It’s Monday, which means it’s time to hop on a duck floatie and backstroke through the orange-and-green-hued pool of Canes thoughts in the recesses of my mind............
1) I know I wrote about readjusting expectations exactly one week ago, but, I mean.......uhh. Well, I wasn’t expecting that. Might be time to adjust even further. Rarely does a win feel like a loss, but that’s exactly what Saturday night felt like.
2) App State flat-out outplayed Miami for much of the game. Yes, Miami finished with the overall edge in rushing yards (175-127) and yards per rush (4.1-3.3), but App State won the battle at the lines on both sides of the ball far too often. Aside from the injuries, the continually-suspect play of the Miami offensive line worries me greatly. This was a game where this supposedly experienced and capable offensive line should have had a field day over their opposing 2-star defensive line counterparts. Instead, there were far too many stalled drives and negative plays on the ground. I would say that has to get better, but that might just be who Miami’s line is. An experienced bunch of players who just aren’t good enough. If they can’t dominate App State, then Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt, and UNC are going to be more than a handful to try to block. I am VERY concerned.
3) App State RB Camerun Peoples was far too effective of a runner, and he continued to expose Miami’s defense for what it’s been since December 2020 - a bad, bad tackling team. And now with Keontra Smith on the shelf for at least 4 weeks, it’s going to be incumbent on Waymon Steed, Corey Flagg, Jr., and the rest of the LB corps to step their game up. The defensive front needs to get tougher and shut down running lanes. Overall, the front seven just has to be better.
4) There were other moments that had me concerned, for reasons I shouldn’t have to be. Like when App State converted a bomb in the fourth quarter that led to their go-ahead touchdown. A particular defender whose name I will not repeat here was shown on the replay jogging to the ball. Clearly. As in you can’t reasonably question that take because the eye in the sky showed it. Had there been more urgency, it’s possible the pass could have been broken up. How does that happen???
5) Don Chaney, Jr. is a dawg, and not having him the rest of the season is going to be a bigger loss than we think (get well soon, Don). Harris was solid, for sure, and should have had 2 touchdowns last night if not for a penalty. He’s a good overall back, but Chaney, Jr. is the pile-dragging game-changer. The closer we need in late-game situations. Hopefully Thad Franklin will get a chance to show what he can do in that role, because someone is going to have to do it.
6) I have no idea how, but Miami opened as an 8-point favorite this weekend against Michigan State. HUH?! That line is already down to 6.5, but really, it should be closer to 2 or 3. I could even make an argument the minus should be a plus here. Michigan State +8, +7, +6, whatever, is the lock of the week. In fact, I like the Spartans straight up this weekend against a reeling Miami team 34-24.
7) Speaking of action, I’m 9-4-1 against the spread this year so far in my weekly picks column. Get rich, kids.