Manny Diaz took over the Miami program last season and put his team in position to exceed expectations after a big win over Louisville late in the season. However, his team went on to lose the last three games which included being shutout in their bowl game by Louisiana Tech. Diaz’s offense was nowhere near what it should have been and that led to a change at Offensive Coordinator. Rhett Lashlee has come in to utilize all of the speed and athleticism Miami has and after one game, there seems to be some improvement.
The biggest transfer of the off season was arguably D’Eriq King leaving Houston for Miami. King is an outstanding athlete who has shown an ability to be consistent from an accuracy standpoint. In 2018, King finished the season with 50 total touchdowns while completing 63.5% of his passes. He’s the real deal and he’s played well in his career against Power Five competition.
Louisville will have to use a spy against King as he is always a threat to take off and run. Miami also did a good job with designed runs for him on the outside and up the middle. It’s really hard to defend a guy who has the arm strength to make all the throws and great running ability. Miami seems to have a goal of exploiting all that he can do in their offense.
Miami ran the ball really well against UAB and they used a few different backs. Cam’Ron Harris had a big game with 134 yards though 66 of them came on one long run. Harris had a strong showing in the game last year with 78 yards on 8 carries and he has a tendency to hit big runs. Louisville will need to keep Miami’s backs in check to force King to beat them with his arm.
The Canes will also play two freshmen in the backfield at times this weekend. Jaylan Knighton is a smaller back with great speed and quickness. He is a threat to break a long run at any time and will make guys miss if he gets into space. Donald Chaney averaged 6.5 yards per carry last week. He is a bigger back at 210 pounds but has good speed as well. Miami ran these guys a lot against UAB and I expect them to try to do the same this week.
Miami still has a bunch of talent on the outside but they didn’t really utilize them much last week. Dee Wiggins seems to be the top target as of now with Mike Harley and Mark Pope being the big play guys who can play inside or outside. Pope is a guy that can take a short play and turn it into a big play with his quickness. Louisville will need to keep he and Harley in check as the speed guys.
Wiggins is the more consistent option for the offense while also having the size to make a play on the deep ball. The biggest threat for this offense is Brevin Jordan at Tight End. Jordan has great size as well as outstanding speed for a Tight End. Miami got a couple of nice gains from him last week as he led the team in yards in the game. Louisville didn’t cover the middle of the field all that well against WKU, so they need to identify where Jordan is and make sure he is keyed on.
The Hurricane’s Offensive Line is still pretty green after a year where they just threw young guys out there and let them learn on the job. They’ve been aided by grad transfers but they gave up some negative plays last week as well as a couple of sacks. UAB has a strong defense, so that isn’t something to hang your head over, but if this Louisville defense has improved up front like they appeared to be last week, this Offensive Line has to play better.