State of the Program – Miami Football

Previous State of the Programs

Virginia Tech | Georgia Tech | Boston College | Syracuse


Last Season in Review

Record: 8-5 (5-3 ACC)

Head Coach: Mark Richt

Passing Rushing Total Offense
Split G Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg
Offense 13 20.6 34.5 59.7 277.1 1.4 32.6 119.9 3.7 1.5 67.2 397.0 5.9
Defense 13 19.0 31.8 59.8 203.5 1.2 38.3 201.3 5.3 1.9 70.1 404.8 5.8
Difference +1.6 +2.7 -0.1 +73.6 +0.2 -5.7 -81.4 -1.6 -0.4 -2.9 -7.8 +0.1
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2016.

Well…you know who’s finally happy? The pilot who drove that “Fire Al Golden” banner all those weeks on Saturdays, it finally happened. After a 58-0 drubbing at the hands of Clemson in Week 7 last season, Al Golden is no more. Enter The Mark Richt Era! If you haven’t heard of him, he used to coach at a university named Georgia (they fired him).

The Hurricanes went 8-5 last season (4-3 before Al Golden was dismissed) and return one of the best quarterbacks in the conference in Brad Kaaya. Imagine with me if you will: Combine Kaaya’s ability to play with Richt’s ability to coach along with the rest of the talent of the Miami roster (Joseph Yearby, Stacey Coley) and maybe they’re getting somewhere down in Coral Gables.

Kaaya was second in the ACC in passing yards behind Clemson’s Deshaun Watson (4,109), Joseph Yearby was one of seven 1,000 yard rushers in the ACC, and senior receiver Rashawn Scott rounded out the top 10 in the ACC in receiving yards with 695 yards. The potential to win is definitely there as Miami returns a load of talent, and Mark Richt knows a thing or 2 about winning (see the chart below as proof). Richt’s teams all qualified for a bowl game (at least 6 wins) in all but his last season as head coach, which didn’t count for obvious reasons, but Georgia won 24-17 against Penn State, Kirby Smart was the coach.

Year School G W L T Pct Bowl
2001 Georgia 12 8 4 0 .667 Music City BowlL
2002 Georgia 14 13 1 0 .929 Sugar BowlW
2003 Georgia 14 11 3 0 .786 Capital One BowlW
2004 Georgia 12 10 2 0 .833 Outback BowlW
2005 Georgia 13 10 3 0 .769 Sugar BowlL
2006 Georgia 13 9 4 0 .692 Chick-fil-A BowlW
2007 Georgia 13 11 2 0 .846 Sugar BowlW
2008 Georgia 13 10 3 0 .769 Capital One BowlW
2009 Georgia 13 8 5 0 .615 Independence BowlW
2010 Georgia 13 6 7 0 .462 Liberty BowlL
2011 Georgia 14 10 4 0 .714 Outback BowlL
2012 Georgia 14 12 2 0 .857 Capital One BowlW
2013 Georgia 13 8 5 0 .615 Gator BowlL
2014 Georgia 13 10 3 0 .769 Belk BowlW
2015 Georgia 12 9 3 0 .750
Georgia 196 145 51 0 .740
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2016.

Key Players Returning

Offense: Brad Kaaya | Quarterback

Year School Conf Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
*2014 Miami (FL) ACC FR QB 13 221 378 58.5 3198 8.5 8.4 26 12 145.9
2015 Miami (FL) ACC SO QB 12 238 389 61.2 3238 8.3 8.6 16 5 142.1
Career Miami (FL) 459 767 59.8 6436 8.4 8.5 42 17 144.0
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2016.

Kaaya saw a leap in his numbers and ability last season while going 8-5 last season, finishing 3rd in the ACC Coastal at 6-2. Despite throwing for less touchdown passes (16), Kaaya threw for more passing yards (3,238) and threw less interceptions (5) in the 2015 season.

Progression looks be on Kaaya’s side, particularly with the addition of Mark Richt and company. Mark Richt produced 74 draft picks (11 first rounders) while he was the old ball coach at UGA and there’s no doubt Kaaya has to be thinking about the NFL entering the prime seasons of his Miami career. With the speed and talent he has around him, look for Kaaya to have this Miami team in every game this season. But we all know, he has to watch out for Florida State and Clemson as well.

Defense: Al-Quadin Muhammad | Defensive Line

Tackles Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk PD FR Yds TD FF
*2013 Miami (FL) ACC FR DE 5 5 1 6 2.0 2.0 0 0 0
2015 Miami (FL) ACC SO DL 12 34 20 54 8.5 5.0 1 0 1
Career Miami (FL) 39 21 60 10.5 7.0 1 0 1
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2016.

Muhammad led the Hurricanes last season in sacks (5.0) and tackles for loss (8.5). Muhammad missed all of 2014 due to undisclosed reasons (redshirted) before returning to the Hurricanes last year to strengthen his sophomore campaign.

Muhammad was 3rd on the team in total tackles last season, including a breakout performance against Georgia Tech where he tallied 11 tackles, a sack, and forced fumble. With the addition of Mark Richt’s defense, you have to expect Muhammad will play a key role for any success the Hurricanes have going forward. Look for Muhammad’s name one of the many names to be a “Player to Watch” come Saturday as this defense looks to return to its dominant form.

Key Newcomer

Dayall Harris | Wide Receiver

Mark Richt posted the 21st ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to 24/7 Sports, despite arriving in the offseason. Miami lost some commits, but gained a few on the back end, including receiver Dayall Harris, a junior college commit. While Harris’ statistics in 2015 weren’t stellar at the junior college level, (45 receptions, 546 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns), at best, the incoming junior could add depth to a receiving corps in desperate need of some relief.

In 2015, the Miami passing attack only had averaged 1.4 touchdowns per game despite throwing for 277.1 passing yards a game, 2nd in the ACC. Depth could have a little bit to do with Kaaya’s huge dropoff in passing touchdowns as well. As Mark Richt comes in, look for newcomers like Harris and other incoming receivers to contribute immediately. Honorable mention: Sam Bruce.

Season Preview

Record: 10-2 (7-1), 1st in ACC Coastal

The Hurricanes aren’t necessarily in rebuild mode with the hiring of Mark Richt, they’ve still got a pretty experienced team on both sides of the ball. The Hurricanes play a favorable schedule in the first half of the season as well, things get challenging for the Hurricanes, however, when they visit both Virginia Tech (Thursday night game) and Notre Dame in back to back weeks.


Florida A&M


Florida Atlantic


@App State


@Georgia Tech


Florida State




@Virginia Tech


@Notre Dame






@NC State




For more on Miami football, don’t just stop here. Feel free to listen to our podcast with @chauntelpowell, a sports reporter for the Albany (GA) Herald where she previews Miami football with our hosts @HokieSmash & @TalkinACCSports. Click here for a direct link. (iTunes)

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