State of the Team: Week 2 (offense)

The Hurricanes are 2-0 heading into the bye week. CanesTime's Mike Bakas takes a close look at the state of the team after two games.

QB: Stephen Morris finished 2012 as one of the hottest quarterbacks in all of college football. He seemed to be settling in quite nicely at the end of Jedd Fisch's second year as offensive coordinator. Then Fisch (along with starting running back Mike James) left for the NFL. While Morris has led his team to a 2-0 start, things can be a lot better. He seems to lock onto his first read too long, and has made a lot of low-percentage throws after the first two weeks of the season. Against the Gators, he targeted just three wide receivers the entire game. Running backs have caught just three of his 27 completions, while tight ends have caught just five. He'll settle in, especially when he plays against defenses not nearly as talented as the one he saw last Saturday, but the biggest area I'd like to see improvement in is going to his second and third reads, and spreading the ball around a lot more.

RB: Most Canes fans could have predicted what's already happened at the running back position through two weeks of the season. Duke Johnson ran wild against FAU, and then struggled to find running room against a Gator front that handled Miami's offensive line. Miami needs to develop running back depth. Aside from one Eduardo Clements run, which happened when Johnson got dinged up on a play and that was called back due to a penalty, no other tailback touched the football against the Gators. Against good defenses right now, it's a one-man show at the running back position. If the Hurricanes want to win the conference and play in a BCS game this season, it must develop depth. Clements and Dallas Crawford, and even Gus Edwards, have to earn the trust of the coaches. It hasn't happened yet but it could in the near future.

WR: With the exception of Phillip Dorsett's long touchdown reception and a short touchdown catch by Herb Waters, this unit was handled pretty well by a good Florida secondary. The Gators were able to use man coverage most of the day, and Miami's receivers were unable to break free for most of the night. Depth has been an issue since the season started. D'Mauri Jones isn't ready. Maybe that will change soon, but it's doubtful. He's probably a year away. Malcolm Lewis isn't ready to return yet. Maybe that will change soon, maybe not. Rashawn Scott is out for at least a few weeks with a shoulder injury. After seeing some targets in the opener, Morris and/or James Coley didn't trust Stacy Coley against the Gators. Like I said about the depth at running back, this group has to be able to win 1-on-1 matchups on the outside if they want to win the conference and play in a BCS game. After two weeks, it hasn't happened. Sure, no one on the remaining schedule will have a secondary as talented and experienced as the Gators but things need to get better here -- and in a hurry. Hopefully the return of Lewis happens soon, and Scott can return to action sooner than later. Having said that, those two were still listed as backups all summer to the three guys who saw targets against the Gators.

TE: Clive Walford has picked right up where he left off at the end of last season. He's a mismatch waiting to happen. The only other option in the passing game at tight end is Beau Sandland, who has been used exclusively as a blocker through the first two games of the season. When Miami signed him as the nation's most heavily recruited tight end last year, it probably expected to utilize him a lot in the passing game. Either he's not ready to take on that role or he'll start getting worked into that role over the next several weeks (more likely). Even if Sandland does get involved in the passing game, Walford has the ability to catch 40+ passes and seven or eight touchdowns this season. We've seen flashes of that, and I expect it to happen.

OL: What was considered one of the biggest strengths of the team heading into the season, the offensive line got handled pretty well by the Gator front four last Saturday. Florida regularly created a new line of scrimmage, which made life difficult for Johnson. Morris was under a good amount of pressure, and this unit drew a handful of penalties. Again, Florida has the best front four they'll see all regular season, but things have to improve up front. Based on the depth chart changes in recent weeks, it seems as though the top three guys here are Brandon Linder, Shane McDermott, and Ereck Flowers. Their starting roles have never changed. That likely means the Canes need to get better play from Seantrel Henderson, Malcolm Bunche, and Jonathan Feliciano. This isn't a new group. They don't lack experience or size or strength. Flat out, they need to play better moving forward. I trust the coaches will fix the mistakes, and couple that with the fact that the schedule will get easier and I think this unit will be fine moving forward.

Tomorrow, we'll take a closer look at the defense through two games.

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