Football

ACC ‘Survivor’

Right now, the Miami Hurricanes football team is 6-3 and in position to make a run at a New Year’s Day bowl game. Raise your hand if you expected that.

Bueller? Bueller?

Truth is, this team was not expected to do anything this season. They have far surpassed my expectations up to this point.

However, even with this unexpected success throughout the season, many fans still do not like the fact that this team does not have a true identity.

Is there one superstar that the team can turn to in the clutch for a big play? No, not yet.

Is this an offense-first or defense-first squad? Depending on what quarter it is, they can be both or neither.

Is this offense a spread or pro-style unit? Against Duke the spread was very effective; against Virginia the offense was much better when operating out of the pro set.

Hell, this team cannot even decide which quarterback is its guy.

In summation: this team really cannot point to one thing as the thing it does best.

And maybe that is why they are successful.

In this year’s ACC, nobody knows what to expect. Here’s an example: Virginia lost to perennial bottom-dweller Duke, 31-3, earlier this season. They then won four straight, including victories over Maryland, North Carolina and Georgia Tech, who most consider the three best teams in the conference, at this point.

Essentially, the ACC is college football’s equivalent of “Survivor.” From week to week, fans have no idea what to expect. One week Florida State and Miami look like the class of the conference (as it should be); the next week, Maryland and Georgia Tech are playing for a birth in the Orange Bowl.

Miami may not have a traditional identity, but in this ACC, they do not need one. They adapt. They keep it close in the first half and then rely upon talent to overcome adversity in the second half.

Miami is essentially playing asymmetrical football. They understand that they cannot match other teams’ experience right now. They don’t have the ability to play four quarters of smash-mouth football. Their offense is not yet sophisticated enough to get into a shootout.

Instead, they put the force that they have onto the opponent’s weakest point and exploit it.

The Canes have come from behind in three straight conference wins by using this style.

The Virginia game was the best example.

The Canes largely kept within striking distance for three quarters against a bigger, more physical Cavalier squad.

After absorbing blows for all this time, the Canes started to use their speed to spread the Cavalier defense out and open up lanes for Graig Cooper. They waited for the right time and then struck at their opponent’s weakest spot. Essentially, they used the Cavaliers’ game plan against them.

This is the Hurricane identity this season.

Outwit. Outplay. Outlast.

November 5, 2008

Reporters

Dan Stein

Senior Sports Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The land of palm trees, beaches and mojitos gave way to the land of the Liberty Bell, cheesesteaks a ...

The University of Miami on Thursday launched a national search as it begins the difficult task of re ...

It would be hard to blame Avery Huff for rethinking his commitment to the Miami Hurricanes right now ...

The losses keep coming for Miami Hurricanes football and Mark Richt. And this feels like the biggest ...

The University of Miami is losing the architect of one of the nation’s best defenses. UM defensive c ...

During a news conference Wednesday, a UM medical team talked about the clinical findings after exami ...

Your one-stop shop for University of Miami fall commencement information. ...

The University of Miami will welcome more than 1,000 new graduates into the UM alumni family during ...

A UM medical team has released the first report of acute symptoms and clinical findings in 25 person ...

UM public relations students unveiled their plans to reposition March for Our Lives to attract colle ...

Fall graduation ceremonies held Thursday at Watsco Center. ...

The Miami women's basketball team ascended one position in each of the major national polls thi ...

Gerald Willis III added to his postseason awards list, picking up second-team All-America honors fro ...

Following its longest break of the season thus far, the No. 25/23 Miami women's basketball team ...

Miami head women's tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews announced Friday the signing of two players ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.