The Hurricanes are…Nevermind

The Miami Hurricanes are different this year! They are on a roll. This year feels different. Yeah, about that…nevermind. Mack Brown still owns you. Mack Brown is your daddy and great granddaddy at the same time. Mack Brown is your landlord and he never gives you a break on the rent. Honestly, nevermind! I am so tired of losing to Mack Brown my body is physically reacting to every loss to him now. I feel sick. North Carolina? Five years in a row? Out coached again? Are you kidding me?!? The worst part of it all is that Mack is not doing anything special. He just does what we do but better. Every single year. I am annoyed. I am upset. I am frustrated. Can he go back to television please? I liked him better on ESPN. Losing to a team 8 times in our last 11 matchups against them gets geriatric old. Al Golden and Jim Larranaga have been our most successful coaches against the Tar Heels in the last 15 years. Can you believe that? Before the season I had this game as a loss, so I don’t want to get overly carried away here. However, I did not see the game going like that. I was hoping my preseason prediction would be wrong and I hate the fact that I was right.

No blame can be assigned to a “Georgia Tech hangover” because in spite of the boneheaded mistakes Miami was making in the first half, they were playing well otherwise. If not for a fumble by Parrish at the one inch line and TVD not seeing a wide open receiver for a touchdown that ended up with us settling for a field goal right before halftime, Miami could have been up by 14 points going into halftime. I was starting to think maybe we were the better team and if we could clean up the mistakes, we could take control of the game like we did against the Aggies. The Hurricanes had a good game plan going into the game. As Tez Walker said after the game, it was clear that Miami had watched film on them and that allowed the defense to all but dominate the first half. Two of North Carolina’s first half touchdowns came off of drives that had no business ending in touchdowns because the Miami defense had them stopped dead to rights- until they didn’t. Miami always seems to be generous with giving opposing offenses second tries by charitably donating first downs with boneheaded penalties.

Then the second half adjustments of North Carolina kicked in and Miami went from looking like the better team to looking like they did not belong on the field with these dudes. UNC went on a 21-0 run before we even knew what hit us. The Canes were thoroughly out-coached in the second half and it was not even close. Drake Maye is overrated, but so what? He did not have a great game and North Carolina still took control of the game when their running attack suddenly came to life. The Tar Heels had spotted a chink in our defense’s armor and they kept attacking it by running the ball over and over again. Carolina consistently gashed the Hurricanes over and over again like Nelly and Tim McGraw. They absolutely exposed our top rushing defense in the country and carved us up like a country fried steak. The referees tried to make up for their atrocious game last week against the Yellow Jackets and actually called a lot of penalties that benefited Miami and we still didn’t make anything of it. We are so used to not having the zebras call holding against our opponent and we decided to waste the game where they finally did.

Mack Brown saw the Texas A&M film where the Aggies came after Tyler Van Dyke and got carved up. Mack Brown also saw the Georgia Tech film where Georgia Tech dropped into coverage and TVD struggled with going through his progressions and making the right reads. Mack showed some pride and faith in his front seven in the first half by letting them play ball and come after TVD. He didn’t want his guys to start the game by playing scared. They beat up Tyler like some grapes at a winery in the first half, but they were losing. TVD was off target all game. He missed some throws completely, other throws, his receivers made some amazing catches but their run after the catch was limited by TVD’s inaccuracy. Other throws, TVD stood in the paint and delivered in the face of unbelievable pressure. He threw an absolute dime to Jacolby George for a bomb touchdown knowing he was going to get crushed by a runaway freight train in the pocket. His bloodied and battered throwing arm looked like he was recovering from a surgical procedure, but it was truly a heroic effort by Van Dyke in the first half.

Then Mack Brown said, “okay we have seen enough of this” and decided to drop into coverage in the second half and the Miami offense absolutely got bogged down. Tyler struggled reading the coverages again and started throwing interceptions. He started trying to force the ball to his safety blanket Restrepo. That’s when the wheels fell off. The change in strategy stunned and disoriented our offensive line as well. Suddenly we could not handle 3 man pressures on the edge. Kaimon Rucker was cooking anyone he lined up against like roast beef and he was switching sides like a double agent. Rivers and Mauignoa both got smoked by his speed rush. Sometimes there’s a benefit to an edge rusher being barely 6 feet I guess. Big tackles have a hard time getting down there to block those little guys and UNC disrupted our offense big time in the second half because of him.

The Miami running game which had looked unstoppable all season was stopped Saturday night in Chapel Hill. When you are averaging over 200 yards a game on the ground, 91 yards is not going to cut it. Especially when the other team gets 235 yards on you after you have not allowed a 100 yard rushing game all season. Omarion Hampton had almost 200 yards all by himself. In the 2nd half he looked unstoppable and we let him look that way. I started getting flashbacks of Javontae Williams running wild in the 2020 Covid season. By the way, is this B2K generation really a thing? I am starting to see a lot of kids born in 2002 and after with the name “Omarion” and it is getting really concerning. But I digress. It was absolute Pandemonium on the field! Omarion definitely treated us like we were his “Girlfriend” Saturday night by running all up in our defense. Okay, that was the last B2K joke. I promise.

Meanwhile, the Miami running attack has looked basic and uninspired in the last two games. Where is the counter?? Where is the outside zone..? Like that anonymous girl screaming in the background of that “Calling for You” song on the new Drake album….”can we mix it up?!?” Yeah the oxtail and the jerk chicken was fire the first few weeks, but we can’t eat that everyday. We need more variety. That inside zone from the gun is so predictable and easy to scheme against that teams are shutting down our run game in pass defensive looks. Here is the blueprint: show a light box pre snap and crash down after the snap on 1st and 2nd down. Drop and play coverage on 3rd down. Miami will struggle often and punt a lot. That’s the recipe for beating us now and everyone knows it. Until The U adjusts, you will continue to see that dish on the menu moving forward.

North Carolina running back Omarion Hampton (28) runs between Miami cornerback Te’Cory Couch, left, and linebacker Corey Flagg Jr. (11) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

The Miami passing defense does not get a pass from me after their performance in this game. They made Tez Walker look like Jordan Addison last night. Is he really that good? Maybe he is, but I am still unsure of it because Miami had so many defensive busts in coverage on Saturday night. Guidry calls Cover 4 (quarters coverage) and the safeties instead of taking deep responsibility crash down to double underneath routes leaving Jaden Davis on island and with a shorter 5’10” frame, he misplayed the accurately thrown ball which went over his head for a touchdown.

Most of the adjustments North Carolina’s passing game coordinators made in the 2nd half led to coverage mistakes that we saw in that final drive against Georgia Tech last week. These mistakes are surprisingly being committed by our safeties who we know are physically gifted and watch a lot of film. Kinchens and Williams are always quarterbacking the defense telling guys where to be. They are extensions of the coaches on the field but is there voracious film watching leading them to be easy to game plan against because they often think they know the play that is being run and can get tricked by that? It seems like Williams and Kinchens are relying on predicting what the plays are instead of just playing sound fundamental football within the scheme. It’s time for them to get back to basics. It got so bad against North Carolina that Coach Cristobal declined a holding penalty to force 2nd and 30 and potentially take UNC out of field goal range because he was afraid of giving the defense two opportunities to screw up and give away a big play or commit a penalty that gave UNC another cheap first down. Surely, the defense could handle executing one 3rd & 20 right? Nope! Easy touchdown for the opposition. Tez Walker made us look like barbecue chicken once again. Wooooosahhhhh!!!!

So now here we are two weeks removed from allowing ourselves to believe in the highest possibilities for the season and today we are inevitably confronted with the evidence before us that tells us the fact that this team is not as good as we thought they were. Let me channel my inner Dennis Green and say, “NOW IF YOU WANT TO CROWN THEM, CROWN THEIR A$$! BUT THEY AREN’T WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!” The Miami Hurricanes’ early season success now looks like a product of a soft schedule to start the season and it may all be falling apart now that conference play in the ACC has started. This  is a familiar script from the lore of seasons past. Once again we start conference play 0-2 against two former Coastal division foes who have had our number more than we care to admit over the past 20 years. I am so tired of losing to Mack Brown and North Carolina but….nevermind. I am beyond frustrated with getting dominated by Dabo and Clemson. Yet, it gets no easier next week with Clemson coming to town. If Miami loses that game, look out! We could be staring another 7-5 season dead in the face with the game against Louisville being a make or break game for our recruiting class and for our prospects moving forward.

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