End of Misery

The great Pat Riley once said “there’s winning and then there’s misery.” Putting those 5 inconsequential wins aside, this entire season felt like misery. Keeping true to that miserable form, the Miami Hurricanes season ended with a thud last week Saturday as we were all humanely put out of our misery. Unfortunately, to get off this terrible ride of a season we had to watch this team struggle once again to score points or stay competitive in a game against a Power 5 team. Pitt joined the long list of teams this season to put up 40+ on us on the scoreboard. Thanks to a 4th quarter rally (rally is hyperbolic in this context) we were able to put up 13 points and get into double digits on the scoreboard. There was a debate as to whether a bowl game and the extra weeks of practices afforded by that game would be beneficial or would it be better to just end the season and just get back to the only thing, we seem to be good at for the moment, which is offseason talent acquisition talk in recruiting and transfer portal matriculation. I was able to talk myself into being happy either way. Once it was clear that Pitt was going to dominate us at home, I checked out emotionally and immediately got into offseason mode.

Fairwell to Seniors and Transfers

You never want to see the seniors who have put so much effort into the program leave on such a low note, but senior night was truly a depressing affair. All hype and hope for potentially winning that game left the moment TVD got knocked out of the game and that was after he had thrown a near pick 6 on the previous possession after driving the offense into the red zone. I don’t recall any recent seasons when we went into games against other average ACC competition, and we knew for a fact that we had no chance before the coin toss. That was the misery we went through for all of this season and it is a feeling that I never want to have again as a fan.

With that said I would like to thank Peyton Matocha, Lucious Stanley, Will Mallory, Ousman Traore, DJ Scaife, Waynmon Steed, Caleb Johnson, Sam Brooks, Mitch Agude, Antonio Moultrie, Devon Perry, Isaiah Cashwell, Clay James, Lou Hedley, Al Blades Jr, DJ Ivey, Robbie Prosek, Jared Griffith, Jake Hoffman, and Bryan Levine for their contributions to the program. I would also like to thank Gilbert Frierson, Avantae Williams, Allen Haye Jr, Elijah Roberts, Thad Franklin Jr, and Jalen Harrell. I wish them all the best in their future endeavors with their new teams. I want to thank them for all the sacrifices they made for the program, and I hope they can go be great and continue to chase their dreams moving forward.

2016 Freshman Class

That Swag ‘16 class gave us the magical 2017 season and it felt like the momentum from that year led us to the Strom ‘18 class that would change the program moving forward for sure. Names like Lorenzo Lingard, Brevin Jordan, Nesta Silvera, Mark Pope, Jarren Williams, Al Blades Jr, Brian Hightower, Cam’Ron Harris, Gurvan Hall, Gilbert Frierson, Will Mallory, Dee Wiggins, DJ Ivey, Patrick Joyner, Greg Rousseau, Jordan Miller, Realus George, Bubba Baxa, Cleveland Reed, and Marquez Ezzard sounded like names that would be future Canes legends and would carry the torch forward and return the program to prominence.

The city of Miami threw a major party when that class was signed but the program never took the major leap forward that we thought that class would provide. This is not a unique occurrence to the 2018 recruiting class, so I am not singling them out for that reason. I am mentioning them because now all those players who were covid season seniors have essentially exhausted their eligibility and have aged out. So now it affords us the opportunity to look back at their impact on the program as we look at it through the lens of the ones who have played their final collegiate game. It’s even more emotional and final when you think about the fact that this was the last football game that many of them will ever play after playing the game that they loved since their early childhood years.

A Look at the Future with Mario at the Helm…

Now we have to trust Mario to make the right decisions moving forward. Mario is a CEO type of coach. He is a conventional coach that is not known as an elite X’s and O’s guy. He is a “my Jimmies are better than your Joes” guy. Mario can’t win with less talent by scheming them up ways to be successful like other coaches. He likes to punch you in the mouth with guys who are bigger, stronger, faster than your guys. Cristobal likes to run the same plays and let you know that he is running the same play, but it doesn’t matter because there is nothing you can do to stop his team. In order do that you need your team to be loaded with talent at every position and have Mariana trench level depth across the board. Mario needs an army of blue chips and 5 stars to win. There is nothing wrong with that. However, we need to be honest with ourselves about this. It is going to take time to build up the program that way. Next season could play out very similarly to this season because it’s very optimistic to expect a team full of new talent and freshmen to take the college world by storm a few months after their high school commencement ceremonies.

Mario needs to do a top-down re-evaluation of his staff as well. It is true that we did not have enough talent on their roster to compete for national championship or ACC title. It is also true that Miami had enough talent to not lose to Middle Tennessee State. Blaming the lack of talent due to overrated Manny Diaz recruits just does not fly as an argument for why we couldn’t score a single touchdown against Virginia in a four-overtime game when Manny’s recruits scored a bunch of touchdowns against Virginia last year. Not to mention that some of those overrated Manny recruits were players that Mario was recruiting to Oregon as well. Avantae Williams was a late flip from Oregon to Miami and was the second ranked safety in his class with 4.4 speed in the 40 yard dash. Last season Manny’s overrated recruits blew out Duke. So, what changed this season that allowed them to lose by 21 to Duke and turn the ball over 8 times in the process. We lost to a 5-7 Texas A&M who had half their team out injured or suspended when we played them. We struggled with Southern Miss in the first half and couldn’t complete many passes against them. We couldn’t score with any red zone passes against Bethune Cookman. All were worries that I had initially, and they ended up being legit concerns that playes out over the course of the miserable season. Mario needs to flip the talent on the roster but also revamp his staff as well. Especially on offense. Let the 2023 offseason begin.

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