Tag Archive for: Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes: Duke QB Riley Leonard will challenge ‘Canes

The Miami Hurricanes are set to take on the Duke Blue Devils as they look to bounce back from Saturday’s loss to Virginia Tech. Miami will have their work cut out for them, as they will be faced with another challenging quarterback in Riley Leonard.

Leonard has 1,557 passing yards, nine touchdowns, and four interceptions on the season. He played effectively in Duke’s loss to North Carolina last Saturday. He went 20-of-31 on the afternoon, throwing for 245 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.

He is an accurate quarterback, as he has a 66% completion percentage on the season. That puts him third in the ACC behind Syracuse’s Garrett Schrader, and UNC’s Drake Maye.

Leonard is accurate with the football, and does not make mistakes. This certainly resembles another quarterback that the Hurricanes have already faced in Maye They did a decent job of containing him,  as they intercepted him twice.

A tough test for Miami Hurricanes

Leonard has several traits that make him a bit quarterback. He throws a very tight spiral, which allows for the ball to get to the receivers quickly. In addition to his throwing motion, he goes through progressions quickly, and identifies his reads before the pass rush can get into the backfield.

He can also run a little bit, as he has 420 rushing yards on the year. He had 130 yards against UNC last Saturday, and has rushed for at least 60 yards in four games this season.

The Miami Hurricanes defense is going to have to be ready on Saturday. Leonard is a multi-skilled quarterback who and beat you in many ways. It is going to be a bit of a challenge, particularly for the Miami pass rush. However, they have playmakers and athletes that can help contain Leonard. It won’t be easy however, and if they do not contain him, he will take advantage of that. Making him uncomfortable in the pocket is going to have to be their top priority.

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Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes: Colbie Young is viable big-play threat

There were some positives to take away from the Miami Hurricanes‘ win over Virginia Tech on Saturday. One of them was the play of wide receiver Colbie Young. Young played a big part in Miami’s offensive successes, and he also established himself as a deep threat for the offense.

Young played at a high level on Saturday. He caught nine passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. A 37-yard catch was his longest of the afternoon. Many fans have been clamoring to see him play for quite a while now. They certainly got their wish, and he played at a high level.

Coming into the game, he had three receptions for 43 yards against UNC last Saturday. He more than doubled that production against Virginia Tech.

Not only did he perform well in terms of production, he looked extremely comfortable while doing it. A one-handed catch was one of the highlights of his afternoon. It really highlighted his athleticism and coordination, as well as his big-play ability.  The fact that quarterback Tyler Van Dyke targeted him often was certainly a good sign. Establishing that rapport between the two will allow the Miami offense to have a  receiver they can rely on.

If Young can establish himself as a downfield threat for the Hurricanes, this would be extremely good news. Miami has been looking for that big-play weapon this season. The departures of wide receivers Charleston Rambo and Mike Harley took away those playmakers. This season, it’s been about trying to find production at the wide receiver position. The injuries at the position have created a lack of big-play threats.

Hopefully, Young will continue to establish his role in this offense. His emergence could be huge for the wide receiver room. He has the ability to be an X-factor, and Miami should continue to use him that way.

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Miami Hurricanes need to focus on Virginia Tech WR Kaleb Smith

The Miami Hurricanes will have their work cut out for them when they take on the Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday. Virginia Tech is not exactly an offensive powerhouse. They rank 13th in the ACC in passing offense. They average 220.5 passing yards per game. They do however have a potent wide receiving weapon in Kaleb Smith.

Smith has 25 receptions for 402 yards and two touchdowns. He averages 16.1 yards per reception. He is coming off a game against Pittsburgh in which he really exploded. He caught nine passes for 152 yards, averaging 16.9 yards per reception. A 37-yard grab was his longest of the afternoon.

He was named the ACC’s Wide Receiver of the Week for his big day last Saturday.

He is somebody that the Hurricanes defense is going to have to watch out for. The secondary is going to have to play at a high level in particular. There were a couple of instances last Saturday where coverage completely broke down. To be fair, they improved in the second half. Missed assignments cannot happen against a receiver like Smith. He is a tremendous yards-after-catch receiver, and he can make defenders miss with ease.

He also is a deep threat. He is not the fastest wide receiver, but he is great at getting out of his breaks, and locating the football mid-route. Smith is somebody that Miami is definitely going to have to watch out for. He is the main playmaker of the Virginia Tech offense, and can be a game-changer.

I’ll be interested to see what kind of impact he has in Saturday’s game. The Miami corners are going to be in for a challenge. This Virginia Tech offense is not explosive, but Smith allows them to have some form of dynamic playmaking ability. He could present a challenge to Miami, especially as that secondary unit continues to find their footing.

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Miami Hurricanes: Tyler Van Dyke bounces back in loss

I understand that people aren’t going to find much optimism from the Miami Hurricanes’ loss yesterday. A loss, is a loss. There is no sugar coating that. However, there was one particular positive I took away from Saturday’s game. That was the play of quarterback Tyler Van Dyke

Let’s face it, he didn’t look like himself against Middle Tennessee State. All throughout the bye week, we were wondering if he would be able to answer back and put together a solid game against a strong North Carolina team. Saturday, I believe he answered the question with a resounding yes.

He went 42-of-57 on the afternoon, throwing for 496 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. He looked extremely sharp throughout the course of the day. One of the things that was noticeable was his ability to make quick reads. He was decisive in where he wanted to throw the football, and that resulted in a lot of players having big days.

Take for example Will Mallory. The tight end was a player that I highlighted earlier in the week as somebody that Miami needed to get the football to. The quarterback certainly did so, and the tight end recorded eight catches for 115 yards.

Van Dyke’s big day was also aided by the Miami Hurricanes’ stellar job at utilizing the running backs in the passing game. Henry Parrish caught seven passes for 54 yards and a touchdown. Jaylan Knighton caught two passes for 56 yards, including a 41-yard catch that showcased the quarterbacks in the arm.

Van Dyke looked like the quarterback that we saw last season. His reads were quick and sharp, and his throws were tight. He got the ball out quickly, and made others around him better. Just look at the statistics sheet. Breshard Smith caught five passes for 59 yards. Frank Ladson caught eight passes for 59 yards. Michael Redding caught four passes for 50 yards, while Colbie Young caught three passes for 43 yards.

When Van Dyke is at his best, he makes quick reads and spreads the ball around. He did that on Sunday and he put on a show. Yes, he threw the interception on the final drive. However, that shouldn’t take away from an overall great performance on Saturday. He was at his best, during a week when he really needed to be. Here’s to hoping he can keep it up.

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Miami Hurricanes need to involve Will Mallory early and often Saturday

The Miami Hurricanes take on the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday. There are many things Miami needs to do if they want to have success in this game. One of them is to feed the ball to Will Mallory at a higher rate.

It’s not as if Mallory isn’t performing. Statistics and the eye test say otherwise. Mallory currently has 12 catches for 127 yards, and is averaging 10.6 yards per reception. He is coming off a four-catch 50-yard performance against middle Tennessee State last time out. The tight end also had a very solid game against Texas A&M on September 17. He caught six passes for 56 yards. if nothing else, he’s been solid.

Mallory has produced for Miami Hurricanes

Mallory is producing when he has been given opportunities. It just seems like there hasn’t been enough opportunities for him. This is something that needs to change, especially as the Miami Hurricanes try to find a consistent and reliable weapon on the outside.  The tight end is a quarterback’s best friend, and allowing Mallory to really showcase his skill set can make life much easier for the offense.

As far as Saturday is concerned, Miami can take advantage of the North Carolina defense. The Tar Heels give up 238 passing yards per game . That puts them seventh overall in the ACC. That is certainly not the best number, but it’s also not the worst number. There will be opportunities for Miami to move the ball down the field.

This defense is one that I feel like quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and a player like Mallory can really take advantage of. The Miami offense needs to move the ball down the field and score points. Getting the ball to Mallory will help them accomplish that.  Mallory is very good after the catch, and this is a game where if you can just feed him the ball, he can make things happen.

It’s not just enough to get him the ball either. The Miami Hurricanes have to do it early and they have to do it often. Establishing him as a weapon early on will only do good things for the offense. He has the ability to be a key part of the game. He just hasn’t been able to do it for an entire game this season.

If the Miami Hurricanes want to keep pace with Carolina on Saturday, all their weapons need to be involved. That includes Mallory. I’ll be intrigued to see how he is utilized on Saturday.

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Miami Hurricanes: Pass rush needs to be key focus against UNC

The Miami Hurricanes will have their hands full with the North Carolina Tar Heels this weekend. The Tar Heels have a potent offense, and it starts with their quarterback, Drake Maye.

Maye has thrown for 1,594 yards, 19 touchdowns, and an interception so far this season. He is coming off a game against Virginia Tech that saw the Tar Heels win by a 41-10 margin.  The quarterback was a huge reason why they were able to come away with the resounding victory. He went 26-of-36 on the afternoon, throwing for 363 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 10.1 yards per pass.

Maye will certainly present a challenge to the Miami Hurricanes’ defense. The Miami passing defense has struggled a bit. They rank at the bottom of the ACC in yards allowed per game at 251. They rank in the middle of the ACC with 10 sacks, tied with Virginia Tech and Boston College in that number.

Miami Hurricanes pass rush has been quiet

Miami needs to establish more of a pass-rushing presence on Saturday. Jafari Harvey is the leading pass rusher with two sacks on the season. That certainly needs to change. Pass-rushing has been a bit quiet over the past couple of games. They did have two sacks against middle Tennessee State. One came from Corey Flagg, and the other came from Daryl Porter Jr.

More weapons than Maye

Maye is not the only reason why the pass-rush needs to be effective on Saturday. UNC also has several capable playmakers. They don’t necessarily have a top wide receiver. They have multiple players that can make big plays. Take for example their tight end, Bryson Nesbit. He leads the team with 287 receiving yards and three touchdowns on the season. He averages 16.9 yards per catch.

Josh Downs is the team’s leader in receiving touchdowns with four. He has 230 yards on the season, and averages 10.5 yards per reception.

They also have explosive weapons that have not gotten involved in the passing game as much. Antoine Greene is one of them. He only has seven receptions, but has 209 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

Pressure on the quarterback will need to be a priority for Saturday. Guys like Harvey and Flagg, among others, will need to step up once again. If they do not, the Miami Hurricanes could be in for a long day. Allowing Maye to sit in the pocket and have time to make his reads is a recipe for disaster.

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Miami Hurricanes need RBs to move chains in passing game

Much ado has been made about the struggles surrounding the Miami Hurricanes’ offense. Perhaps the most mystifying part of the offense is the lack of involvement by running backs in the passing game.

The running backs have been a key part of the team, as the running game has been a source of strength for Miami.  However, there is a lack of utilizing be running backs as pass-catchers within this offense.

Henry Parrish Jr. is the leader for the running backs in terms of receiving. He has six catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. Thad Franklin has three catches for 27 yards, while Jaylan Knighton has two catches for three yards.

That’s not to say this offense is bad. They are not bad at all. Sure, the playcalling is mystifying at times. However, the Hurricanes are averaging 448.8 yards per game. That is sixth in the ACC.  That’s pretty good, if you ask me.

Getting running backs involved would benefit Miami Hurricanes

Miami needs to get the running backs more involved in the passing game. Quarterback play is struggling right now, and the wide receiver position is still trying to find that top wideout. Throwing more balls to the running backs could be ideal, as it would give Tyler Van Dyke and Jake Garcia safe throws, and help move an offense that is struggling.

The problem is, running backs as receiving options aren’t prevalent in a Josh Gattis-led offense. Take last year’s Michigan team for example. Running back Hassan Haskins had 18 catches for 131 yards. That averages out to 7.3 yards per reception. Blake Corum had  24 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown. That averages out to 5.9 yards per reception.

Those numbers are not bad by any means. However, the lack of volume in terms of receptions certainly signals that running backs are the fourth or fifth  passing option in a Gattis-led offense. Gattis preferred to use his running backs primarily as just that at Michigan last year, and he’s doing the same with Miami right now.

This, in my opinion, needs to change. Miami does not have a top wide receiver right now. Miami also has issues at the quarterback position. Involving the running backs more would allow the quarterbacks to get safe throws and move the chains.

Simply put, it’s something Josh Gattis should look into sooner rather than later.

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Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes rushing attack is undoubtedly here to stay

Yes, Saturday night’s loss was a tough one for the Miami Hurricanes. However, there were some good things despite the loss. The play of running backs Henry Parrish Jr.  and Jaylan Knighton stood out.

Parrish carried the football 16 times for 85 yards, and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. Miami’s game plan may have been a bit too conservative at times, but production out of Parrish Saturday night was a guarantee.

It’s been that way for the entire season to this point. He has 53 carries for 300 yards and four touchdowns on the year.

He ran with conviction. He ran physically, and was quick and decisive through the holes. It’s interesting to watch and see just how physically he can run, as well as his speed when he initially hits the holes.  He is the definition of a workhorse, and he showed that on Saturday night.

Knighton helps pace Miami Hurricanes ground game

Jaylan Knighton had a great night on the ground as well. He was able to carry the ball 14 times for 77 yards, and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. This was a game where we weren’t sure if he was going to get a ton of carries on Saturday.

He certainly did, running the football 14 times for 77 yards, and averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He looked comfortable when he had the football, and gave Miami a nice complementary running back on a night when the offense struggled a bit.

It’s always good to have multiple running backs who you can count on over the course of the game. A productive night for Knighton was important for him to get back into the swing of things.

Overall, we learned a lot about the running game on Saturday night despite the loss. For one, Parrish is an X-factor type of running back.  Secondly, the Miami Hurricanes have reliable depth at the position. It was encouraging to see them play well against a tough opponent, and hopefully this is something they can build off of.

This is similar to the type of strategy Josh Gattis employed at Michigan. The use of the running back was prevalent in his offense. A formidable ground game could do wonders for Miami, as they look to run a balanced offense.

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Miami Hurricanes: Xavier Restrepo injury means ‘next man up’

A bit of unwelcome news came for the Miami Hurricanes on Thursday, as it was announced at wide receiver Xavier Restrepo would be out of Saturday’s game against Texas A&M due to a foot injury. The timetable of his injury is unknown.

This is a big blow for Miami, at the very least for Saturday. Restrepo was emerging as the Miami Hurricanes’ top receiver, and his statistics were proof of that. He leads the program in receiving through two games this season. Restrepo was becoming Tyler Van Dyke’s security blanket and a consistent weapon this season.

He has caught 11 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown. Also apparent has been his ability to stretch the field, as he is averaging 15.6 yards per reception.

Who can step up for Miami Hurricanes?

Now, it’s going to be about who is stepping up for Miami at wide receiver. There are a couple of candidates to do so. Michael Redding is one of them. He caught three passes for 45 yards against Southern Miss last weekend. He was also able to record two catches for 31 yards and a touchdown against Bethune-Cookman in the opener.

Brashard Smith could be another candidate as well. He caught four passes for 53 yards in last week’s game against Southern Miss. He showed he had the ability to spread the field.

Last but not least, Keyshawn Smith could be another big factor for the Hurricanes with Restrepo out. He is coming off a performance that saw him recorded three catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. He did a nice job of getting involved, and averaged 16.3 yards per reception.

Miami does have depth at wide receiver. However, Restrepo was really coming into his own as Tyler Van Dyke’s favorite target. Now, it will be up to the three mentioned above. as well as others,  to get the job done.

At the very least, this could help Miami figure out what type of depth they have at wide receiver. This is an opportunity to see if another player can emerge, and become a complementary piece at the position when Restrepo returns. Here’s to hoping the latter will be good to go sooner rather than later.


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Miami Hurricanes: Mario Cristobal’s recruiting vision crystal clear

There were many strong takeaways from Miami Hurricanes media day on Tuesday. One of the things that I really was intrigued by was Mario Cristobal’s view on recruiting.

It has been a big storyline ever since this entire coaching staff got to Coral Gables. Miami did a good job of getting impact talent towards the end of the 2022 class. They carried that momentum over to the 2023 group, which currently ranks ninth overall in the country per the 247Sports Team Rankings.

The 2023 class has one five-star recruit and eight four-star recruits. It’s safe to say that this staff has been working hard on the recruiting trail. Nevertheless, Cristobal is not satisfied with the job the program has done so far in the recruiting department. He expanded upon that idea on Tuesday per Manny Navarro of The Athletic.

The Miami Hurricanes vision is clear

The new coaching staff hasn’t had a ton of time to build relationships. Nevertheless, the body of work that they have put together so far in the 2023 class alone speaks volumes. When you look at the level of talent that’s committed to Miami, there are some premier players there.

Cristobal’s quote indicates a clear vision for Miami Hurricanes recruiting. If this is an incomplete process, then it’s going to be exciting to see the finished product. That 18-24 month timeline should yield fantastic results with this coaching staff. The amount of connections that this staff has, both in Florida and across the country, should definitely help make this next year to two years very fruitful.

We have seen what the staff has done in a short amount of time. They should be able to put the program in a spot where they can have top-five recruiting classes every year. it starts in the state of Florida, and Cristobal in particular knows it well.

The blueprint for consistent, successful recruiting is being set, There is a clear vision here for the goals the coaching staff wants to accomplish on the recruiting trail. This should give Miami Hurricanes fans a reason to be excited, because this staff not only knows how to recruit, but develop as well.

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