Complete analysis of the GT game

The Hurricanes lost Saturday night, largely due to another poor showing defensively. Read on for a complete analysis of the game by CanesTime's Mike Bakas.

* I talked a lot last week about how the players seemed to have more energy and enthusiasm against Duke. It seemed like they were having more fun and showing more positive emotion after big plays. Well, unfortunately, a lot of that was missing again in this game. Especially on defense, the players seemed emotionally worn down and Georgia Tech took full advantage of that -- especially in the second half.

* For the second time in three weeks, Miami's offense came out and was excellent on its opening drive. There was a good balance, some creativity, and a handful of players touched the football. It's unclear whether the first drive is truly scripted but if it is, James Coley's doing a real nice job with it.

* Miami's biggest offensive problem this season continues being their inability to convert on third downs. They were 1-for-5 in this game. It's hard to believe that the University of Miami can only convert one third down for an entire football game. That's crazy rare. I read a stat posted by the AP's Tim Reynolds that said of UM's 63 third down plays this season, Duke Johnson has touched the ball on just eight of them. If that's true, which I have every reason to believe it is, that's inexcusable. He's the best player on this team and touching the ball on one out of eight third down plays is a recipe for not making conversions.

* Brad Kaaya continues playing well at times and then continues looking like a freshman at other times. He has the arm to make any throw on the field but struggles holding onto the football too long and being unable to look off his primary receiver. Those are typically attributes of a freshman quarterback -- especially one playing on the road against a quality opponent. He still doesn't look completely comfortable in this offense yet but there have definitely been improvements.

* Johnson, as I mentioned, continues playing like the best player on this team. He averaged nine yards per touch in this game. I've said this a few times already this season but can you imagine where this team would be without him right now? In many ways, he's a big reason why the Hurricanes are even staying competitive in many of these games. You saw what happened when he left the lineup at the end of last season. It might be a scary thought for Canes fans to think that he likely has just six games left in his Miami career. A one-time Randy Shannon commitment, Duke has to be frustrated.

* All we heard the entire week was how the coaches plan on getting Joseph Yearby the ball more. Well, does three touches of the 41 offensive plays indicate that? No. This game also showed us that Gus Edwards is slowly being phased out of the offense. He had zero touches.

* The biggest disappointment for Miami this entire season has been the limited involvement from Stacy Coley. I didn't say he's been a disappointment. I'm saying that UM's inability to get him the football -- especially down the field -- has been incredibly frustrating. We're halfway through the season and Miami's most talented receiver has nine catches and is averaging 4.4 yards per catch! That is mind-blowing when you're talking about someone as talented and explosive as Coley.

* The offensive line continues making improvements. Sure, they're still not a dominating unit yet but Art Kehoe has taken a lot of heat lately and his unit has shown improvement from week to week. The Canes ran the ball really well and Kaaya had a lot of time to throw the football for most of the night. Nick Linder, a kid they recruited to play center after Shane McDermott graduates, starting at guard is encouraging for him and his future but it's also somewhat disappointing that older guys like Alex Gall and Sunny Odogwu can't win that fifth O-Line spot.

* There were a few shakeups in the starting lineup on defense. I commented after the Duke game last week how impressive Ufomba Kamalu has been playing lately. He's primarily a pass rusher but his role has increased. In an attacking style of defense like UM won five championships with, he'd be a real difference maker. Tambu Fentress continuing to get playing time over guys like Jamal Carter and Dallas Crawford is a bit surprising but it's also a product of how well he knows how to play in this system. He brings more discipline to the table in this defense than someone like Carter, who is far superior physically.

* Miami's defense has so many issues that don't seem to be getting fixed. I didn't see much difference in this game compared to the one at Nebraska a few weeks ago. I saw very little adjustments being made. And after holding Tech to just 14 points at halftime, this defensive staff got severely out-coached in terms of halftime adjustments. As usual, the defensive players look to be thinking way too much and afraid to make mistakes instead of letting their physical ability take over.

* Georgia Tech ran 72 offensive plays and Miami had two tackles behind the line of scrimmage -- despite having more talented players on their side of the football. Some old school Canes fans will remember the days when it seemed like half of the plays that teams like Nebraska and Oklahoma were running against Miami with this style of offense were going for losses.

* Olsen Pierre was very active inside. He is quietly putting together another solid season and from what I've heard he's worked his way into being a middle-round draft prospect. Denzel Perryman was very active. I fully expect those two players to be much better when they get into the NFL.

* Justin Vogel's strong season continued in this game. One major area of concern is Miami's inability to limit kick return yardage. They rank among the worst in college football in this area and it continued in this game. Whichever coach is in charge of that area of the team needs help and he needs it fast.

* A frustrating 2014 season continues and it's not going to get any easier. One thing you'll want to watch for, starting with Cincinnati this coming Saturday, is how mentally drained Miami's players start to look. This team, especially on defense, has always struggled down the stretch under Golden and I believe this is a big reason why.

* Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel is considered questionable for Saturday's game. If the former five-star recruit isn't able to go, Miami's chances of beating Cincinnati will go way up. That's what it's come to, unfortunately, on the defensive side of the ball for the Canes.


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