Position Reviews: How Did The Canes Perform Compared to Last Year?

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

State Of The U breaks down the performance of each position on the field, taking a look at comparisons to last year and what improved.

The off season of college football is a long one. Sure, recruiting helps fill the void, but nothing compares to game day and the excitement that Canes football brings. To help ease you into the post season, SOTU will be going through the position groups of this year's Hurricanes, and comparing them to the previous year's group. The purpose of this is to see how the team has changed, what improved, what didn't, and what to look forward to in 2013.

Ah....the final position review of the 2012 season. In a way, it feels like I am hammering in that final nail on that season's coffin, like after posting this it's finally time to move full speed ahead into 2013. What better way to do it than to review the one position on the field that truly overachieved?

Coming into the season, the wide receiving corps of Miami was much maligned. Whether it was us previewing the group, or conference rivals suggesting that our roster wouldn't crack the three deep on their teams, the situation certainly looked bleak. Once the season got going, however, it was quickly apparent that almost everyone had completely underestimated the entire corps. Freshmen came up big and developed, seniors who had been largely invisible during their careers were suddenly showing out, and the expected to be good players were exactly that.

So how did the 2012 group fare against their counterparts from the 2011 campaign, which saw Jacory Harris put together a fantastic senior season? Did the loss of Travis Benjamin and Tommy Streeter hurt or help? Let's take a look at the stats:

2011 Stats Catches Yards Average Touchdowns Long Average/Game
Tommy Streeter 46 811 17.6 8 57 67.6
Travis Benjamin 41 609 14.9 3 77 55.4
Allen Hurns 31 415 13.4 4 41 34.6
Phillip Dorsett 14 147 10.5 1 31 12.2
LaRon Byrd 11 125 11.4 1 25 10.4
Kendal Thompkins 3 21 7 0 14 1.8
Rashawn Scott 1 2 2.0 0 2 0.3
TOTALS 147 2130 14.5 17 77 177.5

2012 Stats Catches Yards Average Touchdowns Long Average/Game
Phillip Dorsett 58 842 14.5 4 65 70.2
Rashawn Scott 35 512 14.6 3 76 56.9
Allen Hurns 28 314 11.2 4 40 28.5
Davon Johnson 21 348 16.6 0 41 34.8
Herb Waters 10 227 22.7 2 87 18.9
Malcolm Lewis 8 73 9.1 1 18 18.2
Kendal Thompkins 6 89 14.8 1 37 7.4
Garrett Kidd 1 2 2 0 2 0.3
TOTALS 167 2407 14.4 15 87 200.6

The numbers between the years are actually pretty damn close. The 20 reception increase from 2011 to 2012 only accounted for about 300 more yards, but overall the group was 1 touchdown less productive. What you can see, through the spike in the longest pass play and the increase in per-game average, is that last year's offense was more dependent on the quick, big play rather than the methodical passing game. This, as in many other situations, is where the defense rears its ugly head. Due to not being able to 100% rely on the defense to get stops, the offense had to score and score quickly, since almost every game was a race to see who could score more points.

UPDATE:

After some help from firezone in the comments, a deeper dig into the receiving stats from both 2011 and 2012 reveals that while the raw stats are comparable or even better in some cases, there's an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Take a look at the tables below:

2011 Stats Targets Catches Catch Rate
Tommy Streeter 77 46 59.7%
Travis Benjamin 53 41 77.4%
Allen Hurns 51 31 60.8%
Phillip Dorsett 19 14 73.7%
LaRon Byrd 14 11 78.6%
Kendal Thompkins 4 3 75.0%
Rashawn Scott 1 1 100.0%
TOTALS 219 147 67.10%

2012 Stats
Targets Catches Catch Rate
Phillip Dorsett 101 58 57.4%
Rashawn Scott 59 35 59.3%
Davon Johnson 34 21 61.8%
Allen Hurns 48 28 58.3%
Herb Waters 18 10 55.6%
Kendal Thompkins 9 6 66.7%
Malcolm Lewis 13 8 61.5%
Garrett Kidd 1 1 100.0%
TOTALS 283 167 59%

That's a pretty large drop off in efficiency. Dorsett was the biggest offender, although he also got about 40 more targets than the next guy on the list, so he had more chances to affect his overall average. That being said, it was an issue across the board in 2012, which could also be the difference in accuracy between Jacory and Morris. It will remain to be seen how these numbers improve in 2012.

The good news? The defense should be improved this year, and the only names missing from the 2012 receiving corps are Thompkins and Johnson. With Malcolm Lewis back healthy, as well as guys like Waters and Lockhart continuing to improve, the position looks to be in great shape for the upcoming year. It only gets better when you factor in guys that sat out last year like D'Mauri Jones and Jontavious Carter, who coaches and players have been talking about as of late. Oh, yeah, and then there's that kid Stacy Coley who will be joining the fray later on in the year. He just might be pretty damn good.

In the span of one season, the receivers went from "I sure hope that they are good enough to make it through the year" to "I wonder if that star recruit we just got will even crack the lineup?" and that is a very, very good thing to have happen. Especially since the guy throwing them the ball is a senior with a cannon for an arm. This will be an exciting group to watch for sure. As for whether or not they would crack the three deep on someone else's roster? Yeah. It's safe to say they would.

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