Originally posted on CaneInsider  |  Last updated 10/30/13
WVUM’s Chris Wittyngham continues his series of previews with this week’s Top 10 matchup between the Hurricanes and the Seminoles. In this space ahead of the Wake Forest game, I wrote the following: “Miami needs to take this opportunity to work out the kinks that we’ve seen in the last three games against this Wake team at home. If they don’t, Miami could be in for a close game.” I’m sure I have written a few things in these previews that have rung hollow, not that I would ever point them out because I want you to forget about them. But that prediction absolutely came to fruition. There were two big problems that were the reason why the game last Saturday was close. The first was the continued struggles of the passing game. Quarterback Stephen Morris continued to struggle with footwork and overthrows as he did in North Carolina, and it hurt Miami’s ability to move the ball down the field. But like the UNC game, Miami offensive coordinator James Coley realized once again the route to offensive success was through the running game. And it was successful to the tune of 200 yards on the ground which allowed Miami to pull out the win late. The second problem that emerged was poor tackling. All day long Miami took too many poor angles and didn’t finish tackles due to poor technique, and Wake Forest took advantage with huge amounts of yards after the catch. Combined that with an inability to create a consistent pass rush against the spread offensive line, and Jim Grobe’s formula for Wake Forest nearly paid off with a win. ON TO FSU As Al Golden has been emphasizing all week, Miami knows they need to improve a great deal in this week in order to compete with Florida State. The reason he’s saying that is a caliber of play that is substandard to the way Miami started the year. However, Miami is facing some national perception problems. This is largely due to winning games against Wake and UNC by a combined 7 points. But, Miami faces other perceptions problems, the first of which is the one the media has discussed all week, the fact that Miami are 21 point underdogs as the #7 team in the country. Beyond that, Stephen Morris has been dropped from being the #29 overall 2014 NFL Draft prospect according to ESPN to the #59 overall prospect. Not that the whims of scouts are to be taken with too much sincerity, but national experts are becoming worried about Morris with his play the last two weeks. Combine that with getting leapt by one loss Stanford in the BCS rankings and college football pundits saying UM doesn’t deserve a top 10 ranking, Miami has to improve their caliber of play to be taken seriously at a national level. Before we get to trying to figure out how in the world a team can try and stop Florida State, let’s learn about the Seminoles. ABOUT FLORIDA STATE The only place to start is one of the Heisman front-runners, the redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston, the #1 quarterback prospect according to ESPN in the class of 2012, built Manziel-esque hype for the 2013 season with a phenomenal spring season and spring game. He threw for over 200 yards and 4 touchdowns while trying to emerge from a very intense quarterback competition. It seems ridiculous now, but Winston was locked in with Clint Trickett, who later transferred to West Virginia, and Jacob Coker for the starting job. He did this while also competing as a dual-sport athlete for Mike Martin’s baseball team at Florida State. And the legend of “Famous” Jameis continued to grow with stellar pitching and some highlight reel throws from right field. After pulling double duty with football and baseball in the spring, Jameis won the job in the fall and made his debut in front of a national audience on Labor Day against Pittsburgh. Rare is the prospect who lives up to insurmountable hype, yet Jameis delivered. Winston completed his first 11 passes and from there his season got even better. Through 7 games, Winston is averaging 311 yards per game, 11.9 yards per attempt, 17 yards per completion, and has thrown 23 touchdowns to 4 interceptions. Winston has not yet shown a huge propensity to run, averaging 2.9 yards per carry on 44 attempts, but he does have great speed and great athleticism in the arsenal. I’m curious if FSU will break out a zone read or use the option a little more against Miami this Saturday Night. Beyond Winston, Florida State has NFL talent at almost every position. Beginning at Wide Receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, Kenny Shaw, and Rashad Greene lead a very talented core. On down the roster, Jimbo Fisher says this year’s offensive line is the best he’s had during his tenure at Florida State, the Seminoles have 3 reliable running backs who can change the game, a very talented tight end in Nick O’Leary, a strong defensive line, and so on. Huge credit to FSU and Jimbo Fisher in being able to replenish a roster that lost 11 players to the NFL Draft, 3 to the first round. Somehow, this team has more talent than last year’s. SO YOU’RE TELLING ME FSU IS REALLY GOOD, HOW DOES MIAMI BEAT THEM? This may sound like hyperbole, but play a perfect game. It starts with getting pressure with 4 on Jameis Winston. Winston killed NC State in the 1st quarter of their game last week with 35 first quarter points in large part because he had all day to find open receivers down the field. Second, tackling FSU skill position players in the open field will be massive. Certainly better than the way they did against Florida State. Stephen Morris has to get back to USF/Georgia Tech form, the Miami running game needs to continue to be as strong and efficient as they have been the last two weeks, and Miami can’t afford to give up any plays on special teams. I could have saved you time with this paragraph by simply repeating over and over again “play perfect”. I don’t think the fact that this is a rivalry game will matter much in this particular game, because this game is more about the disparate talent and caliber of play between the two teams. Unless Miami can close that gap, they could be in for a long evening in Tallahassee. But that doesn’t mean we can’t reminisce a little bit. WIDES!!!! Shameless Plug: I will have the call on Miami and Florida State by myself with coverage beginning at 7 PM on Saturday Night. Tune in to the student radio call on WVUM locally on 90.5 FM and online at WVUM.org/Stream The post Miami-FSU Preview appeared first on CaneInsider | Miami Hurricanes Athletics and Recruiting.
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