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The Spread Offense Must Come To Miami. Part 2

If Miami wants to start winning, implementing a spread offense is a must

Georgia Tech v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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......

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.