With BCS title hopes on the line for both sides, the No. 5 Stanford Cardinal managed to hold No. 3 Oregon’s offense in check to win 26-20 on “the Farm” and give the Ducks their first loss of the season for the second straight year. But how does this game shake up the rest of the Pac-12? (more…)
The Miami Hurricanes are 4-0 and are still celebrating the prized Florida Gator head on their mantle. They’ll be kicking off the ACC conference this week against a foe with 16 consecutive bowls to their name, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
“They’re talented on offense,” Miami head coach Al Golden said in his weekly press conference. “I think Vad Lee at quarterback has given them a new dimension on offense in terms of throwing. They’ve added some formations – ‘diamond,’ as a lot of people are referring to it. David Sims is a big play threat as one of the up-backs, and [DeAndre] Smelter is a deep threat at receiver.
Georgia Tech is a team known for their option attack, and that offense can cause problems for everyone. But not only that, their defense is 8th in the nation with 12.8 points allowed per game.
“On defense, I think everyone starts with [Jeremiah] Attaochou,” Golden said, “20 career sacks, he is a guy that can wreck the game if you don’t account for him. I love the way he plays, and have a lot of respect for him. A lot of veterans coming back on this defense.”
If this was the Miami defense of last year, it would be a shootout by necessity. This year, there’s improvement and the nation’s seventh ranked defense (12.5 points allowed per game) should be better prepared to handle the Yellow Jacket option.
“We’re in better condition,” Golden said. “We’re deeper. When guys go in, they’re playing at a higher level. If you ask [Anthony] Chickillo or any of those guys, their play counts are significantly lower than a year ago. We were hanging on in a lot of games last year, undersized and undermanned. [Curtis] Porter was down, Denzel [Perryman] we lost early, [Ramon] Buchanan was down.
“I just think it’s a little different right now – when guys go in, they know their role. [David] Gilbert knows his role, [Justin] Renfrow knows his role, Tyriq McCord executing his role beautifully, Tyrone Cornileus is executing his role. The aggregate of that is we’re having success. We’re opening up ACC play and this is our sternest test to date. With all respect to Florida, in terms of if you want to test your defense, this is the team to test it against. This is a great challenge for us. I don’t think I have to remind our defense we gave up 248 yards rushing a year ago against this team. We gave up two pass plays of over 50 [yards]. We gave up runs of 35, 34, 21, 17, and they were 4-of-5 in the red zone against us. This is a great challenge for our defense, and I think our guys understand that. It’s not just the ACC opener – it’s going to be a tremendous challenge for us.”
It is most important that quarterback Stephen Morris is healthy and ready to go against Georgia Tech. His ankle has been unnecessarily banged up against Savannah State and South Florida. Luckily all signs point to him being ready to hand the ball to running back Duke Johnson and throwing deep to receiver Phillip Dorset.
“I think he’ll be okay,” Golden said. “He’ll be fine. He’s been good. We didn’t go backwards, we have to continue to get him healthy. Practices get shorter and shorter as the week goes on, so I don’t think it will be anything from a physical standpoint. I would like to have him to 95 or 100% by Saturday – I think he has made good progress. He didn’t go backwards Saturday [against USF]. He has a good attitude about it. Hopefully it’ll be a non-issue shortly. I’d love to be able to say it’s a non-issue, but we’re not quite there yet.”
“We’re very confident in Ryan [Williams],” Golden said on his insurance policy. “I think you can sense that from the staff and the other players. There is a sense of confidence that if we need Ryan again at some point this year, that we’ll go with it. He’s throwing the ball well. He’s been taking a lot of snaps, commanding the offense really well and distributing the football. I’m very pleased with Ryan’s development.”
A win will be their 5th straight over Georgia Tech. Be sure to catch to the game or your favorite sports bar by Saturday 12:30 P.M. and follow @TonyCapobianco as he covers the game for mymamisports.com.