Season Report Card: Miami (Fla.)
rankings. The Hurricanes (9-4, 5-3 ACC) had finally re-established themselves as a threat to win the Atlantic Coast Conference, but suffered three straight losses, giving up over 40 points in those games.
Miami seemed like a lock to at least win the ACC Coastal Division, but essentially gave it away losing at Duke, 48-30. On paper, the Canes had a decent season, winning nine games. But this is Miami -- the fans want championships.
Yes, the Hurricanes finally made an appearance in a bowl game after all the dealings with the NCAA. But the team’s performance in the Russell Athletic Bowl was anything but impressive. On a familiar note for Miami fans, the defense was simply atrocious. No. 18 Louisville racked up 554 yards to the Hurricanes’ 174 yards of offense, as they fell 36-9. Opposing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was all smiles that night, as he got whatever he wanted against the Canes’ defense. Miami could hardly challenge Louisville’s defense, going 0-11 on third down.
This Miami offense had plenty of talent across the board; it was just of matter of guys being able to stay healthy. The injury bug hit early and often for the Canes in 2013. First, quarterback Stephen Morris went down with an ankle injury against South Florida. Then against North Carolina, both of Miami’s top playmakers went down. Star running back Duke Johnson went out with a concussion, while speedy receiver Phillip Dorsett came out of the game with a knee injury. Johnson would eventually be sidelined for the rest of the year against rival Florida State, when he broke his ankle. But regardless of injuries, this offense was expected to do more. Given the hype of Morris this past off-season, the offense was supposed to be stellar with such a deep arsenal of receivers. The Canes had players like Stacy Coley and Allen Hurns on the perimeter, both being able to beat the defense on any given play. But Morris continued to just be “pretty good” at times, while performing poorly in all of the team’s losses. Undoubtedly, this offense would have performed better down the stretch with Johnson in the backfield. But this unit had plenty of other players to make up for his absence. This was a good, not great year for the Miami offense.
The defense was able to get away with its inability to defend the pass early on with a few timely turnovers. However, they were exposed against rival Florida State, giving up 41 points. After that loss, the defense came undone; it was all downhill from there. The Canes’ defense gave up an average of 37 points per contest during the final six games of the season. Miami finished 90th in the country in passing yards allowed, which is very concerning considering the speed the defense has in the secondary. One of the factors that could have helped contribute to this stat was the lack of depth on Miami’s defensive line. The Hurricanes simply could hardly get any pressure on opposing quarterbacks during the final games of the season. There has been plenty of heat on defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio the past few seasons, but head coach Al Golden continues to support him. Golden has stated that D’onofrio will be retained again for next year, despite all of the touchdowns the Canes have been giving up under his guidance.
This team had such a letdown after a 7-0 start. The fact that Miami didn’t even win the ACC Coastal hurt the program enough. But to lose the way the Canes did against Louisville really puts a black eye on the 2013 season. The Hurricanes essentially fell apart and couldn’t rebound after the loss to Florida State. After Golden seemed to flirt with the idea of coaching at Penn State, it seems that he’s committed to bringing Miami back to national prominence. He’s going to have higher expectations next season; we’ll see what the Canes can do next year.