Following the win at Boston College on Saturday, coach Al Golden couldn’t have asked for any more from his young Miami Hurricanes team. Beating the Eagles to the tune of 41-32, the ‘Canes are confidently sitting at 1-0.
Forget that Boston College QB Chase Rettig threw for 441 yards; or that the Eagles put up 542 total yards; or even that the ‘Canes committed nine penalties totaling 98 yards. You can throw all of that out the window. What really matters to Golden is that his team fought hard, for all 4 quarters, and came out of Chestnut Hill victorious.
Golden “knew it was going to be hard fought. We had a lot of guys playing for the first time – not just the freshmen. Dorsett, Scott, Shane McDermott. I can go down the line, guys playing, shouldering the burden for the first time…Herculean effort to come in here and do that on the road.” A Herculean effort it was indeed.
The ‘Canes managed a respectable 415 total yards and QB Stephen Morris threw for 207 yards. This was not the same Miami team that was upset at home last year by the Eagles. True freshmen Duke Johnson and Malcolm Lewis each found the end-zone and Golden was pleased with the way that offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch was able to prepare his young stable within a short period of time.
Miami surprised BC with their up tempo offense and going no huddle. “There’s still a lot of things we got to clean up from this one. We know that,” said Golden.
Golden was proud of his team for showing resilience when down 14-0 in the first quarter. A lot of credit can go to strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey. Going into the fourth quarter, the Eagles looked gassed. Miami fought on. The ‘Canes defense managed three take-a ways, something us fans had forgotten was possible. In seasons past, it was Miami that was the victim of turnovers – hopefully the tides have shifted.
In any event, Miami played well as a team. They managed a complete game. From offense to defense, even on special teams the ‘Canes shined. They gained solid yardage on returning kickoffs and did a good job in coverage. I’m not sure if people understand how lucky Miami is to have P Dalton Botts. Following a botched snap, Botts was able to chase down the ball, escape a would be tackler and manage to send off a rugby-style punt. Kid has the smarts to match the leg.
Some quick notes:
* 14 freshmen participated in the ‘Canes win vs. Boston College.
* RB Duke Johnson is special. He makes the fans want to watch Miami again. Hell, he even managed to get himself on ESPN’s Top 10. Who else plays in their first collegiate football game and gets recognized by LeBron James? Johnson rushed for 135 yards on just seven carries and scored two touchdowns, both on runs of over 50 yards. Said Golden of his new star, “He prepares like a senior. He’s in great condition. He’s a pleasure to coach. He’s got a good gear.” Keep the momentum going Mr. Johnson.
* QB Stephen Morris appeared calm, poised and accurate in his first start of the season. Morris completed 28 of 45 passes for 201 yards and one touchdown. He also threw one interception, although Morris isn’t the one to blame. Morris threw the ball to 10 different receivers and was clearly in command of his offense.
* True freshman RT Ereck Flowers gained Golden’s praise following the win at Boston College. Filling in for Seantrel Henderson is a big task in itself. “Ereck Flowers graded out over 90 percent. I thought he played really well,” said Golden.
* S Deon Bush led the true freshmen with four tackles on defense. He played 30 snaps on defense and 12 on special teams.
* Golden does not expect DT Curtis Porter to be available at Kansas State.
* The Miami receivers were responsible for seven dropped passes against Boston College. This is something Golden thinks can be corrected by week 2.
* Golden was pleased with the forced fumble caused by LB Eddie Johnson and recovered by CB Ladarius Gunter. “That is the type of effort we are looking for,” said Golden.
The ‘Canes travel to Manhattan, Kansas to take on the Kansas State Wildcats on September 8.