Miami quarterback Jacurri Brown is set to return to the Hurricanes team for the 2024 season. Brown spent this past season redshirting behind Tyler Van Dyke and Emory Williams but was thrust into a starting role for the Pinstripe Bowl due to Van Dyke’s transfer and Williams’ injury.
Miami offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson came to the ‘Canes from the Houston Cougars. At Houston, Dawson was the tight ends coach in 2019, before being promoted to passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2020.
Dawson was promoted again for the 2021 season this time to the role of offensive coordinator. Dawson held that role for two seasons before taking the same position with the Hurricanes for the 2023 season.
Dawson and now Arizona Cardinals QB Clayton Tune saw a drastic improvement in Tune’s stats after moving from PGC to OC. Tune improved his yards per attempt by over one yard and his completion percentage by almost 10%. Tune’s TD:INT ratio improved from 15:10 to 40:10 by 2022.
Dawson and Tune made a formidable duo over their final two seasons together at Houston. Tune, a former three-star prospect out of Texas, was brought in to backup D’Eriq King prior to King’s transfer to Miami. In Tune’s freshman season, he completed only 50.4% of his passes on 6.8 yards per attempt and an 8:2 TD:INT ratio. Tune also averaged 1.3 yards on the ground with one score over five games.
After 47 games with the Cougars Tune’s completion percentage moved to 63.9%, his yards per attempt up to 8.0, and his TD:INT ratio to 104:41 (or 2.5:1). Tune also became a more adept runner averaging 3.0 yards per carry with 15 TD’s.
You may be asking, so what does this mean for Mr. Brown? Through two years in Coral Gables, Brown has had two OC’s in Josh Gattis and now Dawson. Brown has played in nine games, with three starts. The former four-star prospect from GA was brought in to backup Van Dyke (Wisconsin).
Brown started his first few games off with a better completion percentage than Tune, hitting on 61.8% of his passes. However, Brown’s yards per attempt are a minuscule 5.4 YPA, and his TD:INT ratio is 4:4 (1:1). Brown is a more skilled runner averaging 4.1 yards per carry with one touchdown.
While Tune was the clear heir apparent to replace King, Brown will have to compete with Emory Williams, and three-star freshman Judd Anderson. Williams should be healthy by spring football and Anderson will enroll early in January per the Miami Herald.
The Catch-22 for Brown is that in order to maximize his talents via the playbook, the playbook might not be a great fit for Williams or Anderson. Emory Williams is a ‘run just enough’ type of athlete and Anderson is a six-foot-six pocket QB that finished his senior season at Warner Robbins (GA) High School.
Here are two concepts that Brown or Williams could run with just a minor adaptation to fit the skill sets of the QB’s.
Bash is a fun run game concept that Miami ran against Rutgers but with little success. It’s one that needs a lot of reps, not just a few during bowl game prep. But once the QB has the read down it’s a real weapon against a defense’s OODA Loop.
Above- you can see the Bash concept ran with a RB-QB combo. The RB comes across the QB away from his pulling guard and tackle. The Q reads the DE (red). If the end sits or goes wide for the DE, the Q pulls the ball and follows his wrapping tackle. If the end chases the pullers, the RB gets the ball and runs an outside zone track.
Dana Holgorsen ran the same concept at Houston with the Cougs with Dawson at OC and King at QB. Brown can use the Lamar Jackson version above.
Above- Because Williams isn’t the runner that Jackson or Brown are, I would use the slot wide receiver like Jacolby George on a jet sweep, and the RB runs the counter. The Q is still reading the DE, but he doesn’t have to be the runner now, he’s just there to handoff to the appropriate option.
Above- This would still be with the Q keeping the counter but you get it. Put a back in pistol or side car and use a hesitation step towards the jet, like the RB would be a lead blocker, then he comes across if the read is for the counter instead.
I’ve brought this concept up a lot for ages. For a team like Miami, using some variation could work for different types of QB’s. If Williams is at QB, run stick with a RB draw. If Brown is at QB, check it to the QB stick. This is a pass-run option (PRO) because the pass option comes before the run.
Above- You can see a RB draw variation of stick-draw. The hope above is that the bubble lures the flat defender outside and the stick route can open up outside the ILB, inside the overhang.
Now for when Brown is at quarterback:
Above- Now you can see a QB draw off the stick-draw concept. If the stick is covered the QB can pull it down and run vs. handoff on a RB draw.
Unless something drastically changes after spring practice, Miami is going to have to ride with Brown, Williams and Anderson as their quarterbacks in ‘24. That’s a pair of three-stars and a third year four-star that’s shown few glimmers of promise in two years.
Mario Cristobal rode QB Justin Herbert to a Rose Bowl victory and Pac-12 Conference Championship in 2019. After Herbert left for the NFL Draft, Cristobal struggled to find another star QB in Eugene, OR. The Ducks QB’s were Tyler Shough, Anthony Brown, Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield.
This might just be the reality with Cristobal at the helm of the Hurricanes. Miami might be stuck recruiting three-star developmental freshmen and hoping for a mid-tier portal QB to transfer in. Will that be enough for the ‘Canes to win the ACC Championship moving forward?