Following Miami’s 47-34 win over Louisville on Saturday, ESPN college football experts Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack admit they were impressed by UM’s performance.
The Hurricanes passed for 325 yards and three touchdowns while running for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
Pollack and Herbstreit each admitted, however, to have a concern about the Hurricanes moving forward on the defensive side of the ball.
“I like their offense, how can you not? Their defense is going to have to grow up…They have some pieces, but man they need to get more disciplined and a little more locked in on that side of the ball and I think they showed some concerns,” Herbstreit said on the ESPN College Football Podcast.
Pollack, who starred as a defensive end at Georgia from 2001-04, echoed those concerns, but he believes Miami has the ability to tighten up on that side of the ball.
“You are right about the defense,” Pollack said to Herbstreit. “I don’t think they are there yet, but I do think that they are at least sound and disciplined. What have we seen from Miami the last several years? The defense hasn’t been the problem. It has been the offense.
While the ESPN experts do want to see the defense continue to improve, they are excited about the development of the 2020 Hurricanes having a playmaker and leader at quarterback.
“D’Eriq King just brings a belief,” Herbstreit said. “He brings so much confidence. I love the way he carries himself. He is not pumping his chest and bragging and look at me. He is the opposite. He’s incredibly humble and I think that resonates on their entire roster.”
Pollack liked the way UM offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee used King in the new spread offense that is being installed in 2020.
“They have the bonafide, playmaker star at quarterback,” King said. “I like the system and the unbalanced sets. I like the plays off of the plays. I like them running certain formations and running something you have seen and then running the tweak off of it for touchdowns or big time plays. I think that is the theme for Miami. I don’t think it is going to be consistent dink and dunk and then have methodical drives. I think they have the ability to make explosive plays from multiple spots. You got King and you have weapons around him.”
Pollack recognizes that in modern college football, a team needs the ability to score a lot of points to compete at the highest level. He referenced a 2016 shootout between Clemson and Louisville in which the Tigers outlasted the Cardinals, 42-36 for the win.
Pollack at least believes Miami has the offensive firepower to make the road trip to Clemson on October 10th interesting.
“I don’t put them in the National Championship contender yet, but if you have to go to Clemson and score with them and remember Deshaun [Watson] vs. Lamar [Jackson] years and year ago, you need to have the firepower and playmaking ability to do so and you see a lot of that there, so it gives them a good chance,” Pollack said.
No. 12 Miami (2-0) returns to action this week by hosting in-state rival Florida State (0-1). The game is slated to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. and will be featured on ABC.