It’s getting tiring to say just how disappointing the Miami Hurricanes’ 2018 season has been. It seems like an eternity ago that this team was a preseason top 10 squad and looked poised, not only to win the Coastal (a relative cakewalk we all imagined) but to compete with Clemson for a playoff spot. The offense was stocked with weapons, the defense looked solid and N’Kosi Perry was assumed to be ready to take the reins sooner rather than later.
As October turns to November, we find the former two things to still be true. The defense has, mostly, been excellent this year and the offense has a plethora of weapons even after Ahmmon Richards’ career ending injury. But three things keep coming back, the trio of season-wrecking obstacles that has caused a massive regression. QB play, offensive line play and most frustrating, Mark Richt himself.
In 2014, Al Golden started freshman Brad Kaaya to save his job, as an excuse for when the team eventually struggled with a player straight out of high school leading them. In 2018, Richt refuses to give redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry the starting job, despite the painfully obvious conclusion that Perry is the only one who can run the offense.
Richt’s insistence that Malik Rosier gives Miami the best chance to win games has one of two possible explanations. He is either outright lying and trying to cover for the fact that for some reason, Perry is in the doghouse. Or, far worse, he is so unable to make competent decisions that he truly believes Rosier is the right player for the starting job. Even as the senior has proven time and time again to be unable to make consistently good decisions, throw with accuracy and timing and have the requisite arm strength to play QB, Richt has stuck by him.
The question from here on out, one that will likely need to be answered by the time this season mercifully ends, is whether Richt is worth keeping around. There has been a lot of good. Many saw The U as back after last season’s 10 wins. Richt’s excellence as a recruiter, especially in South Florida, should not go unnoticed. But his horrible play-calling, ineffective offensive coaching staff (his son at QB coach, OL coach Stacy Searels) and botching of the QB situation also should not go unpunished.
Is it too early to talk about firing him? Probably. If Miami ends the year 7-5 or 6-6, possible when this offense barely looks capable of scoring more than 20 points against an ACC opponent, then the talks of Richt not making it to the 2019 season may escalate. Even if Miami manages to finish 9-3 or 8-4, changes must be made but not necessarily at head coach. Richt must give up the playcaller role and find a capable offensive coordinator. He must fire his son and get a QB coach who can develop his signal callers. He’s got to dig deeper into offensive line coaches who are available and find one who can do a better job developing what Miami has.
Richt must be willing to accept responsibility for this disastrous season. He has said over and over in post-game press conferences how he takes the blame for the loss. Yet, he has shown that he is not willing to change his coaching strategy to right the path. Richt has to show the ability to change, and fast, or Miami will need to find another new coach sooner rather than later.