The Miami Hurricanes are coming off a disappointing 45-31 loss against MTSU. Coach Cristobal and staff look forward as they prepare for ACC play.
Miami currently stands at 2-2, but the truth is they still have a chance to win the Coastal Division, which has been relatively weak as a whole. UM is on a bye this week, as next week they host their first ACC opponent, North Carolina. This will be a critical game for the Canes, as they’ve lost to the Tar Heels in their last 3 matchups.
Miami struggled mightily against a lesser MTSU team. Their first two drives resulted in turnovers. They were never able to take the lead at any point throughout the game. A personal change is much needed, and Miami has the pieces to improve their level of play. Here are 4 players who need more playing time for Miami.
DT Leonard Taylor
The former 2021 five-star talent has shown us what he can do when he’s on the field. Taylor was the number three defensive lineman in the country and the number four ranked prospect overall.
Last season he led the Canes’ defense with tackles for loss, while only playing a limited number of snaps in six games. His 8.5 tackles for loss also led all true freshmen. He was graded as the best-run defender with a 74.5 grade.
This season, against a premier team like Texas A&M, he recorded one tackle for loss, three QB hits, and multiple pressures in only 17 snaps. Even while taking limited snaps, Taylor has made his presence felt. Miami currently has a deep rotation at the defensive line, as they brought in multiple transfers. Even with such depth, the Canes should look to give Taylor more snaps.
Leonard Taylor's hand speed is too quick for the Southern Miss OL here.
That's an area where he's improved from Year 1 to Year 2. @AllHurricanes pic.twitter.com/1Ijhu74OEO
— Luke Chaney (@luke_chaney4) September 29, 2022
LB Wesley Bissainthe
The former 2022 four-star brings much-needed speed to a lackluster Miami Linebacker room. The Miami Central product has shown on Friday nights he has what it takes to play at the next level with the elite speed, reactions, and unwavering effort he brings for four quarters. He was expected to get early playing time in a struggling linebacker group but hasn’t been moved into the starting rotation yet. Miami desperately needs him on the field, as their linebackers give up big plays seemingly every game.
In the Bethune-Cookman game, Keontra Smith allowed a 34-yard touchdown pass due to a coverage bust. Then against Texas A&M, Waynmon Steed missed a tackle in space that led to a 25-yard touchdown. Last week vs. MTSU, Corey Flagg took a bad angle in coverage on a play that led to an 89-yard catch and runs.
If veteran players are giving up these types of big plays, then why not start a talented freshman who has shown what he can do in a limited amount of snaps? Wesley has only taken 28 defensive snaps for Miami this season and has totaled 4 tackles in those limited tied opportunities. Against Southern Miss, he almost came up with an interception, which fell from his hands.
Wesley Bissainthe drops what would’ve been his first collegiate interception.
Great awareness and read, though. pic.twitter.com/1SHzxRqn9y
— Anthony Yero (@AnthonyYero1) September 10, 2022
Miami needs to put Wesley in the starting rotation and find answers in this position group.
WR Frank Ladson
The former Clemson transfer was brought in with expectations to fill Charleston Rambo’s role. He has yet to take that role for the Canes, but has shown flashes of what he can do.
In his first three games of this season, the Miami native has averaged 22 offensive snaps per game with only two total targets. However, last week against MTSU he was targeted heavily. He caught six passes on eight targets for 65 yards while playing a season-high 69 offensive snaps. Out of his six passes, three of those were reeled in for first downs.
The MTSU game should be an indicator to the staff of what Ladson can do. With Xavier Restrepo and Jacolby George out for the foreseeable future, guys like Ladson and Key’Shawn Smith are the top pass catchers available for the Canes. With an ACC schedule on the horizon, Miami needs to build the passing game around them and target them consistently
TE Elijah Arroyo
Elijah Arroyo came in as a four-star as part of Miami’s 2021 recruiting class. The number seven overall tight end in the 2021 class chose Miami over schools like Alabama, Texas, and Penn State. He was able to get playing time as a true freshman, as he caught five passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. So far this season he’s had limited action, as he’s only caught five passes for 66 yards.
Arroyo needs to get more playing time as the primary tight end instead of fifth-year senior Will Mallory. Mallory has been a solid tight end but isn’t the type of player who will elevate a passing offense. So far this season he’s had 12 catches for 127 yards. He’s struggled in contested catch situations and has dropped two passes this season. As a run blocker, he’s been called for one holding penalty each game and his current PFF run blocking grade is a 38.4 grade.
Mallory shouldn’t be benched for Arroyo, but it is time for them to start splitting snaps more evenly. Mallory has played a total of 221 offensive snaps while Arroyo has only played 138 offensive snaps. Arroyo has made bigger plays in the passing game and has a better run blocking grade, with a 44.7 grade. Arroyo needs to start getting more opportunities.
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