The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Canes Win - Miraculously

I get tired just thinking about it. Last night’s Miami – Louisville football game was the most offense (special teams too) that I’ve seen in a very long time – and quite possibly ever. The two offenses combined for nearly 1,000 total yards (plus you could add nearly 200 more from Devin Hester’s special teams yards alone). There were 79 points scored in the game.

Coming in, everyone knew that Louisville’s offense was for real. They have four quality running backs who each receive regular playing time. Unlike any other team that I can think of, they have two real quarterbacks. Normally, as the saying goes, when your team has two quarterbacks, you really have none. That’s not the case for Louisville. They have two quarterbacks who you’d be comfortable having under center with the game on the line.

Speaking of which, Brock Berlin really proved himself again last night. I’m not the biggest Berlin fan (that’s an understatement) and I did boo last night (not Berlin, but the playcalling). But after he came out for injury (reported as a chest bruise but what looked like something affecting his shoulder or arm), Berlin came back and looked better than ever. While Brock most likely wouldn’t start at Louisville, or even at his original school – Florida, this year, Berlin would almost have to be the guy that more than 100 of the 117 Division I football teams would want under center for a fourth-quarter comeback drive. His leadership on the sidelines – rallying the offense together about the importance of scoring when the game is on the line – is vintage Ken Dorsey. If Berlin keeps up his performance over the remainder of the season, his record in his two year’s as a starter will be nearly as good as Dorsey’s in his first two years as a starter.

That’s not to compare Dorsey and Berlin. Both were good college quarterbacks, but Dorsey executed more consistently when the game was on the line. My point here is that Berlin just isn’t as bad as folks normally make him out to be.

One Hurricane who is probably better than people make him out to be – and people talk about how good he is already – is return specialist and backup defensive back Devin Hester. Hester returned his third punt of the year for a touchdown last night and had a kickoff return for a touchdown (which was called back for a holding penalty). Larry Coker put it best after the game last night when he said, “What can you say about Devin Hester? Devin Hester is certainly one of the most exciting players I've ever seen. He makes fast players look slow.”

That’s certainly true. What’s amazing though is that the Canes haven’t found a way to fit Hester in on offense. He’s been converted (apparently at his request) to defensive back. That sure seems to be a waste of his talents because he’s so elusive with the ball. I suspect we’ll see that change, but probably not this year. My best guess is that by this point next year, Hester will be a two (actually three) way standout for the Hurricanes.

Question of the Game
Miami used fullback Talib Humphrey quite a bit more frequently last night than they have in the past. This is likely due, at least in part, to the injury to Kyle Cobia. What’s interesting though is that Humphrey seems to only participate in running plays (as a blocker of course). While he’s sometimes in for non-obvious running situations, the playcall is (seemingly) always a run. If anyone’s seen Humphrey on the field this year for a pass play, let me know. Hopefully that predictable play calling will change for upcoming games.


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