While 2020 was turbulent and jarring, Miami had the opportunity to have a special season. After another stellar offseason and changes in culture within the program, it seemed that the new Miami was coming to fruition. With players like D’Eriq King, Jaelan Phillips, Quincy Roche, and Jose Borregales all making their debut as Hurricanes, head coach Manny Diaz and UM looked to leave the struggles of 2019 far, far behind.
Manny Diaz, on what D'Eriq King's decision means for the culture at Miami: "D'Eriq King has now chosen us twice...he believes we're doing the right thing here."— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) December 26, 2020
Ultimately, Miami advanced in many areas—an 8-win season is an improvement from 2019, despite it feeling underwhelming. However, one question remains in the minds of fans: are the Hurricanes actually better?
Combined Record of the teams Miami has beaten: 39-45 (0.464)— Jordan Nelson (@JRNelson17) December 30, 2020
Combined record of the teams Miami has lost to: 26-7 (0.788)
Where does that put us?
On offense? Absolutely. Even when D’Eriq King went down with what would be confirmed as an ACL tear in Miami’s bowl game, N’Kosi Perry came off the bench and performed quite well. It was easily his best game since he and the Mark Richt-led ‘Canes beat Virginia Tech in 2018. It shows that offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has a solid system in place, and hopefully, it’s one that multiple quarterbacks can thrive in.
Official announcement is that D’Eriq King has a torn ACL.— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) December 31, 2020
He is expected to be ready for fall camp 2021.
Here’s to a full recovery to one of CFBs most electric players.
How did the Hurricanes take ‘two steps back’ in the bowl game? Despite all of the progress, one thing that Miami continues to do in big games is shoot themselves in the foot. Mental and preventable errors seem to plague UM, whether it be penalties against Clemson, missed assignments and poor effort against UNC, or drops against Oklahoma State. Of course, there are other factors that led to losses in those games, but Miami has been consistent in aiding their high-profile opponents.
With how high the team peaked in 2020, 8-3 with another bowl loss seems like a letdown, and rightfully so. The offense took a step forward, but Miami’s defense looked unmotivated, porous, and undisciplined at times. Despite great performances against Duke and Florida State, they surrendered a record-breaking 554 rushing yards to UNC and allowed the Cowboys’ quarterback to throw for 300+ yards and 4 touchdowns.
8-3 isn’t a failure, but changes need to be made on the defensive side of the ball in order for Manny Diaz to get his signature win.
Manny Diaz: "It's going to be a hell of an offseason."— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) December 26, 2020
Moving forward, the ‘Canes have a lot of questions to answer before the start of the 2021 season. If UM is complacent with defensive coordinator Blake Baker, we’ll most likely see the defense continue to bend, sometimes break, and struggle in big games. Making difficult but necessary staff changes, however, could lead to the Hurricanes finally achieving greatness on both sides of the ball.