Friday Stock Report: Sept. 22

A weekly column with thoughts on the football team and University of Miami athletics.

MY THOUGHTS

I have been fairly quiet this season from offering my thoughts on the team and the program. Although, my newspaper columns in the Tampa Tribune have been pretty straight-forward.

One reason I haven't said too much is because I never had a good feeling about this team. Heading into the season I told people this was a three to four-loss team. I haven't liked how the way things have developed in the past three years in terms of the mentality instilled in the team, the way players have been handled, and the coaching turnover.

I predicted Florida State would beat Miami, 17-13 and Louisville would win 31-10.

Although I was wrong on the scores, I was pretty close and you get the idea.

I am as optimistic as they come, but the team is in a tough stretch in terms of their identity. How good is this team? How good are the players? Is this a good defensive team? Can this team score points?

We all obviously want things to turn around so here's some ideas I have:

PERSONNEL DECISIONS

1. Move Jon Beason to middle linebacker
I have been calling for this the day he stepped on campus in 2003. Beason has proven he is the team's best linebacker and it only makes sense to put him up at the mike position while letting the other guys clean up on the outsides. Beason is also one of the leaders on the team, which is another very good reason to put him at MLB.

2. Play Derron Thomas
Derron rushed for 109 yards on 11 carries against Florida A&M to lead all running backs. And that wasn't good enough for one carry against Louisville? Come on. You want to talk about rewarding players for performances, what kind of message does this send to the team? Not to mention that Thomas brings explosiveness, speed, and quickness to the tailback position. The ground game has produced 66 yards on 55 carries against the two Division I-A opponents. Obviously something isn't working. Why not give Thomas an opportunity to succeed?

3. Get high energy players on the field
This team lacks high-energy players so if there are some, might as well get them on the field anyway possible. Two high-energy players that should get more playing time are LB Darryl Sharpton, FB/LB James Bryant, and TE Richard Gordon. Sharpton is one of the most well-liked individuals on the team and has great football qualities--even Larry Coker said so--so let's get him on the field. You know J.B. will be bringing it, that's not even a question. And Richard Gordon, let's get him in on blocking situations and let him stretch the field.

4. Throw the ball deep...in particular, throw the ball deep to Lance Leggett
Lance loves the deep pass and is hard to contain down the field. He's 6-3 and is one of the fastest guys on the team. He has plenty of ability to make the catch so lets get him the ball. (And no, wide receiver screen passes don't count.) Sam Shields is another guy that could be used more down the field.

5. Let Peattie kick off
Jon likes to get an extra point attempt before attempting a field goal in a game. And I think it would be beneficial for Peattie to take some kickoffs throughout the game to make him better prepared for field goals. Getting a feel of the ball before attempting a field goal could pay dividends. Monroe is doing a fine job on kickoffs with six touchbacks in 11 tries, but Miami is good enough on kickoff coverage that it wouldn't hurt even if Peattie wasn't kicking the ball out of the endzone.

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON THE UL GAME

• Miami called passing plays on first down in their first four drives of the game. In the second half, they started their first four drives with running plays on first down.

• DE Baraka Atkins did not have a tackle in the game. Atkins, a 3-year starter who has been known to do anything he can to help the team win, appears on the verge of losing his starting spot for good in favor of DE Eric Moncur.

• I thought somebody said P Brian Monroe was supposed to line up at wide receiver this season.

• There was a lot of red in the stands and plenty of people tailgating. Good to see the atmosphere at an afternoon college football game. Plus, I'm always a big fan of the urban schools as opposed to college towns.

ACC GAMES TO WATCH

Georgia Tech (3-1, 1-0) defeated Virginia (1-3, 0-1) last night, 24-7. Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson had 6 catches for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns. Johnson is 9th in the country with 311 receiving yards.

The best ACC game of the game is Saturday at 8 p.m. with #20 Boston College (3-0, 1-0) going to N.C. State (1-2, 0-0). N.C. State is desperately looking for a win while Boston College is in the mix for the Atlantic Division title.

Other ACC games tomorrow (all times eastern):
North Carolina @ Clemson, 12 p.m.
Cincinnati @ Virginia Tech, 12 p.m.
Rice @ Florida State, 3:30 p.m.
FIU @ Maryland, 6 p.m.
Wake Forest @ Mississippi, 6 p.m.

WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAM UPDATE

The women's soccer team lost a heartbreaker to N.C. State last night, 1-0. It was their first ACC game of the season. Despite the loss, they tied the best start in school history with a 6-1 record. They face #4 North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Saturday. Sophomore midfielder Paulelett Ricks-Chambers leads the team with three goals. Their next home game is Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. against Virginia Tech. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids.

VOLLEYBALL TEAM AT HOME TONIGHT

The women's volleyball team plays at home tonight at 8 p.m. against Boston College. Games are played at the Knight Sports Complex and tickets are just $5 for adults/$3 for kids. The Hurricanes are led by three seniors: Francheska Savage, Jill Robinson, and Sara Duncan.

BASEBALL RECRUITING CLASS RANKED 2ND

The University of Miami baseball recruiting class has been ranked second in the nation, it was announced by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper on Friday. Only South Carolina's recruiting class was rated higher by the publication, whose staff compiled the rankings. Said coach Jim Morris, "We feel like this may be our best recruiting class ever. Time will tell if it is the best."

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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