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Storm Center, October 21st: Downhill to the weekend, Pitt Game time and TV announced, departures from the roster

2 days from gameday, everybody!

NCAA Football: Miami at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday morning! Let’s start with some Canes!

Pitt game time and TV announced

Missed it earlier this week, but hey, better late than never, right?

Here’s the info for next weekend’s road game at Pitt:

Miami hasn’t had many nooners this year, but this is going to be one of them. And we all know the house of horrors that Heinz Field has been, with (too) many close games up there over the years dating back to the Big East days, and that’s also where Miami’s undefeated season in 2017 went to die.

Led by 17th year starting QB Kenny Pickett — who is playing arguably the best football of any QB in the country at the moment — Pitt will look to take another step toward winning the ACC Coastal division, at the expense of the stunned and spiraling Canes.

And you can see all the action next weekend on the ACC Network, everybody’s favorite! HUZZAH!!!

Transfer Portal soon to gain a couple Canes

A few weeks ago, Manny Diaz made the statement that several players were upset with their decreased roles on the team and would likely seek redress for their displeasure by entering the transfer portal.

And, a few days ago (sorry, I forgot to include this earlier this week), that has come to pass.

At his Monday presser, Manny Diaz noted that receivers Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins were leaving Miami, and would shortly enter the transfer portal

Additionally, neither Pope nor Wiggins is listed on Miami’s official roster any longer, which speaks to the fact that they’re gonna find somewhere else to continue their careers.

Like far too many players recently, Pope and Wiggins failed to live up to their recruiting expectations. Pope was the better player in HS and a borderline 4-star/5-star talent depending on which recruiting service, or recruiting writer, you favor. And though he showed great skill and production in HS, Pope was never able to grasp the playbook in college, and could never carve out a role for himself at Miami.

Pope ends his Miami career with 52 catches for 680 yards and 4 TD. That, in 3+ years, is a woeful return on a veritable 5-star recruit.

A teammate of Pope’s at Miami (FL) Southridge, Wiggins was always more of a project. But, the 6’3” receiver found his way into the lineup earlier than his more highly rated compatriot, due to the fact that Miami needed bigger receivers, and his knack for getting open.

Wiggins’s claim to fame at Miami were his repeated great performances against Florida State. Wiggins might not have been able to run many routes well, but in both 2019 and 2020 he took to his favorite route — the post route — to blow past FSU defenders and score long touchdowns.

That was when things were good.

To his credit, Wiggins ends his Miami career with 62 catches for 791 yards and 7 TD.

Unfortunately, the pair of Pope and Wiggins had the worst drop rates in America in 2020 at nearly 18% and 17%, respectively. And, to be honest, it wasn’t much better than that in 2019. Time after time, they got open, and when the ball got to them, it ended up on the ground. It was infuriating to watch, and killed many drives, and in the end cost Miami multiple games.

Because of their penchant to drop the ball, Miami opened up the WR competition midway thru the 2020 season. Pope and Wiggins continued to play, but their roles for 2021 were definitely in question. Pope struggled so much even in this season that he made the elective choice to try playing cornerback for a time to get on the field. That move prove futile and he returned to WR the next week.

And, in this season, Miami brought in Oklahoma transfer WR to take a starting spot, and other players on the roster including a plethora of 2020 and 2021 recruits — Keyshawn Smith, Xavier Restrepo, Brashard Smith, Michael Redding III, and Romello Brinson — surpassed the Southridge duo, especially after Miami’s recent “reset week” during the bye.

It was at that time that it became clear to Pope and Wiggins that they were not going to have top of the rotation snaps (if any at all) and the decision to leave was made.

I think everyone can agree that we wish things had gone differently here for Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins. But, that’s life. And sometimes things don’t work out.

We wish Mark and Dee the best in their future endeavors. Maybe a change of scenery will do them well.

Blips on the Radar

This week’s Depth Chart

That’s it for today. Make it a terrific Thursday, everybody!

Go Canes