The Hurricanes finished the 2019 season as the only bowl team to be held scoreless during the bowl season. In the first season under Manny Diaz, Miami finished with a 6-7 record and on a three-game losing streak. That offseason brought many different changes from coaches to notable additions from the transfer portal. One year later, Miami finished third in the ACC going 8-3 with every loss coming against ranked teams.
Miami Hurricanes Offense Improved In Year Two Under Manny Diaz
Since the arrival of Diaz in 2016, the defense has been miles ahead of the offense. One of the main reasons has been Miami continuing to run a pro-style system and having inexperienced quarterbacks. That would change under Rhett Lashlee as offensive coordinator and bringing in D’Eriq King as the starting quarterback. Miami adopted an up-tempo philosophy that better suited the offense and improved the team overall.
Miami went from averaging 25 points in 2019 to 34 points in 2020 which ranked the offense 26th in points per game. The improvement was evident, in 2019 the Hurricanes only eclipsed over 30 points three times. This season Miami scored over 30 points in seven out of the 11 games in which the team played.
The King Effect
The dual-threat element of King also added another dimension to the offense and helped Miami’s offense take a big step in improving. Several players for Miami were able to break out and reach career highs with King leading. Miami’s running backs combined for 1,225 yards with Cam’Ron Harris getting the majority of the carries. Harris finished the season with 631 rushing yards and became the first running back since 2017 to have ten rushing touchdowns. The passing attack had flashes of what it could be if the players become more consistent. Senior wideout Mike Harley finished the season with 799 yards, which is the highest mark since 2016. Standout tight end Brevin Jordan played the least games in his career this season yet managed to finish with career highs in several categories. Jordan set new marks in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.
The ability for the offense to keep mistakes at a minimum will help maximize the potential of its growth. The Hurricanes have long struggled with turning the ball over especially in the last decade. King’s leadership and decision making paid off with having the fewest interceptions thrown since 2004. This feat is even more impressive factoring in that this offense did not have a spring period to get acclimated.
The Hurricanes face major hurdles offensively next season as the opening game next season is against Alabama. To further complicate matters is the injury to King in the Cheez-It bowl which will more than likely keep him out of spring football. The good news is that historically, Lashlee led offenses tend to have drastic improvements in their second season. Miami is still awaiting news on whether Jordan or Harley will return for next season.