Two-time Miami football National Championship head coach Dennis Erickson likes the direction the Hurricanes are taking. Erickson praised offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and head coach Manny Diaz in an interview with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Erickson was one of the initiators of the spread offense.
When Erickson was hired to be the Miami football head coach in 1989 he changes the Hurricanes offense from a pro-style under his successors Howard Schnellenberger and Jimmy Johnson to a three-wide receiver set, spread. Similar to Erickson, Lashlee was hired to change Miami from a pro-style offense to the spread.
Erickson was complementary of what current Miami quarterback D’Eriq King brings to the Hurricanes offense. King is the perfect signal-caller in the modern spread offense. When Erickson won national championships at Miami in 1989 and 1991, he utilized traditional pro-style QBs, Craig Erickson and Gino Torretta.
Torretta was a plodding pocket passer who won the 1992 Heisman Trophy. The classic spread relies on a balanced offense. Miami had a balanced offense in the first four seasons of the Dennis Erickson era. The Hurricanes attempted two to three more passes than runs per game from 1989-92.
"“I like what Manny is doing…And I like what Rhett Lashlee is doing, impressed how he calls a game. They run the ball extremely well out of their offense. You have to run the football to win it all now. His run game is the same as we used, but they run the quarterback more.We didn’t call it the RPO then. We called it play action passes. He’s (King) accurate, can get you out of trouble with his mobility, can make plays if they’re not there…I like him a lot. I hope he’s healthy.”"
Miami 2020 statistics
With King at QB and Lashlee in his first season with Miami at offensive coordinator, Miami averaged 38.1 rushing attempts per game and 34.6 passing attempts. Whether on designed runs or scrambles, King had 130 carries for 538 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. That’s an average of 11.8 carries per game.
Those numbers include eight carries for 18 yards by King in less than a half before tearing his ACL in the Cheez-it Bowl loss to Oklahoma State in December. The accuracy in the short passing game is one of the biggest ways offense has evolved in football. King completed 64.1 percent of his passes in 2020.
Before King transferred to the Miami football program in 2020, the Hurricanes had issues with accuracy. N’Kosi Perry who was the primary backup to King in 2020 completed a career-high 55.3 percent of his passes in 2020. Perry is in the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2021.
Miami completed 54.6 percent of their passes as a team with Erickson and Torretta attempting all but 15 of the Hurricanes passes during the 1989 National Championship season. King was ultra-successful for Miami in 2020 with Mike Harley as the only reliable WR. Harley is returning for a fifth season in 2021.