After an abysmal 5-7 season, the Miami Hurricanes will be entering a period like no one has ever seen.
In the modern age of college football an entire roster can be flipped. All 85 players on a team roster is up for grabs like an NFL free agent. However, many who decide to leave won’t have a landing spot when the dust settles.
Now, the question is who does Miami keep and who does Miami let walk? Who will be returning from the coaching staff? Many questions that I’ll attempt to answer.
Who are the foundational players?
Safeties Kam Kinchens and James Williams will be key players to keep in the secondary. DT Leonard Taylor , LB Wesley Bissainthe, DE Ahkeem Mesidor, and DT Darrell Jackson Jr. will be the guys that the defense will be built around. Physical guys who understand the game and have played at a high level at different points in the season. I highly expect these guys to all return for the defense.
Offensively, we can expect QB Tyler Van Dykes, TE Jaleel Skinner, TE Elijah Arroyo, WR Xavier Restrepo, WR Colbie Young, RB Henry Parrish Jr., RB Jaylan Knighton, RB Donald Chaney, OL Jalen Rivers, OL Zion Nelson, WR Breshard Smith, WR Jacolby George, and QB Jacurri Brown
These are the immediate players I see returning for the Canes. Obviously, this list could change if a few of these players see hope and opportunity for success elsewhere.
Again, no one knows when Miami will be good again. It wouldn’t surprise me if a few starters leave seeking better options. Come December 5th the Transfer Portal games begin.
Which coordinator will stay?
It is unknown of head coach Mario Cristobal will seek a change at the coordinator positions. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele might have a little bit more favor heading into the off season compared to his counterpart Josh Gattis.
There’s no secret that the Miami Hurricane offense looked like hot garbage on a sunny summer day. Miami didn’t score a single offensive touchdown in 3 while games. At one point, Miami hadn’t scored a touchdown in 9 quarters of football. For major D1 football in 2022, that stat line is unacceptable.
As much as it was nice to hear that Gattis was an elite coordinator coming in from Michigan, the results on the field say otherwise. While the Michigan Wolverine offense looked even more dangerous without Gattis in 2022 then it did in 2021, Miami’s offense has regressed terribly.
Under former offensive coordinator Rhette Lashlee, Miami’s offense went from 90th in scoring in 2019 to 22nd by 2021. Currently, Miami’s offense sits at 87th.
What change for Miami under Lashlee is that offense was modernized. An up tempo spread offense that helped Miami get their athletes the ball. Under Gattis it seemed to go back to the pro offense.
Fortunately, the goal for Miami was to run a power-spread offense. So, not a traditional pro offense but close enough. What Lashlee did was simplify the offense enough for the players to just play and not worry about the assignments too much. Also, in the second year in Lashlee system the offense performed better.
On the other hand, it could be in the best interest of Coach Cristobal to move forward from Gattis after just one year.
As for Kevin Steele, Miami allowed 5 games of 40+ points to be out on them. Many of those points come from the Miami offense not moving the ball an inch. It’s tough to play defense when your opponent start most of their drives at the 50 yard line or better. At some point, the greatest bend but don’t break defense will crack under the constant pressure.
Hit the transfer portal hard
The Miami Hurricanes suffered in many areas but none more than the offensive line. Some could say the skilled positions need to be upgraded as well. I would agree, but Miami needs to solidify the offensive line some how. News broke last week that Miami is looking to commit $5 million to the transfer portal or NIL.
Unfortunately, obtaining good offensive linemen will not be easy for Miami. The high school recruits that come in won’t be ready, and the really good offensive linemen in college won’t be jumping ship either. My best guess is that Miami will benefit from programs changing coaches.
Miami will also benefit from adding another wide receiver target. Although I believe Miami has some solid young receivers, the Canes could use another a star. Missouri star receiver Dominic Lovett is expected to hit the portal. Lovett finished 3rd in receiving in the SEC.
Florida State showed you what can happen when you utilize the transfer portal the right way. Many of the key stars for FSU this season were transfer portal guys last year. In todays game the entire roster can essentially be rebuilt overnight.