The Cardiac Canes

Well, they certainly have a flair for the dramatic.

Once again, Miami won the race after getting out of the blocks slowly (while, in the process, placing great stress on the circulatory systems of their fans).

In reality, I am not sure what to say about this team, aside from the fact that they are equally lovable and frustrating every single game.

Consider the home stretch of this latest win against Virginia. Key plays were made by Sam Shields, Bruce Johnson, Lovon Ponder and Romeo Davis.

Collectively, I think these four have caused more heartburn for more fans than any other combination of four in the history of the program.

However, on Saturday they each proved their doubters wrong (including, in a very big way, Dan Stein) and stepped up big.

Perhaps they are a microcosm of this team as a whole.

This team has not been given much of a chance all season, but they keep winning.

Sure, they lack a lot of the qualities of an elite team. But they are still 6-3. At this point, they have a very realistic shot at the ACC title game.

For a team this young, with this many unproven players, to be in this position is pretty special. It certainly is more than anyone would have predicted for them.

Maybe that is why Randy Shannon’s bunch feels special. They are quietly going about proving their doubters wrong, one win at a time, instead of accepting lesser expectations.

For most of the game on Saturday, I wanted to throw my TV out of my window. It was brutal to watch the offense constantly stall. But just as the team pressed on, so did I. Last year, this team would have gone in the can after two turnovers to start the second half; this team never did.

The coaches saw that Marve was struggling, and they adjusted again. They brought in Harris, who turned this very highly structured game into his own personal sandlot.

He ran around and bought time. He waited for his receivers to get open, absorbing big hits from the defense, as he stuck in there and delivered the ball to his playmakers.

Harris not only delivered two clutch touchdown passes but also brought the confidence that his offense needed to go out there and win the game. He overcame an offensive line that seemed intent on losing. He overcame a terrific pass rush. He overcame circumstances that would doom teams with lesser constitutions.

And one thing that can indeed be said about this team is that the Hurricanes are tough.

This team is not great. It is far from being considered elite. It will continue to make mistakes that keep games closer than they should be.

However, it will sure as hell be fun to watch along the way.

November 2, 2008


Dan Stein

Senior Sports Writer

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