Mike's Analysis: Louisville Game

The Hurricanes lost its season opener to Louisville Monday night. Read on for complete game analysis from CanesTime's Mike Bakas.

* The final score was Louisville 31, Penn State 13. Wait a minute. Nevermind, I meant to say Miami scored 13, even though this Miami team plays a lot like the Penn State teams Al Golden played on. Kudos to him. He wanted to change the culture here and he's done that. For the second straight game going back to last season, Miami got whipped by a lesser talented Louisville team. This team continues playing with absolutely no passion, no fire, and no enthusiasm. Despite having some of the most dynamic playmakers in all of college football, it's not a real exciting team to watch. The kids seem to scared to make mistakes. They're not loose. There is very little positive energy on that field right now. Hopefully things change for the better but this is the fourth year in a row of this brand of football.

* James Coley called a bad game on offense. The fact that his offenses are 1 for their last 24 on 3rd down conversions going back to last season suggests that he's perhaps in over his head as a play-caller right now. You can't point a finger at Brad Kaaya being a freshman either because he had a senior in Stephen Morris in last year's game. Coley's offenses faced four top 25 defenses last season. If you add up those and the game tonight, Miami's offense is averaging 16 points per game under Coley against quality defenses. Until the Hurricanes convert more on third down, it's going to be hard to get much going. It creates more opportunities to get the playmakers the ball and it gives the offensive line a chance to develop some rhythm.

* Kaaya wasn't ready for this game. It's not fair to him. Most true freshman quarterbacks (who arrived over summer and didn't get a spring with the team) won't be. Everyone would agree on that but I have three separate thoughts on this.

1) One of the reasons Kaaya started tonight is because UM was unable to sign a capable quarterback in Golden's first three classes. When you're at a place like Miami, that's inexcusable. The only player they signed who's still a scholarship quarterback here was suspended tonight and obviously isn't ready to take over this offense.

2) Despite the coaches specifically telling the public otherwise over the last couple weeks, the gameplan was incredibly vanilla. At one point midway through the third quarter Kaaya had thrown the ball four times down the field. They simply made it too tough for him to make anything happen down the field. Why talk about how prepared he is and how strong his arm is if you're going to call a game that suggests the exact opposite?

3) Despite being a freshman on the road, Kaaya missed two throws that a freshman in high school could make. The first one was to Coley that should have gone for a touchdown. Instead, it went for a turnover. The second was missing a wide open Stan Dobard down the field on a ball that was terribly underthrown and intercepted. Those are throws Kaaya has to make if the coaches are going to show confidence in him.

It should really help that Kaaya gets two soft defenses over the next couple weeks before having to hit the road again at Nebraska.

* The running backs had no running room tonight. Duke Johnson still ran very hard. Gus Edwards looks more like a fullback or someone who can carry the ball against teams like Florida A&M and Arkansas State. Joseph Yearby had two touches compared to Duke's 21. That seems like a bigger difference than most of us expected, and I'd be very surprised if that didn't change moving forward. I also think Duke needs to be more involved in the passing game. He had one reception (a second was called back due to a penalty). If he finishes the season with 12 catches, that would be a big disappointment. Throw him the football.

* The gameplan and Kaaya's accuracy issues prevented the wide receivers from having any success. Stacy Coley and Phillip Dorsett form one of the most talented pass-catching tandems in all of college football. For Coley to have nine yards and Dorsett to have one catch makes you scratch your head. The coaches, and Kaaya, absolutely have to find ways to get these two the ball more.

* The offensive line played a terrible game -- especially on the right side. Louisville dominated the line of scrimmage, despite breaking in a few new starters up front. Miami averaged just 2.6 yards per carry, gave up a couple sacks, and allowed Kaaya to be knocked down on several occasions. Especially since they were breaking in a new quarterback on the road, Miami needed a strong performance from this unit. Instead, they got a very poor one.

* Miami's defense looked a bit improved from last season but there are still some of the major issues. They're still super conservative in their blitz packages. They're still very passive on that side of the ball. They still give opposing receivers way too much cushion. It's frustrating watching 250-pound defensive end Tyriq McCord, who had 24 sacks as a senior in high school and who was recruited like one of the premier pass rushers in the state that year, having to cover wide receivers 20 yards down the field. Until that changes, don't be surprised if more and more of the state's better pass rushers sign elsewhere.

* Surprisingly, Miami's defense wore down in the second half. Part of it was a depth issue. Sure, it's gotten better but the coaches still aren't playing a whole lot of guys. When Calvin Heurtelou was injured, they were rotating just three interior linemen. Only four linebackers played. Miami badly needs to develop their backups along the front seven -- and recruit better. Good thing this wasn't a day game in South Florida.

* Denzel Perryman is an absolute beast. He's as good a run-stuffing linebacker that Miami's had in 10 years. He was all over the field again tonight. He was Miami's best performer on this night. I thought he'd have an All-American type season now that he's playing in the middle, and tonight gave me no reason to believe otherwise.

* Louisville only had 206 yards passing but its receivers also dropped three or four balls, including a couple that could have gone for big gainers. All that was happening with their best wide receiver in street clothes on the sideline. Not many teams in all of college football have the talent Miami has at corner. They can use five players there against anyone. Unfortunately, they're asked to give too much of a cushion and teams will likely continue to exploit that.

* If you take away the non-BCS games against Bethune Cookman (2), FAU, and Savannah State, Miami is now 18-17 since it fired Randy Shannon.

* Bring on Florida A&M!!

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