Rhett Lashlee could be leading candidate if SMU head coach opens

Sep 18, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee could be a candidate to become the head coach at SMU if Sonny Dykes leaves the Mustangs for TCU. Lashlee was the offensive coordinator at SMU in 2018 and 2019 before Manny Diaz hired him away from SMU. The Miami offense has improved significantly under Lashlee.

Miami is averaging 33.45 points per game and 440.64 yards under Rhett Lashlee as offensive coordinator. Lashlee had to adapt the Miami offense after losing elite dual-threat quarterback D’Eriq King three games into the 2021 season. Second-year freshman Tyler Van Dyke has thrived under Lashlee.

Van Dyke enters the season finale at Duke on Saturday with five straight games passing for over 300 yards and at least three touchdowns in his last five games. Miami ranks 13th nationally averaging 314.9 passing yards per game. SMU was 13th nationally in passing averaging 309 yards per game.

Lashlee had success at SMU with two different QBs and as an assistant coach at eventually offensive coordinator at Auburn with Nick Marshall and Cam Newton. Earlier this month Lashlee was voted the fifth best candidate as an assistant to become a head coach. Lashlee would be returning closer to home at SMU.

Prior to coaching under Gus Malzahn at Arkansas State and Auburn, Lashlee played for him in high school in Springdale, Arkansas. Springdale is about 350 miles from Dallas. Lashlee also has experience and the offensive coordinator and QB coach at FCS Samford in 2011 and the same positions with UConn in 2017.

Any potential replacement for Lashlee would largely depend on what happens with head coach Manny Diaz. If Diaz is retained, Miami could begin a search for a new offensive coordinator or promote offensive line coach Garin Justice or wide receivers coach Rob Likens who both have experience as offensive coordinators.

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If Diaz is fired the new head coach would likely want to bring in his own coaching staff regardless if Lashlee is hired at SMU or not. Should Lashlee not be hired by SMU it would be in the best interests of the Miami football program to retain him. Many of the key skill position players for Miami will likely return in 2022.