Grading Hurricanes vs. Florida State: Defense gets a ‘G’
If this was the NFL, guys would be getting cut and fired today.
OFFENSE: Where do we start? Don’t know if anybody can really argue that Jacory Harris hasn’t regressed from last year. Some of his throws defy imagination. Why hasn’t Harris gotten better? That’s a question coach Randy Shannon and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple need to confront. In Harris’ defense, he appeared to be playing hurt for most of the game. The kid is tough. But he’s not helping his team right now. It hasn’t been all Harris’ fault. I’m tempted to go back and watch each game tape to count up how many many passes UM’s receivers have dropped this season. Conservatively speaking, I’d estimate 25 to 30 drops. Leonard Hankerson dropped two critical passes. Tight end Chase Ford was repeatedly compared to Jeremy Shockey by Shannon before the season. He must have been talking about their country twangs because Ford hasn’t been able to catch a cold. Damien Berry had a 101-yard effort including a nice 26-yard touchdown run, but his second quarter fumble proved critical. Lamar Miller’s absence was definitely felt. The offensive line got pushed around. GRADE: F.
DEFENSE: Just when everyone thought the defense might be channeling the 2001 season, they come up with a performance reminiscent of 2007. Whenever it needed a big stop, the defense wasn’t able to provide it. The entire defensive line was absolutely manhandled. The Seminoles registered nearly 300 yards rushing, much of it right at the heart of UM’s defense. The Hurricanes weren’t able to do much against the passing game either. While Christian Ponder completed only 12 passes, he threw for 173 yards and wasn’t sacked once. The same defense that forced six turnovers against Clemson, came up with only one against FSU and that was an interception that turned out to be as good as a coffin-corner punt for the Seminoles. Middle linebacker Colin McCarthy , usually steady, had a game to forget. He missed several tackles and made the bonehead play of the game – a personal foul penalty in the second quarter that turned a 3rd-and-17 situation into an FSU first down. The Hurricanes had scored their first touchdown to make it 21-7 prior to McCarthy’s penalty, but any potential momentum was lost after the infraction led to an FSU field goal with 1:48 left in the first half. The coup de grace for Miami’s defense came on Chris Thompson’s 90-yard touchdown run – the longest against UM in team history – near the end of the game. The play smacked of UM giving up. GRADE: G.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Matt Bosher’s missed 32-yard field goal on UM’s first offensive possession was a sign of things to come. Bosher, by the way, has already missed more field goals (3) than he did in either of the last two seasons. FSU’s Greg Reid had a couple of long kickoff returns, including a 55-yarder after the Hurricanes had cut the ‘Noles lead to 21-7. The Hurricanes badly missed the presence of special teams star Cory Nelms . Since returning a punt for a touchdown against Ohio State, Travis Benjamin has done nothing on special teams. Eduardo Clements’ decision to return a kickoff from deep in his own end zone after FSU’s first touchdown was a freshman mistake. GRADE: F.
COACHING: Shannon took the blame for his team’s putrid performance, and he was right. Miami’s showing was unpardonable considering the stakes involved. Nothing like hosting a giant party with all your friends and finishing the night with a lampshade over your head. Shannon often seems strangely detached at times. On Saturday, his entire team came together in one giant huddle before a critical 4th-and-inches in the first half. The entire team that is except for Shannon, who stood several yards away by himself. I’ve longed maintained that Shannon’s teams don’t seem to play with much joy and often seem uptight. On Saturday, they were also unprepared. GRADE: F.