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Mario Cristobal: Dawson Brings History of ‘Explosive Offenses’

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Miami’s offseason addition of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson marked a philosophy change for head coach Mario Cristobal.

Dawson, who called plays at Houston from 2020-22, has experience running an up-tempo offense that features air raid passing concepts. In Cristobal’s first season at Miami, the Hurricanes ran a power spread that focused on controlling the game’s time of possession.

After Miami’s first spring practice on Saturday, Cristobal commended Dawson for his ability to create explosive offenses at his previous coaching stops.

“He’s done it in the air. He’s done it on the ground,” Cristobal said about Dawson. “He’s been able to combine both the principles of getting downhill in the run game and some of the air raid pass principles but a great screen game a great intermediate game.”

Last season at Houston, Dawson commanded the nation’s 25th-ranked offense in yards per game. The Cougars also ranked eighth in passing yards per game.

Cristobal indicated that there will be a “significant change” in Miami’s passing game, which was mediocre in 2022, ranking just 60th in passing offense.

Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke has also taken a liking to the system that Dawson is bringing in.

“I like it. Coach Dawson brings a lot of energy. We go fast, we huddle up. It’s a well-balanced offense. Rip it down the field and also run the ball well, so I’m excited for it.”

Added Van Dyke about the usage of tempo, “You need to mix it up. You got to catch defenses on their toes and it’s good so I’m really excited for the future with it.”

Van Dyke excelled in an up-tempo offense in 2021 under then-offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. He threw for 2,931 yards and 25 touchdowns during this season and looked comfortable in the air raid-based passing offense that Lashlee ran.

Dawson and the Hurricanes are still in the early stages of installing an offense, but the returns of the system so far have been positive.

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