After getting dismantled by the LSU Tigers in Texas, the now #22 Miami Hurricanes travel back home to face another tiger team who is a little less ferocious in Savannah State. The 2018 season home opener at Hard Rock Stadium will serve as an opportunity to get back to winning and start the process of answering some of the tough questions that were left after the 33 – 17 defeat.
Tailgate Talk: All week, every Canes’ fan is asking one question: What is going on at the quarterback position? During his post-game interview and weekly presser Malik Rosier shouldered much of the blame for the offense’s underwhelming performance and with one twitter search you will see that many of the fans are blaming him as well. This takes me to first of my three tailgate talking points:
1. You cannot blame a zebra for having stripes so we cannot blame Rosier for being who he is. After a full year and two additional starts in 2016 and 2018, we can conclude based on data and the eye test, that he is an inconsistent, sub 50% completion percentage QB. In his last 4 games, he was 55/124, 44%, with 4 TD’s and 7 INT. His 15 completions last week could have been far less if it wasn’t for some spectacular catches by his receivers. If the coaches place him in the game, Rosier is not to blame, but if he is in the game, get another drink and hold on. Which leads me to my next talking point.
2. We can blame the coaches. The common theme this week from the coaching staff, whether it was at the QB position or special teams, was that the players that give Miami the best chance to win will play. Focusing on the QB position, this theme suggests that neither backup sophomore QBs, Cade Weldon (3-star recruit) nor N’Kosi Perry (4-star recruit), developed enough last year during the season or the off season to surpass Rosier with his sub par stats. Who is responsible for player development, game planning and putting players in the best position to succeed? In the infamous words of Al Golden “it all starts with (coach)”.
Will #UM change its punter? "Heck no. He’s our guy, man," Todd Hartley said. "Look, we have guys on our team that can punt, OK. And we practice punt every single day. And don’t you think that if we thought somebody was better than him we’d play him over Feagles? Yeah, we would."— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) September 5, 2018
3. This FCS match up will give some much needed playing time to younger players and serve as an opportunity for position groups to gel versus competition that shouldn’t be overwhelming. The offensive line looked over matched and confused all night against LSU. The extra playing time should help solidify the best units going forward. The Secondary needs to use this time to work on communication. Despite only giving up 140 passing yards, there were still WRs running wide open, especially on 3rd and long situations. Lastly, another QB will be under Center at some point this game. At practice, first team reps were split between Rosier, Perry and Weldon all week. The QB who performs the best could be starting on the road next weekend in Toledo.
Opponent History: Savannah State is one of 9 Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the state of Georgia. Founded in 1890 it is the oldest state supported black institution of higher education in the state. The school was originally located in Athens, GA and was known as the Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth, but after 1 year it moved to its current location. The school went through a series of name changes in 1932, 1950 and in 1996 when it became a university. The school has a strong science and business program. It provided undergraduate training for over half of the African-American physicians in the Savannah area and maintains exchange programs in China and Ghana. The football team’s inaugural season was in 1915 and one of its most notable alumni is NFL Hall of Famer and TV Personality Shannon Sharpe. His jersey number, 2, was retired in 2009.
Food: For the Game Meal, I put a southern spin on a tailgate classic, the cheese burger. Instead of using regular sliced cheese, I substituted it for some creamy pimento cheese. This cheese mixture can also double as a dip.
Drink: The drink for today’s game is all about the name. This SoCo punch is a perfect mixture of whiskey, lemonade and ginger. Despite Southern Comforts’ beginnings in New Orleans in 1874, this drink will make you feel like you’re in Georgia on the beaches of Savannah.
Be safe Canes Family and drink responsibly! For full recipes for the game see the “2018 Hurricanes’ Cooking Guide”
Let me know your food and drink choices for the game!