"You know what I've noticed?
Is that no one panics when things go "according to plan"
even if the plan is horrifying.
If tomorrow I tell the press that like a gang banger will get shot or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up..
because ‘it's all part of the plan.'" -
The Dark Knight, The Joker played by Heath Ledger
Miami did what they were supposed to in week 1 against an undersized and not as talented 1AA team in Bethune-Cookman. The Canes held BCC to less than 100 total yards and zero scores on offense and on the reverse side bludgeoned them to the tune of 45 points. Yes, Miami didn’t start out so well and will need to "bring it" Friday night against the high scoring FAU Owls but Miami fans should be encouraged by what they saw and have a positive outlook with what’s ahead.
The reasons for my optimism centers specifically on how the team is playing (based on one game), the way their schedule is playing out (what I like calling "the pacing of it") and the injuries that are occurring to their upcoming opponents.
As stated in the opening salvo, Miami played efficiently and effectively in their first game. I wouldn’t say I was overly impressed with the offense. However, what I noticed was that as the game went on Kaaya found his go-to target through the air in Rashaun Scott and it seemed that maybe offensive coordinator James Coley may have found his rhythm on the ground with three headed monsters of Mark Walton, Joe Yearby and Trayone Gray.
On the defensive side of the ball I’m more bullish. I think the offense maybe a little suspect but I believe the defense is for real. Compared to the last few years where Miami’s offense has had to pace the defense (a la the NC State game three or four seasons ago) I think this year the defense may take a leadership role and have to dictate the tempo for this team. By the end of this season I think the Miami defensive line will collectively be one of the better units in the ACC. Will one of the guys rack up seven to ten sacks? I don’t think so but I do believe collectively they’ll put up good numbers and limit the run game of their opponents.
Besides the team itself getting better and starting to believe in themselves I believe their schedule is setting up perfectly for them to succeed. If a team has four out of conference games scheduled, odds are an AD wants to stagger them from easiest to hardest, Miami has done that. They just beat up on a 1AA opponent. They play a non-power five conference team this upcoming week. They then play a mentally drained Nebraska team at home in two weeks and lastly they play a potentially up and coming Cincinnati team on their turf up north. The pacing is there for the young Canes to learn as they go, to adjust and get better. They aren’t playing Ohio State in week two or at Louisville to open up. The schedule is trending in Miami’s favor, make no mistake.
Lastly, every week brings injuries; you just hope it’s not your team that makes the hospital ward’s list. This weekend we saw Pittsburgh’s James Connor go down for the season, Virginia Tech’s Michael Brewer say "it will take a lot more to injure me" then two plays later get crunched and be done for at least four to eight weeks and lastly see junior phenom wide receiver Mike Williams crash into the field goal post and receive a fractured bone in his neck which will sideline him for possibly the entire season. The point is not to wish for injuries. All I’m saying is that they’re a part of the game and right now many important players on Miami’s upcoming schedule are losing big pieces of their puzzle.
We’re only one week into this journey but, to me anyways, the long term outlook looks pretty bright for the Canes. I am a tad bit worried about their upcoming opponent in FAU but it should be a good litmus test for the Canes. If the Canes are as good as I think they can be then the defense should shut down the opposition (which will be a tall task, FAU can play ball) and the offense I think will need to find their identity during this game like they did in the second half last week. If Brad Kaaya and James Coley can get into a rhythm, watch out.