The Hurricanes are entering the bye week after arguably the most disappointing loss in Mark Richt‘s tenure. Miami lost to the Virginia Cavaliers last Saturday when N’Kosi Perry was benched after throwing two interceptions in the first half. Now the Hurricanes enter their bye week with more questions than answers as to what the season may hold. In an attempt to gain some clarity with the team, there are questions for Miami to answer.
Questions For Miami
1. Does Mark Richt Have A Plan With The Quarterbacks?
One of the biggest lures in accepting the head coaching job at Miami was Richt’s return as a playcaller. However at this point the offense appears to be the biggest question mark on the team. In Richt’s only season with Brad Kayaa at quarterback, he had his best season statistically. The offense still sputtered at times due to Kayaa’s immobility. Last season Richt went with first time starter, Malik Rosier, and it has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Even during a ten game win streak last season the Hurricanes offense struggled and was often bailed out by the defense.
After entering the season with Rosier as the starter Richt made the decision to play N’Kosi Perry more and ultimately gave him the starting nod. Richt then seemed to panic in pulling Perry against Virginia after two interceptions. The week before Miami was in a 20 point deficit and he allowed Perry to remain in the game. When Perry has been in, the offense has responded better than with Rosier, but Richt has already decided that Rosier will start against Boston College next week. All of this seems like there isn’t an actual plan moving forward with the two quarterbacks or even the offense.
2. Should Mark Richt Give Up Playcalling Duties?
When the Miami Hurricanes offense has to play good teams they have been outplayed recently. The offense has not scored 30 points against a power five defense since November 18th 2017, (against the Virginia Cavaliers). The play calling has become repetitive and good defenses have seemingly figured Richt out. No offense is without weaknesses but Richt seems to have lost the ability to creatively work around these flaws. Although it is a long shot that Richt would relinquish play calling duties, the Hurricanes offense needs a spark. The Hurricanes are littered with talent among the skill positions on the offensive side of the ball yet can’t turn the potential into production.
3. Should Stacy Searles Be On The Hot Seat?
A big part of the offense’s problem is the fact that the offensive line has struggled against good defensive lines. Against Florida State the line once again struggled allowing five sacks and 13 tackles for loss. When Miami has been able to run the ball, it has been success for the entire team. Consequently, whenever the Hurricanes struggle to run the ball the team has either lost or the game is extremely tight.
Coach Stacy Searles, the offensive line coach, initially was coaching players he didn’t recruit. In his third season at Miami, only two of his own recruits have been able to earn starting positions. The Hurricanes need to see some development at this position if there is ever going to be a chance at Miami being a top ten team.
4. What Is Going On With The Running Backs?
Going with the trend of offensive struggles, the next position with questions is the running backs. Currently the leading rushers on the team are Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas. Nothing out of the ordinary there but a closer look shows that the quarterback, Rosier, leads the team in rushing touchdowns with six. Through seven games this season, Homer only has one rushing touchdown. Dallas has two touchdowns and is tied with five star freshman running back, Lorenzo Lingard. The irony is that Lingard hasn’t rushed the ball since Miami played FIU and his two touchdowns were against Savannah State. So once again another position has been relatively quiet against good competition.
Speaking of Lingard, the Hurricanes have yet to show that they can get him involved. During spring testing he was clocked at a 4.27, in the 40 yard dash and still hasn’t seen offensive touches. This goes back to the Hurricanes game planning or lack thereof.
5. Why Are The Hurricane Special Teams Units So Bad?
This entire season Miami has been playing with fire regarding their special teams units. Eventually the unit got burned against Florida State on a punt return, but the question remains why are the groups playing so horridly? Against LSU the punting was a big issue. It allowed the LSU offense to play on their side of the field for most of the game. Zach Feagles has been benched in favor of Jack Spicer. However even on some of his good punts the coverage hasn’t been satisfactory.
Miami has plenty of adjustments that need to be made on these units or it could cost Miami another game.
Most of the questions were centered around the offense and deservedly so. Miami’s defense ranks first in total defense and is tied for second in turnovers. There is only so much that a defense can do though, if the offense makes some improvements the Hurricanes could still win it’s division.