When it comes to winning games in college football, one of the things that successful teams do is take advantage of redzone opportunities. This has been a problem for the Hurricanes for several years now, and 2019 is already showing some of those same issues for Miami’s offense.
After two games and two losses, UM currently is tied for 107th nationally when it comes to redzone offense, scoring on six of nine chances inside the 20, a mere 66.7%.
Let’s take a look at some film from this past weekends game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Because the Hurricanes fell behind UNC early, each opportunity they had to score was then amplified.
In their first trip to the redzone in the second quarter already down 17-3, Miami had a good drive going thus far, as they were able to get their running game going with DeeJay Dallas and Cam’Ron Harris. However, when they got inside the 20, that proficiency went away.
On second and goal, quarterback Jarren Williams is forced to take off after not finding anyone open, and nearly coughs the ball up on a fumble. The next play on third down, whether it was a called screen to DeeJay is uncertain, but the UNC linebacker comes completely unblocked, disrupting Jarren’s throw and composure, forcing a minimal gain and a fourth down. Add on Bubba Baxa missing a 26-yard field goal and the entire drive goes down in flames all together.
For Miami, the infuriating part of their redzone issues was that it really only became a problem when the Hurricanes reached the 10-yard line and were so close to punching it in. Later in the second quarter, still down 17-3, UM is unable to convert on third down on the UNC three yard line, and settles for a Baxa field goal. So in those two redzone trips, instead of coming away with 14 points and possibly tying the game, Miami manages just 3 points and a not so great 17-6 deficit.
Finally at the end of the quarter, the Canes were able to punch it in and score a touchdown, as Williams found K.J. Osborn on a slant for six.
But those missed points that Miami squandered away earlier in the game came back to haunt them later in the night, as they wound up losing 28-25 to the Tar Heels.
Now, what is to be done regarding the Hurricanes offensive struggles in the redzone? For one, play-calling by Dan Enos has to be better. There are those on Twitter who think that using Tate Martell could be an effective strategy when they’re down near the goal-line. Martell didn’t see the field against UNC, but is definitely dangerous whenever he gets the football.
That’s where they need too give Tate a package & let him run some Read option. https://t.co/ORa397Qpf4— MarvyyMarv. (@MessyMarv86) September 13, 2019
But then there’s the obvious fact that the Miami offense just needs to execute better, regardless of the play that’s called. The offensive line definitely showed signs of weakening when they got into the redzone, and it cost the Canes dearly. Williams is going to have to trust his arm more when a touchdown is in sight, just like he did on his beauty of a strike to Osborn for a score.
Those issues of not executing were again the Achilles heel for the Canes when they played the Florida Gators on August 24th. Here in the third quarter, Miami has a golden opportunity to go up two scores on UF, and on first and goal there’s a mix up of routes, resulting in an ugly play and a dropped pass by Will Mallory.
Two plays later on third down, Jarren delivers a strike to Jeff Thomas but is broken up by CJ Henderson, bringing up fourth, where Baxa misses the kick.
One things for certain, this can’t continue to plague Miami as they head into a five-game home stretch with an 0-2 record already, because the more points that are left on the field means more losses will come in the standings for Manny Diaz and his team.