The Truth’s Report Card: Miami vs. Ohio State
The following article was contributed by the beloved EOTH blogger, “The Truth”
After a tough loss no one wants to hear about why things happened or how things went down. Nope. People just want to know whose fault it was and how quickly that guy can be replaced.
After a loss the QB sucks, the coach is a moron and fans can be heard jumping off the bandwagon from here to California. There is something that most casual fans do not understand…
Football is a process. A process that starts the day you look behind a facemask for the first time until the day you hang up your cleats. Each practice and every game presents its own set of challenges and with each of those challenges comes another opportunity to get better as a player and coach.
On Saturday the Miami Hurricanes played their biggest game in the last seven years against the Ohio State Buckeyes (I would have written suckeyes or, better, buttguys but I do not want to sound like a sore loser). While the outcome was not exactly what we all hoped it would be, it did give us the opportunity to see how far this team has come since 2007 when Randy Shannon took over as head coach. No matter how they graded out Saturday, this is an opportunity to improve as players individually and as a team…coaches AND fans included.
I saw a team that IS better. That has gotten bigger, faster, stronger and most importantly, more mature (well, aside from a tweet sent before game time…but that’s a blog for another day). I saw a team that, minus the turnovers, was ready to go toe to toe with ANY team in the country.
I intend to grade out the team honestly and with as much respect to the players and their efforts as possible. However, I want to make it clear that I am not taking this as an opportunity to bash any player. This is an honest critique from my perspective and hopefully will give better insight into how the outcome of this particular battle came to be. I do not think anyone should be fired, benched or burned on a cross as a result of the Ohio State game. I hope this game provides the players and coaches with the information they need to become better football players from here throughout the rest of the season.
All of these kids battled, did the very best they could and worked hard to win this football game. But the challenges put forth by a top 2 team, on their own home turf, by a Heisman hopeful quarterback and stout defense proved to be too much.
Part 1 of this report card will cover Offense and Defense.
With that said…
Jacory Harris was, in a word, awful. His decision making as a junior QB was atrocious on 3 of his 4 INT’s. The opportunities were there and Harris did not deliver. Travis Benjamin did bobble a sideline pass that resulted in the 3rd of Harris’ 4 picks, but the decisions Harris made on the other 3 INT’s put his team in an impossible position for a positive outcome. His throw to Damien Berry on the Ohio Taint 6 yard line that was intercepted by Cameron Heyward was only half as bad as the decision to throw to Benjamin in Miami territory when TB3 wasn’t even looking at him.
Harris also seemed to lack confidence in what he was seeing from the OSU defense. His balls floated as he overthrew and under threw receivers on several occasions. A junior quarterback, starting his second full season under the same offensive coordinator at the University of Miami should be expected to play much better than Jacory did. The blame isn’t all on Jacory’s shoulders, however.
The WR’s for Miami dropped, according to Randy Shannon, 9 balls in another dismal effort by what is supposed to be the deepest, most prolific group if receivers in the country. TE Chase Ford caught a touchdown pass, but Aldarius “Glue Hands” Johnson dropped a sure TD after a decent hit on what was Miami’s best drive of the day.
Even when Jacory was throwing the ball well, bad things were happening. Whipple and the players failed to adapt to the different defensive looks the Buckeyes were giving them and instead of reacting, the players were over-thinking their every move on the field.
The running backs and offensive line did an adequate job, minus some untimely and annoying penalties by Harland Gunn and Jermaine Johnson and a physically dismal effort by Tyler Horn who was manhandled too many times for my taste. Damien Berry ran hard and well in the 16 carries he was provided. Overall, though, this Jacory Harris led offense produced a grand total of 10 points. And in a game where everyone needed put forth an “A” effort they failed miserably.
It’s going to be hard for me to grade this unit because so much of my heart believes these guys did the best they possibly could given the circumstances that Jacory and the rest of the offense kept putting them into. But if we are going to grade them on what actually happened then this is what needs to be said…
When I think of a Miami defensive football team I am reminded of Dan Morgan, Warren Sapp, Ed Reed, Jerome Brown and Ray Lewis. Guys that tackled, made plays and dictated to the offense what was, and what was NOT going to happen. I saw a valiant effort to contain a good, if not great player, in Terrelle Pryor. But when the Hurricanes needed a big defensive stop this team didn’t deliver. Aside from some nice plays by Sean Spence, Marcus Forston and Brandon Harris this defensive team failed to shut down an offense that was begging to be stopped.
Bottom line: tons of missed tackles and ZERO turnovers.
There were a bunch of tackles for losses but the defenses inability to convert a big time, game changing play – dropped INT’s by Ray Ray Armstrong and Demarcus Van Dyke – ultimately gave OSU new downs and opportunities to score 36 total points.
Randy Shannon estimated that the Buckeyes picked up 70 yards after the initial contact. That along with no INT’s or forced fumbles equals NOT GOOD ENOUGH despite having 6 of OSU’s scoring drives start in Miami territory.
Stay tuned for part 2 of The Truth’s report card: Special Teams and Coaching.