Will the linebacker play pick up? Corey Flagg, Jr. and Waymond Steed, Jr. led the Hurricanes last year in tackling with 35 and 24 respectfully. Dan Morgan had 532 tackles in four seasons at Miami. Long gone are the days of the Bermuda Triangle. The only thing that continually got lost in the fog in 2022 was the actual ability to tackle. Missed tackles cost the Hurricanes last year and the linebacker position was often times culprits.
Caleb Johnson was California dreaming on UCLA’s roster last year. The 6th leading tackler on the team, Johnson will be looked upon to possibly anchor down the middle. His mamma calls him Caleb but we could call him Mike. The mike backer is the middle backer obviously and Johnson will be vying for some serious playing time.
Gilbert Frierson saw action in all 12 games but only made three starts. The lack of starts was a head scratcher and Frierson may have fell victim to seniority under the Diaz regime. Diaz was notorious for starting inferior senior counterparts. If meritocracy reigns supreme Frierson could see his role increase this year. Frierson’s productivity could rise simply due to a case of addition by subtraction.
Another intriguing option would be Chase Smith. Smith, a Palm Bay native, saw a role primarily as a special teamer last year. ESPN rated this prospect the number 53rd player in Florida coming out of high school and his speed flashed on film. New linebacker coach Charlie Strong has some intriguing options but has to bolster a group who greatly underperformed in 2022.
Will Tyler Van Dyke regain his form from a year ago? The undoubted QB1 on the team is none other than Van Dyke. The third-year-sophomore enters the 2022 campaign fully under the limelight. He is the reigning ACC Rookie of the Year and the ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year. If you see an NFL draft experts way to early predictions, Van Dyke’s name is on them in the first round.
New offensive coordinator Josh Gattis make his way from Michigan. He is a physical minded guy. His style is in perfect matrimony with coach Cristobal. How much of the concerted effort to run the ball will come at the sake of Van Dyke’s productivity? The Miami program having a Heisman candidate at the end of the year will pay unfathomable dividends. It is publicity you simply cannot pass up however there must be a balance.
Van Dimes has the ability to continually put pressure on opposing defenses by pushing the ball with ruthless efficacy down field. For this to happen in ’22, TVD requires a wide receiver who can win the matchup like Rambo did a year ago. You also have to give TVD the time to do it (hello offensive line) and the offensive system needs to accentuate Van Dyke’s skillset.
The RPO will be less featured and the play-action game is set to take its place. That doesn’t mean the RPO is going away completely, it is not, but that means there will be a learning curve in this offense. This is more NFL less up-tempo simple Lashlee. The premise is there. Gattis was the Broyles Award winner from a year ago and knows a thing a two about offense. The formula to keep Heisman level QB productivity and running game balance is what remains to be figured out.