By Eric Kalis
I am sad to say that this is the final report card of the season. The No. 11 Hurricanes finished with a 9-3 record and had important victories over Florida State and Florida but suffered excruciating losses to North Carolina, Clemson and Virginia Tech. There will be worlds of pressure of next year’s team to get back into the BCS.
The receivers were much more reliable than last year’s group, Frank Gore had a solid season and Brock Berlin put up impressive numbers. However, there was just something missing with this year’s offense, especially when you compare it to the Ken Dorsey Era.
No one can deny that Berlin improved significantly from a year ago. His numbers speak for themselves. But when the team needed him most against Virginia Tech, Berlin could not make anything happen.
Running Back: B
Frank Gore’s numbers do not jump off the stat sheet, but the junior tailback was durable and solid. One could argue that he was not used enough in certain games.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: C
To be honest, I expected much more from Kevin Everett. I know he was injured, but before the season he was projected as an early round draft pick. Greg Olsen looks like he will be fabulous in the coming years, but potential does not earn points in the report card.
Offensive Line: B-
The loss of Eric Winston really hurt the o-line and was a major factor in the three losses. It is difficult to criticize this unit because it dealt with injuries and still put together some solid performances.
After three games it appeared that the defense would be one of the best to ever play in the Orange Bowl. Then something terrible happened and Louisville, North Carolina and Clemson exposed major weaknesses in the linebackers and secondary. The defense recovered nicely at the end of the season, however.
Defensive Line: A-
One of the deepest units in the nation, the d-line was great the entire year. The team will miss Santonio Thomas, but most of the group will be back and dominant in 2005.
Anyone who read my report card during the season knows how I felt about the linebackers.
The secondary had major ups and downs this season. It was superior against Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Florida and abysmal against N.C. State, Louisville and North Carolina. Antrel Rolle will be sorely missed, but the secondary might actually be better next year if Devin Hester becomes a full-time cornerback.
Special Teams: A-
Brian Monroe was much better than last year, Jon Peattie struggled with injuries but should be excellent in 2005 and enough has already been said about how spectacular Hester was.
You will not hear me complaining about Larry Coker, but the offensive decision making was very shaky at times and the defense looked lost in several games. The head coach has to take responsibility for that but Dan Werner and Randy Shannon know they need to improve some things.