Not only did Miami lose, but the did so in grandiose fashion – giving up 17 points in the game’s final ten minutes, pulling a 41-yard Greg Olsen touchdown out of thin air, not going for the onside kick with just over two minutes left on the clock and then muffing a punt after holding the Jackets to a quick three and out.
Other random ramblings on this extremely disappointing loss:
>>> The future starts now. With all due respect to head coach Larry Coker, it’s time for athletic director Paul Dee to make a move here. It’s a fait accompli that Coker is gonzo at the conclusion of this football season. The pipe dream of winning the ACC bought Dee some time after the 31-7 loss at Louisville, but the charade is over. Man up, officially let Coker go this week and then give him a chance to finish out the rest of the season. (Like UNC has done with John Bunting and like Florida did with Ron Zook a few years back).
The news has to be made official. The fans, players, future recruits and assistant coaches deserve to know the fate of this program. Everyone sees the elephant in the corner. It’s time to acknowledge it and clearly state that The Larry Coker Era ends at the final whistle after the Boston College game.
>>> Making this new official will do several things, starting with getting the matter out in the open. I can only imagine how uncomfortable things are around Hecht as Coker has to go through the motions, everyone knowing he’s gone but no one acknowledging it. Get it out in the open and let Coker coach his final four games as Miami’s head coach without that dark cloud continuously over his head.
This is also the only shot this team has at a ‘rally the troops’ type end to the season; “Win one for the Clapper.” If Coker were officially gone today, the kids would feel partially responsible and I believe it’d be a motivator. They’d want to win out, feeling they let down their coach.
If nothing is mentioned until after BC, this will be a slow bleeding death and Miami will lose 2-3 of it’s final four regular season games. The media will continue to devour Coker, the message boards/talk radio shows will continue piling on and the frustration will mount.
Conversely, announcing the firing will have the media talking about the bright spots in the Coker era and the fan base will be less bitter, knowing a change is coming in 2007. This will also force the team to play a looser brand of football as the ‘pressure’ to win will be off. The focus will be on upsetting better teams in an effort to send Coker out on a high note. Gone will be that sense of urgency where wins would offer the false sense of hope that Coker would keep his job.
>>> This harsh stance was made even more evident after Coker defending the decision to not go for an onside kick down seven points with 2:37 left in the game… especially with the new, speed-up-the-clock rules. Coker stated that he didn’t feel his senior kicker or punter could effectively execute an onside kick, feeling the best play was to hold Tech and then block a punt.
If these kids can’t execute an onside kick, who does that blame fall on? The head coach. Even in the aftermath of the poor decision, to then defend it and mention that these kids can still ‘rebound’ – I say based on what? Miami hasn’t beaten one ‘pretty good’ team this year. How can anyone truly feel these Hurricanes can take out Virginia Tech, Maryland, Virginia and Boston College? The odds of that happening are infinitesimal.
>>> The ‘trickle down effect’ is in full force. Reading these quotes, we’re seeing similar quotes from our players and NONE of them sound like vintage Miami.
>>> I am officially sick of hearing about the ‘character’ of this squad. If this bunch had tremendous ‘character’ the Canes wouldn’t be a three-loss team today. Everything was on the table against Georgia Tech and Miami blew it… again. We saw a stat Saturday stating that this was the FIFTH time in 197 games where the Canes lost when sporting a third quarter lead. You want to talk ‘character’ tell me about the Canes who were on the field the 192 games Miami WON after a third quarter lead.
I believe we have some really good kids on this team and they definitely aren’t a bunch of thugs, as they’ve been called since the FIU brawl. As a unit, though they aren’t a good ‘team’ by any stretch of the imagination. They say all the right things before and after a game, but they don’t deliver the goods on Saturday. If you truly have ‘character’ you don’t fold with everything on the line. Rashaun Jones fumbling late, Kyle Wright fumbling on offense, Lance Leggett refusing to lay out for a very catchable ball – all on a day where Miami was trying to prove itself to the world? That’s unacceptable.
>>> Miami had 14 penalties for 125 yards at Duke last weekend and they were sacked seven times by Georgia Tech in 2005. This year, the Jackets sacked the Canes six times and regarding penalties, Miami had 8 for 72 yards. The Canes needed to protect Wright and remain virtually penalty-free to beat the Yellow Jackets. They failed miserably in both categories and that’s a direct result of a coaching staff who didn’t have their kids ready to play.
>>> Why did Coker sit Javarris James late in the second quarter? I understand resting a kid for the latter part of the game, but James was the hottest hand out there at the time and Miami had a chance of going up 20-10 at the half, instead of tied 13-13. Tyrone Moss entered and lost 9 yards on two carries (lost four on 3rd and 1 and lost five on a 1st and 10.) He finished the day with 5 carries for 7 yards while James netted 113 yards on 19 carries.
These Canes NEEDED the psychological edge of leading at halftime. Letting Tech tie it put them right back in the game and gave them all the momentum.
>>> Where was James Bryant in the short yardage situations? Bryant proved games back that he was a beast when it came to blocking and that he could catch short passes out of the backfield. He also showed that he’s Miami’s most energetic and fired up offensive player. To have him on the bench was a sin. Especially when Miami failed to pick up a 3rd and 1 on two separate occasions in the first half. Putting James in a one-back set when the entire stadium knew Miami was running? That’s atrocious. If you’re running the ball, put Bryant in and let him lead block for James. If you’re going one back, don’t hesitate to throw a quick out to pick up the yard.
>>> Why are Miami’s coaches so against a delayed draw when the blitz is on? As defenders are blitzing, give it to James on the delay and let him make a move. There were times #5 was being taken down in the same moment he was handed the football.
>>> Coker didn’t challenge what proved to be an interception by Brandon Meriweather. The officials waved it off, and a few plays later Georgia Tech kicked a game tying field goal making it 16-16. This blunder will get a blog of its own as the issue runs much deeper than just that play. Stay tuned.
Regarding it’s impact on Saturday, Georgia Tech tied the game and took momentum whereas has Miami gotten the ball after the interception, they’d have led 16-13 and had the ball on the 20-yard line with all kinds of options.
>>> On a side note, when was the last time the Canes won an ‘important’ game. I don’t count last year’s 27-7 win over Virginia Tech as Miami choked the next weekend against Georgia Tech, ending their shot at winning the ACC. By ‘important’ I mean a game which propelled the Canes to something of importance. I believe the last ‘big’ game Miami won was the season finale at Pittsburgh in 2003. The win put the Canes in the 2004 Orange Bowl against the Noles (… it should’ve been a Fiasco Bowl rematch with the Buckeyes). Miami hasn’t sniffed the BCS since.
>>> Should Miami lose to Virginia Tech (or should I say ‘when’ they lose…), it’s time to get Kirby Freeman and other back ups in the game. Open up the competition. At 5-4 you are officially building for next year. In don’t believe Freeman is better than Wright, but I do believe that the moment this season is officially in the toilet, it’s time to let other kids see the field.
Preparation for 2007 starts now. Give the new coaching staff something to work with (regarding game film on back up players) as these kids could see significant playing time next season and should cut their teeth now, when mistakes will matter less.
>>> My parting thoughts to Hurricane Nation… hang in there. Like all things, this will pass. We didn’t expect this season to be the bust it is. That said, the constant complaining and piling on isn’t going to change anything. There will be a new regime in 2007. That is fact. It’d have taken an ACC title game berth to save Coker’s job. That isn’t going to happen, so take solace knowing next year will bring change. That has to be good enough now.
Look at our Florida State bretheren in Tallahassee. They are stuck with Bobby Bowden until the old man quits or dies. Whichever comes first. The Miami Rebuilding Project starts in 2007 while the Noles will experience more of the same. This will mark their six straight season with three or more losses and more are on the horizon.
Let’s all attempt to have an ounce of class here. At day’s end, things need to be said – but there’s a right and wrong way to do so. Coker has dropped the ball regarding the program, but he’s still a good man. I know that point is oft overstated, but it’s important I say that here after my rant regarding the state of the program. My frustration – like yours – is based on the steady decline and bottoming out. That’s no reason to spew venom at the coaches or players as people. Judge their on the field actions and please try to can the personal attacks.
Four more games of treading water, absorbing losses and counting down until the new regime. Take the rest of 2006 in stride and let’s try our best to quit beating that dead horse.