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Film Review: Miami Hurricanes 2022 and 2023 Spring Game comparison

The Hurricanes are one year removed from the 2022 spring game. The team didn’t look all that different on the field this spring compared to last.

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes 2023 spring scrimmage was played on Friday, April 14th on ACCNX. The location of the game wasn’t the only piece of deja vu between Mario Cristobal’s first spring game (2022) and his second (‘23).

While the ‘Canes offensive and defensive coordinators are different, many of the same results persisted. In ‘22, a drive was broken by a badly timed snap and fumble recovery by Jacob Lichtenstein.

Cristobal allowed the drive to continue and the offense scored, but that’s part of the issue with creating unrealistic situations for players- a fake celebration ensued after on a touchdown that wouldn’t exist when it mattered the most.

Truthfully, that moment seemed to contradict Mario’s “How you do one thing is how you do every thing” motto. Then again we all saw the 5-7 season and it was filled with ill timed penalties, turnovers, and other mistakes (dropped passes, missed field goals, etc.).

In ‘23, penalties shot one drive in the foot while a completely missed assignment and block forced a touchdown situation into a field goal. If Miami was looking to look improved- well, they didn’t.

Before we get started re-visiting the 2022 spring game for comparisons, the link to this year’s Film Review is above.

Near interception

Above- Spring deja vu in ‘22. Tyler Van Dyke throwing an ill advised, double-covered, deep ball where his wide receiver’s plus-effort playing DB broke up the clear interception.

Above- Van Dyke goes full pop gun arm and throws a near INT on a similar ball.

Flat Routes

Above- Van Dyke hitting Restrepo on some flat routes in ‘22.

Above- Jaleel Skinner on the flat routes in ‘23.

Counter: GT vs. GY

Above- The ‘22 version is guard-tight end or “GY” on counter. Works well for Miami.

Van Dyke running for yardage

Above- I didn’t recall Van Dyke picking up some yardage in the spring of ‘22. But here he is taking off here for a scramble of a 1st down.

Above- He looks a little more stiff in ‘23, but very similar runs in the two spring games.

Sack completion

Above- In ‘23 Van Dyke is on a stretcher if it’s live contact. The ‘23 defense got after the QB’s much harder than the ‘22 defense. That’s a plus in some ways because I do think they’re better at the pass rush (see: Bain, Rueben).

Above- Again, the pass rush seemed better in ‘23, quicker off the ball. Especially with Bain, but either way this is a big play that was really a sack. The offensive line needs improvement. I know both guards were out (Javion Cohen and Anez Cooper), but with Mario’s injury history on his teams the 2’s can’t be this far of a drop from the 1’s.

Finding space

Above- the job of the hunt-dig is to find space over the ball some where towards the inside of the hashes. no. 12 does a good job of it. Not sure where that went in the fall though...

Above- Similar style from Mr. Restrepo here in ‘23. Runs a curl or some kind of stop in space for a nice 1st down.

Tackle for loss

Above- Right when you need it the least, Miami gives up a TFL. Gil Frierson picks it up here on 4th and 1, which was really indicative of the entire ‘22 season.

Above- In ‘22 it’s the edge vs. Jake Garcia and the 2’s. In ‘23 it’s the interior with Van Dyke and the 1’s.

Easy drops

Above- Easy drops in ‘22 and ‘23. The middle drives were really dead in both games.

The Wrap

Penalties, drops, blown pass protections, ugly throws... Miami looks eerily similar in ‘23 to ‘22. The hope is that if Cohen, Cooper, and Zion Nelson are back the line looks much better in fall camp scrimmages and beyond.

The theory that the “energy” was different, or the “speed,” adds up very little. It’s more recency bias and hope than it is reality. Watch both games. Hype was there in ‘22 (Antrel Rolle, Jason Taylor, Ed Reed, Mario’s 1st RETURN!).

I hope it looks different than a really bad team on the field in ‘23 like we saw in ‘22. 5-7 for a second year won’t cut it. Major improvement has to be made. It will take another 5-6 players leaving and 5-6 transferring in for that to happen.