No capable quarterbacks on the roster (unless Brock Berlin and Derrick Crudup are included) for all but two quarters. A running game that was average at best after the season-ending injury suffered by Frank Gore. An offensive line that that suffered more bumps and bruises than what Butch Davis can come up with in a span of two days.
A receiving unit that never quite lived up to the hype aside from Kevin Beard's second half against Florida, and a tease here and there from Ryan Moore. A future NFL tight end that saved his teammates a lot of grief with a game saving catch against West Virginia, but also caused them a lot of embarrassment with his mouth.
A defensive unit that repeatedly was asked to dig the Hurricanes out of some major holes, and put points on the board while they were at it. And as if that wasn't enough the coaches had to deal with certain players on both sides of the ball that weren't very good at taking instructions. You know some ‘uncoachable' players.
What does all that add up to? Just a remarkable job by Larry Coker and the rest of his staff to be able to pull out a 10-win regular season considering the limited offensive capabilities, the lack of running game for most of the season and the pressure the defense was under the whole way. This is the same Coker that won 24 of 25 games in his first two seasons and delivered national championship No. 5 for the Hurricanes. But that was done with the likes of Kenny Dorsey, Andre Johnson, Willis McGahee, Jeremy Shockey, Mike Rumph and Ed Reed, all NFL players, still on board.
This current roster of Hurricanes doesn't even come close. Still Coker squeezed 10 wins out of them. Even with his offensive coordinator coming under fire, Coker simplified the offense while still winning games. The Hurricanes practically abandoned the quick-strike offense –for obvious reasons- and choose to take their chances by running the ball and taking the underneath routes. Boring? Well, guess what it worked 10 of 12 times.
Now it's a little clearer why Berlin, for all his high school victories and prep accolades, could never convince Steve Spurrier that he was worthy of carrying an offense. There should also be no more questions about why Crudup hasn't gotten a chance to take over the offense after four years at UM. Beard never recovered fully from the knee injury he suffered last season. Winslow dropped a number of passes in between getting flagged. And although Tyrone Moss showed flashes of what the future may hold at the running back position he was slow in developing because of trouble picking up the offense.
The arguments for a shot at the national title are always made around here no matter what kind of circumstances the Hurricanes are dealing with. But for once in their lives UM fans should smell reality. Miami went most of the regular season with mediocrity at both the quarterback and running back positions, a banged up offensive line and asking way too much of its defensive unit, which in turn bailed the Hurricanes out of trouble time and time again.
The season isn't going to end with the Hurricanes screaming and dancing over another national championship victory- another bowl victory (in a BCS game) and top-five finish will have to satisfy the appetite of Kyle Wright's ever-growing fan club until at least next spring.
But that doesn't mean Coker and his staff should refrain from taking a bow because they deserve one. You know that ‘genius' label which is thrown around all to loosely when it comes to coaches, especially in football.
That same word that was used to describe Jon Gruden last season as Tampa Bay marched into the Super Bowl and is being thrown around this year in places like Southern California (Pete Carroll), Cincinnati (Marvin Lewis) and Dallas (Bill Parcells). Well, Coker and his staff may not be considered geniuses but they deserve the same amount of praise, if not more.
10-2, so far with this squad? Nice job, guys!
Coaching Staff Should Take A Bow
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