Mike's Analysis: Arkansas State game

The Hurricanes beat Arkansas State 41-20 on Saturday. Read on for game analysis from CanesTime's Mike Bakas.

* It was a solid performance by Miami, who easily could have been caught looking ahead a bit. This had the potential to be a dangerous game and the team looked well prepared. Al Golden talked so much after the game about how good a practice week they had, and it seemed like it on the field.

* Brad Kaaya looked much more comfortable than he did earlier -- even against Florida A&M. He still holds onto the football too long at times -- a trait that's common with freshman quarterbacks -- but he seems to be making better decisions and seems more confident. His arm strength is going to give Phillip Dorsett plenty of deep ball opportunities. That's where Dorsett is at his best, and Kaaya will give him more chances for big plays than Ryan Williams would.

* I'm a big Joseph Yearby fan. I think he has a bright future here. However, I made it very clear all summer with my posts on the recruiting board that he is not in Duke Johnson's league. After the first three games of the season, I believe that even more. It's nice seeing Duke starting to become more involved in the passing game but I'd like to see even more of it.

* One of the concerns I have with this offense is that they're not spreading the ball around well enough. Only three wide receivers caught passes in this game. Stacy Coley, had he played, would have been a fourth but that simply isn't enough. How can someone like Herb Waters be such a non-factor? He's too talented for that. James Coley needs to find more creative ways to get more receivers involved in the game.

* Another week, another strong performance by Clive Walford. He is clearly Miami's best pass-catching tight end, and I don't think it's even close. Standish Dobard is talented but he continues to be a non-factor in the passing game for some reason. I'm not sure why the coaches spent all summer hyping him up when he's barely involved.

* The Canes were 6-of-13 on third and fourth down so it's good to see that number improving. They were also 2-for-2 on converting redzone chances into touchdowns.

* Defensively, the Hurricanes played better than I expected them to. Yes, they caused two fumbles, had a few sacks, and picked off a pass but ASU also ran 89 total plays so those numbers are a bit inflated compared to a normal week. The thing I liked is how they seemed prepared for the up-tempo offense. 9-of-21 on third downs is still not good and ASU scored touchdowns on three of their five redzone opportunities.

* Depth at defensive tackle is going to be a major issue down the stretch. Miami absolutely needs guys like Earl Moore and Corey King and Jelani Hamilton to step up and become factors. Any of the three. They haven't made an impact the last two weekends, which makes it unlikely down the stretch. The play of Ufomba Kamalu inside has been a pleasant surprise. He seems to be developing into a quality No. 3 inside. The top four are solid but they need more.

* Thurston Armbrister's strong season continues. He's almost like the Anthony Chickillo of the linebackers in terms of his motor never stopping. He went from being a borderline starter throughout fall camp to becoming one of the team's best performers. The defense really needs him to continue playing at a high level. Kudos to the coaching staff (including former coach Micheal Barrow) for offering him a late scholarship a few years ago and for developing him the way they did.

* The lack of a pass rush when they don't blitz is very alarming and that problem will get exposed as the season goes on.

* The kicking situation is a mess but Justin Vogel continues playing really well as the team's punter. He averaged 45 again yesterday and is having a much better season than probably anyone could have imagined. Lets hope it continues.

* Bring on Nebraska!


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