Miami football: Hurricanes have accomplished little this season
The Miami Hurricanes’ 27-20 loss to 4th-ranked Florida State on Saturday can be categorized with the help of a classic Clint Eastwood film, circa 1966.
For Miami, there was The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
The Good was wide receiver Jacolby George, who was targeted 9 times and finished with 5 catches for 153 yards and 2 touchdowns. He had 131 yards after the catch.
The Bad was the rest of the passing game that produced just 51 yards.
The Ugly was freshman quarterback Emory Williams leaving the field in tears after what Canes coach Mario Cristobal said was a “significant” injury.
With 2:38 left in the game and Miami trailing by just 7 points, the Canes went for it on 4th-and-2. Williams scrambled and dove for the sticks, getting the 1st down. But he appeared to injure his non-passing arm on the play.
After the game, Cristobal pointed to last year’s 45-3 loss to Florida State and the much-closer score Saturday.
“There’s a lot of development,” he said. “There’s a lot of improvement.”
That might be so, but the Hurricanes (6-4 overall, 2-4 ACC) still have just 1 more win than last season’s disaster with 2 games remaining, including 1 against 11th-ranked Louisville.
Also, when you look at what the Canes have accomplished this season, it’s minimal.
Miami’s “signature” wins were against Texas A&M and Clemson, teams with 6-4 records.
Further, Miami now has lost 3 straight games and 10 of 14 to Florida State, giving its rival plenty to brag about.
“It’s a feeling you can’t buy, especially me being from down south,” said Seminoles safety Akeem Dent, a West Palm Beach native. “Three straight? I’ve got stuff to talk about.”
Miami fans, meanwhile, still are mourning a loss to Georgia Tech that will live in infamy for Cristobal’s failure to call for a kneel down that would’ve won the game.
And, the Canes have no idea who will be their quarterback next year. Benched QB Tyler Van Dyke won’t return – why would he? – and Williams now is injured and hasn’t shown enough to say he will be their certain starter, especially during the era of the transfer portal.
Third-stringer Jacurri Brown hasn’t played all season, and he’s an all-run, no-pass type of player.
Cristobal does get credit for improving the offensive line that often gave Williams loads of time Saturday. Miami allowed just 2 sacks Saturday, and only 1 of them was a blown assignment.
On that play, center Matt Lee latched on to a double team and failed to see an FSU linebacker blitzing up the middle, getting to Williams untouched.
Lee and left guard Javion Cohen likely will leave for the NFL following this season. But the nucleus is there for Miami’s blocking wall to make even more strides next year.
Miami has a deep group of running backs led by freshman Mark Fletcher Jr., and he is another player to build around.
On the other side of the ball, Miami’s defense has been solid all season. Defensive coordinator Lance Guidry is a keeper, but he likely will lose several stars, including safeties Kam Kinchens and James Williams and linebacker Francisco Mauigoa.
The players for Guidry to build around are defensive end Rueben Bain Jr. and linebacker Wesley Bissainthe.
Guidry had a great quote when asked about whether defensive players get frustrated with Miami’s recent offensive struggles, especially in the passing game.
“Our goal is to out-play the other team’s defense,” Guidry said. “If we keep it like that, then you can never blame your offense.
“So, if their defense got 4 turnovers, and we only got 2, they beat us.”
That approach keeps finger-pointing out of the equation, Guidry said.
As for special teams, Miami’s had issues at times this season, and Saturday was an example.
FSU downed a punt at Miami’s two, which led to the Seminoles’ first TD on a short field. FSU’s Keon Coleman returned a punt 57 yards, leading to another Seminoles TD. And, Miami kicker Andres Borregales missed a 51-yard field goal that happened in large part due to a bad “laces in” hold.
That’s a difference of 17 points on special teams, just in one game.
As for what happens the rest of this season, Miami is expected to return to Van Dyke, who has caught a lot of criticism on social media because of his 12 interceptions in 9 games this season.
Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said he urges his players to ignore Twitter and the rest.
“As a quarterback, you’ve got to have thick skin, but Tyler’s been getting killed on social media,” Dawson said. “If you’re a college football player today, and you are reading social media, you are making a huge mistake because those are not the critics who count.
“People are entitled to their opinions. But we’re entitled to not read those opinions.”