Kirk Herbstreit: Mark Richt ‘running out of gas’ before ‘second wind’ at Miami; his take on Hurricanes

Mark Richt addresses a crowd of about 500 onlookers at Miami's uniform unveiling. (Matt Porter)
Mark Richt addresses a crowd of about 500 onlookers at Miami’s Sept. 2016 uniform unveiling. (Matt Porter)


[A deep dive into Miami’s scheduling, 2017-37]

Those close to Mark Richt agree that coaching at his alma mater has rejuvenated him. Richt has said the same.

Kirk Herbstreit thinks so, too, and said it’s a reason Miami is on the way back to national prominence.

Count the ESPN college football analyst and College GameDay co-host along with those making Miami a trendy pick to win the ACC Coastal. Three years ago, he said, he believed Richt was “running out of gas” at Georgia. The move to Miami, he feels, has given Richt “a second wind.”

Like the media polled at the ACC Kickoff, Herbstreit also says Miami will face Florida State in the

Herbstreit’s take on the Hurricanes, shared Wednesday on a conference call:

“I think it’s exciting to see the direction that they’re heading right now under Mark Richt. Just thinking about this program seems like for over a decade has just been — we’ve always been waiting for the Canes to come back to college football and be that team that they were not only back in the ’80s and ’90s, but some of those great teams they had in 2000, and 2001 and 2003.”

A major part of the reason? Richt, who played quarterback at Miami a decade before Herbstreit did the same at Ohio State. Incidentally, Herbstreit’s college career was more successful than Richt’s.

“I personally thought Mark Richt after Georgia probably would step down and go find some other things that are appealing to him beyond coaching,” Herbstreit said. “He’s such a humanitarian that I thought he might go that route. This was maybe three years ago. I just felt like maybe he was running out of a little bit of gas. Man, not only is it great for Miami, him going down there, it seems to have, in my opinion, given Mark Richt a second wind. He looks as young and energetic as I’ve seen him.

“He looks excited about the challenge of trying to bring his old school back to the glory years. He has, from everybody I’ve talked to, the support, which is so important at that school, of the brotherhood and the Miami alums. So I think it’s exciting.

“Think about it, nine wins in his first year? Now they lose the quarterback who had such experience the last three years, and you lose some of the receivers and tight ends, but I think overall if they find a quarterback, which you know better than me if you’ve been out at practice, they’re going to be able to run the ball with Mark Walton. They’re going to be able to make plays with the receivers they have.

“It’s impossible to know how good they’re going to be at quarterback. Is it just going to be, hey, don’t lose the game? Or is it going to be a guy that can actually make plays? Because I think eventually to be able to compete on the road in Tallahassee, to be able to beat Notre Dame, to be able to go on the road in Chapel Hill and win some of these games, you need more — in this case, I think you need more than just a game manager.

“I really can’t have a strong opinion about the Miami quarterback situation until we see them play probably the first few games. I know their third game is on the road in Tallahassee, that’s when we’ll obviously have an idea. But this defense is going to be outstanding. Last year they were great. Most of them are back this year.

“So I think Miami’s going to end up winning their division, and I think they’ll end up playing Florida State in the ACC championship this year.”

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