3-3. It’s not what we expected and it could be better, or worse.
It could be worse because Miami hung on against North Carolina, a game that could have easily gotten away from the Hurricanes after an onside kick recovery by the Tar Heels with less than a minute to play in Chapel Hill. It could be better if the Canes offense could have found a way to beat an upstart Kansas St. team at home and overcome costly mistakes in the season opening loss at Maryland.
If it wasn’t for an under performing defense at Virginia Tech, the University of Miami has a 4-2 football team on its hands. If wasn’t for an under performing offense against the Wildcats on the last possession from the Kansas St. two yard line, UM could be looking at a 5-1 record, being nationally ranked and being in the thick of an unpredictable ACC race.
The lack of consistency has plagued this team for the last few seasons and it doesn’t appear to have gotten any better. Head coach Al Golden has his work cut out for him moving forward, building and molding the type of team he envisions in Miami.
I promised you a report card, so let’s get started. Offense is first.
QB – Harris has finally turned the corner and I expect to see more performances turned in like he’s had in the last three weeks. He’s 82-of-122 for 1104 yards, 12 TDs and three interceptions. Harris has benefitted from new OC Jedd Fisch’s coaching, getting the ball into the playmaker’s hands, checking down and throwing the ball away. Harris has been exceptional at the line of scrimmage, getting UM out of bad plays and into good ones more often than most realize. He’ll end up cementing himself among the best UM QB’s of all time statistically and should be fun to watch in the final six or seven games of his career in Coral Gables. GRADE: B+
RB – Sophomore Lamar Miller has delivered, rushing for 706 yards and five TDs. He’s averaging 6.4 yards per carry and should reach the 1000 yard mark in the next few games, being the first Miami ball carrier since Willis McGahee in 2002 to achieve the mark. Miller is an explosive back and I see no reason why he shouldn’t continue to rack up yards on the ground. Junior Mike James has rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns, but he hasn’t been towing the line like most expected in preseason. Sophomore Eduardo Clements has shown outstanding burst when he’s gotten his five chances, rushing for 40 yards and a score. GRADE: A-
WR – This unit is perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the season thus far. Senior Travis Benjamin has hauled in 24 catches for 346 yards, with a long of 77 yards, scoring three times. He’s also punt and kick returning for the Canes, averaging 22.5 yards per kick and 14.2 yards per punt return. Junior Tommy Streeter has made his presence felt, catching 18 passes for 332 yards and five touchdowns. Sophomore Allen Hurns continues to impress, receiving 18 balls for 286 yards making three trips across the goal line. True freshman Phillip Dorsett has six catches for 70 yards and senior LaRon Byrd has disappointed, only bringing in four passes for 41 yards. GRADE: B
TE – Tight end isn’t performing as most expected. Redshirt freshman Clive Walford has nine catches for 89 yards and had a touchdown catch called back due to an offensive formation penalty. Walford has shown the most promise, although sophomore Asante Cleveland shouldn’t be forgotten, even though he’s struggled. Senior Chase Ford is mostly a blocker now having caught three balls for 34 yards. GRADE: C-
OL – The Miami offensive line has paved the way for Miller to rank 11th nationally in total rushing. Despite Miller’s success, they only rank 56th nationally in total rushing. The Hurricanes are tied for 37th in giving up 9 sacks through six games. Even though Harris has had success throwing the football, Miami ranks 66th in the nation in passing offense. As a unit, they’ve committed untimely and costly penalties, costing the offense scoring opportunities in close games that could have been won.
Individually, T Seantrel Henderson is finally getting snaps, coming off a back injury suffered in the weight room over the summer. He should provide some much needed stability to the line in the final six games. Redshirt freshman T Jon Feliciano shows promise, but he’s guilty of committing some drive-killing penalties. No one else has really stood out. GRADE: C+
Follow Michael on Twitter