Mike's Analysis: Nebraska Game

The Hurricanes were beaten again on the road by a quality opponent Saturday night. Read on for a complete game analysis from CanesTime's Mike Bakas.

* Al Golden and his staff were outcoached yet again. Especially on the defensive side of the ball, Miami never stood a chance. They refused to bring the safeties up near the line of scrimmage to force Nebraska to beat them throwing the ball -- sort of like McNeese State did. We're now four years into the Golden era and the Hurricanes still have one of the worst defenses in all of college football.

* I've been saying this for a long time now and I truly believe it's the core of all the current problems -- Miami's players continue playing with very little emotion. Phillip Buchanan describes them as "playing like robots" and that's very evident. There's very little positive energy out there and I feel bad for the players. I watched Alabama's entire bench come out onto the field and celebrate following one of their interceptions. That's just one example but I love that. The kids love that. I really wish Miami's players were able to have that much fun.

* Brad Kaaya continues showing improvement each week. He looked a lot more comfortable in this game than he did against Louisville a few weeks ago. There are still areas for improvement -- holding onto the ball too long at times, locking onto his first read, etc -- but he looks legit. He's smart, athletic, tough, and has the arm strength to make any throw.

* The coaches talked before the season how they wanted to get Duke Johnson more involved in the passing game. Last night was a good example of that. He's one of the most explosive playmakers in all of college football so it's good to see him getting the ball in a variety of ways. Ameer Abdullah, who is a very good running back for Nebraska, ran for almost 250 yards against the Canes. Had it been Johnson running behind their offensive line and against Miami's defensive scheme and carrying it 35 times, he probably would have gone for over 350. Enjoy it while it lasts. We all have eight (hopefully nine) more chances to watch one of the most talented kids to ever play here.

* I remember someone asking Al Golden last year why they were using Johnson on kickoff returns. His response was that he's one of the most dangerous return guys in America so they're going to keep using him. What happened to that philosophy this year? He's one of the best in America and yet UM doesn't give him the chance to do it. Nebraska finds a way to put its best player -- Abdullah -- back there on kickoffs (while still giving him 35 carries). While Stacy Coley and Phillip Dorsett are very talented return specialists, Duke's on a different level and I wish they'd let him do it.

* Speaking of running backs, it's puzzling that Joseph Yearby isn't a factor in the running game. He had zero carries in this game. He's a former record-setting five-star recruit with tremendous running instincts and he is not getting any carries. I think that's crazy.

* Offensive coordinator James Coley is doing a very poor job of finding ways to get Stacy Coley the ball. He simply isn't enough targets and most of them are behind the line of scrimmage. Meanwhile, a team like Alabama is throwing the ball 12-15 times a game to its most talented receiver (Amari Cooper). The same goes for Phillip Dorsett. Whether it's by design via Coley or Kaaya's inability to get it to them (very unlikely since he gets it to others without issues), whenever UM throws it 42 times and the Coley/Dorsett duo combine for six total targets, something is wrong.

* The Hurricanes had two delay of game penalties coming off timeouts. Those are costly and the mark of a poorly prepared team. The same thing happened against Louisville. For whatever reason, the calls aren't getting in quick enough after breaks. That's something that really needs cleaned up moving forward.

* Clive Walford continues playing like a beast in the passing game. Sure, he could have possibly made a better effort to break up Kaaya's first interception but he's playing very good football right now and has become a major pass-catching weapon.

* One of the biggest issues I have with the current defensive scheme is how Miami's players are taking on blockers and how much trouble they have in getting off those blocks.

* Thurston Armbrister's strong senior season continues. What a great story for a good kid. He had no Division 1 scholarships on signing day of his senior season at Hollywood Hills and now he's playing really well. If he continues playing at this level, he'll find himself on a Sunday roster next fall.

* Nebraska's quarterback was not a good passer and everyone knew that, which makes it puzzling why Miami wouldn't trust its corners to play man coverage. I loved watching how Alabama's defensive backs re-route opposing receivers. They're aggressive and physical, and I really wish Miami's players were asked to do the same.

* Darrion Owens has emerged as Miami's fourth best linebacker already this season and he looks to have a promising future. He has an impressive blend of size and speed and he brings it every play. He has an exciting future here.

* Duke has scored 93 points on Miami the last two years. I expect them to put up 40+ again on Saturday so lets hope the offense comes to play.

* Starting with Duke, my biggest concern is whether the players will stay as motivated as they need to be. They're obviously frustrated. No one likes losing and especially the way it's been happening here lately. The players worked so hard all spring and summer and into fall camp and this can't be the type of start they expected to have. Golden lost his team toward the end of last season and so lets hope it doesn't start happening this early in the season.


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