Both quarterbacks really struggled, especially the starter, Kirby Freeman. How would have imaged that the UM starting quarterback would throw for just 17 yards in a big game like this? Freeman seemed uncomfortable from the start of the game. Kyle Wright came in and added a spark to the offense but he still only completed 50-percent of his passes and only averaged 4.6 yards per pass attempt. The status of the two quarterbacks going into Saturday's game is still up in the air but I think it's safe to assume that both guys will be playing in these games until the coaches can find one they feel most comfortable with.
Just a week after Javarris James and Graig Cooper looked like a tremendous duo (granted, it was against Marshall), they looked like non-factors against a good defense in Oklahoma on Saturday. In their defense, the offensive line was getting handled by Oklahoma's front four and the passing game was completely ineffective so that will always make things tough on a running game. However, they missed blitzes, they didn't break many tackles, and one play resulted in a fumble that Oklahoma returned for a first half touchdown. In all, the three running backs (including Derron Thomas) finished the game with 54 yards on 28 carries and no touchdowns.
Everyone was excited to have Sam Shields back. He finished the game with seven yards receiving. Lance Leggett didn't catch a pass. The receivers caught just eight passes for 72 yards. Sure, some of that was on the quarterback but these guys were unable to get separation from Oklahoma's defensive backs and just didn't make much impact. Darnell Jenkins and Ryan Hill each had three catches and were the two best guys on Saturday.
They were completely a non-factor. Not one of UM's tight ends caught a single pass on Saturday and blocking for the running game wasn't very good. A lot of people, I think, took Greg Olsen for granted last year. Now the Hurricanes are searching for his replacement and haven't come anywhere close to finding it.
From the start of the game, the guys up front struggled tremendously with Oklahoma's defensive line. They weren't opening up holes and while they only gave up two sacks, the Sooners put a lot of pressure on Miami's quarterbacks. The Canes seem to be going in the right direction with this unit but Saturday's game against a good defense was a reality check.
After putting lots of pressure on Marshall's quarterback last week, the Hurricanes got to Oklahoma's quarterbacks just once in 28 pass attempts. They did a solid job against the run, allowing just 2.6 yards per carry against a very good group of running backs and a massive and very talented offensive line. The problem the D-Line is having is depth at defensive tackle. It wasn't too strong going in and now most of those guys are dinged up with minor injuries. The defensive linemen accounted for 16 total tackles, two for loss, one sack, and one caused fumble on Saturday. Calais Campbell had a solid performance but it was rather surprising that Eric Moncur didn't do more damage on the other side.
Tavares Gooden may be inexperienced in the middle and might have made a few mistakes but he also finished the game with 14 total tackles. UM's middle linebacker last season had that many tackles in a 4-game stretch. Gooden was running around making plays and credit should go to linebackers coach Micheal Barrow for getting him ready to play the middle. Colin McCarthy and Spencer Adkins are still learning and while they made a few mistakes, both guys seem to be going in the right direction. McCarthy had 10 tackles and always seemed to be around the ball. Oklahoma's tight ends finished with 62 yards through the air.
This was a mismatch that Oklahoma's coaches took advantage of. Miami doesn't have a cornerback on its roster right now who can match up physically with Oklahoma's Malcolm Kelly. Saturday proved that, as Kelly finished with over 100 yards and three touchdowns (two on Randy Phillips and one on Demarcus Van Dyke). Kenny Phillips finished the game with 13 tackles. He was all over the place, especially in run support. The pass coverage for the other safeties wasn't good.
The special teams unit performed fairly well on Saturday. They connected on both field goal attempts. Matt Bosher averaged over 40 yards per punt. They averaged 12 yards per punt return. You do those types of things over the course of an entire season and those are solid numbers. Ryan Hill also showed some toughness in the return game, starting with the opening return when he ran with some authority.