Three games into the Brad Kaaya era and we’ve yet to really see what he is about. The highly touted freshman quarterback out of California has led the Canes to a 2-1 record to start the 2014 season, but the two wins weren’t exactly “quality” opponents. After a week one loss to the Louisville Cardinals, many were quick to blame Kaaya for the lack of offensive production. Head Coach Al Golden quickly came to Kaaya’s defense after the game telling the media that he was at fault for keeping a tight, watered down playbook in the first start of his quarterback’s young career.
Golden on Kaaya: "We probably could have or should have opened it up a little bit for him, just based on where he is as a player."
— Matt Porter (@mattyports) September 2, 2014
With the opener being played on a Monday, the Canes had a short week to prepare for Florida A&M which would explain why we saw identical playcalling to the opening week loss.
This past weekend, though, when Arkansas State came to town, we saw plays that seemed to be a little more complex with several different read routes and route combinations. Many fans wanted to see the offense utilize the tremendous speed they possess and stretch the field vertically. Well, we saw a glimpse of that against the Red Wolves early and often. Miami hadn’t had a pass completion longer than 39 yards in the first two games but that changed when Kaaya found WR Phillip Dorsett on his first pass of the game for a 63 yard touchdown. All in all, Kaaya finished the day throwing for 342 yards and four touchdowns. WR Phillip Dorsett had four receptions for 201 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first player in major college football to achieve that feat since 1997.
Miami faces their toughest test yet this Saturday as they travel to Lincoln to take on the 24th ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Canes and Huskers have an extensive history with each other. The series record is dead even at 5-5, with Miami winning four of the last five. The most recent match up was in the 2001 National Championship game in which the Canes throttled the Huskers 37-14 for their fifth national title in program history.
What can we expect from Kaaya? That solely depends on how Offensive Coordinator James Coley decides to attack the nasty Husker defense. If he restricts Kaaya and doesn’t turn him loose, it could be a long day for the freshman and the Canes football team. If he lets his quarterback play his game and loosen the reigns, the Canes could very well pull off the upset if this kid is everything he is hyped up to be.