Brad Kaaya has future to think about after leading Miami to bowl victory
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The Miami Hurricanes defeated the 16th ranked team in the Nation in West Virginia by the final score of 31-14 to win the Russell Athletic Bowl, ending their 10 year bowl drought in the process.
The Hurricanes got off to a very rough start as their offense could not do anything in the first quarter of the game. They were held to just 19 total yards in the first quarter, couldn’t convert on third down and just couldn’t buy a decent play.
The second quarter however was a different story. The Hurricanes went on a huge run as their offense looked the best it ever has since Coach Mark Richt took over as head coach as they score 21 unanswered points to end the half. They had over 170 yards including Brad Kaaya, who threw three touchdowns in the second quarter alone.
After the game Kaaya talked about the adjustments the team made after a poor start to the game.
“We caught our bearings a little bit, saw some of the looks in person.” Kaaya says. “For the last few weeks, we had to try to simulate that in practice, but once we got out there, I had to gauge how the receivers were going to take their angles in certain routes. They were playing hard inside leverage on a few routes. The way that we worked them in practice, it wasn’t as easy in the game and we just had to make adjustments. I brought a few balls down. Coach told me to just put it on the guy. There are plays to be made in the first quarter and we ended up recuperating and making up for some of those missed opportunities in the second quarter and the second half.”
Coach Richt also made some comments of the early struggles in the beginning of the game and how the team turned things around to their favor later on.
“I’m shocked we had a first down in that mess. You know, I think you’ve got to give a lot of credit to West Virginia,” says Coach Richt. “Especially their front. Their down lineman whipped us in the run game. I don’t know if we ever really had a run that we just blocked everybody beautifully and we caught a crease and got some — a nice, positive gain. I think the only time that we might have had a long run was when we might have bounced something that wasn’t there.
“So you’ve got to give West Virginia’s defense, their line and linebackers and their defensive coaches’ credit. They did a great job of stoning us and then, you know, thankfully we made a couple of plays throwing the ball and the damn kind of broke a little bit.”
This was one of Coach Richt biggest wins of his career, as he just left Georgia last year and being hired by his alta mater and leading the school that he went to the Russell Athletic title and leading the team out of the bowl drought in the process.
“It means a lot. It means a lot. I love this school. It blessed me during my time here.” Richt says. “It blessed me more with life lessons, probably, than anything else, being a backup to Jim Kelly, one of the greatly players ever at Miami and in the NFL. So I think the biggest lesson I learned is, you don’t always get what you think you earned. We have people work hard. And you think, well, I earned it. Well, I worked hard enough, but this other guy was better.
“That’s life. You’ve got to learn that. You don’t always get what you want. You don’t always get what you think you earned, and you’ve got to learn to decide every day what your attitude’s going to be and how hard are you going to work? So I knew I could control how hard I worked. I knew I could control my attitude. And then I trusted God with everything else after that. It was just a good life lesson for me.”
For Kaaya, he finished the game with 282 passing yards on 24-34 passing attempts and four touchdowns. Kaaya will easily go down as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play for the Hurricanes. And that begs to question what is next for Kaaya? Perhaps the NFL maybe? All the fans after the game are begging him to stay “one more year.” Kaaya had thoughts about his future.
“I mean, not really leaning a certain way right now. Like I said, I’ve got some soul searching to do.” Kaaya says about his future. “Got to talk things over with Coach [Mark] Richt, Coach John [Richt], some of my teammates, some of the guys who are coming back next season, and then talk to some of my former teammates as well, some of the guys who have left, get some opinions, talk to a couple of mentors of mine, just gather all the information and then make a decision from there, you know. Yeah, that’s pretty much it right now.”
With this win, this signifies that legacy of the great Hurricanes is back and is better than ever and will bring them closer to the ultimate goal of winning a National Championship and they have players to do it. They have an outstanding Coach in Mark Richt who is one of the best head coaches in the nation to do it.
Should be interesting to see how the Hurricanes can build on this momentum to get them closer to their goals.