Junior offensive lineman Chris Myers had some of his best numbers against Virginia Tech in the 2002 season. Myers excelled in every aspect of the game, totaling seven pancake blocks and 15 metro rails in the victory. This year, however, the Virginia Tech game opened the floodgates to chaos.
After the disturbing 31-7 loss to the Hokies, Myers and the o-line admitted to not reaching their full potential this season.
“We have been there [the national championship game] the last two years, and that’s how Miami is, we don’t lose,” Myers said. “It’s a huge disappointment for everyone around here now, because you tend to get a little spoiled. But you got to realize that sometimes you are going to lose, you are going to make mistakes, and other teams might be better at times.”
After the loss to the Hokies, the Hurricanes tried to rally against Tennessee at home. Instead, the ‘Canes suffered another loss, ending the nation’s longest home winning streak at 26. In addition, this was the first time the team has lost two games in a row since 1999.
“We had certain goals in the beginning of the season,” Myers said. “The first goal was to win the first game. Then we wanted to win the Florida Cup by beating Florida and Florida State. Then the Big East, and that’s still our main goal. So its not really re-focusing, our goal to win the Big East is still there. Only the last goal of going to a national title game is gone.”
Perhaps not re-evaluating their goals is the answer after being knocked out of the national championship picture for the first time in four years, however, coming to grips with reality is important. The defense has been providing opportunities for the offense to score, but the offense seems to only gain six yards instead of 60 on running plays. They especially have had trouble in the red zone, scoring only 17 touchdowns in their last 42 trips.
“Once we get down there we seem to have a lack of focus,” Myers said. “I don’t know if you want to call it soft, but people are coming off blocks too early, and the penalties, I don’t know. That’s what we’ve been trying to work on all season. Its been like that for the last three years, but luckily the last two years we had the talent to back it up. This year it has caught up to us and we need to correct that.”
This season, the ‘Canes have been called for 100 penalties totaling 828 yards while their opponents have had 71 for 545 yards.
“The penalties might show that we don’t have discipline, but we are trying to correct that,” Myers said. “And when someone puts too much effort correcting something, it sometimes seems to cause another one. It’s a disappointment when we have penalties every game when we’ve been trying to correct them all season.”
The offense needs a spark, and the team knows that. They have young talent but many veterans left for the NFL, especially in the offense. Myers is anxious to prove once again that the Hurricanes are an elite team.
“Are we angry or hurting? Of course we are,” Myers said. “It’s a combination of a bunch of things that have led up to this. Obviously we have a lot of frustration from the last two weeks. And obviously our title hopes are probably shot. But it’s our own doing, our own penalties, and our own turnovers. We have three games left, we could still win the Big East and go to a BCS bowl, and that’s still an amazing accomplishment.”