Clemson Football: Oppo Research – Miami Hurricanes

Oct 22, 2022; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson defensive lineman Bryan Bresee (11) sacks Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina on Saturday, October 22, 2022. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2022; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson defensive lineman Bryan Bresee (11) sacks Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader (6) during the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina on Saturday, October 22, 2022. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports /

An absolutely dominating performance a week ago as Clemson football got a nice victory against, arguably, the hottest team in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Louisville.

Quarterback Malik Cunningham was unable to finish the game as the swarming defense of the Tigers aided in an already banged-up quarterback to get even more so.  A shame for the Cards QB, as he is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the conference.

This week presents a new challenge, as the Miami Hurricanes come to Clemson for a matchup with the Tigers.  The pre-season national darlings come into the game at 5-5 on the season.  A far cry from the pre-season 12-0 hype their fanbase and some media were spewing.

Here is your preview of the Miami Hurricanes from Coral Gables, Florida.

Head Coach Mario Cristobal is in his first season as the head coach of the Canes.  An alum and former standout at the U, he was the off-season “splash” hire coming to Miami from the University of Oregon. A renowned recruiter and offensive coach, he is in his 12th season of being a head coach at the Division 1 level.  Cristobal started his career close to his Miami home at Florida International University where he was relieved of his duties after six seasons.  He was then enrolled in the Nick Saban Coaching Rehabilitation Program, where he served as the Offensive Line coach under Saban.  Three seasons later he followed Willie Taggart to the University of Oregon and held the title of Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach, and when Taggart bolted Oregon to start the decline of the Florida State program, Cristobal was named interim coach.  He shed that tag a season later and led Oregon through the 2021 season when he got the call to “come home” to Miami.  Currently 5-5 on the 2022 season, but recruiting at a very high clip.

Season At a Glance

Miami currently sits at 5 wins and 5 losses on the season.  The five wins were against: Bethune-Cookman (70-13), Southern Miss (30-7), Virginia Tech (20-14), Virginia (14-12) and Georgia Tech (35-14).  The 5 losses were against: Texas A&M (17-9), Middle Tennessee State (45-31), North Carolina (27-24), Duke (45-21), and Florida State (45-3).


Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis is in his first year running Miami’s offense having come over from Michigan where he was the Broyles Award Winner for National Assistant Coach of the Year.  His experience also includes stops at: North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before leaving for South Florida.  The Wake Forest alumni was one of the hottest names in college football a season ago, but has come under some fire in his first year with The U.

Here is a look at the projected starters on Offense (based on published depth charts) plus a couple of backups to know:

QB: Tyler Van Dyke – Soph – 156-245-1761yds; 63.7%; 10 TDs, 4 INTs (13 sacks)

RB: Henry Parrish Jr. – Soph – 120 att. 569 yds, 4 TDs; 17 rec. 120 yds. 2 TDs

RB: Jaylan Knighton – Soph – 63 att. 341 yds; 1 TD; 8 rec. 72 yds.

WR: Michael Redding III – Frosh – 14 rec. 183 yds. 1 TD

WR: Xavier Restrepo – Soph – 17 rec. 218 yds. 1 TD

WR: Frank Ladson Jr. – Jr. – 27 rec. 298 yds. 1 TD

WR: Key’Shawn Smith – Soph – 13 rec. 199 yds. 2 TDs

WR: Colbie Young – Soph – 27 rec. 351 yds. 5 TDs

TE: Will Mallory – Senior – 29 rec. 393 yds. 2 TDs

LT: John Campbell Jr. – Jr.

LG: Jalen Rivers – Frosh

C: Jakai Clark – Jr.

RG: Justice Oluwaseun – Senior

RT: DJ Scaife – Jr.

Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke was arguably the top returning quarterback in the ACC from his breakout freshman campaign.  Injuries and inconsistency have seen him hurt, benched or throwing for four touchdowns.  A roller-coaster ride of a season for the young sophomore.  Jake Garcia has seen action as well as Freshman Jacurri Brown who started a week ago versus Georgia Tech.  Van Dyke is listed as the starter this week, but I would not be surprised to see a lot of Brown, as the season has gotten away from the Canes, and they may want to get some more experience for the young signal caller.  That’s not to say they’re giving up on Van Dyke, but maybe shutting him down for the remainder of the season wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.  That’s one fans opinion, mine.

As injuries have riddled the quarterback room, as has the running backs for the Canes.  Jaylan Knighton was seen as the leader of the young room, however it has been Henry Parrish Jr. leading the team in rushing.  There’s a third RB to worry about as well.  Sophomore Thaddius Franklin Jr. is a 6’0” 240lb back with 5 TDs that seems to be the short-yardage guy.

The WR room is young, inexperienced and still trying to find their way in the new offensive system.  The leading pass catcher is TE Will Mallory, and the biggest jump-ball threat is not listed as a starter, but is notable.  Sophomore 6’5” Colbie Young has 5 touchdowns on the season.  Of course Clemson fans remember the oft-injured (and good for at least one drop a game) Frank Ladson Jr. who has managed to stay healthy this season for the Canes and is putting up decent numbers there.  I always wanted him to break out in orange, and it just never came to fruition, unfortunately.

The offensive line is extremely banged up and will be without pre-season All-ACC Zion Nelson who has been injured the majority of the season.  The line is led by Center Jakai Clark and Right Guard Justice Oluwaseun.

The offense has scored 275 over 10 games for an average of 27.5  points per game. Miami has gained 3,932 total offensive yards on the season with 1,402 coming on the ground and 2,530 through the air; for averages of 140.2 rushing and 253 passing for a total of 393.2 yards of total offense per game.


Onto the defensive side of the ball: Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele brings his matador defense to South Florida in his first season after fooling yet another fanbase that he is a serviceable defensive mind.  Steele has 42 plus years of coaching experience, which is a lot of years, almost as many points as West Virginia scored in the Orange Bowl.  With stints at his alma mater, Tennessee, New Mexico State, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Baylor (as a head coach), Florida State, Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Auburn and now Miami.

Here is a look at the projected starters for the defense:

DE: Akheem Mesidor – Soph. – 31 tackles, 5 sacks

DT: Leonard Taylor III – Soph. – 17 tackles, 3 sacks

DT: Darrell Jackson Jr. – Soph. – 24 tackles, 3 sacks

DE: Jahrari Harvey – Soph. – 24 tackles, 4.5 sacks

LB: Corey Flagg Jr. – Soph. – 54 tackles, 2.5 sacks

LB: Waynmon Steed Jr. – Senior – 11 tackles

CB: DJ Ivey – Jr. – 33 tackles, 1 INT

S: James Williams – Soph. – 40 tackles, 1 INT

S: Kamren Kinchens – Soph. – 39 tackles, 6 INTs

CB: Tyrique Stevenson – Jr. – 19 tackles 2 INTs

STAR: Te’Cory Couch – Jr. – 29 tackles

This defensive front is really good. Led by Akheem Mesidore, Darrell Jackson Jr. and Jahfari Harvey, the U has a ton of depth on the defensive line.  The leading tackler for the DL isn’t even a starter (on the depth chart) in Senior Mitchell Agude.  The DL is clearly the best unit on this Miami defense.

At the linebacking position, Sophomore Corey Flagg Jr. is the leader of the unit.  The team leader in tackles, and even has a pair of sacks on the season.  Te’Cory Couch plays in that hybrid LB/DB role and is extremely fast and has a nose for the football.  This is a very athletic group, adding in Waynmor Steed Jr, who’s stats don’t wow you, but is a very capable LB.

On the back end, Sophomore safeties Kamren Kinchens and James Williams are the stars.  They are near the top of all defensive statistical categories for the team, with Kinchens leading the way with 6 interceptions on the season.   The corners have some inflated tackle numbers, which you never really want to see as a defensive coordinator.  It is nice to have corners that can tackle, but if they’re making the tackles, it means receivers are making a lot of catches in front or behind them.  Something to watch.

Louisville, defensively, has yielded 239 points this season for an average of 23.9 points per game.  They’ve allowed 1,266 yards on the ground for an average of 126.6 yards per game and 2,295 yards through the air for an average of 229.5.  Total defense average yards given up is 356.1 per game.


Miami has 14 takeaways on the season with 9 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries.  Opponents have 23 takeaways with 12 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries against the Cardinals.  Miami is minus-9 in the turnover margin on the season.

Special Teams 

Here are the projected starters on Special Teams:

Punter: Lou Hedley – Senior – 44.3 yd avg. 6 punts over 50 yds.

Kicker: Andres Borregales – Soph. – 15-18 FGs; long of 49 yds.

Kick Returner: Key’Shawn Smith – Soph. – 30.5 yd avg.

Punt Returner: Brashard Smith – Soph. –  6.3 yd. avg

Last week was a nice bounce back from the effort in South Bend two weeks ago.  Still sloppy in a lot of areas, including ball security, but the Tigers won without much of a doubt, and sit at 9-1 on the season.

Clemson football is a heavy favorite over Miami this weekend

Before the season I was excited to see Tyler Van Dyke play against this Clemson defense.  With his injury issues and inconsistency, I am not sure he will even be in the game long, let alone hang with Clemson.  I think Clemson wins this game going away.  Miami’s strength is in that defensive front, so it may take a bit to get Shipley, Mafah and Pace going, but I believe they will have success overall.

Miami’s offensive line is a patchwork group, and I believe the Clemson front will eat, and eat a lot.  Heck, it’s almost Thanksgiving, you gotta eat!

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