Shannon: We're taking the next step

Coach Randy Shannon met with the media this afternoon to discuss a number of topics including thoughts from last night's game, a recap on the season, areas for improvement, and what's next for the Canes.

On game:
-Shannon said he has yet to go back and watch the film of the game as he just returned this morning.
-Overall Shannon thought that they had some big plays on both offense and defense to spark momentum, but were not able to build off of those plays and would go into a "lull" and have a series of negative plays.
-On the play of the o-line, Shannon said they allowed Jacory to get hit a lot, which could be due a number of different things including poor communication, Jacory holding the ball too long, and receivers not getting open.
-He credited Wisconsin for doing a good job upfront, and controlling the ball.
-When asked about Wisconsin's ability to utilize the TE all night, Shannon said there were a lot of busted coverages, but he would not put the blame on anyone specifically until he watches the film.
-He said the reason that they went for it on 4th down twice at Wisconsin's 35 yard line was due to a couple of different reasons including that Bosher told Shannon he felt more comfortable kicking in the other direction.
-Shannon said the team was understandably disappointed after the game, especially the seniors.
-Shannon said a win would've left a better feeling going into next season, aside from accomplishing a 10-win season, but this loss will serve as motivation in the offseason for the returning players as they want to avoid this feeling again.
-He said he did not know details on Coopers and injury and will not until Cooper receives a MRI when he gets back. He said he is in good hands, with their great medical staff.

-Season Recap:
-Shannon said he is happy with the team's progress from last season to this season, despite the Bowl loss.
-He feels a lot of young guys contributed and the team showed signs that they are 'taking the next step'.
-He mentioned that he stated at the beginning of the year that if this team stayed healthy they could be dangerous, but they were unable to do so.
-He said the WR's & TE's both stayed relatively healthy all year which led to a successful passing game.
-Shannon said the O-Line played well for the most part until they were hampered by injuries.
-Shannon felt the team was hurt by a lot of injuries on Defense, specifically the D-Line (which was thought to be one of the deepest positions going into the season) which forced the coaches to make adjustments, such as moving Allen Bailey around. Injuries were also part of the reason that Ray Ray Armstrong received playing time early on in the season, which gave him an opportunity to show he could do some good things before he got injured.
-When asked about Jacory Harris, Shannon said he is not hurt, just playing through 'pain'.
-He believes that since a lot of young guys were able to get playing time, backed by players who redshirted this year, they have done a good job 'fillings the gaps' in the depth chart. Shannon feels confident with the depth going into next season, but said that the O-Line, TE's, and LB's have to 'grow up quickly'.
-Shannon said that two areas they need to improve on for next season are: establishing a run game on offense, and get off the field on 3rd down on defense. The inconsistency and/or inability to do these two things were a consistent theme in every loss this season.
-Shannon said he is happy with how the staff gelled this season after bring in two new coordinators. He said he anticipates the staff to return next season.
-Shannon said he is proud of the football team because he felt they won more games than anybody thought they would, but he is certainly not satisfied because their goal is to win them all. He also acknowledged that he feels he has not proved critics wrong and will not do so until Miami wins a National Championship.

-What's Next:
-It has been rumored that all of the juniors got together and decided that they all want to return as a group, which Shannon believes shows commitment to the program and finishing what they started and set out to do.
-He said that he spoke to each of the juniors individually about their futures after the last regular season game.
-Spring Football will begin the last week of February, which he likes because that way it gives the team time to get into the weight room before and after practices.
-They will begin lifting when they return from break on January 19th. The players have off until then, while the coaches will be recruiting beginning again January 4th.
-Shannon believes they will have a ballpark number of 7-9 early enrollees (which is big because those are the guys who generally contribute early on)
-He said they are allowed take a total of 34 players overall, and 17 in January.

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