There is no question that the Miami Hurricanes upgraded at head coach this offseason by hiring Oregon’s Mario Cristobal to replace Manny Diaz. While Cristobal is one of college football’s top recruiters, what can we expect from the 2022 Hurricanes? Let’s see the preview for your favorite bets.
Miami Hurricanes 2022 Football Season Preview
It was thought that perhaps Coach Manny Diaz’s job had been saved with the Hurricanes winning five of their final six games last season to finish 7-5 but when Miami knew it could get Mario Cristobal from Oregon – he’s a former national champion offensive lineman on the Canes – the move was made. Cristobal also served as an assistant coach at Miami under Larry Coker. Diaz, a Miami native whose father once served as the city’s mayor, was 21-15 in three years as Miami’s coach after a stint as the team’s defensive coordinator under Mark Richt.
Cristobal is be tasked with helping the Hurricanes emerge from mediocrity. The Canes only have one season of double-digit wins since joining the ACC in 2003. Miami clearly believed in Cristobal given it paid more than $12 million combined to buy out his contract from Oregon and end Diaz’s deal. Cristobal is a Miami native who spent six seasons as coach at FIU before working under Nick Saban at Alabama from 2013-16. He served as Oregon’s offensive coordinator for a season before replacing Willie Taggart as coach.
Cristobal was able to lure two excellent coordinators in OC Josh Gattis and DC Kevin Steele. As the Wolverines’ offensive coordinator in 2021, Gattis won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant and is regarded as one of the country’s rising coaching prospects. Steele generated significant buzz as a potential candidate for Auburn’s head coaching job last offseason before the Tigers ultimately chose Bryan Harsin. During Steele’s tenure at Auburn as the defensive coordinator — 2016 to 2020 — the Tigers ranked as high as second in the SEC in yards allowed per play and never finished lower than sixth.
Miami brings back arguably the top quarterback in the ACC in Tyler Van Dyke. Last year, he earned ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Van Dyke started final nine games of season and saw action in 10 games total. He threw for 2,931 yards and 25 touchdowns compared to just six interceptions and completed 62.3 percent of pass attempts (202 of 324).
Van Dyke ended the year with six straight games with at least 300 passing yards and at least three touchdown passes, becoming first Power 5 quarterback to record such a streak in a single season since Joe Burrow of LSU in his 2019 Heisman Trophy-winning campaign. He was third Miami player to win both ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year, joining RB Duke Johnson (2012) and QB Brad Kaaya (2014).
The QB caller, who has earned spots on both the Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Award watch lists, is one of several Hurricanes to earn preseason recognition, joining the likes tight end Will Mallory, kicker Andy Borregales, offensive lineman Jakai Clark, offensive lineman Zion Nelson, defensive lineman Leonard Taylor, punter Lou Hedley and safety James Williams in the early running for major national awards.
Mallory owns 73 receptions for 1,006 yards and 11 touchdowns over his for seasons as a Hurricane. He is coming off his finest campaign, as he posted highs in catches (30), yards (347), starts (12) and longest reception (57) in 2021, while matching his top mark in touchdowns (four). Borregales turned in a splendid freshman campaign in 2021 and garnered All-ACC Honorable Mention recognition. He went 17-of-21 on field goals and connected on all 45 of his extra-point attempts.
The Hurricanes were voted the preseason favorite to win the Coastal Division at the ACC Kickoff event last month. Miami, picked to win the Coastal for the first time since 2018 and sixth time since joining the league, also received eight votes to win the league, third-most of any school. Only Clemson (103) and NC State (38) earned more such votes. In the final year of a divisional format in the ACC, the Coastal and Atlantic champions will meet Dec. 3 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte in the ACC Championship Game.
The Hurricanes open at home on Sept. 3 vs. Bethune-Cookman and are massive favorites. Their first true test is Sept. 17 at Texas A&M.
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