Hope you enjoyed part one of this series as we dove into the spread offense in college football. We went over some major success stories with the spread, and how teams who began using it started to see a lot more wins and points. Part two won’t be as enjoyable, if you’re a Miami Hurricanes fan.
Funny enough, the Hurricanes were running the spread in the late 80’s when Dennis Erickson came to Miami as head coach. At that time, UM had just known a pro-style, and when Erickson got to Coral Gables and proposed his offense, many of his players thought he was insane. Though, all it was, was putting 3-4 of Miami’s talented receivers on the field and getting them in space. Erickson won two national championships during his time at UM.
Its amazing, but think about this, with Erickson Miami ran the spread about 15 years before it became the norm. Now its 15 years behind the times offensively... #canes@CanesInSight @Romancane @scoopontheU @thisisnotmark @PeterAriz @bomberro2 @brandonalmeidaa @odiezilla305— Steve Kim (@StevESPNKim) October 20, 2019
But now, that prolific offensive scheme is nowhere to be found at the University of Miami.
It’s been preached over and over and over and over and over, by everyone, that the Hurricanes need to switch to a spread offense. Whether by simple fans, or commentators on ESPN broadcasting Miami games.
The playmakers they have on offense, with their speed, it just makes sense.
Well, makes sense to everyone but the coaches.
This is a move that Miami coaches should have made years ago, back when Larry Coker was still HC. You see all these big programs, moving to an offense that allows your athletes to get in space, and your team is full of South Florida speedsters, and you don’t make that transition?
ESPN broadcast is of the strong opinion that a spread offense is the right move for Miami.— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) November 24, 2018
Welcome to where we've been for a while, guys
When you're one of the only teams left in the country not doing something you need to ask yourself a question.— rOmaN (@Romancane) October 20, 2019
Am I revolutionary?
Am I antiquated?
Starting with Dan Werner in 2004, to Rich Olson, then Patrick Nix, Mark Whipple, Jedd Fisch, James Coley, then to Thomas Brown and Ron Dugans prior to this year, not one of those coordinators brought in the spread, all pro-style. Some of them were admirable, such as Fisch, but in the end, none of them could make the Canes into an offensive juggernaut.
Miami-Florida 2008: Randy Shannon and Patrick Nix called like 60 bubble screens and I don’t think Miami ever crossed midfield. Whew that was bad. https://t.co/QHQIjp1jfL— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) July 11, 2019
The only time James Coley ever called plays was for Miami from 2013-15. Prior to the 2015 season, Coley remodeled offense to be more like Linehan's.— David Howman (@_DH44_) January 19, 2019
In 2015, Miami had the lowest scoring offense under Coley and head coach Al Golden was fired midseason. https://t.co/zx16fQ8YQ0
During those years, Miami had players like Duke Johnson, Brad Kaaya, Phillip Dorsett, Jacory Harris, Graig Cooper, Lamar Miller, Stephen Morris and so many more who would’ve been perfect for the spread offense. Instead, just years of “what ifs” and missed opportunities.
You HIGH?! Hell yes I want the spread offense. You can run that w/Kaaya. All day. https://t.co/P6TNbZBzJA— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) November 15, 2015
During Mark Richt’s tenure as coach at Miami from 2016 to 2018, his stubbornness and unwillingness to change offensive systems was one of the reasons why he retired.
The U has become an utter embarrassment. Mark Richt is a good man... but this is result a joke.— Jorge Sedano (@Sedano) December 28, 2018
USC was so embarrassed they did the right thing... went and hired the best OC in the country bc they’re committed to football.
What’s Miami gonna do?
I haven't seen Canes fans this united on an idea since we wanted Golden gone— Bam Adobobayo (@MannyMontana305) November 25, 2018
-Hire a young spread offense OC
If they don't do it at this point, its stubbornness and our opinion means #ItsAllAboutTheU #Canes
When Manny Diaz became head coach, everyone was excited about the fact that Miami finally had a guy who would bring in a dynamic offensive coordinator whose system was centered around the spread.
EYES. PROPONENT. OF. SPREAD. OFFENSE.— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) December 31, 2018
Manny Diaz on what he wants to run offensively and if that means going to a spread offense: “The word I would use is cutting edge.” pic.twitter.com/3TAS36q3S0— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) January 2, 2019
Some of the names that came up were Major Applewhite, Larry Fedora, Tee Martin and a few others. It was almost like Diaz couldn't make a wrong decision, and whoever he picked was going to the right guy.
For a reference, without prompting any potential OC candidates @danorlovsky7 absolutely mentioned applewhite as an OC the #canes should target.— rOmaN (@Romancane) January 2, 2019
He absolutely believes his style of offense would attract recruits to Miami and do well.@OrangeBowlBoys
2018 Houston offensive stats with Applewhite:— Please Beat Pitt (@hurricanesmarsh) January 8, 2019
Quarterback threw for 36 touchdowns (plus ran for over 600 yards and 14 touchdowns)
43.9 points per game
1,000 yard receiver, 3 receivers over 500 yards, 4 receivers with 5 or more touchdowns
Canes deserve this, we deserve this
Spread offense? Up tempo? WR bunch formations? LARRY FEDORA ME!!!!! Manny New Year!!!!!! Let’s Go Canes— Armando ️♀️ (@LakersCanes305) January 1, 2019
Instead, Diaz hired Dan Enos, quarterbacks coach from Alabama, and while he was more of a pro-style guy, many were under the assumption that we’d be seeing at least a little more spread look in 2019. It can be said that nobody was mad at the hire. Looking back, many Canes fans were under the assumption that we’d seeing an offense similar to Bama’s last year......
Dan Enos is an interesting hire for UM at offensive coordinator. I preferred more a true spread guy myself. But it is an upgrade over the prehistoRicht offense we've had recently. #Canes— Steve Kim (@StevESPNKim) January 11, 2019
Sadly, this hasn’t been the case through eight games, Enos has instead tried desperately to establish his pro style attack like he had at Arkansas and Central Michigan. He’s quickly realizing, and we all are, that when you have the offensive line that Miami has, under center and pro style isn’t going to win you games, and it’s not going to score points.
Both Dan Enos and Urban Meyer technically run “spread coast” offenses. One of them puts more emphasis on the “spread” part and has elite offenses year in and year out. The other is the OC in Miami.— Rev (@D_RevLee) August 25, 2019
What is Donaldson and Gaynor doing here.....you know it’s bad when commentator says “wow” watching the offensive line pic.twitter.com/qtdVQfQVTJ— Please Beat Pitt (@hurricanesmarsh) October 1, 2019
Like past years, like every year, the Hurricanes have the skill players to make the spread work. QB N’Kosi Perry has proven worth working out of the system, and fellow quarterback Tate Martell could potentially succeed under the spread. Against Virginia Tech several weeks ago, Miami fell behind early, and Enos was forced to go primarily spread. With Perry at quarterback, he threw for over 400 yards in three quarters and four touchdowns.
In case you forgot, Jeff Thomas is good at football pic.twitter.com/jw3cwNs8el— Please Beat Pitt (@hurricanesmarsh) October 10, 2019
Along with receivers like Jeff Thomas and Mark Pope, plus a stud tight end in Brevin Jordan, these guys have shown you what they can do in a spread look.
Two things:— Please Beat Pitt (@hurricanesmarsh) September 25, 2019
1. More Jeff Thomas
2. Can Brevin also be used as our left tackle pic.twitter.com/bndXka6TSr
Jarren quickly sees Brevin Jordan (best tight end in America) with the pressure on him in a flash. Quick throws are your friend! pic.twitter.com/CYc61qQPI2— Please Beat Pitt (@hurricanesmarsh) September 25, 2019
And it isn’t just Miami’s passing game that has seen results spread out. Running backs DeeJay Dallas and Cam’Ron Harris have busted several big gains this year when the Canes have been in the shotgun and receivers out wide.
DeeJay Dallas. Wow. And what a Canes incredible comeback! pic.twitter.com/bhWdp56f5b— Will Manso (@WillManso) October 5, 2019
In case you didn’t know, Cam Harris is a really good RB. Scaife and Clark create a hole and Harris does the rest. pic.twitter.com/RY627Vebxa— Canes Legacy (@CanesLegacy) October 20, 2019
I like what Enos has done with developing Miami’s quarterbacks this year, but the simple fact is that if the Hurricanes want to get back to being relevant, they’re going to have to hire a new coordinator that runs the spread, or at least incorporates it heavily. Other teams in the ACC, UNC, Wake Forest, obviously Clemson, they’re primarily running the spread and they’ve seen great results and putting up points.
Miami is already falling behind in terms of offensive innovation, so something needs to be done sooner rather than later. Recruits coming in want to play in an exciting offense that will score tons of points.
Orgeron let go of his OC after his first year at LSU, Manny might have to do the same. Nick Saban, the grouchiest man in college football, he adapted to a more efficient offense, and look at the results. If two traditional running schools like Alabama and LSU change to a more a present scheme, then Miami can too.
The game of football is changing, and coach Diaz, along with Athletic Director Blake James need to make sure that Miami is changing too, for the better. The time to evolve is now for UM. The Hurricanes need to adapt to the way that winning football is being played, and it all starts with changing their offense.