The failure of the Miami Hurricanes to stay on the field on third down offensively was one of the biggest reasons the offense was inept for most of the 2019 season. New offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has a plan to fix that.
Under now-fired offensive coordinator, Dan Enos the Miami Hurricanes offense finished an unacceptable 129th out of 130 FBS teams on third down in 2019. Only 0-12 Akron was worse on third down than the 27.16 conversion rate that Miami had in 2019. Fixing third down will be critical for new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.
During an appearance, earlier this month on the Joe Rose Morning show on WQAM Lashlee extensively discussed his history and his plans of how he will change and improve the Miami offense. The Hurricanes lacked any continuity on offense by playing two quarterbacks for the second straight season.
The shuffling back and forth between redshirt sophomore N’Kosi Perry and redshirt freshman Jarren Williams seemed to hinder the Miami Hurricanes offense and for any of the receivers to develop a rapport with either Perry or Williams. Lashlee comes to Miami after leading a potent SMU offense in 2019.
The Miami Hurricanes defense was often criticized during the 2019 season. When an offense fails to sustain drives that creates a strain on the defense mentally and physically throughout the course of a football game. Lashlee theorizes that creating good habits and building confidence are the keys to third-down success.
“I do think success breeds confidence and confidence allows you to be successful on third down, in clutch moments, in the red zone and to be successful you’ve got to get guys bought into having an identity, they’ve got to know who we are.
And they’ve got to have done stuff over, and over and over again to create good habits, so they can execute when all the pressure is on.”
Repetition in practice is one thing, the Hurricanes are going to have to be able to prove it on the field on third down next September to begin building confidence. Miami begins the season with a mildly difficult game against Temple, hosts FCS Wagner week two. 2019 bowl qualifier UAB week three and are at Michigan State.
Miami is afforded the opportunity to ease into the 2020 season more so than 2019. Miami opened this past season against top 10 Florida and played at ACC Coastal Division foe North Carolina week two. With a young team, Miami was expected to perform in midseason form by a sizeable portion of the media and Miami fanbase.
Lashlee led a strong SMU offense on third down in 2019. The Mustangs finished 30th in the nation on the penultimate down, converting 43.87 percent of their tries. SMU was fourth in the nation with 93 third-down conversions and second with 212 attempts to Wake Forest who MIami travels to in 2020.
Lashlee clearly learned a lot about what works on third down and what does not leading the SMU offense in 2019. The next task for Lashlee is to figure out how to train his newest pupils to feel confident in what they do on third down next season. Improving third down will greatly improve the offensive output this season.