Miami had a very disappointing 24-20 loss on Saturday night vs the Florida Gators, but all is not lost as the season moves forward. The Canes had some things go very well during the game, and obviously some things that have to be addressed before they take the field again vs North Carolina. Jarren Williams looks the part as the next in line at QB, but he will have to speed up his internal clock when it comes to hitting check down routes, or throwing the ball away. The defense again looks like they can carry the team for long stretches, but they must pressure the QB more to become even more dominant.
On Friday I wrote about what the keys were for Miami to gain a win (which didn’t happen) so it’s time to revisit and see how the Canes stacked up.
Training Wheels – Dan Enos for the most part took the training wheels off Jarren Williams and allowed his young QB to get comfortable with the entire offense. 19-29 214 yards 1 TD and no turnovers is a good debut for anyone. When you couple that with the unbelievable amount of pressure that Jarren was under, it’s nothing short of amazing that he finished the game. I was not a fan of Tate Martell getting a 2nd down snap at QB while on the 11 yard line with a chance to win. There were also times where Miami was conservative and all of us would’ve liked to see a deep shot or two. Grade: B
Chain Gang – The new turnover chain came out 4 times on Saturday and put Miami in position to win the game multiple times. Opposing fans love to call the chain “thuggish” “immature” and any other negative adjective you can think of, but the fact of the matter is the Canes defense thrives off the big turnover. Scott Patchan came up with a huge fumble recovery in the 1st half to stem Florida’s early momentum and Amari Carter, and Romeo Finley picked off Feleipe Franks in the 4th quarter to set up Miami’s offense in great position to score. Grade: A+
Fast Start – The Canes scored on their 1st drive which was a good early sign, but unfortunately after a 3 and out Florida pulled a fast one with a fake punt and scored on the very next play. The Canes battled even after a less than ideal start. I know Manny Diaz wishes they were better prepared for the early fake punt and potentially could’ve gone up 2 scores. Grade C+
Special Teams, or not so special – If there was one group that failed Miami even more than the offensive line it was the special teams group. Louis Hedley was good in his 1st game as Miami’s punter, but that is where the positives end. The fake punt cost Miami a TD, and it was inexcusable for Al Blades Jr to get sucked inside and allow a punter to beat him to the corner. Jeff Thomas muffed a punt that Florida recovered and scored 3 plays later, and finally Bubba Baxa missed a chip shot field goal which changed the strategy for the rest of the game. Grade: F
Ground and Pound: Miami’s defense was marvelous against the run on Saturday night holding the Gators to just 52 yards on 27 carries. Florida averaged just 1.9 YPC and generally found zero room against the Canes front 7. DeeJay Dallas had a great game with 95 yards on 12 carries including a scintillating 50 yard TD run to put Miami up 20-17. Unfortunately Miami had another huge run nullified by a holding penalty and Jarren Williams had -44 yards with sacks included as negative yardage. Miami must be more consistent as the season progresses. Grade: B
Overall Miami did enough right to win the game, but the Canes couldn’t close the show in the 4th quarter when it mattered most. These are teachable moments for Manny Diaz and his staff. The Canes must play better starting on September the 7th vs North Carolina.