Miami Hurricanes: Why Brad Kaaya Needs A Win Vs. Clemson
If a tree falls when no one’s around to watch it still will make a sound.
Anytime the Miami Hurricanes starting quarterback Brad Kaaya gets hit and falls down, the fans at Sun Life Stadium, the fan base watching the game on television, and everyone present in Miami makes noise.
The Miami Hurricanes have to find a way to get Kaaya better protection because if they can’t he’ll get seriously injured (God forbid), he’ll start becoming more prone to throwing interceptions, or he’ll start getting way too trigger happy in the pocket. 1,795 yards, 10 touchdowns and only one interception on the year. Let’s also remind you that he’s only a sophomore. The accuracy and touch that Kaaya puts on the football is one of a kind. More importantly, when Miami plays better teams they will have a field day if they know that they can get to the quarterback. It’s essential that Miami protects Kaaya because their future relies on his health.
Nonetheless, Miami hasn’t done that bad of a job keeping him upright. But one thing that Kaaya needs is his first signature. There are two games where he’ll have the opportunity to capture it.
The good news is that Kaaya has played in six games this year and he’s only been sacked seven times. The bad news is teams are hitting him, and hurrying his throws way too often. Against Florida State, Kaaya saw himself get knocked to the ground, especially when Trey Marshall hit him in the neck area and was ejected in the first quarter of the game. Last weekend against Virginia Tech, Kaaya drew a roughing-the-passer call right before halftime. Granted it turned into a touchdown pass for Miami to take the lead, but that penalty shows a lack of protection that Miami needs to start taking more precaution.
Clemson on average is responsible for recording 2.5 sacks per game which mean they often bring pressure. The defensive ends for Clemson are a load to handle because they boast two players who could find themselves playing on Sunday’s in the NFL in Kevin Dodd and Shaq Lawson.
In addition when Kaaya won’t be under pressure, he’ll have to deal with throwing the football in the air space of safety Jayron Kearse. Last year Kearse finished third in the team in tackles, was tied for second in passes defended and first in interceptions. At 6’4 205 pounds and a blazing 4.5 speed, his potential as a player oozes greatness and he’ll become one of the premier players when he does enter the draft. This year Kearse is sixth in tackles and second in interceptions and pass deflections.
For Kaaya, a great game and a signature win against Clemson could become the justifiable case for why so many people have already listed him as the No. 1 prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. This game could put the program back in elite status. Furthermore, it could also boost his reputation around the nation. Outside of Miami, Kaaya right now is looked as a moderately good player. Those of us in the city know how special he is and with a high-profile win against Clemson at home could serve his game and confidence wonders.
Even though Kaaya already has proven to us that he’s a great player in his own right, the sophomore is 0-2 against Florida State, and like head coach Al Golden, he hasn’t gotten any signature wins. People mention his name with the great quarterbacks of the program such as Vinny Testaverde, Jim Kelly, and Ken Dorsey, but he’ll need to start winning these types of games before he’s done in Coral Gables to warrant the hype.
After the Virginia Tech game, Kaaya said this to the media…
“We preached we can’t worry about last week. We want to see Florida State again. To do that, we have to handle business.”
The goal that everyone’s set on is winning the coastal division. If Miami can win the coastal then they’ll play for the ACC Championship, which isn’t an unrealistic goal. Handling business has to start with defeating No. 5 Clemson at home and getting ready for the rest of the season. If they can defeat Clemson, then there shouldn’t’ be a speck of doubt that they can defeat Florida State if they make it to the ACC Championship.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.