Entering the 2022 season, the Miami Hurricanes had already sustained multiple injuries at running back and had serious question marks at wide receiver. Injuries have now left even more questions for the pass catchers.
Before the week three game against Texas A&M, lead receiver Xavier Restrepo sustained a foot injury that will keep him out for at least six weeks. After the game, it was announced that Jacolby George broke his thumb against the Aggies and is out indefinitely.
The biggest issue isn’t just that two receivers are injured. It is that the two receivers who are out are the two who have been the best playmakers on the outside this season.
Restrepo leads the team in catches and yards even though he missed a game. George was the only receiver to make any plays against Texas A&M, finishing with three catches for 41 yards in his season debut.
With two important receivers out for the foreseeable future, offensive coordinator Josh Gattis has to figure out a way to run an offense with just seven scholarship receivers. And with Isaiah Horton and Colbie Young yet to make it on the field, that number feels more like five.
The seven scholarship receivers who are available are Horton, Young, Romello Brinson, Key’Shawn Smith, Frank Ladson, Jr., Brashard Smith, and Michael Redding III.
In that group, Redding leads with 105 yards and a touchdown on eight catches. Keyshawn Smith has 91 yards and a score on six catches while Brashard Smith has 79 yards on nine catches. Ladson (two catches for 33 yards) and Brinson (three catches for 28 yards) have also caught passes.
Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, who struggled against the Aggies, wasn’t helped much by his receivers this season. But with less help, he will still have to find a way to move this offense down the field.
This may not be as big of an issue with how good the rushing attack has been this season. Conventional wisdom would be to lean heavily on an extremely effective rushing attack. The problem is the injuries to Don Chaney and Trevonte Citizen have them short-handed on players in the backfield as well.
Gattis, Mario Cristobal, and the rest of this staff will have to look into some creative ways of moving the ball. Moving players to different positions may have to be experimented with over the bye week.
The tight ends will be extremely important to the success of the offense. With Will Mallory, Elijah Arroyo, and a deep group of solid players, they will need them all to be useful in the run game as well as the passing game.
Thankfully, Miami has Middle Tennessee at home for week four before a bye week. After having a week off, they host North Carolina. The Tar Heels have given up 113 in their three games against Florida A&M, Appalachian State, and Georgia State.