This week our Q & A series takes place with Jerry Steinberg of SB Nation's Miami Hurricanes' blog, State Of The U (formerly The 7th Floor). In this Q & A session, we discuss the game, Al Golden's sweating problem, our favorite memories of the series and the Hurricanes' daunting schedule from earlier this year. Jerry also made his prediction for this weekend's game. You can also find my answers to their questions here. So if you want the outlook from a Hurricane perspective, look no further. Plenty of Hurricane coverage this week (and no, not Sandy) here on Gobbler Country.
During the Q & A I refer to myself as GC (GobblerCountry) and Jerry as SOTU (State Of The U). You can also find my answers to their questions here. Enjoy, and GO HOKIES!
SOTU: The losses to the Fighting Irish and Wildcats respectively, look a lot less brutal, considering that they are now arguably 2 of the 3 best teams in the country. I'd say those losses accurately portray what happens when a very young and talented team goes against more experienced talented squads, The 'Canes have given 21 major freshman playing time this year, and that is a tough formula when you go against the big boys. The Carolina game was very winnable. In fact a lot of 'Canes fans would argue if QB Stephen Morris doesn't roll his ankle and miss the last 2 minutes of the game, UM rallies for the win. FSU was clearly the better team, but Miami hung in with them for 3 quarters. And Morris was not 100% for that game. Miami's losses like their wins, are fair indicators of what the team is, a very young and inconsistent team with a lot of talent and a bright future.
SOTU: The biggest difference in Miami's wins and losses are the explosive plays on offense. In Miami's wins, Mike James and Duke Johnson have been able to produce big plays in the running game, and Stephen Morris has connected with Rayshawn Scott, Phillip Dorsett, and Allen Hurns for long passes. The 'Canes have sort of lived and died by the big plays. Additionally in the wins, they have been able to force turnovers which has covered the defense's inability to consistently stop anyone.
SOTU: Depending on what Duke does from here on out, the match-up with the Blue Devils 11/24 could still decide things. But clearly a win on Thursday and Miami will be in the driver's seat.
SOTU: Duke is the real deal and then some. He did sprain his ankle pretty bad against FSU and has been limited in practice, so maybe the Hokies catch a little bit of a break this week if he isn't 100%. But Johnson is a rare talent. He is stronger then you'd expect for a 5'9 180 pound back, and his quickness, vision, and cutting ability are special. He can make plays running, receiving, and on special teams. He's only a true freshman, so VT should be worried about having to see him not only on Thursday but at least for the next two years as well.
SOTU: HAHA!!!! Well for one thing, he wears a shirt and tie to every game. More then that though, I think he is just a very intense guy come gameday. Notice, however, that no matter how much perspiration slows, the hair is almost always perfect. He must have gotten Jimmy Johnson's secret!
SOTU: Very good question. Well for one, early September games at noon in Miami are very bad ideas. Some of the fans who went to that game told me the next day they were literally blistered. For a more detailed response, I'd like to defer to an article by State of the U's very own Lt. Phillip Nolan. It gives far more in depth reasoning then I can.
SOTU: Where to start? Miami has no shortage of things to do (partly why the attendance problem). Head to South Beach for sure and grab a few drinks at Wet Willie's on Ocean Drive. There are a number of world class restaurants on Lincoln Road. Hit the beach for sure during the day. If your looking for the college crowd, head on over to Coconut Grove. Thursday night in the Grove is college night and there are tons of bars to check out.
SOTU: I am a huge Willis McGahee fan, so the 2002 game, where he scored 6 TDs in a wild game, is probably my favorite. That game clinched a birth in the Fiesta Bowl (where I might add the refs robbed Miami against Ohio State), and was just fun to watch.
SOTU: On offense, Stephen Morris has some real nice weapons to throw to in Scott and Dorsett. In addition, senior RB Mike James has had a real nice season so far. The defense has had a real tough year, but freshman S Deon Bush makes a few real nice plays every game. Freshman DE Tyriq McCord has also been coming on of late.
SOTU: Based on last year's game winning TD, and Miami's troubles with guys like Everett Golson and Colin Klein, I am most concerned with Logan Thomas running the ball. Miami has severe trouble stopping the run, so although Va Tech seems to go RB by committee i'll add J.C. Coleman to the mix. Additionally, 6'4 Marcus Davis seems like a match-up issue for nearly anyone with his size.
SOTU: Playing at home in primetime, I expect the young 'Canes to put forth their best effort. If there was one positive against FSU, the defense started to make a few more plays. Look for that to continue. Stephen Morris should be healthy, and with Duke Johnson banged up and 3rd RB Eduardo Clements out for the season, Morris will air it out often. A few big plays to Allen Hurns, and Rayshawn Scott will give Miami an early lead. The Hokies will close the gap behind Thomas, but in the end, the 'Canes will hold on 31-27.