Rhett Lashlee joined the Miami Hurricanes staff this off-season as their new offensive coordinator after spending two years at SMU in the same role. In 2019, the Mustangs averaged 41.8 points per game, 489.8 yards per game and 309 passing yards per game, which ranked 7th, 9th and 13th nationally.
The Hurricanes averaged 25.7 points per game, 367.2 yards per game and 249.2 passing yards per game, ranking 90th, 98th and 52nd respectively.
Thursday, in an article with Christy Chirinos of Hurricane Sports, Lashlee gave a first-hand perspective of his offensive philosophy.
“What we’ll tell the guys, is that we want to play fast and physical. I think there’s great advantages to playing fast. There’s also a lot of things that go into that. You have to execute at a high level. You have to play well, otherwise you can’t go fast. I think when you get to where you can play fast, it gives you a lot of advantages as an offense. You’re able to be aggressive, you’re able to dictate more to the defense, instead of the other way around and really, that’s just the way I’ve always played going back to my days playing quarterback for [Auburn coach] Gus Malzahn in high school. It’s just what I believe in and what I know and what’s been successful,” Lashlee told Chirinos.
The 36-year old play-caller also expressed his desire to not only pass the ball, but to bring a strong rushing attack. Last season, SMU running back Xavier Jones rushed the ball for 1276 yards and 23 touchdowns in Lashlee’s system.
And he wants to move the ball quickly. A large part of Miami’s struggles a year ago was their inability to move the ball with tempo. Lashlee undoubtedly plans to change that.
He lists three advantages of playing fast to Chirinos:
- You run more plays and the more plays you run, the more chances to score
- Gaining a mental and physical edge over the defense trying to keep up with the tempo
- A fun, no huddle system that allows the athletes to play fast and spread the field
But, ultimately, the quarterback play is going to be pillar of the offense and his play will determine the success of the offense. And as a former quarterback for current Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, back when he was a coach at Shiloh Christian School in Springdale, Ark., Lashlee understands the depth and importance of the position.
“I played quarterback. I know we’ve got to find someone who can be consistent at quarterback. That’s a big task here, but that’s the task anywhere. There’s no good offenses that don’t have good quarterback play,” Lashlee tells Chirinos. “Our system, like most, is a quarterback-driven system. We’re going to build it around what our quarterback does well and we’re going to try and put them in positions to be successful. If they play efficient and successful, the rest of the guys usually get good opportunities.”
And the proof is in the pudding. Throughout a 10-win campaign last year, Lashlee’s offense was led by Shane Buechele, who threw for 3,929 yards 34 touchdowns and had just 10 interceptions. It was the most passing yards an SMU quarterback has ever thrown for in a single season.
If the success of the Mustangs offense is any indication of what's to come at Miami, there is certainly a lot to be excited about in Coral Gables.