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Breaking down Brian Wright as potential Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator

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Will the Toledo OC continue to put up big numbers in Coral Gables?

NCAA Football: Miami at Toledo Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Wright is a potential offensive coordinator candidate at the University of Miami. Manny Diaz has been rumored to be looking at familiar faces to build his scoring machine. If Diaz wants 40+ points per game- Wright is a great option. Wright started his coaching career as a student assistant after a career ending injury at Wooster in Ohio. After Wooster, Wright moved on to coaching stints at Walsh and Youngstown State before moving on to Montana State. His move to the FBS level came when Carl Pelini hired him at FAU to be his offensive coordinator, a position he retained under Charlie Partridge.

Since 2016, Wright has been at Toledo with Jason Candle. Candle and Wright have put together stellar offenses at the Group of 5 level.

Analytics

Toledo’s offense was 17th per the S&P+ in 2018, 20th in 2017, and 16th in 2016. His time at Florida Atlantic was a different story as his offenses finished in the 80’s or below per the S&P+. The Rockets finished the 2018 season ranked 9th in points per game scoring 40.4 points per game on the season. In 2017, Toledo scored 36.4 PPG which was good for 16th in the FBS.


Quarterbacks

While at Toledo, Wright worked with Logan Woodside to improve the young passer from good to great in just two seasons. Before Wright, Woodside was averaging 7.6 yards per passing attempt with a 19:8 touchdown to interception ratio. Woodside redshirted in 2015 before Wright’s arrival.

Under Wright’s coaching, Woodside’s numbers jumped drastically to a 45:9 TD:INT ratio and up more than two entire yards per attempt to 9.9 in 2016. Woodside completed 61.9% of his passes while throwing for over 4,100 yards. In 2017, Woodside threw for over 3,800 and a 28:8 TD:INT ratio while averaging 9.4 yards per passing attempt.

In 2018, Toledo was cooking on offense behind new starting QB Mitch Guadagni. Guadagni was averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with a 13:3 TD:INT ratio before being injured. Backup Eli Peters came in and didn’t have the same success as Guadagni, but didn’t struggled. He averaged 7.1 yards per attempt and an 18:7 TD:INT ratio.

Wright doesn’t require the need of a running quarterback but mobility is something he took advantage of with Guadagni. Guadagni ran for 428 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. He’s unafraid to load up on three-star quarterbacks signing Dequan Finn while already having Carter Bradley (Jacksonville, FL) on the roster.


Personnel Groups

The Toledo offense has less tight end / h-back type players on the roster than Houston under Major Applewhite or UNC under Larry Fedora which we previewed before. They still use a TE/HB but not as much as the other offenses. The receiving corps at Toledo is tall, the top three targets are all over six-foot. Dionate Johnson, Jon’Vea Johnson, and Cody Thompson averaged 15.5, 20.6, and 13.5 yards per catch. The trio combined to catch 27 touchdowns in 2018.

Bryant Koback was the main ball carrier for the Rockets. Koback ran for 921 yards (6 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns for Wright and Candle’s offense.


Scheme

Candle and Wright are big on attacking space. Against Miami, they came out and didn’t run their game. They played the first half not to lose and it confused me. If I’m Toledo at home against Miami, I’m coming out guns blazing with onside kicks, trick plays, new formations/motions and uptempo-no huddle offense. Once they were down they used spacing to their advantage.

Manny Diaz is known for leaving the middle of the field open and Toledo picked at the middle. Also, when WR’s are in space they can make poor tackling defenders miss and the ‘Canes have a slew of those.

I’m intrigued by seeing not only the use of a screen game but variety in it as well. Miami has a great running back room with Lorenzo Lingard, Cam’Ron Davis and Deejay Dallas that needs to be maximized in a variety of ways.

Toledo likes the middle of the field against Fresno State, too. Watch the QB look off the safety and drill the throw in on the post route.

Toledo just avoids the sack before drilling a deep touchdown over the ‘Canes cornerbacks. Toledo held a lead in this game thanks to Logan Woodside and the offense before Miami came back to win.


Summary

At Toledo, Wright has relied heavily on the passing game. However, most offensive coordinators at Group of 5 schools tend to focus on an aspect of their offense because of the inability to recruit at a high level. That’s why Navy and Army West Point focus on the running game while outside of a few G5 schools, others focus on airing it out.

Of course I would like Fedora to join the Miami staff more than any other because of his ACC head coaching experience. Manny has yet to surround himself by a former college head coach and that would be the key to his success. Geoff Collins had “Chief of Staff” Vin Sinagra with over 30 years of college coaching experience to guide him at Temple. Lincoln Riley brought in Ruffin McNeil to guide his program as assistant head coach at Oklahoma. It helps a young head coach to bring in a veteran for guidance and ideas.