Blogger So Dear: Quarterback Stephen Morris is coming off a 4 interception game against North Carolina. How big of a concern is this for you in the upcoming game against Wake Forest and for the remainder of the season?
Stephen Morris' propensity to turn the ball over is something that needs to be addressed and corrected ASAP. We have turned the ball over 12 times in the last 3 games after having only had 2 turnovers combined in our first 4 games. The turnover problems haven't been all Morris, but he's contributed to them plenty.
For this week, I would say this is a big concern until proven otherwise. Morris has found a way to give the ball up, even when the offense has been working effectively and moving the ball. You guys used 3 turnovers to blow the game against Maryland open last week. Yes, I'm concerned. As for the future, this turnover issue is something worth watching. We simply will not be able to consistently win against good competition if this issue is not corrected.
Blogger So Dear: What are your thoughts on the recent punishment handed down by the NCAA?
My thoughts on the NCAA sanctions: Relieved that this is finally over. Many pundits and opposing fans have been saying "Miami got off light", but that's shortsighted. Coach Golden self imposed many sanctions, ranging from 3 post-season games (2 bowl games and the ACC Championship game), shortening evaluation periods, lowering the number of communications between our staff and prospective recruits, and lowering the number of players that were brought in for Official Visits, among others.
When you add those self-imposed restrictions, plus the NCAA mandated scholarship reductions, and the nearly 3 years of uncertainty (and the accompanying negative recruiting), that really tells the story of the NCAA saga. And, now that's it's over, I think most Canes fans would tell you that they, like me, are relieved.
Blogger So Dear: Number 7 is the highest Miami has been ranked in the initial BCS rankings since 2004. With that in mind, talk about what Al Golden has meant to this program and where you see it going.
The importance Al Golden and his steady, confident, process-driven leadership of this program cannot be overstated. While he wasn't the flashy name most wanted to bring in to rebuild this program, he was unquestionably the right pick. He has stuck around when many thought he would and should have left for greener pastures. He is a perfect fit at Miami.
Where will he take us is a harder question. Canes fans are quick to talk about being "back", but to me, that means competing for championships. At 6-0 this year, we're easily a year ahead of schedule on his rebuilding plan. I think that Golden will continue to guide Miami back to being a perennially top ranked team and, hopefully, compete for Championships (ACC and National) in the not-so-distant future.
Blogger So Dear: Is there any chance Duke Johnson sees limited snaps this weekend with the hopes of giving him a break before next weekend's game against FSU?
From all indications, Duke Johnson has been a full participant at practice this week. I don't foresee him having limited snaps at all. This is an ACC game against a team on a 2 game winning streak, who just blew out another league opponent by 24pts. Duke is the engine that makes our offense work. Add in his impact on special teams with his kick returns, and he affects games in many ways. We need Duke to be his normal, multi-dimensional, explosive self. And it seems as thought we'll have him playing that role this week.
Blogger So Dear: Miami lost second leading receiver Phillip Dorsett to an MCL injury during the North Carolina game. How do the Hurricanes adjust after his injury?
Losing Dorsett definitely hurts. He was our fastest player, and his ability to stretch the field vertically has been his calling card since he got to campus. The defense couldn't relax on him, because his 4.3 speed makes him a threat to score on every play.
The other receivers will need to step up in his absence. Primary among them being #6 Herb Waters, #3 Stacy Coley, and #9 Malcolm Lewis. Waters is the most polished of those players, with Coley being the most physically talented, and Lewis having the best hands. Lewis is starting to gain confidence in his ankle, which he injured in the GT game last year. Another player who will see playing time is #80 Rashawn Scott, who is returning from a broken collarbone suffered early in the season. Those players will need to collectively try to replace what Dorsett brought to the offense.
Blogger So Dear: Finally, with FSU looming next week, do you believe this Wake Forest game as a potential "trap game"? What's your prediction on how this game plays out and the final score?
Before the season, I pointed to this game as a trap game. Between the Thursday Night game at UNC and before the big game at FSU, this could have been overlooked. However, after nearly seeing our undefeated season end last week, our focus is squarely on this game, and cleaning up some errors and issues. Yes, we all know we play at Florida State next week. But, that game doesn't have the immense national draw and impact if we lose this week.
I think Miami will come out hyped up on adrenaline, and play fast and strong. I think there will be some mistakes and timing out of sync with players trying to fill slightly different roles than they're used to. I look for the defense to continue their very strong play, and create a couple turnovers.
Score prediction: Miami 37 Wake Forest 17