In case you’re living under a rock, or just tried to purge the memory from your brain, Miami lost to FSU 45-3 on Saturday.
With the 2022 season a lost cause, and with other players at the position injured or ineffective, I believe it’s clearly time to make what’s sure to be a controversial move:
It’s time to start Jacurri Brown at quarterback.
Now, look, I’ll readily admit the 6’4” 220lb true freshman isn’t a finished product. But, neither is this team. With everybody in the organization focused on the future, let’s work on that future now by starting Brown.
In limited snaps running what I’ve called the UPS Express package — yanno, ‘what can Brown do for you?’ — Brown has shown flashes of the elite athleticism and incredible potential that made him a record-setting signal caller in high school. Brown has come in and, mainly using his legs, has added a spark to the moribund Canes offense that has been sorely needed.
As I said, Brown, whose first name is pronounced juh-CAR-ree, came to Miami with a very strong history of performance and winning. In his career as a starter at one of the most storied programs in Georgia HSFB, Valdosta Lowndes, Brown accounted for 6,710 yards of offense — 3387 passing and 3323 rushing. And he did all of that in just under 2 and a half seasons of game action.
Transitioning to Miami, I thought it would take Brown a year (or two) to see the field. But, his electric playmaking ability has seen the freshman earn his way onto the field. And with Miami struggling overall, it’s high time to lean into that ability and move forward with Brown at the controls.
The advantage of playing Brown over other options at QB — a clearly injured Tyler Van Dyke and fellow blue chip recruit Jake Garcia — is his combination of size, running ability, and arm strength. Brown showed a cannon for an arm on film in HS, and in his action against FSU, he threw the ball 60 yards with the flick of a wrist. There are a lot of things to like.
The issue with Brown is his inconsistent accuracy passing, and his inexperience at the college level overall. But, with a season that’s already lost, those things can’t and shouldn’t be circumstances that keep Brown from starting.
And, furthermore, Brown has already played in 5 games, so he can’t redshirt this season. All the more reason to give him as much game experience as possible.
I know quarterback is a position unlike any other. But Miami has already started several true freshman across the field this season — most notably OL Anez Cooper and DE Nyjalik Kelly — and I’m firmly of the opinion that Brown should be the next player added to that list.
Brown has all the talent in the world. He’s big, strong, fast, and blessed with a strong arm. He’s shown his value in the run game already, with QB draw, QB power, and inverted veer yielding immediate results for the Canes, who have struggled mightily to run the ball since the first 4 games of the year.
Insofar as the passing game, Miami will have to be creative and selective to get Brown in a rhythm and calling things he can execute. He can make every throw in the playbook. But, he hasn’t shown an ability to execute those throws consistently. An overthrow here. An underthrow there. But, also, a couple nice throws that show that, with time and development, Brown can be a solid to plus player throwing the ball. But, let me be clear, he’s not there yet.
Freshman QBs have started — and won — games for several teams across the country this season. Georgia Tech, this week’s opponent, started a true frosh last week and won. Temple. Texas Tech. Minnesota. UConn (a player from St. Thomas Aquinas, by the way). Auburn. Vanderbilt. Marshall. Penn State and Clemson SHOULD be starting their true freshmen QBs but they refuse to do so out of loyalty? to older, worse players. Hell, even Florida State played Jordan Travis in 2020 when he was nowhere NEAR ready just get him game reps, and a year later he hit 1 throw on 4th and 14 to beat Miami, and then this year was 10-12 with 3 TDs in the blowout win over Miami that was a mirror to the beatdown he and the Noles sustained 2 years ago. My point here is that making a move such as Miami choosing to Brown to start the rest of the season isn’t completely unheard of. And no, I don’t want to compare Miami to the teams on this list (Clemson and Penn State excluded, of course). But the season has brought us to this point so here we are.
The other player to consider here is Jake Garcia. A talented player in his own right, if Miami makes the move to go to Brown at QB the rest of this season, there’s a chance Garcia could elect to leave via the transfer portal moving forward. While I like Jake Garcia and would love for him to stay, I’m not going to shy away from the decision I think should be made just to soothe the feelings of another player.
Look. I know some of you reading this will just say “I don’t care” or “I’m not watching” or “who cares?” and I get it. But, there’s going to be a 2023 season. And a 2024 season. And so on. And I wholeheartedly believe the choice to make Jacurri Brown the starting quarterback not only gives Miami the best chance to win in the immediate timeframe (at least against Georgia Tech), it would also be the biggest and most impactful move for the player, QB position, and team moving forward.
How can Miami make the move to Brown work from a functional standpoint? By doing a few key things:
- Work the run game. Lean on Henry Parrish. He has the skills to control the game and be the foundation of the offense. Try Brashard Smith on some jet sweeps or rocket tosses. Run split zone until the opponent stops it. I know this is easier said than done, but getting the run game going is key.
- Quick passing game. Don’t let Brown hold the ball for a long time. That’s when things can go awry. Continue to use the quick pass game (slants, TE seam and stick routes, “now” screen, bubble screen) to get the ball out of Brown’s hands and into the hands of the many playmakers the Canes have on offense.
- Integrate/Center the QB run game. This is something that has been missing in recent years due to Tyler Van Dyke’s lack of athleticism. This can be the RPO (which isn’t a dictated QB run as we all know, but has a QB run component if the QB keeps the ball). This can be speed option. This can be a called QB run (think Cam Newton running Power or any fast QB running a draw). This can be inverted veer (another Cam Newton special that Brown has already run this season). But, Brown is VERY good running the ball and Miami should continue to use that as a weapon.
- Dominate on defense. No, this isn’t offensive scheme, but it matters. If Brown is the starter, it’s unlikely that the offense will consistently go 80 yards. So, if the defense plays to their potential and gives the offense the ball in advantageous field position, then that will enable Brown to be more effective on the field.
I know that this is splitting hairs, because Miami’s season is over. But these games are going to get played, and everyone can, and should, be working toward improving in the future. And in my mind, starting Jacurri Brown is a move that can both help immediately and begin to lay the foundation for Miami’s future improvement, all things that are sorely needed.
Who should Miami start at Quarterback?
This poll is closed
Tyler Van Dyke