Miami football: It's not the report card Canes wanted
If you are a Miami Hurricanes fan, perhaps you should read this with just an eye open.
It’s time to grade Miami’s brutal 2022 season, which for Canes fans won’t be a fun exercise.
Here are the grades:
Tyler Van Dyke, who was sensational during his 2021 college football debut season, had a rough year. His injury against Duke in Miami’s 7th game wrecked the Hurricanes’ season.
But even before he went down, Van Dyke struggled. He couldn’t get Miami into the end zone during an embarrassing 17-9 loss at then-No. 24 Texas A&M. Then, he was somehow subpar during a home loss to Middle Tennessee State, completing just 16 of 32 passes for 138 yards, a touchdown and 2 interceptions.
Once he went down, things got way worse for Miami as backup Jake Garcia tossed 4 interceptions in just 115 passes. Third-stringer Jacurri Brown passed Garcia on the depth chart.
However, Brown threw 3 interceptions in just 45 passes.
Running back: D
The Canes haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Mark Walton during 2016. They haven’t had a 900-yard rusher since Travis Homer did it during 2017 and 2018.
This year, Henry Parrish Jr. led Miami with just 616 yards. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry, and Miami wants its top back at about 6.0, which is where Homer was during 2018.
Miami’s 2022 backup, Jaylan Knighton, was benched after a fumble but then returned and finished strong. He had 423 yards and a 5.4 average.
Thad Franklin Jr. didn’t get many chances and finished with 209 yards and a 4.2 average. Don Chaney Jr. missed the first 11 games because of injury and got just 2 carries. After 322 yards and a 4.7 average as a freshman during 2020, Chaney has been injury-prone, getting just 13 carries in 2 years. That’s a shame because he was a star recruit when he signed with Miami.
TreVonte’ Citizen, another star recruit, missed his entire freshman season because of injury.
Wide receiver/tight end: D
The injury to wide receiver Xavier Restrepo prior to Miami’s 1st loss, to Texas A&M, was crushing. He came back late in the season, but it was too late by then.
Tight end Will Mallory was Miami’s offensive MVP, but the injury to his primary backup, Elijah Arroyo, took away 2-tight end formation options.
At wide receiver, Colbie Young emerged in midseason, but others such as KeyShawn Smith, Romello Brinson, Michael Redding Jr., Jacolby Young and Frank Ladson Jr. didn’t do enough.
Offensive line: D
The problems began when left tackle Zion Nelson – a high-round NFL prospect – was injured before the start of the season. He never got on the field.
After that, talented left guard Jalen Rivers missed 3-plus games, and center Jakai Clark sat out a pair of contests while injured.
Left tackle John Campbell and right tackle DJ Scaife were warriors, playing all 12 games. But, overall, this unit struggled to open holes for the running game, and pass protection was far from brilliant.
Defensive line: C
This was the deepest unit on the team, and there was quality, too, particularly with Akheem Mesidor and Leonard Taylor, who tied for the team lead with 10.5 tackles for loss. Mesidor also led the team with 7 sacks.
Jahfari Harvey was second with 5.5 sacks.
Mitchell Agude, Darrell Jackson, Nyjalik Kelly and Jared Harrison-Hunte combined for 20 tackles for loss.
Corey Flagg Jr. tied for the team lead with 10.5 tackles for loss. But a 2nd linebacker failed to emerge until late in the season when Miami freshman Wesley Bissainthe got some action.
Defensive backs: C
Safety Kamren Kinchens tied for 2nd nationally with 6 interceptions. He also led Miami in tackles.
Fellow safety James Williams, a beast at 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, was 2nd on the team in tackles.
Cornerback Tyrique Stevenson led Miami with 7 passes defended.
All 3 of those players eventually should end up in the NFL, and cornerbacks DJ Ivey and Te’Cory Couch were solid.
But, with all that talent, the Canes should’ve been better on defense overall and pass defense in particular. Reminder: They allowed at least 40 points in 5 games.
Special teams: B
With the exception of the 17-9 loss to Texas A&M, this unit was solid all season. In the Aggies game, Miami lost a fumble on a punt return, had a field-goal attempt blocked and missed a 2nd field -goal try, although that was from 49 yards.
For the season, Andres Borregales was perfect on extra-point attempts and made 85% on field goals (17-for-20).
Punter Lou Hedley averaged 45.3 yards, and Key’Shawn Smith averaged 30.5 yards on 21 kickoff returns.