If you are not disappointed or frustrated with the loss, I suggest you watch the game again. If you are taking the game in stride because Miami won the last six games against Florida State, then I suggest you watch the game again. So now what? Is this team capable of running the table? Sure, but it is unlikely. There have not been too many teams in the history of college football that have lost the season opener and ran the table. Well why not? Simple, the teams that lose the opener typically lose for a reason.
Recently, I talked with a former player on the 1983 championship team. As most of you know, the 1983 team lost 28-3 at Florida in the season opener and then proceeded to win the next 11 games including the Orange Bowl over Nebraska for the first national championship. After the loss head coach Howard Schnellenberger told his team they still can contend for the national championship. As the former player put it, "we thought he was crazy". Schnellenberger often used the phrase, "impossible is an opinion, not a fact". His guys began to believe they could win every game and they did. The 2005 team needs to have the same mentality. They have the talent and the pieces in the right places. It is now up to them to get it done.
URGENCY AT 0-1
Throughtout periods of time in the last two years Miami has not played with a sense of urgency. They have lost back-to-back games in 2003 and in 2004. In 2005, there should be no problem with that as they start 0-1. It could be the best thing that happened to this team. Now there should not be any excuses for not being ready or taking things lightly. They have a large task at hand, but all they can do is win the games they play. It is not impossible.
Eric Winston, Sinorice Moss, Thomas Carroll, and Kelly Jennings were the captains for Miami in the opener. All four have exceptional leadership qualities, but the biggest part of leading is performing. All four will be looked upon to carry themselves well on and off the field. Making big plays and providing positive consistent results makes your teammates confident in following the lead. There are 17 seniors on the team and a number of juniors who have played substantially in their careers. Leadership comes into play the most when they are faced with adversity. Right now, there could not be any more adversity than starting the season 0-1. The leaders must take advantage of this time in practice to make sure the team has the right mentality before their next game on September 17.
TIME FOR KENNY
Prior to the season Kenny Phillips stated that he understood his role on the depth chart, but if anything were to happen and he were to get a starting role, that he would accept it and wouldn't look back. Now it is his time to shine. With Anthony Reddick out with a torn ACL, Phillips assumes the role as the starting free safety alongside Greg Threat. Brandon Meriweather could also start at either position. All three players will figure into the nickel and dime packages.
PRODUCTION AT MLB
In the game on Monday, Miami middle linebackers Romeo Davis and Leon Williams combined for one assisted tackle. If Miami's '4-3 cover 2' defense is going to be successful, they will need more production in the middle. Just because the defense allowed only 10 points in the opener does not mean they will allow 10 every game this year. Clemson is a team that put up 371 yards on Miami last year in a 24-17 overtime win for the Tigers.
OFFENSIVE LINE IMPROVEMENT
Miami will lose at least three games this season if the offensive line does not improve. They must improve their pass protection in order to give Kyle Wright the time he needs to make throws down the field. With Tony Tella available to use on the first unit it should help. Anthony Wollschlager has his first start under his belt and Eric Winston has adapted to getting back into the mix of college football after suffering a torn ACL last year. Tyler McMeans and Rashad Butler are in their last season as Hurricanes so they should not be reminded of basic fundamentals. Florida State won't be the only team with a good defensive line. More tests will come.
SPECIAL TEAMS STRUGGLES
Miami's special teams were expected to carry them this season, but it has not started that way. Across the board, Devin Hester, Brian Monroe, and Jon Peattie are as good as it gets. However, all three had their struggles on Monday. Hester was losing balls in the lights and almost gave up a fumble on his only punt return until the officials went to the replay booth to overturn the call. Monroe had a punt blocked and couldn't get a good handle on holding the ball on field goals, and Peattie didn't hit a field goal in his first two attempts. The long snapper John Rochford also had his fair share of troubles. All four look to rebound against Clemson.
The team will not practice on Saturday or Monday, but will begin their week of practices on Sunday.
Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday Stock Report: 9/9
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