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Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Part One of a Two-Part Series: The Offense

The University of Miami men’s basketball team mantra through the NCAA Tournament

was very simple.

“Why not us?”

That carried the Canes pretty far as they reached their first ever Final Four, despite losing to Connecticut in the National Semifinal. The football team is rhetorically asking the same question.

“Why not us?”

Miami has a high-octane, up-tempo offense designed by new Offensive Coordinator

Shannon Dawson, who migrated to Coral Gables from the University of Houston where they marched up and down the field almost at will. Dawson will have better athletes to work with at Miami and has a dark horse Heisman contender in quarterback Tyler Van Dyke who is coming off of an indifferent 2022 campaign that saw him sidelined for most of the year with a shoulder injury.

Miami was plagued by injuries in 2022 across the offensive line and that was an area that Offensive Line Coach Alex Mirabal promised to upgrade. Mirabal went so far to say that he would rather cut off his arm before the offensive line is the weak link on this team. It is safe to say that Mirabal can keep both sleeves on his shirts.

The first thing Cristobal did was sure up his patchwork offensive line.

The only returneeof any substance is Left Tackle Zion Nelson, who is a fourth-year senior. Nelson never really materialized into the power tackle that some thought he was, but he is highly thought of in the National Football League circles. Cristobal started by signing two plug and play, five-star behemoth tackles in Samson Okunlola and Francis Mauigoa.

Cristobal then added Javion Cohen, an All-SEC transfer interior offensive lineman from Alabama. Then came Matt Lee, the top-ranked center in the transfer portal from the University of Central Florida. Now, the Canes have the makings of The Great

Wall of Mirabal who will give Van Dyke the time he needs to throw the football downfield. Van Dyke will have a lot of toys this season as Mario Cristobal had a big haul during recruiting and when you sprinkle in some transfers, you have the makings of a team that can make a lot of noise in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Last season, while the quarterback was standing upright, he had a problem in that the

Wide Receiver room was small and not very deep. Boy how things have changed.

Miami will line up Colbie Young on one side, Xavier Restrepo in the slot and either

Robby Washington or Ray Ray Joseph on the other flank. Cristobal also snagged Shemar Kirk, from the JUCO ranks and he adds both size and speed and can spread the field.

The Hurricanes signed two of the top running backs in South Florida in Mark Fletcher

and Christopher Johnson. They will compete with last year’s prize in Tre’vonte Citizen who missed all of last season with a leg injury and Henry Parrish, who led the team in rushing. Also coming back from injury is Don Chaney. Miami’s offense will produce a lot of yards and they will score a lot of points. With Van Dyke at the helm, the Eye of the Storm will be coming right at ACC defenses.




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