Before the contest between Miami and FAU got underway last weekend I kind of figured (as I commented to Craig is his breakdown) that the Canes would have their hands full for the first half against the Owls as usually happens when a heavily favored team plays an inspired underdog. Truth be told, we saw many heavily favored teams struggle against their lesser talented opponents last weekend. Some were able to eventually overcome the extraordinary efforts, some others however just couldn’t put the upstarts away and actually came out with a humiliating loss.
With Miami’s game on Saturday what concerned me was not necessarily that FAU came out with their hair on fire and executed their game plan to perfection (which they didn’t) but rather how sluggish the Miami offense was throughout the entire contest. Brad Kaaya and his receivers never really got on the same page when it came to completing passes for more than 10 yards. As the contest progressed it seemed like Mark Richt decided to make an effort at just running the screen game in the passing attack as the primary mode of airing the ball out. Now, was this because Miami started to pull away in the second half (i.e “keep the playbook vanilla”) or simply because it was the only thing that was working? For me, I believe it was the latter which is concerning moving forward.
However, even though Miami’s offense struggled both through the air and had successful spurts at times in the ground game, the defense even though they’re drastically undermanned, has been great. Coach Manny Diaz has been dialing up the right play calls the first eight quarters of the season and I love the player development we’ve seen from last season to what is unfolding now. The opposing quarterbacks the last two weeks have looked very uncomfortable throughout each game. We haven’t seen that in years.
I just sit back and think about the three units (offense, defense and special teams) and I just…. I don’t know how it’s going to go. I hadn’t seen Kaaya struggle so mightily against such a marginally talented defense since… well… ever I guess. On defense I think Diaz has the right coaches in place. The personnel, I’m not sold on just due to the fact that the physical fatigue is going to have to hit them at some point this season. The rotation through all three levels on the defense is only one or two people being rotated in. For a college team you’d like it to be three or more at a given position. Due to that I really do worry about fatigue playing a factor down the stretch. The special teams truly does seem Jekyll and Hyde. Whether it be blocking punts or getting them blocked, this unit seems all over the place.
In the end, I do wonder if the feeling right now is that we’re at the high watermark for the season. App State is not going to be easy and we all know what comes in October. In the end, I guess we’ll have to wait and see..
Is this as good as it gets Canes fans? Let us know in the comments section below!