Miami did something no other team in college football accomplished last season. The Hurricanes ended the season as the only team invited to a bowl game to be held without a point. After finishing 90th in scoring offense, that was enough for head coach Manny Diaz to make some changes offensively. The biggest change is the arrival of D’Eriq King.
As bad as things were last season, and it was bad, Miami now returns a great amount of experience. The Hurricanes get a major upgrade at the main position where Miami has struggled which is at quarterback. D’Eriq King comes to Miami from Houston where in 2018 he accounted for 50 touchdowns. That production is even more impressive because the Hurricanes as a team only scored 43 touchdowns last season.
How Does D’Eriq King Make Miami A Threat?
The Hurricanes are going away from the pro style offense of old and installing the spread offense. In addition to playing in more space, Miami is emphasizing playing at an up tempo pace. This bodes well for the Hurricanes as they can use the humidity of South Florida to their favor. New offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee comes over from SMU where his offense averaged close to 80 plays per game. It was that pace coupled with more explosive plays that allowed the Mustangs to average almost 42 points per game. That was an allure with King, who played in a similar system in 2018 at Houston.
One thing that Lashlee did not have at SMU was a quarterback with King’s mobility. In addition to throwing for 36 touchdowns, he also ran for 14 touchdowns. Teams having to use an extra defender to focus on King allows Miami’s playmakers more opportunities for one on one coverage. Playing at the pace at which Lashlee’s offense has displayed also forces the defense to simplify their scheme because there is less time to communicate pre- snap. Prior to practice being stopped due to the Coronavirus, Miami was impressed with King’s leadership ability. Spectators from their practices believed that King showed the ability to command Miami’s offense the best.
Can Miami Make A Run At The Coastal Title?
The Miami defense ranked 23rd in the nation, allowing about 20 points per game, a boost from the Hurricanes offense could net Miami more wins. Much like the other teams in the Coastal defense hasn’t been the problem for the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are by far one of the most talented teams in the Coastal, although that hasn’t meant much in recent years. After dealing with primarily back to back years of freshman quarterbacks, the Hurricanes will now have a fifth year starter with a proven track record.
Even with seven losses last season, the scores show how close the Hurricanes were in those games. Five of those losses were within one score, that should be an advantage for the Hurricanes this season with a more veteran team. The schedule this season also favors Miami with a number of teams losing key players that helped defeat the Hurricanes last season. The Hurricanes have shown what kind of team they can be in recent years only losing one game when the team scores 30 or more points.
Miami has a new system that may take some time to get used to but the opening schedule isn’t that tough. Having King at quarterback with an offensive line that returns all but one starter helps the skill players. With better leadership and a system in which the athletes on the team will be featured sounds like a solution to past problems. Collegiate teams in the state of Florida using a spread offense has shown that it can be successful.