After the Storm: Duke

Stefan Adams
7 min read
The Miami Hurricanes lost their 2nd straight game on Saturday, falling 27-17 to the Duke Blue Devils on the road and ending the regular season a disappointing 6-6. Here were my grades and takeaways from the game.

**Just another loss in what has been a dismal season for UM. Another loss in a game UM had no business losing, as they've now fell to 4 teams (UNC, GT, FIU, Duke) that finished the season .500 or worse, with one being a Group of 5 team. For myself, I’d say falling to Duke this week didn’t really move the needle for me in any direction; losing to FIU was the final indictment for this team in my eyes. The team continually plays down to the competition and shows an alarming absence of effort and fight far too often. Considering the talent on the team, the expectations at Miami, and the overall weakness of the schedule and the division, this has been an abject failure for this coaching staff in 2019.

**The lack of urgency on the team in the 4th quarter showed up again. With Miami down two scores midway through 4th quarter, the Canes were only able to get two more possessions in the game, so they would need to make them count and quickly. But, yet again, the Canes’ offense went slow and methodical, taking 8 plays to go just 32 total yards before a punt, and moving the ball just 6 yards on 5 plays on their final drive before fumbling the ball away. No hurry-up, no tempo, no sense of urgency. This coaching staff has shown some serious time management issues, just more problems in a long line of them at this point.

**The Dan Enos-led Miami offense put up 17 points and under 259 yards of total offense vs. Duke. The context for that performance makes it look even worse: Duke’s defense had just let up 38 or more points in 4 of their last 5 games, and just let up over 600 yards to Wake Forest. The Canes also had 8 three and outs, 3.4 yards per play, and 4 of 19 (21%) on third downs to lower UM's already nation-worst third down conversion rate. It was even worse when you look under the hood at the second half stats: Miami's 9 drives in the second stanza netted them just 61 yards on 38 plays. It doesn’t get much uglier than that. Football is a game of chess, and David Cutcliffe and his defensive staff made the proper adjustments at the half, while Enos could not respond to Duke’s changes in the slightest.

**The Canes risk heading into 2020 with uncertainty yet again at QB. After his record-breaking performance vs. Louisville, QB Jarren Williams had his second straight underwhelming performance vs. Duke this week, putting up a dismal 11-26 (42.3%) for 142 yards and 1 TD passing before being relieved by N'Kosi Perry yet again in the 4th quarter. Williams was out of sorts from the word go, as it seemed like he wasn't all there mentally and was consistently out of rhythm with his receivers. Of course, the offensive line (9 sacks) reverting back to their first half of the year woes didn't give him much of a chance. The Canes really need Williams to get out of the funk he's in and show some leadership skills over this next month before the bowl game to prove he's the guy going forward. Otherwise, UM will be back in familiar territory - feeling like they don't have an answer to the QB question on the roster for another whole off-season.

**Change on the staff is needed. After a hopeful few months, it feels like Miami wasted their get out of jail free card and are right back where they were a year ago under Mark Richt, needing an offensive make-over and about to start an entire off-season of negative energy around the program. We now have a full season of sample size to run down all the abysmal stats: Counting only games against FBS opponents, UM was 130th in third down conversions, 127th in sacks allowed per game, 91st in yards per play, 89th in ppg, and 99th in total yards. In other words, virtually no improvement from last season and in some categories, even worse. Miami could just keep trying variants of the same system with different coordinators, or just finally give in and move to the system they should have gone to a year ago. Just like I argued last year, and why I wasn’t sold on the Enos hire, the ideology of a primarily pro-style offense with a hint of spread elements that relies on a strong O-Line is not a fit for this program any longer. Miami needs to favor the system that instead relies on putting speedy athletes in space, a system that plays to UM’s strengths: GO TO THE SPREAD.

**Of course, Manny Diaz won’t be going anywhere because of “first year coach” reasons. But, he’s well-aware another season like this just can’t happen and my opinion is that Manny is in Willie Taggart territory going into next season; I don’t believe he can survive another year of losing to vastly inferior opponents like this one, even though it seems the general rule in college football is you have to give a guy three years. Aside from beating FSU, Diaz doesn’t have much to hang his hat on and didn’t show anything in Year 1 to make you believe he is a guy that can win championships at Miami. My feeling is he will either make the right changes over the off-season and get things going in the proper direction from the jump next season, or he will be gone by the end of 2020.


Offense: F

17 points and 259 yards against a Duke defense that was struggling mightily coming in. One turnover. 9 sacks allowed. 8 three and outs. 3.4 yards per play. 4 of 19 (21%) on third downs to lower UM's already nation-worst third down conversion rate. A bottom of the barrel offensive performance to end another terrible year on this side of the ball.

Defense: B-

6 sacks and 10 TFL were a high point. 27 points allowed isn't great, but when the offense is going three and out all game and continually putting them back on the field and in bad spots, it's hard to blame the defense much. Held Duke under their season average on offense with 287 total yards allowed. One turnover forced.

Special Teams: C+

Louis Hedley probably had his weakest game of the year, averaging 37.4 yards per punt on the day. Camden Price continued to make the easy kicks that seemed impossible for Miami to convert earlier in the year, hitting a 27-yarder and both of his XP's. KJ Osborn was a bright spot yet again as a punt returner, breaking off a 43-yard return. Kick coverage gave up a decent 37-yard run-back to the Blue Devils. It was a slightly above average effort with no major errors for this unit.

Coaching: F

Another loss in a game Miami had no business losing. No feel or flow to the playcalling on offense, and no effective adjustments to the looks Duke's defense gave in the second half. Another game with the team just going through the motions and lacking effort. 6 penalties for 45 yards is decent. The fourth game this season by my count that was fireable for all involved. It was the exclamation point on what I felt was one of the worst coaching jobs in a season I've seen since I became football conscious in the early 2000's.

Comments (30)

Manny isn’t going anywhere, but you can’t put a sample over 12 games of that egregious of coaching performances and bring back the same entire staff the next year. You just can’t. I don’t care about it only being 1 year. 1 year is long enough to see what you need to at least change something. You simply cannot have the same 10 coaches here next year. It can’t happen. Not after that 12 game sample.
I believe Stefan grades are right on the nose. He is right on bulls eye stating Manny is in Taggert category. He better win next year and must change to a spread offense or else he will be terminated! GREAT JOB
If Enos isnt replaced this offseason I fully intend to completely check out next season and cancel my usual plans of flying into town for 2 home games.

Fuggg wasting money to see a repeat performance for the sake of “first year coach It’ll get better!!”
your coaching grade is to high.... a negative F+++++ is a little more accurate.
. These coaches will Win the bowl and be competing for championship next year.
The way he chose his offensive scheme this year, knowing very well that he had a bad OL, Diaz showed us he was not too smart.
What does beating FSU have to do with anything this year? They were horrible. If that's all people care about then why is anyone complaining about Manny & the program? We beat FSU...whoop dee doo...we had a great year! :stupid:
What is the explanation for why when we are down in a game and running out of time not only do we not go with tempo, we actually often do the opposite? There was one game we were down with the ball late, yet if you couldnt see a scoreboard and were just watching the drive, youd think we were ahead and trying to kill clock. Literally. Huddled every play, got playcall in late, ran clock down to seconds on every single snap (once or twice even almost got a delay of game). Every single snap. This was 3 games or so back, I forget which one now. Maybe GT.

The crazy thing is I've see that exact same thing under the last 3 staffs now. This seems like the definition of basic Football 101 here. I still can't wrap my mind around why that happens. Is it confusion on the sideline? Are they just not able to get plays in? I mean, surely, the staff doesnt WANT to go slow in those situations, right?!? I legitimately don't understand.
"Fourth game this season...that was fireable for all involved"

Talk about fanboy hyperbole! No single game is fireable for anyone, absent a violent or otherwise inappropriate altercation, but this is the FOURTH game in a single season where EVERYONE involved should be fired.

***I agree that Diaz should be feeling substantial pressure going into next year. And my comment isn't a complaint: I understand CIS is not a real news outlet, and targets the bottom of the barrel of our fanbase. My comment is just an observation on how laughably over-the-top that statement was.