emulate. Now with another road game at SunLife, which to answer J. Padron's question is due to Pitt being added to the league schedule and because UM really wanted to split the years they traveled to Doak and Lane up, he's somehow having just as poor of a year again in a lot of ways but knows this is his last chance to take down UM. VT lives and dies by the short passing game mixed in with power running, a QB option play and the draw from the shotgun, in other words, just the type of stuff the MAC morons like to let run free. But at least when it's goal to go for UM's defense, then they'll field four down linemen because, you know, it's important to force a field goal attempt, and VT has missed plenty of those recently, just like UM, in that situation once the opposition has proven capable of driving the field and not Cho'ing off a toe on the way there.

So it's an overrated coach who's never won anything of significance against an average one who's never won anything at all where the team with the most to lose is already without it's best offensive threat. One really good thing, at UM, slightly above Alverage Golden is an impressive 8-2 coming off a straight up loss. Should be another yawner, glad I'll be watching from the comfort of my domicile and saving my fiat currency rather than shelling out for a trip, but I know there's going to be plenty of people stuck with tickets they won't use and can't get rid of at any price. Maybe they can wear their t-shirts with neckties printed right on them instead and still have fun though?

Save your bucks bro, no shame in not supporting planned mediocrity from Coker--Shannon--to now Golden.

V. Tech will be very well prepared to play. Miami players need to be ready to play better than last weekend, especially on the offensive side of the ball. That will be difficult against a very good defense and without THE DUKE. Generating points will not be easy. Morris is going to need time to check down because his first option will be taken away by hard press from Tech's defense. The tight end will have to be involved to open up the running game. Have to force them to respect the run to open up some big plays. This game and the game against Duke will make Miami's season. I would love to see a rematch with FSU. The talent gap wasn't as big as it is being make out to be. A better game-plan and better adjustments by the coaching staff would have made a big difference last Saturday night. If something is obviously not working, adjustments have to made immediately, before a game starts getting away from you. Regardless, there is no other team besides Miami, GO CANES!

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