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2022 Miami football season preview

2021 season: 7-5, 5-3 in the ACC (2nd in the Coastal Division)

Head coach: Mario Cristobal (1st season)

Born and raised in Miami, new head coach Mario Cristobal brings with him a lot of hype to the Hurricanes. Once a beloved player and assistant coach, he enters after a somewhat disappointing 2021 season in which Miami struggled to find its identity for much of the year, losing nonconference games to highly ranked teams such as Alabama and Michigan State. Yet the ACC, in what seemed like a down year for the conference, was not as challenging for the Hurricanes as those three losses may indicate. They had impressive wins against N.C. State and ACC champion Pittsburgh, and their three losses came by a total of just eight total points. Had a few plays swung differently, Miami's season may have ended differently. 

Sophomore quarterback Tyler Van Dyke enters his second year at the position for Miami after stepping in for D’Eriq King and throwing for nearly 3000 yards. The Hurricanes bring back some key targets as well as transfer Frank Ladson, who made the move from ACC rival Clemson. For an offensive line that struggled to protect last year, Cristobal brought along a few transfers from Oregon. That should benefit a poor run game—Jaylan Knighton, Miami's leading rusher last season, totaled just 561 yards. Cristobal and new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis should unlock some new dimensions to the offensive game for the Hurricanes.

As for the defense, Miami is working with many new faces after the departure of many contributors from last year’s squad. Basically, every positional group has gone through an overhaul, with transfers from all around the college football world coming in to assist the few that remain from the 2021 season. However, that could be a good thing for Miami, which oftentimes struggled to defend the pass last year. Miami ranked 75th in the FBS last year in yards allowed per game, with just under 390 per contest, and 86th in points allowed with an average of 28.4. 

There is much improvement to be had on both sides of the ball for the Hurricanes. While fans may want instant results, that is not what this new hire will be for. The team should improve—a more experienced quarterback and a better offensive line will often do that for programs—yet it is not yet ready to compete with the best of the best. Cristobal is setting the base now to catch the eye of future recruits and begin to rebuild Miami to its glory days. 

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