Okay, time for a deep breath.
These first two weeks of Hurricane football have been a whirlwind of emotion and speculation.
Does Kaaya have potential? Is Golden on the hot seat? Should Denzel Perryman be President Shalala’s running mate for 2016?
Instead of panicking though, the team and the fans should view this Saturday’s Arkansas State (1-1) game as a bridge to the rest of the season.
The first two outings were more about checking off some protocols on the to-do list for a team still feeling out its new leader. The first loss had to happen. The first win had to happen. Even those interceptions were necessary learning opportunities.
In other words, the first two games were mere case studies than actual verifications of our potential. They served more as training camps to help detect essential improvements before the real season starts.
After the Arkansas State game, the schedule builds up towards ranked (or previously ranked) opponents, such as Nebraska, Virginia Tech and The-Team-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named (or associated with crab legs).
Therefore, this Saturday is a calm before the storm (compared to FSU). And coaches should use this calm to prepare for the storm instead of being that character in every storm movie that says: “It’s just a little cloudy!” and then dies. Horrifically.
So let’s evaluate the first two games.
First off, the positives: the veteran-defense produces turnovers (4 forced this year), Clive Walford and Braxton “Honey Nut” Berrios provide short-yardage relief packages to Kaaya (12 combined receptions), and the backfield should be nicknamed the Legion of Zoom.
Negatives: The offensive line sometimes models itself after Swiss cheese, the secondary struggles with consistency, and Kaaya’s decision-making is still developing (4 interceptions).
Now, looking towards Arkansas State, the reigning Sun Belt Conference champion.
Arkansas State’s secondary played 97 combined games together before the season (6th in the nation). This gives them an advantage over a freshman quarterback.
Our team needs to apply the lessons from the two case studies to our strategy. The Hurricanes were 3-23 on third downs in the first two outings. This is largely due to ill-advised throws into double coverage, though in Kaaya’s defense, he doesn’t always have time to assess properly.
Therefore, Kaaya should learn to toss the ball out of play, or the team should bring in Gus Edwards or Dallas Crawford back to block.
To ease the tension on Kaaya, the team should also utilize its elite rack of halfbacks. ASU has permitted more than 140 rushing yards in each game. Sounds like a team Miami can run all over. Maybe even dabble in a two running back set?
Regardless, as long as the team learns from its mistakes, anything is possible – it has the talent.
For All-American-caliber-athletes like Perryman, Thurston Armbrister, and Duke Johnson, who could be on their last campaign, the Canes need to produce a worthy season while they still have these veterans to both win with and mentor younger contributors.
Not to mention, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to win a bowl game for President Shalala. #Win4Donna.