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Paul Finebaum calls UM a “third world program”

Paul Finebaum opened the floor again.

Um, ESPN, about that no politics thing?

You remember how Dan LeBatard (our Dan LeBatard, of course) got heat internally for calling out the president’s racially-charged rallies?

Well, here’s the flip side of that.

Here is Paul Finebaum, known SEC shill and transparent provocateur, making a racially-loaded comment about the University of Miami, on ESPN’s airwaves:

What exactly do you mean there, Paul?

What would make us third world down here?

Our transportation system sucks. The Miami airport too. And yeah, there’s corruption.

But anyone who is associated with this area knows that “third world” isn’t referencing any of that. It’s referencing the populace…. much of which is brown or black.

That’s not a overly sensitive stretch. Just ask around.

This is a characterization that was all too common during the Heat’s Big 3 years. The national media constantly suggested that Miami didn’t “deserve” that team. Why? Well, sometimes they said it was because we weren’t passionate enough fans, too transient, all out on our boats. (You heard that a lot when national media members were cheering LeBron going back to “working class” Cleveland, i.e. more white).

But the other part of it was that we don’t look like other sports fans around the country, those pure fans from say, Boston.

“It’s a third world program if you ask me.”

Just say what you mean, Paul.

The caller did: “Well, at least no one was shot, I guess?”

Ha ha. That’s hysterical. No one shot. By Miami fans.

You forgot the word “thug.” Do better next time.

So Paul, nothing surprises us from you anymore.

Oh, and I’ve been to some of those SEC towns you love, where the Waffle House is deemed the equivalent of Ruth’s Chris — they both have butter! — and the unpaved roads to nowhere are lined with troopers waiting to pick up anyone who doesn’t answer to Bubba and have “Don’t Tread On Me” on his pickup’s bumper.

That world seems a lot more third than this.

Jarren Williams Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes: The Good, Bad, and Ugly vs Gators

An early chance to prove they are “back” escapes the Hurricanes.

The Miami Hurricanes kicked off the 2019 season like their nickname implies, with ferocity and chaos.

With an in-state game against the hated Gators, an animal that lurks in the swamp beneath the surface.

Two teams engaged in high drama without aesthetic pleasantry or grace.

On the national stage, just like it should be.

Miami wasn’t expected to win by most or make a game of it by many.

But that is exactly what they did.

We can explore the coulda-woulda-shoulda all day, Canes fans have seen these game slip away too many times.

The Hurricanes had their chances but the game unraveled by their own hand.

There was some good.

Quite a bit of bad.

And holy shit was there a lot of ugly.

The Good

Jarren Williams took control of the starting quarterback position in fall camp and the decision looks like a home run.

The redshirt freshman looked ready and poised under the bright lights and under heavy fire.

He took 10 sacks behind an offensive line that was exploited against a barrage from the Gator front seven.

Time and time again he got up off the canvas, and had the team in position to win.

Williams avoided the big mistake, although he did put the ball on the ground late under duress.

He finished 19 for 30 for 214 yards with one touchdown and looked more calm and collected as the game progressed.

DeeJay Dallas had a solid game (12 carries, 95 yards, one touchdown) and his physical running style brutalized the Florida defense.

Overall however the rushing game struggled, only gaining 87 yards on a measly 2.7 YPC after sack yards on Williams factored in.

Brevin Jordan (five receptions, 88 yards, TD)  also had a breakout night and there are plenty of encouraging pieces on offense.

Cam Harris looks like a perfect compliment to Dallas and had a game changing run called back by penalty.

 

Another bright spot was the run defense which held Florida to just 52 yards on the ground.

Oh, and Turnover Chain 3.0, or 305, made its debut and Miami rocked the new ice on four occasions.

 

The Bad

A lot to cover here.

Mistakes riddled the opening game for Manny Diaz and his new coaching staff.

Delays of game and false starts took the life out of drives that weren’t killed by sacks.

Williams was running for his life against a constant barrage of blitzes.

Both teams were sloppy, combining for over 200 yards in penalties on the night.

Diaz was not pleased.

“There were a couple major blunders on special teams and the short fields right there really ended up being telling in a very low scoring game where everything mattered. I thought our guys played with a lot of courage. I think they played with a lot of effort. But it doesn’t matter because we lost the game. We did not come here to play with courage and effort. We came here to win the game and it’s not OK at the University of Miami ever to lose to the University of Florida. Everybody in that locker room feels the pain of that right now.”

Mistakes should be expected with a mostly new coaching staff and quarterback, but the mental lapses compiled at an alarming rate.

The players were not the only ones making mental mistakes though.

 

Officials cannot be blamed for the result but it definitely was not a stellar night for the zebras.

That being said the calls went for and against both teams so the impact is moot.

The Ugly

The big uglies lived up to that monicker in resounding fashion Saturday night.

Allowing double-digit sacks at this level is uncommon, a performance like this raises many questions.

Florida is an elite defense but the Miami front five looked like matadors out there.

Part of that has to also fall on Dan Enos and the play calling.

In the first half Williams got rid of the ball quickly but in the third quarter is when things started to get sideways.

A fumble by Jeff Thomas on a punt with Miami up 13-1o started to signal the beginning of the end. Florida took it the rest of the way and reclaimed a 17-13 advantage.

Florida outscored Miami 10-0 in that 15 minutes which segued into the fourth quarter from hell.

That quarter started out with a bang for the Hurricanes.

 

The Hurricanes missed their shot at the end

That power move put the Hurricanes back on top 20-17 but was ultimately false hope.

The next three drives ended with a missed field goal and two failures on fourth down,

Miami pulled out some tricks when Bubba Baxa ran for a first down on a fake field goal.

The play had offsetting penalties with a hold by Miami, but an unnecessary roughness penalty on Florida gave the Hurricanes new life.

Which ended quickly.

Baxa missed a chip shot from 27 yards which proved costly as the Gators marched 80 yards in just four plays to retake the lead, one they would not relinquish.

Williams was sacked three times on the final drive, which also included a 15-yard chop block penalty.

Miami was gifted one last opportunity when the Gators were flagged for pass interference on 4th and 34.

How do you get to 4th and 34?

Illegal block penalty for 15 yards makes it 1st and 25

Pass to DeeJay loses one, 2nd and 26.

Williams sacked and fumbles, Dallas picks it up and gains four.

Third and 22, why not take a delay of game for five?

Third and 27, we like even numbers so give us a sack and a seven-yard loss.

There you have it, the night for the Hurricanes in a nutshell.

Follow us on Twitter for more Miami Hurricanes @SportsWaveDave and @5ReasonsSports.

Check out the 5 Rings Canes podcast for exclusive coverage of the Hurricanes.

Three Matchups the Hurricanes can Exploit vs Gators

Week Zero is fast approaching as the Miami Hurricanes prepare to face the Florida Gators Saturday in Orlando.

The oddsmakers don’t love the Hurricanes in a neutral setting, but we all know how in-state rivalry games go.

Hurricanes – Gators: Game of the week

 

Here are three ways the Hurricanes can not only make a game of it, but steal a huge early season win.

The Hurricanes Pass Defense vs Felipe Franks

A once maligned position for the Gators has found some stability finally with Felipe Franks under center.

Franks made huge strides between his freshman and sophomore seasons and is expected to build on that again this year.

Where he has struggled historically is with accuracy, completing less than 57% of his passes for his career.

Franks does take care of the ball, only throwing six interceptions last year against 24 touchdowns.

On the other side of the coin is the Hurricanes pass defense, which last year was a major strength.

Manny Diaz’s defensive group was the best in college football in yards allowed per game in 2018.

They also led the nation in third down defense.

If the Miami defense can have some success on early downs, the pass rush should be able to generate pressure on Franks when it counts.

We all know what that means.

 

Gators Offensive Line is Suspect

That pass rush may have some success against a retooled Gators front five.

Florida lost four starters from last season and they will be put to the test right away.

The Gators only allowed 18 sacks last year, however with a lot of new moving parts there could be some early communication issues.

Miami will give Franks a lot of looks and you can bet there will be pressure on all levels, led by Jonathan Garvin on the defensive line.

Garvin comes off a breakout sophomore season with career bests in tackles (60) and sacks (5.5) along with two fumble recoveries.

We all know about the experienced and talented linebacker group, expect them to cause some confusion among the Gator front five.

Enos has a Plan for Jordan and Mallory

Another matchup the Hurricanes can exploit is the dual threats at tight end in Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory.

Dan Enos has brought in a system that gives the tight end group a lot of opportunities from multiple formations.

Florida has an excellent secondary led by cornerbacks CJ Henderson, Jr. and Marco Wilson, so Williams will have to be careful with the ball on the outside.

Thankfully for a new starting quarterback, the tight end combo of Jordan and Mallory are a nice safety net.

The Hurricanes will have to play a near perfect game to pull of the upset.

If Miami can keep the game close in the first half in a rivalry game, anything can happen.

Follow me on Twitter @SportsWaveDave. Tweet and at me saying who will win. Hurricanes or Gators?

Make sure to check out the 5 Rings Canes Podcast for exclusive Miami Hurricanes content.

 

 

It’s Jarren Williams’ Hurricanes now

Jarren Williams is the chosen one. For now…

For the past couple weeks, Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz made it seem like picking his first starting quarterback was like picking his first Pokemon.

He’s got three: Tate Martell (Charmander), N’Kosi Perry (Bulbasaur) and Jarren Williams (Squirtle). Each of them have different talents yet each of them can get you eight gym badges an into the Elite Four.

After the second scrimmage of fall camp, Diaz chose Williams and made it public through the team’s social media channel. This in turn vaulted Williams to the top of the pecking order and elevated him into the position of leader of the locker room.

“It’s the natural thing of having the confidence of the coaching staff and the team to know you’re the guy,” Diaz said. “Which is why we made the decision, it’s why we made it public, because we just felt that would far more superseded any value in making it a surprise on Saturday.”

Williams always had the confidence in himself necessary to become a starting quarterback. However being the starting quarterback didn’t automatically make him the leader of the team.

“Jarren has always been a leader,” Donaldson said. “Ever since he came in he’s been a vocal guy, trying to communicate with the whole offense, even the whole team, trying to get us on the same page. That’s what [offensive coordinator Dan Enos]  saw, I guess and he just took that stuff further now.”

“I feel like it’s a gradual process,” Williams said, “because throughout the summer and spring, my thing was I’m gonna show these guys that I’m gonna work and give everything I got for them. I go out there every day and I would give everything I had, empty the tank for them just to show them I’m gonna be a guy that you can rely on. So I feel like doing that time after time gradually built that leadership so that when I had the opportunity to be named starting quarterback, I was already in that leadership role.”

It almost didn’t came to be. Before the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl, Williams nearly transferred out of Miami. He chose to remain and even with extra competition coming in through the transfer portal and recruiting, he rose above it all and has earned his chance to lead the Hurricanes against the No. 8 Florida Gators.

“It’s very rewarding,” Williams said. “That really comes with me trusting God. I prayed about it and I know he would never lead me wrong.”

Williams said the turning point came when the team returned from an embarrassing bowl loss and Diaz quickly became the new head coach after Mark Richt announced his retirement.

“I feel like the whole mindset just started to change for everybody,” Williams said. 

Williams has received texts messages from former Miami quarterbacks Stephen Morris and Brad Kaaya encouraging him going into the biggest matchup of the season.

“They really just told me to be confident and be you,” Williams said. “This is the moment you prepared your whole life for. Don’t let the moment get too big for you.”

Tate Martell working at wide receiver

First, we find out who was named the starting quarterback, then two players who would have seen significant playing time (CB Nigel Bethel, Jr. is the latest) decide to enter the transfer portal. What’s next, Tate Martell moving to wide receiver? 

Well, yes.

When the Canes’ announced Jarren Williams as the starting quarterback on Monday, the first thought for a lot of fans wasn’t to say congratulations to Williams on winning the battle. It was, “so what does Tate do now?” On the College Football Daily podcast, 247 Director of Scouting Barton Simmons said Martell should give take a shot at wide receiver. 

It seems as though the idea may have been on Martell’s mind as well. 

The New Wide-Out in Town

W.G. Ramirez, a Las Vegas-based sports writer sent out a tweet on Thursday that said Martell “former Gorman QB and three-time national HS champion Tate Martell is expected to try his hand at wide receiver.”  

Nothing was confirmed at that point until yesterday evening when The Athletic columnist and Miami Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro sent out a tweet that said: “Have been told by a #UM source today was the first day Tate Martell experimented with playing wide receiver at Miami.” Thursday’s practice was completely closed to media by Miami.

Minutes after the Navarro tweet, Miami Herald columnist Barry Jackson tweeted this, “Martell taking WR snaps in tonight’s scrimmage, am told.” The Canes’ held a scrimmage last night at Hard Rock Stadium (pray for no injuries).

None of us know yet if the move is permanent or if it is just an experiment, but this could be a great move. 

He Looks the Part

Martell has posted some pretty fast 20-yard shuttle times in the past and is very athletic. He has even been seen in the past running routes and catching passes from other quarterbacks. 

I can see Coach Enos drawing up some special packages with Martell playing both quarterback and wide receiver. 

It’s almost like Ryan Tannehill is back again. But not really.

Although, guys seem to have a bit more success switching from quarterback to receiver. Some notable names: Julian Edelman, Antwaan Randle-El, and more recently guys like Josh Cribbs and Terrelle Pryor. Could Tate Martell be next?

In just 7 days on August 24th, Miami opens up its season against the Florida Gators at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. It’s showtime! 

 

Follow us on Twitter @jazzsantana and @5ReasonsSports for all your Miami Hurricanes news.

Check out the 5 Rings Canes podcast for exclusive insider content.

Go Canes!

Canes Junior, Derrick Smith enters transfer portal.

Surprise News: Smith Enters the Portal! Depth at Safety Not a Concern.

The portal strikes again. Yet this time, this one was a bit of a surprise. With just 11 days away before the week 0 game against that team up in Gainesville, junior safety Derrick Smith tweeted yesterday that he is no longer a member of the Canes football program and has decided to enter his name in the transfer portal. Smith was thought of as a significant contributor this season in the secondary.

Smith was Showing Out!

Smith started his career at safety and then made the move to striker last season. With Romeo Finley’s return and the emergence of Gil Frierson, Smith made the move back to safety. He showed tons of promise in camp and was on track to get plenty of playing time. That looked even more apparent after a strong showing in the Canes first scrimmage. 

 In a recent article by Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald, safeties coach Ephraim banda was quoted as saying “You know, I think he did a really good job in the off season of spending a lot of time in the meeting room and just getting extra work”. Coach Banda also went on by saying “I think he improved in the weight room and really dedicated himself in that area and really bought into [strength and conditioning] Coach Feeley.” 

 Why the Sudden Change?

With all that being said, Smith was going to have a hard time unseating Amari Carter and Gurvan Hall as the starter. Those two have had really good training camps and have solidified their starting roles. That ultimately may have been the deciding factor in Smith leaving. 

 The other factor may have been the recent arrival of USC transfer Bubba Bolden. The highly touted transfer and former high school teammate of Tate Martell and Brevin Jordan, comes in late, but with high expectations. It seems as though Bolden has been able to come in and catch on quickly. 

My final theory could be, the strong push this fall by the infamous Robert Knowles. Could he have been threatening Smith for his playing time? I have a feeling we will be seeing him on the field a lot (biting my nails as I write that). 

 The Future Looks Bright!

Although the transfer comes as a surprise to all of us, especially the timing of it, many do not seem to be too concerned. With guys like Bolden and even freshman Keontra Smith, the depth at safety looks promising. Look for Keontra to now play a bigger role as a backup and on special teams. 

What does concern me, however, is that more and more kids are transferring at the first sight of adversity. Sure, the Canes have benefitted from the transfer portal, but it has also hurt them. One thing is for certain, entering the portal does not guarantee you a starting job anywhere. Chances are, you will have to fight for your spot anywhere else you go. What the portal giveth, it can also taketh away. 

 

Follow us on Twitter @jazzsantana and @5ReasonsSports for all your Miami Hurricanes news.

 

Check out the 5 Rings Canes podcast for exclusive insider content.

 

Go Canes! Read more

Manny Diaz leading the culture change

On December 30, 2018 the Hurricane program was flipped on top of its head.

The head coach, Mark Richt, retired abruptly after 3 seasons and a 26-13 record. The 2018 season of his tenure was very dark, coming off a 10-3 season the previous year.

The Hurricanes had high expectations that they could not meet. Many factors went into this such as; bad QB play, the offensive coordinator’s play calling was terrible, and the team stopped believing in Mark Richt.

Miami then turned to Manny Diaz 18 days after he had taken a head coach job at Temple. The job Diaz has done is already exceeding expectations. He’s bringing back the Miami culture and has rejuvenated it.

The main reason why is because Manny Diaz understands what it takes to coach the Hurricanes. It is by far one the hardest jobs. It comes with many expectations, as well as distractions for the players who go to the University Of Miami. Diaz has brought new energy, swagger, and belief in the program, hence his hashtag in recruiting #TNM ( The New Miami) .

Players committing left and right shows that they believe in the Diaz culture in Miami. This is a real turnaround that brings back the Miami Hurricanes every fan loved in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. I think Miami has the right guy, a young coach with energy.

Most importantly he understands the Miami culture, because he’s born and raised here. He also went to the U so it’s  a match made in heaven in my opinion. Hurricane fans gear up and watch Manny Diaz culture change. Let him work his magic through the good and bad during his coaching tenure.

Miami Hurricanes – Is Offensive Line Biggest Question Mark?

It has been an exciting and clarifying week for the Miami Hurricanes football team.

Thankfully the clarification has kept Hurricanes social media, especially Twitter, in mid-season form.

 

Manny Diaz named Jarren Williams the starting quarterback on Monday to much celebration and debate.

Now that QB1 is finally out of the way, the focus shifts back to other position battles.

Hopefully offensive line coach Butch Barry can find the right formula before August 24th. Barry is in his first year in Miami after being on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff last year.

With the regular season set to open in less than two weeks, an important group is still coming into focus.

 

The once dominant offensive line at Miami has been mired with inconsistency for several years it seems.

Plenty of talent has been available, but cohesiveness and stability in the group has been an issue.

Corey Gaynor will be the starting center and developing chemistry with Williams will be crucial.

Gaynor improved as last year progressed and hopefully the redshirt sophomore can continue to grow and anchor the line.

Donaldson Moving Left?

Navaughn Donaldson impressed in 2018 and was asked to do a lot by the previous coaching staff.

He showed versatility as he started multiple games at both right guard and right tackle.

Standing at 6-foot-6 and listed at 345 pounds, he helped lead many massive gains on the ground last year.

His strong work continued in pass protection as well and Miami was better in the six games he started at right tackle to start the campaign.

Donaldson’s ability and willingness to shift along the line gave him valuable experience and he will need to be a force inside again this season.

He may end up at left guard which will be important since the blind side spot is still a question mark. The former freshman All-American is perhaps the most talented of the group.

Shuffling Deck Continues

Left tackle is an interesting spot to predict to say the least.

Freshman Zion Nelson from Sumter, SC has put himself in the mix for a starting role.

After putting on over 50 pounds, Nelson has transformed from a low rated prospect to a contender for the most important spot on the line.

His path to the Miami Hurricanes program was not direct, only a last minute de-commit from Appalachian State sent him to Coral Gables.

The fact he is in consideration for starting left tackle shows his dedication and ability.

Nelson will have to hold off Tommy Kennedy, Jr., a redshirt senior grad transfer from Butler University.

Kennedy signed with the Hurricanes in December, 2018 and was at the time projected to be the future starter at left tackle.

However after a lackluster spring his role is uncertain.

The step up in competition may be a factor for Kennedy.

Need the Right fit for Right Side

On the right side of the line the tackle spot there is also a question. Kai-Leon Herbert and John Campbell have both been getting reps with the ones.

Campbell, a redshirt freshman, was a highly rated recruit from Orlando and is listed at 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds. He appeared in four games last year for the Hurricanes.

Herbert is a redshirt sophomore who played at American Heritage in Plantation. A consensus four-star prospect out of high school, the former Michigan commit changed course. He could slot in as a swing tackle or backup at the guard spot as well.

Cleveland Reed is another to watch in the guard race, the 6-foot-3, 313 pound bruiser was another highly coveted prospect out of Fort Meade, Florida. He had offers from top programs such as Clemson and Ohio State.

Scaife Adds More Versatility

Rounding out the candidates on the right side is sophomore DJ Scaife. Like Donaldson, Scaife played extensively at both guard and tackle in the 2018 season as a freshman. He projects more as a natural tackle which would allow Reed or Herbert to drop inside to guard.

Scaife was the starting right tackle in the Pinstripe Bowl and is the frontrunner to hold down that spot again this season. Given the lack of experience at other interior positions his versatility may be needed as the season wears on.

 

Predicted Week Zero Offensive Line

LT: Nelson

LG: Donaldson

C: Gaynor

RG: Reed

RT: Scaife

 

The Hurricanes really struggled to score points last year.

It will be imperative that Barry and OC Dan Enos get this talented group to be a cohesive unit. Especially with an inexperienced quarterback under center.

Follow us on Twitter @SportsWaveDave and @5ReasonsSports for more great Miami Hurricanes news.

Check out the 5 Rings Canes podcast for exclusive insider content.

It’s all about The U!!!

 

Miami Hurricanes name Jarren Williams QB1

Is Williams the Best Choice as Canes’ QB1?

The dust has settled, just a bit. We all know by now that Jarren Williams has won the starting quarterback position for the Canes. He beat out the once thought to be the next big-time quarterback in N’Kosi Perry and the highly anticipated Ohio State transfer Tate Martell.

“We believe we can win with all three guys, however, we feel like Jarren has the greatest upside due to his passing ability, his instincts and his determination.” – Coach Manny Diaz on new Canes QB1, Jarren Williams.

Williams will see his first real action as a college quarterback on August 24th in Orlando against the top ten ranked Florida Gators. That’s a tall order for the redshirt freshman out of Central Gwinnett High School in Georgia.

Coming out of high school, Jarren Williams was a standout quarterback ranked as the 77th overall prospect and #5 Pro-Style Quarterback in the country. He improved every year at the high school level as a passer, culminating in a senior year that saw him throw for over 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also ran for over 500 yards.

Under the Radar?

So why was it such a surprise to many that he got the nod? Maybe it was all the hype surrounding Tate Martell that made people forget about Williams? Maybe it was some saying that Perry has the most experience and needs to start? Was it the bad taste he left in everyone’s mouth when there were rumors swirling of him wanting to transfer? Either way, make no mistake about it, Jarren Williams, in terms of pure passing ability and skillset, is the best quarterback on this roster. He can make all the throws with precision and is very accurate on the deep ball.

Personally, I believe it was always a two-quarterback race: Williams and Martell. I think Williams ultimately won out because of his accuracy and because he took care of the football a little better than Martell. My conspiracy theory is that people closest to the program may have seen N’Kosi as part of the problem regarding last year’s team. Too many antics on and off the field may have cost him a legitimate shot at QB1. Oh, and don’t count Martell out just yet. I still expect to see him on the field in some role this year.

At the end of the day, the question still remains. Did the Miami Hurricanes make the right decision at QB1? Will we find out in 12 days? Maybe. But when the dust clears and those pads get crackin’ on August 24th, I don’t care who is behind center, just win!

Regarding the backup situation, Coach Manny Diaz said the competition is still going on to see who serves as QB2 behind Williams. Now all that’s left is for Jarren Williams to show them why they chose him as the starter.

Jarren Williams named QB1

Jarren Williams is the Hurricanes’ QB1

Well, that was suspenseful.

Manny Diaz, the new coach of the Miami Hurricanes, hadn’t revealed much about the quarterback competition between holdovers Jarren Williams and N’Kosi Perry, and transfer Tate Martell.

But a day before Media Day, Diaz spilled the goods.

The winner is Williams, who nearly left the program last season, a couple of times.

This wasn’t a total surprise, since the chatter has been trending that way of late. Word was that Williams has been most consistent in practices, and he has the most pure arm talent of the trio.

Reaction on Twitter was mostly positive.

Here’s some context…

Now we wait to see how he plays against Florida.

Can’t be worse than Malik Rosier, right?