Stein: Youth is served

Two weeks ago, after Miami lost to Florida in the fourth quarter, I wrote that the Hurricanes had choked. I wrote that they were the better team and did not win when they should have. I wrote that youth was not an acceptable excuse and that using it as a crutch was equally unacceptable.

Against Texas A&M on Saturday, the Canes went a long way toward making me look far smarter than I truly am.

On Saturday, they looked just as good as they did against UF. The offense was explosive and delivered big plays. The defense held the Aggies to 10 points until the game was more than over, and did so by containing a dual-threat quarterback – the type that has given the team trouble over the past few seasons. The special teams delivered great field position and a consistent return game.

The difference between this game and the UF game?

Young players were trusted to go out and win, instead of simply not losing.

Redshirt freshman Robert Marve (who reminded me and, more importantly, my dad, of a young Ken Dorsey) was told to stretch the middle of the field and attack the defense. He did both, and the result was the first day of exceptional quarterback play in at least three years.

Freshman Thearon Collier was told to take the ball and go make plays. He did, and he reminded fans of a young Roscoe Parrish in the process.

The point I am trying to make? Randy Shannon put his skilled players in a position to make a difference. It was a gamble that paid off.

Kyle Field is a tough place to play. The Aggies were a cornered, talented opponent. And the bye week gave the Canes plenty of time to read their press clippings.

Shannon decided that it was time for more of the kids to sink or swim. He thought they would go out and win.

He was very right.

This team is starting to look like 1999 all over again.

The youth on this team will make mistakes. They will lose some games that they should not. Being young is not an excuse for this, but the fact remains.

Also, make no mistake about the importance of veterans as leaders. Without guys like Glenn Cooke and Derron Thomas, this team would be rudderless. However, the youth on this team gives the Canes just as good a shot of winning football games as the veterans.

There were certainly holes in the game. The defense could not tackle and gave up 275 yards through the air. The team also got sloppy and let up in the fourth quarter.

The remedy?

Keep putting the skilled young guys out there and let them either win it or lose it.

If UM is going to keep winning, the youth will be the tip of the spear.

September 21, 2008


Dan Stein

Senior Sports Writer

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