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Takeaways From Miami’s Non-Conference Slate

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Photo Credit: Miami Athletics

Miami enters its bye week as one of the hottest teams in college football. The Hurricanes dominated their non-conference schedule, defeating their opponents by an average of 31.3 points per game.

With a third of the regular season completed, here are five takeaways from UM football.

Early returns on new coordinators are promising

To improve an offense and defense that ranked in the bottom half nationally across many statistical categories last season, Miami brought in new play-callers Shannon Dawson and Lance Guidry.

Through four games, both units have vastly improved.

On offense, UM is seventh in the country in points per game (43.8), eighth in total yards per game (519), 21st in passing yards per game (296.5) and 12th in rushing yards per game (222.5). The offense has been explosive when in need of a chunk play and methodically efficient when controlling the time of possession and playing with a lead.

Defensively, the Hurricanes rank 12th nationally in points allowed per game (12.5), 13th in total yards allowed per game, 66th in passing yards per game (225) and second in rushing yards allowed per game (48). Miami’s secondary has been burned at times, but some of the pass defense’s lackluster ranking can be attributed to UM’s stifling run defense, which has forced opponents to rely on their passing offense.

Tyler Van Dyke is playing great again

Nothing seemed to go right for Van Dyke in his first full year as Miami’s starting quarterback.

Poor play, injuries and an inconsistent supporting cast resulted in Van Dyke having an underwhelming 2022 campaign. With a new quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in Dawson, along with a revamped weaponry and offensive line, the fourth-year quarterback is playing at an All-American-worthy level.

Van Dyke has thrown for 1,042 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception through the first four games of the season. He also ranks second in the country in quarterback rating behind Washington signal-caller Michael Penix Jr.

Freshmen are carving out roles

Miami’s 2023 recruiting class was one of its most successful in recent years. The Hurricanes came away with a hoard of blue-chip prospects in the hope that these players would build the foundation for sustained success in Coral Gables.

Many of these now-freshmen are already making an early impact, with offensive lineman Francis Mauigoa and defensive lineman Rueben Bain Jr. being the most notable contributors.

Mauigoa commanded the starting right tackle position from his second day of spring camp, and Bain has worked his way into a starting role in the absence of Akheem Mesidor.

These two players have spearheaded the 887 snaps that Miami’s true freshmen have played, which 247Sports’ David Lake notes is atop the ACC.

Miami’s offensive line has been dominant

UM replaced four of its five Week 1 offensive line starters from the 2022 season, and the improvements this group has made have been noticeable.

The offensive line is getting incredible push and creating massive holes in the run game, and each of Miami’s five scholarship backs has flourished. All of these players have rushed for at least 5.3 yards per carry. 

Fourth-year runner Henry Parrish Jr. leads this group, rushing for a team-high 331 yards on 7.9 yards per carry. He ran for 139 yards against Temple, which marked a new career best.

Van Dyke has also had a mostly clean pocket to work from because of the offensive line. This unit dominated Texas A&M’s star-studded defensive line in Week 2, contributing to the quarterback’s 374-yard, five-touchdown performance.

Transfer portal players have been impactful

One of the reasons why Florida State has emerged as a top-five team in the country this season is because of its success in the portal. The Seminoles have done an excellent job at identifying and acquiring impactful transfer players in recent years, like quarterback Jordan Travis, defensive lineman Jared Verse and wide receivers Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman.

Similarly to their cross-state rivals, the Hurricanes have also utilized transfer-portal players to help lead their success this year.

Linebacker Francis Mauigoa and defensive back Jaden Davis rank first and third on the team in tackles, and Matt Lee and Javion Cohen are among the veteran leaders on Miami’s highly-rated offensive line.

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