All About The U Podcast #11

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

Our very late 11th AATU podcast.  Leon Armstrong III fills in for Stanton Thomas as we discuss FSU, next year, and for some reason, the 2008 Georgia Tech game.

e-mail comments and questions to: allabouttheuofmiami@gmail.com

Follow me on Twitter:  @vrp2003

Download & Listen Here:  AATUPodcast11122011.mp3

Posted in Podcasts

2011-2012 Miami Men’s Basketball Preview

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The University of Miami men’s basketball team kicks off the season on Friday against Tennessee Tech under first year head coach Jim Larranaga.  Preseason expectations are relatively high for the Hurricanes, picked to finish fifth in the preseason ACC Basketball Poll.  A fifth place finish would equal the ‘Canes highest since joining the ACC.  But the schedule is wrought with challenges, and it is imperative for the ‘Canes to get off to a strong start.

Schedule

11/11/11 vs. Tennessee Tech Coral Gables, Fla. 7:00 p.m.
11/15/11 vs. Rutgers TV Coral Gables, Fla. 7:00 p.m.
11/19/11 vs. North Florida Coral Gables, Fla. 7:00 p.m.
11/22/11 vs. Florida Gulf Coast TV Coral Gables, Fla. 7:00 p.m.
11/25/11 at Ole Miss TV Oxford, Miss. 4:00 p.m.
11/29/11 at Purdue TV West Lafayette, Ind. 9:00 p.m.
12/03/11 vs. Massachusetts TV Coral Gables, Fla. 1:00 p.m.
12/06/11 vs. Memphis TV Coral Gables, Fla. 9:00 p.m.
12/10/11 at West Virginia TV Morgantown, W.V. 7:00 p.m.
Orange Bowl Classic
12/17/11 vs. Florida Atlantic TV Sunrise, Fla. 12:00 p.m.
12/22/11 at Charlotte Charlotte, N.C. 7:30 p.m.
12/30/11 vs. Appalachian State Coral Gables, Fla. 7:00 p.m.
01/02/12 vs. UNC Greensboro TV Coral Gables, Fla. 9:00 p.m.
01/07/12 at Virginia * TV Charlottesville, Va. 6:00 p.m.
01/10/12 at North Carolina * TV Chapel Hill, N.C. 9:00 p.m.
01/18/12 vs. Clemson * TV Coral Gables, Fla. 7:00 p.m.
01/22/12 vs. North Carolina State * TV Coral Gables, Fla. 12:00 p.m.
01/24/12 at Georgia Tech * TV Atlanta, Ga. 9:00 p.m.
01/29/12 at Boston College * TV Chestnut Hill, Mass. 1:00 p.m.
02/01/12 vs. Maryland * TV Coral Gables, Fla. 8:00 p.m.
02/05/12 at Duke * TV Durham, N.C. 3:00 p.m.
02/09/12 vs. Virginia Tech * TV Coral Gables, Fla. 9:00 p.m.
02/11/12 at Florida State * TV Tallahassee, Fla. 1:00 p.m.
02/15/12 vs. North Carolina * TV Coral Gables, Fla. 7:00 p.m.
02/18/12 vs. Wake Forest * TV Coral Gables, Fla. 1:00 p.m.
02/21/12 at Maryland * TV College Park, Md. 8:00 p.m.
02/26/12 vs. Florida State * TV Coral Gables, Fla. 6:00 p.m.
02/29/12 at North Carolina State * TV Raleigh, N.C. 9:00 p.m.
03/03/12 vs. Boston College * TV Coral Gables, Fla. 2:30 p.m.

In previous years, the ‘Canes have played a lighter out of conference schedule, opting to build confidence and a strong record against lesser opponents.  They won’t be afforded that opportunity this year.  The ‘Canes will be tested early and often with games against Rutgers, @Ole Miss, @Purdue, Massachusetts, Memphis, @West Virginia, and @Charlotte before even entering ACC play.  Needless to say, if the ‘Canes have a strong record  heading into conference play, they will be well positioned to earn a coveted invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

Because of the unbalanced nature of the ACC schedule, the ‘Canes play Boston College, Florida State, Maryland, North Carolina and North Carolina State twice, and every other team one time.  In terms of preseason predicted order of finish, these teams are fairly well interspersed throughout the standings, making this schedule tough, but not impossible.

There are two key stretches that I believe will go a long way towards determining the outcome of the season:

  1. 11/25 – 12/10:  A challenging 5 game stretch featuring 3 road games and 2 home games, all against formidable teams.  A 3-2 record in this stretch would have to be seen as a good run.
  2. 01/07 – 01/29:  The ACC schedule opens with 4 of 6 games on the road, including a game at national title contender North Carolina.  3-3 has to be the goal here, positioning the ‘Canes to capture the 8-10 win ACC season that they need to make the NCAA tournament.

The Backcourt

Miami’s backcourt will be one of the best in the ACC and the team will rely on them to carry the team.  Starting Guards Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant bring experience to the position.  Behind them, the Hurricanes are extremely deep, with veteran experienced players Garrius Adams and Rion Brown joined by transfer Trey McKinney Jones and freshmen Bishop Daniels and Shane Larkin (still awaiting NCAA clearance as he originally enrolled at Depaul).  The ‘Canes will need this depth to overcome the lack of depth in the front court.

Last year, the ‘Canes were too reliant on this group and the 3-point shot.  In fact, 39% of the Miami’s FG attempts last year were from 3-point range.  To contextualize that, only 29% of defending champion Connecticut’s shots were 3 pointers.  With Larranaga taking over, a different system should be in place this year, allowing the ‘Canes to take a more balanced approach.

The Frontcourt

Uncertainty abounds.  The ‘Canes top 2 centers are out.  Starting center, Reggie Johnson, who broke out last year showing a strong post game, will be out until at least January.  His backup, Julian Gamble, is out for the season with a knee injury.

This situation is further complicated by question marks surrounding forward Daquan Jones involvement in the Yahoo! scandal.  He will not play for Miami this year.

Behind those 3 players, the Hurricanes are thin.  They will rely on forward Erik Swoope (who started some last year), forward Rafael Akpejiori (who averaged less than 5 minutes per game last year) and transfer forward/center Kenny Kadji to man the power forward and center positions until Johnson returns from injury.  At small forward, expect the ‘Canes to draw on their depth at guard and employ creative 3-guard lineups.

Coming and Going

The ‘Canes lost 3 contributors off of last years’ team:  forward Adrian Thomas to graduation, Daquan Jones, and forward Donnavan Kirk to transfer (to Depaul).  As mentioned, they will also need to replace center Julian Gamble and center Reggie Johnson for the pre-ACC schedule.

But the ‘Canes do have reinforcements coming in. Kadji and McKinney Jones transferred in.  In addition, Daniels and Larkin (provided he receives NCAA clearance) will provide depth.

Outlook

The team is returning a lot of talent.  The only top level contributors lost off the roster from last year are Daquan Jones and Adrian Thomas.  But the rest of the roster is in a state of disarray.  The exhibition game against Florida Southern last week gave a window into a worst case scenario for the ‘Canes, with Larkin sitting out while awaiting permission to play from the NCAA, with Gamble, Johnson and Daniels injured, and with Kadji sitting out for a violation of team rules, the ‘Canes used a 7-man rotation of Scott, Grant, Adams, McKinney Jones, Brown, Swoope and Akpejiori.

The season may actually come down to the out of conference schedule.  It is challenging and the ‘Canes roster will be depleted.  But by the time ACC play comes around, the ‘Canes should be playing with mostly a full deck, absent only Julian Gamble and Daquan Jones.  If the out of conference schedule doesn’t bury the team, expect a big season from the ‘Canes and a return to the NCAA tournament.

Posted in Basketball

All About The U Podcast #10

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

Stanton Thomas

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aka CaneWarning01

Our tenth All About The U Podcast.  Stanton Thomas and I discuss the Virginia game, go off on multiple tangents, and pretend to preview the Duke game.

e-mail comments and questions to: allabouttheuofmiami@gmail.com

Follow us on Twitter:  @vrp2003 and @Stanton34135

Download & Listen Here:  AATUPodcast11032011.mp3

Posted in Podcasts

4th Down Drama

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

The Miami Hurricanes fell to 4-4 overall after failing to convert a 4th down late in the game against Virginia.  You’ve lived this nightmare.  Shockingly, there has been a 4th down late in the game (around 2 minutes or less, this game was slightly over 2 minutes) that would have enabled Miami to win or (come close) to winning a game with a conversion or stop (in the Virginia game, they would have approached a tie game), and on all 4 occasions, they have failed.  These are not long yardage situations, either.  The longest distance Miami has had to convert is 4 yards.  1 possession was defensive, where Virginia Tech needed 1 yard.

But this issue warrants further examination.  Why do these games keep coming down to these situations and why does Miami keep failing?  Success could have lead to an 8-0 record.

And You May Ask Yourself, Well…How Did I Get Here?

In every Miami game, there have been inexcusable errors that have prevented Miami from creating a lead or preventing the situation where they would need to make a play on 4th down late in the game.  Some of these plays are obvious and memorable, some of them are under the radar.

Maryland

This one is a tough one to look at and say that the ‘Canes deserved to be up in this game, given that Maryland moved the ball at will and outgained the ‘Canes by over 100 yards.  But, the ‘Canes managed to stay in the game by holding Maryland to FGs on most of their drives and intercepting a pass in the endzone.  Still, it was 2 huge mistakes that caused the ‘Canes to be in this predicament:

  1. Leading 14-10, on their own 28, with less than a minute left, on 2nd and 17, and with Maryland content to allow Miami just run the clock out and get to half, Mike James fumbled the ball and it was returned for a TD.  Huge momentum swing and 7 crucial points.
  2. On the ‘Canes next to last drive, trailing by 2 points, Lamar Miller ran inside the 5 yard line setting up 1st and goal and a potential TD to go up 5 points (and force Maryland to get a TD).  The play was called back for an illegal formation, Miami settled for a FG, and ended up conceding the FG back, necessitating another drive from Miami, which came up short.

Kansas State

Everyone members the anemic first half offense that exploded in the 2nd half, but is that version entirely accurate?  There are 2 things that actually prevented the ‘Canes from possibly taking a lead into the 2nd half, or at least keeping the score closer:

False starts.  2 critical false starts killed the first 2 drives of the game.

  1. On the opening drive, on 3rd and 1 from the KSU 17, Miami false started.  This put them in 3rd and long, which they failed to convert, settling for a FG.
  2. On the 2nd drive, Miami drove to the KSU 38 and faced 3rd and 5.  Caught in no man’s land, Miami considered this a 2 down situation, and ran on 3rd and 5, gaining a yard and setting up 4th and 4.  As the ‘Canes lined up to go for it, another false start forced the ‘Canes into 4th and 9 and a punt.  This was particularly vexing because the 3rd down play was a set up for 4th down, which the ‘Canes then couldn’t even run.

Not falling on fumbles.  Kansas State fumbled 4 times.  On 2 of those, the ‘Canes had clear shots at the ball.

  1. On 3rd and 7 from their own 45, KSU’s QB Collin Klein fumbled.  The Hurricanes tried to pick it up and run with it and Klein dove back on the ball for a loss to the 35.  KSU ended up punting to the ‘Canes 31.  If the ‘Canes fall on the ball, at least a FG attempt was in order.
  2. On KSU’s winning TD drive, KSU had 2nd and 1 at the Miami 15.  KSU fumbled the handoff and the ball kicked into the Miami defensive line area.  No one fell on it and a KSU offensive linemen dove on it for a 1st down.  Recovering this obviously would have prevented KSU’s winning TD.

Virginia Tech

The culprits here were a failure to capitalize on a drive and horrible end of first half execution defensively.

  1. Miami came out assertively, driving the ball down the field.  After gaining 66 yards on Jacory Harris’ arms and legs, to get a 2nd and 1 at the VT 14, Miami went to their ground game, was stuffed twice, and then failed on a fake FG.  3 points were wasted, at least, and had Miami simply continued to ride Harris’ arm, he likely would have converted.
  2. After Miami scored a TD to cut the lead to 7, they had an opportunity to get off the field on a 3 and out with a chance to score before halftime.  Logan Thomas uncorked a pass that was high and nowhere near the WR.  Ray Ray Armstrong grabbed the WR anyway, resulting in pass interference and an automatic first down.  After VT easily moved the ball to the Miami 3, with 10 seconds left, VT called their last time out.  They then bailed Miami out by throwing a swing pass.  Simply breaking down and making a tackle would have prevented the score.  Instead, David Wilson got into the end zone.

Virginia

3 things greatly contributed to this:

2 long drives that resulted in no points (excluding the 4th down, which we will deal with later, and the last drive with the throw to Clements).

  1. After going 60 yards, Jacory Harris threw an incompletion on 3rd down, where there appeared to be pass interference.  In any event, Miami still had a very makeable 40 yard FG, which was missed.
  2. After driving 51 yards to the Virginia 15, the ball slipped out of Jacory Harris’ hand and was recovered by Virginia.

Mental error penalties to extend Virginia drives.

  1. After getting a stop on 3rd and 7, Olivier Vernon was called for roughing the passer.  The call was questionable, but a few plays later, Perry Jones threw a half-back pass for a TD.
  2. After Miami got a stop early in the 2nd half, a roughing the punter penalty extended the drive.  Virginia didn’t score (due to a missed FG), but was able to run several minutes off the clock and essentially eat up the rest of the 3rd quarter.

Conceding long TDs on 3rd and short.

  1. On 3rd and 4 at the Virginia 47, Miami blitzed.  Virginia called a WR screen and ran 53 yards for the first TD of the game.
  2. On 3rd and 2 from the Virginia 22, Miami blitzed.  Virginia isolated a RB Perry Jones on LB Jimmy Gaines.  Jones beat Gaines and scored a 78 yard TD, which ended up being the difference in the game.

Summary:  Obviously, in any game, there are critical plays that help decide the outcome.  Interceptions are thrown, tackles are missed.  But what stands out from the errors highlighted here is that they were all monumental, fundamental and avoidable.  Certainly by the 8th game, this shouldn’t be happening.

Where Is J.C. Louderback When You Need Him?

But the ‘Canes failed to execute, and ended up in 4th down situations.  As I mentioned earlier, these 4th down situations were not 4th and long and should have been converted, at least some of the time.  What went wrong here?

Maryland

The situation:  Maryland 26, Miami 24.  4th and 4 at the Maryland 49.
The play:  Stephen Morris throws an out route that is intercepted and run back for a TD.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuxeUtaqP9c
What happened:  Streeter ran a sloppy route, the defender jumped it, and the play never had a chance.

Kansas State

The situation:  Kansas State 28, Miami 24.  4th and GL at the Kansas State 1.
The play:  Jacory Harris scrambled trying to score and was tackled inches short.  The play was originally ruled a TD, but overturned.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpEgAAYE_iw
What happened:  The played called for a shovel pass to Lamar Miller.  Unfortunately, the KSU DE did not rush up field and inadvertently blew up the play.  Left with no recourse, Jacory Harris tried to scramble and got dragged down inches short of the GL.

Virginia Tech

The situation:  Miami 35, Virginia Tech 31.  4th and 1 at the Miami 19.
The play:  Logan Thomas runs a read-option and jogs unimpeded into the end zone.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwwWEsk7M5g
What happened:  This was the one running play that Miami had defended well in this game.  Unfortunately, the entire DL got blown up and Spence, the only player with a chance to make a play, got blown up as well.

Virginia

The situation:  Virginia 28, Miami 21.  4th and 2 at the Virginia 15.
The play:  Mike James is stuffed for a 1 yard loss.
What happened:  The entire left side of the OL collapsed, including most notably TE Chase Ford.  The play never had a chance.

Summary:  Why is the team so bad in these situations?  The answer is simple…they are bad at stopping the run and struggle running in these situations.  And this is quantifiable.  In situations where Miami or an opponent have 3rd or 4th down and 3 or less, and call a running play, the difference is shocking.

Miami Opponent
Avg Yards per Play 1.83333333 5.88
Conversion % 50% 80%

Ouch.  It’s no wonder Miami can’t make the critical 4th down stop and struggles to convert.  This is not an issue isolated to late game situations, but prevalent throughout the game.  Interesting side note, Miami has significantly more success when they throw in these situations:

Pass
Avg Yards per Play 7.52941176
Conversion % 70.59%

These numbers are even more exaggerated against Virginia.

Run Pass
Avg Yards per Play 0.25 5
Conversion % 0% 66.67%

Needless to say, Fisch’s play calling on the next to last drive is certainly due for some criticism, and attempting 2 passes on the last 2 plays of that drive would have been a considerably higher percentage play.

A note on clock management

Even after that possession, Miami had a chance to get the ball back with enough time left, had they stopped UVA on a 3 and out, which didn’t happen.  But this was also a fascinating study in clock management, which opens up Golden to some criticism and some praise.

  1. I don’t know whose decision it was to bleed the clock on the next to last drive, but Miami used a whopping 5:02 of the 7:12 left to get only 37 yards.  This is a questionable tactic, given that this requires you to get a TD on this drive, then win in OT.  Down 7, the more advisable strategy would have been to get in and out of the huddle a bit quicker and conserve a more time.  Ideally, Miami would have wanted to score, get a stop, and then kick a winning FG anyway, so this strategy is questionable, with the only justification being a complete lack of confidence in the defense where Miami planned to score with such little time that Virginia would have to just take a knee and get it to OT.  But you don’t have that luxury when down a TD.
  2. After UVA ran for the first down to extend the last drive, Golden burned his 2nd timeout.  This is an incorrect use of a timeout.  After a 1st down, the clock stops and the chains are moved.  At this point, the game and play clocks are restarted, with the play clock at 25 seconds.  After a non first down play, the play clock starts at 40 seconds, allowing an additional 15 seconds to tick off.  Had Golden saved that timeout and used it after the 2nd or 3rd down play on the subsequent set of downs, there would have been 15 more seconds for the last drive.
  3. When Virginia made a holding penalty on 1st down, Golden wisely declined the penalty and did not burn a timeout.  Since the clock was stopped to signal the penalty, the play clock was reset to 25, and the same 15 seconds were saved that should have been in the 2nd item, so Golden smartly did not use timeout.  Had he accepted the penalty, UVA would have been able to run an additional play, with the play clock starting at 40, conceivably using an extra 20 seconds.  All told,  by making poor decisions, Golden could have burned through an additional 15 or 20 seconds, but instead, he smartly declined the penalty, saved the timeout, and saved time.
  4. On the final punt of the game, the play took 13 seconds.  On the previous punt, Golden deployed 2 returners, Benjamin and Dorsett, and the fair catch was easily made.  Miami went for the block, but they could have still done so while leaving an extra returner back to ensure a catch of the ball.  This could have saved 5+ seconds and about 15 yards.

Summary

The ‘Canes are playing hard, staying in games and on the cusp of doing great things.  Unfortunately, the inability to execute against and with the run in short yardage, and several correctable errors are holding the team back. In the future, it might be advisable to look to pass in those short yardage situations if the defenses continue to stack the box.  Miami successfully converted 4 out of 4 on 4th and short against UNC, GT and UVA via the pass before reverting to a run at the end of the UVA game.  Defensively, it’s important to avoid those situations, since there is very little recourse for the other team running effectively.

Posted in Football

The Special Teams: Virginia

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Here is a look at what went right and wrong on Special Teams, against Virginia, followed by some conclusions (opinions).

Play #1

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 67 yards returned by Davon Johnson for 24 yards to the MiaFl 27.

Summary:  Not a bad play and resulted in decent field position.

Play #2

Dalton Botts punt for 58 yards, returned by Dominique Terrell for 2 yards to the Virg 6, VIRGINIA penalty 5 yard Illegal Block on Kyle McCartin accepted.

Summary:  Excellent punt and coverage resulted in Virginia starting the drive inside the 10.

Play #3

Jimmy Howell punt for 39 yards, punt out-of-bounds at the MiaFl 15.

Summary:  Benjamin let the ball bounce and it rolled out of bounds.  Nothing happening here.

Play #4

Dalton Botts punt for 44 yards, fair catch by Dominique Terrell at the Virg 26.

Summary:  Solid punt resulted in a fair catch and put Virginia in okay, but not great field position.

Play #5

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 70 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 17 yards to the MiaFl 17.

Summary:  Not a good return and poor field position to start the next possession.

Play #6

Jake Wieclaw 40 yard field goal MISSED.

Summary:  His only miss before this was a block, so it’s hard to get on him, but this was a huge kick for momentum and in the ultimate score line.  Just a bad miss on an easy kick.

Play #7

Jacob Hodges rush for 20 yards to the MiaFl 9 for a 1ST down.

Summary:  The special teams was caught of guard on a fake FG and allowed Virginia to get inside the 10.  With a shaky kicker, this possibly cost Miami 3 points, turning a 46 yard FG into a 22 yard FG.

Play #8

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 66 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 29 yards to the MiaFl 33.

Summary:  Good return by Benjamin resulted in solid field position.

Play #9

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 59 yards returned by Davon Johnson for 21 yards to the MiaFl 32.

Summary:  Another quality kickoff return.

Play #10

Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 70 yards returned by Darius Jennings for 17 yards to the Virg 17.

Summary:  Good kick coverage pinned Virginia inside the 20.

Play #11

Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 61 yards returned by Khalek Shepherd for 28 yards to the Virg 37.

Summary: Poor kick coverage gives Virginia good starting field position.

Play #12

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 65 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 54 yards to the Virg 41.

Summary:  Outstanding return put the offense in great field position.

Play #13

Dalton Botts punt for 27 yards, fair catch by Dominique Terrell at the Virg 15.

Summary:  Decent punt downed inside the Virginia 20.

Play #14

MIAMI FL penalty 15 yard Roughing the Kicker on Kacy Rodgers accepted.

Summary:  A brutally awful special teams play extended this Virginia drive for several minutes and yards, costing valuable opportunities for the offense to get the lead down.

Play #15

Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 62 yards returned by Darius Jennings, fumbled, recovered by Virg Darius Jennings at the Virg 10, Darius Jennings for 4 yards, to the Virg 14.

Summary:  More great kick coverage pinned Virginia deep.

Play #16

Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 58 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 30 yards to the MiaFl 42.

Summary:  Another great return from Benjamin set up the ‘Canes offense.

Play #17

Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 70 yards returned by Khalek Shepherd, fumbled, recovered by Virg Khalek Shepherd in the endzone, Khalek Shepherd for 8 yards, to the Virg 8.

Summary:  More great kickoff coverage incredibly pinned Virginia inside their own 10 yard line.

Play #18

Jimmy Howell punt for 37 yards, fair catch by Travis Benjamin at the MiaFl 47.

Summary:  No opportunity to return this.  Golden had on a safe return with 2 returners back to ensure a fair catch.

Play #19

Jimmy Howell punt for 36 yards, downed at the MiaFl 35.

Summary:  Costly play took 13 of the remaining 38 seconds, after Benjamin let the ball bounce.  He couldn’t really get over to the ball though, and Miami went for the kick block, almost getting it.

Note:  The above plays exclude made extra points and FGs.

Overall observations

After being brilliant on special teams against GT, this was much more hit and miss.  Benjamin was outstanding in the return game, as was the kick and punt coverage.

Unfortunately, failures on the fake FG defense and roughing the punter collectively cost the ‘Canes possibly 3 points, great field position, and several minutes of game time.  Weiclaw missed an important and very makeable FG, that ultimately contributed heavily to the loss.

Overall, the special teams let the team down in critical moments, especially if you exclude Benjamin from the equation.

Posted in Football

The Defense: Virginia

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

Here is a look at what went right and wrong defensively, against Virginia, followed by some conclusions (opinions).

Possession #1

1st and 10 at UVA 6 VIRGINIA penalty 3 yard Illegal Shift accepted. 0 0
1st and 13 at UVA 3 Perry Jones rush for 3 yards to the Virg 6.
2nd and 10 at UVA 6 Michael Rocco pass complete to Darius Jennings for 25 yards to the Virg 31 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 31 Kevin Parks rush for 11 yards to the Virg 42 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 42 Kevin Parks rush for 2 yards to the Virg 44.
2nd and 8 at UVA 44 Michael Rocco rush for 2 yards to the Virg 46.
3rd and 6 at UVA 46 Michael Rocco rush for no gain to the Virg 46.
4th and 6 at UVA 46 Jimmy Howell punt for 39 yards, punt out-of-bounds at the MiaFl 15.
DRIVE TOTALS: VIRGINIA drive: 6 plays 40 yards, 03:50 VIRGINIA PUNT

Summary:  Not a good possession, although Virginia didn’t score.  With Virginia pinned deep, the defense missed an opportunity to give the offense great field position by allowing a huge gain on 2nd and 10 followed up with a gashing run out to near midfield.

Possession #2

1st and 10 at UVA 26 Michael Rocco pass complete to Kris Burd for 15 yards to the Virg 41 for a 1ST down. 0 0
1st and 10 at UVA 41 Perry Jones rush for 1 yard to the Virg 42.
2nd and 9 at UVA 42 Michael Rocco pass complete to Jeremiah Mathis for 5 yards to the Virg 47.
3rd and 4 at UVA 47 Michael Rocco pass complete to Darius Jennings for 53 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 6 0
Robert Randolph extra point GOOD. 7 0
Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 70 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 17 yards to the MiaFl 17.
DRIVE TOTALS: VIRGINIA drive: 4 plays 74 yards, 01:55 VIRGINIA TD

Summary:  On 3rd and 4, Miami brought a heavy blitz and Virginia had the right play called.  It still could have possibly been tackled downfield, but it appeared that Ray Ray took a bad angle.  Telemaque was wiped out downfield, and Virginia scored the long TD.

Possession #3

1st and 10 at UVA 23 Kevin Parks rush for 15 yards to the Virg 38 for a 1ST down. 7 0
1st and 10 at UVA 38 Kevin Parks rush for 3 yards to the Virg 41.
2nd and 7 at UVA 41 Michael Rocco pass incomplete to Tim Smith.
3rd and 7 at UVA 41 Michael Rocco pass complete to Kevin Parks for 14 yards to the MiaFl 45 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 45 Clifton Richardson rush for 10 yards to the MiaFl 35 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 35 Clifton Richardson rush for 2 yards to the MiaFl 33.
2nd and 8 at MIA 33 David Watford rush for 4 yards to the MiaFl 29.
DRIVE TOTALS: VIRGINIA drive: 13 plays 72 yards, 04:50 VIRGINIA FG
3rd and 4 at MIA 29 Michael Rocco pass incomplete to Kris Burd. 7 0
4th and 4 at MIA 29 Jacob Hodges rush for 20 yards to the MiaFl 9 for a 1ST down.
1st and Goal at MIA 9 Kevin Parks rush for 4 yards to the MiaFl 5.
2nd and Goal at MIA 5 Perry Jones rush for no gain to the MiaFl 5.
3rd and Goal at MIA 5 Michael Rocco pass incomplete to Colter Phillips.
4th and Goal at MIA 5 Robert Randolph 22 yard field goal GOOD. 10 0
Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 66 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 29 yards to the MiaFl 33.

Summary:  Virginia mixed up substantial run and pass plays to get into Miami territory.  After failing on 3rd and short, a fake punt took them inside the 20 where they settled for a FG.

Possession #4

1st and 10 at UVA 23 Michael Rocco pass complete to Tim Smith for 11 yards to the Virg 34 for a 1ST down. 10 0
1st and 10 at UVA 34 Perry Jones rush for a loss of 3 yards to the Virg 31.
2nd and 13 at UVA 31 Kevin Parks rush for 2 yards to the Virg 33.
3rd and 11 at UVA 33 Michael Rocco pass complete to Kris Burd for 12 yards to the Virg 45 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 45 Clifton Richardson rush for 3 yards to the Virg 48.
2nd and 7 at UVA 48 Michael Rocco pass incomplete to Darius Jennings.
3rd and 7 at UVA 48 MIAMI FL penalty 16 yard Roughing Passer on Olivier Vernon accepted, no play.
1st and 10 at MIA 36 Clifton Richardson rush for a loss of 1 yard to the MiaFl 37.
2nd and 11 at MIA 37 Perry Jones pass complete to Tim Smith for 37 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 16 0
Robert Randolph extra point GOOD. 17 0
Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 59 yards returned by Davon Johnson for 21 yards to the MiaFl 32.

Summary:  2 3rd and longs converted.  The first on 3rd and 11, and the 2nd on a dubious roughing the passer penalty, where it appeared that Vernon tried to avoid contact and was actually pushed into the QB.  A half back pass worked for the TD.  It was a curious play given that Ray Ray Armstrong didn’t bite on the fake initially, but also did not get enough depth on his drop.  It was also a nice throw by the RB.

Note:  I excluded the 1 play drive at the end of the half where Virginia ran it into the middle of the line.

Possession #5

1st and 10 at UVA 37 Perry Jones rush for 37 yards to the MiaFl 26 for a 1ST down. 17 7
1st and 10 at MIA 26 Clifton Richardson rush for 11 yards to the MiaFl 15 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 15 Clifton Richardson rush for 2 yards to the MiaFl 13.
2nd and 8 at MIA 13 Michael Rocco pass complete to Kris Burd for 6 yards to the MiaFl 7.
3rd and 2 at MIA 7 Michael Rocco pass incomplete to Ray Keys.
4th and 2 at MIA 7 Robert Randolph 24 yard field goal GOOD. 20 7
Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 65 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 54 yards to the Virg 41.

Summary:  Virginia immediately ripped off 2 long runs to get into FG range, where they curiously threw on 2nd and 3rd down, and kicked a FG.

Possession #6

1st and 10 at UVA 15 Kevin Parks rush for a loss of 3 yards to the Virg 12. 20 7
2nd and 13 at UVA 12 Kevin Parks rush for 7 yards to the Virg 19.
3rd and 6 at UVA 19 Michael Rocco pass complete to Tim Smith for 7 yards to the Virg 26 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 26 Michael Rocco pass incomplete to Darius Jennings.
2nd and 10 at UVA 26 Clifton Richardson rush for no gain to the Virg 26.
3rd and 10 at UVA 26 Michael Rocco pass complete to Kevin Parks for no gain to the Virg 26.
4th and 10 at UVA 26 MIAMI FL penalty 15 yard Roughing the Kicker on Kacy Rodgers accepted.
1st and 10 at UVA 41 Perry Jones rush for 8 yards to the Virg 49.
2nd and 2 at UVA 49 Kevin Parks rush for 7 yards to the MiaFl 44 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 44 Michael Rocco pass incomplete to Colter Phillips.
2nd and 10 at MIA 44 Perry Jones rush for 9 yards to the MiaFl 35.
3rd and 1 at MIA 35 Clifton Richardson rush for 2 yards to the MiaFl 33 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 33 Kevin Parks rush for 17 yards to the MiaFl 16 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 16 Clifton Richardson rush for a loss of 1 yard to the MiaFl 17.
2nd and 11 at MIA 17 Perry Jones rush for 2 yards to the MiaFl 15.
3rd and 9 at MIA 15 Michael Rocco pass incomplete to Kris Burd.
4th and 9 at MIA 15 Robert Randolph 32 yard field goal MISSED.
DRIVE TOTALS: VIRGINIA drive: 15 plays 70 yards, 07:52 VIRGINIA FGA

Summary:  This drive was the back breaker that officially put Miami into big trouble, and it didn’t even result in points.  This drive ate up a majority of the 3rd quarter.  The defense really needed a 3 and out to give the offense good field position.  Instead, they allowed for a conversion on a dubious spot.  After finally getting a stop, a roughing the punter penalty re-ignited the drive.  After that, Virginia went to the ground game, stringing together several successful runs.  This drive culminated with another red zone stop, and Virginia missed a short FG.

Possession #7

1st and 10 at UVA 14 Perry Jones rush for 6 yards to the Virg 20. 20 14
DRIVE TOTALS: VIRGINIA drive: 3 plays 86 yards, 01:21 VIRGINIA TD
2nd and 4 at UVA 20 Kevin Parks rush for 2 yards to the Virg 22. 20 14
3rd and 2 at UVA 22 Michael Rocco pass complete to Perry Jones for 78 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 28 14
Two-point conversion attempt, Michael Rocco pass to Tim Smith GOOD. 28 14
Chris Hinkebein kickoff for 58 yards returned by Travis Benjamin for 30 yards to the MiaFl 42.

Summary:  With a chance to give the ball back to the offense and have an opportunity to take the lead, the defense went on an all out blitz on 3rd and short and got burned for another TD.  Gaines got beat by RB Perry Jones.  To compound the problem, Virginia converted the 2-point conversion for a 14 point lead.

Possession #8

1st and 10 at UVA 8 Kevin Parks rush for 4 yards to the Virg 12. 28 21
2nd and 6 at UVA 12 Kevin Parks rush for 3 yards to the Virg 15.
3rd and 3 at UVA 15 Michael Rocco rush for 1 yard to the Virg 16.
4th and 2 at UVA 16 Jimmy Howell punt for 37 yards, fair catch by Travis Benjamin at the MiaFl 47.
DRIVE TOTALS: VIRGINIA drive: 3 plays 8 yards, 02:10 VIRGINIA PUNT

Summary:  The only 3-and out of the game.  Virginia got to 3rd and short again, but finally failed to convert.

Possession #9

1st and 10 at UVA 16 Perry Jones rush for 6 yards to the Virg 22. 28 21
2nd and 4 at UVA 22 Timeout MIAMI FLORIDA, clock 2:02.
2nd and 4 at UVA 22 Kevin Parks rush for 10 yards to the Virg 32 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 32 Timeout MIAMI FLORIDA, clock 1:56.
1st and 10 at UVA 32 Kevin Parks rush for 2 yards to the Virg 34.
2nd and 8 at UVA 34 Perry Jones rush for a loss of 4 yards to the Virg 30.
3rd and 12 at UVA 30 Timeout MIAMI FLORIDA, clock 1:21.
3rd and 12 at UVA 30 Kevin Parks rush for a loss of 1 yard to the Virg 29.
4th and 13 at UVA 29 Timeout VIRGINIA, clock 0:38.
4th and 13 at UVA 29 Jimmy Howell punt for 36 yards, downed at the MiaFl 35.
DRIVE TOTALS: VIRGINIA drive: 4 plays 11 yards, 01:45 VIRGINIA PUNT

Summary:  Needing a 3 and out to have a realistic shot at winning the game, the defense came up short.  Eventually forcing a punt after 5 plays and most of the clock had expired.

Overall observations

The themes that have haunted this defense all year re-emerged.  Way too many long running plays and poor 3rd down defense.  The ‘Canes gave up an unbelievable 7 rushes of 10 yards or more, on their way to conceding over 200 yards on the ground.

And on 3rd downs, Virginia was 6-15, which is not great.  Unfortunately, the 3rd downs that they did convert were monumental.  Of those 6 3rd downs.

  1. 3rd and 4 – 53 yard TD Pass
  2. 3rd and 7  – 14 yard Pass completion lead to an eventual FG
  3. 3rd and 11 – 12 yard Pass completion lead to an eventual TD*
  4. 3rd and 7 – Roughing the Passer lead to an eventual TD* – does not count as 1 of the 6 conversions
  5. 3rd and 6 – 7 yard completion lead to no points, but did sustain an 8-minute drive that would have ended with less than a minute going off the clock.^
  6. 3rd and 1 – Rush for 2 yards lead to no points, but did sustain an 8-minute drive that would have ended with less than a minute going off the clock.^
  7. 3rd and 2 – 78 yard TD pass.

*, ^ = same drive

So, while the conversion percentage wasn’t that outstanding from UVA, the magnitude of the conversions was.  2 TDs on long plays as well as several 3rd and longs to sustain TD drives where you expect to get off the field.

These 2 problems have plagued and continue to plague the Miami defense.

Posted in Football

The Offense: Virginia

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

Note:  I previously wrote a similar summary after the Georgia Tech game, and it was brought to my attention that Al Groh abandoned his 3-4, 2-deep scheme against Miami, and played an entirely new scheme, which certainly contributed to the offensive struggles in that game.

Here is a look at what went right and wrong offensively against Virginia, followed by some conclusions (opinions).

Possession #1

1st and 10 at MIA 27 Jacory Harris pass complete to Travis Benjamin for 8 yards to the MiaFl 35. 0 0
2nd and 2 at MIA 35 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Tommy Streeter.
3rd and 2 at MIA 35 Jacory Harris pass complete to Allen Hurns for a loss of 2 yards to the MiaFl 33.
4th and 4 at MIA 33 Dalton Botts punt for 58 yards, returned by Dominique Terrell for 2 yards to the Virg 6, VIRGINIA penalty 5 yard Illegal Block on Kyle McCartin accepted.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 3 plays 6 yards, 01:34 MIAMIFL PUNT

Summary:  The pass on 2nd down to Streeter was a drop that should have resulted in a 1st down, and short circuited the drive.

Possession #2

1st and 10 at MIA 15 Jacory Harris pass complete to Chase Ford for 8 yards to the MiaFl 23. 0 0
2nd and 2 at MIA 23 Lamar Miller rush for 3 yards to the MiaFl 26 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 26 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 6 yards to the MiaFl 32.
2nd and 4 at MIA 32 Lamar Miller rush for a loss of 2 yards to the MiaFl 30.
3rd and 6 at MIA 30 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Allen Hurns.
4th and 6 at MIA 30 Dalton Botts punt for 44 yards, fair catch by Dominique Terrell at the Virg 26.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 5 plays 15 yards, 02:38 MIAMIFL PUNT

Summary:  Solid 1st down throws put the ‘Canes in positive 2nd down position.  Unfortunately, a run play lost 2 yards on the 2nd set of downs, and on 3rd down,  a pass was incomplete to Hurns.  The 3rd down pass appeared to be pass interference, but went uncalled.

Possession #3

1st and 10 at MIA 17 Lamar Miller rush for 1 yard to the MiaFl 18. 7 0
2nd and 9 at MIA 18 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 57 yards to the Virg 25 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 25 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Allen Hurns.
2nd and 10 at UVA 25 Lamar Miller rush for 2 yards to the Virg 23.
3rd and 8 at UVA 23 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Phillip Dorsett.
4th and 8 at UVA 23 Jake Wieclaw 40 yard field goal MISSED.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 5 plays 60 yards, 02:11 MIAMIFL FGA

Summary:  A good drive highlighted by a big pass play.  The running game failed to generate much of anything again.  The 3rd down incompletion to Dorsett appeared to be pass interference but went uncalled.  A missed FG wasted the drive entirely.

Possession #4

1st and 10 at MIA 33 Mike James rush for 1 yard to the MiaFl 34. 10 0
2nd and 9 at MIA 34 MIAMI FL penalty 10 yard Holding on Brandon Washington accepted.
2nd and 19 at MIA 24 VIRGINIA penalty 10 yard Pass Interference on Aaron Taliaferro accepted.
1st and 10 at MIA 34 Jacory Harris pass complete to Travis Benjamin for 8 yards to the MiaFl 42.
2nd and 2 at MIA 42 Lamar Miller rush for 6 yards to the MiaFl 48 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 48 Travis Benjamin rush for a loss of 7 yards to the MiaFl 41.
2nd and 17 at MIA 41 Jacory Harris rush for 18 yards to the Virg 41 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 41 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 26 yards to the Virg 15 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 15 Lamar Miller rush for no gain to the Virg 15.
2nd and 10 at UVA 15 Jacory Harris sacked by Team for a loss of 7 yards, fumbled, forced by Team, recovered by Virg Jake Snyder at the Virg 23.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 8 plays 44 yards, 05:00 MIAMIFL FUMB

Summary:  After an ineffective first down run and a hold, the ‘Canes were the beneficiaries of a pass interference call.  Similar to the 2nd drive of the game, Fisch then deployed the passing game against run defenses to get into advantageous 2nd down situations.  After Miller’s most successful run of the game (at that point) to get a 1st down, a reverse to Benjamin was blown up, but an 18-yard scramble by Jacory made up for it.  Unfortunately, for the 2nd time, a very promising drive ended with no points, when the ball slipped out of Jacory’s hand for a fumble.  It’s a fluke play to a certain extent, but another empty drive where the ball was moved effectively.

Possession #5

1st and 10 at MIA 32 Jacory Harris rush for 3 yards to the MiaFl 35. 17 0
2nd and 7 at MIA 35 Jacory Harris sacked by Cam Johnson for a loss of 4 yards to the MiaFl 31.
3rd and 11 at MIA 31 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 20 yards to the Virg 49 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 49 MIAMI FL penalty 5 yard False Start on Brandon Washington accepted.
1st and 15 at MIA 46 Lamar Miller rush for 3 yards to the MiaFl 49.
2nd and 12 at MIA 49 Timeout MIAMI FLORIDA, clock 1:44.
2nd and 12 at MIA 49 Jacory Harris pass complete to Chase Ford for 14 yards to the Virg 37 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 37 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Allen Hurns.
2nd and 10 at UVA 37 MIAMI FL penalty 5 yard False Start on Harland Gunn accepted.
2nd and 15 at UVA 42 Jacory Harris pass complete to Travis Benjamin for 39 yards to the Virg 3 for a 1ST down.
1st and Goal at UVA 3 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 3 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 17 6
Jake Wieclaw extra point GOOD. 17 7
Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 70 yards returned by Darius Jennings for 17 yards to the Virg 17.

Summary:  A very strange drive.  Miami repeatedly got off schedule with negative plays and penalties, and were repeatedly bailed out by big passing plays, converting a 3rd and 11, 2nd and 12, and 2nd and 15.  On the 1st down incompletion to Hurns, there appeared to be pass interference that went uncalled, as well as a facemask on the Benjamin long completion, that also went uncalled.  The ‘Canes overcame that and finally scored on a TD pass to Streeter.

Possession#6

1st and 10 at UVA 41 Jacory Harris sacked by Jake Snyder for a loss of 6 yards to the Virg 47. 20 7
2nd and 16 at UVA 47 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Allen Hurns.
3rd and 16 at UVA 47 Jacory Harris pass complete to Lamar Miller for 5 yards to the Virg 42.
4th and 11 at UVA 42 Dalton Botts punt for 27 yards, fair catch by Dominique Terrell at the Virg 15.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 3 plays -1 yards, 01:42 MIAMIFL PUNT

Summary:  Miami’s worst drive of the game.  The first down sack was pretty clearly a fumble.  If you look carefully at the replay the sacker ripped the ball out of Jacory’s hands.  It’s unclear whether he had full possession at any point, as the ball was jarred loose again.  That is irrelevant though, since the ball ended up between Jacory’s legs, and was then recovered again by a Virginia player.  The officials stated that they reviewed the play and that it was a fumble recovered by Miami, which makes no sense.  Outside of field position, it had no effect as an incompletion and a check down resulted in a punt.

Possession #7

1st and 10 at MIA 20 Lamar Miller rush for 6 yards to the MiaFl 26. 20 7
2nd and 4 at MIA 26 Lamar Miller rush for 6 yards to the MiaFl 32 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 32 Lamar Miller rush for 7 yards to the MiaFl 39.
2nd and 3 at MIA 39 Jacory Harris pass complete to Maurice Hagens for 10 yards to the MiaFl 49 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 49 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 51 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 20 13
Jake Wieclaw extra point GOOD. 20 14
Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 62 yards returned by Darius Jennings, fumbled, recovered by Virg Darius Jennings at the Virg 10, Darius Jennings for 4 yards, to the Virg 14.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 5 plays 80 yards, 02:23 MIAMIFL TD

Summary:  Finally, some positive run plays as every other run attempt had been basically stuffed.  After 3 successful runs, Miami reached the end zone in 2 passes.  The TD was an ill-advised throw, into double coverage, but Streeter made a great play on the ball.

Possession #8

1st and 10 at MIA 42 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Travis Benjamin. 28 14
2nd and 10 at MIA 42 Lamar Miller rush for 8 yards to the 50 yard line.
3rd and 2 at MIA 50 Lamar Miller rush for 1 yard to the Virg 49.
4th and 1 at UVA 49 Jacory Harris pass complete to Allen Hurns for 13 yards to the Virg 36 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 36 Jacory Harris pass incomplete.
2nd and 10 at UVA 36 Mike James rush for 1 yard to the Virg 35.
3rd and 9 at UVA 35 Jacory Harris pass complete to Allen Hurns for 15 yards to the Virg 20 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 20 Travis Benjamin rush for a loss of 2 yards to the Virg 22.
2nd and 12 at UVA 22 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 13 yards to the Virg 9 for a 1ST down.
1st and Goal at UVA 9 Jacory Harris pass complete to Allen Hurns for 9 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 28 20
Jake Wieclaw extra point GOOD. 28 21
Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 70 yards returned by Khalek Shepherd, fumbled, recovered by Virg Khalek Shepherd in the endzone, Khalek Shepherd for 8 yards, to the Virg 8.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 10 plays 58 yards, 04:46 MIAMIFL TD

Summary:  A drive highlighted by a huge 4th down conversion and several big throws to Hurns.  Unfortunately, a failure to run the ball effectively in short yardage would be a sign of things to come.  This was simply a drive of Harris making plays in long yardage situations to repeatedly keep the drive alive, eventually throwing a strike for a TD.

Possession #9

1st and 10 at MIA 47 Jacory Harris pass complete to Lamar Miller for 2 yards to the MiaFl 49. 28 21
2nd and 8 at MIA 49 Lamar Miller rush for 7 yards to the Virg 44.
3rd and 1 at UVA 44 Lamar Miller rush for no gain to the Virg 44.
4th and 1 at UVA 44 Jacory Harris pass complete to Clive Walford for 4 yards to the Virg 40 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 40 Lamar Miller rush for 17 yards to the Virg 23 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 23 Jacory Harris pass complete to Mike James for 2 yards to the Virg 21.
2nd and 8 at UVA 21 Lamar Miller rush for 5 yards to the Virg 16.
3rd and 3 at UVA 16 Mike James rush for 1 yard to the Virg 15.
4th and 2 at UVA 15 Mike James rush for a loss of 1 yard to the Virg 16.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 9 plays 37 yards, 05:02 MIAMIFL DOWNS

Summary:  This drive is the one that will be discussed due to the play calling (not letting your best player on the night, Jacory Harris, throw on 3rd and 4th and short after he had repeatedly converted those) and due to the clock management, where the Hurricanes lacked any sort of urgency, allowing over 5 minutes to run off the clock with only 7 minutes left, down by a TD.  We know what happened here.  The ‘Canes failed in short yardage 3 times running, and succeeded the 1 time they threw.  The ‘Canes had success running on the long yardage situations against pass defenses, but in obvious run situations, they couldn’t move Virginia’s defense.  The drive ended with 2 rushes on the last 2 plays, totaling 0 yards.

Possession #10

1st and 10 at MIA 35 Jacory Harris rush for 20 yards to the Virg 45 for a 1ST down. 28 21
1st and 10 at UVA 45 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Tommy Streeter.
2nd and 10 at UVA 45 Stephen Morris pass complete to Travis Benjamin for 13 yards to the Virg 32 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at UVA 32 Stephen Morris pass complete to Eduardo Clements for 23 yards to the Virg 9 for a 1ST down.
End of 4th Quarter

Summary:  This was obviously desperation time.  No timeouts, needing to go to the end zone, in 25 seconds.  A nice scramble on 1st down put the ‘Canes in Virginia territory. I actually like going to the end zone right after that because once the defense sets their Hail Mary prevent, it is much harder to hit that throw.  Sure enough, Streeter had as good a chance at catching that pass as you are going to get in these situations.  All hell broke loose when Jacory got hurt, and Morris had to come in.  Credit to Morris, coming in cold (without warming up), and then delivering a strike to get even closer.  Unfortunately, a last Hail Mary was never attempted as the pocket broke down, and Morris was forced to dump it to Clements, who was tackled inside the 10.

Overall observations

Virginia loaded up against the run, and it opened up the passing game, which Miami exploited time and again.  Take out the last drive (which was desperation) and Miami completed 21/29, 72% of Jacory Harris’ passes for 310 yards and 3 TDs. Those numbers would have looked even better had 3 obvious pass interference penalties been called and one pass not been dropped.

Also, outside of the last drive (this number actually goes up if you include the last drive), Miami had the ball 9 times.  Of those 9 drives, 6 resulted in drives inside the Virginia 25 yard line, yet only 3 of them resulted in scores, with a missed FG, fluke fumble, and a failed 4th down resulting in lost points.

It’s hard to fault the play calling until that last sequence of plays (with 2 James’ runs).  With Virginia taking away the run, and Miami proving time and again that they couldn’t move Virginia off the ball, Fisch used Harris’ passing to exploit the #8 pass defense in the country, and did so effectively.  Running into that defense would have been suicide and proved ineffective until UVA built a large enough lead where they started playing the pass more.  Fisch was correct to ride his passing game, and the only issue was with finishing drives, where sloppiness reigned supreme.  Overall, the offense wasn’t sharp and it resulted in untimely, drive-killing miscues when a little bit of cleaner play could have resulted in a lot more points.  Looking at the miscues:

Possession #1:  Streeter drop.
Possession #2:  Probably pass interference on 3rd down.
Possession #3:  Probably pass interference on 3rd down and a missed FG.
Possession #4:  Ball slipped out of Jacory’s hand.
Possession #5:  TD
Possession #6:  Sack on 1st down killed it.
Possession #7:  TD
Possession #8:  TD
Possession #9:  Stuffed on 3rd and 4th and short.
Possession #10:  just desperation at that point.

There was really one possession (#6), that wasn’t thwarted by a mistake on a play that should result in a positive result.  Overall, the inability to pick up consistent rushing yardage in short yardage situation (more on that in a future article) takes away the margin for error because passing has to be much more precise.  The ‘Canes used that margin, and then some.

Posted in Football

All About The U Podcast #9

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

Stanton Thomas

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aka CaneWarning01

Our ninth All About The U Podcast.  Stanton Thomas and I discuss the Georgia Tech game and preview Virginia.

e-mail comments and questions to: allabouttheuofmiami@gmail.com

Follow us on Twitter:  @vrp2003 and @Stanton34135

Download & Listen Here:  AATUPodcast10262011.mp3

Posted in Podcasts

The Thin Line Between Success And Failure

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

For the first time since the opening game against Maryland, Miami’s offense struggled against Georgia Tech.  Fortunately for the ‘Canes, the defense played their best game of the season and the special teams chipped in several big plays.  But what went wrong with the offense?  In short, they did not “stay on schedule”, as Golden often talks about.  A possession by possession breakdown further enlightens the situation.

Possession #1

1st and 10 at MIA 20 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Travis Benjamin. 0 0
2nd and 10 at MIA 20 Lamar Miller rush for 2 yards to the MiaFl 22.
3rd and 8 at MIA 22 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Allen Hurns.
4th and 8 at MIA 22 Dalton Botts punt for 58 yards, downed at the GTech 20.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 3 plays 2 yards, 01:13 MIAMIFL PUNT

Possession Summary:  A first down trick play resulted in an incompletion.  That was followed by an ineffective run and another incompletion on a deep ball.  2 low percentage passes were the culprit here.

Possession #2

1st and 10 at GT 46 Lamar Miller rush for 8 yards to the GTech 38. 0 0
2nd and 2 at GT 38 Mike James rush for a loss of 1 yard to the GTech 39.
3rd and 3 at GT 39 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Mike James.
4th and 3 at GT 39 Jacory Harris pass complete to Phillip Dorsett for 13 yards to the GTech 26 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 26 Lamar Miller rush for 7 yards to the GTech 19.
2nd and 3 at GT 19 Lamar Miller rush for 2 yards to the GTech 17.
3rd and 1 at GT 17 MIAMI FL penalty 5 yard Illegal Procedure accepted.
3rd and 6 at GT 22 Timeout MIAMI FLORIDA, clock 10:20.
3rd and 6 at GT 22 Jacory Harris pass complete to Eduardo Clements for 8 yards to the GTech 14 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 14 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Mike James.
2nd and 10 at GT 14 Lamar Miller rush for 11 yards to the GTech 3 for a 1ST down.
1st and Goal at GT 3 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Clive Walford.
2nd and Goal at GT 3 Lamar Miller rush for 1 yard to the GTech 2.
3rd and Goal at GT 2 Mike James rush for 2 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 0 6
Jake Wieclaw extra point GOOD. 0 7
Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 70 yards for a touchback.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 12 plays 46 yards, 05:24 MIAMIFL TD

Possession Summary:  This possession involved successful run plays putting the ‘Canes into several short yardage situations, which they converted.

Possession #3

1st and 10 at GT 40 Lamar Miller rush for no gain to the GTech 40. 0 7
2nd and 10 at GT 40 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to LaRon Byrd.
3rd and 10 at GT 40 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Lamar Miller.
4th and 10 at GT 40 Timeout GEORGIA TECH, clock 4:58.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 3 plays 0 yards, 00:56 MIAMIFL PUNT

Possession Summary:  The Hurricanes got off schedule again.  After a 1st down run yielded no yardage, the ‘Canes threw deep (another low percentage pass) on 2nd down and were forced to throw the ball away on 3rd down.

Possession #4

1st and 10 at MIA 21 Lamar Miller rush for no gain to the MiaFl 21. 0 7
2nd and 10 at MIA 21 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 48 yards to the GTech 31 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 31 Lamar Miller rush for 3 yards to the GTech 28.
2nd and 7 at GT 28 Lamar Miller rush for a loss of 2 yards to the GTech 30.
3rd and 9 at GT 30 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Travis Benjamin.
4th and 9 at GT 30 Jake Wieclaw 47 yard field goal MISSED.
End of 1st Quarter

Possession Summary:  After an ineffective run, Miami converted a 2nd and long, but then failed on a 3rd and long.  Once again, ineffective 1st and 2nd down plays derailed a drive.

Possession #5

1st and 10 at MIA 44 Lamar Miller rush for 9 yards to the GTech 47. 0 7
2nd and 1 at GT 47 Lamar Miller rush for 3 yards to the GTech 44 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 44 Jacory Harris pass complete to Travis Benjamin for 3 yards to the GTech 41.
2nd and 7 at GT 41 Mike James rush for a loss of 1 yard to the GTech 42.
3rd and 8 at GT 42 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Phillip Dorsett.
4th and 8 at GT 42 Dalton Botts punt for 33 yards, returned by Zach Laskey for no gain, fumbled, forced by Mike James, recovered by MiaFl JoJo Nicolas in the endzone for a TOUCHDOWN. 0 13
Jake Wieclaw extra point GOOD. 0 14

Possession Summary:  After a successful 1st down play lead to an eventual first down, the ‘Canes got stuffed on a 2nd and 7, putting them in 3rd and long and resulting in a punt.

Possession #6

1st and 10 at GT 46 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 32 yards to the GTech 14 for a 1ST down. 7 14
1st and 10 at GT 14 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Tommy Streeter.
2nd and 10 at GT 14 Lamar Miller rush for 14 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 7 21
Jake Wieclaw extra point GOOD. 7 21

Possession Summary: 2 big plays took advantage of the short field for a TD.

Possession #7

1st and 10 at MIA 33 Jacory Harris rush for a loss of 7 yards to the MiaFl 26. 7 21
2nd and 17 at MIA 26 Lamar Miller rush for 5 yards to the MiaFl 31.
3rd and 12 at MIA 31 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Travis Benjamin.
4th and 11 at MIA 31 Dalton Botts punt for 55 yards, downed at the GTech 14.

Possession Summary:  Jacory slipped on 1st down, and the possession was essentially over after that 7 yard loss.

Possession #8

1st and 10 at MIA 34 Lamar Miller rush for a loss of 2 yards to the MiaFl 32. 7 21
2nd and 12 at MIA 32 Jacory Harris pass complete to Phillip Dorsett for 19 yards to the GTech 49 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 49 Jacory Harris rush for a loss of 1 yard, fumbled, recovered by MiaFl Jacory Harris at the 50 yard line.
2nd and 11 at MIA 50 Lamar Miller rush for 1 yard to the GTech 49.
3rd and 10 at GT 49 Jacory Harris rush for 18 yards to the GTech 31 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 31 Lamar Miller rush for a loss of 2 yards to the GTech 33.
2nd and 12 at GT 33 Jacory Harris pass complete to Tommy Streeter for 16 yards to the GTech 17 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 17 Lamar Miller rush for a loss of 5 yards to the GTech 22. 7 21
2nd and 15 at GT 22 Timeout MIAMI FLORIDA, clock 14:14.
2nd and 15 at GT 22 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Tommy Streeter.
3rd and 15 at GT 22 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Allen Hurns.
4th and 15 at GT 22 Jake Wieclaw 39 yard field goal GOOD. 7 24
Jake Wieclaw kickoff for 70 yards returned by Orwin Smith for 14 yards to the GTech 14.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 11 plays 44 yards, 04:54 MIAMIFL FG

Possession Summary:  The ‘Canes broke habit here and converted several long yardage situations, finally failing to convert a 2nd and 3rd and 15, and settling for the FG.

Possession #9

1st and 10 at GT 29 Lamar Miller rush for 1 yard to the GTech 28. 7 24
2nd and 9 at GT 28 Jacory Harris pass intercepted by Jeremiah Attaochu at the GTech 24, returned for 5 yards to the GTech 29.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 2 plays 1 yards, 00:51 MIAMIFL INT

Possession Summary:  After a 1-yard gain on 1st down, the ‘Canes threw a fluky interception.

Possession #10

1st and 10 at MIA 35 Lamar Miller rush for 8 yards to the MiaFl 43. 7 24
2nd and 2 at MIA 43 Lamar Miller rush for 1 yard to the MiaFl 44.
3rd and 1 at MIA 44 Mike James rush for 4 yards to the MiaFl 48 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at MIA 48 Mike James rush for 2 yards to the 50 yard line.
2nd and 8 at MIA 50 Lamar Miller rush for 5 yards to the GTech 45.
3rd and 3 at GT 45 Timeout MIAMI FLORIDA, clock 7:17.
3rd and 3 at GT 45 Lamar Miller rush for 13 yards to the GTech 32 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 32 Lamar Miller rush for 3 yards to the GTech 29.
2nd and 7 at GT 29 Timeout GEORGIA TECH, clock 06:34.
2nd and 7 at GT 29 Jacory Harris pass complete to Travis Benjamin for 1 yard to the GTech 28.
3rd and 6 at GT 28 Lamar Miller rush for 4 yards to the GTech 24.
4th and 2 at GT 24 Timeout GEORGIA TECH, clock 5:42.
4th and 2 at GT 24 Lamar Miller rush for 3 yards to the GTech 21 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 21 Lamar Miller rush for no gain to the GTech 21.
2nd and 10 at GT 21 Mike James rush for 2 yards to the GTech 19.
3rd and 8 at GT 19 Jacory Harris rush for a loss of 3 yards to the GTech 22.
4th and 11 at GT 22 Jacory Harris pass incomplete to Tommy Streeter.
DRIVE TOTALS: MIAMIFL drive: 13 plays 46 yards, 07:31 MIAMIFL DOWNS

Possession Summary:  A very effective drive that yielded no points.  The ‘Canes repeatedly stayed on schedule, getting into 3rd and 4th and shorts, until failing on a 4th and 11 pass into the end zone.

Possession #11

1st and 10 at MIA 38 Mike James rush for 1 yard to the MiaFl 39. 7 24
2nd and 9 at MIA 39 Mike James rush for 15 yards to the GTech 46 for a 1ST down.
1st and 10 at GT 46 Team rush for a loss of 1 yard to the GTech 47.
2nd and 11 at GT 47 Team rush for a loss of 1 yard to the GTech 48.

Possession Summary:  After a good run on 2nd down, the ‘Canes took a knee.

What did we learn and how does it get fixed?

The failures, for the most part, came down to not executing on 1st down.  As good as the ‘Canes offense has been, it is still an offense that relies heavily on being in good situations, opening up run-pass options, and using those positive scenarios to run high percentage plays.  Void of that, the offense breaks down, which is why things like false start penalties have killed this team this year.  The level of struggle on early downs can be quantified.

Down Average Yards to Go
2nd 8.52173913
3rd 7.21428571

That is ugly.  Just low percentage situations all the way around.  This also impacted Jacory Harris’ efficiency in terms of situational attempts and completions.

Less Than 7 yards to go 7 or more yards to go
Completions 2 6
Attempts 3 20
Percentage 66.67% 30.00%

And there went Harris’ efficiency.  The Hurricanes failed to get into positive situations, and put Harris in more obvious passing downs, at which point he struggled.  87% of his attempts came in situations where the ‘Canes had 7 or more yards to go for a first down.

The solution is simple. If the ‘Canes can be more effective on first down, even marginally, Jacory Harris efficiency will return, as will the offensive productivity.  Too many negative and ineffective plays on 1st down killed ‘Canes drives against Georgia Tech, forced the ‘Canes to get “off schedule”, and threw everything out of whack.  An improvement in this department should deliver a better all around offensive performance against Virginia.

Posted in Football

The NBPA Underestimated the Owners’ Insanity

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Vishnu Parasuraman (aka 2003alumgocanes) Follow on Twitter and Facebook

The National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA) has lost.  Regardless of how this lockout is eventually resolved, the owners will have won major concessions.  In fact, so many concessions have already been made by the players that Billy Hunter claims that owners acknowledge that the owners’ losses would now be covered, and to turn a profit they simply have to not mismanage their teams.  That should be plenty to get a deal done.

Yet every time a deal appears on the horizon, the owners issue an ultimatum that is completely unnecessary and essentially shuts down the negotiations.  Why?  Because a group of owners is, for lack of a better word, insane.  This isn’t about competitive balance or economics.  This is and has always been about ego.

As Dan Le Batard pointed out in his article in the Miami Herald on Sunday, you are dealing with billionaires that don’t need money from their NBA franchise.  They have alternate sources of revenue that will continue to fill their coffers as games are lost.  Most players do not.  Without other means of acquiring money, the owners know the players will eventually cave.  But the dirty little secret is that the players already caved, and that was their major mistake.  Instead of preparing for war with ideologues, they went into this process expecting to deal with sane people, who, when presented with a fair and profitable deal, would accept that.

But that is not who they are dealing with.  Sure, there are owners like that.  But there are also owners who have franchises that are flatly not good. These are highly successful businessmen that are not used to losing.  Do you think the person (Dan Gilbert) who wrote a vindictive diatribe in comic sans font ripping Lebron James cares if a season is lost?  He is worth $1.1 billion, his team stinks, and if there is a season, his nemesis has a chance to win a championship.  What financial incentive can you offer THAT person to make him agree to a deal?  Do you think that Blazers’ owner Paul Allen who is worth $13.2 billion really cares if his basketball franchise loses a few million dollars a year or makes a few million dollars a year?  You think that is why he is holding up the process?  Or is he holding up the process because his franchise stupidly picked Greg Oden instead of Kevin Durant?

Raja Bell eloquently pointed out that the owners keep offering deals that they know that players can’t accept, offering something just below the acceptable line to appear that they are negotiating when they aren’t.  You know who does things like that?  Crazy people.

But what could Billy Hunter have done?  They have no leverage.  If there is never a basketball game played again, financially, the owners will be fine.  The players will not.  Eventually, the side that needs to play games will acquiesce to the demands of the side that is indifferent.  He can’t win, to a certain extent.  But he could have fought the battle differently and possibly more effectively.  There was two-pronged approach that could have applied some pressure to the owners:

  1. Fight crazy with crazy.
  2. Wage a full-fledged media campaign to target the NBA.

Crazy Only Understands One Language: Crazy

The NBPA wanted to get a deal done quickly.  They went into negotiations, hat in hand, and gave away 100s of millions of dollars, offering to take a substantial pay cut to 53% of Basketball Related Income (BRI).  Huge mistake.  The owners said, “not good enough”, but now the players had already fired their major bullet.  What else can they do at this point?  Cut a little more?  They gave away the farm (by agreeing to 53%, they have already agreed to receive the lowest amount of BRI or BRI-equivalent in professional sports) and got nothing for it.  That’s what happens when you deal with people who aren’t reasonable.  Instead, they should have demanded 60% of BRI.  What would happen then?

The owners would recoil, they would make unreasonable demands, and would issue ultimatums about how the players need to come down to their level, or they are willing to throw away a season.  Wait.  They are doing that anyway.  Except had the players started at 60%, they would have something to give.  They should have repeated this strategy with system issues as well.  Ask for an extra Mid-level Exception, lower the luxury tax penalty, demand a higher salary cap.

Insane requests?  Yes.  But then the players can make a big show of “making concessions”.  Drop from 60% to 55% and it looks like you have now done something.  Drop the demand for an extra MLE, agree to leave the tax structure in place, lower the salary cap.  And all of a sudden, you look like the reasonable side.  By immediately offering a fair and appropriate deal, they gave away any negotiating wiggle room, because they erroneously assumed that a fair and appropriate deal would be agreed to by rational owners.

Media Campaign

The only chance the NBPA had to gain any sort of leverage in this situation was to get the public to turn on the owners and David Stern.  And yet, in a shocking admission on the BS Report with Bill Simmons, Hunter claimed that he knew from the outset that he couldn’t win the media war.  Simmons, unsurprisingly, reacted with shock.

Hunter’s reasoning?  The media is in the bag for the NBA because ESPN and Turner have business agreements with the NBA and are motivated to support them.  And, to make matters worse for Hunter, the NBA has their own channel, NBA TV, which allows the NBA to get their message out whenever they want.  To steal a word from Hunter’s interview with Simmons, that’s a “canard.”  Yes, the NBA has business relationships with these entities.  But if you have followed their coverage, they have been fair, and several people on their web sites have written op-ed pieces FAVORING the players.  And to claim that the NBPA doesn’t have a venue to get their message out (which Hunter repeatedly did) is ridiculous.  Hunter’s union is made of internationally famous celebrities.  You can’t figure out how to get attention?  Really?

What should Hunter have done?  Used the likable players.  Most people following the lockout intently understand that this is a lockout, not a strike, and that the players have made major concessions while the owners repeatedly short circuit negotiations by issuing ultimatums.  But most people don’t follow these things intently, and some don’t even know the difference between a lockout and a strike.

Instead of repeating, “this is a lockout, not a strike”, in press conferences, record a television advertisement with the very popular Kevin Durant, and have him say, “All my life, I have wanted to play basketball.  I worked so hard to get to the NBA.  Last summer, I quietly re-signed with a small town team, Oklahoma City, because I want to bring a title there.  I just want to play.  David Stern won’t let me.”  Is it unfair?  Sure, but this isn’t about being fair.  The general public dislikes David Stern anyway, he is the perfect villain.

When the NBA claims that the system is broken and they need a system that ensures parity, it sounds good.  There needed to be a rapid response calling BS on that whole notion.  And they should have simply said, “I challenge anyone to devise a system where all teams on an annual basis can compete for the championship.”  There isn’t one.  Even if you have every player become a free agent, and have every current player drafted with a lottery to determine draft order (similar to a fantasy draft), you won’t have parity.  After the first 8-10 players, there is a massive drop-off, and you can’t win without those guys.  We’ve seen teams where Chris Bosh and Pau Gasol are the best players, they don’t get out of the first round.

The notion of parity is a myth.  But by not responding, the public thinks that the owners are fighting the good fight for competitive balance.  And, when the NBA claims that they need a system like the NFL where anyone can win the Super Bowl every year, distribute this chart:

Champions the Last 10 Years
NFL NBA
New England (3 times) LA Lakers (3 times)
Pittsburgh (2 times) San Antonio (3 times)
Tampa Detroit
Indianapolis Miami
NY Giants Boston
New Orleans Dallas
Green Bay

Oops.  But no one is calling them on this.  Because Hunter decided he couldn’t win the media war.  Huge miscalculation.  By losing the public (without a fight) and by giving away 100s of millions of dollars without getting concessions in return, Hunter lost a shot at leverage and lost negotiating wiggle room.  He tried to fight the good fight, to be honest and upfront, to be civil.  That is admirable, no doubt.

And it was a sound strategy if he was dealing with rational people, who had the NBA’s best interest at heart.  But that’s not who he was dealing with.  He was dealing with irrational, unbending, unmotivated billionaires who don’t need basketball.  If he can’t make a rational argument and can’t offer financial incentives, the only recourse was to get the public to turn on them.  This could have possibly allowed owners who want to get a deal done like Mark Cuban, Jerry Buss, Micky Arison, and James Dolan to win over the centrist owners who certainly don’t want to take a PR hit, and it could have allowed positive negotiations to take place.  Hunter chose to try and appease the lunacy of the hard-line owners instead.  Neville Chamberlain would be proud.

Posted in Miscellaneous/Off Topic/Non-Canes