State of the Canes: Offense, Week 5

Lets take a close position-by-position look at MIami's offense through the first three games of the season.

Quarterback:

Brad Kaaya was expected to have a big junior season in the new offense, and he's certainly gotten off to a good start. He's completed 66-percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. He's thrown for 694 yards. While it'd be nice to see Kaaya cut down on the turnovers -- especially given the competition during the first three games -- he seems to be settled into this new offense. Miami's first three games were blowouts so there's a good chance Kaaya's only used a portion of the offensive playbook. He's done a nice job spreading the ball around (11 different players have receptions from Kaaya this season) and he's done a nice job of getting rid of the football on time (he's been sacked just twice on 78 drop backs). He's on track for a big junior campaign. Malik Rosier won the backup quarterback job during fall camp and has seen a little backup duty but not enough to form much of an opinion on the quality of his play. Vincent Testaverde and Evan Shirreffs are also competing for time but considering they didn't get into the first three games there's a good chance they won't play at all this season. Jack Allison seems destined for a redshirt.

Running Back:

Mark Walton emerged as the team's top running back in the spring and then carried that positive momentum into fall camp. Through three games, Walton leads leads the team with 48 carries for 401 yards and seven touchdowns. With just one reception through three games he's had a very minimal impact in the passing game but he's done a solid job as Miami's lead runner. Joseph Yearby has been the team's No. 2 back with 35 carries for 256 yards and four scores. He leads all Miamik backs with five receptions. Gus Edwards was expected to emerge as the team's primary short-yardage back this season but it hasn't happened. After seeing several touches in the opener against Florida A&M, he's only been on the field for a handful of minutes over the last two games. He has just 11 touches through those three games. Freshman Travis Homer is very talented and could push for the No. 3 spot sometime soon. He has just five touches through the first three games. Marquez WIlliams won the starting fullback job in fall camp and has been on the field a lot. He's used mainly as a blocker but has been targeted a few times in the passing game, and scored the team's first touchdown of the season through the air. Trayone Gray is out for the season with a knee injury.

Wide Receiver:

Depth at this position was a concern heading into the season, and that's still the case heading into this week's game against Georgia Tech. Miami has just two legitimate playmakers at this position right now -- and they're both very good. Stacy Coley leads the team with 11 grabs and three scores (136 yards). Freshman Ahmmon Richards has burst onto the scene to emerge as the team's No. 2 receiver. He has nine receptions for 203 yards and one score so far. Coley and Richards will provide UM's offense with a very talented tandem heading into the middle part of the season. The Canes really need others to step up although it's not likely going to happen in a big way because the next three guys simply aren't proven playmakers. Dayall Harris (6 for 54), Malcolm Lewis (2 for 22) and Braxton Berrios (2 for 18) are also seeing lots of playing time, and need to step up -- especially once teams start finding ways to double up Coley or Richards. Sam Bruce and Lawrence Cager are out for the season with injuries while Darrell Langham can't seem to find his way onto the field.

Tight End:

David Njoku and Chris Herndon both had solid seasons in 2015, and they've both picked right up where they left off. They're proven playmakers in the passing game. Njoku has seven catches for 133 yards and a score while Herndon's gone for 5-69-1. Both players play key roles in this offense and are considered two of the team's top four pass-catchers right now. Stan Dobard continues to play a role in both the running game and, to some extent, the passing game (2 catches for 32 yards). Freshmen Michael Irvin and Jovani Haskins have yet to make an impact or receive a target.

Offensive Line:

The starting lineup has been the same through each of the first three games this season. Everyone expected that, except there was some uncertainty as to who would win the starting right tackle job. Sunny Odogwu did and he's stayed ahead of Tyree St Louis ever since. Trevor Darling (LT), Kc McDermot (LG), Nick Linder (C), and Danny Isidora (RG) are the other four starters. They've been solid through three games but they haven't been tested like they will be for the rest of the season. We'll learn a lot more soon, starting with this week's game against Georgia Tech. There are nine scholarship players behind those starting five and many of them can play multiple positions. We'll learn a lot more about them starting this weekend when we find out which of those nine are in the game rotation. Freshman Tre Johnson is likely going to redshirt.

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