Miami’s loss to Duke last Saturday is a new low under Mark Richt. It was the first time since 1975 that Miami lost at home against the Blue Devils. With losing comes criticism, but for Richt this marks the third three game losing streak he’s had at Miami. In previous weeks it was former players such as Warren Sapp declaring Miami “dead under Richt”. The scrutiny has only intensified after the Duke loss, and potential recruits are now noticing as well.
Criticism is Deserved
For the better part of three seasons now Miami fans have had to watch lackluster offenses take the field. This season has been arguably the worst offensive performance in a decade. In the last three weeks Miami hasn’t scored more than 14 points. This falls squarely on the shoulders of the playcaller. Richt wanted to return to playcalling when he took the job, but the experiment hasn’t benefited either party. Although Thomas Brown is the offensive coordinator, Richt has the final say.
Another point of disapproval among fans is the fact that Richt has his son, Jon, as the quarterbacks coach. The play of Malik Rosier has warranted boos from the crowd every time he’s touched the ball, but he continues to start at quarterback. Next season Miami will have three quarterbacks on the roster, barring any attrition, with only one in N’Kosi Perry that has any real experience. Having felt cheated out of any real accomplishment this season, moving forward it would be to Miami’s benefit to find the future at the position. True freshman Jarren Williams is still eligible to play in three games without losing his redshirt for next season.
The offensive line is another position where the Hurricanes have struggled. Although it’s a position where the future looks promising, Miami is still in dire need of upgrading at multiple positions. Offensive line coach Stacy Searles has also received his fair share of criticism after two full years of recruiting and failing to find a consistent lineup.
Recruiting is Trending Down
Losing and looking inept on the offensive end is a bad combination when trying to lure players to your school. On Monday Miami lost the commitment of Marcus Crowley, a running back, who had been committed for 11 months. Crowley parted with Miami after his official visit to Columbus.
This is only one casualty of the recent play, and Miami is in dangerous territory. With the Early Signing Day period looming in December, Richt has to keep his current crop of players committed. Many doubt that Richt can reel in more coveted players that leaning towards Miami earlier in the season.
Coming off of a season where Miami had a top ten recruiting class, this will be disappointing. Look for Miami to be busy through the traditional Signing Day period, in February, if top targets head elsewhere.
This offseason will be big for the future of the Miami Hurricanes program. If the athletic department is serious about becoming elite in football, there will be changes made. Athletic Director Blake James will be in a tough position because Richt received a contract extension last season. Consequently, that is also the reason why he will need to force Richt’s hand at making a change offensively. If the offense can produce, Miami can be a top ten team.
Furthermore on the point of offensive production is the fact that Miami is really young in key positions offensively. After the career ending injury to Ahmon Richards, Miami has depended on true freshman to replace his role. That is the case in many positions, including first year offensive lineman D.J. Scaife. Brevin Jordan was the only tight end dressed versus Duke after injuries mounted at that position.
The depth on this team is also in dire need since Richt’s first class in 2016 is almost virtually nonexistent. Only nine players remain from Richt’s 19 signees from that class. Miami’s necessary reliance on their youth puts them in a tough situation on the field.
While there’s promise in youth, there’s disappointment in the moment for the Miami Hurricanes.
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