Football, Sports

Golden searching for consistency

Senior offensive line Tyler Horn waits to pass the ball in the Kansas State game. Ashley McKevitt//The Miami Hurricane

As Miami head coach Al Golden has stated often this season, the amount of talent on his team has not been a factor in deciding games. For him, it’s just a matter of showing it.
“If you were to say, ‘what’s the one thing that [I’d] like to fix on this team right now,’ it’s consistency,” Golden said. “Regardless of where we play, who we play, what time of day it is, that we are the same team and each player is the same guy each and every play.”
Bethune-Cookman will be the first “tune-up” game for the Hurricanes (1-2) this year. Though the Wildcats (2-1) won 10 games last season and have former FBS players on their roster, including Rutgers transfer wide receiver Eddie Poole, they are the type of FCS school with which most major schools start their seasons.
But while the Hurricanes may finally get a week to test themselves against lesser competition, Golden refuses to address this week’s game as a pushover.
“We’re playing teams that know how to win,” Golden said. “We’re starting off playing teams that have won 38 games a year ago. The first three were three bowl teams that won 28 games, so we’re not in preseason, we jumped right into it. I think when we played well against Ohio State, we won. We didn’t play a full game against Kansas State. We’re not good enough to do that right now.”
After throwing an interception for the second straight game, senior quarterback Jacory Harris threw two touchdowns and failed to complete just two of 11 passes in the second half of Saturday’s loss against Kansas State.
Tough as the loss may have been for Harris and the rest of the team, the comfort of having another game to prepare for was welcomed.
“We just get back up,” Harris said. “I’m not mad about anything, I’m just out here with my teammates having fun and preparing like it’s another game, which it is. You gotta keep moving forward- short-term memory.”
The Hurricanes currently rank 99th in rushing defense in the NCAA and worst in the ACC, allowing 196.6 yards per game on the ground. Though their pass defense ranks first in the conference – 172 yards per game –  teams have only attempted 80 passes this season, also lowest in the conference.
Most concerning and glaring about the defense’s struggles against the opposition’s running attack is the lack of consistent contribution by the defensive line. None of the top five tacklers on the team are linemen, and more concerning is the fact that safeties JoJo Nicolas and Vaughn Telemaque are in the top three.
Senior linebacker Sean Spence, the team’s leading tackler with 20 stops this season (despite missing the Maryland game due to suspension), has done his part as the defense’s unquestioned leader
“The whole defensive line is frustrated,” Spence said. “We pride ourselves on stopping the run, and if we don’t stop it teams are going to continue to run it on us. But I think guys understand that this is a team sport and guys just have to fill their gaps and just play ball.”

September 28, 2011

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Austen Gregerson

Staff Columnist


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