The Hurricanes have completed their spring season and will move forward in preparation to play Alabama in the season opener. While Miami went through the entire Spring without starting quarterback, D’Eriq King, they did show a glimpse of the future. The backup quarterback position battle shows how important this Spring will be as the winner is likely the future starter. Miami also saw improvements on defense with a number of new coaches on that side of the ball.
Fans were excited about getting a first hand look at the quarterback play after the buzz created from the first two Spring scrimmages. They did not disappoint as both put the ball into the endzone and did so without turning the ball over. Redshirt freshman Tyler Van Dyke, completed 12 passes on 17 attempts for one touchdown. The most impressive part of Van Dyke was the consistency and getting the ball out on time with good ball placement. His poise at quarterback is something that Miami’s coaches have praised throughout the spring period.
Without a doubt the star of the Spring game was early enrollee Jake Garcia, the highly touted quarterback out of California. After taking some yelling from offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee after a stalled drive, Garcia showed up. From that point on Garcia would dominate the rest of the game completing 19 of 25 passes. The California native would finish with 252 passing yards but that number should have been well over 300, if not for some crucial drops. It’s clear why Miami made such a big run in the recruiting process after him, even while committed to Southern California. One of the touchdown’s in the red zone was against tight man coverage and Garcia still fit the ball in. Whether it was the starting defense or the backups, Garcia excelled. For a player that was just in high school four months ago, he does not look like a typical freshman.
Offense On The Rise
The quarterbacks definitely stole the show but a noticeable difference was the improved wide receiver play. If we want to be picky, there were some dropped passes but not the usual amount that hindered the Hurricanes last season. Mike Harley, Xavier Restrepo and Keyshawn Smith all finished with touchdown receptions in the spring game. Smith would end with two receptions making highlight reel level plays on both. Charleston Rambo also had a very good showing in the spring game catching every pass thrown his direction. Miami’s offense was limited in personnel as no tight ends were available for the game due to injury or suspension. The running back room also was without Don Chaney, one of the three running backs that received 50 or more carries last season. Jaylan Knighton stepped up in his place scoring the only rushing touchdown on a 27 yard scamper.
Most Spring game formats are set up to benefit the offensive side and Miami’s was no different. That being said, Miami’s defense did have a good showing, especially early on shutting down the running attack. The secondary was without Thorpe award semi finalist, Bubba Bolden, but Avantae Williams looked impressive. Defensively the secondary looks more in sync, something which they’ve struggled with recently.
The Hurricanes have said that they would wait after evaluating the film from the Spring period before deciding whether or not to pursue additional help through the transfer portal. Miami’s defense took a step back last season but the return of Manny Diaz seems to be paying dividends.