Miami football needs better WR play with extended injuries

Sep 17, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team needs better play from their wide receivers after the disclosures in the last few days that Jacolby George and Xavier Restrepo will have extended absences. Multiple media outlets confirmed on Monday that George is out indefinitely with a broken hand suffered on Saturday versus Texas A&M.

Head coach Mario Cristobal mentioned after the loss to Texas A&M on Saturday that Restrepo will be out at least six weeks with a foot injury. That would put Restrepo on pace to return for the October 29 game at Virginia. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis stated on Monday that Miami is down to seven healthy scholarship WRs.

George recorded three receptions for 41 yards on five targets in his first game of the season on Saturday. George was suspended for the first two games of the season for unspecified reasons. Even after missing the Texas A&M game, Restrepo still leads Miami with 11 receptions and 172 receiving yards this season.

The healthy Miami scholarship WRs have 28 receptions for 336 yards and two touchdowns this season. With George and Restrepo out the top WRs for Miami are Michael Redding III with 105 yards and Breshard Smith with nine receptions. Smith has taken the place of Restrepo as the primary slot receiver.

George played well on Saturday and was primed to share playing time as the outside receiver for Miami with Redding and Key’shawn Smith. Miami needs improved play at WR primarily from Romello Brinson, Frank Ladson, Redding and both Smiths. Freshman Isaiah Horton is not expected to be impactful in 2022.

Brinson had one reception for no yards on two targets on Saturday. George, Redding and the two Smiths each had three receptions on Saturday. Key’Shawn Smith had three receptions for 42 yards on nine targets, Redding 3-29 on 10 and Breshard Smith 3-14 on four targets with a memorable drop on the last Miami offensive play.

The Miami receivers had seven drops versus Texas A&M. The loss of George and Restrepo could propel offensive coordinator Josh Gattis to play two tight ends more often. Will Mallory led Miami with six receptions for 56 yards on seven targets on Saturday. Backup TE Elijah Arroyo had one reception for 29 yards on three targets.

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True freshman TE Jaleel Skinner could also get more playing time. Skinner had one reception for 30 yards in the season opener versus Bethune-Cookman. The Miami football team hosts Middle Tennessee State this Saturday before a bye week the weekend of October 1. Miami begins ACC play on October 8 versus North Carolina.