For the first time in SEVENTEEN years, Miami has established, RECENTLY PROVEN talent at the these three major spots for the Miami Hurricanes.
Thats not to say we haven’t had success at any of the those positions. Manny Diaz, Jedd Fisch and Brad Kaaya have all had very good success while at Miami. But there has never been success from all three at the same time, let alone pedigree.
That’s quite possibly the largest, most important resolution we have coming from this offseason.
Not since 2002 have the Hurricanes featured an offensive coordinator (Rod Chudzinski), a defensive coordinator (Randy Shannon) and a Quarterback (Ken Dorsey) show more than competency at the same time. We’ve had Diaz and Enos, Diaz and Richt, D’nofrio and anyone, the Shannon era of “Who the Hell is that?”, and Cokers dark years. The Canesnow feature a dynamic trio, finally, within the walls of the Carol Soffer Practice Facility and they are bringing massive resumes with them.
33rd. That is the highest the Canes offense has gotten since hitting 4th overall 17 years ago. The offense has been for nearly that time frame an aging disaster, spot by great players and above average years here and there. It has never been the players though,. it has been the frozen mindset of Miami coordinators that stagnated the scoring by getting stuck in NFL pro offenses for so long. A group that was once innovative let the times pass and ignored the shift to a spread friendly revolution in college football.
Enter Rhett Lashlee, the rising coach has been improving every season of his career from Ark. St. a top 5 showing last year with Southern Methodist University. The resurgent program, led by Lashlee and Sonny Dukes, an Air Raid godfather, stormed to a top 10 showing that featured a team that scored less than 37 points only twice.
Whats most encouraging about Lashlee is his history of adjusting and adapting his offenses. Under Guz Malzahn his offenses featured a run heavy scheme that feature zone-reads made for a dual threat QB. As he progressed, he adopted a more pass first approach coaching under Dukes in an Air Raid system that built itself on more quality QB reads and quick action. The coach will bring a diverse history with much success to Gables for the first time in a while.
The Most Important Position in Football
2002 was also the last time the Canes had a quarterback with Heisman aspirations like D’Eriq King. It was in the 2002 season that Ken Dorsey capitalized on one of the greatest skill groups in college history to take a real shot at the trophy. King, who totaled 50 touchdowns from the quarterback position in only 11 games.
No one will mistake the Hurricanes 2020 skills group to that of the 2002 all time set, but it will be a marked improvement over what D’Eriq King worked with in 2018. In that same season his best receiver was Marquez Stevenson, a 5’9 speedster out of Shreveport that had talent but would be far from a number one even in Miami’s current Wide Receiver room. Top that with a running game that was more scheme than talent and couldn’t muster a 1,000 yard rusher, King should see a massive improvement 2 years later leading a much more talented offense.
The Great (Green) Wall
On Defense, Miami couldn’t field a top 1 5 defense since Larry Coker and Randy Shannon led what was the last of the 2002 class to a 13th ranking scoring defense. Not until 2016, when Manny Diaz came to Miami and vaulted the Canes to 12th in the country.
At defensive coordinator, the duo (yes duo) of Blake Baker and Manny Diaz should improve from what was a sometimes head scratching yet successful 2019 campaign. The proven defensive scheme that Diaz brought with him to Gables should conceivably have its best season with should be All-Americans in the front 4 and secondary. The Canes feature a bevy of future NFL stars at the most important positions on defense, defensive end. A rotation of Roche, Phillips, Harvey and Rousseau should run hot all season long.
The Hurricanes can finally respond with a resounding YES when asked about the 3 of the most important leadership positions in football. The question now remaining will be, “Can the Miami Hurricanes put it together and return to their perch as ACC powerhouse?”.
Opening Day can’t get here ANY sooner.