By Richard Hefner
Pitt suffered another heartbreaking, blood pressure rising, sleepless night inducing loss last Saturday to Boston College 30-31. Pitt is now 3-2 on the year (2-2 in conference). Pitt will face Miami (of Florida) in the sunshine state. Miami is now 3-1 (2-1 in conference) after losing 17-42 to Clemson. I guess Clemson is a step-up from UAB, Louisville & and FSU. Win or lose, I believe Pitt will have a first this year – they may play in front of real actual fans.
This is another Noon game on the ACCN network. On a side note, all
14, 15 ACC teams are in action this week.
Miami (of Florida) is led by 2’nd year head coach Manny Diaz. He replaced long time Georgia coach (& Miami alum) Mark Richt (145-41 in 15 years). After a 3-year stint at Miami (26-13, 2017 ACC Coastal division champ), Richt’s 2018 retirement from Miami after a 7-6 season was triggered by a disagreement over assistant coaches including his son, the QB coach.
Diaz started his first season as a head coach (excluding his 2-week stint as head coach of the Temple Owls) with high hopes for returning the ”U” to prominence. Those hopes were dashed as a year ending 3 game losing streak (FIU, Duke, Louisiana Tech) ended in a 6-7 season.
Diaz is also known as the originator of the “turnover chain” during his 3-year stint as defensive coordinator under Mark Richt. While some on the POV consider any type of celebration as unnecessary hot dogging or showboating, I find the turnover chain & throne sitting as the ultimate sign of “meism”. Compare that to Pitt’s team-oriented turnover celebration of a dunk, congratulations & back to the game.
As usual in my looks, I start with a review of the last 5 years of recruiting.
BTW, Miami 2021 class is currently ranked #11 by Rivals. It includes 1 5-star, 10 4-stars, 3.55 average star ranking & 22 total commits.
Diaz first true class was an improvement over the transitional class of 2019. That is not unusual. It does fall short of Richt’s last class. In fact, it would take the addition of 2 5-stars to equal the 2018 in average star ranking. In the all-important 5.7 & above ranking over the 2016-20 classes, Miami’s 71.5% of all recruits trail only Clemson’s 78.8%.
Miami did have one player opt out due to Covid. More on him later.
Miami did have transfers both leaving and entering the program.
For the time period 8/1/2019 thru 10/10/9/2020 (14 1/3 months) Miami lost 14 players to the portal. For those not keeping track of the transfer portal, that ties with VA. Tech & 3 behind the 17 that Florida State has lost. Outside of sons of past Miami players ( Brian Hightower & Michael Irwin II), the biggest loss was last years starter in 9 of the 13 games played – QB Jarren Williams.
The reason for the color coding is to show open scholarships for early & late 2020 signing periods.
Miami did pickup some impressive transfers. Four of them are Grad transfers. In a normal year, this would mean they are one & done. But this is 2020 – the year of the Covid. They could be back next year. D’Eriq King gives Miami a name QB. Borreglas was a CUSA 1’st team selection in 2019. Roche was both an AAC 1’st team selection & made a few 2019 All American teams. Williams starts on the Oline.
The other transfer was Issiah Walker, Jr. A 24/7 4-star & a Rivals 5.8 4-star. He committed, signed & enrolled in Florida in January 2020. 5 months later on May 4’th, he entered the portal & signed 4 days later with Miami. More on some of the transfer in our next section.
Potential “Stars” – who are they based on returning All ACC , Athlon & PFF?
The importance of the above chart is that it shows Miami’s strength & the players to watch & hear the TV announcers’ praise. (That is if you are lucky to get the ACCN network.)
One player on the star list opted out – DE Rousseau. Two are transfers – QB King & DE Roche. One made the Preseason All ACC team – TE Jordan. (of course, another good TE) . The remaining 3 P-Hedley, S-Hall, & LB-McCloud may be stretches as stars but they do start. I stared to do a deep dive into stats but decided I was going down a rabbit hole & stopped.
Other names to watch on defense are two prior years transfers S – Bubba Bolden & DE Jaedan Phillips. Also, on defense is 2018 5.8 4-star Nesta Silvera . He is Miami’s Camp / Kancey.
On offense, TE Jordan Brevin is the leading receiver (18/243-13. 5YPC, 3 TD with a long of 75 yds. WR’s – Mark Pope (11/142-12.9YPC, 0) & Mike Harley (15/127-8.5, 0) are the next leading receivers.
I cannot end without showing QB D’Eriq Kings stats.
King had a bad evening against Clemson. It is not unexpected but King’s QB rating (64.9) was lower than The Citadel’s QB rating (85.3) against Clemson.(BTW my son in law is an alum & my grandson has made a 2022 baseball commitment to The Citadel, so some Family Pride there.) In all fairness, The Citadel Bulldogs run the triple option.
King is also Miami’s 2’nd leading rusher 42 attps., 241 yds., 5.7 YPC & 2 TD’s. But Miami’s rushing attack is lead by Cam’Ron Harris. His numbers are:
Great overall numbers even with a horrible performance against Clemson & a below average outing against ACC rival FSU.
But this is where I go on a rant about stats & interpreting stats. Reed may first think that I am making a personal attack on him, but I am not. I know what Reed was driving towards with his Hall adjustment, but it cuts both ways. Here is Harris stats if you single out his long runs
Note: I used 51 yards as a long run. May not result in a TD but sure will flip the field without having to punt.
A 6.8 YPC before & a 3.7 after. What do you see? I see a RB with both power and breakaway ability. Hall showed that power & breakaway ability in 2018.
The fact is that Harris has a 6.8 YPC. He may plod along at a 3.7 YPC but on any single play can break a long one.
For those who want to look at stats for comparisons use the NCAA site. I first started by using ESPN stats. But Reed always said the NCAA stats where the official one. I now agree with him. For quick data ESPN is ok. I use it for some stuff but normally check the NCAA to see if is correct. Game stats that are published on ESPN shortly after the game end can and are revised. Just last Sunday morning I had to correct some Syracuse passing data. As I write this, it still has not been updated on ESPN.
Here is a link to the NCAA site. It looks intimidating compared to ESPN but there is data and comparisons for all 130 FBS teams. Enjoy.
BTW, Pitt losses in another heartbreaker 24-27.