The Miami Hurricanes will finally run a spread offense.
That feels good every time I say it.
Since a rule a change in 2008 to allow a faster pace of football, offenses around the country have been switching to some form of the spread to increase the amount of chances for their athletes to make plays.
Yet the Hurricanes have figuratively, (and to the naked eye, literally) been stuck in the mud, averaging 68 plays a game since 2011, which is good for an average rank of 106th. Yeesh. For comparison, Rhett Lashlee’s offenses have averaged 78, which would have been good for a top ten showing this season.
Players, recruits and, mostly emphatically, the fan base, have been calling for the Miami Hurricanes to take advantage of the regions talent base and put the local speed on display within a modern attack.
But like a bad record, Miami watches a multitude of offensive recruits bypass us for more attractive schools and more attractive playcalling every year. Thankfully, due to the shear number of talented skill players that come out of South Florida yearly, Miami has still had its fair share of great ones over this time frame. Had the Canes gone to a spread, who could have benefited most of our skill players? Looking at the players that have come though Miami, I, painstakingly, decided on 3 players from QB, RB, WR and TE. Two receiving honorable mention and one profiled.
An already accurate passer, Jacory Harris would be a a surgeon in this methodology. The first thing I remember about Harris, aside from breaking hearts in Tallahassee in 2009, was his penchant to hold on to the ball until he felt perfectly comfortable in a completion. This resulted in a lot of strain on his offensive line and errant passes due to the rush having ample time to shrink the pocket. Forced to get the ball out under 2.5 seconds would have been a light bulb moment for Jacory. A quicker and more commanding Harris breaks nearly every Quarterback record at Miami as a three year starter. At least until Brad Kaaya gets his chance. And a Draft selection would surely have been in the cards.
The oft injured, rocket armed qb substituted accuracy for big plays. A better scheme and a bigger field would have made for exciting seasons. Its possible Morris would have had less injuries due to faster decisions in the pocket and a bigger field to scramble on.
Perry’s transition would have been seamless from his video game days at Vanguard High. We may have never seen 12 on the field.
Mark Walton/Joe Yearby
The Miami-native Duo had to be represented as such to be the feature at running back. Lamar Miller, or Travis Homer or the soon to be mentioned Deejay Dallas would be great fits as features here. However, it would have MOST benefited the combo of Yearby and Walton. When the two were together at Miami, the dream was that they would feed off each other and into a potent Hurricanes running game. That was not the case as it seemed as though the two never got going together. Yearby as the older back had one good year before being firmly supplanted by his understudy. In a version of the Lashlee offense from 2016 a two back system flourished with Kerryon Johnson and Kamryn Pettway both topping 895 yards rushing while combining for 18 TDs. An arguably more explosive Miami combo, with a better QB in Kaaya (vs Sean White), could have seen two 1,000 yard rushers. Throw in the pairs ability in the passing game along with the finesse and power both exhibited at times during their tenures, the two would have led the Canes as a top ACC rushing attack in 2015 and 2016. Both backs would have assuredly bettered their draft stock too (Walton 4th in 2017 to the Cincinnati Bengals and Yearby went undrafted after the 2015 season. )
A natural playmaker with memorable open field ability, Cooper could have been a star in a spread scheme which would show case his yards after contact/catch ability and great hands.
The offensive leader since 2017, Dallas’ hard nosed all around game is very familiar to two Memphis Tigers running backs, DeAngelo Williams and Darrell Henderson. The latter was a star in now Florida State Seminoles coach Mike Norvell’s 2018 spread attack.
Though a change of offense may not have affected Scott’s ability to stay healthy, the tough-nosed receiver would have looked like Miami’s answer to Dez Bryant, a standout for the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Dana Holgorsen days. Known for his passionate play and ability to make contested catches, Scott’s greatest knack was his ability to shed tackles and seemingly make something out of nothing often. With more space and plays to work with, Scott’s tackle breaking and 4.5 speed would have led to big play after big play. Its safe to say his career at Miami looks totally different within a spread offense, and would likely have landed him in the mid rounds of the draft.
Seemingly custom made for a spread offense, the crafty and explosive Berrios flourishes as a target machine. It is very likely 100 receptions are attained his final year in Coral Gables.
We will forever say what if about Thomas, in or out of a spread offense. His talents were rare, yet his production never matched with uneven QB play and playcalling. His ceiling was as a Brandin Cooks clone and a first round selection.
Christopher Herndon IV
Playing in the shadow of a first rounder can have its drawbacks. With better playcalling and personnel usage, the right teams have a tendencies to keep there best players on the field. A dream scenario finds Herndon with David Njoku deployed in an offense like Lashlee’s. Herndon and Njoku gave you the ultimate flexibility to simultaneously have the most blockers and pass catchers on the field at once. Herndon was always a nightmare for opposing coordinators as he was as excellent a blocker as a receiver. As one of the most reliable players during his time for the Hurricanes, Herndon’s opportunities would be vast, featuring his ability to settle in zones, find open space and use his speed to best most linebackers.
Sure handed and underrated athletically, Ford is the modern day TE that can be spread out wide to be a matchup nightmare. His ability to beat defenders and catch over the middle would have blended nicely in an air raid offense.
The best TE from Miami since Jimmy Graham, Njoku may very well take home the John Mackey Award in 2016 and would have been the first TE taken in 2017, instead of the argued favorite O.J. Howard out of Alabama.
Duke Johnson Jr.
The two were ALREADY record breaking players at the U. one of the pair, if not both, may have been the first Hurricanes to receive votes for the Heisman since Ken Dorsey and Willis McGahee in 2002. Its undeniable that both players would put up BIG numbers with the opportunity to play in a Rhett Lashlee offense.