This off season, we’ve heard all about the impressive Freshmen, and improvement on all facets of the ball. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the team that showed up to Jerry’s World on Sunday.
Missed tackles, penalties, and missed assignments were common on Sunday evening, which were all a far cry from what Cane fans were expecting. Ultimately, Miami wasn’t ready for their season opener. After suffering 3 losses to end the 2017 season, it was clear the hangover wasn’t over.
The same issues from last year’s low points continued as well. Malik Rosier was inaccurate, Mark Richt’s play calling was predictable, and the defense got burned when Manny Diaz gambled. However, being dominated by LSU was not something that many predicted.
What may be most concerning about the Canes, are their defensive struggles. Against Clemson and Wisconsin, Manny Diaz’s squad allowed over 30 points, something they had done only once throughout the regular season (vs. Toledo). This streak of porous defense continued Sunday, as LSU scored their most points in a first half since October 17th, 2015.
Not to say that the defense was the only problem, but allowing a team famous for being inept on offense score like they did, is no success.
Malik Rosier has received blame, rightfully so, but he was constantly getting hit, and had no run game to support him. The concerns surrounding the offensive line ended up being the worst case scenario, as LSU had pressure in the backfield almost every time they blitzed.
The special teams unit was abysmal, as Zach Fealges had multiple punts in the first half that didn’t break the 30 yard mark; and errors on punt return killed any kind of hope heading into halftime, as Mike Harley and Gregory Rousseau both committed penalties on the same 4th down play, resulting in an LSU first down. Despite Feagles’ performance being one of the more glaring issues, this unit needs to be tightened up immediately.
So where does this program stand after this loss? With 4 straight losses, and after making LSU seem like the best team in college football, the questions and concerns are louder than ever. When will the offensive line gel together? Does Mark Richt need a play-caller? Is Diaz’s gambling on defense figured out? Does Miami need a new quarterback? Maybe LSU will turn out to have a great season, but this kind of loss shouldn’t be suffered by Miami.
With the remaining out of conference schedule containing Savannah State, Toledo, and FIU, we can hope Miami will be sitting at 3-1 before ACC play starts. With that said though, this loss is a painful setback, as it mirrors the disappointment of the Peach Bowl loss, 13 years ago.