~ The following article was contributed by beloved Eye of the Hurricane blogger, Delray ~
I remember the 2012 Spring Game like it was yesterday. I was shaking my head in awe of the defense. Final score was 6-3. I thought with some new kids coming in and with Stephen Morris coming back from surgery our offense might look a bit better, but our defense looked awesome. Things changed quickly once the season rolled around. I’m not going to discuss the defense as that rock has already been turned over and rolled down the hill creating a large avalanche. Let’s look at the offense today.
Stephen Morris took the majority of the snaps behind center, and as the season wore on, I think we saw a maturing process we hadn’t seen by a Miami QB in some time. After about the 3rd or 4th game, I realized that I did not have the headaches I was getting the previous years. I believe it was a result of not having to hold my breath when our QB dropped back for a pass. Stephen’s numbers where admirable, completing 58.2% of his passes for 3,345 yards. This came on 245 completions in 421 attempts. He threw for 21 touchdowns with 7 interceptions.
When Lamar Miller announced he would be leaving early last year to enter the NFL draft, a few of us went on immediate suicide watch. Who would we have to run the ball? Mike James could fill in but did not have the break-away speed Lamar possessed. Then again who did? Enter freshman sensation Randy “Duke” Johnson. We all knew he was good but after the very first game of the season, we realized he was not just good, he was special. In the backfield, Randy set the single-season rushing record for freshman by rushing for 947 yards on 139 carries. That was good for a 6.8 yard per carry average. Mike James chipped in as well with 642 yards on 147 carries for a 4.2 yard average. Duke led the team with 10 touchdowns, while Mike had 6. These were the only 2 players to have an impact on the ground for Miami. Look for next year to be just as exciting.
This was probably the big question mark on the offense. We expected perhaps Allen Hurns and Phillip Dorsett to lead the pack but after that there were a lot of questions. Dorsett did lead the team with 58 receptions for 842 yards and 4 touchdowns. After that, the emergence of Rashawn Scott with 35 receptions for 512 yards and 3 touchdowns in only 8 games, proved to be Morris’ #2 target. Allen Hurns also played well coming up with timely catches and 4 touchdowns on 28 receptions for 314 yards.
Coach Golden made a point that tight ends would be a priority this season but at times it just didn’t seem like they were even on the field. Clive Walford emerged late in the season to finish up with 451 yards on 25 catches and 4 touchdowns. His late season performance gave Canes fans a lot to look forward to next season. After that, Dyron Dye and Asante Cleveland proved to be almost non-existent. Dye was used primarily as a blocking tight end and did well in blocking. Look for the Canes to use the tight end even more next year.
What was thought to be the strength of the offense was good this past year. Good because they were not bad and good because they were not great. Miami rushed for 1,737 yards this past season. They averaged 4.7 yards per rush and had 19 rushing touchdowns. They allowed 18 sacks for a loss of 129 yards.
THE RED ZONE
Miami made it into the red-zone 52 times this past season. They managed a touchdown just over half the time (27 touchdowns). They scored 87% of the time (18 field goals). This is an area they will need to improve on and should do so with the just about everybody on the offensive line returning and the continuing development of our tight ends.
All and all, Canes fans have reason to be excited for the 2013 season. The team has the majority of the players coming back and with an additional year of U-tough (for some it will be their first year) we should be ranked in the top 25 to start the season. Where we go from there will be anybody’s guess.