by Carlton Cabey
Halfway through the season the Miami Hurricanes are 3-3. This has been a rollercoaster season. They’re 2-1 at home and 1-2 on the road. Most importantly 1-2 in the ACC but are not yet out. Here is the report card of the season.
This has been the best offense this Canes team has seen in a few years. Lamar Miller is a serious dark horse Heisman candidate. Mike James has been a decent power back turnovers have been costly but if he can get that under control, the duo known as smash n dash will be the best running back tandem in college football. As far as receivers are concerned there are some things to be really happy and very disappointed about. Laron Byrd was supposed to be the one who steps in for Leonard Hankerson, but so far his most notable play is not correctly fielding an onside kick vs. UNC. Tommy Streeter has been a very pleasant surprise showing that he is not only a big target for the red zone but can also be a deep threat as well. Allen Hurns and Travis Benjamin have been consistent targets as well. The tight end position has been non-existent so far. On the O-line other than penalties they have been solid. Last but not least QB Jacory Harris has been very impressive. His touchdown to interception ratio is 4-1 and he has even scrambled for a few yards. The only knock on the offense which prevents them from having a higher grade is in each of the canes 3 losses they have had the ball on the last possession and failed to put the ball in the end zone.
This has been the not so impressive bunch. They have had to battle suspensions and injuries all year-long. Now that their back at full strength one can only hope that they will play much better than they have midway through out the season. On the defensive line there have been problems getting any push in the backfield. They need to get more pressure on QBs and prevent the running backs from getting past them to the 2nd level. Freshman DE Anthony Chickilo has been very impressive as well as Adewale Ojomo despite switching positions has been able to cause oline and running backs problems. Linebackers have been out of position and overly aggressive much of the season. Too many missed tackles by this group. Also too many big runs given up on simple plays. The Canes will need their linebackers to be more physical and make more stops if they want to make a run for the ACC title. The secondary has been by far the worst group on the team. While safeties Vaughn Telemaque and JoJo Nicholas and even Ray Ray Armstrong, in the limited time he’s played, have been pretty consistent and made plays. But the corners have given up too many big plays. They have been giving receivers too much space and haven’t been aggressive when closing in on the ball. The defense also needs them to step up on-screen passes and help out in the run defense.
Special Teams: The special teams have played very well on every aspect. Kicker Jake Wieclaw is a perfect in all kicking going 23-23 in extra points and 7-7 in field goals with a long of 43 yards. He has also been getting good hang time on kickoffs allowing the coverage team to do a good job of getting down field and making plays. Punter Dalton Botts has been getting better and better each week as well. Lamar Miller and Travis Benjamin haven’t broken one yet but have gotten the team good yards. On punts Benjamin tends to run backwards a little more than you would like but I’m sure coach Golden will fix that problem.
Al Golden has impressed so far in his 1st year as head coach. He has been exceptionally well making half time adjustments and getting the team prepared for games. No coach in the country has had to go through as much as him early on because of the Nevin Shapiro incident, but he has done a good job of not letting it bother the team. Thus far he also has a pretty solid class coming in and he is definitely going to try to keep some of the top talent that is still uncommitted in Miami home. Jedd Fisc has exceeded any expectations he may have had. Calling the right plays at the right time and utilizing all of Miami’s weapons. Fisc and Golden has helped make Jacory look like a completely new QB. He also calls the right trick play at the right time. No complaints on Fisc thus far. Defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio has had a tough time getting the defense to buy into his scheme. Defense has been giving up a lot of yards and could easily be blamed for each of the Canes 3 losses. He has said that he isn’t proud and that they will improve.