At last, Miami’s season is over. The Hurricanes finished with a record of 5-7 after another large-margin loss to the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. The 42-16 loss eliminated Miami from bowl contention and brought an end to what has been a nightmare rebuilding season for many.
Here are the key takeaways from the regular season:
Miami is a longer way from contention than most thought
It is a brutal reality, but make no mistake: Miami is not “back” and it might not be for a while.
“We didn’t live up to our own expectations,” head coach Mario Cristobal said after Saturday’s loss to Pittsburgh. “It is important to look at exactly each and every position and performance.”
The ‘Canes regressed after what many thought could be a positive first year. Starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke was riddled with injuries and did not look like himself in the starts he did have.
With Van Dyke’s injury slashing a lot of the passing game’s hopes, Miami tried all season to establish the ground game but could not seem to get it going at an elite level. Just 10th in the Atlantic Coastal Conference with 128.1 rushing yards per game, the Hurricanes did not seem to have the personnel to consistently execute Cristobal and offensive coordinator Josh Gattis’ running schemes.
On defense, Miami allowed too many yards and points at home. The ‘Canes were burned early in the season by Chase Cunningham, quarterback of the Middle Tennessee Raiders. This surprising defensive letdown against a non-Power Five opponent only set the tone for the rest of the season. The Hurricanes allowed over 40 points at home four times.
“We got to get to work with tough-minded people. Talented, tough-minded people,” Cristobal said. “That is uncomfortable for some people and that’s alright. So, there’s no flinching here.”
Miami could be thrashed by the transfer portal
It will be up to Cristobal and his staff to replace the players that leave and improve.
Still, it might be an ugly scene as many players look for playing time or a fresh start.
Miami has already seen running back Thaddius Franklin Jr. announce he will be transferring, while defensive back Gilbert Frierson has done the same.
Cristobal has mentioned that the portal is a “two-way street” and it is the reality of modern-day college football. The head coach and his staff will have a lot of work to do convincing the players he needs to come to Miami and help fill the team’s needs.
Miami must lean on Cristobal
Hurricanes fans are rightfully frustrated with the team’s performance in 2022.
“Disappointing night for us, we wanted to win for our program and for our seniors. Always got to take full responsibility as a head coach,” Cristobal said.
As bad as 5-7 is, the university was so dissatisfied with 7-5 in 2021 that the head coach was fired. So, no matter how things are sliced, there is a lot of work to do.
Even if Cristobal has done poorly as a coach at Miami so far, he has fallen on his sword in every post-game press conference and it appears he is as hurt as anyone else to see the team lose like it has.
“Setting a standard comes with laying a foundation. Sometimes it’s really painful and that is where we are,” Cristobal said.
Miami isn’t a stopgap job for Cristobal. This is his alma mater and it seems he is all in on fixing the program and bringing it back into national championship contention. Sure, there are no guarantees things will pan out, but Hurricanes fans have almost no alternative but to hope for the best.