UM Needs Big Plays in the Passing Game

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The University of Miami offense may have found a play maker at running back in freshman Javarris James, but the UM offense is still looking for a big day in the passing game this season.

The offense currently ranks 49th in the nation in total offense while ranking 81st in scoring offense. Miami quarterbacks have thrown for just three touchdowns in four games while throwing four interceptions.

Miami's yard statistics and time of possession were acceptable versus Houston, but the offense could not score.

Offensive coordinator Rich Olson says UM could not get any big plays after the 45-yard pass to Lance Leggett on the opening drive because Houston played a bend, but don't break defense.

"Houston was not going to give us big play opportunities," Olson said. "Even right until the end, they kept playing two-deep coverage and weren't even trying to get the ball back from us. When they needed to get the ball back, they waited for us to screw it up. We screwed it up twice by committing two turnovers and giving them ten points."

A problem with the receivers this season has been the yards after catch. At times this year, the receivers have looked like possession receivers—unable to break off a big play.

The most telling statistic of the inability to make a big play—Miami's receivers have not caught one touchdown this season.

"We have to create some big plays with the passing game and we have to have some run after the catch with the receivers," Coach Larry Coker said. "We have to find ways to get receivers the football more."

With two weeks to prepare for UM, Olson expects for a poor UNC defense to play with a lot of aggression this week. He believes the offense has not put together a solid game on offense this season.

"In the two losses we have had, we had two bad halves," Olson said. "In the Houston game, we had a bad quarter. We need to put four quarters together and generate some points. I would like to throw the ball deep six times a game, and I have called them, but if they are not there, I don't want to throw the ball in the air and make it a jump ball just to throw it deep."

NOTES: Tyrone Moss had an MRI on his surgically repaired knee today. There is no damage to the knee, but there is soreness…Darnell Jenkins practiced today, but Coker was unwilling to say if he would play Saturday…Safety Anthony Reddick will play significantly on special teams and may see time in the secondary.

David Lake can be reached at

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