As you’ve probably heard, the news of Major Applewhite becoming the next offensive coordinator at Miami has resurfaced, as was reported on Monday afternoon. An announcement is expected to be made either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Former Houston HC Major Applewhite is expected to be named Hurricanes' offensive coordinator, per sources. The news was first reported by @CanesInSight. Expect an official announcement Tuesday or Wednesday.— Josh White (@_JoshRWhite) January 7, 2019
Now that this news has come back and seems to be (pretty) official, I decided to take a closer look at Applewhite’s offense in 2018 with Houston. We all know that he produced a top-10 offense this past year, but I looked more at what specifically worked and how the Canes desperately need these kind of results, because as we all know, Manny Diaz’s defense at Miami is rock solid, and offense is what’s lacking at the U.
Let’s start with the fact that under Applewhite in 2018, the Cougars put up 43.9 points a game. Let me rephrase that, 43.9 POINTS A GAME. You can’t really count Savannah State, so Toledo was the only game where Miami’s offense (not counting UNC either) put up over 40 points in 2018.
Being that the major concern from this past season for the Canes was at the quarterback position, let’s see how D’Eriq King fared for Houston with Applewhite’s coaching, who was a quarterback coach himself.
King finished the season throwing for 2,982 yards, 36 touchdowns and just six interceptions, while completing passes at a 63% rate. Keep in mind, N’Kosi Perry threw six picks and Malik Rosier threw for eight. Accuracy issues has haunted the Hurricanes quarterbacks for the past several years, with Perry completing just 50% of his throws in 2018.
Keeping it with Perry, what’s really fascinating about King and Applewhite’s offense, is that King also rushed for 674 yards and 14 touchdowns. This applies to Perry due to the fact that he was one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation coming out of high school, and has shown flashes of that during his time already at UM, but only rushed for one touchdown in 2018.
The other major positive coming from the 2018 Houston offense was at the receiver position. The Cougars produced a 1,000 yard receiver, and in total had three wide-outs over 500 yards. Miami has incredibly young and talented players at the receiver position such as Brian Hightower, Mike Harley, Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins, and yet the Canes had just one player over 500 yards, and that was Jeff Thomas who is now at another school.
Plus, Applewhite’s spread-out offense was able to use his receivers with more than just catching the football.
Staying with the receivers, four Cougars wide-outs scored five or more touchdowns, which is practically unheard of in Miami’s offense. Lawrence Cager was the only Canes receiver to get in the end zone five or more times, and like Thomas, he’s no longer at the program.
Applewhite was also able to utilize his tight end in his offense as well this past year, with Romello Booker being on the receiving end of seven scoring passes in 2018, and if you didn’t, the Canes have stars at tight end in Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory.
In the rushing game, though the Hurricanes and Cougars were pretty similar, Houston was able to average over 200 yards a game on the ground and score 29 touchdowns. Miami has not one but three backs in DeeJay Dallas, Cam Davis and Lorenzo Lingard who will all be able to fit Applewhite’s offense.
Something that was so apparent and yet depressing about this Miami offense under Mark Richt and former OC Thomas Brown, was that the talent wasn’t the issue, it was the coaching. The talent there, and it’s very obvious. Now, with the proper offensive coach and scheme, expect a lot more points from this side of the ball in the coming future, and hopefully a few more wins as well.