MIAMI IS BACK!!!! Well, at least they are, according to Hurricanes legendary WR Michael Irvin and a social media post Monday morning.
First, Irvin was seen getting Canes fans hyped at a rally Friday night prior to Miami’s opening loss to rival Florida in Orlando Saturday night:
MICHAEL IRVIN IS READY FOR MIAMI VS. FLORIDA
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 24, 2019
Irvin was also a guest on ESPN’s “College Gameday” show at Disney World and got very animated on Saturday morning with Gators legend/Heisman winner, Tim Tebow:
— ESPN (@espn) August 24, 2019
Well, despite the hype, the Hurricanes played a sloppy game with lots of penalties and turnovers. Some of this was to be expected with a first year head coach in Manny Diaz and a redshirt freshman QB making his first start in Jarren Williams. As we wrote though, Williams showed promise at times despite sacks and misfires, at times for the offense.
Well, Irvin was back on social media Monday (apparently after a morning workout) and wanted Canes fans to know he is encouraged and to keep that same energy even after the loss:
— Michael Irvin (@michaelirvin88) August 26, 2019
In the :60 post, Irvin made it very clear that the Canes “gave it to the Gators,” and he was so adamant about that, he even said it twice. He was also very encouraged about the way his team played, especially with multiple freshmen on the O-line and a young QB.
“If it weren’t for a few mistakes, the Canes would have walked away with the win!,” Irvin emphasized.
Irvin, who was a two time All American receiver for the Gators in the 80s, part of the 1987 National Championship team and later a Pro Football Hall of Famer with the Cowboys, was a good sport and congratulated the Gators. But, he did leave us with a great quote to end his speech,
“I don’t care what ya’ll say, we will never die. We will never quit, and we will never go anywhere. So, eat that on your breakfast, lunch, and dinner plate.”
Will Canes turn things around in home opener?
The excitement behind first year Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz is quickly losing steam as the once ACC powerhouse has now found themselves as an unranked, middle of the pack team in their conference with an 0-2 record. Granted, they have had some bigger tests than most teams in the first two weeks of play, but still, there is too much talent on this team to have had such a lackluster start.
So, today has to be the day for Diaz to see some success as he heads into his first home game as the Canes head coach. Even if it’s against an FCS team, it will give the Canes the boost they need to turn the season around. They have a lot of young talent who can certainly bring Miami back to its state of prominence and there is still a lot to be hopeful for as they head into their first kickoff in Hard Rock Stadium this season.
History is certainly on Miami’s side. In their all time series with Bethune-Cookman University, Miami has a perfect 4-0 mark against the Wildcats, winning all four games by 3o points or more. Also, Miami has not lost a home opener since 2006, and have emerged victorious in its last 12 home openers, most recently, a shoutout 77-0 victory vs. Savannah State last season.
Amidst the two early losses, RS Freshman QB Jarren Williams has looked strong. In his first ever collegiate start against Top 10 ranked Florida, Williams finished 19-for-30 for 214 yards and 1 TD. He looked even better in week two against ACC opponent North Carolina, throwing for 309 yards on 30-for-39 passing with two touchdowns and no picks. He’ll likely put up even bigger numbers today against a significantly weaker defense. He’s now the ranked fourth among ACC Quarterbacks.
Williams also has strong targets in RB DeeJay Dallas who rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries, averaging 7.6 yards per rush vs. UNC, as well as TE Brevin Jordan who leads the team with 161 receiving yards (80.5 per game).
On the defensive end, Miami has one the best linebacker trios in college football right now with Zach McCloud, Michael Pinckney & Shaq Quarterman. These three have started nearly every game together since arriving to University of Miami as early enrollees in 2016.
UM’s starting offensive line now has three freshman. True freshman LT Zion Nelson, redshirt freshman RT John Campbell, Jr. and true freshman Jakai Clark who made his first start against the Tar Heels. The young UM offensive line looked much improved in week two, but they still allowed four sacks and aren’t up to the caliber they need to be to be considered a solid offensive line. However, facing a FCS level opponent like Bethune-Cookman, the starting five on the offensive line should be able to grow confident together this week.
Should Miami be upset with the way they’ve started this season, for sure. But, the 0-2 start does not have to reflect what the rest of the year will look like. This week is the perfect opportunity for the teams nine new starters so far this season to get more comfortable and build some confidence, and get the second string guys playing time to give the team more depth all around.
Canes QB Williams showed potential in Gators loss
One of the biggest storylines heading into the the Gator/Canes season opener on Saturday night was how Miami’s new signal caller would perform in his starting debut. And similarly to the theme of the game, it was shaky. However, there were a lot of other factors that lead us to believe there is a lot of potential for the redshirt Freshman who won the job this season.
While Jarren William’s performance certainly fell short of an elite level QB, he did show signs that he could one day, and maybe even this season, become elite. He’s been under a microscope since he was named starter earlier this month, and the pressure was on last night in not only his second-ever collegiate game, and first-ever start, but a start in a season opener. Not to mention against an 8th ranked, huge in-state rival with one of the nations best defensive fronts.
And he finished the game with a chance to take home a come-from-behind victory, but unfortunately he didn’t have a line that gave him enough time to do it. So taking all that into consideration, he showed he’s got what it takes to make Miami a force throughout this season.
Canes head coach Manny Diaz had all positive things to say about Williams’ play. He talked with the media after the game about what he thought of his QB’s performance, and only seemed more confident that he picked the right guy for the job.
“I mean, you probably can’t put a guy in a more adverse situation than in this stadium. The amazing atmosphere from both sets of fans, you know, their defensive front, which we knew was really good. Jarren never really blinked.
A lot of time he didn’t have a lot of time and I thought he just played a little of courage, you know, made some plays with his feet, scrambled the throw to keep this some things alive. I think you can see why we picked him to be our guy.”
Williams completed 19 of 29 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown, without throwing a single interception. He had a 65.5-percent accuracy rate, despite getting hammered by 10 sacks with a seemingly nonexistent O-Line in the second half. And beyond his stats, he showed extreme mental and physical toughness by competing until the end after getting hammered time and time again.
Moral victories are never the kind of victories you want to take away after a game, especially against a rival, but they can head into the rest of the season with confidence that they’ve got an offensive leader who will show up to play even in the most difficult situations.
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