Where’s That Panic Button?
Well folks, it happened. It’s Labor Day, a tropical storm is drowning South Florida, and the Miami Hurricanes are 0-1. After a lot of time on social media last night I began to notice a common theme in the conversation amongst Canes fans. Is this a Mark Richt issue or a Malik Rosier issue?
What We Know About Mark Richt and Malik Rosier.
Malik Rosier is the QB, he’s a redshirt senior, and has been a part of this program since 2014. Rosier has experience as he’s been seeing the field since the 2015 season and been the full-time starter since 2017. The QB began his first full season as the offensive lead undefeated after Miami started 10-0. Rosier would eventually peak as the Hurricanes lost their next three games, one of which was an Orange Bowl defeat at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers.
Mark Richt is the head coach for your Hurricanes. Richt has been at the helm for three years now and results have varied. In 2016 when Coach Richt took over the team was in a weird spot. Miami football had been on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs.
In Richt’s first season the team began the year unranked and unsure what to expect overall. The Canes would climb as high as 10th in the AP poll but ultimately finish 20th at 9-4 with an Athletic Bowl victory over West Virginia.
Richt’s second season (2017) would begin with higher expectations as the Canes were posted as the 18th team in the nation in the AP preseason poll. Miami got off and running quickly and in the blink of an eye the team was 10-0. At that point in the season Miami had reached 2nd in the nation, according to the AP poll, but would then implode. The Hurricanes would lose three straight games, including an Orange Bowl appearance. At season’s end the team was 10-3 and seen as the 13th best team when the last poll released.
Now, in his third season (2018) Richt begins 0-1 after an absolute collapse against the 25th ranked team in LSU. Miami entered the game with their highest preseason rank since 2004, boasting a top-ten ranking of 8th.
What Game One Showed Us.
Coach Mark Richt began the game making extremely conservative play calls. Nothing outlandish but not necessarily a negative since the team was facing an unfamiliar foe. Miami spent much of their first few drives with a lot of read option and play action to open up the passing game. Again, not a negative and in general a smart move by Richt in trying to familiarize Malik Rosier and himself with the defensive looks that LSU was going to give them.
Malik Rosier had a complicated night. Pressure from the LSU front seven was HEAVY and CONSTANT. The Hurricane offense would also lose both Ahmmon Richards and DeeJay Dallas at separate points in the game, both would not return. Offensively the team just didn’t get in rhythm and was trailing 33-3 heading in to the 4th quarter. Malik did however begin to find some fuel of his own and carried the Hurricane offense to two consecutive scoring possessions within five minutes. That flame quickly burned out as the Canes were defeated 33-17. Malik had a pretty conflicting final line when all things are considered.
Passing: 15 of 35, 259 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 2 Interceptions, and a 12.8 QBR.
Rushing: 16 Carries, 7 Yards, and 1 Touchdown.
Is The U Really Back?
In short, no. Was this just first game jitters that will turn around in the next three games or is this an issue that runs much deeper in to the locker room? I’m not ready to push the panic button, pull the QB, or fire the head coach. What I am ready to do is put the Miami Hurricanes on notice. The goal of winning the Coastal is still in sight and the season isn’t lost on this first game. Is it in jeopardy? Absolutely.
As far as “pointing fingers” or assigning blame, I find it very hard to blame HC Mark Richt given the success he’s had in the past (including at the U) and the blatantly obvious struggles of Malik Rosier.
What do you think? Who do you point the metaphorical finger at?