A Tale of Perspectives

A Tale of Perspectives

The Mario Cristobal era kicked off with a bang on Saturday as they easily dispatched the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 70-13 at Hard Rock Stadium. The Canes did what they were supposed to do. The Miami Hurricanes handled the FCS opponent in decisive fashion and scored 10 touchdowns (9 offensive and 1 pick six). The fresh look Hurricanes covered the spread and if you bet the over, then you were an incredibly happy camper when you cashed in your betting ticket. All-in-all it was a good show for the 50,000 plus fans who braved the Florida summer heat, tailgated then attended the game. However, there are some fans who are unhappy with the team display on Saturday. Specifically, some fans are concerned with the lack of production against an FCS secondary.

I am not here to tell fans how to feel. I do not like policing the feelings of other people. I dislike it when I see fans trying to police other fans on how they should feel about something. How you feel is how you feel. We are all Canes fans at the end of the day. We all bleed orange and green and love The U. How we feel about the team’s performance is all a matter of perspective and what type of football fan you are. We can debate our perspectives respectfully while allowing everyone to maintain their own perspective and express that in a safe space.

If you are a fan that loves Miami, but only has the time to tune into the games during the season, are able to show up to a couple of home games a year— but during the off season, the Canes are out of sight and out of mind; then you usually don’t care much about the process. Those fans typically are more concerned with the result. That is okay. For this type of fan a win is a win, and a 57-point blowout would have you over the moon. I agree, we should all be delighted with the fact our offense destroyed the Wildcat defense and ran the ball at will. There was not one point in that game where Miami struggled, or the game was in doubt. Many institutions who played FCS opponents in their first game this season were unable to be as stress free as Miami fans were this Labor Day weekend. If you’re a superfan who lives and breathes Canes football 24 hours a day 7 days a week and are obsessively following recruiting news of high school players even when the NBA Finals are on, then chances are you were a little dissatisfied with the defensive performance against Bethune on Saturday.

If you are a Canes fan who follows the minimalist teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, then you are rarely ever disappointed in anything because you know that great expectations, especially unrealistic ones, are the progenitors of disappointment. You are the rare breed of fan who is happy to see their team compete and have had a completely dissimilar experience than most this past 20 years of what most would describe as painful mediocrity for the program. Canes were told all summer during camp that the 2022-2023 iteration of the Miami defense was dominant. We were told by sports media that the defense was significantly ahead of the offense (more than what you typically expect in any camp). The word was that the linebackers had drastically improved and that the defensive line was disruptive in the run and pass game.

We were also told that our corners had really made a huge leap (including previously maligned veterans who have been in the program for quite some time. The defense may yet still prove to be all of those things. After all, they did force three turnovers that required amazing skill, including an amazing interception by the rising star Kam Kinchens and one that Gilbert Frierson scored on. No turnovers and no defensive scores were major deficits for the Canes last season and has been a major point of emphasis for Kevin Steele’s unit. The defense absolutely showed major growth in those areas on Saturday against BC even without the turnover chain. Did anyone else spot the irony of Kam standing on the bench for the fans in the same way the players did after they received the turnover chain coupled with the fact that the recently retired turnover chain first made its debut after Malek Young made an interception against Bethune-Cookman at Hard Rock stadium in 2017?

If you are a Canes fan who played the game, coached the game, or understands the game and breaks down film, then you could see right from Bethune-Cookman’s opening there were some aspects of concern that the defense needed to clean up. Bethune had a big play taken off the board for a penalty; that was a warning shot. Remarkably, Bethune backed themselves up into third and forever with more offensive penalties, and then converted the first down anyway. Their speed on the outside was a problem for Miami’s defense all day. The Wildcat offense moved the ball pretty effectively all day, especially when quarterback Jalon Jones (#4) was running the show. Coach Steele and Strong dialed up a few linebacker blitzes that went unblocked by Bethune, but the blitz didn’t get home, and the line lost containment. This led to the Wildcats throwing for nearly 250 yards running for nearly 100 yards. Bethune achieved more production than most of us expected.

The defensive line also did not create as much pressure as they should have. When they did, Bethune got the ball out quickly to an open receiver or broke containment and took off for a big play run on a QB scramble. Tyrone Franklin Jr (#15) was the main culprit on the quarterback runs when the designed play broke down. The HBCU squad had roughly 350 yards of total offense and actually played good ball control offense even though at times they were running an up-tempo style of offense. The footballers from Daytona Beach possessed the ball for 30 minutes and 13 seconds, which was actually more time of possession than the Canes had even though they ran 10 less plays than UM.

While the Canes defense did allow the Wildcat offense to move the ball, they did an exceptional job of shutting down Bethune when they had scoring opportunities. The FCS team moved the ball surprisingly well but were only able to produce 13 points to show for it. Some people will say that the Bethune-Cookman coach let the Canes defense off the hook with some of his calls on a few fourth and shorts in an advanced position where Coach Sims decided to punt the ball instead of taking a shot and going for it. However, the look and feel of the game caused the Wildcat coach to make those decisions. Therefore, in essence, his lack of aggressiveness could be attributed to the fact that he felt his team would be outmatched in 4th and short situations.

Conversely, the Miami offense was dominant. They scored a touchdown on almost every possession (save for one redzone fumble) and their run blocking, which was a definite weakness for the offensive line last season, was drastically improved. The line of scrimmage was moving the moment the ball was snapped as the big uglies up front blew the Bethune defensive linemen off the ball. Flat backs and big pushing waves of momentum up front is what we wanted to see, and it is exactly what we witnessed. Granted it was against lesser competition, but we have seen games in the past where the offensive line did not show similar dominance against similar levels of competition, so this was a good and welcomed sign. The quarterback room is in great hands as both Tyler Van Dyke and Jake Garcia passed the ball efficiently and accurately. They only threw the ball 24 times, but when they did, the passes were on target and the receivers came up with the catches. TVD only had three incompletions and Jake was a perfect eight for eight. The quarterbacks combined for 21 completions on 24 attempts, 300 yards, and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions.

Xavier Restrepo was absolutely uncoverable throughout the game in the slot, but the running back combination of Henry Parrish and Thad Franklin certainly stole the show. Miami ran the ball for over 300 yards and the running backs had 7 touchdowns between them. It was definitely a dominant display for the offense which I am sure Coach Cristobal and Josh Gattis were both happy to see. The play calling in Saturday’s game was very light and unrevealing for the most part on both sides of the ball, which I certainly understand. But I would like to get some things cleaned up in our base defense because there are times when we will need to be stout in our base defense without the help of a scheme. Additionally, while it was great to see our walk-on running backs scoring touchdowns, I would also like to see our offense get some more red zone pass plays called to get some more in game reps for our receivers in those situations in preparation for the big matchup with Texas A&M in week 3 on the 17th of September. We are onto Southern Mississippi next Saturday at noon.

Leave a Replay

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.


Hello fellow sports fans! My name is Joseph Jordan. Welcome to our page. Welcome to our website. I hope you are as deeply passionate about sports as I am. Julien and I have spent a lot of time writing our sports opinions on Facebook over the years. … Read More>>


Follow Us

Your The Sports. Your Inbox. Everyday