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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Clemson Tigers edition

Miami still has a long way to go.

Miami v Clemson Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

Your Miami Hurricanes went on the road to face Clemson Tigers on Saturday afternoon and, same as it’s been every time these teams have faced off since 2015, lost by a very large margin.

Final score: Clemson 40 Miami 10.

I hate it.

Mike Schiffman pulled double duty today with both your game recap and 3 stars. You can see both of those here:

And with no further ado, let’s get into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

  • S Kamren Kinchens. The sophomore continues to add to his All-ACC and All-American credentials every time he steps on the field. He’s the best Safety in America, and playing like it weekly. 13 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PBU, and a forced fumble. Kinchens was everywhere for Miami, and he was a big part in keeping this game close through the middle of the 4th quarter (which it was, I promise).
  • P Louis Hedley. 6 punts for 305 yards — a 50.8 average — with a 61 yarder and 3 downed inside the 20. If not for Kinchens, he’d have been the MVP today.
  • DE Akheem Mesidor. 5 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL (the sacks), and 1 forced fumble on a strip sack. He’s been Miami’s best DL this year and that was the case today as well.
  • S (slash OLB but shhhhh don’t tell him I said that) James Williams had 9 tackles. He was better in tackling form today, but not perfect.
  • LB Caleb Johnson had 9 tackles.
  • LB Wesley Bissainthe had 8 tackles and looked the part of a foundational building block for this defense moving forward.
  • DT Leonard Taylor flashed his elite talent on several occasions. He ended with 5 tackles and 2 TFL.
  • CB D.J. Ivey had 3 tackles, 1 interception and recovered the fumble Kinchens forced. Nice game from 8 today.
  • Congrats to TE Khalil Brantley on his first career touchdown reception.
  • K Andres Borregales. 1/1 on FG and solid kickoffs through the game.
  • The fact that, despite getting down 21-0 QUICKLY, this team didn’t give up. The score line ended up pretty lopsided, but they fought hard for most of the day.
  • 2-2 scoring in the red zone
  • 6 TFL
  • 3 Sacks
  • 3 turnovers forced — 1 interception and 2 fumbles
  • +1 turnover margin
  • Dislodging the ball from Clemson offensive players on several other occasions. Just unlucky the ball bounced right back to them multiple times.
  • Held Clemson to 5.3 yards per play
  • Held Clemson to 4.3 yards per rush

The Bad

  • Losing. It sucks and I hate it.
  • Losing LIKE THIS to THIS version of Clemson. They’re good, but they’re not the juggernaut elite they’ve been And it didn’t matter. Another 30pt loss. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting here saying we should have won. But to not have a better showing against THIS Clemson team is bad. Fight me.
  • Allowed 10 chunk plays — 4 passes (15+), 6 runs (10+)
  • The continued lack of a vertical passing game. With some GLARING misses that we’re gonna talk about later.
  • Yeah. That’s it. Everything else is Ugly.

The Ugly

  • I reiterate losing LIKE THIS to THIS version of Clemson is wholly unacceptable.
  • And, also, I’m tired of fucking losing to Clemson. I know it’s “lol you maaad” at this whole bullet point, but fuck those guys. I’m going to really, REALLY enjoy it when we beat them. It won’t be soon, but when it happens, I’m going to remember all these asskickings we’ve received from them and I’m going to be really and truly insufferable in my celebration. Because fuck those guys.
  • Jacurri Brown missing a WIDE OPEN Xavier Restrepo on the 2nd offensive play. Restrepo was open by 20 yards. Nobody around him. An easy, walk-in, 70+ yard touchdown. And Brown missed him by 15 yards. You absolutely cannot miss that throw. I don’t care about pressure. I don’t care about him being a freshman. I don’t care about anything. You HAVE TO hit that throw. Period.
  • That’s another early-game play that, had Miami made it, the story of the game against Clemson would have been different. Same as the double move that was dialed up for Jeff Thomas in the ACC Championship Game in 2017. Hit that for a score and it’s 7-7 early. Same as this today. Eventually, somebody has to make a POSITIVE program changing play. Instead, we continue to add to the list of near misses and almost was’s. I’m sick of it.
  • QB Jacurri Brown. Sorry, but facts are facts, the freshman signal caller was atrocious today. 6-13 passing for 53 yards and a tipped-ball interception. And, being the smart team they are, Clemson worked to take the run game away from Brown, holding him to 10 carries for 22 yards. Brown is talented, but unskilled at this point of his career. And he was way out of his depth today.
  • Brown was benched for Jake Garcia.
  • TE Jaleel Skinner. I’m nitpicking, but for a player of his caliber, I should be. Garcia targeted Skinner on a wheel route and Skinner, a 6’5” player with incredible leaping ability, let the ball come down to his chest instead of going up to attack it up high, and allowed a slow, trailing LB to break the pass up. Sure, Garcia could have thrown it 5 yards further to make it a walk-in touchdown, but the jump ball placement is something that Skinner should have used to his advantage. Instead of a 30+ yards completion (if not a touchdown) was a harmless incompletion. For a player of Skinner’s caliber, you have to go up and GET that ball. Through, over, or around contact. I don’t care. But you can’t just let it come down and let the defender make the play without even TRYING to go get the ball.
  • And yes, I’m putting Garcia’s throw here too. Put that ball 5-10 yards further in front of Skinner and it’s a touchdown. All those missed opportunities. And the chances were there. When will somebody wearing Orange, Green, and White go MAKE that play instead of it always being close, but unfulfilled?
  • This week’s advanced stats chart. It’s uuuuugly.
  • This was the first half. Look at those percentiles!
  • And this is the full game. So slightly better than the first half alone, but not good. At all.
  • The Offense. In it’s entirety. It was so bad on so many levels and in so many ways.
  • 98 yards of offense. Total.
  • 68 yards passing. Total.
  • 30 yards rushing. Total.
  • 6 first downs. Total.
  • 42 offensive plays. Total.
  • The 98 yards of offense is the 3rd fewest Miami has EVER had.
  • -8 yards TOTAL in the first half.
  • 21:45 time of possession
  • ...Which means the defense was on the field for 38:15. You can’t win like that.
  • Allowed 84 plays for Clemson. Just couldn’t get off the field.
  • 6 penalties for 58 yards. Not good enough.
  • 3 for 11 on 3rd down.
  • 0 of 1 on 4th down.
  • Allowed 14 for 19 3rd down conversions for Clemson. 74%!!!!!!
  • Allowed 6 for 6 scoring in the red zone.
  • Allowed 27 first downs.
  • Allowed 447 yards of offense.
  • Allowed Clemson to empty the bench to try and give human victory cigars Tye Herbstreit (Kirk’s kid) or Brannon Swinney (Dabo’s kid) a going away touchdown.
  • Not that the team quit, but the performance in the 4th quarter. Miami had the ball down 26-10 and with a chance to make this a very tight contest. Instead, they turned the ball over and watched Clemson end the game on a 14-0 run to get to the 30pt margin of victory.

Team Grades

Offense: Fireable

A record for futility. The only reason Miami scored was getting multiple turnovers in a row and finally being able to cash one of those in with a short field for a touchdown. Brown’s deficiencies as a passer are GLARING at this point. Garcia continues to be a turnover machine, just giving the ball away to the other team at will. Offensive line got whipped, though admittedly by the best DL they’re going to face this year. RBs did nothing. Receivers did nothing. It’s a miracle this game was 26-10 at one point. Oh, and did I mention that this was the 3rd fewest yards Miami has EVER had on offense? Yeah. Fireable. People gotta go. Whether that’s coaches or players or both you decide. But this level of futility against a good, but not great, Clemson team is unacceptable.

Defense: C+

Look man, it’s hard to play defense for nearly 39 minutes. Even moreso when your offense is giving you less than nothing. Despite the best efforts of guys like Kinchens and Mesidor, it wasn’t enough. There were some things to like, but plenty to hate as well. In the end the lack of depth on the roster became a major factor in the game, and Clemson was able to pull away. But after the rough start, Miami’s defense kept them in the game for a good long time. And it’s that effort and performance that has me giving this grade.

Special Teams: B+

Great punting and coverage. Great kickoffs and coverage. 1/1 on FGs. A nice KR by Brashard Smith. But also a couple punts not fair caught (IDC if it would have been a tough play, step up and catch the damn ball) and thus let roll a WAYS to give Miami worse field position by a sizable amount. I’m being stingy here but if Miami had recovered that muffed punt, this would have been an A.

Coaching: Fireable

Look man. Things have to change. I know the lack of depth and talent on this roster, particularly on offense, but I simply cannot support this anymore. No, Cristobal isn’t on the hot seat, but multiple assistants are.

There is absolutely no way that this assistant group can return unchanged next year. And again, I’m not saying that Miami should have won today, but this game showed clearly that there’s much to be desired from the group of men leading this program forward.

I’ve graded the coaching as such multiple times, and written a variety of things. Now, it’s really just repeating more of the same. But the performances we’re seeing are repeating more of the same, so why would the evaluation change?

I know this is a rebuild. I know Cristobal is going about this in a much more nuclear way than I thought necessary. And I know it’s going to take another couple years, including a MASSIVE culling of the roster, to get things where we want them to be. Even with all of that being true, the performance we’re seeing from the staff is not up to snuff, and just like the players who need to seek shelter elsewhere for not delivering to the standard at their position, so too should the coaches who aren’t delivering need to find accommodations elsewhere in the very near future.

That’s it for this installment of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Let your thoughts be known in the comments section below.

Go Canes