Friday Stock Report: 9/16

It's been nearly two weeks since the Hurricanes lost their opener to Florida State falling to 3-4 in their last seven games and I have some things on my mind.

OPENING THOUGHTS…
What concerns you more as a Hurricane fan, the fact that they are 3-4 in their last seven games or 5-4 since joining the ACC? Either way, it should make you sick to your stomach. Ask yourself, is this Hurricane football? Is this the same program you fell in love with in the 80s, 90s, or even in the early 2000s? Heading into a game like Clemson there wasn't doubt about winning, but by how much. Now fans have to wonder if the team will get it together and win. So can they win? Of course they can. Will they, it depends…

PROACTIVE DECISIONS
I honestly believe the 2005 team has plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. Do they have national championship caliber talent, you bet. Now the key for the rest of the season is to get them in the correct mindset and put players in a position for them to succeed. With an offense that struggled for three quarters scoring just one touchdown last week, it is very important to get more people involved in the offense. My biggest concern with this team was proactive coaching decisions as opposed to reactive. For example, last week against Florida State the offensive line struggled, however there were not proactive decisions that resulted in a change in the offense. Five of the nine sacks were play-action passes and the sixth was a pump fake immediately after the snap. If slow developing plays aren't working adjustments need to be made during the game before it is too late.

UTILIZE PLAYER STRENGHTHS
The coaching staff has made it clear that if a player is not a 100% complete player, then they will not be used in a way that can help the team. Devin Hester, Derron Thomas, James Bryant, and Willie Williams are four examples of rare talent on the team that were not utilized to the best of their ability in game number one. If Hester is not being used on a regular basis on defense, then more snaps on offense should be in store especially to jump-start an offense that scored one touchdown. If Tyrone Moss is pounding away for tough yardage, get Thomas in there to give the defense a different look—there is no reason to give Moss 17 carries in the first half and zero amongst the other backs. With Bryant on the sideline you are leaving a strong asset and arguably your most intense player off the field. Williams will hit someone, just watch. He made play after play in high school and has a unique ability of having a high level of intensity when he's on the field. He will make a play if you put him in there. There is no reason to leave him on the bench or guard him after he redshirted last season. All four of these guys can be successful if they are in the right situations.

MORE PASSES TO THE WIDE RECEIVERS
Miami's top four receivers are a solid group. Ryan Moore has a unique athletic ability, Sinorice Moss and Darnell Jenkins both have outstanding speed, and Lance Leggett can run a post route with the best of them. Catching five passes, as a unit is not something they wanted to start their season. A number of teams in the ACC will throw short passes against Miami's defense, so why doesn't Miami turn the table? Give Kyle Wright a three-step drop and unload the ball on short slant routes would be a good start. Wright has the aggressive nature to get the ball downfield and look to his receivers, but there must be some sort of short game established first.

BE POSITIVE
In every game there are positives and negatives. If you are tired of hearing about the negatives, here are some positives: Greg Olsen bounced back after not coming up with big first downs in the first half. Kyle Wright settled down throughout the game. Ryan Moore came up big on a big stage. Marcus Maxey found the ball and made his first career interception. Tyrone Moss showed a good burst through the line and once again showed excellent vision. Jon Beason led the team in tackles with eight. Kareem Brown stepped in admirably after the injury to Baraka Atkins.

NEW STARTERS
RG Tony Tella, SLB Roger McIntosh, and DT Kareem Brown are expected to make their first starts of the season against Clemson tomorrow. All three players can help their respective position units and have a great deal of experience in their careers. Tella and McIntosh have recovered from their injuries and Brown will be taking over for Baraka Atkins who has been dealing with a sore knee that kept him out of the second half of the FSU game.

BRYANT SPEAKS
James Bryant will be a guy to pay close attention to when he speaks. He is not afraid to say what is on his mind and he's not afraid of how he could be perceived. His latest comments came this week when he said he has been coming to practice the last 10 days and not talking to running backs coach Don Soldinger. "The only problem I have is when I open my mouth and Coach Soldinger opens his mouth, then we have a problem," Bryant explained. This is just Bryant's personality. Is this a problem? Not unless Bryant continues to improve as a player and can provide the team with a positive boost.

FIRED UP
In case you haven't noticed, I am fired up. I am fired up that the team lost, but more importantly I am fired up because they have been losing. The fate of the 2005 season will be determined in the game tomorrow. A loss will likely result in a downward spiral and a win could spark a win streak that would put them right back in contention of where they want to be. Either way, Larry Coker and his players have plenty on the line against Clemson. Here's to hoping they will be fired up.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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