Florida State Week

The Miami Hurricanes finally had a good week in the fall 2022 season. A hard-fought win over the lowly Virginia Cavaliers where no touchdowns were scored would typically not be much to celebrate, but considering how the season has gone thus far, I am just happy the Canes got the win! It was a defensive struggle throughout and Jake Garcia did not have a great game, but Henry Parrish carried the load, and we were in a position to win in come from behind fashion in four overtimes. The game in regulation was a bit of a snooze fest. It reminded me of an old school SEC matchup with the defenses dominating the day. The extra time sessions turned out to be quite riveting though.

New Recruit!

Mario also shocked the world on 10/27/2022 by picking up the verbal commitment of the #1 cornerback in the 2023 class Cormani McClain. All signs pointed to Cormani picking the Florida Gators. He plays up in Lakeland, Polk County, which is undoubtedly Gator country. Corey Raymond is a master recruiter for UF, and the Gators were putting on the full court press. All of the intel pointed to the University of Florida picking up the commitment of Cormani, especially considering how poorly the Miami Hurricanes have performed on the field this season. Sports outlets had pre-written articles about Cormani picking the Gators and 247 Sports even posted a video breaking down Cormani picking UF after he already chosen not to go there.

Many of us did not even bother to tune in because it was a foregone conclusion that Miami was out of it. Yet still, the U hat was the one that Cormani put on and a Miami Hurricanes graphic edit is what was tweeted out on social media.  When he put on the hat and never took it off then threw up the U with his hands, jaws hit the floor all around the state of Florida and all across the nation as well. It was not a troll job, the #2 player in the country had truly picked Miami over SEC powers like Alabama and Florida. Somehow Coach Mario was able to out recruit Napier despite the bad results his team has achieved on the field. This proves what we already knew to be true. Coach Cristobal is a master recruiter. Now we have to wait and hope that he can keep the rest of the class together and then develop them once they arrive in Coral Gables and get enrolled into the program.

Seminole Week!

This week is the annual showdown with the Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock stadium. It is a big-time rivalry week. You can throw out all of the stats and records from the nearest window, they matter little whenever the Noles and Canes line up against each other. So far this season the resurgent Seminoles have looked like the clear better team but rest assured that Miami will be up for this game. Many of the players have grown up together and played together since they were children and the intrafamily rivalries are deep and emotional in this fixture.

No one wants to hear the trash talking from their friends and family that occurs at the expense of the losers of this game. So, while Miami has looked inept versus Duke and Middle Tennessee State at home, I expect a much better effort out of the Canes on Saturday. I may be the only one on the planet who believes that the Canes can actually win this game. However, I do sincerely give the Canes a 50/50 shot. The Seminoles should not have won last year, especially considering that Miami was the much better team and FSU was down to a 4th and 14 play that they improbably converted. Crazy things happen when FSU and UM play a primetime matchup and I suspect this weekend will be no different.

Bring Back Van Dyke!

With that said, for us to have our best chance to win, we need Tyler Van Dyke to be the trigger man. Jake looks like he is being coached to be very safe and conservative due to his propensity to throw interceptions in practice and in the games. Because he is constantly thinking about protecting the ball, I do not know that Jake has the mastery of the playbook and reading defenses necessary to just let it rip instinctively. As a result, Jake Garcia’s play looks very tentative and unnatural, which limits his production and inhibits the offense from being efficient. Jake also either lacks confidence in himself and/or his receivers to make certain throws, as evidenced by the last play in the 4th OT when Jake had Khalil Brantley wide open for the game winning two-point conversion and he preferred to run it in himself for the win. I agree with Jake’s choice and was happy that he decided to run it in.

In all honesty, based on Jake’s play in the past two weeks, I did not trust him to make the clutch throw in that spot and I am also not 100% sure that Khalil would have made the catch. Khalil looked like they had run that play one hundred times in practice and every single time he was open, the ball came to him, but was surprised that in the game with live bullets whizzing by overhead, Jake decided to keep it himself. I was holding my breath until Jake turned the corner and crossed the ball over the pylon for the game winning score. It was the better choice to run it in, but considering Jake’s lack of speed and mobility, it by no means was running the safer choice. Nevertheless, Jake scored, and we won, and I was excited to celebrate our first win over a power 5 team. Hopefully, Miami will have Tyler back and ready to go against FSU on Saturday. Especially with Xavier Restrepo back from injury.

A Win is a Must!

If the Canes do not do anything for the rest of the season, they need to beat the Seminoles! This is a must win game for bowl eligibility as well. Bowl game practices are very important for a program that is rebuilding like Miami is. All will be almost forgiven if Miami can knock off their blood rivals. I do have major concerns about this offense still because Gattis eight games in still does not seem to be able to design or call any plays that result in touchdowns when we enter the red zone. This offense is not very innovative, and it is easy to defend mesh concepts that aren’t three level or deep go routes and deep posts. That seems to be the entire route tree of the play calls being made in this offense.

There is not much use of the running backs in the passing game and the middle of the field is often left without being attacked as well. This offense is not geared to our skill player’s best attributes and I would hope that this upcoming game against the Seminoles is the best play calling game from Gattis this year. Key’Shawn Smith and Jaylen Knighton were absolute studs for Miami last year and now they are completely invisible in this Gattis offense. I find it hard to believe that both of those guys suddenly forgot how to play football. Key’Shawn has shown his worth in the kickoff return game. He can do the same things in our offense if we can formulate ways to get him open in space. I would not be surprised if those guys hit the transfer portal in the offseason.

Offensive Coordinator on the Move?

I have heard lots of rumors about Gattis leaving for a head coaching job and I say to that good riddance. I was not in love with the hire, and I am certainly not in love with the results on the field so far. Virginia made lots of adjustments to make their offense more productive in the second half and Miami just kept running the same stuff that Virginia had seen us run on film all season. They were clearly ready for all of our predictable calls in the running and passing games. Hopefully, Cristobal’s next hire will be an air raid Mike Leach or Lane Kiffin type offensive disciple. The spread offense is the way to go with our athletes. The power scheme that Cristobal loves so much is not conducive to the talent that we have on this roster currently. Even Alabama is now running a spread offense. It is time to get with the times. However, first things first. It is FSU week. So the Canes need to beat FSU!

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