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All Silent on the Southern Front

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Despite its Worst Season Since 2007, Only Crickets Can Be Heard at Coral Gables U

Miami v Florida International Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Make no mistake: Miami just had its worst season since 2007, a season in which Miami lost its final three games at the Orange Bowl, including the finale 48-0 to UVA. Like 2019, 2014 also netted a 6-6 record but Miami did not suffer a loss to a G5 team in 2014 like it did in 2019, when the once-proud Miami Hurricanes lost to FIU for what many consider to be the worst loss in program history.

Virginia Cavaliers v Miami Hurricanes Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Miami football as we once knew it died long ago and has failed to return from the realm of the dead time and time again. That being said, one would expect the University of Miami Football Program to pay homage to its illustrious past after an abominable season, by—at the very least—paying lip service to the demand for change by the fanbase, media, and football alumni by finally firing the grossly incompetent and under-qualified Blake James. Under James’s watch, Miami Football and Baseball have continually underperformed the standard set by past teams and James has defended the poor performance by audaciously declaring “we are not going to win every game,” after Miami’s Football team lost to a 1-5 Georgia Tech team at home to go 3-4 on the season. While semantically true, declaring that Miami cannot win every game when it just lost to a 1-5 team and is 3-4 on the year with two of the 3 wins against Bethune Cookman and Central Michigan, is tone-deaf at best, and disingenuous and deceptive at worst.

University of Miami Introduces Manny Diaz Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The only peep that has been heard from Coral Gables since Miami lost yet another game to a perceived lesser opponent were the announcements by two of Miami’s top three defensive ends in Trevon Hill and Jonathan Garvin, that each will sit out the bowl game and declare pro. It is not like either player has anything left to prove at the collegiate level since both are widely considered surefire first-rounders.

Miami v Florida International Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Garvin, like all of those who prematurely declared pro before in Kendrick Norton, Joe Jackson, Joe Yearby, Brad Kaaya, etc. will undoubtedly be drafted lower than he currently imagines. After a mediocre junior season where Garvin frequently loafed and gave little effort in pursuit, I see no good reason why he will be drafted before the sixth round—if at all. Garvin’s premature departure will leave a hole in Miami’s depth chart for the bowl game and next season, hurting the program that gave him a chance to actualize his childhood dream of playing football at the collegiate level. Players leaving early and hurting the program whilst simultaneously ending their football careers prematurely has reached pandemic levels at Miami and it is clear my open letter was preaching to the choir, not the congregation.

Nonetheless, it seems business continues as usual at Coral Gables University as Dan Enos is still Miami’s offensive coordinator. If anyone has viewed the offensive stats for the Miami offense in 2019, it is clear virtually no progress was made in 2019 despite an easier schedule and superior quarterback play than 2018. Butch Barry—after the worst offensive line performance by Miami in memory—has similarly not received a pink slip. The same goes for Taylor Stubblefield, Miami’s wide receiver coach, who coaches a unit that can’t get open due to rounded and lazy routes, but struggles to hold on to the ball even when they do. Before coaching at Miami, Stubblefield coached wide receivers at air force, an option-based team.

Miami v Florida International Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The numbers don’t lie:

2018

Yards per play: 5.3 (84th)

Sacks per game: 2.1 (61st)

Passer rating: 106 (121st)

3rd down conversion rate: 39.4% (59th)

Yards per rush: 5.1 (23rd)

2019

Yards per play: 5.3 (90th)

Sacks per game: 4.2 (127th)= worst in P5

Passer Rating: 138 (52nd)

3rd down conversion rate: 25% (130th)=last in FBS

Yards per rush: 3.6 (113th)

The Shocking Conclusion: Miami’s putrid 2018 offense was better than the even worse 2019 version, despite far better quarterback play!

Blake Baker, who took over an elite defense and turned it into a solid but not spectacular one, is also still employed by Miami. While I expected some regression due to the departures of ¾ of Miami’s entire secondary and Gerald Willis, Miami was taken advantage of on third down on both sides of the ball in 2019: a sign of poor play-calling. While not diametrically opposed to Baker remaining on staff, I believe Manny Diaz should either assume more autonomy over the defense (including play-calling duties) or fire Baker and hire an experienced defensive mind. The defense was not good enough in 2019 and the weak scheduled masked that reality.

Georgia Tech v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

2018

Yards per play: 4.3 (3rd)

Sacks per game: 3 (13th)

Offensive PPG: 19.9 (21st)

Yards per pass attempt: 5.6 (4th)

Yards per rush: 3.8 (37th)

3rd down conversion percentage: 26.47% (1st)

2019

Yards per play: 4.6 (11th)

Sacks per game: 3.7 (4th)

Offensive PPG: 21.8 (31st)

Yards per pass attempt: 7 (43rd)

Yards per rush: 3.1 (11th)

3rd down conversion percentage: 38.6% (54th)

The Bottom Line

In the aftermath of one of the worst seasons in the post Lou Saban era, Miami has not made a single tangible change to its athletic department or coaching staff. Perhaps changes will come after the bowl, but I am dubious. Based on the statistical evidence above, it is clear Miami should fire its entire offensive staff and start anew. The Dan Enos experiment has failed miserably and Miami must move on and reinvent itself as an offensive innovator.

The problem is that while Miami has been sleeping, many of the good coaches have already been scooped up. I was saddened to learn that Chad Morris had become Auburn’s offensive coordinator as he was the man responsible for turning Clemson into an offensive juggernaut. While Morris may have never considered coming to a middling program like the New Miami, he is the type of offensive sage that Miami needs to reinvent its football program.

South Carolina v Clemson Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images

A name for Miami to consider is LSU’s Joe Brady, who hails from Hollywood, Florida and grew up as a Canes fan. Brady is currently serving as the Tigers “passing-game coordinator” and is only earning approximately $400,000 compared to Dan Enos, who is making well over a million. Brady is an innovative young mind that studied under Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints, who run a modern pro-style spread offense. The Canes have been sorely missing offensive innovation since the Dennis Erickson days, which ended 25 years ago! All of the best programs in college football run an up-tempo spread of some variety—whether option based like Florida, Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma, or power running game based like LSU and Alabama. One thing is certain: it is time for Miami to join the fray!

LSU v Mississippi Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images