Welcome to another edition of my weekly Monday musings, where I barf whatever it is Canes and/or football-related that’s floating around in my brain out onto the world wide web through my fingertips. Coming of a bye week, there’s not immediate game recap to discuss, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a fair bit of juicy tidbits to dig into, so let’s get started....
1) Welcome to the NFL, DeeJay Dallas. If there has been a Miami Hurricane that I’ve truly become emotionally invested in over the past several years, Dallas would have to be at or very near the top of the list. Coming from Brunswick, GA, Dallas was not a south Florida kid. He wasn’t putting on for his city. Yet, his hustle, production, and obvious love for his alma mater were undeniable during his time at UM. He ran like his hair was on fire, like there was a pack of hungry piranhas chomping at his backside. He bulked up big time during his tenure, and by year three, it was obvious he had a special combination of speed and strength, which the country got to see in Miami’s near-upset of #7 Florida last season.
I hoped the Bucs or Dolphins would draft him, but instead he was selected by the NFL team the furthest away from south Florida - the Seattle Seahawks. Joining Travis Homer, Running Back U was on full display in the Pacific Northwest, as Miami’s last two starting tailbacks manned places on the depth chart of possibly the best offense in all of football. For most rookies, especially running backs, unless you’re drafted early, you’re not going to slot into playing time quickly. Often times the only way is by necessity, and that’s what happened Sunday after starters Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde were ruled out. Travis Homer was active, but was also fighting a knee injury.
So, Dallas stepped in, and he lived up to the phrase “next man up”. Against a stingy 49er defense, Dallas found the end zone twice, once on the ground and once through the air. His first TD came the play after he was involved in a busted play that led to Russell Wilson scrambling and taking a hard shot.
His second score put the game away at 37-20 late in the fourth quarter. With Seattle’s backfield so banged up, and Dallas far and away the healthiest player available, it’s certainly foreseeable he could be in line for a significant volume of snaps next week. In any event, it’s great to watch someone you’ve rooted for succeed at the next level, and hopefully this is the beginning of a strong career for Dallas.
2) As far as Miami’s backfield, well, it isn’t pretty, as we touched on last week. I had an interesting exchange with someone who called me out, criticizing me for stating Cam Harris’s struggles were far from his fault and instead asserting they were of his own doing, as the rookies fared better. Look, Harris hasn’t run well. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out, but the line simply has not blocked well enough. Take out Cam, and Miami ran for 2.5 yards per carry against Virginia (and 2.3 ypc against Pitt). Massive yuck/yikes. I remember the play early in the second half where Cam tried to kick it outside on an RPO and was thrown for a loss. Maybe he was trying to find something that hasn’t been there - room to make an impact play. I mean, go back and watch that play. The left side of the line was pushed into the backfield, and that’s a microcosm of the running game issues, in my humble opinion.
And that’s been the main problem: the push simply hasn’t been there up front. Rhett Lashlee must have seen enough that he didn’t like from Harris to pull him last game, but he also has acknowledged the less-than-stellar performance from the line recently. Between that acknowledgment and the overall lack of production in the running game, I know where I’m placing the blame.
3) That all being said, I love the freshmen’s respective abilities and want to see more of them, though. Want to make sure that’s not lost in my critique.
4) Speaking of the running game, I want to see more keepers from D’Eriq King on RPOs. It seems like opportunities are there for the taking, and he’s handing it off. Maybe I’m wrong on how often that has been the case, but it feels like there’s an element to the offense that’s been missing from King running with the football. Hopefully that changes this week.
5) Maybe that UVA win wasn’t so shabby after all? Ask UNC how their season is going. I bet they’d love to be in our shoes right now, as would the vast majority of Power Five programs. Sometimes winning is good enough, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Again, until Manny shows his words are empty Goldenisms, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
6) NC State prediction: Brevin Jordan is expected to be back this week, so a key element of the Miami passing attack will be back. The Wolfpack are coming in off the bye week as well, but entered the bye after a 48-21 thrashing at the hands of the aforementioned UNC Tar Heels. This was a team that showed promise earlier in the season, having reached the Top 25 before getting its doors blown off in Chapel Hill. I think this is a game where we see the turnover chain break out several times. In State’s last 2 games against Duke and UNC, the Wolfpack has turned the ball over 7 times. Add in NC State played two QBs last time out, and this feels like a situation where the UM defense feasts. Miami 30, NC State 19.