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, September 02, 2005

Getting Ready for the Canes and the Noles

College football season, ushered in by the likes of Central Florida - South Carolina and Vanderbilt - Wake Forest last night, is back. There are some big games this weekend (Boise State - Georgia, NC State - Virginia Tech, and Urban Meyer's Florida debut), but the big game, at least for folks in Florida, is Miami - Florida State on Monday night.

It's tough to figure out what's going to happen in Monday's game. Mainly because it's the first game of the year for both teams. Possibly more importantly, both Miami (Kyle Wright) and Florida State (Drew Weatherford) will be making their first starts at quarterback.

Wright has been designated as the starter for much longer than Weatherford (who was just officially named to the job this week). That's good for Wright, because he'll need the extra prep time to be prepared for what surely will be a hostile environment for the Canes.

Adding to the jitters is that Miami will be starting a new center. The combination of a loud crowd, a new starter at quarterback, and a new starter at center could lead to some false starts and mis-handled snaps. Florida State is likely counting on that as much as Miami is fearful of it.

There are many more questions (on both sidelines) heading into this game.

Florida State fans are quick to point out that they'll be better able to run the ball this year. Despite losing two highly regarded tackles (to the NFL - one as a first round pick), FSU regains the talents of a 6th-year center, who was injured and did not play against Miami last year. What remains to be seen is whether or not the addition of one well-regarded talent can replace the loss of two all-conference bookends of the offensive line. FSU has also switched from a man-blocking to a zone-blocking scheme. We'll have to see how well the Noles work together as a unit and how well the scheme works against the Canes. Keep in mind that Florida State, with Booker and Washington in the backfield, only managed to average 1.6 ypc in last year's game.

Miami's defense is also a question mark. The Canes have much more depth and experience than they had last year, but nearly everyone from the defense which ranked 67th in the nation against the run last year will be back. The Canes stopped the Noles ground game last year. But they didn't stop many others. Will the Canes stop the run this year? Will they be able to stop spread offenses? That remains to be seen - but it sure seems they have the talent to do it.

FSU's defense, which was excellent last season is in much the same predicament as the Canes. Expectations are high for the Noles, but they are largely unproven particularly at defensive end and in the secondary. If the Canes can give Kyle Wright some time, they may be able to use their depth at wide receiver to exploit inexperience in the Noles defensive backs.

A number of off-field issues could ultimately prove to have no impact on the game, or they could be rallying points and motivating factors for the Seminoles. Wyatt Sexton was supposed to be the Noles starter at quarterback this year, but after a highly unusual episode, he was diagnosed with Lyme disease and will not play football this season. Is that a distraction or a rallying point or neither? Florida State had the validity of their nickname called into question by the NCAA this summer. FSU ultimately won their battle and will retain their Seminole nickname and will continue their traditions. Their traditional planting of a flaming spear at mid-field before kickoff will occur before Monday's game. A member of the Seminole tribe will participate. Will this serve as extra motivation for the Noles, or does it really hype the Canes (as they claim the spear throwing and Warchant does)?

We'll see on Monday night. It should be fun.


  • At 9:14 PM, September 07, 2005, Anonymous Jan said…

    Mike, how come the silence . . .
    No comment from you about the outcome of the game? Or would you rather discuss ND over Pitt?

  • At 9:43 PM, September 07, 2005, Anonymous jan said…

    One more thing . . .in case you were wondering, I enjoyed the fast action of the game and was pulling for Miami:)

  • At 9:50 PM, September 07, 2005, Blogger Mike said…

    Give me a freaking break. Haven't heard much out of you since 1988.

    Give it awhile. ND has one win over a medicore program. Nothing to get worked up over yet.

    Miami losing one game in the millennium to a major program isn't anything to get worked up over either.

  • At 7:41 PM, September 08, 2005, Anonymous Jan said…

    Time will tell. Would you like to compare schedules? I'm no expert, but the announcers displayed ND's schedule for this year claiming it was one of the toughest in the nation. I don't recall hearing anything like that for Miami or Florida.

    By the way, I still wear that ND national championship sweatshirt.
    Quality lasts.

  • At 8:42 PM, September 08, 2005, Blogger Mike said…

    Please remember that you started this. In not too much time, I'm sure that you will regret that you did.

    Are you sure that you want me to respond to you? I will make you feel foolish and will make you question what you believe about Notre Dame. Your points are based in assumptions, (relatively ancient) history, and falsehoods.

    I'm disappointed that you've chosen to handle it this way, but you have, so I will respond in kind.

    In addition to addressing the "points" you made in your comment (I'll post a schedule comparison for you shortly), I'll also throw in some bonus commentary (over the next week or so) about Notre Dame's *stringent* admissions policies for athletes and how a "quality" program botched the dismissal of Ty Willingham. Each of the latter two points are representative of what a fraud it is that you've bought into with Notre Dame.


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