FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes swimming & diving team opened its spring schedule in strong fashion Wednesday afternoon, topping host FGCU in a dual meet, 198-100, at the FGCU Aquatics Complex.
“It was a good win today,” head swimming coach Andy Kershaw said. “One of the things this team has done better than any other team I’ve been with is really being intentional about bringing the energy to competitions. They did that again today, and it was crucial.”
Miami’s winning 200 medley relay team, who finished the day’s opening event in a time of 1:44.17, set the tone for the afternoon. After the medley relay win, four different Hurricanes won consecutive individual events, with Adrianna Cera winning the 1,000-yard freestyle (10:20.96), Carmen San Nicolas capturing the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.91), Danika Huizinga taking top honors in the 100-yard backstroke (58.37) and Giulia Carvalho cruising to victory in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.91).
Freshman Jacey Hinton posted a time of 23.86 to win the 50-yard freestyle and then won the 100-yard freestyle (51.73) in her next event. Huizinga (2:05.58) added a win in the 200-yard backstroke, as did Cera (5:06.68) in the 500-yard freestyle.
“At this time of year, all teams across the country are coming out of a heavy training phase,” Kershaw said. “Everyone is tired. Maybe don’t see the times that we would hope to see or like to see, or are used to seeing, but that’s a result of keeping our eyes on the future. The one thing you can still do, but it’s hard to do, is bring the energy in those moments.”
The Hurricanes diving contingent swept top honors in both springboard events, with Emma Gullstrand, Mia Vallée and Millie Haffety finishing first, second and third, respectively, on both the 1-meter and 3-meter. Gullstrand was the top finisher in both 3-meter (367.35) and 1-meter (350.78).
Carvalho added a second win, this one in the 100-yard butterfly (57.13), before Miami’s 200-yard freestyle relay team finished first in a time of 1:35.45 to end the meet on a high note.
The Hurricanes return to the Norman Whitten Pool on Jan. 21 for a showdown with Florida State.
“There was lots of good winning going on, and I’m very proud of the team and the way they rallied together,” Kershaw said. “We’re definitely going to have to get better. We’ve got the Seminoles coming down next week and we’re going to have to be faster to compete with them.”
Kendal Briles is still in running for Miami OC opening
The Kendal Briles rumor mill has had more on-again / off-again moments than Zach Morris and Kelly Kapowski. After Brett McMurphy reported that the younger Briles was in line to be Miami’s offensive coordinator, rumors circled (below) that KB was staying at Arkansas.
Now, with Jason Candle turning down the offer (the morning after I write my piece on him, of course), the focus returns on Mr. Briles. Briles is a Texas native who played for the Texas Longhorns (2001-2002) and Houston Cougars (2003-2005).
In 2008, Briles joined his father’s coaching staff at Baylor as the inside wide receivers coach and offensive recruiting coordinator. Briles was a fast riser on his father’s staff, moving to Passing Game Coordinator by 2011, and offensive coordinator by 2015.
After Art Briles was fired at Baylor due to controversy, Kendal resurfaced as Florida Atlantic University. Briles was only at FAU for the 2017 season, where he served as the OC of the Owls. In 2018, Briles was the OC at Houston, before moving on to serve as OC at Florida State for the 2019 season, and then to the Razorbacks as OC from 2020-present.
Kendal Briles has been the offense-saver at every stop throughout his career. Even at Baylor, where Briles was already on staff, he pulled Baylor from 11th in SP+ up to 3rd in 2015. In 2016, with Jim Grobe as head coach, the Bears dipped to 40th in SP+ offense.
Upon arriving in Boca Raton, FL to be the OC of the FAU Owls, Briles took the nation’s 69th offense in SP+ up to 30th. At Houston, Briles moved the 43rd ranked offense to 20th. At FSU with no offensive line to speak of, Briles improved the ‘Noles offense from 97th to 49th which is no small feat.
Since arriving at Arkansas under Sam Pittman, Briles moved the 105th ranked offense per SP+ up to 54th, and then 32nd. The Razorbacks scored just under 10 points per game more in ‘21 than in ‘19 under Chad Morris.
Unlike most of his stops, Briles would be walking into an offensive structure in Coral Gables he typically hasn’t had the pleasure of finding. He replaces a similar style’d OC in Rhett Lashlee. While Miami’s offense isn’t quite as efficient as Baylor in ‘15, it has a stud QB in Tyler Van Dyke behind center.
Unlike Jason Candle, Briles isn’t known for having a feature back that carries the load in his 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end) offense. Briles works faster than Candle, preferring a hurry up no huddle more often than Candle or Lashlee.
But you can’t argue with Briles efficiency. The Hogs spread the ball to three backs plus the QB and 23 rushing TD’s from that foursome.
The Briles offense has been adaptable. Remember when Baylor beat UNC in a bowl game without an actual QB? Has Briles taken advantage of mobile QB’s? Sure. KJ Jefferson could tote the rock, but Briles has adapted to a lack of OL, a lack of a feature back, and the lack of a mobile QB in the past.
Explosive plays is the name of the game. The backs averaged over 5-yards per carry, and WR Treylon Burks averaged 16.7 yards per catch with 11 TD’s. In ‘20, WR Mike Woods averaged over 19 yards per catch.
The Briles Offense
Kendal Briles hasn’t just been effective under his father’s tutelage, or in a particular conference, he’s been effective in the Big 12, AAC, and SEC… and while his work at FSU wasn’t fantastic, it was much better than prior to his arrival.
Above– Mental Toughness isn’t 300’s or puking from burpees. It’s how you respond under duress in real game situations. So the goal of practice is to make the situation and stress as close to a game-like situation as possible. This is an example of a lack of MT on this play. MT is specific, not general. Now the next question is to watch how Jefferson and the offense respond. Are they going to react, or respond? How resilient are they after failure?
Above– Be still my heart. 4th and 1 and Briles lines up under center but in an empty set. MAKE YOUR OPPONENT COVER THE ENTIRE FIELD. Lighten the box but also make them cover your receivers. And BTW, they picked up the 1st down.
Above– RPO with the bubble tagged on. Nice, easy, fluid pick up on 3rd down. Nothing too complex. Just a pitch and catch.
Above– Two whip routes (slant in and zig out) and an arrow (or slide) from the inside guy. Coverage here is TOUGH to keep with. A lot of talking, a lot of switching. Briles like Candle is forcing the DB’s to trade off which they really hate doing.
Above– Again, like Candle, post-wheel making DB’s switch and this WR knew he had it before it even looks like it came open.
Above– Flirting with the Wake Forest walk up mesh on inside zone.
Above– back in the empty, quads, bunchy sideline formation. This time Jefferson likes the solo WR. He cuts off his route and with a little push off grabs the throw for a TD. 3rd and 1 and not a predictable thing in sight.
Above– Briles dialing up ways to get Burks 1-on-1 at least in a short window. He’s successful on 3rd and 6 with a simple fade.
Above– Mesh with #1 running a fade. All of the action in the middle frees up the outside WR into a 1-on-1.
Could I have chosen the games against UGA or LSU where the Hogs struggled on offense? Sure. I chose this Bama game to show how the game plan really worked and how Briles’ offense scored against one of the best defenses in the country.
With Briles’ baggage, Miami fans have to have faith that Mario Cristobal and Dan Radakovich are doing their due diligence in the vetting process. Briles has been hired at other stops, but those stops were FAU, Houston, FSU and Arkansas. Those schools have hired some questionable names, such as: Lane Kiffin, Art Briles, Jeremy Pruitt (as DC), Rick Trickett (OL) Tom Herman, and Bobby Petrino.
I might not trust the vetting of those programs, but I do trust the vetting at the University of Miami. Mario Cristobal especially has seen some of the best and worst, and really seems to hire guys that he can trust, that keep their nose clean, and that are family men (Alex Mirabal, Aaron Feld).
Who will replace lost Miami football offensive starters?
The Miami football team lost four starters from its 2021 team. Offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson and Jarrid Williams and wide receivers Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo have moved on. Miami has several candidates to replace Donaldson, Harley, Rambo and Williams as starters in 2022.
Jalen Rivers who began the 2021 season as the starting left guard before suffering a season-ending injury will likely return to his spot replacing Donaldson. Donaldson was the starting LG for Miami in the last game of the 2021 season against Duke. Miami has a few options for who will replace Williams at RT.
Three offensive linemen seem most likely to replace Williams at RT. D.J. Scaife began the 2021 season for Miami at RT and finished the season at RG. Scaife has started on the right side at both guard and tackle throughout his Miami football career. Other possibilities at RT are John Campbell and Justice Oluwaseun.
Campbell missed the entire 2021 season with a knee injury. Oluwaseun played 257 snaps at tackle for Miami in 2021, but can also play guard. Where Campbell and Oluwaseun play for Miami on the offensive line in 2022 will depend on where new head coach Mario Cristobal and OL coach Alex Mirabal decide to play Scaife.
Wide receiver seems more concrete about who will replace Harley in the slot and Rambo as an out wide receiver. Third-year sophomore Xavier Restrepo will likely receive the first chance to be the starting slot receiver for Miami in 2022. Restrepo had 24 receptions for 373 yards and two touchdowns in 2021.
Rising sophomore Brashard Smith is likely to receive the second-team snaps in the slot. Smith had 14 receptions for 199 yards and two TDs and added six carries for 23 yards. Expect Miami to use Smith similarly to how the San Francisco 49ers use All-Pro Deebo Samuel. Smith is an explosive player who is always a threat to score.
Keyshawn Smith is the only returning starting WR. Smith had 26 receptions for 332 yards and three TDs in 2021. Rising sophomores Romello Brinson and Jacolby George will be in the completion to start at WR in 2022. George had seven receptions for 183 yards and three TDs in 2021. George had three for 80 versus Duke.
Brinson had seven receptions for 90 yards and a TD. At 6’2, 185 pounds, Brinson provides Miami with needed size at WR. Miami also recently added Frank Ladson as a transfer from Clemson. Ladson had 31 receptions for 428 yards and six TDs in three seasons with Clemson. Miami has a bright future with its WRs.
With the transfer portal constantly evolving and Miami not finished completing its 2022 singing class, potential starters for Miami on the offensive line and at WR could evolve throughout the offseason. Cristobal has been aggressive in recruiting in the six weeks since he was hired as the new Miami football head coach.
High-scoring Florida Panthers ‘can’t forget’ about Sergei Bobrovsky | FHN+
While a lot of the Florida Panthers’ success comes from high goal-scoring numbers, including a stretch that saw them score 50 goals in an eight-game stretch, Sergei Bobrovsky has been a crucial part of it as well.
Since the Panthers returned to play on Dec. 29, Bobrovsky boasts a 7-0-1 record with a .929/2.47 in eight starts.
“You can’t forget about Bob,” Anthony Duclair said.
“He’s making key saves in key moments at the beginning of the game on a couple of bounces that could go the other way, so it starts with Bobrovsky in net and we build confidence from there out.”
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