A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Friday:
▪ Though the UM defense wasn’t good enough against Clemson and Wisconsin, here are three bigger reasons the Canes aren’t yet at the Alabama/Georgia level:
1). Three of the four teams in the playoffs last season finished in the top 17 in points per game, and Clemson was 32nd.
UM? A mediocre 59th of 130, at 29.1.
2). The four playoff teams all ranked in the top 50 in third-down conversions, with Clemson 11th at 45.6.
UM? The Canes were a dismal 127th at just 27.7 percent — ahead of only three teams (UTEP, Kent and Charlotte) that went a combined 3-33.
3). The playoff teams (Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Oklahoma) all scored touchdowns on between 70 and 73 percent of their red zone trips.
UM? Just 58 percent (25 for 43), which ranked in the bottom half in the country.
That’s why Mark Richt hopes these elite skill-position freshmen will help immediately and why some UM football people privately hope N’Kosi Perry or freshmen Jarren Williams show enough to begin to wrest the starting quarterback job from Malik Rosier when spring practice begins March 20, though Richt has said Rosier will likely keep the job if he improves his shortcomings.
Regardless of whether the quarterback changes, other things will change with the offense, according to Rosier.
“We were watching practice [last season], and [Richt] said, ‘Guys get ready, we’re going back to the I-formation [with a fullback at times],’” Rosier said, with UM having added the nation’s best fullback recruit in Realus George. “That’s going to be very interesting and a lot of fun for me. I know coach Richt loves the I-formation, loves downhill, very physical running game and he wants to get back to that.”
Rosier said: “I’m excited for this offense because the two tight ends [have] very different skills set. Brevin Jordan is more of a blocking tight end and he can split out wide. Will Mallory is probably more of like your 6-6 jump ball kind of kid. Coach Richt is excited because even with Michael Irvin, we can go into [two tight end] personnel, which we haven’t done much [in 2017] and create mismatches.
“And with running back, with [five-star addition] Lorenzo Lingard and Travis Homer, and even Deejay Dallas back there, you can put Deejay in the slot and have Lingard and Travis in the backfield. There are very different personnel groups we will mess around with.”
Plus, having George, “will be a huge asset,” Rosier said. “Sometimes having that fullback to clear a hole” is big.
▪ Four-star Class of 2019 Hollywood Chaminade Madonna cornerback Keontra Smith told Canesport.com that even though he’s a soft Kentucky commitment, Miami “has a high chance [to lure him]. That’s my dream school, and I always loved that school growing up as a kid.”
▪ Everybody loves dimunitive UM 5-7 point guard Chris Lykes. Even a referee this year has offered praise during a game.
“There are not many under 6 feet as good as he is,” ESPN’s Jay Bilas said on a conference call. “Lykes is really quick and fast and gets underneath you. He’s unafraid and fun to watch.”
But he struggled against North Carolina in Thursday’s loss, hitting 3 of 11 shots on a six-point night.
▪ Miami is 8-6 in Jim Larrañaga’s seven seasons in ACC tournament play, but UM failed to advance in the tournament for the first time in Larrañaga’s seven seasons, albeit with a double bye this year.
Larrañaga is 6-6 in his career against UNC, impressive considering the caliber of the Tar Heels program.
Michelle Kaufman has more here on Larrañaga’s comments after the UNC loss and where UM stands heading into selection Sunday. Keep in mind that Sunday’s 6 p.m. selection show is on TBS — not CBS — for the first time.
▪ NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein is projecting these departing UM football players for these rounds: Chad Thomas in Round 2 or 3, , Richard McIntosh Jr. in the third or fourth round, Mark Walton and Kendrick Norton in the fourth round, Chris Herndon in Round 4 or 5, Braxton Berrios in the sixth or seventh round and Kc McDermott in the seventh round or undrafted.
▪ Ex-Canes file: Cornerback Sam Shields decided to resume his career this week, signing with the Rams, despite concern over repeated concussions. Shields, who made the Pro Bowl in 2014, sustained his fourth of his career in the first game of the 2016 season and hasn't played since.
Here’s a six-pack of Friday Dolphins notes.
Here’s how Hassan Whiteside reacted on Friday to Joel Embiid’s insults.
Here’s a look at Erik Spoelstra’s difficult lineup decisions and some metrics on lineups he’s using.
My posts will resume March 15.