Monday, September 15, 2014

Nebraska Hate Week

Boy oh boy do I hate me some Nebraska.

Since this is an historic rivalry more than anything else, let’s start this by looking at the history.
As we all know, Miami won their first national championship following the 1983 season, beating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl in a massive upset. Kenny Calhoun knocked away a 2 point conversion attempt that would have put Nebraska ahead with less than a minute to play.

Had Nebraska merely kicked the extra point, they would have finished undefeated and still been awarded the title. So for years people have been gargling the Tom Osborne juice, celebrating the “courage” that it took to go for 2 in that situation.

I get it, it was ballsy. Hard to hate the guy for that decision alone. What I really hate, however, is the way it is talked about and the overall attitude it reflects.

First of all, courage is volunteering to serve in the military while the country is at war. Courage is running in to a burning building while others are running out. Tom Osborne deciding he wanted to go for a win instead of a tie so he could nail another pelt to his mahogany walls while wearing some, admittedly, *killer* red chinos? Well, I wouldn’t necessarily put that on the same level. So spare me the deifying, Nebraska fans.

Nice pants.
Second of all, Nebraska fans think that they are God’s effing gift to football. They brag about how they have sold out 3 million consecutive home games, and how on Game Day the stadium becomes the 2nd largest city in the state, and how they support their team through thick and thin.

Newsflash: Nebraska is the WORST. And I don’t mean the university. I mean the state. It is literally a giant farm and Warren Buffett. That’s it. And I get the rustic beauty and the true *America-ness* of it all. I love the God damned Chevy and Budweiser ads during the Super Bowl just as much as the next guy. But as someone who has lived in his fair share of small towns, I can personally tell you there is NOTHING to do there. Nebraska is like the Green Bay Packers of college football. OF COURSE THEY SELL OUT EVERY WEEK. There is nothing else to do. I know that this seems obvious and on the nose but I am not sure I am doing an adequate job of conveying the depression and desperation that comes with living in these places. You get to a point where you will look for literally ANYTHING to do to be around people and feel some sort of meaning in your life. Nebraska selling out every football game is like a drug dealer going to an NA meeting and bragging about clearing out his entire inventory.

Really, Nebraska’s fanbase is a bunch of lonely red-staters (coincidentally?)  wearing freakin’ plastic corn cobs on their heads unironically. It would be pathetic if I didn’t feel kind of bad for them.

Third of all, back to Tom Osborne. They paint this dude as Vince Lombardi if he exhausted Clive Owen’s entire supply of liquid cocaine from The Knick.  They elected this dude to the U.S. Congress when he retired; I guess they thought he was they sort of guy who could coach up this country.

After leaving Congress, he was their  Athletic Director until 2012, and is still pretty much Nebraska’s version of the Turkish or Pakistani army; the silent hand, the menacing hook sitting just off stage, ready to yank back the current coach/stooge on stage at any moment, installing martial law in his stead for a transition period before the next figurehead gets propped up.

The worst.
Osborne was part of a generation of coaches…your Joe Paternos, your Lou Holtzes, your Bary Switzers, your Gene Stallingses, your Jackie Sherrills…who yammered on and on about being leaders of men (Osborne even wrote a book about it) and developing these kids into real adults and looking down at Jimmy Johnson and Miami, who did it a different way and had no interest in pretending otherwise.

Look, Osborne’s teams might have been paler in complexion and worn suits and ties in their team photos, but they were WORSE than anyone else in the country, and the same could be argued for any of those other dudes.

To wit: in 1995, Tom Osborne assembled arguably the greatest college team of all time. They killed everyone. Tommie Frazier, Lawrence Phillips, the famed “Blackshirts” defense at its peak…they were amazing. Here are some of the guys that were on that roster:

·         Lawrence Phillips, the Heisman hopeful running back, who dragged his girlfriend down the stairs by her hair. This would NOT be the first of Lawrence’s legal issues.
·         Christian Peter, leader of the defense, had 8 convictions in 7 years (a remarkable efficiency rate) with the law during this time at school, most notably SEXUAL ASSAULT and grabbing a woman by the throat. Sidenote: AFTER all this Peter ended up getting drafted anyway and 3 different teams gave him a shot. Moral: talent is all that matters. Time is a flat circle.
·         Riley Washington, running back , stood trial for second degree MURDER during the season
·         Tyrone Williams, cornerback, stood trial for felony weapons charges

Osborne didn't discipline Peter. He didn't discipline Phillips. He said it was too important for them to have team structure in their lives...never mind the raping and woman abusing.

So yeah, Osborne TOTALLY wasn’t just the same old rich white guy asshole as every other coach in college football. He TOTALLY did things the right way. Real leader of men, developer of character, all in all good guy. Build this man a statue…he did it the RIGHT WAY. So effing courageous!!!

Tom Osborne is essentially Bud Kilmer.

Miami has beaten Nebraska for the national title three different times, including in 2001. Since then, both teams have been on a long downward spiral into mediocrity after collectively running the sport for the better part of 3 decades. Who knew?

Nebraska currently has mongoloid Bo Pelini running the show. Greg Schiano, the biggest meathead coach to ever meathead coach, likes the cut of Bo Pelini’s jib. Bo Pelini and Bret Bielema are destined to co-head coach a Division 3 program together some day. They will singlehandedly make the University of Wisconsin – Stout a powerhouse, playing real “hard nosed, smash mouth, grown man” football.

This dude would love nothing more than to make his star running back do 100 up-downs as punishment for having the balls to suffer a concussion. When Mike Leach locked Craig James’ kid in the closet, Pelini couldn’t figure out what the big deal was. And, knowing Pelini’s brain capacity, he still doesn’t understand why The Pirate was fired for it. The only thing missing is a widespread outbreak of Staph Infection in the Nebraska locker room.

There are really 2 names to know for Nebraska: Ameer Abdullah and Randy Gregory.

Abdullah is the Big 10’s Duke Johnson. Explosive guy, can do it all, and really only needs a small hole to go the distance (that’s what she said?). He hasn’t been as great through 3 games as we all thought, but that is really more a function of his offensive line than anything else. Sounds familiar.
Gregory is a nightmare of a defensive end that will probably break someone in half. He missed a couple of games hurt but should be good to go for our game. Which is great, because our offensive line has been MISERABLE.

The game plan is to make their running quarterback stay in the pocket and beat us with his arm. The run defense needs to limit Abdullah. And the offense has to stay out of 3rd and long, because that is when Nebraska will pin its ears back and attack our right flank, which is made of balsa wood.

This game is essentially Louisville all over again. We will learn something about the mental makeup of this squad on Saturday night. Will the coaching staff handcuff the offense again? Will the defense play 4 solid quarters? Will Pelini and Golden sumo at midfield?

Time will tell. In the meantime, get your hate on.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Arkansas State Hate Week

Know what I hate most about Arkansas State? The feeling of impending doom.

This is the “little brother” school in the state of freakin’ Arkansas, is on its 5th coach in as many seasons, and has a “Red Wolf” for a mascot. Whatever the F that is.

Their greatest hope every year is to win the Go Daddy Papa John’s Humanitarian.com Bowl…and yet they have a very reasonable hope of beating us in our own place this weekend.

Arkansas is the West Virginia of the Southeast. Sure, it is pretty and you can find decent people there, but mostly it is a bunch of methed out Bible thumpers with this weird college football superiority complex based in…pretty much nothing.

The University of Arkansas has a fan base that makes our chinstrap beard-wearing, ear pierced, Pitbull worshipping hordes look intelligent and sane…so I guess by default I don’t hate Arkansas State that much, because WOW look what they could be.  Dodged a bullet on that one.
I honestly am kind of out of shit to talk about here.

Their campus is in Jonesboro. Far as I can tell the most interesting thing about Jonesboro is the 1931 Church War, when the National Guard was called in to stop a battle between the followers of Joe Jeffers and a pastor named Dow H. Heard. I know nothing about this other than what I just read on Wikipedia…but any dude named Dow probably deserved to lose that war. On the other hand Joe Jeffers makes me think of Warren Jeffs, so maybe HE deserved to lose that war.

What the shit am I even talking about at this point?

Arkansas State’s most famous alumni include Cleo Lemon and Fred Barnett (as a Dolphins fan I say F both these guys) and Mike Beebe, the current Governor of Arkansas. This guy seems like he is actually a pretty decent Governor who steered Arkansas pretty well clear of the financial crisis, arguably even more so than Rick Perry did in Texas despite far less notoriety.

I literally Googled “Mike Beebe Scandal” and one of the results pages said “No controversys (sic) have been entered for this representative”. I gave up right after that. Maybe this dude loves hookers and blow. I hope he does. But I guess I will probably never know.

This is easily the most boring Hate Week I have ever done. If I can’t even come up with something mean to say about a sitting Southern governor, maybe it is time for me to stop.

Arkansas State has a running quarterback and a quick hitter offense that masks their greatest weakness, their young offensive line.

On defense they return 11 starters, so that whole thing where we blow at converting 3rd downs (3-23 through 2 games)…yeah that’s not changing. Get ready for the excuse making.

Arkansas State just played Tennessee over the weekend. Tennessee won 31-17 but it wasn’t pretty. I honestly think we could be in a bigger world of shit, because at least one side of the ball at Tennessee knows what it is doing (the offense). More than I can say for us.


I hate this game.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

FAMU Hate Week

This week we take the Hate Show back to Miami, where the ‘Canes face off with the Florida A&M Rattlers.

Honestly, it is hard to muster up a lot of emotion about this one. Most of my hatred is of the “self-loathing” variety this week, as the reality of spending another fall rooting on college football’s equivalent of the Italian Navy settles in.

However, I’m gonna give it a go. I am going to put my fingers in the best possible position to win so that if they mess up, at least they mess up while playing aggressively. In that way, I am very much unlike Al Golden, James Coley and Mark D’Onofrio.

FAMU, or as I like to call it “Florida State’s Best Recruiting Tool”, is located in Tallahassee. They are known for having a decent FCS squad, although not one that will ever challenge the North Dakota States and Appalachian States of the world, and an amazing band, The Marching 100.

Well, they were known for having an amazing band, but now they are known for having a band that literally hazes people to death. To. Death.

Don’t believe me? Didn’t click the hyperlink? Google it.

This band is Greg Schiano’s spirit animal.

There’s your everyday” high school cafeteria” hazing. There’s your “frat house, repressed homosexuality” style hazing. There’s your Richie Incognito “I’m a 300 pound sociopath who uses the N word a lot and wants to go full American Pyscho on your younger sister” hazing. And then there is” beating someone to death on the team bus” hazing.  

To be fair, this incident occurred back in 2011 and the current members of The 100 probably have nothing to do with it. So I don’t mean to condemn any of them when I say this, but F this school and F this band straight to hell. F them with a crab leg…they can go across town to FSU’s campus to find one.

(SOTS: Taking unsolicited cheap shots at FSU since 2008)

On the field, I know literally nothing about this team. When I typed in “FAMU 2014 roster” in to Google their basketball team actually was the first result, which is crazy, because I didn’t even fully realize they had a basketball team.

As far as I can tell, they didn’t even do me the courtesy of having a former Hurricane that transferred into their program. At least when I do this shit for Bethune Cookman I have a familiar face or two to look forward to!

What I really hate is that I fully expect that we will sleep walk through this game.

All of the bullshit Golden is talking about this week, how we need to attack downfield more, how we need to play more freshmen, how we need to get Duke the ball in space…it all sounds great.

However, I don’t expect it to happen in this game. I really don’t. I expect us to just run the ball against an obviously smaller, weaker, slower, worse team and win something like 38-14.

And even if we do, it doesn’t matter, because this team blows. We have them on the schedule merely to serve as sacrificial lambs.

Perhaps the thing that I hate the most is that I know full well what this is, but am still looking forward to it. 

You will see me going full meathead and yelling at spittle-inducing levels at the TV in the 4th quarter, because after losing 5 of the last 7, and all in blowout fashion, I have become a bully.

I have issues in my own life and need to take it out on someone weaker than me in order to make myself feel better. Might as well sign me up for The Marching 100.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Louisville Hate Week

I hate Lousiville somethin’ awful.

I hate their uniforms.

I hate their fans. A lot. Especially after sitting in a Lousiville section at that bowl game. I have lived in A LOT of the southern states. NEVER have I heard so many people make the word “well” into a three syllable word. As in: Way-yuh-ulll, y’all have to look at the stateeeyuhstiyuhcs to really understaayunnd whyyy Teddy Bridgewater ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. That last part was where I was zoned out halfway through the sentence. You get the point. 

I would rather talk to one of the famous Bluegrass State horses about football than 99% of their fans. At least Mr. Ed gets to the point in a timely fashion.

I hate that their most famous alumni is Papa John. I don’t even need to explain this one, I don’t think. F that guy and his shitty garlic sauce.

Mostly, I hate that they hired that ruthless scum bag Bobby Petrino, who is a great football coach and great God fearing man except for the following (highly recommend reading that link right there, as SB Nation did a great job of going in depth on this):

·        In 2001, left his job as Jaguars Offensive Coordinator to become OC at Auburn without informing anyone, including Tom Coughlin…the guy who had given him his job in the first place

·        After one year at Auburn, Petrino accepts the Louisville head coaching job. He then interviews with Auburn boosters for the Auburn head job, behind the back of his current boss (Lousiville AD Tom Jurich) and his former boss WHO WAS STILL THE COACH AT AUBURN (Tommy Tuberville). Petrino then lies through his teeth about it ever happening until confronted by reporters with the flight manifest for the private plane used in this whole charade.

·        Petrino interviews for multiple other jobs (LSU, Notre Dame, Oakland Raiders) over the next 2 years but maintains he has “no interest in other jobs”.

·        June 2006, Petrino signs 10 year extension at Louisville and declares he “isn’t going anywhere”. You know where this is going, right?

·        January 2007, Petrino goes elsewhere, leaving to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
·        December 2007, Petrino resigns from Falcons after 13 games VIA STICKY NOTE. That night, he is announced as head coach at Arkansas.

·        December 2008, Jurich states that he had to kick 21 of Petrino’s players out of school after he left for disciplinary reasons. Twenty Fucking One.

·        The Obra Maestra: April 2012, Petrino crashes his motorcycle. His passenger is revealed to be a 25 year old MARRIED athletic department staffer with whom Petrino is having an affair. Petrino tries to cover his tracks by asking a witness not to call 911. Arkansas participates in the cover up by saying he was alone in the crash. YOU KNOW DAMNED WELL THEY KNEW. Also, this sidepiece of his? She was a 6 at best. If you’re a multi-millionaire head coach of a football team in the football obsessed “SEC Country” (home of Unironic Jorts, Tim Tebow and Race Riots!), doesn’t that say something about the man?
·        It is later revealed that Petrino gave his mistress a gift of $20,000 (what we on the coasts refer to as “hush money”; what folks in the SEC call “the cost of doin business”). He is fired by Arkansas and never works again.

·        JUST KIDDING! Petrino coaches Western Kentucky for one season before leaving for…Louisville. Back to where it all started! Time to re-build those sandcastles and un-torch those bridges! Because, ya know…POINTS!

·        4 months into his new gig, a Lousiville starter decided to leave the program because of how big an asshole Petrino is. His literal words were “Bobby Motherfucking Petrino”. By the way, Arkansas has been shitty ever since he left, just like Lousiville was shitty for like 5 years the last time he left. Noticing a trend here? This dude leaves more cities and relationships in ruins than ISIS.

Petrino joins  Rick Pitino in the Louisville coaching family. Pitino is a great basketball coach and family man when he isn’t busy cheating on his wife in the booth of a restaurant with a woman whose abortion he later paid for.

Stay classy, Louisville.

Also, Petrino and Papa John got together and gave a monster contract to Todd Grantham to come be the new Defensive Coordinator. Listen, Grantham will forever have a place in my heart after flipping off some Gators DURING A GAME. He was just keeping up foreign relations, ya know?

But Grantham is the type of dude that gets typecast as a Sheriff or enforcer for the Dixie Mafia in a bad Johnny Knoxville caper mover. Georgia fans ran him out of town after last season. One of the reasons everyone is loading up on Georgia to win their division this year, even without the best QB in their program’s history and no surefire replacement, is because Grantham is gone.

Grantham and Petrino are already publicly feuding; Petrino apparently wants to fire him but can’t because of the massive buyout Lousiville would have to pay.

Everyone gives Al Golden crap for his kind of monotonous marketing lines and his 7 Pillars, but wouldn’t you rather have all that super generic coach-y stuff than The Petrino Way? Seriously, how long before Petrino gets caught in a hot tub with a 17 year old co-ed? Over/under is at 3.5 months.

Anyway, Petrino is crazy like a fox. His offenses always score. I have no idea what to expect from him this season, but I would bet that unless our D grew a big set of balls in the offseason, at BEST this will be a shootout. Which isn’t great for us considering we will be taking a new quarterback, on the road, at night, on national TV, against a team that mollywhopped us the last time we were on the field.

I don't know what I am rooting for more: a Miami win or Grantham to turn on Petrino halfway through the 3rd quarter, hit him with a steel chair and execute a Hulk Hogan leg drop.


Let the hate flow through you.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The 2014 Miami Hurricanes for Dummies

Welcome back to Canes football, fellow sufferers.

As we embark on yet another season sure to end in heartbreak, disaster and depression, it is time to rekindle a little write-up I have done for the past couple of seasons: The Dummy’s Guide to the 2014 Miami Hurricanes (COMPLETE WITH NEW UNIFORMS!!!!!).

Now, for those of you who AREN’T gluttons for punishment, you could probably just watch the .gif of the guy getting hit in the balls during the World Cup every Saturday this fall and spare yourself the agony of what promises to be another “rebuilding” year. For those people…and I must say, we all SHOULD be those people…stop reading now. Because this is a black hole. You do not come out once you go in. Seriously. Saturdays in the fall are lovely. There are SO many awesome things to do that AREN’T sitting on your couch and watching 12 hours of college football.

Now that I have properly disclaimed, the only people left should be the ones that HAVE to keep re-ripping open that scab on your knee that you got from diving for that softball that you knew was out of your reach but you had to go for anyway. You poor, silly, brave bastards.

QUARTERBACKS

Who’s Gone?
Stephen Morris. Not really sure that is a bad thing.

Who’s the Starter?
Good question. You see, 5th year senior Ryan Williams was supposed to be the starter during the spring. However, he blew his ACL doing pretty much nothing. So now the competition is open. He is going to try to make it back for the Nebraska game, and he was never much of a runner anyway. However, something seems cruel and inhumane about sending a kid with a non-fully functional knee into Nebraska’s hell vortex of a stadium and asking him to win a football game.

That brings us to Jake Heaps, formerly of BYU and Kansas. He got beat out for his starting job at both schools. The list of QBs who transferred to 3 different FBS-programs and were even decent? Tom Savage. That’s it. So let me get this straight. Our backup plan is a kid who has failed at 2 different schools and whose BEST CASE SCENARIO is Tom Savage? Surely not, right?

Well, that seems to be the case. Redshirt Freshman Kevin Olsen, brother of Greg, was once labeled the “chosen one” but his suspension for last season’s bowl game, and now an indefinite suspension to start this season because of a failed drug test have pretty much sunk that boat, for the time being. Sidenote: Jameis Winston was charged with sexual assault and still played, Johnny Manziel was arrested his freshman year, Nick Marshall had weed in his car this offseason; this isn’t all over yet.
The wildcard here is Brad Kaaya, the best QB recruit we have brought in since Kyle Wright in terms of skillset…and yes, that just made me shiver a little bit. God damn it. Anyway, he is tall, smart, strong-armed, mature…and yet, he is still only 18. He would have to come in and absolutely shred it in fall camp to win the starting job. But hey, I’d be into it. He’s the guy I am rooting on.

The other freshman QB is named Malik Rosier. He is an athlete with a strong arm that I would like to see get a special set of plays near the goal line to make use of his legs. But other than that, not going to play this year.

What else should you know?
That about covers it. Not exactly the same sort of excitement as we had for Morris at this time last year. Which, ya know, is concerning, given the fact that this is the most important position on the field.

RUNNING BACKS

Who’s Gone?
Maurice Hagens, the fullback. This hurts more than you think. I loved that guy. Also, Eduardo Clements. Great utility guy, great teammate, but won’t hurt much to lose him. Walter Tucker is apparently being worked at linebacker…he could be a fullback.

Who’s the starter?
Duke. Effing. Johnson.

Who are his backups?
Gus Edwards is getting good reviews. He has apparently gotten stronger and lowered his pad level. We shall see. Joe Yearby is the freshman phenom, and he gets compared to Duke. However, he missed the spring injured and isn’t exactly huge, so we shall see. The major X-Factor? True freshman Trayone “Chocolate” Gray. No one thought he would get in, but he is practicing with the team and tearing it up. If he lives up to the considerable hype, he is a big (6’2”, 215 lbs) back that can also be moved around as a receiver and Wildcat QB.  Every year we seem to have a true freshman that emerges as a key piece of the offense. Two years ago it was Duke, last year it was Coley…this year it could be Gray.

That’s it?
Yeah, hasn’t been a great run of recruiting at the position. But help is apparently on the way!

It better be.
This was supposed to be a Q&A format.

Fine. What else?
Well, we pretty much know what we are getting from Duke. When healthy, he is the most explosive player in the country and the type of guy you can build an offense around. Unfortunately, he gets banged up a lot. He has added muscle to try and alleviate some of that, but what is really needed is a reliable side kick. Dallas Crawford was the closest thing we had last year, but he is a safety now. Edwards would be the ideal foil, given his hulking size, but he didn’t run confidently last season. Yearby could very easily assume the role with a strong fall, but again, size could be an issue. The battle for RB2 will be a storyline to follow in the fall.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Who left?
Allen Hurns, the team’s leading receiver and MVP last season. He had the 3rd best statistical season for any Canes wideout ever. That is a lot of production to replace.

Who are the starters?
Well, the obvious candidates are Stacey Coley – who pairs with Duke to give Miami one of the most explosive combos in the nation – and Phillip Dorsett. Herb Waters has played heavy minutes in his career and will factor in, as will Malcolm Lewis, who looks to finally be fully healthy, and Rashawn Scott.

Any newcomers to watch?
Braxton Berrios could play from Day 1 as a slot receiver and return specialist – think Davon Bess but more explosive and actually able to catch, Phins fans; CROSS RACIAL PLAYER COMPARISON, BOOM!—if his knee is healthy following spring surgery. Tyre Brady is a man child in terms of physique and has gotten rave reviews during the summer, but is very raw. David Njoku is super athletic but, again, probably kind of raw. I imagine one of these guys will be battling sophomore D’Mauri Jones for playing time.

What is the most terrifying thing you can think of?
Ryan Moore, Lance Leggett, Sam Shields, Aldarious Johnson, Laron Byrd.
Those are all guys that had strong freshman years and looked like future stars, only to either plateau or…and this is scary…regress.

Stacey Coley is SO FUN to watch. I fall asleep every night praying that this fate is not his.

TIGHT ENDS

Who left?
Asante Cleveland. Not losing sleep over this one.

Who is the starter?
Clive Walford. He’s not fast…but hey, at least he is SUPER slow!

Walford is the type that seems to just find a way to be super open all the time. Last season he got a little case of the dropsies, so what could have been a big year stalled out for him. Still, he was second on the team in receptions, and being able to get open in the passing game AND block in the running game is a nice skill set to have.

Any other names to know?

Yes! Beau Sandland did not have the type of impact many (including myself) thought he would, but he has been in the system for a year now and should make his presence known as the primary 2nd tight end, especially if Ryan Williams ends up playing. His main challenger will be Standish Dobard. Dobard is a bull in a china shop and he is an absolute mother f*cker…which is a compliment. The issue is his conditioning. Which means that the battle for snaps here will extend throughout the season.

Wait, their names are Beau, Clive and Standish?
Yes. On the weekends they play in a British Prog Rock band.

OFFENSIVE LINE

You actually expect me to read about the OLine?
Damn straight.

Whatever. Who left?
Brandon Linder, the leader of the unit, is now a Jacksonville Jaguar. Jared Wheeler and Seantrel Henderson also departed, for the Buffalo Bills.

So who do we have?
The best player is Erick Flowers, a potential first round pick at left tackle. Jon Feliciano at left guard is a mauler and will play in the NFL. Shane McDermott is the center and the leader of the unit. Danny Isidora figures to start at right guard and the staff has loved his toughness since he got on campus 2 years ago. Taylor Gadbois is huge and is making a move at right tackle. The 2 big wild cards here are freshman studs Trevor Darling and Kc Mcdermott. Both could work their way into starting jobs in the fall, and regardless both figure to be key pieces in the rotation.

So what does all this mean?
The top 7 on our OLine is tough and talented. After that, there is a drop off. So, we need everyone to stay healthy, OR we need someone unexpected to make a move in the fall. Best bet is Alex Gall, a sophomore who looked mean and nasty in spot duty last year and has the body type to play any of the OLine positions.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Wait, before we start, answer me this: are we going to suck again?
Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe f yourself for interrupting me.

Who left?
Starters Shayon Green and Curtis Porter, as well as top backups Luther Robinson and Justin Renfrow. Also, David Gilbert and Dwayne Hoilett, but they didn’t play much. All in all, this might be addition by subtraction. Getting rid of those guys will force a lot of talented younger players to pick up the slack.

Who are the starters?
Well, you can bank on Anthony Chickillo and Olsen Pierre being the two pillars of the line at the end spots. Ufomba Kamalu will rotate in with Pierre; he has apparently made strides. The nose guard, or 0 technique, will be manned by JUCO transfers Calvin Heurtelou and Mike Wyche. They both should represent an instant upgrade, with Wyche (who weighs 350 lbs) having the higher ceiling and Heurtelou figuring in as an “unmovable object”.

Now, this is where this position gets interesting (read: nerdy). The past two classes have seen an influx of players that can bring speed and athleticism to the line. For instance, true freshmen Chad Thomas and Anthony Moten could contribute from Day 1…Thomas as an every down end that can generate pass rush, even out of the 3-4 alignment (aka Chickillo except for fast), and Moten as a strongside end in the 3-4 that can stop the run and a 3 technique tackle in the 4-3 that can beat guards up the middle. Also, guys like Tyriq McCord, Al Quadin Muhammad, Trent Harris and Demetrious Jackson all figure to contribute at the “Jack” hybrid pass rush spot, as well as on the field all together in the nickel speed rush package.

Veterans looking to make a push up the depth chart include Earl Moore at tackle and Jelani Hamilton as an end. This position still isn’t back to where it needs to be, but finally we are starting to see talented depth 
accumulate.

LINEBACKERS

Who left?
Seniors Jimmy Gaines, Tyrone Cornelius (had a truly epic final play for the Canes, getting ejected against Louisville) and Kelvin Cain. For the record, in my 1st draft of this, I completely forgot these 3 guys. That sums up their careers pretty well!

Also, in what has become an annual tradition, Alex Figueroa (projected starter) and Jawand Blue were kicked off the team for sexual battery. I don’t really want to go into it but the police report was pretty f*cked up. They join Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul and Gabe Terry as linebackers kicked off the team in the last year or so. Not great, Bob!

Who are the starters?
Well, the depth took a(nother) hit, but the starting group still looks solid.
Denzel Perryman is the best player on the defense and an absolute monster. He would fit in on any Hurricane team ever.

Raphael Kirby figures to fill one of the starting spots…he is incredibly talented but has to pull it all together.
Thurston Armbrister (he is in the same band as Beau, Standish and Clive) pretty much blows BUT he knows the playbook and his assignment and therefore will get reps. You don’t have to like it but you better get used to it.

Youngsters Jermaine Grace, Darrion Owens and Juwon Young have all gotten great reviews and will see time this season.

So who is going to step up after Perryman?
I really like Kirby and Grace’s potential for this season. Grace is really fast and instinctive…only issue is that he is a little light in the ass at 210 lbs. Same thing was said about guys like Sean Spence and Rohan Marley though, and they did juuuuust fine.

So this is a long way of saying we are screwed if Perryman gets hurt?
Pretty much.

(/knocks on ALL the wood)

SECONDARY

Who left?
The A.J. Highsmith / Kacy Rodger safety combination graduated. Both good kids from good families. Haaaaaaaving said that, they both were awful and this counts as addition by subtraction. Also leaving are Nate Dortch and Larry Hope; both were special teamers.

Who are the starters?
This is probably the deepest position group on the team.

At safety, Dallas Crawford moves back to defense. He will compete with Deon Bush…who was great as a freshman and injured as a sophomore… the talented but inconsistent Rayshawn Jenkins, and the spring’s breakout star, Jamal Carter, for the two starting jobs. Crawford and Bush are both very physical, while Jenkins is the classic centerfielder... Carter is the full package.

Freshmen Kiy Hester and Marques Gayot have also both impressed early and could make noise in the fall.
At corner, the presumed starters are Tracy Howard, who seems to have become the stud we all hoped he would be, and LaDarius Gunter, who showed flashes of brilliance last season. Also competing for the starting jobs will be ultra-talented track star Artie Burns and Antonio Crawford.

So that’s it. Your RENEWED 2014-15 Miami Hurricanes.

 I’m telling you, there’s still time to get out now.


Cheers.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

National Signing Day 2014



Hello All,

Another year, another set of high school heroes joining the program. Here are my thoughts.

I think this is the best class of the Golden Era. It has stars at the top, but is not top heavy. It has quality depth on the defensive front. It has potential franchise guys at QB, RB, LT, DE and MLB...more on that below.

I think this class has leadership, with kids like Joe Yearby, Braxton Berrios and Kiy Hester.


I think this staff gets an A for the first 11 months of this recruiting cycle, and an F for the last month. There are holes in the class at running back (lost Brandon Powell, did not close on Dalvin Cook, Sony Michel or Tavon Ross OR offer Madre London), OL (lost Reilly Gibbons at the last minute, did not have a Plan B ready to go) and in the secondary (did not close J.C. Jackson, let several local kids go without a fight, such as Juwon Dowels and Deatrich Nichols). 

I think the staff needed to close one of Kyle Rudolph, Ermon Lane and Johnnie Dixon at WR.

I think that closing Travonte Valentine at DT would have taken this class from a B+ to an A.

All that said, as usual, the Canes fan base has swung too far in a certain direction. Most of the die hards, including myself, have been very negative lately, and rightly so. However, that has clouded the judgement of many toward this class. There is a LOT of talent here. Whether it will be developed...we don't know. Whether it will be maximized...we don't know. But this is how a Canes class SHOULD look. 

National Signing Day was boring, because we did not add anyone to the class, but an early commitment does not diminish the talent. Recruiting is a fickle beast. Fans want great players to commit early, but then as soon as they do, the gleam comes off and all that matters is the next kid. I think that is regrettable.

Without further hesitation, my take on each of the guys that signed with Miami today, guys that all Miami fans should be very happy to have.

QB

Brady Kaaya (Mission Hills, CA)
Kaaya is a “leader” of this class. As soon as James Coley came over as offensive coordinator, Kaaya’s name jumped to the top of our recruiting list. Kaaya is a late bloomer, but all it took was one look at his tape to realize this was a player with the potential to be special; tall, with a frame to support more weight, and the ability to throw it with accuracy both in the medium and long passing games. He committed early on, choosing Miami over Oklahoma State. He then went to Elite 11 camps and proceeded to put on a show, rising to a Top 200 prospect and consensus 4 star almost overnight. Along the way he began recruiting his butt off for the Hurricanes, realizing that if he wants to win he needs weapon around him, on both sides of the ball…played a big part in the recruitment of Braxton Berrios over the summer.  Miami held off late surges from the hometown duo of USC and UCLA as Kaaya lead his team to a state championship and shined in the Semper Fi All American Game. Absolute stud that will square off with Kevin Olsen for the starting job in the future.

Malik Rosier (Mobile, AL)
Rosier is a developmental type at QB with nice athleticism. He is short, but that does not matter as much in James Coley’s open offense. He is a dual threat quarterback that also had a great tape at safety…I want to see him have his own package in the Red Zone from Day 1, similar to how Duke used that big white guy last season. Chose Miami over Tulane. Early enrollee.
RB

Joe Yearby (Miami Central)
Yearby, a local legend mentioned in the same breath as Duke Johnson since his days in Optimist ball, is an absolute stud. Comparison that I heard and liked was Warrick Dunn. He has been ultra productive for a long time, and has the ability to run physically between the tackles, use moves in the open field, and catch the ball out of the backfield. Broke his ankle late in his senior year and was unable to contribute to his team’s 2nd consecutive state title run, but if he is healthy and on campus he will be an absolute nightmare as a complement to Duke Johnson. Committed to FSU early but flipped to Miami when James Coley came over to the light side of the force. Early enrollee.

WR

Braxton Berrios (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Berrios is a small, incredibly quick slot receiver that could end up the best friend of Kaaya and Kevin Olsen. He played quarterback in high school but should be able to contribute right away at receiver and on special teams. He plays with a chip on his shoulder that will serve him well, as was on display in the Under Armor All American Game, where he made several big plays, including a touchdown after returning from a tweaked knee…which ended up being a torn ACL. Will most likely have to redshirt as he rehabs. Chose Miami over South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio State and Oregon. Early Enrollee.

Tyre Brady (South Dade)
Brady is a big, fast receiver (6’3”, 180 lbs) that is kind of an Urban Legend. He has been talked about for years, and yet no one has seen tape for the kid. Part of that is because he bounced around to a bunch of different schools (READ: CLEARINGHOUSE ISSUE) and at one point even moved to Texas. Apparently when he does play, he is compares favorably to Ermon Lane, the top rated receiver prospect in Florida for this class that is also from Homestead. He at one point committed to Kentucky and had reported offers from UiF and FSU, but no one really knows much about this kid to be honest. Coaches liken him to Allen Hurns, but slightly more explosive. 

Darrell Langham (Santaluces High)
Langham came into one of Al Golden’s summer camps as a little heard of prospect, and left as a Miami commit. Was also heavily chased by FSU, because at 6’5”, 200 lbs, with run after the catch ability and sure hands, what Langham lacks in name recognition he makes up for in potential. Watching his tape recalls images of Tommy Streeter almost immediately. Was a steal when the staff jumped on him, and very quickly rose to 3 star status after his commitment. Could be the most underrated player in the class when all is said and done.

TE

James Herndon (Norcross, GA)
Herndon is a big athlete at 6’4”, 230 lbs. He came into Al Golden’s summer camp with an offer from Mississippi State to his name and little else in the way of recognition, and left as a Miami commitment, and the ‘Canes staff continues to extend its reach in to Georgia. Is a big time athlete that was fast enough to get behind the National Champion Booker T Washington defense multiple times in their game; many consider him one of the biggest late risers in the nation. Could also play defensive end/JACK Backer.

David Njoku (Cedar Grove, NJ)
Njoku, another Jersey boy, is a hybrid big receiver/ Tight End that will probably grow into the same H-Back type as Herndon. Good looking athlete at 6’4”, 220 lbs, but very raw and will need a redshirt. Originally committed to Rutgers, but chose Miami over Ohio State and Penn State in the end. Hopefully turns into a Dedrick Epps – type.

OL

Trevor Darling (Miami Central)
Darling was Miami’s first commitment of the class and never wavered. He is a massive prospect who could be a mauler at guard or right tackle. Plays with absolute reckless abandon and tenacity…all the things you want in your offensive front. Dominated in practice at the Under Armor All American Game. Had offers from everyone. Early enrollee.

Nick Linder (St. Thomas Aquinas)
The younger brother of Brandon Linder, Nick is arguably the top center prospect in the state of Florida. Chose Miami early on and shut down his recruitment. Proved instrumental in landing Kc McDermott.

Kc McDermott (American Heritage)
Considered the top OL prospect in the state, McDermott is huge at 6’7”, 310 lbs and should compete for immediate playing time. The younger brother of current Cane center Shane (Who is best friends with Brandon Linder), McDermott looks to be the linchpin and leader of the future Canes offensive line. Was the best lineman at the Under Armor All American Game. Has been compared to Jake Mathews of Texas A&M, a player that will likely go in the Top 5 of the coming NFL Draft. Chose Miami over Notre Dame. Early enrollee.

DL

Trent Harris (Winter Park High)
Canes history is filled with stories like Lamar Thomas and Clinton Portis. Both men grew up in North Central Florida as fans of their hometown team, the Florida Gatas. Neither was wanted by the Gatas, so they came down to Miami and became legends. Harris is the next guy to attempt the feat. Harris is a compact (6’2”, 235 lbs) defensive end that is aggressive in getting after the ball. He is yet another player in this class that will just straight up get after the ball. Grew up a Gata fan, but committed to Miami when UiF took the commitment of Justus Reed in his place. His other finalist was Ohio State. Reminds quite a few people of Olivier Vernon coming out of high school. Early enrollee.

Calvin Heurtelou (Scottsdale C.C.)
This JUCO transfer was a surprise signee that could see immediate time as a strongside end, and possibly down the road at nose tackle. He will be a solid depth guy right away and probably step immediately into the 2 deep. Chose Miami over Mizzou and Tennessee. Early enrollee.

Demetrius Jackson (Booker T Washington)
Jackson is a super athletic defensive end prospect that had never played football before spring of his junior year of high school. After tape of his 5 sack spring game performance made the rounds, Jackson’s recruitment blew up, and kept getting bigger as he started impressing on the field, memorably dominating Georgia Norcross on national television. He committed to Randy Shannon at Arkansas before flipping to the hometown ‘Canes. His recruitment was all over the place, and several times it was rumored that he had decommitted, but the important thing is the Canes captured this high ceiling prospect. Will probably need a year to gain weight but could become a dynamic pass rushing outside linebacker. Unrelated, but had 35 rebounds in a high school basketball this season.

Courtel Jenkins (Wayne, NJ)
This was the best player at the Chesapeake Bowl All Star Game, and he has been a Cane for a long time. Jenkins is a nose tackle prospect that plays low to the ground and with good burst. Chose Miami over Ohio State, Penn State and Pitt; his production will most likely start 2-3 years down the road.

Anthony Moten (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Prototypical kid you bring in for a 3-4 look that can play end in the base package or slide inside and rush the passer on 3rd down. Much wider than I thought, and was double teamed the entire game at the Semper Fi All American Game…although that didn’t stop him from recording a sack. Was considered a Miami lean since his junior year of high school, then shocked everyone by committing to Florida. Backed off his commitment and then chose Miami over Florida State in November.  When all 3 schools in the Big 3 are on your tail, you bring something to the table. Stood next to him in line at a port-a-john after the UiF game and my buddy Trent said “can’t wait to watch you next year.” Pretty sure that’s what wrapped him up.

Chad Thomas (Booker T Washington High)
Thomas is one of the stars of this class and my favorite prospect. He is a lanky speed rusher with surprising strength, as evidenced by him pancaking Damien Papa, a 360 lb guard, at Nike’s The Opening camp. His best days are ahead of him, and he will certainly add a lot of muscle to his 6’5”, 245 lb build. The future of the pass rush is in good hands as Thomas joins Quan Muhammad and Tyriq McCord, among others, coming off the edge. Thomas is a true DE but has the versatility to play as a linebacker at times or slide inside to tackle on passing downs. Chose Miami over Louisville, FSU and Alabama; had offers from everyone. 

Michael Wyche (East Los Angeles C.C.)
Wyche is a huge nose tackle prospect that was originally committed to Ed Orgeron at USC, then flipped to Miami the day the NCAA sanctions were announced, then decommitted for 48 hours late in the process due to an ACC rule that said he hadn’t been at JUCO for long enough and needed another semester, and then decided to ride it out…this seems far from a done deal. If he makes it to campus, as 6’4”, 330 lbs he has the size to play immediately if he is in shape. Barry Jackson reported that Canes coaches feel he would have been the best lineman on the team LAST season, and therefore should figure in early. Former gang member who seems very grateful for his opportunity.

LB

Terry McCray (Pompano Beach Ely)
McCray was a productive high school player (13 sacks his senior year) whose skill set is similar to that of Mike Smith. McCray has projectable size (6’3”, 225 lbs) and will have to learn to play more in space if he hopes to become an everydown linebacker and not just a pass rush package / special teams player. Cousin of one of the great over achievers in the history of the program, Teraz McCray. Chose Miami over LSU.

Darrion Owens (Oakleaf High)
One of my favorite recruits in this class. He did 3 semesters worth of online course work in 6 weeks in order to enroll early, spending 12-15 hours a day at this computer, even sneaking in homework cram sessions during the practice week for the all star game he attended in California. This Jacksonville product has possibly  the highest ceiling of anyone in this class. He is a rangy, athletic linebacker that played safety until his senior year of high school, when he outgrew the positon. Miami fought off Georgia, Auburn and Ohio State for Owens’ services, and he should be devastating as a SAM linebacker, as his off the charts athleticism should remain intact even as Owens gets to the 240-250 lb range.  The easy comparison is Alec Ogletree but also possibly the most accurate for this type of prospect. Not ready to play right away, as he needs a lot of weight and to acclimate to the linebacker position, as was apparent at the Semper Fi All American Game, where he was unable to make much of an impact. Early enrollee.

Mike Smith (Miami Northwestern)
Smith was a pass rush specialist in high school. Miami sees him as a pass rusher whose athleticism may enable him to play middle linebacker down the road; for now, he will play the hybrid pass rush role occupied by Tyriq McCord. Smith is one of the good kind: a head nodder that wanted to be a Cane, committed early and then shut his mouth. Chose Miami over FSU, Clemson and West Virginia. The comparison most often made on the message boards is to Bruce Irvin or Vic Beasley.

Juwon Young (Albany, GA)
Young is a “southern savage”. He combines great athleticism with a hatred of ball carriers in his 6’1”, 230 lb frame. This is the type of middle linebacker that made Miami feared by all receivers going over the middle. Initial grade concerns lead to a slow start to his recruitment, but his ability was never in question. Maybe the most underrated prospect in the class. Chose Miami over UNC. Early enrollee.

DB

Marques Gayot (Park Vista High)
Gayot is a physical safety prospect from Palm Beach county. The one thing that jumps off his tape is his explosive hitting. He may be limited in his range down the road, but at worst is a solid backup that can be a core special teams guy and crack down on running backs. At safety, where depth is a MAJOR issue for this squad, that is a good thing. Chose Miami over Louisville.

Kiy Hester (Wayne, New Jersey)
Hester, a teammate of Courtel Jenkins and good friend of current ‘Cane Al – Quadin Muhammad, is one of the top safety prospects in the nation and could see early playing time. He is physical, but also very rangy…major ballhawk potential. Major upgrade, immediately, from the Kacy Rogers / AJ Highsmith duo, and will compete with Deon Bush, Reyshawn Jenkins and Jamal Carter for playing time. Decommitted from Rutgers and chose Miami over Michigan State (which is a GREAT sign).

Jimmy Mayes (Miami Northwestern)
Was a complete unknown until he came to Golden’s camp and won DB MVP for the day, making himself a 3 star prospect over night. Lanky athlete (6’1”, 170 lbs) and seems more like a glider than a sprinter, but Mayes shows playmaker ability and looks like the type that you redshirt and let develop for 2-3 years before throwing him in to live fire. Could be a corner or safety. Chose Miami over Syracuse, FIU and FAU. Early enrollee.

ATH

Trayone Gray (Carol City High)
99% sure this kid will end up in Prep school or JUCO. Gray is a sudden, explosive athlete with a ready-to-go body (6’2”, 205 lbs) that will play either receiver, running back or safety for Miami. Another player who emerged from off the radar to grab an offer, a look at his high school tape shows you an ultra athletic quarterback that has the physical abilities and frame to live up to the player he is most often compared to: Anquan Boldin. I like him best as a running back (he was a running quarterback and this is the closest thing to that), but there is no denying his potential impact at safety or receiver. Much like Darrion Owens, has incredibly high upside. Grades concern, which is probably why his offer sheet didn’t blow up.

SUPERLATIVES



5 Blocks of Granite

Kaaya – Potential franchise QB

Yearby – Leader and heir apparent to Duke Johnson

Darling – Leader, and a mauler

Mcdermott – Franchise tackle

Thomas – The Kracken, an elite pass rusher that can come from all angles

Sleepers

Gray – Comparisons heard frequently, depending on who you listen to: Anquan Boldin, Darren McFadden, Nick Marshall

Young – Just a beast of a middle linebacker who has flown below the radar

Herndon – Big, fast, athletic…all the traits you look for when you want to find your version of Eric Ebron; doesn’t hurt that he comes from a two time state championship program

Brady – Allen Hurns comparisons

Rosier – No one talks about him, but scouts seem quite enamored

Best Quotes

"The Urban Meyer thing was just funny to me. He came to my school a week after I told his assistant that I wasn't even interested in them. I told him no to his face, and it's got to be one of the top five reactions of someone ever. His facial expression was just so funny. My coach was tearing up and had to go in his office and laugh. It literally looked like a kid the first time you tell him ‘no, you can’t do something’. It looked like he was a baby about to cry. It was so funny." – Kc Mcdermott…even if he never pans out, he is a legend forever.

His tA
 “Congratulations to everyone that will officially become a Hurricane tomorrow and for those that aren’t *******” – Artie Burns …Note: Exactly 7 asterisks

“Canes haters need to cool it with that ish. Canes comin’ strong in 2014.” – Joe Yearby…you might not agree with him, but it is good to hear anyway.

“Blessed to be compared to the Miami greats, but no disrespect I’m tryna be the best DB to come out of Miami ever!! I’m working” – Kiy Hester…solid used of ‘blessed’, although more hash tag would have been nice.

“I will be attending the University of Florida State / Louisiana State University” – Too many to name…seems fitting, given their school selections.

“The bad boys of football are back. Like it or not, get ready for it.”  -Braxton Berrios…strong.

 “This ain’t a boy’s game, that’s why I made a Man’s decision. And being a Man I will always stand by my word. I’m a Cane.”  -Braxton Berrios… very strong.

“Never would have thought this growing up on 17th street…my people got something’ to be proud of…my family something’ to be proud of…UM stuck by me when I had no stars, they saw something in me, they saw the potential, and that showed out later in the season…it’s exciting man.” – Demetrius Jackson, through tears. Great moment.