Miami Hurricanes Need to Keep Winning Before the U is Back

DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 29: Braxton Berrios
DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 29: Braxton Berrios /

The 1980’s and early 1990s Miami Hurricanes dominated and intimated opponents. The 2017 Miami Hurricanes have started 5-0. They have shown a lot of character coming back to win late the last two games.

Head Coach Mark Richt said earlier in the week of his team “we’re not dominant”. The Miami Hurricanes defeated Florida State 24-20 on a Darrel Langham touchdown 23-yard touchdown reception with 23 seconds remaining.

They won even closer to the clock reaching zero last week. Michael Badgley kicked a 24-yard field goal with four seconds remaining last week to defeat Georgia Tech 25-24.

The Hurricanes enter today’s game against Syracuse as one of eight teams in the country and the only one left in the ACC that is undefeated. The Hurricanes enter the game 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the ACC. The matchup with Syracuse is the first since the teams were ACC rivals from 1992-2003.

Richt has changed the culture of the Miami Hurricanes. They believe they are going to win every time they take the field. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has instituted a more aggressive defense in line with the aggressive nature of the Miami teams in the early 1980s and 1990s.

Richt was asked early in the week if there is a belief in the locker room that the team can win it all.

"“I don’t know…We’re excited about winning. We are trying to establish that mindset of winning and doing the things it takes to win. But we’re not a dominant football team. We’re a very, very solid football team that’s fighting like mad just to win the close battles, is where we are right now. A lot of positive things are happening through the adversity that we’ve been able to overcome to this point.”“You’re not a top-10 program unless you’re a top-10 program at the end of the year,” Richt said when asked if his team is ahead of schedule. “We’re not at the point where we can just line up and impose our will on people. … We’re not lining up and whipping people and having margins of victory that are comfortable. We have to battle every week.” He added that UM is “moving in the right direction,” but needs to keep recruiting well. UM has won two close games to this point — it lost three last year."

Miami is outscoring its opponents by 16 points per game this season. They average 34.6 points per game, 34th nationally and allow 18.6 which is 20th. They are out gaining their opponents by 107.4 yards per game, 1.4 more first downs and are plus one in turnover margin. The turnover margin is 15th nationally.

The victory margin and yardage differential are impressive. Diaz has emphasized the turnover margin he arrived with Richt for the 2016 season. The turnovers and big play defense are what led the Hurricanes during the Johnson and Erickson’s eras.

If Miami is going to get back to becoming a dominant team nationally the defense is likely going to lead the way, Richt has a very intelligent offensive mind also. As he alluded to the key is also going to be recruiting.

Next: Miami Hurricanes Getting a lot of National Respect

Many programs have breakout seasons. To become a truly great program requires the ability to sustain that year after year, The class Miami is expected to bring in in 2018 will set them on the path back to greatness.