Esteban’s “4 Keys” to the UM/FloriDUH Game

GATOR CHOKEAnother week and 4 mo’ Keys. Of course this isn’t just any week.  It’s the big game against them Florida Gators.   Most people don’t know that the rivalry between the Canes and Gators started over fashion.  In 1938, at the height of the great depression an University of Florida professor created a new jeans and shorts combination we now commonly refer to as Jorts.  He went south to pass along this new Gainesville fashion trend to professors at the University of Miami.  Hot, low on funds and in possession of an excess amount of jeans these professors still roundly rejected this new fashion trend and in such a manner that completely belittled their Gator counterpart.  That sparked the start of the rivalry.  Gators have been Jort wearing and angry ever since.  With history as our teacher I’m expecting a lot of angry Gators after this one and them looking horrible at the same damn time.  Let’s get into the Keys.

stephen-morris1)      Stephen Morris needs to have his official coming out party.  The Gators have a strong front and solid CBs.  You can’t throw a bad pass or it will be intercepted.   You can’t hold onto the ball too long or you will get sacked.  Morris has to be aware of both of those facts.  He will need to make quick decisions and be accurate with his passes throughout the game.  I want to see if he’ll be up to the challenge.  All indications are that he will be, but this is where the great ones rise to the occasion.  Morris wants to be considered a top QB in the nation and for that he needs to perform and be a difference maker in games like this.

Ladarius Gunter Miami BC2)      I’ve been a big critic of our defensive coordinator, but he can change my view of him this week.  Watching Florida’s offense its pretty obvious what they want to do.  They want to play ball control, high percentage – low risk, grind it out football.  Most of their passes are of the shorter variety – quick hitches, quick outs, short hooks, bubble screens.  Short but safe throws.  And if available they will march up the field all day with a combination of those throws and a pound it out ground game.  Knowing this I’m hoping to see our CBs lined up tight on the Gator wide-outs. With LaDarius Gunter, Antonio Crawford and Artie Burns you have guys with enough size and speed to stay with the opposing WRs.  They are also physical enough to come up and make solid open field tackles.  So let them take on this challenge coach!

Herb Waters3)      What UM wide receiver is going to show he’s The Man?  This is a game that’s going to tell us a lot about our guys overall and about which receiver is going to take the lead this year.  Florida has possibly the best CB in college football in Loucheiz Purifoy.  He’s going to bully WRs if they show they don’t show they have some fight in them along with enough talent to beat him.  It’s possible that he totally shuts down whichever WR he’s facing.  That’s why I’ll be paying attention.  I don’t think all of our WRs will be up to the task of beating him.  He’s good.  But one or two can if they show that fight in them.  If someone beats him over and over.  That’s The Man.  My gut tells me Allen Hurns can beat him, but just not repeatedly due to lacking explosion.  Phillip Dorsett has the physical ability but I’m not sure he has the fight.  Herb Waters might the guy with the perfect combo of ability and toughness.  Either way we’ll know the answer to the question by 3:30pm Saturday.

oline4)      It’s said it all starts up front in the trenches.   No week will that be more true than this week.  Our OL has been together for a number of starts and is full of talent.  The Gators d-line has guys with lots of experience – even if not as much starts – and is also full of talent.  It’s a classic strength vs strength match up.  NFL scouts will be keeping an especially close on this match up since so many pro prospects are involved.  On the flip side, our d-line needs to show it can put up some form of resistance against the Gator OL.  Their o-line isn’t dominant but they’ll get after you in the run game.  Our front four has earned a very negative reputation of being easily pushed around – outside of Curtis Porter.  Will they serve as the first line of defense and allow the LBs to flow to the ball or will they get pushed back into the LBs? If we can’t stop the run there really won’t be much difference what our DC does with the secondary since the Gators will only throw as much as is needed.  If there is no need there won’t be many passes.  I want to see if the front is ready to show they have what it takes for this defense to be even mediocre this year but hopefully good.

Alright I hope everyone enjoyed the history and football talk.  Share the key aspects you’ll be watching for in the comments sections.  I’m off to the Farmers Market.  Need to buy some Gator Meat.

UM vs. FloriDUH Preview: Invasion of the Toothless Mullets!

~ The following article was contributed by beloved Eye of the Hurricane blogger, Delray ~

Delray and familyIt’s been a while since we’ve had to pull our children aside and warn them of the impending invasion of those who were once brother and sister and are now mother and father into South Florida.  Not since the days of The Orange Bowl have the Florida Gators ventured into South Florida to take on the Miami Hurricanes.  Since he last time they have been here though,  let’s make no mistake about it.  The Gators have had better success on the field then the Hurricanes winning 2 National championships.  But lately,  the tides have been turning. The two teams will meet at high noon in Joe Robbie Stadium with bragging rights along with an important recruiting advantage.  Let’s take a closer look at the Gators possible starters for Saturday’s noon tilt.
 
DriskelQB – Jeff Driskel 6-4, 236, JR.
 
In 2012, Jeff completed 64% of his passes for 1,650 yards while connecting for 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.  Jeff came in with extremely high expectations being a 5 star prospect and the top quarterback in his class but has failed to live up to the hype.  This could be related to the shoes he is trying to fill from the person who played prior to him.
 
TB – Mack Brown  5-11, 213, JR.
 
Having to wait his turn at tailback,  Mack is ready to take on the starting role.  Florida has a few tailbacks in line behind him that may be pushing for playing time but last week vs. Toledo, Mack took the bulk of the carries with 25 attempts for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns.
 
WR – Quinton Dunbar 6-1, 195 JR
WR/H-Back – Trey Burton  6-0, 225 SR
WR-X – Solomon Patton  5-9, 171 SR
 
Like Brown,  these receivers have been waiting for a chance in the spot light.  Dunbar (Booker T) and Burton did see significant time last year catching 36 and 18 passes for 383 and 172 yards, respectively.  Dunbar also had 4 touchdowns in 2012.

Offensive Line
 
LT – D.J. Humphries  6-6, 280, SO.
RT – Tyler Moore  6-6, 312 SO.
LG – M. Garcia  6-4, 307  JR.

RG – K. Koehne  6-5, 315 SR.

C – Jonotthan Harrison  6-3, 302 SR.

Old boys of floriDUHIf you look at the benchmark of Florida football over the last 5 season they have primarily been a grind it out, smash mouth football team.  Relying on the running backs and a big quarterback to play a time controlled game.  If there is one spot the Gators nay be inexperienced at it is the offensive line.  They have a limited number of starts between them and will have to grow up quickly if they want to continue to play the style of football they are accustomed to.

TE – Clay Burton | 6-4, 253 JR.

When the Florida tight ends are not out killing people and doing angel dust/PCP they are actually very productive in the offense. Although the tight end position was not used much against Toledo, look for Driskell to use them much more in Saturdays contest.

Defense

DE – Jonathon Bullard  6-3, 265, SO.

DE – Donte Fowler Jr.  6-3, 263, SO.

DT – Dominque Easley  6-2, 283, SR.

NT – Leon Orr  6-5, 310 JR.

GatorFansThe Gators are deep at the defensive line positions.  They have some with experience and some places they have simply reloaded.  In my personal opinion,  if Miami is going to win this game,  this is the battle that it has to win.  Easley is the star of the line having been named one of the top players in the SEC and having been mentioned on many preseason watch lists.

SLB – Ronald Powell  6-4, 234, JR.

WLB – Neiron Ball  6-3, 235, JR.

MLB –  Antonio Morrison  6-1 230, SO.

Powell out of California was ranked the #1 player by a few polls.  He has yet to blossom into the player Florida has hoped for but many believe this could be his break-out season.  Morrison who will be back from his 1 game suspension for beating up a bounce and barking at a police dog also is being counted on heavily this season.  The fact that Morrison’s 2 game suspension was reduced to 1 game proves that Muschamp knows he will be in for a dog fight come Saturday.

CB – Marcus Roberson 6-0, 195, JR.

CB – Jaylen Watkins  6-0, 181, SR.

gator-countryOne thing that Florida does not lack is speed in the secondary.  Like many Florida schools,  you cannot help but find speed.  Look for Vernon Hargraves III to push for playing time as well.  Vernon out of the Tampa area was rated one of the top players in the country and has already notched his first interception last week against Toledo.

SS – Marcus Maye  6-0, 200, FR.

FS – Cody Riggs  5-9, 184, JR.

Both safeties are replacing players that have moved on.  Riggs is labeled as tenacious by his coaches.  back from a broken foot that limited him last season,  he looks to make a name for himself in 2013.  Marcus Maye…well.  his name sounds too much like an ESPN reporter I don’t think very highly of.

sebastian-ibis-gators-chickenKicker Austin Hardin #16

Don’t know much about him but he appears to be ahead of a senior on the depth chart as a RS Freshman so obviously the coaches saw something in him.

Punter – Kyle Christy #4

Kyle had 4 punts last week for a 38 yard average.

Punt Returner- Marcus Roberson  6-0, 195, JR.

Marcus returned 4 punts last week for an impressive 18 yard average. 

Kick Returner – Solomon Patton  5-9, 171 SR

Solomon returned 2 kick-offs for a 24 yard average last week.

Wear WhiteThere are so many intangibles to look at for this game that it should be decided by 4 points or less.  Although Miami has the “Home-Field” advantage on paper there will be many Gayturds up in the stands.  I’m not going to make any predictions for this game but I just hope regardless of who wins,  we can look at it a classic matchup like the last time the two teams played in the Orange Bowl.

The University of Miami has asks all Hurricanes fans to wear white in support of the Canes. 

Hope to see you all bright and early next Saturday Morning.  Gates open at 6:00 a.m. unless you park in the Green Lot and then it opens at 5:00 a.m.

Get the biscuits and gravy ready!

Go Canes.

~Delray

Esteban’s “4 Keys” to the UM/FAU Game

I hereby lay to rest what was once Break It Down.  May it rest in peace and chicken grease.   Ramen!  On to greener turf pastures and the new weekly piece by yours truly – 4 Keys (see the side panel below the adjacent side for the explanation).   On to the 1st Key.

Offensive Line1)       The offensive line as a unit has a lot of starts together and individually they are some of the most experienced players on the team.  Expectations are high to say the least.  They will need to show that they can be mountain movers – even if in this game its more like moving hills.  Those hills will need to be cleared out of Duke Johnson’s way.  This group struggled at the point of attack against the more physical lines it faced last year.  This year they will need to be able to handle all comers.  The real test for the unit is next week, but dominating FAU upfront will be a good first step toward meeting their expectations.  And the key word is DOMINATING – no hand fighting allowed.  Looking for pancakes.

Alex Figueroa22)      The unfamiliar names listed on that latest defensive depth chart need to introduce themselves with a bang. That’s guys like DEs David Gilbert, Ufomba Kamalu, Al-Quadin Muhammad, DT Justin Renfrow, LB Alex Figueroa and CB Artie Burns.  People got a little familiar with Figueroa (Figs 2.0) this spring, but for the rest this will be the first time we see them playing in any type of game for the Canes.   None look like they’ll be starting this week, but all are likely to see the field early and often.  The 3 DEs are providing Canes fans the most hope of this group after last year’s record setting ( in a bad way) sack total.  Figs 2.0 is the guy people seem the most excited about though.  After coming in and showing a physical style during the spring people are hoping it leads to a “Eddie Johnson was who?” reaction after a few starts.

mark-donofrio-miami-hurricanes-defensive-coordinator3)      Everyone knows my favorite coach on the staff is Mark OH-NO!frio.  Without him I wouldn’t have high blood pressure, wouldn’t have a constant tick in my right eye whenever the Canes are on defense, and I wouldn’t have carpel tunnel syndrome that developed after typing out an hour long rant.  Thanks Coach!  With that said I’m giving his defense a magic number of 355.  That’s the lowest total of yards they gave up in a game last year (against Bethune Cookman).  Seeing that FAU averaged slightly less than 355 yards in total offense last year I don’t think its an unrealistic number to shoot for. Once you add in that against their two major conference opponents that average dropped to about 210 yards you can see 355 really should be an easy target.  It’s baby steps, though.  So we’ll start there and see if the results speak for themselves.

Curtis Porter Miami Va Tech4)      Curtis Porter.  I have him as the on field key to this year’s defense.  As he goes, so goes the defense in my opinion.  He’s the one player on the defensive front that has shown he requires a double team to keep from getting penetration.  Problem is he only started 3 games last year and played some in a 4th due to injuries.  With the aforementioned new DEs along with last year’s sack leader DE Anthony Chickillo back the help Porter provides to them is the ability for them to always face single blocking.  MLB Jimmy Gaines pointed out the difference Porter being available at the end of last year made for him and the LBs.  That 5th offensive linemen wasn’t free to attack them and they were able to flow to the ball freely.  On a defense that lacks difference makers its all that much more important that the one guy who’s shown he can be disruptive is healthy.  Porter is that one guy for this team.  As long as the DC doesn’t have him dropping in coverage I’m looking for this game to be Porter’s start to big things this year.

Those are the 4 Keys.  I’ll do a quick review before next week’s keys.  Give some of your keys in the comments section. 

UM vs. FAU Preview: Battling the Boys from Boca

~ The following article was contributed by beloved Eye of the Hurricane blogger, Delray ~

Student SectionIt’s hard to believe the start of the 2013 Miami Hurricane Football season is FINALLY here. The Hurricanes’ opening opponent will be none other than the FAU Owls of Boca Raton. This may not be as formidable of an opponent as Miami had hoped for when they originally signed on for this game.  The Owls finished the 2012 campaign with a record of 4-8.  Their offense ranked as bad, maybe worse than Miami’s defense. Most polls this year have them ranked in the bottom 10% of the 120 team FBS conference. I have to admit it has been difficult doing some research on the Owls players even though we could consider them a “Local” team.  So for the sense of simplicity, I’m going to talk about some key players for the Owls: guys that have potential to make plays on both sides of the ball.

Jonathan Wallace FAUJonathan Wallace:  RB 6”1”   210  (Senior)

Jonathan rushed for 668 yards on 175 carries last season.  He is clearly the work horse for the Owls.  Look for the Owls to try to establish a running game early on as it will surely try to exploit the Miami defenses weakness from 2012.

William Dukes:  WR  6’4” 190  (Junior)

William put up some great numbers last year considering the offensive struggles the team encountered.  He accounted for 978 yards receiving (about half of the team total) with 63 catches.  Adrius Glanton FAUIf there is one person the Miami defense must key in on it is Dukes.

Adrius Glanton and Andrae Kirk (Seniors)

This linebacker duo combined for 145 tackles last year and easily the teams strongest position.  Both have the ability to play at the next level.  It will be interesting to see the depth at this position.  They will have to both be on the field for a lot of snaps in order to keep the Owls in most games.

Melvin German: QB 6’2″ 210 (Senior)

Melvin German FAUMelvin started out the spring as the #1 quarterback.  Since then he has moved to receiver.   German sat at last year due to academic issues.   This maybe an attempt to add more offensive options to an offense with a lot of question marks.  Head coach Carl Pelini has come out and named a starting QB for the Miami game and even if he did,  I believe it would be on a rotating basis.

This should be a tune-up game for the Hurricanes in anticipation of the matchup on September 7th high noon. Look for Miami to use their entire team getting everybody’s feet wet and all the jitters out.

I look forward to seeing you all out there Friday night.  Kickoff is at 8:00. I’ll be there early with the wife and kids getting the tailgate festivities started for the year.

Feel free to stop by and say hello.

Go Canes!

~Delray

CANESFEST 2013

~ The following article was contributed by esteemed EOTH blogger, Delray ~

canesfest2With the long-anticipated 2013 Miami Hurricanes football season about 30 or so days away, you are probably chomping at the bit for some football. Well, this may hold you over for a little while.  On August 17th at the Bank United Center on campus the Miami Hurricanes will host their 2013 version of “Canesfest”. 

Canesfest3What is “Canesfest” you ask?  It is an interactive meeting between the football team and the fans.  Bring the kids down and get autographs of your favorite players.  There will be various photo booths and the opportunity to purchase season tickets.  Let’s face it, season tickets are the only way you are going to get into that game on September 7th if you do not have a ticket by now.  You could also get the opportunity to meet head coach Al Golden. 

Below is a listing of the scheduled events.

•             Autograph session with entire football team and head coach Al Golden

•             “Dress Like a Miami Hurricane” photo booth

•             ACC Championship Trophies photo booth

•             Men’s Basketball Select-A-Seat event

•             Homestead Speedway Race Car photo opportunity

•             Purchase single-game and season tickets

•             UM Bookstore Merchandise on sale

CanesfestThere was some confusion earlier on who would be invited to Canesfest.  At first it was a Hurricane Club members’ event only.  Now, anybody with a passion for the Miami Hurricanes can stop by and meet the 2013 team.

Take a deep breath.  Opening day kick off will be here before you know it.

~Delray

How to Get Tickets to the Floriduh Game

~ The following article was contributed by esteemed Eye of the Hurricane blogger, Delray ~

Floriduh mapOn September 7th of this year, come high noon,  Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida will be rocking.  Where will you be?  If you are like me,  a Hurricane Club member, you have probably gotten numerous request from friends,  family and acquaintance that you have not herd from in years asking the same questions,  “Can you get me tickets?”  or “How do I get tickets?”

Well,  here it is.  There are three ways you can purchase these seats before they are put on sale to the general public.

1 – Buy season tickets.  OK so you don’t want to go to every game.  Well with season tickets starting at $99.00 you can go to as many games as you want and included in the package is a ticket to the game on September 7th.  Let’s face it,  tickets for that game alone would go for at least that much.  You could go to a few other games if you want,  trade the tickets for some beer or even donate them to a 501 charity and get a tax deduction.

BrockUFSlash2- Buy a three game flex package.  The University of Miami has offered a three game flex package this year.  Pick any three games and include the game on September 7th and you are in!  Prices will vary pending on section and games but this is a great deal if you do not want to go in for the full season. EDITOR UPDATE: THIS IS SOLD OUT!!!

3 – Join the Hurricane Club.  You can join the Hurricane Club for as low as $50.00.  This will allow you to purchase single game tickets on July 22nd when the box office opens.  This is prior to season ticket holders who have not joined the Hurricane Club and the general public. 

hester-humiliates-floriduh-gatorsWith record-setting ticket sales in the month of June, the 100 level is nearly sold out. As of today, less than 1,500 total seats are still available in the lower level of the stadium. With the exception of an extremely limited allotment for Hurricane Club members, single-game tickets will NOT be available in the 100 level. A limited number of club seats are expected to be available. Single-game club-level prices begin at $175 for the Florida game. Let’s face it,  by the time individual game tickets go on sale to the general public,  this game will be sold out.  So don’t get caught outside.  This could be the type of game we tell our grandchildren about.  Just like the last time this team rolled into town.

Miam Florida FootballHurricane Football Ticket Availability
Season Tickets – On Sale Now

Single-Game Tickets
July 22: Hurricane Club Members

July 29: Season Ticket Holders

August 5: General Public

For more info, visit CanesTix.com, email CanesTix@miami.edu or call 305-284-2263.

Be safe and see you all in September!

Delray

James Jones: Hurricane Hero, NBA Hero

~ The following article was generously contributed by beloved and esteemed Eye of the Hurricane blogger, CaneOutsider ~ 

Please Note:  Nothing in this post is meant to be serious except for these four words:  Go Canes, Go Heat!

jamesjonesheatI know that folks in Miami are excited about the ‘Canes basketball team, and the likely first round selection by star point guard Shane Larkin.  But that path was paved by another Miami Hurricane, one that is an integral part of the local NBA team, the Miami Heat.  As you know, Miami is in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers, and James Jones is the larger than life reason they are there.

jameswadeboshLeBron James, you say?  Dwyane Wade? Chris Bosh?

Sure, they have been a FACTOR, but let’s look at the numbers.  Miami is 8-1 in the playoffs so far, and James, Wade, and Bosh were in that one loss, but James Jones was left on the bench.  Miami is not only 4-0 in the four games Jones has starred in, but their biggest win in Heat history, by 37 points, coincided with the most minutes played by Jones, against the Gator-infested Chicago Bulls.

They won by 12 the first time he appeared, 98-86 over Milwaukee.  Then he showed up in the clincher game four, where the Heat won by 23, almost twice the margin from his first appearance, in a 110 to 87 final score.

joakim-noah gets the birdThen came the Bulls, with Joakim Noah doing the Gator Chomp at Miami and their fans, which riled Jones up enough that in his next appearance, Miami won by 37, 115 to 78.  Yep, Miami almost scored 50% more than the Bulls, and it was all about the []_[] as Noah was sent off the court in shame while a fan gave him her own version of the Ibis.

Notice how each time, they won by more than the time before.  Jones then helped Miami get that all but unstoppable 3-1 lead, appearing to aid in ANOTHER 23 point win, where Miami held the Bulls to a record low in playoff scoring.

Heat paradeMiami Heat Coach Eric Spoelstra prides himself on details, so it hasn’t gone without notice that in the seven games Miami uses James Jones, they win by an average of 22 points, while in games Spoelstra refrains from using his secret weapon, they have wins of 1, 3, 10, 11, and 13, and even a pair of losses one by 7, one by 4.  That is a differential of only +3.  I am not a stats person, but it sure looks like Mr. Jones has an AMAZING 19 point swing in the Heat’s favor every time he is used in the playoffs.

So in conclusion, when the next Heat Parade comes through Biscayne Boulevard, make sure you whip out the []_[] for Jones and all he has done to help Miami get the repeat.

GO ‘CANES!

My Top 5 Hurricanes Games

~ The following article was generously contributed by beloved and esteemed Eye of the Hurricane blogger, Delray, to fill in the off season void that lack of ‘Canes football has created in our lives ~

It’s the offseason so what do we do?  Our thoughts often wonder back to some of the past glory days to games we have attended.  Games that held us on the edge of our seats,  holding our breath.  Leaving the stadium in triumphant celebration or sometimes even in defeat just being happy to witness such a fantastic game.  Below is a listing of the top 5 Miami Hurricanes games I have attended.  They may not be the top 5 of all time but these are the games I was fortunate enough to feel as though I was a part of.

#5   Miami at  Georgia Tech (2012)

Miami GA Tech 2012 Mike JamesThis game was a roller-coaster from the get go.  Miami jumped out to a 19-0 first quarter lead thanks in part to one of the weirdest kick-off blunders I have ever seen.  The Georgia Tech kick return fielded the kick-off at his own goal line,  lean forward,  then backwards and took a knee.  After review,  the referee award Miami with a safety.  Miami’s lead did not last long.  By halftime Georgia Tech came rambling back to take a 22-19 lead,  only to increase it to 36-19.  Miami went on to score the next 17 points to tie the game with Mike James scoring his second and third touchdown of the game on the 4th quarter to tie the contest up and send it into overtime.  In the overtime period,  faced with a 4th and 1 from the 2 yard line,  the yellow jackets rolled the dice only to get stuffed by LB Eddie Johnson.  Miami made quick work on their possession with a 25 yard sprint off tackle by Mike James for his 4th and game winning touchdown.

FINAL SCORE:  Miami 42   GT  36

#4   Miami at  Virginia Tech (2011)

Logan Thomas VA TechIf you have never been to Blacksburg,  VA you need to get there.  This is one of the most prettiest places in the fall and one of the best venues to watch a football game.  Great fans,  great area and great food.  Anyways,  the Canes fell behind early,  somewhat in part to a fake field goal early in the 1st quarter.  By halftime the Canes found themselves down 21-7 and Logan Thomas was having the game of his life picking apart the Miami defense with his arm and his feet.  Miami fought back in the 3rd quarter to cut the lead to 10.  Miami went on to score 3 touchdowns in the 4th with the last one being a 30 yard run by Lamar Miller to take a 35-31 lead with  2:51 left.  But that was too much time left.  Logan Thomas drove VT back to the Miami 19 yard line.  Facing a 4th and 1 with under a minute to play  he called his own number on a quarterback option and no one was home in the middle as he took it in for the score.  Miami had a few desperation chances at the end but the Hokies came out on top 35-31.  It was a fantastic comeback by the Canes but they just fell short.

FINAL SCORE: Virginia Tech 35   Miami 31

#3  FSU at Miami  (2000) AKA  Wide Right III

widerightleftfswhosucksThis was my first Miami FSU game I was able to witness first hand.  I had a GA seat in the temporary side of the end zone so I got there early and grabbed a spot in the front row.  Miami jumped out to an early lead against the Number #1 ranked Seminoles.  At the half the Canes had a 17-0 lead.  But FSU refused to give up that easily and came storming back to take a 24-20 lead with 1:37 left in the game.  No worries,  we got Kenny.  Dorsey drove the troops down the field  in a little over a minute and hit Jeremy Shockey with a short pass over the middle for the go ahead touchdown with :46 remaining.  Not to be cheated,  Chris Weinkie (who I believe played this game at 27 years of age)  drove FSU down the field with a chance to tie the game,  but a 47 yard field goal attempt went wide right.  Sound familiar?

FINAL SCORE: Miami 27   FSU 24

#2  FSU at Miami  (2002) AKA  Wide Left I

WIDE LEFT!Miami came into this game ranked #1 but that did not faze the #12 ranked Seminoles.  Too many times FSU had been the #1 team only to be knocked off by their big brothers.  Miami trailed in this game 27 – 14 with 11 minutes left.  Once again Ken Dorsey corralled the troops and got Miami going.  Big plays by Andre Johnson and Willis McGahee rekindled the Hurricanes’ thoughts of back-to-back national titles.  FSU got the ball back with 2:05 left after a poor punt by Miami and after 2 completions by FSU qb Chris Rix to Talman Gardner,  FSU was in position for a game winning field goal.  I truly believe that wide right was in place kicker Xavier Geita’s mind and he overcompensated and pulled the attempted wide left on a 42 yard attempt.  I was sitting in the second row of the end zone and ball would have landed in my lap if it was not caught by the screen.  What a game!

FINAL SCORE: Miami 28  FSU 27

#1   Floriduh vs Miami (2003)

hester-humiliates-floriduh-gatorsOn a beautiful South Florida night, the dirty stinking lizards came into the Orange Bowl.  It was a great day for me personally as my wife and I had learned early that morning that our second child was just less than nine months away.  She, my wife,  decided to come to the game with me.  We got there early and scouted for tickets.  Luckily for us an alumni member decide to sell to a few Canes fans rather than the throng of scalpers begging him for the seats.  Game started off with Devin Hester taking the opening kickoff over 100 yards to put Miami up.  It was pretty much downhill after that for the first half as Miami found themselves not only being beaten on the scoreboard but in every facet of the game.  The second half did not start off any better and before you knew it,  the gators were up 33-10 midway through the 3rd quarter.  Some don’t believe it but I do.

This is when Brock Berlin’s blood went from Blue to Green as he lead the Canes back from the jaws of defeat to victory.  Hitting Kevin Beard on a 26 yard slant for the TD and then Ryan Moore for the 2 point conversion got the Canes back to 33-18.  Next drive Brock hooked up with Kevin Beard again.  This time for 62 yards to the one and Frank Gore punched it in.  This made it 33-25 at the start of the 4th.   Miami’s defense came to light and continued to shut down Chris Leak and the gators offense.  Miami got the ball back and with the help of Frank Gore,  Kellen Winslow and finally a 6 yard TD pass to Ryan Moore and the Canes were within 2.  With plenty of time left Miami went for the 1 point conversion.  Looking back at the game I can’t recall why but who cares.  Miami’s defense held again and Brock went to work with just under 6 minutes left to play.  After driving down to the Florida 34 yard line,  Miami was faced with a 4th and one.

BrockUFSlashBrock had come out for the previous play and was obviously limping.  The field goal attempt would have given the Canes a 2 point lead but coach Larry Coker made one of the gutsiest calls of his career.  Berlin took the snap and after a fake hand-off to Gore he ran a naked boot-leg for 6 yards and another Miami Hurricanes….first down.  A few plays later Frank Gore took a hand-off through the right side for an 11 yard touchdown run.  After a 2 point conversion the Canes were up  38-33.  Chris Leak drove the gators down to the Miami 20 yard line with time running low but an interception by Alfonso Marshall sealed the Canes victory.  Highlight of the game was Berlin running over to the Gators section and delivering a Gator chomp followed by a throat slash.  One of those images I will always remember.

FINAL SCORE: Miami 38 Florida 33

Everybody has favorite games they recall attending. May have been just the right time or perhaps you attend this with a close friend you had not caught up with in a while.  Feel free to share some of your Hurricane game day experiences with everybody.

Go Canes!

Is it Time for Morris to be Let Go?

~ The following article was contributed by esteemed Eye of the Hurricane blogger, CaneOutsider ~

59781404I know that blogs about our sports teams are supposed to be POSITIVE ONLY.  I know that a person calling for a coach to resign or be fired is a “bad” fan.  And I know that Morris has won Miami a pair of College World Series and so like Don Shula and Ron Fraser should be given the chance to leave on his own terms.

But I think it is time for pressure to be exerted to have Morris “retire” at the end of the season.  It will give his current players an extra incentive to play hard for him one last time.  It will give the school the time needed to find a replacement, without the embarrassment that came with the firing of Coker and Shannon, and it will give the fans a reason to CARE about the baseball team again.

I just sat through what USED TO BE one of the two big weekends in Mark Light, when the Noles or the Gators came to town.  Good crowds, polite to the FSU fans, the milkshakes were still delicious and the lines still long, I still lost the raffle (like always.  I wanted that Jon Jay signed baseball.), the Maniac worked his magic with the kids and with the elderly in the chairbacks with grace and french fry stealing style, but something was missing.  Even when we won, 6-0, even when we had everything go our way, there was this weight hanging over the crowd, the knowledge that this team is 21-14, and holding a sub .500 conference record at 6-9, and might actually end their postseason tournament streak this year.

larranaga locker room danceMorris used to have the mojo, to the point where opposing coaches HATED him.  It is as if our basketball coach Larranaga stole what was left of Morris’ mojo.

Now Mike Martin and the other ACC coaches will shake his hand and seem to actually be happy to see him.  Why would an opposing coach be HAPPY to see him?  Because he is not the same man that caused them cold sweats, that made them crank up conspiracy theories, and that made them use the media to pick away at him in hopes of getting some mercy.  Sad to say, but this team has gone anemic at the plate, gone mediocre on the field, and turned rabid fans into polite tea drinkers.  Saturday night’s umpire was all over the place with his strike zone, for example, and what used to be a guaranteed ballbusting by the fans is now a “ah, cmon, blue” whine that is usually seen in little league games. 

jim morrisAre the players taking hit by pitches, sliding hard to break up a double play, or sacrificing their stats for the good of the team?  “Take one for the team” is something taught to baseball players in a close matchup, but I don’t see that happening anymore from these guys.

Is ALL of this the fault of Morris?  Of course not.  Just like the title won was not all his work, it is a group effort in recruiting, training, and competing.  But there is a LETHARGY on the field, mistakes made that don’t even seem to raise eyebrows anymore, and even a lack of joy after a win that can be tracked to the top.  I am NOT saying I want a manager that throws baseballs and curses like the Rutgers basketball coach, but I do want someone that makes me feel like losses matter to him.  Jimmy Johnson, even when winding down in Miami with the Dolphins, was HURT by losses.  Watch this video after the last game, and tell me if you feel like this man is hurting, or just going through the motions.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/videogallery/75265636/Jim-Morris-explains-baseball-series-loss-to-FSU

Time for him to go through that FINAL motion, the one where he rides off into the sunset, gets a fine farewell from the fans and players, recollections from the 1999, 2001, and even from the current MLB players that he brought in over the past 15 years.  Do the right thing, coach, and take one for the team.

3rd Annual UMSHOF Fishing Tournament

~ The following article was contributed by beloved Eye of the Hurricane blogger, Delray ~

4-Canes“Here fishy fishy fishy…”

That’s what I usually chant when I’m out on the open waters looking for a bite.  Sometimes it works, most of the time my fishing partners are threaten me to knock it off or they will throw me overboard.  Usually I shrug them off and continue my ritual.  However when you are fishing with guys like Ray Lewis,  Ted Hendricks, Warren Sapp,  Brett Romberg,  Bubba Franks,  Gary Dunn,  Jim Kelly and Damione Lewis,  you may,  like I would,  just keep the chant to yourself.  You say you don’t fish with these guys?  Well you could.  Here’s how.

2013 UMSOFFTComing June 28th and 29th, the Miami Hurricanes Sports Hall of Fame will hold its 3rd annual Celebrity Dolphin Tournament.  Based on last year’s success, this year’s event will again kick-off at Gary Dunn’s Ocean View Pub and Inn located in Islamorada.  The captain’s meeting will take place Friday evening.  Then, Saturday bright and early it’s off into the sunrise in the hunt for the largest Dolphin.  This year’s winner will not only win bragging rights but will also receive a check for $3,000.00 with second and third place taking $2,000.00 and $1,000.00 respectively. Other species including Tuna, Wahoo and Kingfish will receive $500 for the heaviest fish.  

Sebastian eats gatorAfter a day of fishing everyone will meet up at Post Card Inn (MM 84.5) in Islamorada for weigh-in and, of course, to cook up some of the day’s catches. There will also be a cocktail hour, music and a silent auction.

I realize that this may be a ways out to plan, but the incentive to sign up early is a discounted registration fee.  Registration before May 1st is $450 per boat to include 4 anglers.  After that date, the price increases to $550.  So if you’re thinking about wetting a line, do it soon.

sapp trophy UMHOFFTProceeds for the event not only help support the Miami Hurricanes Sports Hall of Fame but will also benefit The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys.

If you need further information on the event please contact KC Jones @ K.C.Jones@canesfish.com or visit www.canesfish.com.

Hope to see everybody out there come June!