The Miami Hurricanes accepted an official bid to participate in Louisiana Tech at 4:00 pm on Sunday at ESPN’s Walk-Ons Independence Bowl 2019 in Shreveport, Louisiana.
While this is not the task that most fans or those affiliated with the program hoped for, it gives the Hurricanes one last chance to end the 2019 season positively and give the spring 2020 football a certain boost.
Bovada is currently listing Miami as a seven-point favorite over Louisiana Tech, although ESPN believes Louisiana Tech will win the match in double digits.
What does Miami have to do to make the Independence Bowl experience worthwhile for the future of the program? Keep reading to find out, and do not forget to include your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Manny Diaz announced during his media availability that the quarterback starting position for the Independence Bowl is open and the Hurricanes have not decided who will start.
UM’s Manny Diaz says QB is open to bowl games and decisions that are based on practice, academics, and the right use outside the field. Navaughn Donaldson will miss the Bowl game.
– Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) December 9, 2019
Given the consideration of practice, academics and off-field behavior, it is currently a mystery that will start on December 26 for the hurricanes.
One thing is for sure, whoever starts, has to do a better job than Miami in the regular season.
Miami was the last time (130 out of 130) in FBS football in the regular season when it converted only 26.4 percent of its third downs into first downs. This is unacceptable at the University of Miami.
The Hurricanes need to find a quarterback who can consistently continue the offense in shorter situations where these scenarios are easier to implement and Miami can tire the defense of Louisiana Tech while it is resting.
I now address the elephant in the room … the call. Offensive coordinator Dan Enos has been attracting the wrath of Miami fans on social media for most of the season because of his play calls and, more importantly, the odd timing of certain game calls in situations that change the game.
Enos will have to tailor Miami’s fixture on December 26 on the quarterback he has chosen and Diaz, and this board must include measures to help the hurricanes better transform the third downs.
He has to better play with the strengths of the Miami staff and the matchup benefits, while he understands that Miami has problems protecting itself in obvious situations due to the inexperience of the offensive line.
Is it an easy job? No, but the game rules and the execution of these games have to be improved on December 26th against Louisiana Tech, so that the Hurricanes feel comfortable because of their offense in the off-season.
Earlier it was announced that Trevon Hill and Jonathan Garvin would not play in the Independence Bowl as they prepare for the NFL draft. Diaz announced on Monday that Navaughn Donaldson would not play because of an injury.
It’s also possible that more players will choose to suspend the game because they have signed up for the NFL Draft or do not want to risk correcting an injury.
No matter how many top-class players dress and play, this game is a great opportunity to see what you have in younger players without burning their red shirts.
Players who immediately come up with the opportunity to spend time in important Miami locations: freshman defensive Jahfari Harvey, freshman linebacker Sam Brooks and Miami’s trio of freshman defensive tackles in Jason Blissett, Jalar Holley and Jared Harrison-Hunte.
Brooks has already played in five games this season and can not play a red shirt. The Bowl game is Harvey’s fourth game this season (which is why he can continue to play Redshirt), and the defensive tackles of the newcomers have played sparingly and guaranteed 2019 as the Redshirt year.
First-time winner Jeremiah Payton, first-time defender Keontra Smith and senior linebacker Zach McCloud have played four games each season. If they play one or more snaps against Louisiana Tech, they will lose in 2019 as the Redshirt season. For obvious reasons, I hope Diaz and the coaching staff decide not to play these players to give them an extra year of eligibility.
The coaching team should not be afraid to play young players against Louisiana Tech so the Hurricanes know what they will have in the future and these young players can have more gaming experience in the 2020 season.
The most obvious of all that has to be achieved on the 26th of December.
Miami can not lose a second game against a group of five players in the 2019 season. That can not happen.
The defeat of 30:24 against the FIU on 23 November is well documented and will not be discussed here again to save everyone’s health. But a second loss to a non-power Five program would damage Miami’s reputation and send the hurricanes into the nigh-season off-season with a terrible taste in their mouths.
Louisiana Tech is by no means terrible. The Bulldogs actually defeated FIU 43-31 earlier this season.
But the Hurricanes have not lost to a team that lost two games against Marshall and UAB this season.
Miami should avoid getting out on a flat-rate basis for the fourth time a week (or in this case in weeks) and take control of the game early by setting up run and short-pass games. The defense must be solid and force one or the other change to put the offensive in a good position and score quickly.
A 7-6 record is not exactly glamorous, but much better than a 6-7 record that would saddle Miami if it were lost to Louisiana Tech on December 26th.
Most hurricanes are doing everything they can to beat the Bulldogs to avoid being below 0.500 in 2019 and to have positive momentum for 2020.