Mario Cristobal

Hurricane Warning

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Following a humbling defeat at the hands of Appalachian State, Texas A&M dropped all the way to No. 24 in the AP Poll this week.

You won’t hear Miami Hurricanes Coach Mario Cristobal talking much about that, not before Miami makes a ‘business trip’ to College Station this weekend.

The first-year Miami head coach harped on that term repeatedly in his press conference on Monday ahead of Saturday’s big road game.

Miami, of course, has been excellent through two weeks. The Hurricanes have smashed both Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss.

Neither will present the kind of challenge Texas A&M will, but the Aggies have not been firing on all cylinders so far this season. The Hurricanes are aware of that, yet seem primarily focused on themselves this week.

Cristobal was quick to heap praise on the Aggies, even though their starting quarterback Haynes King has struggled mightily (even Jimbo Fisher stated there may be a quarterback change).

To that end, Cristobal simply needs to show players A&M’s recruiting results.

Even if the talent hasn’t gelled just yet at Texas A&M, it’s clear the Aggies have it in spades. Texas A&M’s 2022 recruiting class ranked No. 1 nationally.

Whatever happens Saturday, one thing is sure: Cristobal will learn a lot from Miami’s business trip.

The Miami Hurricanes have won 5 of their last 7 road games. Tyler Van Dyke is completing 73.9 percent of his passes for 456 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.

Xavier Resterpo and Michael Redding III have combined for 248 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns, while Brashard Smith has 6 receptions.

The Miami Hurricanes ground game is averaging 241 yards per contest, and Henry Parrish Jr. leads the way with 217 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Defensively, Miami is allowing 10 points and 286.5 yards per game. Corey Flagg Jr. leads the Miami Hurricanes with 10 tackles, Jacob Lichtenstein has 1 sack and James Williams has 1 interception.

The Texas A&M Aggies have won 5 of their last 6 home games. Haynes King is completing 64.7 percent of his passes for 461 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Ainias Smith and Evan Stewart have combined for 290 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns, while Yulkeith Brown has 4 receptions.

The Texas A&M Aggies ground game is averaging 99.5 yards per contest, and Devon Achane leads the way with 108 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Defensively, Texas A&M is allowing 8.5 points and 256.5 yards per game. Antonio Johnson leads the Texas A&M Aggies with 17 tackles, LT Overton has 1 sack and Jardin Gilbert has 1 interception.

Neither team looked great last week, but I’ll chalk some of it up to both clubs looking ahead to this game, which has playoff implications.

With that said, there’s some real concern for the Texas A&M Aggies, who haven’t gotten any offense going through 2 games. Texas A&M can’t run the ball and is 102nd in total offense and 102nd in scoring offense.

The Miami-FL Hurricanes have one of the better quarterbacks in the country, and he currently has a top-20 rushing attack supporting him.

Texas A&M is currently 86th in run defense. Miami will steal this game on the road.

Miami 27   Texas A&M 17

 

Category 5

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The University of Miami ended the 2021 season with 7 wins. They’re entering 2022 with new coaching staff.

So, as I look at this year’s schedule for the Hurricanes, it’s not hard to predict that this team can … and perhaps should be… a 10-win team.

The three tough games? Texas A&M, Clemson and Pittsburgh, putting those in order of toughness.

If you believe in the oddsmakers, Miami’s No. 3 in the conference at +700 to win the ACC behind Clemson -150 and Pitt + 450 (per WilliamHill.com).

With that said, here’s how I see this year shaping up:

* Bethune-Cookman, Sept. 3: Easy win. 1-0 record.

* Southern Miss, Sept 10: Easy win. 2-0 record.

* Texas A&M, Sept. 17: This is a team that beat Alabama last year but went on to lose four games but with a great defensive front and receiver room this is going to be a very tough road game for Miami. Texas A&M wins by 14, Miami leaves College Station with a 2-1 record.

* Middle Tennessee State, Sept. 24: Easy win, 3-1 record.

* North Carolina, Oct. 8: UNC loses its star quarterback, Sam Howell, and this is a team that has question marks on both sides of the ball off a disappointing 6-7 season. At home, I like the Canes to win by a touchdown or more. 4-1 record.

* Virginia Tech, Oct. 15: It’s never a gimme playing on the road against the Hokies, but on paper Miami is a much better and more complete team. So, I think this will be a win by a touchdown or more. 5-1 record.

* Duke, Oct. 22: The Blue Devils are probably going to be the worst team in the ACC. 6-1 record.

* Virginia, Oct. 29: This team always seems to give the Canes problems, with Brennan Armstrong back at QB, this might be a high scoring game. On the road this is a game you worry about, but if Miami is as good as I think, then this middle-of-the-road ACC team shouldn’t be a problem. It might be a close game, but I believe Miami will pull it out for a 7-1 record.

* Florida State, Nov. 5: The Canes lost a heartbreaker in Tallahassee a year ago, but this year they get FSU at home. Is FSU as talented a team as UM?  No, not really. UM wins this heated rivalry and moves to 8-1.

* Georgia Tech, Nov. 12: The Yellow Jackets are not a good team. Easy win and 9-1.

* Clemson, Nov. 19: It was a down year for Clemson in 2021, and the team still won 10 games, so that tells you the hill Miami has to climb. The Tigers have question marks on offense, a really inconsistent area last season, but should have one of the nation’s top defenses. This will be a tough game for Miami to pull out on the road. While I’m not saying UM can’t win this, in all likelihood it’s a loss simply looking at it on paper. So, Miami is looking at a 9-2 record at this point of the season.

* Pittsburgh, Nov. 26: The Panthers were a surprise last year, winning the Coastal and finishing with an 11-3 record (Pitt’s lone Coastal loss was to the Canes). Miami has this game at home, and it could wind up determining which of these two teams goes to the ACC title game. To me, this is a 50-50 game. So, I see Miami finishing the regular season at a 10-2 record and rematch with Clemson in the ACC Championship.

If it all comes together, I can see Miami perhaps only losing one or two games – Texas A&M and/or Clemson.

In Year 1 there are bound to be some hiccups, but Canes fans can be hopeful with a manageable schedule to test the new generation of coaching in Coral Gables.

Canes QB

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

First-year Miami football coach Mario Cristobal considers himself lucky to have inherited a loaded quarterback room.

Cristobal faces a daunting task of attempting to rebuild the Hurricanes program, but it is made a bit less intimidating with the knowledge of whom he will have under center at QB.

Miami returns last year’s starter Tyler Van Dyke. He assumed the role as a redshirt freshman after D’Eriq King went down with injury in Week 3.

Van Dyke went on to prove he belonged there, throwing for 2,931 yards, 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions to earn ACC Rookie of the Year. He enters 2022 as the unquestioned starter and a potential NFL Draft pick.

Mario Cristobal has enormous praise for Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke.

Evidently, the new leader of the program believes his quarterback can ascend into a superstar. Cristobal compared Van Dyke to Los Angeles Chargers star quarterback, Justin Herbert — Cristobal’s quarterback at Oregon.

Cristobal also thinks highly of redshirt freshman Jake Garcia, who appeared in one game last year before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Garcia is a former four-star recruit who ranked as the No. 52 overall player and No. 10 quarterback in the 2021 class.

“We’re very lucky that we have a very good quarterback room,” Cristobal said in a recent interview. “In fact, one of them is already a projected NFL player if he continues to develop and have a great season. But he’s not alone. You’ve got a guy who was hurt early last season in Jake Garcia. Him and Tyler have got to make the best one-two punch of any quarterback room in the country.”

The talent in the Miami quarterback room doesn’t stop there. The Hurricanes signed four-star recruit Jacurri Brown, the No. 18 quarterback in the 2022 class. Brown is dual-threat and threw for more than 3,000 yards while rushing for over 2,000 the past two years at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia. He was an early enrollee this spring, where Cristobal said he was impressed with how he managed to fit in.

“They brought in Jacurri Brown, who joins us as the most prolific passer and winner in Georgia high school history,” the Hurricanes coach said. “A phenomenal athlete and human being who joins these guys. Got here as an early enrollee, which is always fun. It’s like getting dropped off in some place where you have to learn to get to know everybody and know processes. The simplicity of attaining a Cane card is as difficult as you can imagine. But Jacurri has adapted really well and he’s ready to roll, so we feel great about that room.”

Miami is set to enter their first season under coach Mario Cristobal following a disappointing 7-5 season this past year.

As a former Championship Winning offensive lineman with the Canes in 89 and 91, Cristobal understands the importance of rebuilding this program. The Hurricanes have only one 10-win season in the past 18 years.

Cristobal still has a long way to go in his rebuilding of the program, but he at least has a solid foundation at the most important position in offense.

He will get his first opportunity to put that talent to use when Miami opens the 2022 season on Sept. 3 against Bethune-Cookman.