Thursday, September 24, 2009

Storm Surge Predicted - Hurricane Advisory

26 September 2009
Lane Stadium, BLACKSBURG, VA

It's Hurricane season and one is on it's way to Blacksburg.

Courtesy of hurricane

Pundits would be hard pressed to argue that the Miami Hurricanes are not back. With two solid wins against two good teams, Florida State and Georgia Tech, the Hurricanes offense looks extremely potent. Third year Head Coach Randy Shannon has built quite a solid program. Question still remain on defense, but the Hokies defense will have it's hands full with the elite play calling of Offensive Coordinator Mark Whipple.

Whipple shows the kind of creativity and in-game understanding to call plays that produce movement. Movement, regardless of scoring, is one of the most overlooked statistics. Movement creates time of possession. Time of possession keeps your defense off the field. A lot of talk has been made recently about how poorly the Tech defense has been playing this year. They talk, specifically, about the rush defense. The Hokies are ranked 108th out of 120 in rushing defense (measured by yards per game) and 77th in total defense.

Brian a.k.a. "Where's The Ice?" has brought up the fact that if the defense is on the field a lot, they'll be tired and tired defenses let up more yards. A moving offense keeps the defense fresh. Could you imagine if we had an OC of the caliber of Whipple? Combined with Bud Foster on defense, Frank Beamer's special teams, and the amount of talent we have, the sky is the limit.

Miami QB Jacory Harris
Miami quarterback Jacory Harris has calmly took charge of the offense this year and had success leading that unit down the field. His on the field composure is mind-boggling for a sophomore. Last week, Harris completed 20 of 25 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Three! That's as many as Tyrod Taylor's had through three games. (And that's not a swipe at Taylor's ability). Whipple's play selection was phenomenal in the Georgia Tech victory allowing Harris the ability to succeed. Offensive Coordinator Bryan Stinespring doesn't provide Taylor this opportunity.

Foster's defense will most certainly be challenged. Corner Stephan Virgil, defensive tackle John Graves, and defensive end Jason Worilds are all listed as probable for the game. Having these three back would be a little bit of a relief for a defense struggling to stay fresh. Virgil and Worild's leadership is also key to success.

On offense, much talk is being made about the pressure being placed on Taylor to succeed in this game. I am glad that he has the discipline to maintain his feet and continue to look down field as opposed to automatically taking off for a run. With questions regarding Ju-Ju Clayton's readiness, it helps in keeping him injury-free too. However, it would help if he used his God-given abilities when it comes to no options being available down field. Every yard will help in tomorrow's contest.

The Miami defense was extremely disciplined against the Georgia Tech spread option.

“If it was that great of an offense, every team would be running it,” Miami safety Randy Phillips was quoted saying before the Georgia Tech game. “It’s unique, but it’s just assignment football. We have to do our job.”

If Miami can maintain that "assignment football" mentality--such as spying on Taylor, marking the Ryan Williams/David Wilson duo, etc.--Tech will struggle to move the ball. And moving the ball...

One final note: the word "swagger" has been thrown around a lot when the media refers to Miami. The Canes are certainly exuding confidence in their two wins against ranked opponents while Tech seems to have lost much of its confidence. Miami looks to beat its third consecutive ranked opponent while the forth, Oklahoma, is lurking, with the week off, in front of the televisions watching intently. It's a tall order to beat four ranked opponents in a row. Should they be able to do it, there's no question in my mind... the Hurricanes are back.

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