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James Coley lost a lot of weapons his first year running Miami's offense, but he still needs some more innovation for year two.
While James Coley certainly deserves an asterisk courtesy of the rash of injuries suffered on his side of the ball last season, the fact remains Miami took a step back under the first-year offensive coordinator.
Jedd Fisch brought innovation to the Hurricanes offense in two seasons at "The U"—shootouts, trick plays, balance and overall improvement. Stephen Morris looked like a surefire NFL pick in 2012 when Fisch was calling the plays. Last year under Coley? Not so much.
Morris was handcuffed in a win over Florida; he almost single-handedly gave away a game at North Carolina with four interceptions and struggled mightily in the red zone at Duke.
After the season wrapped, Morris gushed about his former coordinator and current Jacksonville play-caller at the Senior Bowl.
“I love Coach Fisch and the offense he’s in,” Morris said, per Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union. “He helped me grow as a quarterback. It’s a wonderful offense.”
While it's way too early to write Coley off, based on how 2013 measured up to 2012, there is pressure on Golden to promote offensive growth between now and September.
Before Alabama hired Lane Kiffin as its offensive coordinator last month, head coach Nick Saban welcomed the former USC leader to Tuscaloosa to share some wisdom. Saban quantified the decision to have Kiffin drop by.
"Lane is a really good offensive coach, and I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for him," Saban said last December. "Just to come in and brainstorm a little bit just some professional ideas with our guys, I think, is a real positive thing. And I don't know why there's any reaction to it. I'm really quite surprised."
Saban has also welcomed Oklahoma and Boise State coaches in the past, regarding what he calls "professional development-type things," where ideas are exchanged and coaching growth is promoted.
If a four-time national champion like Saban is welcoming offseason consulting, Golden and Miami might want to think about doing the same for Coley between now and that Labor Day kickoff at Louisville.