It’s been an inconsistent year for the quarterbacks. Jacory Harris started eight games and Stephen Morris made four starts. For the third time in four years, there is a quarterback controversy. In 2007 Kyle Wright battled Kirby Freeman, in 2008 Robert Marve competed with Harris and now in 2010, and heading into 2011, it seems Harris is competing with Morris. Morris clearly has more velocity on his throws but J12 has been the leader for three years now. The two quarterbacks combined for 20 interceptions and just 19 touchdowns. Both threw under 55 percent. There was too much miscommunication between quarterbacks and receivers.
Running Backs: B +
Miami still has yet to have a 1,000 yard runner since Willis McGahee cracked the four digit mark in 2002. Fumbles were a problem as Miami had nine of them. Damien Berry led the team with 865 yards. Lamar Miller’s future is bright as he tallied 633 yards. Mike James provided a change of pace and Graig Cooper gradually recovered from reconstructive knee surgery. Patrick Hill, the leading blocker at the fullback position, did an outstanding job and was the unsung hero. Miami had dynamic runs. Solid job.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B-
Leonard Hankerson deserves an A+ and everyone else deserves a D+. Hankerson broke Michael Irvin’s single season record for most touchdowns in a year with 12. He had over 1,000 yards receiving and 90.4 yards per game. Travis Benjamin and Aldarius Johnson regressed mightily. Benjamin got called out by Randy Shannon earlier in the season. Johnson had 31 catches his freshman year and 30 snags combined his sophomore and junior seasons. Chase Ford never lived up to the offseason hype. Asante Cleveland emerged as a go-to target.
Offensive Line: B
This unit was solid. Only gave up 15 sacks although penalties were a problem but this unit improved during the course of the year. Joel Figueroa was out for half the year, Orlando Franklin switched to tackle, Tyler Horn was the new center, and despite the massiveness from Seantrel Henderson, he was a true freshman.
Defensive Line: C+
Miami had 37 sacks but this unit was the strongest, and really underachieved. Consistently inconsistent. Guys like Andrew Smith, Marcus Robinson, Adewale Ojomo, Josh Holmes, Micanor Regis just didn’t show the constant motor that needed to be displayed on the gridiron. Allen Bailey should have been dominant, he was good but he’ll be great in the NFL.
Sure this unit gave up big plays now and then, but Colin McCarthy and Sean Spence each had over 100 tackles. The Canes forced 16 interceptions. A lot of players made strides. Brandon Harris is an All-American. Vaughn Telemaque had his best year yet. Ryan Hill finally blossomed even though it took him five years.
Special Teams: F
Matt Bosher missed four field goals his sophomore and junior year combined. He missed four field goals this year and three extra points. After the Ohio State game, Miami got nothing in the punt return or kickoff return game. Field position was always in favor of the opposition. Joe Pannuzio just didn’t get enough out of his group. There are too many players to be in the lower echelon of the league.
When you get fired, what else is there to say? Randy Shannon was 0-3 verse ranked opponents and struggled beating Duke. The icing on the cake were the two losses to lowly Virginia and South Florida. Ryan Hill sensed the team was flat before the USF game and that’s on the coaches. Too many penalties and communication issues. Poor use of timeouts. There was WAY too much talent on this team to be 7-5 and completely regress. A new era has begun.
Justin Antweil may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.