Miami Hurricanes WR coach Rob Likens more confident for 2021

Arizona State offensive coordinator Rob Likens on Mar. 15, 2018 during spring football practice in Tempe, Ariz.ASU Spring Football Practice
Arizona State offensive coordinator Rob Likens on Mar. 15, 2018 during spring football practice in Tempe, Ariz.ASU Spring Football Practice /

Miami Hurricanes wide receivers coach Rob Likens told play-by-play announcer Joe Zagacki on Hurricane Hotline earlier this week that he wasn’t confident going the six players deep at the position he felt was needed to win. Miami relied heavily on WRs Mike Harley, Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins during the 2020 season.

Entering the 2021 season, Miami returns Harley, Pope and Wiggins, have added Charleston Rambo as a transfer from Oklahoma, has the entire WRs corps back and signed three four-star WRs. Miami should be deep at WR in 2021, but they need the young WR to develop behind the veterans.

Miami needs Pope and Wiggins to improve in 2021 after each having six drops during the 2020 season. Likens has a proven ability to get the most out of his WRs. Prior to being hired at Miami, Likens coached two straight first-round picks from Arizona State. Harley and Rambo are projected to start in 2021.

Pope and Wiggins will compete to be the third starter. Miami needs Jeremiah Payton to reach his potential in his third season on the Miami Hurricanes football roster. In two seasons, Payton has six receptions for 58 yards. Payton has four years of eligibility remaining with the extra year granted by the NCAA in 2020.

"“If we’re in 11 personnel, you have to play six. Last year, I wasn’t comfortable playing six guys. I do now. I feel like we are going to be able to find six guys who can go out and win for the University of Miami. The more you do it, the more you have confidence. And with that confidence, there should be a snowball effect.When something negative happens, you cannot allow the snowball effect to go in the other direction. You have to have a plan for that. All human beings are not perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s how you handle those mistakes and the ability to learn from the mistakes. I have high expectations for all of the freshmen.”Transcript courtesy Miami Herald"

Miami predominately uses 11 personnel which is three WRs, one tight end and one running back used at the skill positions besides quarterback. Miami was limited having to rely almost exclusively on Harley, Pope and Wiggins last season. Having more options in 2021, including Rambo will give the Miami offense more flexibility.

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The three four-star freshmen Miami signed in the 2021 class are Romello Brinson, Jacolby George and Breshard Smith. If the Hurricanes returning WRs have not developed since last season Brinson, George and Smith should challenge for snaps with the expectations in place from Likens.