Depression, it’s a terrible feeling.
That feeling of depression effects many of us today in our normal lives and it plays a big part in our future if we don’t control it. For most fans of the Miami Hurricanes, watching them play against the North Carolina Tar Heels was depressing. It was depressing to watch Miami get destroyed. It was depressing to know that the season was over before our eyes. Fans expected Miami to play strong and hungry since they were playing for their ACC Championship lives. Instead, watching Miami play on Saturday night in one of the biggest games of the year was depressing because for the second straight time against a ranked opponent it looked like we didn’t even deserve to play on the field with our opponent. Who could forget the Clemson game? Now we have the North Carolina game to add to the mantle as well.
For many people, their depression about this team started to kick in at different times in the game. The minute that we saw North Carolina’s wide receiver/return specialist Ryan Switzer caught a punt, gathered himself with two steps, made one defender miss and then break up the sideline for a 78-yard touchdown return. It signaled the beginning of the end for a season that Miami could’ve found themselves playing in the ACC Championship game. That punt return was symbolic for Miami because it only marked what everyone has been sharing for years, this program needs to stop living in the past and start working to build their future.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) November 15, 2015
What was really disappointing to see is how undisciplined this team is. It goes back to the lack of coaching these players are getting. The Hurricanes already are the most-penalized team in college football and against North Carolina they lived up to their reputation. Miami got flagged for 12 penalties for 103 yards. Miami got two crucial flags during the first two touchdown drives that put them down in an early 14-0 hole. When North Carolina extended their lead to 17-0, Miami only had 70 yards of total offense and 55 yards of penalties.
“The biggest piece to it is that you have to play smart,” Miami Hurricanes interim head coach Larry Scott said. “Obviously, we cannot have the penalties, especially the ones that hurt us the most. When you do that in a game like this, those are the things that come back and bite you. They’re explosive enough to take advantage when you give them things like that.”
The Hurricanes accumulated 425 yards of offense and even out gained North Carolina in yardage 189-186 in the first half, but they never could shake off their mistakes.
The loss was a heartbreaker because Miami had a punchers chance to play in the ACC Championship game. They needed to defeat North Carolina and then hope they lost one more game before the end of the year. Now instead of playing in a major bowl game, this team will once again play in a substandard game against an opponent who will most likely overachieve instead of underperform like Miami has.
With the other flip of the coin, fans should have a bit of optimism in their heart. Miami for the second straight year will most likely play in another bowl game, so that’s something to get proud over. In addition, this team will also return a lot of offensive players who are game changers including quarterback Brad Kaaya, tight end David Njoku, running backs Joe Yearby and Mark Walton and potentially wide receiver Stacy Coley.
Defensively this team will have game changers as well such as defensive linemen Chad Thomas, Al-Quadin Muhammad, cornerback Corn Elder and safety Jaquan Johnson. Furthermore, have you seen the recruiting class of the Hurricanes next year? People can say what they want about former head coach Al Golden, but before he left he helped compile one of the best crop of talent Miami has seen in a decade. The only piece of the puzzle that this team is missing is the right head coach to put the program in the right direction.
The Florida Gators hired Jim McElwain before the beginning of the season and this year in his first season he has Florida ranked within the top 10 in college football and they’ll be competing in the SEC Championship game with an opportunity to make the College Football Playoff. The point is in a year anything can happen, and having the right coach is going to help expedite the process of getting back to the nationally heralded level that the program was at before.
With the season being over, no one knows how this team will finish up the year.
“You play for pride. You play for the opportunity to play. You play for the commitment that you made to your teammates, this university and each other. Such is life. Once you make a commitment to something – you’re committed to it…and you have to finish it the right way…that’s what you have to dig deep and play for. We’re going to make sure we finish the season the right way” said Scott.
Let’s wait and see if the Hurricanes do play for pride.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter@DJoumbarey.