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Lack of discipline kills the Canes

Dan Stein 

 

Dan Stein

Although both teams came into the game humbled by the past few seasons, Saturday’s matchup between Miami and Florida State turned into quite the contest.

Florida State looked dominant in the first half, Miami for most of the second.

However, there could only be one winner, and Florida State was that team this year.

In my career as a student at UM, the Hurricanes have gone 1-3 against the Seminoles. What’s more depressing is the lack of discipline the Canes showed this time around.

Throughout the game, stupid penalties killed Hurricane drives and prolonged Seminole drives. The most notable were a personal foul on Florida State’s winning drive and an illegal formation penalty against the Canes on the previous drive.

The former led to a touchdown for the Seminoles. The latter backed the Canes up five yards and proved costly as they eventually kicked a field goal instead of scoring the go-ahead touchdown.

The obvious explanation? Young teams commit dumb penalties.

The cold reality? These penalties were on upperclassmen. Upperclassmen breaking down will always hurt.

Coming into this game, fans were quick to blame the coaching staff for an inability to close games. In the fans’ defense, this staff is not perfect. Some play calls have been conservative. The defense has been too passive at times. Aside from that, I do not know how they could be more wrong.

In football, as much as any other sport, players have to execute. All a coach can do is set them up for success. More often than not, that has been the case with this team. The players have figuratively, and quite literally, dropped the ball when it matters.

This game plan saw a very aggressive, adaptive offense. The run did not work, so Patrick Nix started calling for the pass; it worked. He put Travis Benjamin in a position to make plays, and Benjamin executed.

However, when it comes time to win, a play call takes a back seat to the player. Players have to stay at home on a run play up the middle on third and long. Players have to know whether they are supposed to be on the field or not. Players have to know when someone is out of bounds and therefore off-limits.

An aggressive play leading to a penalty is acceptable. A mental lapse is not.

Once again, we are reminded that this team has a ways to go before it is completely purged of the Larry Coker stench.

The Canes showed great fight on Saturday; they came back from a big hole.

However, a moral victory is a lot less satisfying than a real one. A real victory was there to be had, and a lack of discipline killed it.

This time, it cannot be blamed on coaches. They did their job.

This time, the players take the blame.

That is how a disciplined team would want it.

October 5, 2008

Reporters

Dan Stein

Senior Sports Writer


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