The kid never really had a chance. The Clemson Tigers were going to make you play with one hand behind your back. Jaccuri Brown is a true freshman quarterback who faced another ACC opponent on the road. The previous week was as dysfunctional as it gets. Georgia Tech was a terrible team. But Clemson has been knocking on the playoff door annually and have recently won national championships. They are for real.
I watched Rhett Lashlee in 2020 take, what I thought, a formidable offense to Death Valley and get bamboozled. The Hurricanes managed only 210 total yards and the ground game was bottled up. Minus the one long quarterback run of course. It was how Clemson negated the Canes that was noteworthy. You simply weren’t going to run the ball on them. They dared you to pass. And that was with D’Eriq King.
King had 50 touchdowns in rarefied college football air one year. I won’t bring up the fact his offensive coordinator was a Briles who runs a style of offense I prefer. That isn’t the point. But if King couldn’t do it, a true freshman who needs time to develop and mature, no shot.
This offensive system has canibilized three quarterbacks. Tyler Van Dyke was pegged to be a first rounder this year. TVD never regained that fantastic foothold from a year ago. Jake Garcia went from gunslinger to gun shy. He simply doesn’t look comfortable anymore. And now fans want to write Brown off in his entirety. You shouldn’t.
After this week’s Student of the Game I left thinking one universal trend. The Clemson Tigers were so much better at the little things. They had a plan and a purpose. They used little head fakes, stutter steps, fake tosses. They sold blocks. The quarterbacks seemed so much more confident in where they were going with the ball. It was refreshing. It was foreign.
Multiple things are capable of existing simultaneously in a universe and share truth. The Miami Hurricanes do not have the talent the Clemson Tigers have. True. Josh Gattis has grossly underperformed this season and is responsible for the offensive ineptitude. True. The Hurricanes went up to Death Valley and played right into Clemson’s paws.
If you thought a quick perimeter pass and run game were going to be the flavor of the week, you thought wrong. The Hurricanes had an unfathomable 8 yards at half and ended the game with a meager 98. If Gattis and company were trying to stay on schedule they obviously forgot their alarm clock. Or Clemson stole it. The offense never reported for duty.
Three 4 star quarterbacks have all looked lost this season. We are talking pre-GPS days where you had to rely on a map and prayed it was still accurate kind of lost. All three of them have heard boisterous echoes within the fan base calling them either overrated, to be benched or to hit the portal. The reverberation of it all within their psyche and heads has to be monstrous.
I look at how Mike McDaniel has taken Tua to meteoric heights. The Dolphin’s head coach has received a ton of credit in this town for that. But still a fraction of fans in this same town will die on the hill named Gattis. “He doesn’t have the players.” “He isn’t the one overthrowing wide open receivers Ro.” True. He isn’t.
Football is all about the matrimony between players and scheme and I want a divorce. When my attorney asks me for a reason, I will tell him 17 points a game vs power 5 competition. Irreconciled differences. Eight yards at half vs. Clemson. The divorce decree could be a novel at his point. Let’s not bother and just move on.
There are no more complimentary aspects to each other. It has been replaced with scathing distrust and longing for another. You either think these kids all suck or this system does. There is no more middle ground. So which one is it?
If you choose analytically and back it up with statistics it is easy to see. Gattis is as bad as it gets. But if you choose to look at the draft eligible players side of things you could find an argument too. This team is far from having 2001 talent. The talent gap is cavernous.
But I have seen this episode. We all have. And this time I am going to wise up about it. I am going to take my comfortable fold up chair and park my ass right in the middle. Yes. We don’t have THAT kind of talent. But we need to mandate that these coaches know how to be competitive when they don’t have THAT kind of talent.
Regardless of who the head coach at the University of Miami has been, that has been the conundrum no one has yet figured out. It has been this never ending crusade to master the talent divide but at a unbearable cost. The Hurricanes were outclassed and no mere inferior afterthoughts when they faced off vs. Clemson.
They didn’t have the players to match up. And they didn’t have a suitable scheme. That wasn’t a play sheet. It was prayers in laminated form labeled “hope it works.” It didn’t. We all have hills we are willing to die on. Yours might be rooted in he doesn’t have the players. Mine happens to agree with you. But mine also knows this scheme was incapable of putting these current players in a position to succeed.
Are you willing to wait until the talent gets here? Or are you going to finally wise up and realize lack of talent is the excuse coaches use when they don’t get their way. Miami will be Miami again when it regains something. No, not just culture. That is cute. And that is important. But all the culture in the world isn’t going to matter if you can’t score points with what you have. Miami needs to regain adaptation. The Hurricanes need to be explosive with less.