It’s Monday....meaning it’s time to jump into my orange-and-green-colored wet suit and dive into the caves of Canes-related thoughts pocketed throughout my mind....
1) I could start off with so much negative. It’s really, really easy. But I wanted to start off by giving kudos to defensive lineman Leonard Taylor. With injuries limiting the Canes at that position, Taylor got his chance and was an absolute force on Thursday night. He finished with 1.5 tackles for loss and a half sack, but his presence was felt much more than that. He was continuously disruptive and certainly the best player on the defensive side of the ball. He needs to be starting, or at a minimum getting a massive increase in playing time. He’s a difference maker on that side of the ball.
2) Speaking of young production, you have to give credit to Tyler Van Dyke for fighting back after a 5-for-17 start and putting the Canes in position to win a game that they were badly outplayed in. The redshirt freshman signal caller completed 10 of his last 12 passes and showed impressive speed on his 24-yard touchdown scamper up the sideline in the fourth quarter. He was calm and composed in the Canes’ final drive, and really should have been given the chance to get the Canes closer in the game’s final seconds. More on that later. For now, it’s nice to know that Miami has a capable quarterback in the event King misses extended time.
3) The offensive line was flat-out terrible in the first half. 31 yards on 17 carries (1.8 ypc) in the first half against arguably the worst Power Five run defense. And Van Dyke was under pressure too much when he dropped back. Inexcusable. The offensive line, to its credit, developed and strong and continual push in the fourth quarter, but it turned out to be too little too late. This unit had better figure out how to bottle that fourth quarter performance and take it on the road with them, because they can’t afford to start against UNC like they did against Virginia. There will be no fourth quarter comeback in Chapel Hill if the story line repeats next weekend.
4) There were some Canes fans calling for Miami to go for the touchdown and not leave a field goal to chance. Our own Marsh was one of those. I responded no, get as close as possible, bleed the clock out, and kick the chip shot. Yes, I was worried about giving the ball back to UVa, preferring to keep the ball and the game in our offense’s hands and control. Well...the go-for-the-touchdown crowd was right and I was wrong. Well....I was sort of wrong. I did NOT say stop at the 15-yard line and run it up the middle. In fact, I said try to get it to the 1 - if they give you the touchdown, fall down at the 1. Miami got ULTRA conservative and quit running its offense. You absolutely had every opportunity to get it closer. Inside the five, centered, basically an extra point is MUCH easier than leaving your kicker with a 34-yard field goal. And NEVER, EVER lose yards. The kneel by Van Dyke to center the ball moved it back two yards, and....well....CLANG. Those two yards might have meant it went through.
The same thing happened in 2019 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (yes, I’m a fan) against the Giants. The Giants had fought ahead 32-31 with 1:16 left after being down 28-10, but Jameis Winston drove the the Bucs down the field to a first and goal at the 9 yard line with 0:13 left. A delay of game followed, then Winston lost 2 yards centering the ball for the field goal attempt. Matt Gay’s 34-yarder sailed just wide of the post.
DON’T. LOSE. YARDS. WHEN. TRYING. TO. SET. UP. A. FIELD. GOAL. GET. THE. BALL. AS. CLOSE. TO. THE. GOAL. LINE. AS. YOU. CAN.
Should a college kicker make a 34-yarder? Yes. Was it too much asking a freshman (albeit a good one) kicker to make that particular kick in that spot? Yes. Wouldn’t it have made sense to get it as close as absolutely possible to try to minimize the chance of a miss? Yes.
5) I could go on and on about Thursday’s disaster, but the other writers have covered it very well. I’d rather finish by focusing on something I touched on last week: university leadership. A week ago I called for leadership to come forward and say something, anything. Well, that happened, but not how I’d hoped. Julio Frenk issued a lengthy statement/word salad on Thursday, just hours before the game. The rambling statement touched on everything from NIL issues to disruption of athletics and academics by the pandemic.
BRO, WHAT??? That’s not the issue! The issue is being horrible on the field for over 15 years. Averaging 7 wins a year while watching the program slowly evolve into a state of mediocrity. We don’t care about what’s happened with disruptions the past couple of years. Heck, if anything, the team did well last year under the circumstances with all that crap going on. And the NIL environment should only HELP a smaller school like Miami in a large, opportunistic region like south Florida. Those things are the LAST things we’re worried about.
We’re worried about you and the athletic director not giving a frog’s fat a## about the athletic programs. And unfortunately those concerns are only magnified by your letter because it doesn’t even address the fact that the products on the respective fields/court are unacceptable!!! I guess I’ll give you the most minimal credit for responding with something (which is akin to getting points for writing your name on a test), but your tone deaf letter that totally missed the point was a slap in the face to a fan base that’s hurting right now. This did nothing to help and only reinforced the belief that you either don’t know what’s going on or simply don’t care.
6) And following up on the previous topic, the man who SHOULD have said something by now - Blake James - has said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. His last tweet was on September 15 wishing Canes fans a happy Yom Kippur.
COME. OUT. OF. HIDING.
FACE. YOUR. MESS. BLAKE.
ADDRESS. THE. FANS.
THIS. IS. LARGELY. YOUR. FAULT.
TELL . US. WHAT. YOUR. PLAN. IS.
TELL. US. THAT. THE. METEORIC. FALLOFF. OF. THE. THREE. MAIN. MEN’S. ATHLETIC. PROGRAMS. IS. UNACCEPTABLE.
THAT’S. YOUR. JOB.
DO. IT. OR. GET. THE. HELL. OUT.