I'm not going to sit here and continue to pound into everyone’s heads that Miami needs to figure out their quarterback situation, offensive line situation, etc. At least I won't talk about it today. We know that, you know that. Something that isn’t being talked about enough however is the role that the Canes special teams are going to play this upcoming season.
You go down the line in football history, and championship teams have had spectacular special teams talent and execution. In the early 2000’s, Adam Vinatieri was a major reason why the Patriots won three Super Bowls in four years. In the 80’s, the Raiders had punter Ray Guy who gave Oakland a major advantage in the field possession game. Even with the Saints in 2009, it was an onside kick to start the second half of the Super Bowl that helped them defeat the Colts.
You look at the Seminoles, and FSU fans will tell you that they’d have one or two more national championships if it weren’t for missed kicks against Miami. Then you look at the Canes, Todd Sievers was a big part of Miami’s success in the early 2000’s, and Carlos Huerta in the 80’s. It matters people.
Last season, special teams became an issue for the Hurricanes right from the very start of the year. Against LSU, punting miscues and a missed field goal absolutely gave the Tigers an advantage. It’s a lot easier to score on offense when you’re starting drives near midfield.
Awful night for Miami all around, punter Zach Feagles included. Punts of 22, 34 and 20 yards giving LSU the ball on the LSU 44, LSU 42 and UM 47.— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) September 3, 2018
Punter Zach Feagles had himself a rough day not just against LSU, but his entire two-year career at Miami before he decided to transfer from the program.
Miami fans: The U is BACK!— NATIONAL CHAMPIONS (@BarstoolClemson) September 30, 2017
Zach Feagles: Hold my beer pic.twitter.com/onmVI7AR3V
Zach Feagles is leaving the Miami program. And that probably isn’t a surprise.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) December 27, 2018
Kicker Bubba Baxa was decent his freshman year in 2018, hitting 9-out-of-12 field goals. Though, Baxa was just 1-of-3 in fields goals 40-plus yards. I’m still honestly trying to figure out why he was signed out of high school, going 4-for-10 as a senior.
Bubba Baxa has to have better stats out there somewhere, Jesus Christ pic.twitter.com/Tsn4w7oy81— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) September 3, 2018
It also didn’t make me any happier when I heard that Baxa was missing 20-yarders in the spring. Championship football teams just don't have that happen.
Bubba Baxa just missed a 21-yard field goal. Hits the upright.— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) April 20, 2019
It remains 7-4.
Of course, I type that and Jimmy Murphy picks off Jarren Williams and the offense is back on top.
2018 was so rough for the Canes special teams, that FootballOutsiders.com had Miami ranked 75th in the nation when it came to efficiency on that side of the football.
However, help is on its way! Well, at least for the punters. It’s been well reported of UM’s signing Louis Hedley, the tattooed phenom from Australia. The three-star junior college transfer still has three years of eligibility remaining, and Miami is hoping that he can really turn the tides in the punting game.