Barry Jackson

Why UM’s Richt doesn’t want to go exclusively to a spread offense. And a reason to do it

UM quarterbacks coach Richt elaborates on development of N’Kosi Perry

University of Miami quarterbacks coach Jon Richt elaborates on development of N’Kosi Perry in race for starter after practice on Tuesday April 10, 2018.
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University of Miami quarterbacks coach Jon Richt elaborates on development of N’Kosi Perry in race for starter after practice on Tuesday April 10, 2018.

Some UM notes, on a day Malik Rosier was named UM’s starting quarterback in the Pinstripe Bowl and N’Kosi Perry’s status was left in doubt:

For those of you imploring UM to use a spread offense more often, here’s something notable:

UM’s running game — which was very good at times and weak at others — was better this season running out of the spread offense, because the interior is less clogged.

Per Herald correspondent Daniel Gould, UM this season averaged 7.49 yards per rush on plays when it had four or five receivers (including tight ends and running backs split out). The final numbers: 85 rushes for 637 yards.

Conversely, for all other alignments, UM averaged 5.54 yards per rush (298 for 1,652).

In the last two games of the season, when UM was forced to run a spread offense more after losing its two remaining scholarship tight ends to injury, UM averaged 10.7 yards per rush when it had four or five receivers (including tight ends and running backs split out), compared with 5.24 per carry for runs out of other formations.

“We’ve been better running the ball from spread,” Richt admitted on WQAM’s Hurricane Hotline. “We’ve had our moments in some of our other sets. Our first and 10 run game has been struggling.”

So why not go to the spread as Miami’s primary offense? Though he uses the spread some, Richt simply feels more comfortable using a lot of what he calls a pro-style offense, with a power running game.

And here’s the other thing, according to an associate of the coach: Richt believes playing a pro style greatly helps in recruiting, because the players are more prepared for the NFL, and some NFL people are more interested in quarterbacks and offensive linemen playing in pro set offenses, because they don’t have to wonder how their skills will translate to the NFL.

So it’s not a surprise that UM is pursuing multiple tall “pro-style” quarterbacks in 2020 recruiting.

ESPN’s Ahmad Brooks said the spread “fits N’Kosi Perry’s skill set better. It fits the skill set of your recruits in the state better. If Miami is running the spread, look out — Talk about stacking up some Coastal titles. That’s easy money for them....

“In a spread offense, more people touch the football. When you are out selling your program, you can say we’ve got plenty of balls to spread around. We will give you your touches and we can match what you were doing in high school. This is the offense that fits the U the best. This is the right system for [Perry].”

Former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky, one of the TV analysts who has called for Richt to implement a more modern offense, works Thursday’s Pinstripe Bowl for ESPN, with Bob Wischusen and Mike Golic Jr.

Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, asked if UM might use the spread more next season, said it’s too early to address that.

But Richt said UM simply must do better what it currently does on offense - a mix of pro style and some spread.

Incidentally, UM threw poorly out of the spread in the Pittsburgh finale, but that was a result of Perry’s inaccuracy and a slew of dropped passes.

NOTABLE

Rivals.com rates UM’s early signing class sixth among ACC schools, behind Virginia, Virginia Tech and others.

Here’s what Rivals had to say about UM’s early class of 15 signings (incuding 13 prep players):

“The good: Miami had a less than ideal early signing period, but still managed to ink 13 players, including seven four-star prospects, The top rated Hurricanes signee is Rivals100 wide receiver Jeremiah Payton, who projects as a college star. There’s some impressive depth to UM’s class, even if the top-end talent is as plentiful as it was a year ago.

“The bad: it’s impossible to ignore the fact that UM signed just two of the top 20 prospects in the state of Florida and let a number of priority targets walk out of its own backyard. UM’s recruiting class would be a solid one for a number of Power Five schools, but expectations in Coral Gables are always sky high. Miami is still alive with four star [recruits] Tyrique Stevenson, Khris Bogle and Mark-Antony Richards, so it’s not as if anyone should wave the white flag on the 2019 class just yet. The month ahead should be an interesting one.”

Kevin Bradley, Bovada’s sports book manager, told Rotoworld’s Thor Nystrom that many recreational bettors are picking Wisconsin in this game.

But Nystrom, who picks games for Rotoworld, said UM “is closer to 9-3 quality than 7-5. The Canes match up well enough in this game that a normalization of luck alone could lead to a double-digit win against a Wisconsin team that looks a lot different than we thought it’d look in August.”

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