The 2013 Miami Hurricanes: Elite Offense

By: Shasky Clarke

 

The Miami Hurricanes’ offense lacks any significant weakness. Between its elite offensive line, an effective and talented senior quarterback, and depth at the wide receiver position, the offense should have no real problems putting points on the board. Here, the offense’s story lines as well as the star players residing on the unit will be discussed.

 

Elite Offensive Line

 

Sophomore left tackle Ereck Flowers – 6’6” 312. Junior left guard Malcolm Bunche – 6’7” 327. Junior center Shane McDermott – 6’4” 296. Senior right guard Brandon Linder – 6’6” 319. Senior right tackle Seantrel Henderson – 6’8” 332. Oh and junior Jonathan Feliciano, at 6’5” 318 pounds, can reliably fill in at guard.

 

The heights and weights are rough figures. But in any case, Miami houses what would be one of the biggest offensive lines … in the National Football League. They are not only massive, thoroughly opening up running lanes. They are mobile as well.

 

Even as they endured injuries to a couple guys, defenses sacked Stephen Morris a mere 17 times in 2012. And although Morris attempted over 100 more passes than Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, McCarron was still sacked 22 times behind what some pundits hastily deemed “the best offensive line in college football history.”

 

When pointing out the potency and balance of Miami’s offense, much of the attention is paid to mature, live-armed returning senior Stephen Morris, electrifying All-American talent Duke Johnson and Phillip Dorsett’s lethal 4.29 forty speed. But it is a wonder how the Hurricane offensive line isn’t the focus, given the noted value and credit hyped on Alabama’s and Notre Dame’s units in their own title chases last year.

 

Baller, Signal-Caller

 

QB Stephen Morris 602 215, Senior

 

Senior Stephen Morris has a chance to take a substantial leap in status as the leader and field general of what should be an elite offense. Protected by an excellent offensive line and buoyed by a deep, versatile and explosive cast of weapons, his strengths and weaknesses will be on clear display.

Morris is somewhat of a late bloomer who has not been consistently efficient over the course of his career. He possesses an excellent arm with top zip around the field. He has shown the ability to make stunningly difficult throw after throw into tight spots. He’s athletic enough to take off for yardage.

Consistency, however, is the key. The biggest question is whether he can be more consistently accurate, especially on short and intermediate tosses where he can lose some precision. He could also be more consistent surveying the field and going through his progressions from the pocket. Further making life harder, he has below average height and overall bulk for the position.

The reality is that the Canes’ passing game will be just fine if Stephen Morris performs the way he did in 2012, stretching the field, completing 58% of his passes and only throwing seven interceptions. The team doesn’t absolutely need him to improve. Nonetheless, he does have a unique skill set and that, with some added consistency, could help vault him higher into the conversation as one of the top senior quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft class.

Deep Receivers

The trio of 5’9” junior Phillip Dorsett, 6’3” senior Allen Hurns and 6’1” sophomore Herb Waters lead a deep and talented group of wideouts. Behind them are 6’2” junior Rashawn Scott, 6’3” redshirt freshman Jontavious Carter, recovered sophomore Malcolm Lewis and 6’1” freshman stud Stacy Coley.

The Hurricanes receivers all get open, and, outside of Dorsett’s propensity for drops at times, possess the ball skills to comfortably pluck and make plays after the catch.

Herb Waters, in particular, is the guy to watch. He’s fluid, explosive with terrific change-of-direction skills. In his short career, he has already shown the ability to be a game breaker and, by the end of the season, could be the face of this receiving group.

 

Heroes

 

RB Duke Johnson 509 195, Soph. :

 

Well-rounded back with all the tools to be an elite NFL running back. Has excellent speed, balance and open field elusiveness. Possesses underrated strength and can be difficult to bring down. Is also a polished, versatile weapon out of the backfield, and game breaking threat on returns.

 

TE Clive Walford 604 260, Jr. :

 

Prototypically-sized, physical and smooth athlete capable of consistently stretching the field and creating separation.

 

RG Brandon Linder 606 320, Sr. :

 

Sound, physical player with elite strength and bulk as well as good footwork.

 

RT Seantrel Henderson 608 332, Sr. :

 

Mammoth, well-proportioned athlete with the surprising athleticism and feet to be a consistent pass protector, particularly on the right side.