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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Miami Redhawks 2023 edition

The season opener is in the rearview mirror. Let’s look back there and see how things went.

Miami (OH) v Miami Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The Miami Hurricanes rolled through the Miami (OH) Redhawks on the way to a 38-3 season-opening victory. It was closer than we’d like for a while, but I guess that’s something we’ll talk about later in this piece.

I pulled double duty and here’s my game recap

Mike Schiffman makes his 2023 debut with his 3 stars of the game.

And now for the main event; let’s dive into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good

  • Winning! IT FEELS GREAT!!!! It’d been 293 days since the Canes won a game (November 12th against Georgia Tech, in case you were wondering).
  • Winning a game AT HOME! The Canes ended the 2022 season on a 5 game losing streak at Hard Rock Stadium. And that was 356 days ago on September 10th of last year (Southern Miss) that the Canes last won at home.
  • QB Tyler Van Dyke. This is more “fine” than good. 17-22 passing for 201 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
  • QB Tyler Van Dyke wasted no time getting on the board and putting the 2022 season behind him. His first pass of the year went for a 44 yard TD to Colbie Young, who had a NICE run after catch to take it to the house.
  • Freshman RB Mark Fletcher Jr. got into the scorebook with his first career touchdown, an untouched 26 yard scamper off left tackle. The blocking is sublime as well.
  • Henry Parrish hit ‘em with that OOOO WEEEE on his 12 yard TD run. Ankle breaker!
  • The defense as a whole. Held Miami (OH) to 215 total yards (164 passing, 51 rushing), 2-12 on 3rd down, and 0-3 on 4th down. Raw numbers and metrics both pointed to the fact that this was a great performance by that unit.
  • The 7 OL sets. Samson Okunlola (86) and Matthew McCoy (81) changed to TE numbers, and joined the formation to add some SERIOUS size in the run game. This was something that worked well when they went to it. I’ll be interested to see how much this is used down the line this season.
  • K Andres Borregales. 3-3 on FGs and consistent with booming kicks out of the endzone on kickoffs. That’ll work.
  • The Offensive Line. Bigger, stronger, better. There’s still work to be done and growth to be seen, but the improved performance was VERY noticeable from the first snap tonight. I love it.
  • Welcome to the show, Dylan Joyce. The new Australian punter (replacing our old Australian punter) had a good debut with 2 punts for 83 yards — a 41.5 yard average.
  • Welcome to the show, Emory Williams. The true freshman backup QB went 3-3 and led Miami on their final TD drive of the night.
  • TACKLING!!!!! Wow this was so much better than last year. Whether you look at the micro (individual player, like James Williams) or macro (whole team), it was markedly better. And that’s SUCH a positive.
  • 1 sack allowed
  • 1 TFL allowed
  • 6 TFLs
  • 2 sacks
  • 4 PBUs
  • 1 QB Hurry
  • 493 yards of offense — 243 passing, 250 rushing
  • 26 first downs
  • 8.1 yards per play
  • 12.2 yards per completion
  • 6.9 (nice) yards per rush
  • Forced 6 Miami (OH) punts
  • 4-4 redzone scoring
  • Held Miami (OH) to 0-1 in the redzone
  • Allowed 4.2 yards per play
  • Allowed 2 yards per rush
  • Held Miami (OH) to 2-12 on 3rd down
  • Held Miami (OH) to 0-3 on 4th down
  • 14 chunk plays — 5 passes (15+), 9 runs (10+) — EXPLOSIVITY!!!!!!!!
  • 5 chunk plays allowed — 3 passes (15+), 2 runs (10+). Considering all the big plays the Canes gave up last year, this was a BIG improvement.
  • Here’s the advanced stats snapshot from gameonpaper. It’s VERY favorable for the Canes.

The Bad

  • A couple breakdowns in the passing defense.
  • 2 really bad false start penalties.
  • A MORONIC unsportsmanlike conduct on Leonard Taylor III. Wait. Nope. That’s going in Ugly.
  • Not finishing drives in the first half. I like having a K like Borregales, but I don’t like having to lean on him because we weren’t finishing drives that much.
  • 3-7 on 3rd down. 43% (rounded up for you math geeks out there) is a number you want vs better competition than this.
  • 5 chunk plays allowed — 3 passes (15+), 2 runs (10+). Still want the number to be lower, if possible.

The Ugly

  • After an early timeout before a 3rd and 2 play, the Canes promptly false started. That can’t happen.
  • Tyler Van Dyke’s first interception. Floated a ball toward Jacolby George on an over route and never saw the cover-2 corner sinking back in zone coverage underneath to pick it off. Not great, Bob.
  • Several false starts and holds on the OL. It was mainly Francis Mauigoa and Anez Cooper who were at fault. Gotta tighten up, gentlemen.
  • An absolutely atrocious unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Leonard Taylor III. Miami (OH) was facing 3rd and forever inside their own 10 yard line and you gift them a first down. This absolutely CANNOT HAPPEN. Especially not from a top-of-the-lineup player like Taylor.
  • 8 penalties for 60 yards. That number has to get down. Far too many to consistently win in spite of.
  • Settling for FGs. Yes, it’s good that Borregales was 3-3. But those need to be touchdowns. Even if on of those drives ends in a TD, we’re talking 40+ to 3 today.

Team Grades

Offense: B

It was largely a vanilla gameplan, but Miami was able to put up 38 points, was just short of 500 yards total offense, and had great splits along the way. I’m going to need to see more from this group (consistency, explosivity) against better competition, but if this is the floor of what we can expect under Shannon Dawson, then I’m pleased.

Defense: A

This was a DOMINANT showing from Lance Guidry’s group. Miami (OH) had very few positive moments, and that’s a credit to the scheme, calls, timing, and physicality of the defense as a whole. The only negatives IMO: no takeaways (not turnovers on downs, interceptions or fumbles recovered), and no shutout. Other than that, 10/10. No notes. Bravo.

Special Teams: A

Borregales 3-3 on FGs. Joyce 42 yard average on 2 punts. And, Brashard Smith had a 40 yard kickoff return on his only attempt. Would have liked a score (touchdown) on specials, but overall, this was a solid game from this unit. Bravo.

Coaching: B+

Improvement!!!! Finally, a game that I’m not calling a fireable offense. Mario Cristobal was cool at the controls. New coordinators Shannon Dawson and Lance Guidry looked to have just the knowledge and skills Miami needed to start to fully utilize the immense talent on the roster. And, the position coaches have done their dollar as well, because player development was seen all over the field when compared to previous performances. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a damn sight better than it’d been in the recent past. And THAT is something worth celebrating, that’s for sure.

That’s it for the initial installment of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the 2023 season. Hop in the comments and let me know your thoughts, and anything I may have missed.

On to Texas A&M we go!

Go Canes