On paper, coming into this season, Miami seemed to be headed for a incremental leap forward on offense. All the major skill players were back. Zac Dysert returns at QB, Thomas Merriweather at running back as well as Armond Robinson and Jamal Rogers at the receiving spots, and all of that behind a line returning all five starters from a year ago. So far there has been improvement, but it remains very limited.
Here are the raw numbers of the Miami offense on a per game basis through five games compared to last season.
Miami does have some talent. I think that Zac Dysert is among the more talented MAC signal callers. Merriweather is a nice back who brings a little something to both the running game and the passing game. Miami's problem is a lot like UC's problems on offense for most of this year, it all starts up front. Lasts years Miami line was without question the worst in the country last year. So far this year they are performing at about the same level. Here are the per game numbers.
The difference between the Lines in my estimation is that while there is ultimately some light at the end of the tunnel in Clifton, UC does have talent on the Line after all, it is just a matter of putting together the right combination. Miami on the other hand is pretty barren. Brandon Brooks is the only Redhawk to garner all conference mention last season. Playing behind that offensive line makes things difficult for the offense. However Mike Haywood's coaching tree is filled with pretty conventional offensive minds. He worked under Gerry DiNardo, Nick Saban and Charlie Weiss so going to the spread option to help the offensive line out. His preference is to go one back or pro style to run to set up the passing game. With this line he can't do it, so Miami has a huge disadvantage game planning. Granted, I have seen just one game of Miami's, against Florida, but it seems that in order to protect his quarterback Miami passes almost exclusively out of the shotgun to buy Dysert that extra half a second to pass. That's why the sacks are down by two per game. The ultimate result of that is that any DC worth his salt will know that when Dysert goes under center it's a run, every time, almost without exception. That's why Miami is currently 115th in rushing yards per game, and 117th in yards per carry. When a team has a tendency that is that overwhelming there is very little that an offensive coordinator can do. That is compounded when you consider that breaking that tendency is probably going to get your QB killed.
Miami might be 3-2 right now but they are not a good offense by any stretch of the imagination. 100th in total offense, 87th in scoring offense, 54th in passing offense, 115th in rushing, and 106th in yards per play. The Redhawks don't do any one thing well, and the best attribute they have, passing the Football isn't that great because Dysert has a tendency to swagger his way into terrible throws and decisions. Put in the simplest terms, Miami's offense isn't going to beat anyone, they need their defense to put them in good spots or they struggle. UC just needs to take care of the football on offense because the Miami defense is going to have a hard time for reasons I will discuss when I cover the defense tomorrow.