UM notebook

Defensive woes continue for Miami Hurricanes

 

sdegnan@miamiherald.com

How deficient was Miami’s defense against a Duke squad that came into the game ranked 87th nationally in total offense? The Canes gave up 583 yards — the fifth most in school history, but only the third most this season.

Duke gained 151 yards rushing and 432 passing.

It didn’t help that starting outside linebacker and second-leading tackler (before the game) Eddie Johnson was suspended Saturday for violating team rules, his second suspension in the past three games.

Johnson, a 6-1, 234-pound redshirt freshman who won two Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week awards this season, did not travel to the Virginia game two weeks ago because of disciplinary reasons. He was reinstated for the South Florida game last weekend.

Johnson has 59 tackles (7.5 tackles for loss), a sack, interception, two pass breakups, one quarterback hurry and three forced fumbles in 10 games. He has started eight games.

“I’m disappointed that he’s not doing the things he needs to do,” UM coach Al Golden said of Johnson after Miami’s 52-45 victory that tied for the most points allowed by a Hurricanes team during a win. “It’s not really my decision. It’s his decision, and it’s the team’s decision. Hopefully, it will give him a chance to appreciate what he has, be grateful and accountable to his teammates and really grow up. I’m hoping that he will do that.”

Receiver Rashawn Scott, who was suspended Saturday for his third consecutive game, will be back with the team Jan. 1, Golden said.

Though the Canes’ defense was lacking, its offense excelled. UM’s 52 points were the most scored since a 52-17 win over Virginia in November 2009.

Fab freshman

Tracy Howard waited and finally got his turn. Howard, one of the top cornerbacks in the country coming out of Miramar High, started his first college game against Duke. Howard became the 10th freshman — true or otherwise — to start for UM this season.

These eight were true freshmen: Howard; safeties Rayshawn Jenkins and Deon Bush; receivers Herb Waters and Malcolm Lewis; tackle Ereck Flowers, running back Duke Johnson; and defensive tackle Earl Moore. The other two were redshirts: Johnson at linebacker and Corey King at defensive tackle.

This and that

• Redshirt sophomore tight end Clive Walford had four catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. One more yard would have made him the first Miami tight end since 2003 with two games in a row of at least 100 receiving yards. The last one was Kellen Winslow II.

“It’s a great achievement, especially at the tight end position,” Walford said. “It all starts with practice, going hard and executing every play the coaches call.”

• Senior kicker Jake Wieclaw made his 11th consecutive field goal in the third quarter, a 23-yarder. The UM record is held by Dane Prewitt, who made 13 in a row in 1994. Wieclaw finished his career with 30 field goals and made all 80 extra points — fourth most in school history.

• Redshirt freshman running back Dallas Crawford ran three times for 13 yards, but he threw a 29-yard completion to Phillip Dorsett as part of what Golden called a double pass in the first quarter. The ball was snapped to Crawford, who handed off to Morris, who threw back to Crawford, who made the pass. The Canes scored their first touchdown during the drive.

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