WTF was THAT. One step forward, two steps back. Just when you think this team has turned a corner and is making progress they go and do that and remind everyone that it is going to take a while to right this ship. In a season filled with heartbreaking losses, last night’s 28-21 debacle against Virginia might top them all. You had mental breakdowns, unnecessary gambles, bizarre turnovers, and incomprehensible penalties. As always, we take a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:
Streeter. Wow. After dropping a sure first down to kill the first drive, Tommy had a career day with 7 catches for 176 yards and 2 scores. A couple of his catches looked like he intercepted balls that were intended for Virginia DBs. His size and speed pose a mismatch every time he steps on the field and we’re scratching our heads as to how he wasn’t utilized more the past few years. We think last night’s performance cements him as a 2012 Preseason All-ACC pick and made NFL scouts turn their heads. Couldn’t be prouder that this kid is realizing his potential.
TB3. Travis caught four balls – one being a whirlwind circus catch setting up the first touchdown – and averaged over 32 yards per kickoff return. The return game is key and lately he is constantly giving the offense great field position. He often takes angles that allow him to utilize his speed advantage and has turned into a real asset for both offense and special teams.
Defensive formations. I’m not one to second guess play calling in hindsight, but I kid you not – I was in the middle of sending a tweet that said ‘Watch out for the fa – when I heard the announcer say, “It’s a fake!” C’mon. It was a 46 yard field goal attempt (46!). You gotta at least expect the possibility of a fake. And why did we have nearly 11 people in the box on the 3rd and 2 where Virginia had no RBs in the backfield? The running back was off to the side and I screamed out ‘They’re gonna pass!’ Next thing you know, Perry Jones is scampering in the open field for a 78 yard touchdown.
The penalties. Ah, the penalties. We thought we were in the clear based on the past few weeks, but apparently not. None were more costly than the unfathomable roughing the kicker penalty midway through the 3rd quarter. The coaches have to convey that you only lay out if you are 99.99% sure you’re going to block the kick. That penalty killed momentum and ate precious time off the clock.
Offensive and Defensive Lines. Simply put, they got dominated. All game long. Even the tight ends were taking terrible blocking angles and getting beat. Virginia reeled off 207 rushing yards on 4.9 yards per carry. Miami rushed for 85 yards on 3 yards per carry. Virginia totaled 470 yards and executed their plays. Miami did not. The UM offensive line was supposed to be one of, if not the strongest unit on the team and they are playing far from it.
ESPN.com coverage. How the mighty have fallen. I went to the ESPN.com homepage this morning and a link to the Miami-Virginia recap is nowhere to be found. Granted, there was an epic Game 6 in the World Series (thankfully) to take the spotlight off our horrendous loss, but not even a link in the upper right? Moreover, if you click on the NCAA Scoreboard up top, the only score from last night is the Houston-Rice game (Houston is ranked 17th in the country). This is embarrassing. Have we sunk this low?
In some ways I kind of welcome a loss, as it slows down the Golden Love Fest in the media. We want more than anything for this guy to stick around for the near future. Maybe this helps that. I just hope the NCAA decides to impose its postseason bowl ban effective 2011, cuz it will save us from having to watch the Poinsettia Bowl in December.
Last night’s game was beyond frustrating. The missed field goal. The fake field goal. The untouched fumble. The halfback pass. The roughing the kicker penalty. The run up the middle. The tackle at the 9 yard line. The only break Miami got was when the refs blew the call on what should have been Jacory’s second fumble. This team has talent – that’s undeniable – but like the announcers said, all the talent in the world means nothing if you don’t execute.