A six-pack of Canes notes on a Thursday:
• These next two UM games against Notre Dame and Virginia won’t necessarily be the Hurricanes’ final games at Hard Rock Stadium this season.
Even if UM loses to Clemson in the ACC Championship game or to both Clemson and Notre Dame, there is a decent chance UM will end up in the Orange Bowl, provided Clemson makes the four-team playoff in that scenario.
If Clemson beats UM in the ACC championship and goes to the four-team playoff, then the OB is required to take the next highest ranked ACC team in the final CFP poll.
While it’s possible a two-loss Virginia Tech team could surpass a two-loss UM team in that poll, that wouldn’t seem fair because UM handily beat the Hokies. Of course, all this is predicated on UM beating Virginia and Pittsburgh to finish with no more than two losses.
The Orange Bowl opponent would be the highest-rated non-playoff or non-champion from the Big 10 or SEC or Notre Dame. The OB will be played Saturday night, Dec. 30 this year.
Of course, UM assuredly will be in the playoff if it wins out.
Miami will clinch a spot in the ACC Championship game with one win or one Virginia loss.
• One of the joys of this Hurricanes season has been watching the growth of the freshmen. Jeff Thomas is averaging 22.6 yards on 11 catches. Deejay Dallas had a terrific run last week.
Navaughn Donaldson has done solid work at right guard. Cornerback Trajan Bandy put his imprint on the Virginia Tech game, and so did defensive end Jon Garvin, with a strip sack and fumble recovery. Derrick Smith and Amari Carter are contributing at safety.
So who will be the next freshman to break out?
Malik Rosier won’t be surprised if it’s freshman receiver Mike Harley.
“He’s doing a great job; he runs the best curl routes [on the team],” Rosier said. “Really explosive out of his breaks.”
With UM very deep at receiver, it’s tough to find enough snaps for everybody. But Rosier believes Harley is going to make an impact Saturday or at some point this season. Harley has six catches for 63 yards this season.
• Couple things from defensive coordinator Manny Diaz from his chat with WQAM’s Joe Rose this week: In talking about what good work UM is getting from its safeties (primarily Jaquan Johnson), Diaz said: “You can't be good in college football anymore without great safety play. We gave up one long touchdown all season, a bust against Toledo. That means your DBs are doing something great. That's why we moved Sheldrick Redwine [from cornerback to safety]... We needed an older head who can get guys on the ground.”…
Diaz pointed out that UM’s defense has 26, 30 and 24 hits or pressures on the quarterback in the last three games.
“A lot of times you're hitting the turf with a Hurricane on top of you,” Diaz said...
Asked by Rose if he was getting his whole family turnover chains for Christmas, Diaz cracked: “You ruined my Christmas present. Got to find something else now.”
• This coaching staff emphasizes the little things, and one area where coaches were disgusted for two weeks, but pleased against Virginia Tech, was blocking by the receivers.
“The last two games it went downhill to the point it was kind of embarrassing to see on film,” Mark Richt told Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey Jr. on WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline, speaking of the Syracuse and North Carolina games. “[Receivers coach Ron] Dugans wasn't going to have it and he got after them pretty good.”
• Before the UM-Notre Dame game Saturday night, Michael Irvin will appear from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. outside of Gate 4 at Hard Rock Stadium and participate in a Chalk Talk session with ESPN anchor Neil Everett and an autograph session with fans.
• UM’s men’s basketball team, ranked 13th in the preseason poll, opens at home against Gardner Webb on Friday.
Whereas Canes guard Bruce Brown made an immediate impact after coming to UM as Rivals’ No. 30 overall 2017 prospect (11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds), No. 28 overall prospect Dewan Huell did not (5.8 points, 3.1 rebounds).
Huell admitted last week that the “ACC is much harder than I expected, with physicality and muscle” and that his work ethic wasn’t good enough.
So Huell, 6-11, bulked up from 220 to 235, developed go-to moves on offense. “At my best, I’m a four [power forward]. I could play [center] – I’m quicker than most fives – and I doubt any big in the country could keep up with me running.”
Here’s my six-pack of Thursday Dolphins notes, with some personnel news and new information on the altered team national anthem policy.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz