clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Mark Richt and the Offense Has Glaring Issues That Needs to be Fixed

New, comments

Beating FSU is great but the Mark Richt honeymoon has left many issues unaddressed

NCAA Football: Florida International at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

If the Miami Hurricanes had lost, this story would have been different. Instead of calling out blaring issues of the team, we’d be calling for people’s jobs, including Mark Richt’s.

However, that isn’t the case. For now, the Mark Richt honeymoon continues. His winning streak against Florida State stays in tact and the Hurricanes spot at the top of the ACC Coastal stays.

The issues with the honeymoon phase is that the fundamental issues with the team are never addressed. Instead of discussing his issues, we are discussing the team success. However, the issues for Mark Richt have been there since the beginning of his tenure in Coral Gables

In fact, these issues showed up in the Florida State game this past Saturday. Despite winning 28-27 and advancing to 5-1 on the season, the Hurricanes offense struggled for a majority of the performance. In the first half, the Hurricanes were widely ineffective and finished the half with just one touchdown and a turnover. While the offense turned it on in the second half, finishing the half with 21 total points, a lot of it could be credited to the defense, which gave the Hurricanes great field position more often than not.

Twice in the second half, the Hurricanes defense forced turnovers in Florida State territory. This included a Michael Pinckney interception that gave the Hurricanes the ball within the Seminoles red zone. Both times the N’Kosi Perry-lead offense had the ball in the Florida State territory, they would finish it off with scores. When the Hurricanes were forced to try to sustain a drive starting in their territory, the team failed to score more than once

The issue with this is that a high dependence on a defense to make plays is often a product of the opponents offense. While the Hurricanes defense is making plays and producing turnovers, this dominance can die out at any time. When the dominance dies out, the offense must be able to sustain drives and convert on 3rd down, something the team has struggled with for two seasons now.

Against Florida State, the Hurricanes converted just 5 of their 18 (27.7%) 3rd down plays. In 2017, the Hurricanes converted just 27.74% of their 3rd downs all season. While the Hurricanes have improved significantly this season (43.9%), the issues still remain there. If the offense continues to struggle, the defense will often come into games more fatigued and allow bigger plays.

The issues for Mark Richt don’t just extend to third downs, there are glaring issues with the offense as a whole.

Even though Mark Richt is known for his offensive prowess, the Hurricanes have widely had slow starts on offense. Against Florida State, the Hurricanes did not begin scoring consistently until the end of the third quarter. Against LSU in the opening week of the season, the Hurricanes not only scored just 17 points but also didn’t score from the beginning phase of the game until the 4th quarter.

These slow starts aren’t new. In their loss to Pittsburgh and Wisconsin last season, the slow starts were a huge reason for the losses. Against Pittsburgh, the offense was slow out of the gate and failed to score until the middle of the 2nd quarter, where an Ahmmon Richards touchdown from Malik Rosier gave the Hurricanes the lead.

The issue with these slow starts is that when Miami begins to face the nations best offenses, the team is already behind. With a redshirt freshman quarterback, the Hurricanes can’t let themselves fall behind early, it’s too much pressure to place on Perry, who has just two career starts.

Neither of these issues means Mark Richt is a bad coach. In fact, there’s a reason Richt was relatively successful at Georgia. His offensive mind can be seen more often than not and the Hurricanes offense, when hot, is one of the best in the nation.

The issue is that the Hurricanes, as a whole, are being held back by their offensive short comings. Their defense, which is arguably the best in college football, feels wasted without a spot in the playoffs and for now, the homecoming is blinding us from this reality.