After the Storm: Duke

After the Storm: Duke

Stefan Adams
I’ve only been covering the Hurricanes for two seasons now, but this was easily the hardest article I’ve ever had to write in that time.

You will hear many debates over the coming days, trying to pin blame on whose fault it is that the program is backsliding in Year 3 of the Mark Richt era.

“It’s the coaching.”

“It’s the scheme.”

“It’s the play-calling.”

“It’s the players.”

“It’s the athletic department.”

What’s the truth? I don’t have all the answers. In all honesty, it’s probably some mix of all of the above.

The one thing I do know: this isn’t Miami Hurricanes football, nor should it ever be accepted as Miami Hurricanes football.

This ain’t it, folks. Not even close.

There are some hard truths that everyone involved with this program needs to confront today, as soon as possible. Can anyone really look in the mirror and say they are honestly doing their absolute best to make this program succeed?

After yet another game where the offense and special teams failed this program, here’s another truth: big-time college football is a bottom-line, “what have you done for me lately” business. You’re either a winner or a loser.

How do you know which one you are?

Don’t worry, when that clock hits zero and you look up at that scoreboard, you’ll know for sure. There’s nothing more finite, more simple as a metric or a reality. It reveals all, and there is no hiding from it or glossing it over without sounding like an excuse-machine.

There is plenty of glory to be had when you win, but when you’re being paid millions of dollars to coach a game, there has to be some level of criticism and accountability when you lose.

For a while under Richt, Miami was the winner. For 15 straight games to be exact. And they got all that praise that came along with it.

But, the bottom-line for Richt and his Miami Hurricanes in Year 3 right now? In just three short weeks, it feels like everything Richt has been building towards the past two and a half years is gone, mangled beyond recognition after three straight losses to inferior opponents. Anyone with eyeballs in their sockets can see that this program is on the downswing.

The raw numbers: UM is 5-7 in their last 12 games, 2-7 vs. Power 5 opponents.

That’s the cold, hard reality of where Miami is at right now.

What has happened to the team that blew out Notre Dame last season? The same core of a Notre Dame team that is currently undefeated and on the doorstep of a College Football Playoff berth.

Nobody was expecting a national title in year 3. Most weren’t even realistically expecting a conference title considering the level at which Clemson is playing right now.

But consecutive losses to middling conference opponents Virginia, Boston College, and then Duke at home? Miami hasn’t lost to the Blue Devils at home in over 40 years.

That’s not good enough.

There are major issues on this team, many of which should be, at best, minor issues in Year 3. The offense has declined each season. The handling of the QB position has been a disaster, all the way from recruiting and development, to practice and gameday. The offensive line has shown no pulse for three seasons now. The special teams unit is considered one of the worst in country and it’s gotten to the point that every time you watch them, you’re expecting some type of miscue.

Through nine games in 2018, Miami is 81st in the nation in offensive efficiency and 126th in special teams efficiency. Those numbers are both worse than Miami of Ohio. I assure you the Canes haven’t switched rosters with the RedHawks, even though it may feel like it sometimes.

Truth bomb: many fans and coaches dismiss special teams or don’t place enough emphasis on what is essentially a third of the game, feeling it doesn’t have true impact. That’s true a lot of the time, because special teams should really be a “gimme”, something that you execute easily and move on with the game. Except special teams has its greatest impact when it is terrible.

Take for instance Todd Hartley’s special teams unit contributing to leaving at least 5 points on the field last night due to botched holds and missed blocking assignments. It effected the game so much that instead of being able to line-up for a game tying field goal late in the 4th quarter, Miami had to try hail-mary’s from Duke’s 28 yard line just to have a hope of being able to attempt a two-point conversion to even the score.

The Canes are also continually inept at flipping the field in the punting game, which was extremely tilted in Duke’s favor and had an even bigger impact than normal considering it was a game with poor field conditions. Duke’s own QB was more competent on pooch punts than either of Miami’s punters. Miami was routinely starting from inside their own ten yard line, while Duke routinely started around midfield. The exact numbers: Duke’s average starting position was their own 42, while Miami’s was their own 19. I don’t have to tell you the play calls available to a team are much more limited when backed up in the shadow of their own endzone as opposed to around midfield.

Mistakes and bad games happen and can be anomalies. This is not that; these are trends.

Here are some more trends: Miami has now failed to score in the second half in two straight weeks. They have also failed to top more than 14 points during their three game losing streak.

If that wasn’t enough, Miami managed the entire game against Duke with an overly conservative mindset that may have had you thinking they were up 3 scores. Coming out of halftime up five? Three straight runs, the last of which came on third and 8.

On the final drive of the game with 4 minutes and 15 seconds and two timeouts, down eight? Miami was moving the ball, but ran out of time with some seriously bad clock management and a lack of urgency. At one point, UM ran the ball four straight times, the last of which came as the clock ran under 1 minute with the team still around midfield. On the drive, players lined up incorrectly or were celebrating a play while time was ticking away, with N’Kosi Perry constantly looking over to the sidelines and standing there to take in the play call with valuable seconds disappearing. Complete chaos.

Who are the leaders on offense right now that will step up and say this will not stand, the equivalent of Jaquan Johnson or Shaq Quarterman from the defense? I don't see any.

That’s not going to get it done.

With the way this team is playing, Miami at 5-4 is actually in danger of missing a bowl game, which would be a fitting end to what is turning into a nightmare of a season. Does anyone have confidence that they can go on the road and beat a Power 5 opponent like GT or VT? That just leaves a toss-up game at home in the season finale against Pitt, who had the Canes’ number last season.

And don’t kid yourself, this will have huge reverberations in recruiting. We’ve already seen the beginnings of it. Kids aren’t blind.

So, how do we get back to Miami Hurricanes football?

I’ve always believed, outside of extreme circumstances, a coach should realistically always get 4 years to prove his worth, and especially so when considerable resources are invested in him. 4 recruiting classes, all your players; make it happen in 4 years or your time is up.

Coming into this season, Richt felt like Al Capone. No, Richt is not getting fired after this season. But his seat is a heck of a lot warmer going into 2019.

The proof is there that some type of change is needed. It’s no longer a question of “if”. I argued for a change at offensive coordinator after the UVA game, and that notion has only been reinforced in the two games since.

It’s time for some honest self-evaluation from Richt and it will be simple: he will either make the necessary changes, or he won’t and will end up with a similar fate of Miami’s past three coaches.

Because, no matter how untouchable someone might seem, the truth always has a way of catching up with you.
 

Comments (67)

Great write up; however @Stefan Adams I must point out that this version we’re seeing of Richt has been his last 10 yrs, including at UGA. For inexplicable reasons, no matter how talented UGA was as opposed to their opponents, the would lose these games that were head scratching. For 4 of his last 7 yrs at UGA they finished outside the top 25 DESPITE top ranked classes.

Here’s the difference: Richt had big booster money behind him. That’s why UGA could consistently land in the top 15 of their classes. He has no such back up plan here, so how is he really getting “his players” when the players they identified are beginning to bail?

Keeping him 4 yrs literally does nothing for us.
 
Opposing D coord have been eating us alive

Dave Arranda and the defense from Jacksonville St. would give us fits
 
Our only hope is Richt pulls a Mcelwain and lies about getting death threats. If we cant fire him for cause he isnt going anywhere anytime soon.
 
I’ve only been covering the Hurricanes for two seasons now, but this was easily the hardest article I’ve ever had to write in that time.

You will hear many debates over the coming days, trying to pin blame on whose fault it is that the program is backsliding in Year 3 of the Mark Richt era.

“It’s the coaching.”

“It’s the scheme.”

“It’s the play-calling.”

“It’s the players.”

“It’s the athletic department.”

What’s the truth? I don’t have all the answers. In all honesty, it’s probably some mix of all of the above.

The one thing I do know: this isn’t Miami Hurricanes football, nor should it ever be accepted as Miami Hurricanes football.

This ain’t it, folks. Not even close.

There are some hard truths that everyone involved with this program needs to confront today, as soon as possible. Can anyone really look in the mirror and say they are honestly doing their absolute best to make this program succeed?

After yet another game where the offense and special teams failed this program, here’s another truth: big-time college football is a bottom-line, “what have you done for me lately” business. You’re either a winner or a loser.

How do you know which one you are?

Don’t worry, when that clock hits zero and you look up at that scoreboard, you’ll know for sure. There’s nothing more finite, more simple as a metric or a reality. It reveals all, and there is no hiding from it or glossing it over without sounding like an excuse-machine.

There is plenty of glory to be had when you win, but when you’re being paid millions of dollars to coach a game, there has to be some level of criticism and accountability when you lose.

For a while under Richt, Miami was the winner. For 15 straight games to be exact. And they got all that praise that came along with it.

But, the bottom-line for Richt and his Miami Hurricanes in Year 3 right now? In just three short weeks, it feels like everything Richt has been building towards the past two and a half years is gone, mangled beyond recognition after three straight losses to inferior opponents. Anyone with eyeballs in their sockets can see that this program is on the downswing.

The raw numbers: UM is 5-7 in their last 12 games, 2-7 vs. Power 5 opponents.

That’s the cold, hard reality of where Miami is at right now.

What has happened to the team that blew out Notre Dame last season? The same core of a Notre Dame team that is currently undefeated and on the doorstep of a College Football Playoff berth.

Nobody was expecting a national title in year 3. Most weren’t even realistically expecting a conference title considering the level at which Clemson is playing right now.

But consecutive losses to middling conference opponents Virginia, Boston College, and then Duke at home? Miami hasn’t lost to the Blue Devils at home in over 40 years.

That’s not good enough.

There are major issues on this team, many of which should be, at best, minor issues in Year 3. The offense has declined each season. The handling of the QB position has been a disaster, all the way from recruiting and development, to practice and gameday. The offensive line has shown no pulse for three seasons now. The special teams unit is considered one of the worst in country and it’s gotten to the point that every time you watch them, you’re expecting some type of miscue.

Through nine games in 2018, Miami is 81st in the nation in offensive efficiency and 126th in special teams efficiency. Those numbers are both worse than Miami of Ohio. I assure you the Canes haven’t switched rosters with the RedHawks, even though it may feel like it sometimes.

Truth bomb: many fans and coaches dismiss special teams or don’t place enough emphasis on what is essentially a third of the game, feeling it doesn’t have true impact. That’s true a lot of the time, because special teams should really be a “gimme”, something that you execute easily and move on with the game. Except special teams has its greatest impact when it is terrible.

Take for instance Todd Hartley’s special teams unit contributing to leaving at least 5 points on the field last night due to botched holds and missed blocking assignments. It effected the game so much that instead of being able to line-up for a game tying field goal late in the 4th quarter, Miami had to try hail-mary’s from Duke’s 28 yard line just to have a hope of being able to attempt a two-point conversion to even the score.

The Canes are also continually inept at flipping the field in the punting game, which was extremely tilted in Duke’s favor and had an even bigger impact than normal considering it was a game with poor field conditions. Miami was routinely starting from inside their own ten yard line, while Duke routinely started around midfield. The exact numbers: Duke’s average starting position was their own 42, while Miami’s was their own 19. I don’t have to tell you the play calls available to a team are much more limited when backed up in the shadow of their own endzone as opposed to around midfield.

Mistakes and bad games happen and can be anomalies. This is not that; these are trends.

Here are some more trends: Miami has now failed to score in the second half in two straight weeks. They have also failed to top more than 14 points during their three game losing streak.

If that wasn’t enough, Miami managed the entire game against Duke with an overly conservative mindset that may have had you thinking they were up 3 scores. Coming out of halftime up five? Three straight runs, the last of which came on third and 8.

On the final drive of the game with 4 minutes and 15 seconds and two timeouts, down eight? Miami was moving the ball, but ran out of time with some seriously bad clock management and a lack of urgency. At one point, UM ran the ball four straight times, the last of which came as the clock ran under 1 minute with the team still around midfield. On the drive, players lined up incorrectly or were celebrating a play while time was ticking away, with N’Kosi Perry constantly looking over to the sidelines and standing there to take in the play call with valuable seconds disappearing. Complete chaos.

Who are the leaders on offense right now, the equivalent of Jaquan Johnson or Shaq Quarterman from the defense? I don't see any.

That’s not going to get it done.

With the way this team is playing, Miami at 5-4 is actually in danger of missing a bowl game, which would be a fitting end to what is turning into a nightmare of a season. Does anyone have confidence that they can go on the road and beat a Power 5 opponent like GT or VT? That just leaves a toss-up game at home in the season finale against Pitt, who had the Canes’ number last season.

And don’t kid yourself, this will have huge reverberations in recruiting. We’ve already seen the beginnings of it. Kids aren’t blind.

So, how do we get back to Miami Hurricanes football?

I’ve always believed, outside of extreme circumstances, a coach should realistically always get 4 years to prove his worth, and especially so when considerable resources are invested in him. 4 recruiting classes, all your players; make it happen in 4 years or your time is up.

Coming into this season, Richt felt like Al Capone. No, Richt is not getting fired after this season. But his seat is a heck of a lot warmer going into 2019.

The proof is there that some type of change is needed. It’s time for some honest self-evaluation from Richt and it will be simple: he will either make the necessary changes, or he won’t and will end up with a similar fate of Miami’s past three coaches.

Because, no matter how untouchable someone might seem, the truth always has a way of catching up with you.

Stef, can you give a logical argument for why Richt should remain the coach beyond this season? Has any coach gone from a #2 late season ranking to similar depths such as this and then successfully negotiated a turn around the next season and eventually won anything of significance at that program?

We keep hearing this argument that Richt won’t be let go, but I haven’t heard any rational basis for this position other than money (not a logical reason to continue failing), and power/aka donations (again, also not a logical reason to continue failing).

Giving in to this logical fallacy and not challenging it on a rational basis is nonsense imho.

You say you believe a coach should get 4 years, barring extreme circumstances. Would you not count current circumstances as extreme? This team has lost all of its prestige, mojo, momentum, credibility, and is going to lose an entire class worth of recruits, something that takes 3-4 years to patch over. Waiting for things to get worse and lowering the bar of expectations just does not seem like a viable option. This roster has talent now. How attractive will this job be in another year or two? Simply put, while separating from Richt may be expensive, not to do so would be far more so.
 
If Miami loses the next three games I think there is a chance he is not the HC next year. Either flat out fired or a mutual agreement and buyout workout. Not saying it will happen but this is a big money business and a complete collapse could result in his departure.
 
High School teams have better 2 minute offenses and punters, our placekicker was not very good in high school which was well known and now we are a joke...

Bubba High School

Zach Feagles had a 37 yard average in high school yet got a free ride? (Weird that he was a pretty good running back though.)

Jon Richt no real experience
Jon Bio


So our special teams suck with a scholarship Punter and PK that both sucked in high school and with highly rated QB's we can't find one that can "execute" via Jon's coaching (nepotism never works). Does anyone have to figure out what is wrong? Imagine a decent punter with our defense or our games if we had a semi-reliable placekicker, our losses have been poor field position and against Duke a critical FG missed. Including weird use of two inept QB's. Most of us had high hopes for this team and the major concern was how do we fill in our defensive line which Diaz did one heck of a good job. Most of us thought Rosier would ride the pine with these "great" young QB's on campus but that was a big mistake, I see better QB's at high school games then what we see at what was QB U. Any other coach would replace the QB coach without hesitation.

Best word to sum it up...SICKENING.
 
Stefan,

If it is true that Neal just silented to Alabama, and it is fact we just lost our top RB and have no incoming QB, can we afford to give Richt another year?

I understand recruiting, but those current misses/losses may be too much. They really kill key on the field pieces in 2020. We just don’t have enough depth to lose guys waiting for the year after the big turnaround year anymore. The big turnaround year was supposed to happen last year or this year. We are clearly only losing ground. There is no argument to the contrary.
 
I’ve only been covering the Hurricanes for two seasons now, but this was easily the hardest article I’ve ever had to write in that time.

You will hear many debates over the coming days, trying to pin blame on whose fault it is that the program is backsliding in Year 3 of the Mark Richt era.

“It’s the coaching.”

“It’s the scheme.”

“It’s the play-calling.”

“It’s the players.”

“It’s the athletic department.”

What’s the truth? I don’t have all the answers. In all honesty, it’s probably some mix of all of the above.

The one thing I do know: this isn’t Miami Hurricanes football, nor should it ever be accepted as Miami Hurricanes football.

This ain’t it, folks. Not even close.

There are some hard truths that everyone involved with this program needs to confront today, as soon as possible. Can anyone really look in the mirror and say they are honestly doing their absolute best to make this program succeed?

After yet another game where the offense and special teams failed this program, here’s another truth: big-time college football is a bottom-line, “what have you done for me lately” business. You’re either a winner or a loser.

How do you know which one you are?

Don’t worry, when that clock hits zero and you look up at that scoreboard, you’ll know for sure. There’s nothing more finite, more simple as a metric or a reality. It reveals all, and there is no hiding from it or glossing it over without sounding like an excuse-machine.

There is plenty of glory to be had when you win, but when you’re being paid millions of dollars to coach a game, there has to be some level of criticism and accountability when you lose.

For a while under Richt, Miami was the winner. For 15 straight games to be exact. And they got all that praise that came along with it.

But, the bottom-line for Richt and his Miami Hurricanes in Year 3 right now? In just three short weeks, it feels like everything Richt has been building towards the past two and a half years is gone, mangled beyond recognition after three straight losses to inferior opponents. Anyone with eyeballs in their sockets can see that this program is on the downswing.

The raw numbers: UM is 5-7 in their last 12 games, 2-7 vs. Power 5 opponents.

That’s the cold, hard reality of where Miami is at right now.

What has happened to the team that blew out Notre Dame last season? The same core of a Notre Dame team that is currently undefeated and on the doorstep of a College Football Playoff berth.

Nobody was expecting a national title in year 3. Most weren’t even realistically expecting a conference title considering the level at which Clemson is playing right now.

But consecutive losses to middling conference opponents Virginia, Boston College, and then Duke at home? Miami hasn’t lost to the Blue Devils at home in over 40 years.

That’s not good enough.

There are major issues on this team, many of which should be, at best, minor issues in Year 3. The offense has declined each season. The handling of the QB position has been a disaster, all the way from recruiting and development, to practice and gameday. The offensive line has shown no pulse for three seasons now. The special teams unit is considered one of the worst in country and it’s gotten to the point that every time you watch them, you’re expecting some type of miscue.

Through nine games in 2018, Miami is 81st in the nation in offensive efficiency and 126th in special teams efficiency. Those numbers are both worse than Miami of Ohio. I assure you the Canes haven’t switched rosters with the RedHawks, even though it may feel like it sometimes.

Truth bomb: many fans and coaches dismiss special teams or don’t place enough emphasis on what is essentially a third of the game, feeling it doesn’t have true impact. That’s true a lot of the time, because special teams should really be a “gimme”, something that you execute easily and move on with the game. Except special teams has its greatest impact when it is terrible.

Take for instance Todd Hartley’s special teams unit contributing to leaving at least 5 points on the field last night due to botched holds and missed blocking assignments. It effected the game so much that instead of being able to line-up for a game tying field goal late in the 4th quarter, Miami had to try hail-mary’s from Duke’s 28 yard line just to have a hope of being able to attempt a two-point conversion to even the score.

The Canes are also continually inept at flipping the field in the punting game, which was extremely tilted in Duke’s favor and had an even bigger impact than normal considering it was a game with poor field conditions. Miami was routinely starting from inside their own ten yard line, while Duke routinely started around midfield. The exact numbers: Duke’s average starting position was their own 42, while Miami’s was their own 19. I don’t have to tell you the play calls available to a team are much more limited when backed up in the shadow of their own endzone as opposed to around midfield.

Mistakes and bad games happen and can be anomalies. This is not that; these are trends.

Here are some more trends: Miami has now failed to score in the second half in two straight weeks. They have also failed to top more than 14 points during their three game losing streak.

If that wasn’t enough, Miami managed the entire game against Duke with an overly conservative mindset that may have had you thinking they were up 3 scores. Coming out of halftime up five? Three straight runs, the last of which came on third and 8.

On the final drive of the game with 4 minutes and 15 seconds and two timeouts, down eight? Miami was moving the ball, but ran out of time with some seriously bad clock management and a lack of urgency. At one point, UM ran the ball four straight times, the last of which came as the clock ran under 1 minute with the team still around midfield. On the drive, players lined up incorrectly or were celebrating a play while time was ticking away, with N’Kosi Perry constantly looking over to the sidelines and standing there to take in the play call with valuable seconds disappearing. Complete chaos.

Who are the leaders on offense right now, the equivalent of Jaquan Johnson or Shaq Quarterman from the defense? I don't see any.

That’s not going to get it done.

With the way this team is playing, Miami at 5-4 is actually in danger of missing a bowl game, which would be a fitting end to what is turning into a nightmare of a season. Does anyone have confidence that they can go on the road and beat a Power 5 opponent like GT or VT? That just leaves a toss-up game at home in the season finale against Pitt, who had the Canes’ number last season.

And don’t kid yourself, this will have huge reverberations in recruiting. We’ve already seen the beginnings of it. Kids aren’t blind.

So, how do we get back to Miami Hurricanes football?

I’ve always believed, outside of extreme circumstances, a coach should realistically always get 4 years to prove his worth, and especially so when considerable resources are invested in him. 4 recruiting classes, all your players; make it happen in 4 years or your time is up.

Coming into this season, Richt felt like Al Capone. No, Richt is not getting fired after this season. But his seat is a heck of a lot warmer going into 2019.

The proof is there that some type of change is needed. It’s no longer a question of “if”. I argued for a change at offensive coordinator after the UVA game, and that notion has only been reinforced in the two games since.

It’s time for some honest self-evaluation from Richt and it will be simple: he will either make the necessary changes, or he won’t and will end up with a similar fate of Miami’s past three coaches.

Because, no matter how untouchable someone might seem, the truth always has a way of catching up with you.

Next Sunday, November 11th, is the 1yr anniversary of the Notre Dame win.

What a decade this year has been.
 
There are some hard truths that everyone involved with this program needs to confront today, as soon as possible. Can anyone really look in the mirror and say they are honestly doing their absolute best to make this program succeed?

The hard truth is that for many on our staff their best isn't good enough.
 

2021 Commits

S
6'5"
220
Fort Lauderdale, FL
DT
6'4"
255
Miami, FL
OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
DT
6'4"
290
Miami, FL
DE
6'5"
210
Miami, FL
WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne, FL
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL

Latest Predictions

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High
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Medium
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2020 Schedule

09/10
UAB
Miami Gardens, FL
W 31 - 14
09/19
Louisville
Louisville, KY
W 47 - 34
09/26
Florida State
Miami Gardens, FL
W 52 - 10
10/10
Clemson
Clemson, SC
10/17
Pittsburgh
Miami Gardens, FL
10/24
Virginia
Miami Gardens, FL
11/06
NC State
Raleigh, NC
11/14
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
11/21
Georgia Tech
Miami Gardens, FL
11/28
Wake Forest
Winston-Salem, NC
12/05
North Carolina
Miami Gardens, FL
Top