clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Miami’s backup quarterback job should belong to Emory Williams this season

A redshirt is pointless if the young QB is getting valuable reps in live game action.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 09 Texas A&M at Miami (FL) Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes are 4-0 for the first time since 2017 and the hype machine is rolling through the message boards and comments alike. Mario Cristobal hit the transfer portal hard and signed an elite class in ‘23 that included three-star quarterback Emory Williams.

When comparing the passing ability of Williams to 2022 backup / spot starter / special package QB Jacurri Brown there is no comparison- Williams is clearly the better quarterback fo the two.

Miami’s recent backup QB history

I’ve been clamoring for years for the Miami coaches to give backup QB’s a series in the first half of games. Script 4-5 plays for them to come in and run really well, then put the starting QB back in.

This plan would’ve benefitted Miami in 2017 against Pitt, when Evan Shirreffs came in with only five prior pass attempts. The stage was slightly different in 2020 with N’Kosi Perry being an experienced starter in 2018 and 2019.

But in 2021, Perry was at FAU and Tyler Van Dyke had thrown two pass attempts in ‘20 and only one against Alabama. Van Dyke was thrown into the starting role with three career pass attempts.

Jake Garcia signed as a true freshman with Miami in 2021 and actually did gain some valuable reps under Rhett Lashlee. He was thrust into a starting role when Van Dyke went down in ‘22, and struggled in that role. Brown and Garcia were inexperienced at best in 2022 and eventually Garcia was injured as well.

The Value of Redshirting

So what is a redshirt worth for a quarterback? Not a lot. With the transfer portal being wide open for a ‘play now’ situation and NIL deals luring players back onto the open market- why redshirt a QB at all?

Williams is clearly the front runner for the starting QB job in 2024. Why sit him just to sit him to retain a year of eligibility that he will forgo for the NFL Draft if he plays as well as I hope?

Redshirting freshmen is for undeveloped offensive and defensive linemen (lose weight, gain weight, or just be developed into a college football body), players that come in injured or needing surgery after evaluation (injured by their trainer), or players with very little football experience (Jackson Carver).

How the other teams have done it

Nick Saban hasn’t always been on the cutting edge. A lot of times he’s actually quite late to adapt because of the talent level Alabama typically has on campus. Because of being the dominant team on the field in acquisition, he doesn’t have to worry so much about development or deployment.

Johnny Manziel forced Saban to change his opinions on defensive deployment, Lane Kiffin did regarding offensive deployment, and injuries dictated his change in development.

In 2017, Nick Saban gave Tua Tagovailoa a ton of burn, including in the first quarter and halves of games. Tagovailoa threw 77 passes that season, and none more important than a touchdown strike against UGA to win the National Championship. Tagovailoa played in eight games in ‘17, scoring 13 touchdowns.

Clemson has always given time to backup QB’s. Dabo Swinney is no schematic genius but his idea on preparing QB’s was forward if not innovative. In 2018, Kelly Bryant was the incumbent starting quarterback but Trevor Lawrence was the new hot-shot rookie. Bryant struggled through four games while Lawrence had some seasoning by playing in the first three, before taking over against GT. Even Chase Brice played in 12 games in ‘18.

Remember when Georgia opted for Jake Fromm over Justin Fields? Fields main reps were on the punt team and his frustrations showed before a transfer to Ohio State. Fields threw 39 passes with four TD’s in 12 games for the Bulldogs. Prior to Todd Monken’s arrival, no one felt like Kirby Smart was a QB whisperer.

The Plan

The plan for Williams and Brown should be to continue getting Williams serious reps with the first and second team, with Brown handling second team reps and “special package” reps for when he’s needed. Keep working Williams into games to produce a starting QB for the 2024 season.

In a tight game down four points and a tricky 4th and inches situation- what can Brown do for you? Teams haven’t seen the Brown package this season and it could be a quick way to get him work with Van Dyke lined up as an off the ball WR. Breaking the defense’s OODA Loop and hammering Mr. Brown at the opposing defense with the ‘23 offensive line sounds like a 1st and 10 for Miami.

Brown is a developmental talent that could possibly benefit from a redshirt, but really get the athlete on the field once the ACC slate starts and continue to use him to win ball games. This is a really big year for the Hurricanes to set up the program for an expanded College Football Playoff run in 2024.

Redshirt Poll:


Should Miami redshirt Emory Williams?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Yes, save him for the future
    (34 votes)
  • 86%
    No, get him vital experience
    (210 votes)
244 votes total Vote Now