Report Card: Miami vs. Florida State

Quarterback: C-

It’s going to be tough for the Hurricanes to win when Robert Marve has to throw the ball 40 times.  Plus, the Canes went 2-for-15 on third down conversions. After the game, Marve preached that the rain really affected his throws and he couldn’t get a perfect grip on the ball, but added that Christian Ponder had to worry about the same thing.

Running Backs: C-

We all know that when you fall behind early in the game, you abandon the run and that’s exactly what the Hurricanes did. Graig Cooper was effective for only one series, but that series turned into a punt. Cooper carried six times for only 31 yards. A plus was the blitz pick-up Cooper and Derron Thomas performed for Marve.

Wide Receivers: C-

Miami dropped plenty of passes in some key situations. Aldarius Johnson and Travis Benjamin stood out. Johnson has the ability to break tackles and turn something short into something long while Benjamin can accelerate to get past defenders and make something happen. The Canes just need to improve on getting more separation.

Offensive Line: D+

At times, the big guys up front blocked well for Marve, but there were times when they looked confused on the field. Florida State overloaded one side and got to Marve with ease. Marve could’ve thrown more interceptions than the two he did. Miami also couldn’t get the running game going early.

Defensive Line: C-

No sacks for the Canes this week. Ponder and Antone Smith were able to get to the next level. Give them credit because the Hurricanes were strong up front until coverage was blown on third downs.

Linebackers: C-

The Hurricanes took a huge blow with Colin McCarthy getting knocked out for the year. The backers couldn’t stop Ponder or Smith or close the gaps on a key third and long. Sean Spence elevated his game to another level. Spence led the team with 10 total tackles and made a key 7-yard interception return for a touchdown. King Cobra Spence is a lock as one of the best true freshman in the nation.

Secondary: D-

The defensive backs struggled mightily once again. FSU receivers got open at will and defensive pass interference calls killed the Canes. The decision to start Lovon Ponder over Jo Jo Nicolas was a huge mistake. Ponder looked terrible in run and pass defense.

Special Teams: A

Benjamin is something special. He gained 185 return yards and rattled one of the top special teams programs. Matt Bosher converted on three crucial field goals. Miscues on Florida State’s punts really helped out the Canes. “The special teams were tremendous,” head coach Randy Shannon said. “I thought that was the one phase of the game that kept us in it and gave us the opportunity to win.”

Coaching: B+

Shannon’s boys weren’t ready in the first half, but didn’t quit after halftime. Offensive coordinator Patrick Nix called a great game on offense, especially the trick pass from Cooper to Benjamin. Nix now has weapons to play with. Defensive coordinator Bill Young called the right plays, but his defense failed to execute on the field. Point blank, huge adjustments need to be made.