Fall camp is nearing its end, and LSU is looming ever so close, just two weeks away. With such a no. 8 ranking in the coaches poll, expectations are higher than they’ve been in over 10 years in Coral Gables.
The largest question mark, and concern for the team is the offensive as a whole. Yes, we’ve covered that they have the talent to win 10 games or above in 2018, but can the offense perform how they should?
That being said, lets take a look at some of the strengths of the Hurricanes offense, and also the weaknesses going into the new season.
Strength: Running Game
In 2017, the Hurricanes running game was an obvious advantage for the Canes. Though they ranked 63rd in the country in total rushing and 9th in the ACC, Miami’s running backs helped the Canes to a 10-3 record last year.
Deejay Dallas, Travis Homer and Mark Walton all averaged over 5.0 yards a carry, with Walton averaging 7.6 yards per carry. For the collective team, Miami’s running game averaged 5.0 yards per carry.
With Homer and Dallas both returning, and adding Lorenzo Lingard, expect Miami to continue to bruise on the ground.
Weakness: QB Protection
The Canes offensive line proved to be a line last year, particularly in the case of protecting quarterback Malik Rosier. Miami ranked 79th in the nation in pass protection, allowing 29 sacks throughout the season.
The struggles of the o-line was extremely apparent in the last three games of the 2017 season. In those losses to Pitt, Clemson and Wisconsin, Rosier was sacked 11 times, nearly half of the season total.
After taking a shellacking in the spring game, the Canes offensive line remains to be a concern.
What the Hurricanes have are talented players at every position on the offensive side of the ball. Even with the loss of offensive lineman George Brown, depth still isn’t an issue for the Canes.
At quarterback you have three-to-four guys who you’d be comfortable be taking the snaps. The running back position is loaded with Homer, Dallas and Lingard. Tight ends you have Brevin Jordan, Brian Polendey and Will Mallory.
Receivers are the Hurricanes deepest position by far. Though Ahmmon Richards is clearly the number one guy, Miami has several players for the number two and slot position of receiver, such as Lawrence Cager, Mike Harley, Jeff Thomas and Darryl Lingham, just to name a few.
Weaknesses: 3rd Down Conversions
This is a major one, and a problem that kept the Canes from winning two more games in 2017. In the loss against Pitt, Miami went 4-for-15 on third down, and then 2-for-10 in the Orange Bowl verse Wisconsin.
Nationally, Miami was just as bad, ranking 127th in the country for third-down conversions, and dead last in the ACC.
Strength: Ahmmon Richards and Travis Homer
The two most dangerous Canes on the offensive side of the ball, expect these two to have a monster 2018 season.
We all know of Richards’ capability when he’s healthy, which he is now, he’s one of the best receivers in the country. I mean, his career average of 18.8 yards per reception speaks for itself. When he’s on, the Canes offense is cookin.
Filling in for the injured Mark Walton last year, Homer did a great job, rushing for nearly 1,000 yards. Now an experienced starter, there is a lot of hype for Homer this season, expect big things.
Weaknesses: Streaky Quarterback Play
Y’all knew this was coming. Yes, the defense may have played bad against Clemson, and yes the o-line showed many signs of weakness, but the difference in Miami making it back to ACC Championship Game is the consistent play of Malik Rosier.
Though helping Miami to a 10-0 start in 2017, Rosier, and the team, stumbled losing their last three games. In those last three games, Rosier’s completion percentage fell to 44.9, and capped off the year completing 54% of his passes.
He’s show signs of greatness, like the game-winning drive against FSU, or his 344-yard performance against Syracuse. Its the three interceptions he threw against Wisconsin, and the open receivers he missed against Pitt thats standing in the way of Miami getting over the hump.