Here are some of my thoughts and observations following Miami’s 24-19 loss at Virginia:
- Virginia is probably the worst team I’ve ever seen a UM football team lose to in my roughly 18 years of fandom. This is a team that had lost nine straight ACC games, and had only beaten one FBS team-Eastern Michigan- this season. Even without Jacory Harris for most of the game, to lose to a team that has such inferior talent speaks volumes about the job the coaching staff is doing in terms of motivating and preparing the players.
- The offensive playcalling was awful after Jacory Harris got hurt. Why not pound the ball at Virginia? There were far too many passes called and that led to the five interceptions that ultimately cost Miami the game.
- Miami’s run defense simply isn’t good enough. Virginia ran all over Miami throughout the game, and in particular the linebackers didn’t seem to play well against the run. It’s dissapointing to see the run defense regress as it has from last year to this year.
- The team played with a stunning lack of emotion, and that’s reflective of the stoicism that head coach Randy Shannon shows on the sidelines nearly every game. The team played with emotion against UNC, and it was great for the most part. Without it, they’re simply not good enough. Staring at the field for the majority of the game simply isn’t getting the job done in this case.
- The burning of Stephen Morris’ redshirt has long-term ramifications for Miami. He’ll likely start against Maryland, and assuming he plays well, he becomes the heir apparent to Jacory Harris for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Many assumed it would be Teddy Bridgewater, but Morris’ game experience might mean that he’ll get the nod, and that uncertainty and/or potential loss of playing time could push Bridgewater to re-think his decision to play at Miami.
- The ACC Coastal Division title chances appear slim for Miami as they now need Virginia Tech to lose two games, including one to Miami, and the ‘Canes need to win out. So, Miami’s focus now is more on getting to a decent bowl game. Given this, the Maryland game is crucial for UM’s bowl hopes, as a loss here could very well send UM sprialing to a five-or-six win season with a loss here with games at Georgia Tech and against Virginia Tech to follow before the home finale against South Florida.
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