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2016: The Year of “Trying to Fly a Brick with Wings”

NCAA Football: Miami at Virginia Tech Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The term is most often used when flying a space shuttle because the vehicle is so heavy and is moving so fast when it’s descending from orbit it’s very difficult to control. Hence, many astronauts compare trying to land the vehicle as “trying to fly a brick with wings.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the rest of the season for the Hurricanes is that flying brick and Coach Mark Richt is trying to guide us the rest of the way home. Will we hit turbulence and feel a sudden and precipitous drop in altitude over the next few weeks? Yes, but in the end we’ll land at some point.

Hopefully safely.

Based on Mark Richt and many of his other coaches on staff, Miami isn’t “thin” at positions anymore.

They’re beyond that term.

“Thin” implies that there maybe one or two backups per position that a unit can fall back on. Miami doesn’t even have that right now. Miami is moving players around (a la like Moten to defensive end) and even switching players from one side of the ball to another for brief periods (Stan Dobard was practicing at defensive end last week).

These two examples are from just the defensive line. We can go into both the secondary and linebacking units if you’d like but we’re already close to Halloween, I won’t give you anymore frights than you need this month.

The offense? Well, I’ve got to say, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a team knowing it’s weakness heading into fall camp.. Seeing that weakness play out through the season and not be addressed by game planning around the hindrance. The constraint in question as we all know which has been discussed at length is the offensive line.

I understand Mark Richt has a scheme and wants to run the offense his way, I get it. But why can’t the offense be game planned around its weaknesses and work to its strengths? Miami is currently running a power run scheme meaning they like to line up and punch opponents in the mouth with downhill running and then setup the pass off of that.

That’s Miami’s premise for their offensive philosophy and it’s simply not working.

Miami has decent athletes around the perimeter (which will be better in the years to come, hopefully) use them to your advantage. Get Berrios out in space, get Coley going with screens. I find it really hard to believe schools like Syracuse or Texas Tech can average 45+ points a game with lesser talent everywhere on offense and Miami can’t do the same thing. Now, I’m not saying necessarily play a run-n-gun type offense all the time. I’m just trying to say let’s take plays or concepts that work from lesser talented teams and put them into the playbook because obviously the whole methodology of “beating the guy across from you” isn’t working on the line of scrimmage and that’s hampering the rest of the offense.

However, even though I may not agree with the offensive philosophy Richt is employing at this stage of his program building cycle at Miami I do realize Miami is severely undermanned on the offensive line. Whether you want to attribute the current performances to bad previous evaluations of talent, poor player development currently or just low end talent as it is stands, Miami doesn’t have much to work with or really any alternative now to amend the predicament.

When the offensive line coach is asked about the backups available to play and clearly skirts the question and says “we didn’t play well as a whole.” The answer should be self-explanatory: Miami has no other options besides the five starters and one backup (Alex Gall) in the trenches and that’s what they have to work with. Period.

Is Miami going to go 4-8? I really don’t know. The way the season is shaping up I’m not trying to be “doom and gloom” it’s just that Mark Richt has to fly our space shuttle and I don’t know how it’s going to land come seven or so weeks from now.

Strap in.