It’s time to take a closer look at the Miami Hurricanes as the transition into the offseason really begins with winter conditioning leading into spring training.
After a 5-7 rating this year, there are definitely plenty of areas that need attention. All three phases have holes – special teams, attack and defense – but there are also reasons to think that next season will be better.
Here are five predictions for the 2023 Miami soccer team, good and bad.
1) The Miami quarterback’s game will show considerable improvement.
Look, no first-year coach is going to do well with their starting quarterback sitting on the bench with a shoulder injury. Once the caller at the start signal became a spectator on the sidelines, it began a rough patch with Jacques Garcia and Jacurri Brown play the position. Too much inexperience between the two led to appalling attacking performances.
Although both are promising for the future, having Tyler Van Dyke back in 2023 means more continuity and more opportunities for big performances. Don’t forget, Van Dyke threw for 300+ yards in six straight games in 2021.
His experience, coupled with his knowledge of the new system with a year to learn it, will be a huge boost to the passing game. Expect him to rebound considerably in 2023 and throw for 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns.
2) The offensive line will have its moments, but not all good ones.
It’s the good and bad side of college football. There is simply no substitute for the five players getting reps with each other. This is the only position where cohesion is essential. Well, after games with two and even three injured offensive linemen last season, there will still be growing pains in 2023.
The Canes bring a great offensive line class with Samson Okunlola and Francois Maugoa open the way. They are still only freshmen. The Hurricanes need older, veteran players to get healthy and work together as much as possible this offseason.
Reps galore, watch out.
Then adding a player like Mauigoa and/or a transfer portal player like Javion Cohen who has already made up his mind to come to Miami from Alabama, maybe this can be the elixir that evokes Miami’s offensive line play.
That being said, it’s hard to believe this will be a cohesive unit. It takes a long time to build chemistry, especially with younger players who will likely be in the starting unit at some point next fall.
Look for Miami’s offensive line to improve next season, but to still have games where they’re not on par, Miami needs them to compete at championship level week after week.
3) Colbie Young becomes an elite receiver.
After his breakout game against Virginia Tech (nine catches for 110 yards and a touchdown), Colbie Young became the main receiver of the Canes. He did well as a freshman in Miami and more production is to come.
He’s going to be better acclimated to offense, Van Dyke, and even just ACC players. It also helps that Xavier Restrepo is back in action. Teams will struggle to choose which player to focus their efforts on.
Combined with Restrepo’s presence in the roster, that experience and confidence for Young will lead to a season of over 50 catches and 10 touchdowns.
4) Miami’s pass rush continues to be excellent.
The Hurricanes just finished a season with 37 sacks. That’s great for a unit gelled by a new coaching staff.
Of note, defensive end Akheem Mesidor will get at least 10 sacks next fall. play next to Nyjalik Kelly, Jahfari Harvey, Leonard Taylor, Jared Harrison Hunte and transfer Thomas Gore definitely helping the cause for Mesidor to reach that sack total (or more).
This group of pass rushers, all in rotation, gives Miami a group of experienced players. Added to list with Rueben Bain and Jaden Waynetwo rookies who look set to make an impact sooner rather than later, give the Canes reason to push for the top 10 in the nation for sacks as a unit.
5) The running backs room sees big changes and better results.
There will be some growing pains with this unit, but overall it’s a set back piece with talent. Which players are involved? Let’s dive into it.
Henry Parrish, Jr. is always the main back. It’s obvious because he’s a very good player and he’s likely to be a star player overall. With the transfer of Jaylan Knighton at SMU, however, the Hurricanes have game time available. In addition, more and more players are vying for this playing time.
But who is the big back that complements Parrish? It will be Citizen of Trevonte after a serious injury last season, or maybe an incoming freshman Marc Flecher? Maybe they both play the role of “big back” for shorts and the goal line, as well as being hammers between tackles whenever Mario Cristobal wants to beat on the first seven of the opponent.
This big back situation will play out and be good for Miami, whichever big back has the most impact. There is something that will help Citizen and Fletcher, and all running backs, produce more.
With Van Dyke back in the lineup and an improved offensive line to help protect him, defenses won’t be able to stack the box so easily. These two factors allow this group of running backs to improve and have a more consistent impact. Now let’s move on to what players can do, as there’s more diversity with more depth.
do not forget Don Chaney, Jr.. It can be a bit of everything. Between tackles, he’s capable, and he can bounce a play out and get yards. After regaining his health and regaining his rhythm, he will be part of the rotation next fall. There is another key player to mention in the preparation ranks.
To bring Chris Johnson allows Miami to insert a home run hitter who is good at running or catching the football. Unable to teach speed 10.45. Defenses will have to adapt to when he is in the lineup or suffer the consequences if he crosses the goal line.
Finally, the impact of this deeper unity than last season (even more so if Citizen is truly ready to play) can’t be overemphasized on the racing game as a whole. It’s the competition that helps. Miami has shown, historically, that when there is competition, the team goes to another level. The running back room of 2023 will be more or less the same and the stats will prove it.
Miami’s rushing game finished 95th with 128.3 rushing yards per game. Next season, that total will be over 180 yards. Even being exactly 180 yards rushing in 2022 would have put the Hurricanes 46th in the nation. It’s a big leap, but Miami has the right mix of players to make it happen.
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