As any totally honest University of Miami football fan can acknowledge, the 2012 season left a lot to be desired in terms of success.
The team finished with a 7-5 record and lost at least two games, to North Carolina and Virginia, that the Hurricanes easily should have won. I'm not just saying that because I predicted a 9-3 record last season (well maybe), no I'm saying that because Miami should have handily beaten both the Tar Heels and the Cavaliers by any standard of measure.
There bottom line is that there still remains a lot of room for improvement for 2013 if Miami is going to win the ACC and compete for a National championship. And, as everyone already knows, this is especially true on the defensive side of the ball.
However, the issues that held back the Hurricanes in 2012 were certainly not isolated to UM defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio's and his crew. No, the room for improvement lies all around. So, I decided to do some research and take a look at some stats that prove this point. Let's take a peek shall we?
First let's open right up with the UM defense and their less than stellar effort in 2012. Hide the women and children because here are the statistical rankings for the UM defense in 2012:
- Total Defense: #116
- Rushing Defense: #113
- Number of Sacks: #113
- Tackles For Loss: #105
- Scoring Defense: #82
- Passing Defense: #58
If defense wins championships then that is simply not going to get it done against the Alabama's, Notre Dame's and Florida State's of the world. Which is why the UM defense MUST improve in 2013 and why this particular recruiting class is so incredibly important.
Any high school recruit that plays defense that is coming to Miami this Fall has the chance to play and play now. Opportunities abound for players like DL Tim Williams, CB Artie Burns and LB Matthew Thomas, all of who could ink with Miami in 2013.
Now for some good news. Miami ranked highest in the following categories in the NCAA rankings:
- Kickoff returns: #2 (RB Duke Johnson)
- Passing Offense: #25 (QB Stephen Morris)
- Turnover Margin: #30
- Total Offense: #36 (OC Jedd Fisch)
- Sacks Allowed: #41 (OL coach Art Kehoe)
- Scoring Offense: #49 (Fisch, Kehoe, Morris, Johnson)
In the ACC, Miami did slightly better by ranking among the top five teams in the conference in seven categories:
- Total Offense
- Scoring offense
- Passing Efficiency
- Sacks Allowed
- Turnover Margin
- Kickoff returns
So, those are clearly the obvious areas where the 2012 Miami Hurricanes did poorly or did well and next year must improve on to get better.
But there are so many other critical areas of performance that the team could manage significant improvements in that we will have to run a part II tomorrow to show you that these stats are not isolated issues but more reflective of an overall team performance that must be corrected if the Hurricanes are to be successful in 2013 and beyond.