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Marsh’s Mailbag: Is Miami Better With N’Kosi Perry, Do The Canes Stand A Chance vs UVA, What Happened To The Defense?

Miami is 2-3, I got a ton of questions

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Miami Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Is it time to just accept the fact that the Hurricanes aren’t good this year?

This is always a humbling question for fans to ask themselves. Looking back, I think it was a little unfair to put such high expectations on this team to begin with, especially with a first year head coach in Manny Diaz, a brand new offensive staff, young offensive line, new quarterback. That being said, being at 2-3 with the losses we’ve said was not what I was expecting. However, I don't think we’re bad. Look at the losses that Miami has had, all one possession games that if it weren’t for a missed extra point, muffed punt and giving up a 4th and 17, the Canes could be 5-0. But then again, Miami isn’t a good team, because good teams don’t make those mistakes. So as of right now, we’re in the middle.

Do we see the same offensive line or do we see a change this upcoming week?

As far as I know, there have been no changes to the offensive line in practice this week. I know that this is going to bring moans and groans from you guys, but here’s the thing, even if there are a few changes made, the line is still going to be bad. At this point, we just have to come to the realization that the OL is bad. Though the infuriating part about the line, is that they’ve regressed in the past two games. But if you were to change the starting lineup, I don't really know what you’d do. I will say this, Zion Nelson needs help, or needs to see the bench.

Do we see more Bubba Bolden with Gurvan Hall?

I was pleasantly surprised of what I saw from Bolden in his first game as a Hurricane on Saturday. He actually played a lot more than I thought he would. Besides one blown coverage in the fourth quarter, he played solid. Hall has been up and down through his first season of starting, but the future is bright for him. I believe this duo is the future at the position for Miami, and even though we may not see it a ton on Friday night, it’s coming.

Do you think there’s a noticeable difference this game with Manny more focused on the defense? Or will we see the results with more time?

This is a something that has been long overdue. If you watch Miami against Virginia Tech, that isn’t a typical Hurricanes defense. We’re talking about a squad that was one of the top defenses in the country last year. I think Manny having more of a presence with the defense will have an impact. Do I think the difference will be immediate? No. But as the season progresses I think we’ll see the defense start to regain its identity.

In your mind, does Miami have a chance against Virginia?

Yes, Miami always has a chance, ok maybe not always, but this week they do. It’ll depend on one aspect to me, turnovers. The Hurricanes committed five turnovers in the first half against Virginia Tech, and the defense didn’t force a turnover at all. We all know the offensive line isn’t going to make things easy for Miami’s offense, that’s a given. But N’Kosi Perry and others can’t make the task harder by turning the ball over themselves. And please, Michael Pinckney, Trajan Bandy, and other defensive players, if you can read this: BRING OUT THE CHAIN! Everyone who watches the Canes knows that them winning and losing has a ton to do with the defense creating turnovers, it gives them a boost, and if this team needs anything right now it’s a boost. If Miami can limit turnovers on offense and create turnovers on defense, you never know what could happen.

What sticks out to you most about the Cavaliers?

The first thing that sticks out to me about UVA is Bryce Perkins, the Cavaliers talented dual-threat quarterback. He’s thrown for eight touchdowns and completes 66% of his passes, and has also rushed for 164 yards and two touchdowns.

Also the Virginia defense has been stout thus far. They currently rank second in the nation in sacks and have playmakers all over that side of the ball. Defensive tackle Aaron Faumui leads the team with 20 QB pressures, and linebacker Charles Snowden comes off the edge fast and he already has three sacks on the year.

Are the Hurricanes better with N’Kosi Perry at quarterback?

I think the Miami offense looked really good in the second half with Perry at quarterback when they went to more of a spread look. And in my honest opinion, and I'm not alone here, but the Hurricanes have the talent at skill positions that the spread is what they should be running. Jarren Williams is the quarterback to run the Dan Enos offense the best, but unfortunately, Miami doesn’t have the OL necessary to run a more pro style look like Enos wants. Also, Williams doesn't have the same arm strength that Perry has, and now that Miami has a QB that can throw the ball deep, it opens up a ton more opportunities.

Also, with Perry at quarterback, and if Miami is running more of the spread, it makes receiver Jeff Thomas and tight end Brevin Jordan more dangerous. So moving forward in 2019, with the offensive line that Miami has, I think they’re better with Perry.

How is it that Miami is favored against Virginia?

This is an amazing question, and I honestly don't know. I mean, there’s several possible answers: Miami is at home, Perry is starting at quarterback, Virginia hasn’t played in 13 days (when Friday rolls around). I truly couldn’t tell you the reason.

What happened to the Miami defense? How can they be so bad this year?

I think a lot of it has to do with Blake Baker’s calling as the defensive coordinator. Though they’re still a top-15 total defense, it’s clear that the Miami defense has lost its way. I think a lot of it has to with missing guys like Jaquan Johnson, Sheldrick Redwine and Michael Jackson. Those guys were leaders and veterans in the secondary, and when you have to replace three starters back there, there’s going to be drop off.

Is it time for Gregory Rousseau to start over Scott Patchan?

Yes, this shouldn’t have even been asked. Patchan is a good role player, a guy that’s been at Miami for now five years, but it’s so clear that Rousseau is just the more affective player at defensive end. Rousseau leads the team in sacks, and somehow got even less snaps against Virginia Tech than he did in the Central Michigan game. I just don't get it.