Miami football needs Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins more consistent deep threats

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 2: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 2: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

The wide receiver play for the Miami football team in 2020 was inconsistent other than Mike Harley. The underclassmen barely played and juniors Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins had too many drops. Those drops were prevalent in the 37-34 Miami loss to Oklahoma State in the Cheez-it Bowl.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Pope had six drops and caught only four of 17 passes thrown over 20 yards. Wiggins had six drops and five receptions in 17 attempts thrown to him over 20 yards in 2020. For the Miami offense to take the next step in 2021 they need to become more explosive.

Developing more consistency in the deep passing game is a big part of the Hurricanes offense continuing to evolve. Adding Oklahoma transfer Charleston Rambo to the Miami football roster will help in the deep passing game. Rambo averaged 17.5 yards per reception with the Sooners in 2019.

Looking at the raw numbers, the Miami football team was able to produce big plays in the passing game. The bulk of those came on intermediate to short passes. Harley finished 10th in the ACC with 12 receptions over 20 yards and tight end Brevin Jordan who finished his Miami career was 14th with nine receptions over 20 yards.

Miami wide receivers coach Rob Likens appeared on WQAM Hurricane Hotline

The Hurricanes need to get other WRs involved in 2021. Jackson reported that freshmen Micheal Redding and Keyshawn Smith have received positive feedback from the Miami coaching staff. Rambo and Harley project to be two of the starting WRs with the latter in the slot. Pope and Wiggins will likely compete at the other WR.

With 12 WRs on the roster and nine competing this spring, the competition will be fierce for Miami. None of the freshmen WRs Miami signed, Romello Brinson, Jacolby George and Breshard Smith were early enrollees and will not participate in spring practice. Miami WR coach Rob Likens commented on Pope and Wiggins.

"“Both of them have good enough hands to be playing Power 5 football,”"

Pope and Wiggins both developed significantly in 2020. They have to continue to improve or one of the many young receivers on the Miami roster will pass them in 2021. Wiggins has shown the ability to be a deep threat in the Hurricanes offense but the continued drops have plagued him throughout his collegiate career.

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Pope had 33 receptions for 403 yards and two touchdowns in 2020, Wiggins 31 for 358 and three TDs. Both Pope and Wiggins had five receptions that went for 20 or more yards in 2020, that is it not passes that necessarily went over 20 yards in the air. The Miami offense can be elite if Pope and Wiggins limit their drops.