The Good News Is….

Southern Miss Miami Football

Considering the upsets, near upsets, and injuries that occurred across the country in college football on Saturday, taking a 23-point win with no major injuries for granted is something that I am not prepared to do at this juncture. The Miami Hurricanes are 2-0 and while at times they have not looked good while doing it, there are times where they have flashes of dominance that give the skeptics some temporary relief. For context, Notre Dame shockingly fell at home to Marshall. Texas A&M’s lack of discipline on the defensive line cost them at home against Appalachian State. Those five-star recruits in the greatest class of all time have not come of age for the Aggies just yet. Injuries plagued Pitt at home against Tennessee. Slovis went down and their backup was banged up, or they probably beat the Vols instead of losing in overtime. I personally feel Texas got robbed of 2 points when they had that safety taken off the board. But even still, #1 Alabama barely got out of Austin with their scalp on their heads after a last second kick sealed their 1-point victory.

In this era of the transfer portal with so much talent on the move, we may have to recalibrate our brains to account for the fact that there may be more parity in college football now than ever before. It’s difficult to assess with thousands of moving parts and easier said than done, but free agency in college football is here and the landscape has dramatically changed in the blink of an eye. The rule of thumb that 25 teams being clearly more talented than the other 100 institutions at the FBS level may no longer be the law of the land. With that said, we still expect and want to see greatness from our Miami Hurricanes. For better or worse, that is the standard set by this program and that is the expectation built into our fanbase.
The first half of that game was tough to watch and was definitely giving me Central Michigan circa September 2019 vibes. There wasn’t much going well. The offense wasn’t moving the ball well and the defense was getting shredded apart in the passing game by Zach Wilcke and Jason Brownlee. We heard all week about Southern Mississippi’s potent running attack and how this would be a revenge game for Canes legacy Frank Gore Jr since the previous coaching regime did not recruit him but the Southern Miss game plan was completely the opposite. Rather than pounding the ball and running a bunch of wildcat, they spread the ball out and let their trigger take shots all over the field. Rising Sophomore Malik Curtis got burned deep a few times, but that is to be expected. He’s an athlete that spent much of his high school career playing wide receiver and recently made the change to cornerback. “Weezy” as he is affectionately called by his coaches and teammates has had an exceptional fall camp and rapidly climbed the depth chart. But he is still a project that needs time to develop and in-game experience like Canes legend Sam Shields once did.

The good news is that fifth-year veterans like DJ Ivey and Al Blades Jr were in great positions to make plays. The bad news is they didn’t go out and make those plays. Wilcke had a good passing game in the first half, but he wasn’t throwing lasers or darts. A lot of his passes were lofted hangers, almost like everything was a fade route or jump ball. Rather than play the ball and attacking the ball, our guys played the receivers and waited for the receivers to attempt to make a play first. We were giving up completions on passes that should have been interceptions. That’s not usually how the Miami Hurricanes play defense. There was one frustrating play in particular where DJ Ivey gave up a sideline completion because he took his eyes off the ball relocated based on the receiver’s movements when he was already in perfect position to intercept the ball. It ended up being a spectacular catch that should have never happened. Another play was called out by the ACC Network’s analyst where Al Blades Jr. waited on a pass to drop into his hands instead of going to get the ball. It ended up being an incompletion, but the receiver came way closer than he should have ever been to making that catch. Coach Steele had to pull Blades Jr. to the side after that play. Our veterans must be more aggressive and play better if Miami is going to have a successful season.

The defense was not the only unit that struggled in the first half. The offense was lethargic as well. Miami’s offensive line was much maligned during the Mark Richt and Manny Diaz era, but the one thing that the offensive line did last season was pass block well. They were one of the best pass blocking lines in the ACC based on the numbers and it was evident because that coincided with the ascension of Tyler Van Dyke and all the points the Miami offense put up in the last 6 games last season. In the first half of Saturday’s game, I am sure that Coach Cristobal had to be irate with the lack of communication from the interior linemen when it came to passing off blocks in the throwing game. Time and time again Southern Miss had unblocked pass rushers get free releases on Van Dyke simply because of the offensive line’s scheme not being fully gelled yet and poor communication by the interior line. Corey Gaynor is now with the North Carolina Tar Heels, as such the new starting Center Jakai Clark is the field general and the responsibility of good communication with diagnosing pressures and setting up the protective coverages falls on him. We can not have those kinds of missed assignments as we move into the meat of our schedule against tougher opponents like Texas A&M, Clemson, Florida State, and the ACC Coastal division games.

Tyler Van Dyke was uncharacteristically off form in the first half of Saturday’s noon game as well. Van Dyke carries the earned moniker of “Van Dymes” for the on point accurate passes and massive arm potential first-round arm talent that he possesses, but he certainly was not dropping dimes in the first half. TVD missed reads and open receivers, forced the ball to the outside, and should have had multiple interceptions on the day if not for drops by the Southern Miss defense. It reminded me of the slow moving tentative young player that TVD was from the Virginia and North Carolina games last season as opposed to the 6-game legend that he became in the 2nd half of the season. Tyler blamed it on poor mechanics after the game. Some of the errant throws in the first half can certainly be attributed to mechanics, but some of this was mental as well. I fully expect TVD to rebound and be his dominant self next week against TAMU.

The good news is the 2nd half was much better as the coaches made adjustments, the line blocked better, the running game came alive, TVD got in rhythm, our defense gave up zero additional points, and our offense scored 27 unanswered. Miami’s physicality and run gap scheme blocking is much improved from last season’s inside zone scheme and we can lean on that running attack identity while we are waiting for an outside receiver to step up and fill the void that Rambo’s departure created. Texas A&M’s run defense so far has been poor, so expect a lot of Parrish and Franklin on Saturday in primetime. Let’s also hope that Jaylen Knighton’s hamstring is fully healed by then, I have a feeling that we will need the Rooster to cock-a-doodle-doo just a little bit to secure the win in that fixture. Go Canes!

Leave a Replay

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