Mike's Analysis: App State Game

Miami improved to 3-0 with a 45-10 win over App State yesterday. Read on for a full game analysis from CanesTime's Mike Bakas.

* First off, kudos to the entire team for coming out well prepared and fired up to play this game. It seems like this was exactly the type of game the Canes would come out flat in over the last several years. It was dangerous for UM, and they went in and took care of business from start to finish. Seriously, even though it was App State, UM was only favored to win by 3 points. I can count on one hand how many times a Randy Shannon or Al Golden coached team went on the road as a single digit favorite and flat out kicked butt from start to finish. To see this happen so early in the Mark Richt era is very encouraging. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come.

* We all knew the offensive scheme and the in-game adjustments being made was going to be a major upgrade with Richt taking over for James Coley. Richt's orchestrated record-setting offenses at FSU and coached Heisman candidates at both FSU and UGA. You'd have to go back 10 years with Larry Coker to the last time UM could say that. Everyone expected a major upgrade but to see it actually happening is encouraging.

* I've always had the same stance with Manny DIaz running this defense. His career track record as a DC is above average but I always thought he had a chance to become an elite DC here because his style matches the culture here perfectly. UM has access to some of the most aggressive defensive recruits in America, and he's letting them play their game. I'm not surprised he's had the success he's had early on. Even though it's been 3 sub par opponents as a whole, the defense looks like they're really getting after people. The attitude, the culture had to change before the on-field results would. It's still a work in progress and they're far from where they need to be but I really like what I see so far.

* One of the biggest weaknesses of the Al Golden/Mark D'Onofrio era was UM's money down defense. They were always among the worst in college football, and I think that was directly related to how soft they played in those situations. It's been the total opposite under Diaz. Third and long and they're coming after you. It's what the NFL does now. Watch Seattle. Watch Denver. And it's been fun watching UM play that way. App State was just 2-for-13 on 3rd downs.

* Brad Kaaya was tremendous. He made good decisions with the ball. He got the ball out really quickly. He spread the wealth. He was accurate. He made some NFL throws. Again, regardless of the opponent, this was one of the best games he's played here. If he can keep improving on that, this offense has a big upside.

* I thought going into the season that the difference between Mark Walton and Joe Yearby at RB was very minimal. Even though their usage (Walton had 16 carries to Yearby's 8) is much different, I don't see a whole lot of difference between the two. Aside from Walton's long run, they both averaged about the same yards per touch.

* Gus Edwards now has 4 carries in two games. I think it's safe to assume he's either in the coach's doghouse or they simply don't think he can help this team a whole lot. That is very strange considering his past experience.

* I've always viewed Stacy Coley as a first round type talent. He has shown flashes of it but has always battled consistency issues. The same thing is happening early on this year. He caught a couple touchdowns in this game, which shows off his playmaking ability, but he dropped another which should have given him three. If he fixed the consistency issues, he could become an elite WR down the stretch. Until then, he'll be UM's No. 1 and one of the top few in the league.

* It didn't take long for Ahmmon Richards to take over as the team's second best receiver. He looks smooth, confident, and a kid with a huge upside. This should not surprise people, though. considering he was recruited very hard by a lot of major programs last year.

* The offensive line did a nice job of giving Kaaya time to throw but I thought it would have had better success helping UM move the ball on the ground. After the first carry of the game, UM averaged less than 4 yards per carry against one of the least talented front 7's it'll play the rest of the season. 

* Chad Thomas was recruited hard by a lot of major programs and a lot of people believe he has first round type ability. The old scheme held him back tremendously but the new one seems to fit his style really well. His dominant performance yesterday isn't surprising and is hopefully a sign of things to come. Although they seem to be neck and neck, I'm a bit surprised Demetrius Jackson remains ahead of Trent Harris on the early down depth chart opposite Thomas. Hopefully it's more related to Jackson doing well than Harris not playing up to a certain standard.

* I've said after each of the first two games that I like Mike Pinckney the best of the freshman linebackers. That was the case again in this game. He just seems to have the best instincts of the group, and reminds me of a young Jon Vilma or Nate Webster. I'm serious -- those types of expectations. 

* Depth at CB remains an issue with Adrian Colbert out so hopefully he returns to the lineup sooner than later.

* Justin Vogel was outstanding again. He's been one of the best punters in all of college football for a long time and was again yesterday by averaging almost 45 a punt and two inside the 20. He continues to be one of the most overlooked players on this entire team.

* While Braxton Berrios is clearly who the coaches believe is the best option as a return specialist, I'm not sold on his ability to impact games there. I want to be wrong about that but this is Miami. Think back to Kevin Williams, Santana Moss, Devin Hester, the list goes on and on. 

* Bring on Georgia Tech (after the off week). I'm confident as of now -- much more so than I was going into the App State game.


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