New OC Rhett Lashlee talks expectations and high tempo offense

Photo credit: Isabella Didio

After a lackluster season that ended with a 6-7 record, the University of Miami football program understood that it needed to revamp its offense in order to compete, beginning with the offensive coordinator. The team found a solution in Rhett Lashlee, the former Southern Methodist University offensive coordinator and quarterbacks’ coach.

On Wednesday afternoon, the University of Miami football coaching staff and select players partook in the first official press conference of the offseason, and Lashlee’s first since coming to Miami. The event came after a rather hectic start to the offseason that saw the signing of several highly regarded coaches and recruits.

Lashlee reminisced upon his past coaching jobs and made his approach to the Miami position very clear: focus on the future. The new hire emphasized that whats in the past is in the past.

“I only care about what we’re doing going forward,” Lashlee said. “I have not and will not watch one single game from last year.”

Instead, the new OC looks to evaluate the core skill sets of players with condensed film clips in order to truly understand their capabilities.

While he did comment on the skill and depth returning to each position, Lashlee highlighted the shortcomings of the wide receivers.

“We got a lot of guys that haven’t really done anything, but they’ve got some abilities,” Lashlee said.

His perception of the returning quarterbacks was similar.

“if you’re a quarterback in college or pro football and you don’t have consistent play or production, it’s hard to win at a high level,” Lashlee said.

The comment may be considered a slight at Jarren Williams, the former quarterback who entered the transfer portal after his 2019 season was plagued by inconsistency.

However, when the topic of University of Houston transfer D’Eriq King came up, Lashlee seemed optimistic regarding the quarterback’s future at Miami. He made it clear that he was seeking a mature transfer quarterback to bring stability to Miami’s offense.

Both King and Lashlee competed in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) last season, and Lashlee recognized the connection as a catalyst in King’s transfer.

“It had worked out just because he and I had gone against each other,” Lashlee said. “I just think that helped us get the ball rolling.”

There is no hiding the abundance of talent Miami has been able to acquire from the AAC. Aside from Lashlee and King, the defense will benefit from the experience of Quincy Roche, a transfer from Temple University. The defensive end finished last season with the seventh most sacks in the country (13).

Also in attendance was Garin Justice, the former University of Nevada-Las Vegas offensive coordinator who was hired as Miami’s offensive line coach on Jan. 11.

“His reputation proceeds him not just as a recruiter and coach, but also as a developer of young men,” Lashlee said about Justice. “As he and I got to start talking, I think we see things in the same way.”

One thing that Miami fans should be eager to witness this upcoming fall is the up tempo spread offense, which Lashlee has been a proponent of since his days as a high school quarterback.

“That’s just what I’ve always done,” Lashlee said when asked about running the spread offense

Lashlee also recognizes the speed of South Florida recruits, which he hopes to tap into in order to run his offense.

While at SMU, the Mustangs scored an average 41.8 points per game under Lashlee, giving SMU the fifth highest scoring offense in college football last season.

Lashlee presented an overall optimistic attitude toward the future of the program, but only time will tell how effective these recent changes will be.