This was a game that felt extremely winnable.
But once again, 'Canes fans are left scratching their heads. Where this team goes from here, is anyone's guess. There is certainly a ton of room for improvement.
Here's my breakdown of tonight's good, bad, and ugly.
The Atmosphere to start the game was absolutely electric. And Miami's fans were fired up everywhere.
Seniors Denzel Perryman and Anthony Chickillo combined to create a huge 2nd quarter turnover. Perryman was his usual terrific self all night.
When Miami utilized Clive Walford, he delivered.
Huge play by Thurston Armbrister forcing a fumble deep in Louisville territory in the 3rd. Had Miami capitalized.....
Miami's tackling and defensive discipline both had their moments, both good and BAD.
The botched 2nd quarter bubble screen to Stacy Coley when UM had a chance to seize momentum, was both a bad effort on the throw by Brad Kaaya and the catch by Stacy Coley. In Miami's defense, Louisville did have 13 players on the field by my count.
4th and 1 deep in Louisville territory and the 'Canes leave the gap that the Cardinals run into completely unoccupied. Seems like there is still too much defensive confusion at times, despite overall improvement.
The offensive line was supposed to be a strength. On both pass blocking and run blocking, they failed to meet expectations tonight. Danny Isidora had an awful night in particular, including a penalty that wiped out a huge 4th quarter gain to Duke Johnson on a wheel route.
Strategy! If Kaaya is not ready, he is not ready, but the way the game was called handcuffed him and makes it hard to know where he is as a player. If he isn't ready why start him? If you start him, why not trust him?
Play calling on both sides of the ball was far too predictable. Louisville's second drive of the game was essentially a gift from UM, as Miami played a soft zone behind a 3 man rush. And Miami ran the ball into seemingly what were 10 man fronts all night. The D made some adjustments, but the O... The opening drive of the second half was atrocious. And deep in Louisville territory after Armbrister's strip when they ran the ball 3 straight times inside the 10, was the epitome of playing not to lose, instead of playing to win. Al Golden and STAFF left a lot to be desired.
I predicted to anyone who would listen a special teams breakdown for one side or another.... Corvin Lamb made me prophetic, unfortunately it was for the wrong side.
Team Grades -
The defense gift wrapped two possessions deep in Louisville territory that netted 3 points. That is not going to get it done, anytime or anywhere. Duke Johnson ran the ball well when he had any room whatsoever.
Better overall than last season. But still not great. Best unit on the field tonight though. The offense made their job near impossible.
Lamb's kick return TD was awful coverage. He wasn't touched. Punter Justin Vogel did have a nice debut, and Coley was close to breaking a few returns.
Conservative, Conservative, Conservative. Against a quality opponent, Miami needed a solid game plan. Where was the creativity and diversity? This game did not feel like one where they were out-manned. 0-8 to start the game on third down essentially sums up the game. Golden, James Coley, Art Kehoe, and Mark D'Onofio among others, all did not get the job done.